Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Book of the Week: DK World Philosophy

I have recently spent a lot of time with the  DK World Philosophy reference work and after enjoying it very much felt the urge to give it a mention this week. The DK series, particularly the Eyewitness companion series, has often been a favourite of mine and my bookshelf is littered with copies of the various titles.

The books are always colourful, accurate, easy to suggest and marvellously laid out and really any quizzer would benefit from having any of the titles on their shelf. I have certainly learnt and revised a lot from them.

Philosophy is a tough area but one which a serious quizzer must get to grips with and this book serves not only as a great primer but also as a great in depth research tool. Its the best of hate bunch in terms of titles on the subject I have seen and is a joy to read!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

TQA is 3 years old!

Just a tad over 3 years ago I started The Quiz Addict blog to compliment my love for quizzing and the time since has flown.

In all honesty I had no idea at first how long the blog would last, whether I would get bored or indeed anyone would read it but it has certainly been a pleasure to write over the past three years and its great to see people reading and commenting.

Over the 3 years my quizzing has developed from simply quizzing in pubs, to joining a league, to competing in GP's/World Championships and appearing on 3 broadcast quizzes. I have gained work setting, produce sets for various purposes and discovered some great resources. All of which of course serves my quizzing ambitions.

Hopefully, readers still find some use in the blog and enjoy visiting from time to time. The plans for the future include the next series of e-books, keep working on the Twitter feed (@quizaddictblog) and start more questions on the blog itself which hopefully you will be seeing soon. Any other ideas will be muchly appreciated!

But on the whole, thanks for reading, thanks for commenting and I hope The Quiz Addict remains strong for the foreseeable future!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Derren Brown's "Trick of Treat" - Quiz Episode

Apologies as I know this aired some time ago, but I have just recently watched the episode of Browns "Trick or Treat" series where he takes, for want of a better description, a bloke called Glen who says he has a bad memory, and trains him to be a quiz champion. (Link to Youtube Video above for anyone who didnt see it, about 22 mins long).

Basically he gets Glen to run his fingers down pages of reference books, without reading them, informing him that this will enter the information into his subconscious which he will be able to recall a week later at the quiz "Night of Champions". He enters the quiz alone and well I won't spoil the ending of it.

Surely this cannot be true and hasnt got the foggiest hope of ever working? My belief has always been that Brown is out to try and see what he can get viewers to believe. Everything he does in my eyes has been a test to see the extent to which people will believe what he does on screen is true. 

Anyone have any thoughts on the episode?

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Book of the Week - The Thirties: An Intimate History of Britain (By Juliet Gardiner)

Reviving this feature, I am currently engrossed in this stunning work by Juliet Gardener. Published in 2010 this mammoth book tells the tale of the 30's in a lively, vibrant and informative way. Starting with the Paisley cinema disaster in 1929 and ending with the outbreak of war this covers everything you need to know about the decade that is often overlooked. Politics, home life, society and culture is just the start as this mammoth book goes into great detail

Full of information, usual titbits and info, very readable and a fantastic way to improve your knowledge of this era -  this is well worth your time!

Here is a link to buy the book on Amazon if interested...

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Charity Shopping for Reference

I have mentioned on a few occasions some of the most useful and enjoyable reference books I have come across and intend on putting something like a top 10 together in the future. But one issue people have raised with me, especially when they see my book shelf, is the cost of acquiring so many. Even though bargains can be found online, buying books new can be a costly purchase. Even second hand retailers online and places like ebay and the amazon marketplace can charge high prices for big tomes of information.

A few months back I decided to try charity shops, mainly hunting for quiz books but discovered many of the high street brands stock good quality reference books. Books that are long out of print, hard to get hold of and usually they have been well looked after and are in mint condition. As someone who never really went into charity shops previously, I was somewhat surprised. I found myself picking up great quality reference books, books I did not know existed too, for next to nothing. You can literally enter a charity shop with a tenner and get together more reference books than you can carry!

I have got the latest Hutchinsons Encylopedia just this morning for £1, mint condition. Other recent finds include Guinness Book of Knowledge for £1, a fantastic AA illustrated guide to Britain for 50p, Trevor Montagues A-Z of Sport for 50p, various quiz books for pennies and other such gems. Couple this with the mounds of non fiction you can pick up for pennies!

