Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Quizzer Starter Pack #9

Quizzer Start Pack #9
Animal (DK)

Animals is always my weakness. It was something I never really had much interest in until I started quizzing and therefore I have had to put in a lot of work just to get the basics right and improve my knowledge from virtually nothing, to a level where I can cope with the basic questions. This book from DK, one of many in my collection from DK which are all superb, has served the purpose superbly. Written and presented in a way that will make the information easy to sustain, this is the best book of its kind I have came across and well worth the investment!

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Facebook Suggested Quiz Groups

Many of my Facebook friends, I know simply for the fact that we share an interest in quiz and one of most of my time spent on Facebook is in the any dedicated Facebook Groups to quizzing. I am not sure how to link on here but if I give you the titles of some of the most useful and interesting groups I am currently a member of, they are easily located on the site. If you yourself have any good suggestions let me know in the comments...

Quiz Discussion Group - As the name suggestions this has well over 10k members, is well administrated and proves a good ground for discussion about the world of quizzing

Quiz Questions Group  - Some top quizzers and setters present daily questions for you to tackle.

The Contestants - A good group if you are looking for contestant calls or have questions about appearing on TV Shows

Only Connect Questions Group - Again, some of the finest quizzing minds post self-made questions in Only Connect Style. Well worth a look if you are a fan of the show.

Quizmasters - If you host quizzes, a good resource with thousands of files, questions and experience quizmasters always on hand to dish out advice and offer last minute help!

Monday, 29 July 2019

Quizzer Start Pack #8

Quizzers Starter Pack #7
 What Are the Seven Wonders of the World?


Now, before we start with the latest entry in the Quizzer Start Pack, ignore the title. The book is about far more than the Seven Wonders of the World. The book poses 75 similar questions ranging from "What are the 5 pillars of Islam?", "What were the seven French Dynasties?" to "Who are the three sons of Noah?" and "What were the first 13 states of the USA?". Each question then leads into a could few pages of facts and background information. As a primer into these areas it is near perfect and I wish I had discovered it earlier in my quizzing!

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Quizzers Starter Pack #7

Quizzers Starter Pack #7
 Passing Time In the Loo

There are a few version of "Passing Time In The Loo" and I would strongly recommend them all as part of your Quizzer Starter Pack. The most useful sections of the book are the 2-3 page summaries of key works of literature. These pages alone have helped me massively in all forms of quizzing. The first volume goes beyond that and looks at biographies of key people, quotes and simple lists of facts. An essential tome and one which will start picking you up points as soon as you use it!

Friday, 26 July 2019

Quizzing Article

Interesting article on British quizzing on Bloomberg recently. Click HERE

Pub Quiz in Sunderland

If you happen to be in the Sunderland area this weekend, and with the air show in town....why not!....then head down to the quiz at the Albert! The pub is located on Fawcett Street and is a great bar, with great staff and a friendly crowd in for the quiz. We get going at 7.30pm with the picture round before taking you through News, Entertainment, Connections, Theme (this week Gold), General Knowledge, Music and more. Loads of prizes and a £80 ish jackpot this week!

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Thursday, 25 July 2019

Bargain Book of the Week

Hat tip to Eggeheads own Beth Webster, who brought this book to my attention. A compendium of modern trivia that is currently available for just £1.50 on the Amazon website. Its similar to many of the "miscellany" titles that you may already have in your collection, but there is plenty about this to make it unique. Each page is quizzing gold and both as a player and a setter, this gave me plenty to utilise!

Quizzers Starter Pack #6

Quizzers Starter Pack #6
The TV Companion

Into the latter half now of the Quizzers Starter Pack, but by no means the lesser half. Number 6 on the list, is another weighty reference guide, and this time its all about the world of Television. In almost every pub quiz you do, every major quiz, every tv show and any time you are faced with Trivia you can be assured that the subject of Television will come up. And of all the books I have thus far on the subject, this has been the most useful. Presented in an A-Z format covering a wide range of UK and US TV it cover thousands of shows with all the vital cast and crew information as well as key facts. Its good to read and easy to flick through and as a question setter and quiz player has proven its use time and time again!
Honourable mention here to 1001 TV Series to see before you die, which is written in a superbly entertaining manner and it s tad more up to date.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Podcast Suggestion - Trivial Warfare - Trivialympics

I have mentioned the rather excellent Trivial Warfare on the blog a number of times but I just quickly wanted to post up about an excellent episode I have just caught up with that I would urge quizzers to check out. Coming in at over 2 and half hours its a long show, but well worth it. Its an annual contest between some of the top trivia podcasts on the market. Wide range of questions and styles, some superb quizzing on display and as always, a fun episode that flies by. Check it out HERE

