Monday, 30 January 2017

Weekly Round-Up, W/E 27/01/2017

Two posts in one night! I'm determined to keep this blog up to date, however, even if no one is reading it. If you are, please let me know!

Yeah, it was a truncated week, as with last week, which is unfortunate but unavoidable. I'm not stupid enough to jeopardise my health or that of others by quizzing when I've got 'flu. I still had a good week, as this post will show.

Wednesday's Quiz

I returned to quizzing after a week off, but it was my first solo quiz of the year because my friend was ill herself. Luckily she wasn't hit as bad as I was, but she took the week off as a precaution. How would I handle things alone? Not as well as I hoped, in truth. General knowledge at this quiz is something I'm decent on, and I was annoyed to only get 11 from 20 here. There were a few I just didn't know, but one or two I definitely should have had. Definitely an ego-exposing and limitations-revealing round, that one.

Music from the 2000s is the sort of round this quiz does very often, and I suppose I'd likely heard a few of the questions before, not that I can specifically recall it. Still, I stunned myself with 7, and could even have done better, but for an album's name escaping me even though I could picture it. I'll not make the mistake again, however.

Sport from 2016 (ugh, another 2016 round) yielded 4, which is par for the course for me and sport really, but I only managed the same on Film and TV, which should have been better than that for me. Still, those rounds are often broad enough that one is trusting to luck, and there were some fairly obscure questions thrown in.

Ultimately, I equalled my score from last week, and I'm not sure my friend would have known many more that I didn't. One or two of the music ones, perhaps, which might have taken us to 30. Oh well, I had worse solo scores last year, so I'll take it for a first go. My being alone was announced to the rest of the attendees, and props to the QM for contextualising my score. Also, I beat a team of 8 sitting beside me, which I was happy with.

Result: 26/50 (52%), 9th/11

Thursday's Quiz

I was glad to return to my hunting grounds in Kippford last week, having started 2017 with two storming wins before my absence prevented three in a row. Again, my usual team were absent however, some also being ill. One of the QM's also had it, as did the wife of the QM who was present. This required a stand-in second QM, who jokingly advised me that I shouldn't answer some of her questions, as I may have heard them at another quiz she previously hosted.

This was back in November, actually, just before I started this blog, so it wasn't covered then. It was a combined Ship Inn/Granary team that came third in that quiz, which was tough. This time, I joined the team I'd been with for the first quiz of the year, who were again a man short. A stern test of my memory awaited.

As it happened, several of the questions were indeed taken from the earlier quiz, including one which caused debate last time - the working dog named for a Canadian island. Now the province is named Newfoundland and Labrador, and these are both dogs, so what was asked for? I was fairly sure that the answer was the former alone, which is what we ultimately went with last time, but couldn't be sure and the debate ensued again. We actually put the latter in brackets, which was a questionable compromise (in that it could be seen as giving ourselves two bites of the cherry) but did cover ourselves because of the province name. I've actually looked it up now and it turns out Newfoundland is the only island, as Labrador is on the mainland. That makes things much less ambiguous with hindsight. There were no other controversies with the round, as we took a full 8.

I spoke a bit last week about the issues with geography rounds, and it proved troublesome here tonight, giving us only 4. It was a tough round, in fairness, and we could have done little else. Food & drink was taken almost wholly from the earlier quiz, and saw another debate in the form of the question of what fruit is used in a fish sauce "Veronique". Lemon was too obvious, as we'd know it was called that if it was, and we found ourselves debating between grape and olive. Lemon too, as one person insisted it might have been that. We also weren't sure if olives are even fruits (they are), and I pushed for grape after spending most of the round wracking my memory for confirmation. It was right, and that was important, as this was our joker round. A full 16 left us in a very good position at the halfway point.

Round 4 was anagrams, a handout in place of the usual 5th round pictures. They were UK prime ministers, and we had them all fairly easily between us. No drama there. Round 5 was another from the previous quiz, childrens books. It was a tough round, and I did well to recall Wilbur as the name of the pig from Charlotte's Web, and Wormwood as Matilda's surname. We missed one, but that was forgiveable.

Rounding out the quiz was science and technology, another risky proposition, but with a few chestnuts there, such as the only vowel on a computer keyboard that isn't on the top row. Remember, QWERTYUIOP is the top row, so it's A. One more missed answer was no concern, as we had done enough to get to 50, a record for me.

My 3rd successive victory at the quiz, leaving me unbeaten there in 2017 where I've actually attended. It was a high scoring quiz so we needed almost every point, but it was well-earned. I'm delighted with how it went.

