Quiz #31 - Sunday 19th February, Turf Tavern Carlisle
This has been a strange week, a week of controversy and super-teams, and proof that scoring well and placing well are not the same thing. It didn't take longer than the first round of the week at the first quiz for controversy to rear its ugly head.
To get the obvious out of the way, I did not do well on the picture round, with 4. But one of those I arguably shouldn't have had. See, the closeup picture was Ali-G. Now pictures of characters inevitably raise the question of whether the character or actor is what's being asked for, and this round didn't specify. I put Ali-G - in brackets, after, of all people, Russell Brand. Lord knows what I was thinking, but Sasha Baron Cohen is the actor who played him. So that's a technically right answer but also a clearly wrong one; if I'd put Cohen there would be no issue, but as is, I would have had no complaints if I'd been marked wrong. When keeping tally of my own score, I did indeed rule against myself, though the team marking were more generous. That's their choice and ultimately I'm grateful, but it was an unfortunate start.
Current events was much the same as previous weeks, with 6 being just fine, before the top 5 lists charted the same waters as last week in the form of geography and music questions. Music was the 5 songs with the word "teenage" (no variations) that reached 2 or higher in the UK charts. Teenage Dirtbag being an anthem of my youth gave me that, I knew Teenage Kicks, and guessed that Teenage Dreams might have been a thing. It was but sadly the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme was never such a chart hit. I wasn't the only one to try it at least. 3 was also my lot on the most populated cities of California. I know the state somewhat, having friends from there whom I visited for their wedding a few years back. So I had San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles instantly. The others sadly escaped me, but another 6 solid enough.
Alpha Links ought to have been more promising, and it was when I got the sequence from the first question - a pilot played by Tom Cruise was only ever going to be Maverick. N did escape me, because it referred to what I hadn't realised was a translation of the Maori name for New Zealand. Q also went begging as it was about some 70s band I hadn't heard of, but I had the other 8. I also managed all 5 connections, which were gettable if you knew the wives of Henry VIII - and any self-respecting quizzer simply has to. Here they wanted the last - Kathryn Parr - and the other answers contained or were other golf scores..
Now the last round was where the real controversy happened. It was a nervy enough round because I was guessing that the US city with a name meaning "The Fields" was Las Vegas, and that the Latin name for an animal given referred to the wasp based on the prefix- "vesp". Both were right. But the Las Vegas answer, I wrote on the wrong line by mistake. I put it as the answer to the question of Moses' brother, which I wasn't answering. Technically, this is wrong and I should have wiped out. But on the other hand, it was very obviously a simple slip up and it was quite clear what I intended to do. Should I have lost all 5 points because I wasn't looking in the right place when I wrote Las Vegas? Well, answers on a postcard. I referred it to the QM immediately, and he said that technically yes, I should lose all points, but admitted it was a tricky one and that ultimately it was up to the team marking me - who had given me the points.
That, I suppose, has to be called fair. The QM made a call, deferred it to another who made their own call, and it benefited me. I wouldn't have complained if I'd lost the points, though I may have been somewhat uncomfortable if I'd actually won the quiz because of the decision. In the end, I didn't, but I wasn't far off it! 34 - easily my best score here yet - left me joint-3rd, 3 away from winning, and 2 away from my benefactors. The rules were ultimately adhered to so I don't need to feel bad, but it was a discomfiting feeling all the same.
Result: 34/55 (61.82%), joint-3rd/7
Quiz #32 - Monday 20th February, King Arms Dalbeattie (K)
Monday's quiz summed up what the week was all about. It started with me getting to join a Big Tam's dream team, for there were 3 of them there. That's unusual, as the team is two couples, who almost always come together. I was grateful for the opportunity all the same! Round 1 was a diversion from the usual 20 GK, being instead 4 rounds of 5 questions on different subjects. TV shows from an episode title, cryptic James Bond films and clues to British Prime Ministers all gave us 15 easy points, and we lost just one on answers connected by birds. The next round, where all the answers began "Paddy" was similarly lucrative, with 9.
I might have hoped for better than 12/15 on a general film round, but they were tough, in fairness. We certainly should have had better than 11/15 on GK, because the QM incorrectly gave "Luna" as the answer to the Roman Goddess of the moon. No, that's Diana - Luna is the moon itself. Unfortunately we didn't think to challenge him on it, though I'll be pointing out the error to the team next week.