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Quizzers Starter Pack #5

Quizzers Starter Pack #5
Science 1001

The Quizzers Starter Pack now moves onto Science. A subject which comes in time and time again, in all manner of quizzes and covering a wide breath of subjects. I have always struggled with Science as a whole dating back to my school days. Hence, it has taken a lot of work and time to get my knowledge up....and this book has been vital!
Whilst a knowledge of the periodic table is essential, it is only going to get you so far. And even knowing the history of famous discoveries and famous names from the world of Science may not even cover all basis. This book covers it all....the vital terms, theories, ideas and principles you hear at all manner of quizzes in a  perfectly digestable format. I cannot see how a book covering the subjects that are covered here, could be covered in a better manner.
I know a lot of top quizzers speak very highly of this book, and once you get your hands on a copy, it is very easy to see why!

Monday, 22 July 2019

Radio 4 - New Series - The Third Degree

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After last weeks final of Brain of Britain brought that series to an end, the Monday "quizzing" slot on Radio 4 has passed onto to The Third Degree. This show seems to get lost amongst the superb trio of Round Britain Quiz, Counterpoint and Brain of Britain....but nevertheless The Third Degree is well worth your time. It pits Students vs Lecturers and always throws up some interesting and useful questions.
Broadcast on Mondays and available on BBC iPlayer soon after

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Quizzers Starter Pack #4

Quizzers Starter Pack #4
The A-Z of Britain and Ireland
 (Trevor Montague)

I mentioned on the second edition in the Quizzers Starter Pack, that you would read the words Trevor Montague again before the series was over....and here it is. Now I have suggested some general reference works to get your collection going, the next few suggestions will be more focused on specific areas of knowledge.
And I am going to start with one that comes up time and time again....The United Kingdom!
This is one key area I have struggled with big time over the years and that is British Geography. That was remedied by this book. What we have here is a book that takes each county of the UK and Ireland, in an A-z Format and provides you with pages and pages of facts about the history, famous people, famous landmarks, famous local myths....everything you could need and more.
When you first pick up this tome of knowledge you rightly may be intimidated by its volume, pages and sheer about of content.....but I took it a week per county and it gave me more than enough time to digest, explore and learn.
There is no other books really like it on the market and that is why it deserves its place here, and a place on any quizzers book shelf!

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Sunday Night Pub Quiz - Sunderland

If you happen to be in the Sunderland area this, or indeed any, Sunday Night, then head down to the Albert on Fawcett Street for our weekly quiz. Not only is it s great bar, with a friendly crowd and located right in the heart of Sunderland City Centre, but the quiz is also hosted and written by me!

It all kicks off at 7.30pm and prizes this week will total around £120. I hope to see you there!

Image result for the albert snderland pub

Friday, 19 July 2019

Quizzers Starter Pack #3

Quizzers Starter Pack #3
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

The next entry on the Quizzers Start Pack list is another weighty tome, but one which has proved invaluable in recent years, especially as I started to play in tougher quizzes. I am finding it hard to describe just what this work consists of, but it is essentially an A-Z guide of, well everything.
Actually I think the easiest thing to do is post the Amazon blurb...
'This is, in fact, not what you were looking for; but it's much more interesting' Terry Pratchett
Much loved for its wit and wisdom since 1870, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable takes you on a captivating adventure through its trademark blend of language, culture, myth and legend. Nowhere else could the histories of the guillotine and Guinness stout sit so comfortably alongside the KGB and the Keystone Kops. Brewer's is a catalogue of curiosities and absurdities that, over almost 150 years in print, has acquired near-mythical status.
Edited by Susie Dent, this new edition includes a brand new Collection of Curious Words and many new and updated entries. Its pages brim with esoteric and entertaining oddities - everything from curious customs to the world of newspapers and political alliances of yesteryear - all seen through the distinctive Brewer lens.
This twentieth edition of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable encapsulates all the charm and wit that characterise its predecessors and maintains the standards of scholarship and eclecticism that have long been its hallmark.
Whether you're a committed Brewerphile or a newcomer to its pages of fascinating entries, this edition will draw you in and keep you glued to its rich mix of eccentric nuggets.
As Susie Dent explains in the foreword, Brewer's "is unlike any other reference book that exists, anywhere."
So there we go, a perfect description of a book that has proved so valuable in terms of quiz writing and playing (as well as the simple fact that its so fun to read) that it is worthy of a place on any book shelf!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Quizzers Starter Pack #2

