Saturday, 18 February 2017

Weekly Round-Up, W/E 17/02/2017

Quiz #26 - Sunday 12th February, Turf Tavern Carlisle

My second visit to the Turf Tavern provided good evidence of the unreliability of trite cliches such as "Forewarned is forearmed", as knowing what you're up against doesn't always mean you can reasonably prepare to face it. So it was with the varied pictures of people, but I did correctly figure that the host might struggle to pronounce my team name: The Antidisestablishmentarianists. Last time I pulled that stunt, it was at the Ship Inn and it was forcibly changed after the first round. This time, it won me the best team name prize, if only because the bar staff choose that and they like seeing the host suffer. Tempting as it is, I'm not going to subject him to the even worse "Hyperpolysyllabicsequepedalianists", which ironically means "People who really like using really long words". In case you think I'm soft though, I am going to be going with "Ken Dodd's Dad's Dog's Dead". His reaction should be interesting to say the least!

As to those pictures, last week I only had two and this week I only added a third. Annoyingly I'd seen the "Young Elizabeth Taylor" picture on the History in Pictures Twitter feed recently, but couldn't drag up the name. A cyclist with his helmet and visor down was tough too, as there's been no shortage of famous examples of those in recent years!

Current affairs also went much the same as last week, as the fact that I follow politics closely and celebrity news not at all again exposed itself, this time giving me a lower score of 5. This quiz benefits from a rounded team, as befits a well-written professional quiz, and I've certainly no complaints.

The top 5 lists were both interesting. The first was musical - sort of. It wanted the presidents named in the song, We Didn't Start The Fire. I've heard the song plenty of times, of course, but I think I know more lyrics from the College Humor parody, "We Didn't Start The Flamewar". I'll not quote those as this is a family friendly blog. Knowing that the song was written in the '80s and relates historical events helps; JFK and Nixon were obvious. I changed one other right answer (Eisenhower) for another (Reagan) and hoped that Lincoln and Washington might have made the cut. Nope, Truman was the other, but I'll always take more than half from music.

The other question caught me off-guard. Most questions about South American cities will be either about Rio de Janeiro - the former capital of Portugal and home of the Christ the Redeemer statue - or Sao Paolo, the most populated city in the entire southern hemisphere. This one wanted the most populated cities in the continent. The aforementioned two were obvious, the others, less so. I considered Lima and Santiago and should have zigged with those, instead of zagging with Brasilia and Buenos Aires. To be fair, they're at numbers 9 and 7 respectively, and my other answer, Caracas, is even closer at 6. Bogota was the other I missed. I'll not give many closer wrong answers than that set, and I ought to remember those.

Last week, Alpha Links was where my fortunes started to improve, and so it was again! The words "BBC Royal Correspondent" immediately suggested Jenny Bond, and I hoped it was so as I don't know any others. "National fruit of China" had a couple of K-possibilities, but I needed Lord of the Flies to confirm. To be honest, if you only hear the words "William Golding" in a quiz question, his first book will be the answer at least 9 times in 10, and half of the other 1/10 will be trick questions banking on everyone immediately assuming that answer. When you have several of the character names, there simply is no question. Unfortunately I went wrong on K, trying to be far too clever by guessing "Kimchee" - that's Korean and not a fruit. Kiwi was the answer, and yes, I'm kicking myself after I correcftly ruled it out last week. I had the others easily enough, though I was caught in a 50-50 over radon and radium for an element discovered by the Curies. I put the former and was given it, though I have a feeling it may actually have been the latter. Or maybe it wasn't the Curies so it was all okay. Whatever the case, the 9/10 I got was very okay.

The connections round this week was one of my more unusual gets - it was Sex in the City and it seemed that almost no one else had it! It was only good for 3/5, but that was sadly better than the general knowledge wipeout this week. The answers just wouldn't come, and of course, there's no guessing. Even on the two I answered, I wasn't certain on one, because despite my tennis knowledge, I couldn't recall whether Edberg or Borg came first. The latter was right, and the former didn't win 5 Wimbledons anyway.

