Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year

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Happy New Year to all and best wishes for 2018! However you are spending this evening, I hope you have a great night and that new year is a prosperous one for you!

Friday, 29 December 2017

Quiz of The Year - The UK Pub Quiz Championships (Redtooth)

Once again, 2017 has been a busy year both in my personal life and quizzing. The year started off well quiz wise and I was managing to get myself out to several quizzes a week and play in the League full time. A mid-year house move slowed things down a bit but I still managed to attend several events.

Just like last year, my favourite quiz this year was by far and away The UK Pub Quiz Championships which took place in November at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. It was the one event this year that I made sure I was able to attend and it was a decision that paid off. Spread out over a day this year, as oppose to the full weekend in 2016, the day involved an intense individual quiz in the morning followed by a team quiz in the afternoon.

My post after the event can be found HERE and I would urge anyone keen on quizzing to look out for it next year. Credit to Redtooth and everyone involved in a superb day of quiz.....roll on next year!

Tuesday, 26 December 2017


Image result for quizlet logo

Somehow, in all my end of year run downs I have managed to miss one app that I have used extensively. Quizlet! There are several Flashcard based apps around intended to help you with your learning in any subject (Studyshack, Cram) to name a few, but the one I find most reliable, most useable and has resulted in hours and hours of my time this year is Quizlet. If you are looking at something to help you remember those tricky lists, prepare yourself with a list of the years award winners etc this is an ideal app!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Top 5 Regular Quiz Nights of 2017 #1

1# The Plough, Cramlington


Image result for the plough cramlington
Narrowly pipping out all the quizzes I currently attend in my home town of Sunderland, is a quiz that is no longer feasible for me to attend! Earlier in the year when I was spending plenty of my evenings in Cramlington, I discovered this quiz and attended as often as I could. Sadly, not only did it clash with the Quiz League but in addition, my partner moving down to Sunderland from Cramlington meant this became too out of reach to attend!
It is a shame, as this is one of the finest questions I have been to on a regular basis. The questions are top quality, the rounds varied and you are kept busy all night. Turning up every week you never quite know what to expect in terms of the rounds, but you know its going to be good
As mentioned in the previous post, although the question quality is higher at one or two of the other quizzes I attend, this quiz has regular teams and friendly rivalries. I like when you know which teams are doing well and are given score updates, and you can certainly measure if your having a good or bad week.
It is unlikely I will be able to get to this quiz during 2018, but if you are in the area it is well worth your time!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Best Quiz Books of 2017 #5 - Question of Sport

This is one of those books that I have had on my shelf for some time, a 50p buy from a charity shop, and I hadn't even considered how much fun it would be. I eventually started this in September, not expecting much, and for the next few weeks I worked my way through it, enjoying from start to finish. The questions within are testing, even for someone like myself who considers sport a strong subject in pub quizzes. There is plenty of variation in the rounds, the usual Question of Sports rounds have been given unique twists to suit them to the paper format and in all, I was disappointed when I came to the end.

Written by people who clearly love quizzing as much as they do sport, this is by far the best Sports quiz title on my shelf and hopefully a sequel isn't too long away....

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Favourite Regular Quiz Nights of 2017 - Honorable Mentions

Just before I post up the final addition in the series of my favourite quiz nights of the year, I wanted to mentioned a few other quizzes which I have attended on a number of occasions this year and enjoyed and would be worth your time  -

The Plough, Cramlington - Sunday Night Music Quiz
Kicking off at 8pm each Sunday, a superb active music quiz night. Fantastic range of music with several regular teams creating a good atmosphere. Plenty to win and will certainly help you improve that music knowledge!

The Moorcock, Peterlee - Sunday Night
Ran by a the same quiz host for as long as anyone can remember, a fun cheat free quiz involving 20 GK questions, a picture round and 10 on current affairs. The standard of teams are high and the questions don't sometimes reflect this but everytime I have managed to attend this year I have certainly enjoyed it.