Result: 50/56 (89.29%), 1st/5

Friday's Quiz

It was good to be back at the Grapes on Friday, a quiz I've always loved. One of our team couldn't make it, so we drafted a pub regular who doesn't normally play. We needed him, too, as a very strong team who hadn't been in a while were back.

We started with 7 on general knowledge, but could have had all 10 had I been on top form. I should have remembered that Marie Antoinette was Austrian (knew she wasn't French, and in fairness the QM was sure until that morning she was Swiss, and was glad we put the same!), that MLK was assassinated in Memphis (which I mixed up with his speech locations) and that Chaucer was the first poet buried in Poet's Corner. None of us were sure, though me and one other did suggest Chaucer. Should have gone for it!

The first specialist round was a "Which came first" history which also brought us 7, thanks largely to me I don't mind admitting as I knew the context for a lot of them. That kept us level with those tough returners, whose scores we were marking.

A full 10 followed in the next general knowledge thanks to my remembering at the last minute that the late Gene Cernan's claim to fame was as the last man to walk on the moon. I also got some tough others, such as Andy Murray's wife's maiden name (Sears), though as a tennis fan that's bread and butter for me. Fictional bars was a disaster for us though, as it has been when its come up in the Granary. A dire 3.

The next general knowledge gave us 8, as we weren't sure when France last used the guillotine (70s - I was closer with the 50s than the others at least) and a trick question about Ross Kemp wanted Emmerdale, not his more famous outing in Eastenders. An initials round that followed from the previous quiz's such round was good for another 7, and by this point we knew we were ahead of the team we were marking.

The penultimate GK round was disappointing, with 6, though I'm glad I remembered that cordate means "heartshaped". The final specialist round was a connections round, and I had the connection after two questions. The first had the answer Nelson Mandela, meaning there were only 3 options - Simpsons characters, Only Fools & Horses or British naval somethings or others. It was the second, as confirmed by Albert Einstein on the next question. We missed a couple, but 8 was perfectly fine there.

Going into the last round, apparently two teams could win. We knew weren't last so we had a chance, and a storming 9 meant we had comprehensively beaten all the others. A win by 8 points! Anything above 60 at that quiz is highly respectable, so to get 65 meant we'd done ourselves proud. Despite the margin of victory, it still felt very hard-fought, and the other teams certainly deserve more credit than the scoreline suggests. It's my first win there for a while it has to be said, and we did very well indeed for it! Brilliant quiz, brilliant result!

Result: 65/90 (72.22%), 1st/4.


I can't say how the first couple of quizzes would have gone, had I been there, though I understand that the Ship Inn one was punishing even by its own standards. Of the ones I was able to go to, I did pretty well. I'm not too happy with how Wednesday went, as I aim higher than that, but the other two results were ideal. If I could repeat those sort of performances every time I went to a quiz, I'd be very happy indeed!

Certainly this bodes well going into the new month this week, and I'll be impressed if I can build on this week's achievements in Dalbeattie and Dumfries to round off January. I've clearly got it in me to do so, this has proven it!

Total Result: 141/196 (71.94%)

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Weekly Round-Up, W/E 20/01/17

"The best laid plans o mice and men gang aft agley"

As a Doonhamer (person from Dumfries, SW Scotland) it seems appropriate to start this blog post with a quote from Robert Burns, especially as this is just a few days after Burns Night. And because my plan of doing as many as 20 quizzes in January has been torpedoed by 'flu. It's been going around here, and while I'm not normally bad for it, but this particular bug has floored me. Alas.

Still, week before last I did manage 3 quizzes before succumbing, and I did 3 more at the end of this week. Last year I skipped the weeks I didn't review previously, but it would be nice to have a full set this year, so I'll review both weeks.

Monday's Quiz

Monday was the first quiz of the year for A, who's team I'd joined the week before. This time, I joined a different team, who paid my entry fee after my pockets turned up empty - a £5 note was on my driveway when I returned home. Hope I won't be too embarassed tomorrow despite not being able to repay them last week due to my illness!

Now A's quizzes have gotten much easier over the last few months, which I don't say as a criticism, merely an observaton of a stylistic change. Nonetheless, one has to be wary as a brutal round or two can come up from anywhere. That didn't seem to be the case this week, or perhaps we just handled the questions quite well. They're all easy if you know them, and all that.