In the end, my 25/55 was still good enough for a podium finish, albeit a team of serious quizzers took the win - by 17 points. The score still isn't what I'm looking for, but in a quiz this good, I've got to be realistic. It was still a great night, and my drinks next week are paid for thanks to the team name prize. Good start to the week.

Result: 25/55 (45.45%), 3rd/5

Quiz #27 - Monday 13th February, Kings Arms Dalbeattie (A)

I'm not superstitious in the least, but Monday was a disaster of a day at the office and I wanted something better from the quiz. Big Tam's Appreciation Society returning was a good start - at least because they had a spot for me. A's quizzes being either very easy or very hard, and the standard being broadly similar but very high, this could really go either way.

That it was a hard quiz was in evidence by our mere 5/10 on GK, which we would repeat at the end of the quiz. Granted, the last round was out of 8 because A accidentally jumped from 4 to 7 when producing the question sheets, so it was possibly going to be a better 7/10. Best not to make such assumptions, however. A general TV round was round 2, and mercifully the team are rather better on it than I am. I still contributed though, and provided several answers in a round on repeating words - e.g. Dik Dik. We had 9 of the former and 8 of the latter. I noted tonight that a couple of those were in last week's University Challenge, though I doubt I'd have remembered a turtle called Mata Mata either way. Maybe next time.

The other two rounds were a general music round and then geography. I surprised myself by being able to contribute most of our answers in the former - most being 3, our answers being 5. A missed opportunity, though I doubt we could have done much more. Geography was fine, 7.5 being perfectly reasonable.

It was another case of A announcing at the end that the top teams were well ahead of the others, though there was still 7.5 points of difference between ourselves and the winners, who had 47, ahead of the second placed score of 43. That still put us third though, for the second time in a row for me. The other teams know that when I'm with Big Tam's we do well, and so it proved again. We might have had a few more points here or there, but certainly not enough to win.

Result: 39.5/58, 68.1%, 3rd/10

#Quiz 28 - Tuesday 14th February, Ship Inn Dumfries

Who's idea of a romantic Valentine's Day is a pub quiz? Well, I'm single, but I'd have dragged my partner along to the quiz anyway if I had one, and I suspect that someone willing to be my future partner may need to at least have a tolerance of them, given how many I do! In true Scottish style, one of my team proudly declared he was buying his wife chips before the quiz. Gotta love my countrymen! We were hardly the only ones treating this as an ordinary night though, our regular 4th also joining us. I also had to love the winning team name, "The Only Thing We're ****ing Tonight is 'This Quiz, Up'". As tonight's specialist round was the pictures, we were promised a secret round as the 5th, but what would that prove to be?

The first round was the usual tough GK, though I was correctly answering some before the question had been fully asked. It's the mark of myself as a quizzer that I know that "formic" refers to ants, though my knowledge of "Pen" as a female swan comes from Only Fools and Horses. The latter refers to a joke where Del triumphantly declares the answer to that question as "Bic" while playing Trivial Pursuit, after Rodney idly shakes his pen as a clue. We had 6 in total, tying for the lead with two others, including, naturally, the Newbridge Caravan Park.

Sport is much hated by all of us, but the set was fair and we had 5/11, retaining our joint lead. Twice now I've heard "Denis Shapovalov", the Canadian tennis player who accidentally fractured an umpire's eye socket in a recent Davis Cup match as an answer, so I think I was right to suspect that it may recur. Granted, one was a current affairs round, and the Ship's quiz is not one by which to judge others. Food & Drink followed and this was better, our 7.5 meaning that at the half way point we led alone - albeit by only that one little half.

Dingbats is a word that generally makes me smile just to hear it, but perhaps because it was a specialist round it was made tougher? There were more of them than usual, 18, and we had a mere 10; we usually only miss a couple. It cost us our lead, though only half a point separated each of the two teams above us, who had 29.5 and 29.