Quizzers Start Pack #2
The A-Z of Everything (Trevor Montague)

If you have ever looked into the world of general reference works then the name Trevor Montague is one that you should hopefully have came across. Trevor has, for a number of years, been producing several versions of this A-Z of Everything, that is a vast tome of General Knowledge. There have been several spin offs (more on that later) but the main entry in the series covers the wide berth of General Knowledge.
The book itself is a weighty tome, well over 1,000 pages, and jam packed with information. This book covers way more than the Pears Quiz Companion, and goes into a vast range of detail. Its a much bigger task to tackle learning this than the Pears Title, which is why I would suggest this is more useful as a dip in and out work after the Pears book as been studied.
Many quizzers would probably suggest this serves well as the measuring stick for reference guides, and indeed learning this book would certainly improving your quizzing. Due to its depth I think a larger % of the content of Pears has come up than this book, but if you love learning, facts and huge reference works.....then this is your answer!

Quiz in the North - This Saturday

As mentioned on the blog before, the Quiz in the North events are a superb introduction to the world of quizzing and a regular must-do event with the top quizzers around the UK.

I have copied across the information about Saturday's event taken from the Facebook page.

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The next Quiz in the North will take place on Saturday 20th July in Poynton, Cheshire, halfway-ish between Stockport and Macclesfield.
The event will start at 11.30 at the Royal British Legion, a few minutes walk from the village centre. The usual individual quiz will be followed by an afternoon team quiz, written by Colin Daffern, so quality is guaranteed, for that bit at least!
It would be great to see both regular QITN-ers and debutants there - please sign up at the link: HERE "

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

The Hit List - Contestant Call

The Hit List
I posted up earlier in the month about how impressed I was with the new BBC Saturday Night show "The Hit List"...a music quiz hosted by Marvin and Rochelle Hulmes. I fully expected it would get a second series and thankfully it has. The BBC have a contestant call out here
Good Luck!

Monday, 15 July 2019

Brain of Britain 2019 - Congratulations

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Congratulations to David Stainer on victory in todays final of Brain of Britain. In what turned out to be one of the most gripping finals in years, David swooped to victory after trailing at half time with a commanding second half performance. For eagle eyed TV viewers you may remember David Stainer from the (I think still) unbeaten Only Connect team as well as several other TV appearances. A regular on the domestic and international quizzing circuit, it will I think, be a very popular victory.

Indeed, Brain of Britain fans may have heard the name before also, as this was a 10th attempt at taking the crown and after a couple of near misses, including losing out in the year Egghead Barry Simons won the title, David proved persistence pays off.

Congratulations David Stainer and all who made the 2019 Brain of Britain final such an enjoyable one.

If you are a fan of Brain of Britain, and are not aware, the quiz book they produced a number of years ago is well worth your time. A wide range of original questions, plenty to get stuck in and perhaps one of the finest quiz books in collection.

Also, another suggested edition to the quiz book shelves, is one of the books David Stainer himself had a hand in writing...."The Only Quiz Book You Will Ever Need". Pat Gibson (TV Eggheads) and the current World Quiz Champion (Olav Bjortmont)  also contribute.....

Quizzers Starter Pack #1

As promised, this is the first post in a series of ten. The idea behind the post is to recommend the best/most useful books to help you improve quizzing, that I have found most useful and that are considered amongst many quizzers to be the finest publications on the market.

They are not ranked at all, well perhaps apart from the todays entry, and the books are intended to be taken as a complete pack of 10! If you had these ten books on your shelves in other words, they would help you improve your quizzing or at least point you in the right direction.....

And we will start of with a book that I have mentioned several times before on the blog

Quizzers Starter Pack #1
Pears Quiz Companion

When I started taking quizzing a little more seriously, that really coincides with the launch of this blog around 8-9 years ago, this was one of the first books I purchased. Several copies later (due to them becoming so battered through daily use) I can safely say that this is the most useful book in my entire collection in terms of improving my quizzing. Whether it has been pub quizzes, TV shows, quiz leagues or indeed some of my better performances in national competitive quizzes, this book has been the backbone.
The Pears Quiz Companion covers all manner of subjects, in a simple two columned format that narrows down simple facts into easily memorable formats. Although the book sadly has never been updated, 90% plus of it is the kind of facts that never change and within a few weeks of committing to learning this book, I guarantee you are going to start to see it pay off. I was off the "page a day" technique and it worked a treat!
Although, as mentioned, I am not doing the ten books in the Quizzer Stater Pack in any order, this would stand head and shoulders above the rest if I was. An essential book!