Round one was the usual general knowledge, and I surprised myself by being the only one to get a music question right. Specifically, I recognised Oasis as the artist behind a given album. That helped us to a solid 8. I do find myself wondering when we will stop seeing rounds on 2016, which tend to get pretty boring after you've done as many as I have, though in fairness this was A's first crack of the whip this year so it's forgiveable that there was such a round. By now I should remember most of the key events that tend to come up in these rounds, but we still missed one or two unfortunately. History is a round I tend to like, and 7 a respectable enough return on it.

The wheels came off in round 4, unfortunately, as we managed a mere 5 on Science & Nature, but my own solid geography knowledge restored our pride with another 7. I'm still convinced that my stats on geography will prove worse than my expectations, but time will tell. More general knowledge brought another 8 points to conclude the quiz.

Ultimately, our efforts fell just a little short - half a mark shy of the prize money. The top teams apparently were some distance from those below, but as only the top 3 scores are announced I can't confirm specifics. A decent result all the same, and one I'd gladly take most weeks in an A quiz.

Result: 43.5/60 (72.5%), 4th/11

Tuesday's Quiz

The Ship Inn loomed again on Tuesday, and I was fully prepared for another brutal quiz, probably to be won by the Newbridge Caravan Park. No bad thing, as they're great guys and friends of ours, though we have been finishing the wrong side of them rather too often of late for my liking! We were only three of us tonight, but hopefully that would make no difference.

Round 1 showed why I'm recording the scores of other teams in my statistical analysis this year - our 4 looks rubbish until you consider it in the context of a range of 0-5, putting us joint 3rd of the 7 teams, which is much better. A mere 4.5 on food and drink saw us go up to joint 2nd, and we halved the gap on the leaders to half a point. Round 3 was geography, this time not as bad as previous rounds have been at this venue, my own knowledge again helping a lot. After this round, we were in the lead by half a point now, albeit with the more point-heavy rounds to come.

The first of those was the picture round, this time that old chestnut - corporate logos. We had 12 of a fairly tough 15. The specialist round this week was to my knowledge the first ever repeat, as I wasn't aware that repeats were ever allowed. The QM liking the subject helps, I suppose! It was Still Game, and despite having seen some of the show (and owning the DVD boxset), I wasn't familiar enough with it to help much. A new team apparently got 9 here, storming into the lead. They share a name with an unsuccessful Granary team, but I'm not sure if it's the same group or not. Regardless, they were the only team to do well here, leaving us assured of not winning. This was confirmed in the music round, despite a solid 22.5, which meant we ended as we'd begun in joint 3rd. The new team won, and the NCP were dethroned. For now, at least. We'll get back to winning again there, I'm sure. We have to!

Result: 53/87 (60.92%), joint 3rd/7

Wednesday's Quiz

My expectations of the Granary are that we will come nowhere close to winning, but might get around about half marks. I suspect this quiz is bringing down my average a lot, but it's a tough quiz to do with only one teammate, and it does seem to be somewhat designed with bigger teams in mind. There's no limit on numbers in a team, remember.

Rounds 1 and 4 were a twist on the "People who died last year" type round. The questions were about people who you'd know to have died - but explicitly not the work they were most known for. The extent to which I pay much attention to celebrities is limited enough that I was barely aware of the main work of most of these people, so certainly not their lesser credits. Fortunately, I got to show off my general knowledge between these two rounds, scoring two decent 7s on rounds 2 and 3. I'll always hope for better, but there's always a really hard one or two in there anyway. Full marks on those rounds require serious knowledge - I'm not there yet.

The last round was...unexpected. Not 2016 - but 2017! Events of the past two weeks, so essentially a current affairs round. Average, is all I can say for it.

Our placing was pretty typical really, though the tight spread of scores was unexpected. I'll take that result, however, albeit not every week! Must improve, though I don't think I could have done too much more this time.

Result: 26/50 (52%), 6th/9


I was already ill by Wednesday, and had no chance of making Thursday's quiz. Shame, given recent results there. Also the illness itsef was no fun! It was a respectable week for what it was, though. No results that people will write songs about, but no abject humiliations either. Business as usual, and the kind of week I want to consider a disaster in the context of results by the end of the year. We'll see.

Total Result: 122.5/197 (62.18%)

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Weekly Round-Up, W/E 13/01/2017

The last vestiges of the festive season have been swept away, as many of us returned to a full week at work. This was actually my first since mid-December, and it was pretty positive, all things considered. I work in Income for my local council, processing and reconciling incoming payments. Weirdly, in many ways the job is a combination of two jobs I did previously for investment banks. In truth I'd like to quiz professionally, but I know I'm just not good enough. One day, perhaps!