This may be old news to a lot of people, but for anyone with a high expenditure on books such as I have, it is well worth hunting down the book sections in your local charity shop to see whats on offer.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Quizzers Documentary

Many of you may have already seen this Documentary, part of the New Shoots series on Channel 4 a few years back. Its called Quizzers and was set at the 2006 European Championships in Paris. It features Cj De Mooi, Kevin Ashman and The Chaser Mark Labett amongst other famous quizzing faces. Its a fun little 25 documentary and well worth a watch if you get the time!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Interview with Mark Labbett

Here is a link to a youtube video of a recent radio interview with Mark Labbett of "The Chase" fame. I always like listening to seasoned quizzers talking about their quizzing history and I enjoyed this....

Next Only Connect appearance...

After defeat in the first round we attempt to redeem ourselves taking on the Software Engineers on Only Connect this coming Monday Night at 8.30pm on BBC 4.

Again I will post up a full run down of my thoughts on the episode after it had aired. Suffice to say for now, straight after filming the first episode we were back into the changing room for a quick change around ready for this one...

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Link

Tucked away just after 1pm on a weekday for the past week has been the latest daytime quiz from BBC 1 - The Link. This is another one of those shows that seems to have advanced quickly from a contestant call to making it onto TV. Hosted by Mark Williams, who does a cracking job, this is quite an interesting little show that I become quite fond of.

The show is very similar to the game Linkee if you have ever played that (either the app or the board game which featured on Dragons Den). The opening rounds involves four questions on the buzzer, each correct answers provides a clue to the link (or connection) between the 4 answers in that round. First one to get the link wins "chains" depending on how early the connection was guessed correctly. Its much simpler watching this than me trying to explain it...

The questions have been a mixed bag so far with some questions obvious from the first link whereas others have had me stumped even with all four connections on the board. 

The second round is similar but takes the form of Who Am I? etc where you can select up to 4 clues to reveal the identity of a person, place or object. Very tactical but from a contestants point of view this can be massively imbalanced and would be much much better if it was in the style of Only Connect whereby contestants could buzz in at any point. Instead you have to select an amount BEFORE the clues how many you want meaning if the first one is a giveaway then I imagine its frustrating. 

The last round puts the pressure on the individual with a series of 10 clues given to find the link. Each player takes it in turns to get as many links in 60 seconds but add into the fact that if you "play on" and loose the money is wiped out and you have a game with doesn't encourage risks.

Although there are a few downsides with the formatting of the show and the tempo, 45 minutes could easily be half an hour, I have been enjoying following this on iplayer over the last few weeks and fully intend to keep watching.

Any readers have opinions on The Link?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Book of the Week - The Penguin TV Companion Fourth Edition

For some time I knew that I needed to improve my TV knowledge. I am not a massive TV watched and tend to miss out on a lot of questions I should be lapping up. So for Xmas I treat myself to The Penguin TV Companion Fourth Edition which is put together by Jeff Evt has proved invaluable already.

This is a fine reference book and easily one of the best on TV I have seen, in fact it is the best. Its presented in an A-Z way with key shows being given full cast lists, interesting trivia, air dates, number of episodes and so much information quizzers will love it. Other entries include profiles of major actors, producers and influential figures, tv network information and bits of TV history. Its all here. I know its an old cliche but this book is very hard to put down.

I would say no matter what your level of TV knowledge this is an essential book on an quizzers self and anyone setting quizzers will find plenty too!

Here is a link to check out the book on Amazon -


Well, a few months back I recommended the excellent City Challenge game on Facebook that I was hooked on for a while, but Triviador is my latest obsessions and a quality example of a multiplayer online quiz game.

Head over to Facebook and try it for yourself but to cut a long story short each Triviador battle consists of 3 players, all actual human players played over the Internet. Its a very popular game so you never have trouble finding people to play with. You start off with one base on a map of the world and by answering questions correctly you can build your presence on the map. This is the first round and the game then moves on to a second round in which you "invade" and "defend" sections of the map to acquire points and places. should your base fall you are out of the game. Whoever is top of the points table after 5 rounds wins. It only takes 10 minutes or so per game is is really fun.

There are other things like leaderboards, rankings, xp and perks to help you but the best idea I would suggest is to simply head over and play it. Before you are allowed online you have to have a game against computer opponents anyway to get used to it!

Hopefully I will see some of you on there and feel free to add me to Facebook Daniel Fullard (fully234@hotmail.com)!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Book Suggestion: Bumper Pub League Quiz Book

Not sure if I have suggested this book before but the Quiz book I am recommending this week is the Bumper Pub League Quiz Book which is definitely one of my most used titles in terms of answering questions. this book is written in the style of a Pub Quiz League set with sets for each team, individual sets and tiebreakers etc so it really is going to expand your knowledge. Its aim at all types of quizzer but for the majority is pitched above the normal pub quiz league.....Well worth a shout with thousands of questions and plenty to learn.