So, the secret round, which had been hyped up throughout the was Valentine's Day. Somewhat anti-climactic, and appropriately brutal for a round taking the place of a typical specialist. Only 3 came, but judging by the leaderboard, few did much better. The status quo remained, and we half a point behind 2nd, but now 2 behind 1st. 

Music did nothing to change the gap, though the NCP were not the winning team, a regular team of pharmacists taking the title - albeit with a team of 8, greater than the normally-allowed 6. Great night as always though, and my 3rd 3rd place in a row.

Result: 52.5/89 (58.99%), 3rd/6

Quiz #29 - Wednesday 15th February, The Granary Dumfries

 My hopes of making it four podiums from four weren't high, I have to say, and the first round rather proved that it wasn't going to happen. It was 25 famous people, and we needed to give their maiden surnames. Not all of them were real, and I suspect that a few of the attendees may have barely recognised them by their married names. I don't say that disparagingly, it's just Angela Merkel is only a household name where someone in the household pays attention to politics, and Mrs Beeton is no longer as relevant as in days of yore. Unfortunately, we managed a mere 8, though I'm inclined to agree with the QM that I ought to have known Wilma Flintstone, nee Slaghoople.

Round 2 was one of those rounds where I see it and despair - bars from TV shows. Technically, TV and film, but there only were 2 film questions. Granted, one was one I'd heard enough times by now not to forget, The Slaughtered Lamb from American Werewolf in London. It wanted the film title this time, but I've heard it and gotten it wrong both ways. We actually did well here, thanks to some of the questions falling fortunately, and had 10/15. Amusingly, one of those was the names of the two Likely Lads. I'd not have had a clue, except hat the same question came up in the TV round on Monday and I was able to remember the answer!

Round 3 was sure to be general knowledge to finish, based on the way this quiz usually works - but it wasn't. Fictional dogs made it a full house of rounds that were not my glass of Irn Bru at all. 6 of those left us at the wrong end of a tightly bunched pack in the middle, with Sporting Quizbon the runaway winners, yet again. It was the opposite of my trio of third places this week - 3rd last, instead. Still, despite the rounds not suiting us this week, I do appreciate the variety of the subjects at this quiz. Keeps things interesting, keeps things varied!

Result: 24/50 (48%), 8th/10

Quiz #30 - Thursday 16th February, The Anchor Hotel Kippford

Thursday was a busy evening for me, as it was my team's night on a food kitchen we volunteer at out of a local church. 6 teams rotate doing that, and tonight we had 12 happy customers, right from the start. It was a busy night that felt like a restaurant service, only there is no menu and we don't get paid. Always nice to do one's bit for the community, though I must admit that I ducked out 10 minutes early, towards the end of the cleanup operation, to get down to Kippford in time.

There I found my usual team, The Motley Crew, albeit with too many people. I did actually look at joining the owners again, but they decided not to participate, so we simply split into two teams of four. I was again with the person I'd joined last week at K's quiz in Dalbeattie, as it happened, though I suspect that few of the team might be there for the next few weeks and there were some notable absences still.

Our first question was on what to joker round to choose, and we considered almost all of them. I've got a rule that I never go with GK because it's too uncertain, but it was what we picked. One person wanted "pictures of young celebrities" but relented when I basically said "Okay but on your head be it, the rest of us won't be any help". The same person thought a Family Fortunes round looked promising; I flat out refused that, for reasons I'll go into later but it turned out she was mixing it up with Blockbusters anyway. That would have made the choice easy! Food and Drink was a contender, and I said that I'd have probably gone Science & Technology if alone, but that's a risky one and has cost me before. Interestingly, none of us even considered the UK geography round. GK it was, against my better judgement though without an alternative, unless the others thought Food & Drink might have been better.

As it was, we got 5.5 and could have had a little more. To me, that vindicated my opposition to the round, as ideally you want 6-7/8 on the joker. 5.5 means that an 8/8 elsewhere has cost you 5 points, which is huge. But would we manage that? Weirdly, science and tech did see us go a little better, with 6, but I'd have never have chosen it with that team. Again I don't mean to sound disparaging, they're just not the sort who are really into technology. I
'm younger than all the team bar the daughter of one of them, and as she's at uni just now, I'm the youth representative, despite now being 30!