For now, at least, I'll keep on doing that thing I do, travelling the land in search of glory, finding it out of reach more often than not, but never failing all the same. It actually requires no cognitive effort on my part to keep going out to these quizzes, because there's honestly nothing I'd rather be doing in my current circumstances. Of course, if I ever get hold of a million pounds, then my current circumstances would change and there might be rather a lot I'd want to do in my evenings that isn't quizzing! Even at that though, I still think I'd be out at least a couple of nights a week, because this is just who I am and what I do.

Okay, I'm done rambling pointlessly on that subject, time for my weekly slightly-less-pointless ramble about my results, in this my first 5-quiz week of 2017.

Monday's Quiz

Monday saw the return of the King's Arms quiz in Dalbeattie, specifically that of K. (For anyone new to this blog, I'm initialling the two alternating hosts for anonymity's sake). Having spent most of the second half of last year with Big Tam's Appreciation Society due to half of that team being away due to illness, I have now returned to my mercenary ways there. As it happened, I joined the other host's team this week, The Flip Flops.

Normally, K starts with 20 general knowledge questions and ends with 15-20 played music questions. It seems that the music will now be once a month (in practice, every second of his quizzes), as it's not too popular. I'm not the kind of person to be invited to someone's home and complain about the decor, and as such it's not for me to criticise someone's choice of rounds when they're the QM. On the other hand, I am a consumer of quizzes and as such entitled to an opinion.

So this is mine, in brief because I still intend talking about this more in a full post: I'm not a big fan of music rounds, but personal preference covers a lot of that. I do agree with the empirical argument made, that played music can be a case of either knowing it or not, and the era you grew up in can seriously affect your chances of knowing it. You often seem to either specialise in the subject or struggle with it, and when there's a lot of different age groups at a quiz, accomodating everyone is impossible. Excluding the subject outright isn't a fair solution either, however, if the QM wants to do the subject. So K's compromise of once a month (A doesn't do such rounds) seems entirely fair.

With all that said, the first round was actually music tonight, 20 missing words from song titles. I wasn't much help, knowing only ones the others did, but 13 could have been worse.  Next followed a connections round. Now there's two basic types of these, and my failure to distinguish between the two was a big error in my statistical analysis last year. One is where the connection is hidden, and the last question is to guess the connection itself. This is the latter, where you're told the theme, and we did well for 9/11. Geography is a specialism of mine, though I'm weaker on knowing where countries are physically located. The others claimed they'd have done no better than 2/15, so 9.5 reflects well on me. Should have had more, however, and I have a feeling that my 2016 geography results do not reflect my general confidence in it as a subject.

Round 4 was claimed to be arts and literature, but in practice was general knowledge, and a useful 12.5/15 at that. I suspect that my youth gave us an advantage over other teams on this. Multiple choice general knowledge was very difficult, as reflected in our 7/15. The quiz ended with pictures of bits of logos, and I did well I think, to recognise the British Airways slogan ("To Fly, To Serve") and their common logo as seen on their planes within the wider symbol that is officially used by the company overall. 7/10 gave us 58/83 overall. Big Tam's came second, narrowly, showing how strong they continue to be. A joke was made by A about us getting better resuts by splitting off into smarter teams - I was quick to point out that I'd achieved success doing exactly that last year!

I'm not sure how things will go in this quiz going forward, there's certainly a lot of uncertainty, what with no team and the slight format change. I'm not as keen on being a wanderer at the quizzes I do regularly, in truth; I like to belong, and to have a solid unit with me. I don't have it though, and there's no one else of my age doing the quiz, so I just have to deal.with it. It remains a good quiz, however, so I'll keep going.

Result: 58/83 (69.88%), 3rd last of unknown number of teams.

Tuesday's Quiz

The Ship Inn, on the other hand, is one where I do have a solid team. We were 4 this week, with one still unable to attend due to the length of the quiz, but her partner being with us, along with the other couple, who usually are there if they're not working. The quiz's difficulty was very much in evidence from the start, with another poor general knowledge round only netting us 4. The range was 3.5-5.5 however, providing useful perspective.

Science & nature is a rarity at this quiz, but suits us well. Sport, on the other hand...sooner or later, perhaps I'll join a team which has a sport specialist, but that has yet to happen. Still, we'd jumped up the leaderboard after doing a lot better than other teams on round 2, and were sitting second. There we would remain for the rest of the quiz. Dingbats are definitely my favourite kind of picture round, and our 11 was well-deserved. A specialist round of Last of the Summer Wine promised nothing, but we lucked out a few times. Our team name even contained one of the answers. Music was risky without our specialist, but to be honest, I reckon the other three sell themselves short on it. She wasn't there last time and we got 25/30, and we were only one short of that this time.