Chaplins, Sunderland - Thursday Nights
Another quiz ran by a local in the quiz league, this quiz certainly gives you value for your time with a ton of questions, music rounds, pictures and one of the best jackpot rounds in the area (and often the highest prize). Sometimes plagued with problems of cheating which puts me off often, but the quality of the quiz cannot be questioned.

Cooper Rose, Sunderland - Monday Nights
Another quiz that falls into the "good quiz but badly ran" category. The style involves interactive rounds, big screens and plenty of picture/music based rounds. Great prizes, the best attended quiz in Sunderland by far, but with the quiz host standing behind a large screen to present, unable to see players, its a cheat rampage with the winning score usually being 100%!

Keel Row, Seaton Delavel - Tuesday Nights
This has so much promise when I first went...the best picture round Id played all year with great variation and set of 40 great GK questions which had me tested and having fun....but then a 75 minute gap between the final questions and the answers. Criminal! This could easily be something I would travel to play in but that waiting time not only allows cheating but is incredibly dull!

Fitzgeralds, Sunderland - Thursday Nights
Sad to see this quiz night dying out. When I first started quizzing it was the highlight of my week and the format remains the same....20 written questions, 10 presented on GK, Pictures and 10 questions on a theme. The regular teams have gone, the host has given up seemingly and the long waiting times between rounds and a GK round that the setter puts together with zero effort has killed the quiz. Hopefully, it can pick up in 2018! I have enjoyed it on several occasions this year hence the mention

Blue Bell, Fullwell - Tuesday Nights
Again being on Tuesday nights, which every quiz around here seems to be, this hasn't been one I have managed to attend as much as I would have liked. Ran by another member of the Quiz League this quiz involves 20 GK questions, pictures and current affairs. Always good questions, always good fun but not quite enough in terms of content to keep me coming back time after time.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Useful Books of the Year - Literature

I have been doing various bits of work on literature over this year and thus have a few books to suggest that I have found useful...

The Big Read Book of Books is ideal if you feel you have a few gaps in your knowledge (if you already are a literature whizz this probably isn't for you!). Summaries and information on the Top 100 books in the BBC Poll from around 2004. Certainly useful in terms of setting and , as I said plugging those gaps...

This book surprised me quite a lot! I picked it up from the charity shop, expecting to pick up a few useful bits and bobs but it as it turns out this is a superb guide to some areas of literature I didn't have much knowledge of.....certainly won me a few points at various quizzes this year.

Finally, and ironically a book someone suggested to me on feedback to these kind of posts 2 years ago, the "Passing time in the Loo" book is superb! Although a little random, it contains good plot summaries of key novels and will certainly help you out if looking to raise literature knowledge.

And I'll end with a Literature Quiz Book from former Mastermind winner, and author of the superb Life After Mastermind useful, written by a guy who knows the world of quizzing inside out and you will certainly test yourself....for £2 its a bargain!

Monday, 18 December 2017

Top 5 Regular Quiz Nights of 2017 #2

#2 - The Dun Cow, Sunderland
If this was a list based purely on the quality of the questions, the quiz at the Dun Cow in Sunderland would win hands down. Set by a player in the Quiz League, the questions every week without doubt are well put together, interesting and pitched just right. Coupled with unique picture rounds and interesting and varied music rounds, as well as a range of additional games to keep the night fun, this is the best quiz in Sunderland in my view!
Being next to the Empire the quiz is quite strict on times, hence a nice early start for 8pm with a finish for 10pm also is a nice change from pubs dragging out events until last orders!

I must also mention here the quiz in Ship Isis, Sunderland on a Monday night which is ran by the same host. Equally as fun.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

How Quizzing Got Cool.... - BBC Documentary

I couldn't do my end of year wrap up's without mentioning the BBC TV Documentary that aired on BBC 4 this year. A fantastic look at the world of quizzing. Not available anymore in iplayer but see above for youtube links...