Friday, 12 July 2019

Quiz Starter Pack

Thanks for the suggestions, emails and posts regarding the Quiz Start Pack idea I had. It seems to be going down keep your eyes peeled in the next few days as the first of 10 entries will come!

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Congratulations to Andy Tucker - 15 to 1 Champion - Final Reflections....

Image result for fifteen to one
I have left this a few days in case anyone is avoiding spoilers....but a massive congratulations to Andy Tucker who last week was crowned as the latest 15 to 1 champion defeating another well known quizzer, Barbara Thompson, in a great final. Andy is one of the nicest men in quiz and it was great to see him take victory!
As you may have read earlier in the month, this was also the Fifteen to One series I was part of. Started out as a disaster, managed to get a lucky run to the final three of one episode and the only time in the 4 episodes I did myself justice was the Final 3 showdown in my third heat.
Looking around at the quality of quizzers on show, I was privileged to be in the final itself. Many quizzers, far far better than me on a normal day, have tried and failed to make the Grand Final and it was nice to be able to take part. The first question was a ridiculous one for me to get wrong and after that my confidence was back at zero. My main aim was to get into Round 2, but alas it didn't happen and I was on the first train back.
I felt exactly the same in my first go of Brain of Britain, where the mental block comes and suddenly the years of quizzing evaporates and I feel like its my first time all over again....
...Maybe one day Ill get on TV and make a good account of myself.
Regardless of that, I would encourage anyone to apply if they do another series as the team behind the scenes is superb and its a fun quiz format to play!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Quiz Starter Pack

Yesterdays post gave me an idea for a series of Blog Posts looking at developing some sort of Quiz Starter Pack.

The rules are simple....I am looking to devise a list of 10 books that you would class as an essential starter pack for anyone starting to take quiz more seriously. Whenever I have asked for suggestions in the past I have always had a great response. I already have a list in mind but if you want to offer any suggestions please either reply or email me at

Monday, 8 July 2019

Book Suggestion: Essential Quizzing Resource

When it comes to drawing up a list of books that I have found most useful in both question setting, and quizzing itself, then 10,000 Things You Need To Know will be somewhere near the top! Covering all major subjects, with detailed lists and essential information on names you will hear in quizzes time and time again, this is a really great book that works both as a primer if you are new to quiz, and also as a way to mould your skills to serve as a base to explore deeper the subjects you know are going to come up.

Alongside Pears Quiz Companion, this is essential!

Sunday, 7 July 2019

The Albert Pub Quiz - Sunderland - 7.30pm - Sundays!

The Pub Quiz I run at the Albert has been running for well over a year now, and is always a fun night with a wide range of questions, a unique format and plenty of prizes.

The Albert itself is a great pub located in the heart of Sunderland City Centre on Fawcett Street and the Quiz kicks off at 7.30pm!

If anyone is local to the area it would be great to see you there!

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Sunderland Echo Quiz League

The Sunderland Echo Quiz League is currently on a summer hiatus but time is counting down to the start of the new season. If you live in the area and fancy testing your quizzing powers each Wednesday night, then pop me an email to and Ill put you in touch with the relevant people!

You can find more info on the league and past question sets HERE

Friday, 5 July 2019

The Simpsons Pub Quiz - Sunderland City Centre - Tuesday Night - 8.30pm

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The Simpsons Pub Quiz
Tuesday 9th July
The Albert, Sunderland City Centre
Last month we launched our very first themed quiz at the Albert pub in Sunderland. This Tuesday night its time for our second....and the theme is The Simpsons. I have a great quiz lined up, full of fun questions to test even the most committed fan. Fancy putting in a team? Get yourself to the Albert on Fawcett Street at 8.30pm!

Fingers on Buzzers is back!

Following on from yesterdays post about the 30 for 30 podcast, I was pleased to see this week that one of my favourite podcast has made a return for a second series. Fingers on Buzzers is presented by Lucy Port and Jenny Ryan from the Chase. It discusses many issues relating to quiz, interview with key people and plenty of questions every week. Well worth your time

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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Podcast Suggestion: 30 for 30

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Any sports fans reading, or indeed fans of well made documentaries, will probably already be aware of ESPN's fantastic 30 for 30 series that airs on TV. To my delight, I discovered recently that there is also a podcast series to accompany it! New stories taking a look at famous sporting stories. Each episode lasts about an hour, and regardless of your interest in the particular sport or issues being discussed, you will soon be hooked!
Essential listening for sports fans, and plenty of useful quizzing material to get stuck into!