Our perennial rivals, the Newbridge Caravan Park, led start to finish, and the result was announced with the words "The winners, as per usual...". I know how awesome it is to be in that position at this quiz, but also that runs can come to an end. Our own 5 wins in 6 quizzes in November, for example, which ended ignominiously. Still, this was a good performance by us that bodes well for the future. The Caravan Park can't keep this up forever, surely!

In truth though, I do wish it didn't go on as long as 3 hours, as that is rather excessive for a 6 round quiz. Personal preference, of course, and no disrespect intended in the expression of my opinion.

Result: 58/84 (69.05%), 2nd of 8 teams

Wednesday Quiz

The Granary has yet do a "usual" quiz - 5 rounds of 10 questions on different subjects - for a while now, what with all the Christmas ones in December. So it proved again tonight, with 3 rounds of 15, 20 and 15 questions respectively. With our usual two-man team up against the limitless numbers of the others, it would be interesting to see how that affected our chances of a maiden victory.

I supposed at the time it would depend upon th subjects. Which meant that we had absolutely no chance whatsoever as soon as the first round was announced. Music, of course! My friend tends to get frustrated at these rounds as she perceives that she should do better than she does - and yet she still knows infinitely more than I do! 8/15 is a score we'd have taken at the start, I think, though it still left us struggling from the get-go.

Round 2 was general knowledge, which is usually a happy hunting ground for me at this quiz, though it's a subject I approach warily as there's usually a couple of nightmarish questions. There's also usually a few that I should know and don't, leaving me frustrated. So it was here, with a couple that we had no chance on, some successful guesses, and some I'm a fool for not having. 8/20 left a bitter taste in the mouth, though this isn't the first time that has happened on that subject at that quiz.

It left us with it all to do on the final round, and we both feared that sport was coming. Mercifully, it was films, though less mercifully it was films of 2016. A poor start was well-recovered from, however, as the last 9 I think we got for 11/15. That left us mid-table on 27/50, which is solid for us at that quiz. In truth, I'd take that score pretty much all the time there, though my target remains a minimum of 30, and even that is below my overall average.

Unfortunately, the quiz ended on a sour note, as we selected for the bonus "Killer" question. I've got these right before and I've got them wrong, and I always do go up as it's generally considered that I'll have a better chance than others I'm with, with neither myself nor my friend considering this a slight on her. The question was who won the best actress Oscar last year, which I'd heard before but simply didn't remember. Standing up in front of everyone and getting the question wrong is pretty bad, especially when you're a known regular and known quiz addict. Worse, my friend actually did know that one.

Still, it can't be helped that it was that question, it could have been anything. While the last subject in the quiz is a fairly common source of killer questions, it's by no means universal. I've seen embarassingly easy questions missed and ridiculously hard ones given as well. There's just no way to know, and this time, I rolled snake eyes. Maybe next time it will go better! I'll certainly be next week there to try. At least the jackpot was only the minimum £25, whereas last time we were called, I got the question wrong for £100, so that's something.

Result: 27/50 (54%), 8th place out of 15

Thursday's Quiz

Last week, my team didn't realise the quiz at the Anchor, Kippford was on, so I joined another. Turns out, one of them actually was there, but didn't realise I was so stayed without. Honestly, this worked out better for me, as I wouldn't have won with only one teammate. I was actually on the point of joining last week's team again, only for my own to all appear at once at the last minute. Could I repeat last week's heroics? The first task was to decide the joker round, and with several rounds being unclear as to their true nature, this was hard. We went for the last round, film and TV.

That was a way off, however, and we first had general knowledge. 4 of them were the same as in the general knowledge at the Granary the night before, a not-uncommon scenario as I established a while ago that the quizmasters use the same sources. The Anchor guys don't take a round wholesale from these websites, however, choosing to pick up half of it and make the other half their own. Thanks to my own confidence in my answers, we secured all 8 points, though I did have to push for a couple. We followed this with 7 on sport and leisure, dropping a point due to a guess on the number of chance cards in monopoly going the wrong way. Alas.

I mentioned before that there are two kinds of connection rounds, and this quiz actually had one of each. The "last" round turned out to mean that all the questions or answers had something to do with "last", and it was a tough round. It was the first time in a long while I've had the question "What is the last book of the old testament of the bible?", which is notable in my own eyes as being the first question which I truly swore never to forget the answer to after repeated mistakes on it. I remembered it as Malachai, giving us a precious extra point. We only had 4 of the others, however, but we still looked good at the half way stage for 20/24.