Round 3 was the Famly Fortunes round, and I'm afraid I'm not prepared to sugar coat this - I do not think such rounds have any place in general knowledge quizzes, I just don't. For the uninitiated, the round supposes that 100 people have been asked a question, say (to give examples from tonight), "Something you can see but not touch" or "Something drivers in a car do with their hands when they should have them on the wheel". You need to give the most common answer. The TV show was great fun, especially when people gave ridiculous answers ("Something a blind person uses - a sword", "A reason to kneel - to be beheaded"). But in a quiz like this, it's pure luck. With the latter of the given questions, not knowing when it was asked is an issue - the correct top answer had to do with mobile phones, which one assumes makes this a question asked before legal sanctions on that were tightened. Other than avoiding obvious idiocy, it's pure "hit and hope", and that makes it inappropriate for inclusion. As always, that is just my view, I appreciate that others may enjoy it as a bit of fun, and as a one-off I'm not going to make a big thing about it, other than expressing my opinion here. Yet it's not the first time I've seen it done (in general I mean, not here specifically) and I hope it's not repeated. For the record, we had 3, but I've made similar complaints when getting much better scores, so that's not a factor.

Round 4 was the food and drink round, and I'll hold my hands up, our score of 5 did rather vindicate the choice of joker round. In fact, we repeated that in both the other rounds. The young celebrities pictures included several I'd seen before, though I only recognised a couple. The UK round was tricky and we gave good answers just to get the score we did. I don't think we could have done much more on any of them. Weird then, that the only round we felt we could have done better on was the GK, which was our joker, and was the best of the night other than the not-really-in-consideration science & tech. 

Overall, we had 35 - considering that the joker is basically the 7th round, that averages out at exactly 5/8 each time. Easily my worst score this year at this quiz, but perfectly respectable if you ignore the abnormally high results of January. Alas we missed out on the podium by a mere half point. though that perhaps evens out the fact that we stood upon it by the same margin on Tuesday. Technically we came 5th rather than 4th, as tied for 3rd was a team who don't play for money, and my stats will reflect the truth. It was also in effect the inverse of Wednesday, in that we were on the higher end of a tight middle pack. So it can be said that the week just ended, rather than seeing an glorious victory or a crushing defeat. I can live with that, though I'm keen to arrest this trend of worsening results at the Anchor, even though there was really little I could have done better this week or last.

Result: 35/56 (62.5%), 5th/12 

Week in Summation

You know, looking at my figures and thinking back over how this week went, it was better than I remembered. I mean performance-wise as every night was really enjoyable as usual. The last couple of nights were a bit frustrating subject-wise, as I lacked anything I could really get my teeth into, but that too can be said for the other quizzes as well actually. That's probably why I saw it as worse than it was. My initial feeling after last night was "close, but no cigar", and that's not inaccurate from the standpoint of a perfectionist. We were only 2 points from winning on Tuesday, and half of one from prize money on Thursday. All it would have taken was one more solid film or world geography round in the whole week, and the complexion might have changed completely.

And yet I think I pretty much did the best I could with what I had. There were tough rounds that I scored well on, such as the fictional bars round on Wednesday and, admittedly thanks to my team, TV on Monday. As with last week, a high number of rounds that simply didn't suit me - including every round on Wednesday, and much of both Tuesday and Thursday meant I was running against the wind for a lot of the time, so my lower average scores than usual are nothing to lose heart over.

This isn't a week I'm going to write an ode to in years to come, but neither ought it to significantly worsen my statistics; low scores aside, I had 3 podiums in a row and was within a whisker of another. I reckon there will be more than a few weeks this year in which I score better and yet don't manage that, so I'm resting up tomorrow on my day off feeling sufficiently satisfied with how it's all gone. And that's a good baseline feeling at the end of a week's hard work!

Total Result: 176/308 (57.14%)  

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