Actually just noticed its around £1 on the above link...bargain!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Be a Quiz Winner - By David Clark

David Clark has won Mastermind and appeared on a wide variety of gameshows in his years of quizzing. He also runs one of the best and most popular quizzing blogs on the web "Life After Mastermind". This ebook is designed to aid quiz players of whatever level to improve there quizzing ability and as the title suggest, be a quiz winner.

If you have ever read the Life After Mastermind blog you will know David is passionate about quizzes. The blog contains wonderful insights into the world of quizzing from quizzes in his locals, to analysis of the major tv, radio quiz contest and also including comment on the issues all quizzers face up to. Its really worth a look!

So after enjoying the blog for the best part of a year I had no hesitation in paying the small £3.39 price for this ebook reading half of it on my iphone and half on my laptop. Its well wroth the money as David has went into some detail on his subject matter.

As the synopsis on Amazon tells you this book is about how to improve yourself at quizzing. It doesnt give the facts and information, but rather a more useful guide as to what you need to learn. David uses his experience and covers all the main subject boards that come up in quizzes and the basic knowledge you will need. For anyone keen to brush up on general knowledge it provides a perfect study guide about what you should be looking out for.

David also devotes a chapter to other aspects of quizzing such as what to do in an actual pub quiz, what to expect, how to work well as a team as well as giving advice and reflection on playing in leagues and how to get on television.

Its a great short read and for anyone like myself you is young and hungry to improve knowledge, personal advice like this from someone who has been there and done it is invaluable. I enjoyed it and will use it thoroughly after the first read to steer my learning and quiz buffing.

Available via Amazon (For Kindle) HERE

Note: You can download a free app for Pc's and iphones etc that let you use Kindle software.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

My Time on Only Connect 2014...Part 2 - vs The Record Collectors

We took on The Record Collectors in a first round match on Only Connect last night.

The below post is going to contain spoilers but if you want to watch the episode it will be on Iplayer for the next 7 days HERE

So, following on from the last post, we arrived at the Studio and were made to feel very comfortable indeed and after a practice game we were ready to go. There was some waiting around for Victoria Coren to arrive but as soon as she came into the studio we pretty much started filming.

Seeing our opponents, we knew it was going to be a hard fought game. University Challenge winners and experience quizzers all round. Indeed you may have seen Rachel on Mastermind and Fifteen to One recently and heard her in the same heat of this years Brain of Britain as myself.

The match started off well for The Record Collectors as they nailed the first question regarding the single dot and we got stuck on identifying the origins of American city names. As the round went on we struggled to find anything and the Record Collectors raced to a 6-1 lead. Whether the rub of the questions fell either way is beyond the point. We knew we had work to do! The music question was particularly annoying as we knew 3/4 songs between us. On a personal note I got very hung up on the title of the Arctic Monkeys song which I uttered straight away then began to doubt myself all the time ignoring what the song was about. If that would have clicked in along with Lovely Ladies I may have twigged but a silly error of getting locked up in the title and trying to link to the others meant time was gone. Brendan pulling out Road Runner was a superb answer and I certainly was no where near with that one.

Into the second round then and there was work to be done. We had "401: Weather" after the first clue so were glad to pick up at least a bonus to start the round off well. I don't remember my thought processes for the Losing US Tickets questions but I don't think we got close in discussion. Similar for the Harriet VII questions which threw us massively. Bridge was pretty unplayable for a 5-pointer, Skat meant nothing to us but Cribbage made it obvious. The end of the round came and we had closed the gap a little and trailed 8-5.

The practice wall had went pretty well for us and Chris spotted Berliner and the sweet connection which was a great start and then followed it up with Tips leaving the last portion of the round to find out the Cats and Dolls. Nothing stood out and even though we knew what we were looking for we couldn't nail the right combination. Obviously, we hadn't seen the Record Collecters wall until last night and they did superbly to round off a full house and build a lead 18-11/

9 points is a lot to make up and I hadn't realised that during the game the producers decide how long each Missing Vowels will last. I think this was a 2 minute round and this was announced after the walls had been played. Maybe it is decided at some other point but Brendan and Chris are extremely quick on the buzzer so 2 minutes gave a good amount of time. We had done well on the buzzer in practice so knew we could narrow the gap.