Speaking of good documentaries, if you haven't seen New Shoots: Quizzers from a few years ago, then spare yourself half an hour and watch the video below....superbly done.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Best Quiz Books of 2017 #4 - The Times Quiz Book

One of the last things I tend to do before bed on weekdays, is tackle the daily quiz that appears in the Times. Written by former European World Quiz Champion Olav Bjortomt, the quiz reminds me daily of how little I know and has served as a fantastic starting point for revision of areas of quiz weakness.

So, as you can imagine, I was over the moon to get my hands on the Times Quiz Book this year and spent the weeks after indulged in the book. Far above your standard pub quiz books in terms of difficulty, the questions contained in this book have been the product of a labour of love by one of the finest setters in the country.

If you want a tough, testing and mind-busting quiz then this is the perfect book for you!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Board Game of the Year

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There has not been an inspiring choice of quiz related board games on the whole this year, but in September I did pick up Jask.
Jask is a quiz game of sorts, but more based around lists than standard quiz questions. The came basically involves drawing a card with a theme on (could be Rivers, Boys Names, Kings, Countries, Books by Dickens, Characters in Shakespeare etc) and a character with a letter on. You can see where I am have 60 seconds to come up with a list of whatever your cards say, beginning with the letter in question. However many you beat your opponent by, is your score and you move your counters.
The upside is, the cards are well put together and the game really does test your knowledge.
However, you really do need people with a good level of quizzing knowledge to make it work best, as well as the need to check answers on online sources. Ideally I would say if you have enough players to make a couple of teams then this will be a blast.......I certainly have enjoyed it the times I have got together with a few like minded people and played it!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Quiz App of the Year

During 2017 I have continued to play avidly some of the regular apps I have been into for the past few years...QuizUp, Superbuzzer etc. In terms of new quiz apps this year however, there can only be one winner....


A first glance this looked like just another Quiz list based game, but only once I started played it did I realise that for once, this hasn't just been rushed out with a basic list of cheaply made and bought questions. It has been crafted with question quality in mind.....

There are three types of questions that the app focuses on, in both single player and multi player. Match, Select and Sort....

 TriviAlist!  A quiz of lists!- screenshot thumbnail   TriviAlist!  A quiz of lists!- screenshot thumbnail   TriviAlist!  A quiz of lists!- screenshot thumbnail

As you can see, these question range in subjects and don't just focus on entertainment but history, art, literature, geography and everything you can think of. It gets very addictive and has that "just one more game" feeling that keeps you hooked. Even though I first encountered this only in October, it has been without doubt the app I have spent the most time with this year and enjoyed the most!

Free on IOS and Android.....try it for yourself but be warned, it gets addictive!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Useful Books of the Year - DK Animals

I assume many people reading this will already be fully aware of the quality of the large reference works from DK. Covering as many subjects as you can think of, these titles will line the shelves of many quizzers and for good reason. In terms of colourful, easy to read and fact filled tomes, they can rarely be beaten.

The one I have spent a lot of time with this year, has been the Animal book. As well as Science, Animals is a subject I have often feared in quiz and I will often get simple gimmie questions wrong as its just something I cannot get my head around.

However, this book has helped me on my way to overcoming that.....Well worth every penny of the £20 I paid, just browsing a few pages per day and doing myself some revision questions has helped me improve my Animals knowledge more than any other reference title I have tried!