The joker round was still to come, however, and to justify our choice required that we score a full house. Before that came the other connection round, and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer question gave me the connection immediately - it was Willow Rosenberg, meaning the connection could only be trees. This proved key to working out the other answers, as it immediately ruled out a lot of other potential possibilities. I suspect that a fair few people didn't get that first answer, though the connection was obvious from others. We had them all, as it happened.

The standard round 5 picture round was time travellers, which was uncertain, but proved to be as simple as fictional characters who had done it. Between the 6 of us we got most of them, but none of us could recall the name of the protagonist of Planet of the Apes, despite recognising the character. There was a point of contention over the inevitable "Dr Who" picture. I gave the character's correct name "The Doctor" but it was read out in the answers as "Dr Who". Now this has been an issue before in quizzes, as the latter is the name of the show, not the person. I was prepared to challenge this if we were denied the point, though thankfully, we were.

This left our joker, and despite being on 35/40 so far, we knew we needed to score heavily here, as the joker is effectively a 7th round. I'm annoyed that I just couldn't remember the first TV show to have an interracial kiss in the USA, but I'll not forget it again. None of the rest of us got it either, but we did manage all 7 of the rest. Which actually proved to all be TV questions, despite the name of the round.

That meant we finished on 49/56, equalling my score of the previous week. The team I joined last week were 2nd on 41.5, an impressive score in its own right that I'm fairly sure has won before. Onwards and upwards for us, however! Next week I'm going for my hat-trick!

Result: 49/56 (87.5%), 1st of 8 teams

Friday's Quiz

The Grapes was my last destination of the week, as I returned for the first time since the start of December. My team used to be consistent there, and seemingly has become so again, albeit with one couple having stopped going and another joining us. Not many teams were there this week, but a couple of youngsters were up against us, three of the Kirkpatrick Durham group (a nearby village with a tendency to dominate the quiz) and the regular group who sit at the bar. As there's 9 rounds, I'll try and be brief with my summaries here. Not that it likely matters, if you've read this far!

The odd-numbered rounds are all general knowledge, the even numbered rounds on a specialist subject. Marking takes place after one of each. We were never comfortable on the general knowledge tonight, but always had a few answers up our sleeves. 14 after the first pair of rounds was as good as it got, with answers linked by the word "sea" being our best specialist of the night, for 8 points. 6 on general knowledge was better than the 5 we got in each of the next two rounds; the second specialist was more of the same, but with "iron" as the link. A bad mistake saw me forget that the Severn is the river crossed by the village of Ironbridge, though in fairness I got the right area of the country for it. Another in the pile of "I'll not forget it again" answers, which saw a few added this week.

Rounds 5 and 6 wanted a resurgence in our fortunes, and we delivered with 8 on general knowledge, our best there of the night. I can't remember when exactly I somehow dragged up from nowhere that Richard Nixon's middle name was Milhouse, but it might have been here. It was a great answer nonetheless! A round where the answers began with A A, B B, etc in sequence promised more than it delivered, but 6 equalled our first pair total at least. We fell a bit short of that in the last pair, with 13, which included 6 from a very tricky connections round relating to airlines. I'd heard of a couple of the airlines, and a couple of the answers, but couldn't put them together as airlines unfortunately.

The last round is usually harder than the others, but actually wasn't too bad tonight. 7 was decent, though we turned out to need a full 10 to take the match to a tiebreak. 58 left us third of the four teams, but it was a close run thing and there's no shame in our score. A lot of music questions among the ones we didn't get as well, limiting my capacity to help. Still, it's been a while since I've won there, and I want to get back to doing that.

As with Dalbeattie, I could do with bringing along friends of my own, ideally. The QM has outright told me that repeatedly, and it's true. As with Dalbeattie, I can and do talk to a lot of them there, but I've no real friends as such in the village. I'm the outsider who regularly ventures in and gets lots of questions right at the quiz, which isn't true of the Dumfries quizzes or even the Anchor one, where I've ingratiated myself into a team. Despite having been quizzing with one of the Grapes regulars pretty consistently for two and a half years, this remains true. This remains an issue I cannot solve, for now, however, so I'll leave it, and get to planning to win when I return there in a fortnight.