Indeed Brendan and Chris raced through this round...Joseph Musicals, Perfumes....we were unaware until the very end of the show that we had actually tied it at 20-20. A last burst from Record Collectors though sealed the win with a 24-19 scoreline. Many congratulations to Record Collectors.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

My Time on Only Connect 2014...Part 1

Some longer term readers may recall that back in November last year, shortly before recording my Brain of Britain episode in Salford I headed down to Cardiff to take part in the current series of Only Connect. Always an ambition but a show I never thought I would be able to take part in due to needing a team of 3 equally keen people. But alas, Chris Curtis contacted me mentioning that he and his brother were keen to take part and asked if I would like to join them. I of course jumped at the chance!

The audition itself took place in Manchester as was a brief run through of the game with three producers of the show and a small chat. No more than 30 minutes if memory serves me correctly. I think after the audition, we, or at least I was quietly confident of making it onto the show and sure enough Chris got the call some weeks later to tell us we had made it and to plan for Cardiff!

Coming from Sunderland the travel down was some trek! Train to Birmingham and then onto to Cardiff meant an extra day added either side of the filming. The team had sorted everything out, booked the hotel and been very flexible with regards to times and arrangements. Everything was hassle free. In fact, it is worth saying at this point that I think the OC team have been the best in terms of going out their way to look after the contestants of all the three shows I have done thus far.

After the long trip the day before the filming began and we were given quite a late slot if I remember correctly in the afternoon (round about 3pm ish). Now the new format of the show, with every team given at least two goes, made arrangements a tad more complicated but it meant we would be filming one show at that time and then hanging around if we lost for the second show or going back to the hotel if we won and returning the next day.

As soon as we got there the team looked after us well, directing us to the dressing room which we had to ourselves, talking through what Victoria was going to say, arranging clothes etc. We were there just in time for lunch in the BBC Canteen and then it was make up time. Before long we were in the studio.

On both this and Eggheads it has felt rather surreal walking into a TV set having watched the show in question several times. After taking our seats we were guided through how the recording would work and played a small practice game making sure we were comfortable with every round.

Our opponents for the first game we noticed included Rachel Neiman who I would face again 7 days later in the Brain of Britain heat in Manchester...small world. Also included were Adam Barr, who you may have seen on the recent University Challenge special and Richard Gilbert, a winner on University Challenge (I think!).

After settling in and getting touched up with make up (I am always told I look pale and seem to end wearing more make up than anyone!)we were ready to go and waited for Victoria to arrive.

I will post up Part 2 after the show has aired to avoid spoilers...

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Book Suggestion

Listen to This - Alex Ross

The Rest is Noise is probably the work Alex Ross is most known for. Certainly a copy has been doing the rounds in our Quiz Leagues and many quizzers I know have certainly read it. But another very fine work from Alex is this collection of his writings over the years for The New Yorker. All great insights into all kinds of music, useful trivia, great facts and above all else well written!

Well worth a look!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Only Connect - This Monday

Back in November we took part in the recordings for the current series of Only Connect. It airs this Monday at 8.30pm and I will put up some postings about the experience and the show itself over the weekend and after it has aired.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Fifteen to One Grand Final - Thursday 4.30pm

Tonight sees the Grand Final of Fifteen to One and a wide range of familiar name from the world of quizzing it should be one of the TV quizzing highlights of the year!

Predicting anything is too difficult given the format and the tendency for the show to throw in complete "stoppers" at random times but I am expecting a very high standard this evening and the final showdown should be superb!

Some of the names taking part you may recognise -

Mark Grant is one of the highest ranked quizzers in the country and has appeared on a vast array of shows including Mastermind Finals and Cleverdicks. A few weeks ago he won Brain of Britain. Iwan Thomas goes into the final at the top of the leaderboard and is also a former Brain of Britain and a high ranking UK Quizzer. Gary Grant is a Mastermind champion, Brain of Britain Semi Finalist and Only Connect Runner Up. Throw into the mix as well David Stainer, unbeaten on Only Connect and one of the highest ranked quizzers in the country. Nic Mortimer too is a regular on the UK circuit and played a very solid game in the very first episode of this series.

On a personal level I have quizzed alongside Martin Pampel in buzzer quizzes you may have seen on here over the past few years so will be hoping he does well and Dave McBryan, one of Irelands top ranked players, runs an excellent pub quiz up in Edinburgh which I attended last summer. Rachel Neiman has been on many shows over the years....in my case she will be on the opposing team against me on Only Connect Monday and was in my heat on Brain of Britain this year.

Apologies to anyone else to whom I have done a disservice and good luck to all taking part.

Should be one hell of a final!