Top 5 Regular Quiz Nights of 2017 #3

#3 - The Chester's (SpeedQuiz)
(SpeedQuiz the first Tuesday of every month)
Image result for the chesters
My home location of Quiz League matches, and the only venue in Sunderland that is currently embracing SpeedQuizzing. Earlier in the year it was hoped that the SpeedQuizzing would be ran weekly, but due to various issues, it was decided that the SpeedQuiz would only take place on the first Tuesday of each month with the standard paper quiz filling in the weeks in-between.
In the hands of an experienced quiz host, and avid player, the phone-based SpeedQuizzing works superbly. There are no gimmick's, as I have encountered at others, or ridiculous questions worth 100 points....instead you get an intense, fun and engaging quiz night. The first round is the traditional 20 GK questions with a mix of numbers, letters and multi choice questions with 10 points for a correct answer and 5 additional points for the. Round 2 is music with bonus points for the quickest few teams and Round 3, my favourites is a buzzer round....10 points if you're right and 5 points available for teams who agree and disagree correctly. A great night of quiz!
The problem is, bad Speedquizzing experiences can put people off. The hosts have a lot of freedom in how they run the night and I have been to a horror show or two this year where the host awards normal points until the last round where 100 points per questions is the norm. There are all sorts of catch the leader bonsues etc, triple your points etc etc.....luckily none of this happens at the Chesters and if you can find yourself a Speed Quiz with a good host who wants to make a fair game for all, then you won't find many better quiz nights around.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Best Quiz Books of 2017 #3 - The Mammoth Quiz Book

Not a book that was released this year, but as mentioned in the opening posts, this is simply a  list of the quiz books I have found most enjoyable this year.

The title of this book put me off from a long time as I assumed  by "Mammoth" it meant....full of filler....but that is not the case here at all here. This is a fantastic quiz book and within the first few pages I had already encountered dozens of fun, interesting and well written questions. The book has GK rounds but is also broken down into themes  so its easy to target areas you want to improve. I thought the quality might dip later on in the book, but to my surprise it sustained until the very last page.

Perfect for all needs, well set out with answers every 9-10 rounds and a book that I wish I had taken notice of earlier!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Useful Books of the Year - The Times Great Lives

Another series I have been a little late to picking up. The Times Great Lives books contained hundreds of obituaries of famous people who you will encounter in quizzes time and time again. I found these great bed time reading, full of facts and certainly lead me on to further reading as well as plugged a fair few gaps!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Quiz Question Answers

The answers from yesterdays quiz...

1.       Lying 2,000km from St Helena and 2,400km from South Africa, which Archipelago is the most remote in the world?
Tristan Du Cunha
2.       Which actor, born in 1941, and Oscar nominated for his most famous role in the 1970s, played Max, the father of the title character in the TV series “Bones”?
Ryan O Neal
3.       The New York Yankee’s No.1 jersey is retired in honour of individual who managed the team on 5 separate occasions including the 1977 World Series victory?
Billy Martin
4.       In the description of the “Elite social class who trace their ancestry back to the colonial period” what does WASP stand for?
White/Wealthy Anglo Saxon Protestant
5.       What does the R stand for in the name of “Love Letters” playwright AR Gurney?
6.       Tatum O Neal was married to which sports star from 1986 until 1994?
John McEnroe
7.       Which Stanley Kubrick film is based on a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray and tells the tale of a fictional 18th Century Irish Rogue?
Barry Lyndon
8.       In 2015, who became the first footballer to have scored hat tricks in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A?
Alexis Sanchez
9.       Who was the first Belgian born singer to top the US Billboard Singles chart?
The Singing Nun
10.   In which country was Bianca Jagger born?
11.   Which musical tells the tale of Kevin Price and Arnold Cunningham  on a trip to Uganda?
Book or Mormon
12.   In 1968 who became the first Indigenous Australian to win a boxing World Title?
Lionel Rose
13.   Featuring a protagonist named Harry, “Only Time Will Tell” is the first novel in which series of books?
Clifton Chronicles
14.   The answer to a common quiz question involving Gazza and the 1991 FA Cup Final, who was the first Spanish player to score in the English Premier League?
15.   The Tees Valley Giants, a planned series of sculptures across the region, has stalled with only one sculpture in place – “Temenos”. Who designed it?
Anish Kapoor