Result: 58/90 (64.44%), 3rd of 4 teams


This was the kind of solid week that sets a good baseline, but which I'd like to look back on by the end of the year as a poor set of results. By last year's standards, this was relatively comfortable, with a storming win, strong second place, and no outright disasters. Well, not in terms of score, at least, though the placing was awful in Dalbeattie, and I am taking that into full account this year in my statistical recordings.

It probably speaks to my ambition that I'm not fully satisfied with how I did this week, though I'm not unhappy with it either. It was a week that exposed key weaknesses in my game, particularly music and sport, and yet one that allowed my good overall knowledge to show as well. There's room for improvement, but that will come!

In the mean time, I really need to sort out my stats spreadsheet. It caused me problems last weekend, and is my intended focus for tomorrow. I've unintentionally spent far more of tonight writing this post than I intended, but such is the way of things. Until next time!

Total Result: 250/363 (68.87%)

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Weekly Round-Up, W/E 06/01/2017

And so my quizzing year begins! I had an interesting realisation today. See, I style myself, the "quizzing ronin". I'm a mercenary who travels to quizzes in search of adventure and glory. But that's not really a ronin, not as such. The more accurate term for such a person is "Musha Shugyō". These people travelled Japan doing exactly that, only obviously not quizzing. They're the Japanese equivalent of the European knight-errant, which term seems more pretentious and less applicable to me as courtly love is not something I seek.

I came across the term as I wanted to clarify that I meant knight errant when completing an application form for a quiz show. I felt that describing myself as a "mercenary" would give off the wrong impression. Especially as that word carries negative implications of greed and opportunism. In fact, I'm very loyal to whatever team may take me, and I seek adventure and glory, not profit. Musha Shugyō is not a catchy term though, or one that most will have heard of or understand. "Ronin" is better known and soumds better than mercenary, and less pretentious than knight-errant. So I think I'm good as I am. Interesting, all the same.

With that aside over, and it is now the third time I've posted it, having also spoken on Twitter and Facebook of the same, time for the week's three quizzes.

Tuesday's Quiz

The year started at the Ship Inn, with three of the team present. One of the team is staying away from the quiz for now, and her partner could not make it. Would those numbers affect us? Would a new year mean an easier or shorter quiz? The answers to those are "Possibly, no and no". 

It was a low scoring first few rounds, and we unfortunately never got going. 2 on some tricky general knowledge was followed by 4 on great buildings and the dreaded 0 on transport, leaving us bottom of the heap on 6/30 after round 3. The high score was only 12 though, so we were still in it. We actually demonstrated very good knowledge in consideration of our answers on all three rounds, and were unlucky, I think. Our guesses just didn't play out and we edged the wrong side of the correct answer more than once. Frustrating, but not shameful in the circumstances.

The pictures were brainteasers - lateral thinking akin to but not exactly dingbats. Our 10 from 12 lifted us from the bottom, but then came a dual specialist round. Probably it was the first and last we'll see from the Newbridge Caravan Park, and it was two rounds because they changed their mind after the quiz two weeks ago. So we had 5 questions on Dalmellington and 5 on DC comics in the 1970s and 1980s. Yes, it's that sort of quiz! We had nothing at all on either, though we weren't the only ones.

Without our music specialist we could be forgiven for struggling on the last, but in truth even I'd have managed at least 20 of the 30 points here, and between us we got 25. That improved the overall percentage, at least. Not the start to the year we'd hoped for, but it can always get better!

Result: 41/82 (50%), joint 4th place/6.

Wednesday Quiz

The Granary quiz returned the next day, and it was just my usual partner for this one. This will be a short summary as there's not much to say. The entire quiz was on 2016, 5 rounds of 10 general questions (plus a few bonuses in one of them) about things that happened then. We performed solidly throughout, falling just short of a team of 8 people in the process. 

As with Tuesday, there were fewer teams than usual, which can be put down to the time of year. Thursday would be the same. That's about all I can say really!

Result: 30/54 (55.56%), 3rd/8

Thursday Quiz

Rumours had circulated that the Kippford quiz wasn't on this week, which unfortunately spread to my whole team, none of whom turned up. Fortunately, I was able to join a nearby team. I'm not sure if they usually have only 5 people, or if one wasn't there, but I was grateful for the opportunity all the same.

Now one of the hazards of joining a new team is knowing how far it's okay to exert your knowledge. It's not cool to be pushy when you're a guest, but at the same time, there's no point in holding back if you genuinely do know a correct answer. The first round gave 3 scenarios: one in which I argued for the incorrect answer, though in fairness I was not alone in this. The second, I argued for an improbable answer, and pushed for it, but turned out to be right. The third one I also suspected was right, but decided against pushing it, based on two uncertainties. Alone, I'd have said it, but three out of 8 questions was too many to exert my authority on, as a guest.

