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%)

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