That's teamwork, and I don't begrudge losing that point, because of what going for it, or trying to, would have meant. We had 5 in 8 in total. TV presenters gave us 7, the lost point coming because we weren't sure whether the QM's had strictly said TV or not. Desert Island Discs turned out to be the other. The inevitable 2016 round turned out to be 8 questions I'd already heard the night before, though annoyingly I couldn't remember one of them. Sequels to books looked reasonably promising, and I impressed again by getting the To Kill A Mockingbird prequel, Go Set A Watchman, on our way to our 3rd straight 7.

Pictures this time was ordinary dingbats, though with a TV theme, and it was our joker. 7 came relatively easily, but the last really perplexed us, until at the death someone noticed that SLPOASCTE was "Lost in Space". The full 16 was highly welcome and certainly vindicated our choice. The last round was cryptic bands, and here only the first eluded us. Our 4th 7/8 of the night on what was a high scoring night, for all but one team, who I think was a barmaid answering when not serving. 

Our win was considered one of the best they'd ever seen, though I recall going slightly better last year once. It was brilliant, and I showed something of what I'm capable of. Next week I'll be back with my usual team, but I'll be somewhat amused if there's fight for my services! Bring it on!

Result: 49/56 (87.5%), 1st/7 


Overall, it was a week that started slowly and improved. Expect nothing of results at the Ship Inn and you'll never be disappointed, though we can certainly do better than we did. The Granary was a solid performance in an unvaried quiz, and the Anchor was the scene of excellence. Certainly the right order for the results, so bring on next week, which sees the Dalbeattie campaign begin and the return of the Grapes quiz on Friday. First 5 quiz week to come - I'm excited!

Total Result: 120/192 (62.5%)

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy new year, one and all! I hope the festivities were an enjoyable time, if and however you celebrated them. If not, I'm pleased for you that you can return to normal. I'm back at work myself, and since it never really stops even when we're not there, I've had a lot to catch up on.

As you can tell, I've not spent the holiday period updating the blog, and left it at rather an awkward point, as I started to spiral down on a run of bad results. My next post was half way through but I never managed to get it finished. There's no point now, so I'll just say that the bad news ended, more or less, with that week; I had a much improved followup that ensured my December statistics would be respectable.

I've done three quizzes so far in January, but I'll resume my weekly roundups by covering those in another post this weekend. This post is about my 2016 results.

I intended doing a large-scale analysis of my results, but uncertainty about how to go about doing that meant the data ended up in a largely useless format. I've thought long and hard about how to rectify this, and my 2017 analysis will be much improved. I might retrospectively fix up the 2016 data, to allow comparisons, but even the compilation was flawed, so such comparisons will be imperfect at best.

Still, here follows the major results, given here without comment. Apologies that the table doesn't copy with the gridlines, I don't seem to be able to fix that in Blogger. More to follow, later this weekend!

Parameter Result
Quizzes Done: 203
Overall Questions Answered: 14379
Overall Correct Answers: 8839
Overall Average Score: 61.47%
Solo Quizzes: 48
Solo Questions Answered: 3523
Solo Correct Answers: 1846
Solo Average Score: 52.30%
Team Quizzes Done: 155
Average Team Size (Including Solo Quizzes): 2.84
Average Team Size (Excluding Solo Quizzes): 3.41
Team Questions Answered: 10856
Team Correct Answers: 6993
Team Average Score: 64.01%
Quiz Venues Visited: 25
Quiz Done Most Often: Ship Inn, Dumfries (47), Granary, Dumfries (44)
January Average Score: 51.40%
December Average Score: 61.93%
Best Month: October (67.87% from 16 quizzes)
Worst Month: January (51.40% from 16 quizzes)
Average Quizzes Per Month: 16.92
Most Quizzes Per Month: 20 (October & November)
Least Quizzes Per Month: 14 (July & December)
Best Result: 98.33% (59/60) 15th August, Kings Arms, Dalbeattie - Amanda, 3 in team
Worst Result: 24.44% (22/90)  7th December, Granary, Dumfries, 2 in team
Best Solo Result: (Excluding a Speed Quiz I could not easily quantify), 73.33% (44/60), 18th April, Kings Arms, Dalbeattie - Amanda
Worst Solo Result: 29.46% (16.5/56), 7th January, Anchor Hotel, Kippford