Geography was the real issue. The question was the island to which Napoleon was exiled after Waterloo. The answer given was Elba. Now this is wrong - Elba was earlier, Helena was where he died. Unfortunately, half the room had given the right answer, half the wrong, so the QM was adamant. I lacked the net signal to prove that we were right with Helena, which was very annoying. Ultimately, he begrudgingly seemed to give the point for both answers, I believe after it became clear that most of the teams who wrote Helena were giving themselves the point anyway, but it was a shame that it came to that. Mistakes happen, I get that, but this was twice in one night and he responded badly to the correction. Oh well, it didn't ultimately affect the end result, which in this round was 9/10 for us.
We finished with unplayed music, and I was predictably little help. 14/20 meant we had a very high score, and yet were nearly 10 points away from the winning team! There's nothing you can do about that, and ultimately I feel better about my own performance than I did when a similar thing happened a fortnight ago, so it's okay. A weird night, to be sure.
Result: 74/95 (82.22%), unknown/11 (not in top 3)
Quiz #32 - Tuesday 22nd February, Ship Inn Dumfries
I went to the Ship Inn knowing my team were unlikely to make it - always a hazard when they're all self-employed. Still, it meant I joined with the Newbridge Caravan Park, which I've only done once before. The fact that it's happened now means that I'm in with them enough to do it again, too; nice to see I'm doing fewer quizzes alone, as my willingness to do it that way doesn't mean it's my preferred option.
The team was split in two by random number draw, and it was clear from the off that both teams had really strong quizzers. I knew this anyway based on their prior results, but the thought processes we went through to work out our answers were amazing. As much as I enjoy casual, social quizzing (and I really do, so I'm not implying any negativity towards anyone), I've got to say that I really felt in my element here. Intensive analysis and logical consideration of the information in the question and that we knew about the subject to ably work out the answers; I loved every minute. Of course, I get that with my normal team as well; this was just a bigger team, so more of a good thing this week!
That said, the quiz isn't getting any easier, and we could still only get 6.5 on GK. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what we got; the scores were mixed up a bit after round 1. We were in 2nd, half a point ahead of the other team. Two new rounds followed; one was a "what follows next in a sequence" round that I'd heard previously at the Granary. I was able to identify all 10 sequences easily enough, but not the answers. This is where a strong team helps, and we had 9. Annoyingly, just as I did last time, I got Numbers and Deuteronomy the wrong way around in the list of books of the Old Testament, denying us a full house and the lead. As it was, the standings hadn't changed.
Round 3 was supposedly "culture" though in practice it was a combination of arts and literature with religion. None of us being religious restricted us to 4, but evidently other struggled too as we now had a share of the lead. Very annoyingly, the Diana/Luna question from Dalbeattie came up again. The team wanted to say Diana, I hadn't realised that K had been wrong on Monday and pushed for Luna. Oops. Pictures of product logos gave us a fantastic 28/30, though we lost that lead to the team who got all 30. The specialist round, British Comedies, was every bit as hard as is typical of specialist subject there, and we struggled to 5/11, still a couple of points ahead of the other half of our team.
That left music, which meant my contribution to the quiz was essentially over. Frustratingly, there were a couple of metal songs, so my sort of music, neither of which I could remember the name of. It was that sort of round, really, and we only had 18 of the 30. This dropped us from 2nd to 3rd. We couldn't complain though, as the winners had opposite fortunes on music and replaced us at the top! Full credit to them, and I'm glad to be honest that the gap was 4 points, meaning my blunders didn't cost us anything. Those aside, great night!
Result: 70.5/101 (69.8%), 3rd/6
Quiz #34 - Wednesday 22nd February, Granary Dumfries
A shorter quiz than usual at the Granary, this week, with 3 rounds rather than the usual 5. We were briefly joined by our 3rd team member, but she didn't stick around too long and for the most part it was just the two of us, as normal.
Round 1 was an alphabet round, with an answer beginning with each letter. Considering that last night I had a round I'd previously heard at the Granary, it was the other way around this time. In fact, I think I was alone when it happened at the Ship Inn. Looking through my records, it may have been as far back as June, actually, which perhaps goes some way to explaining why there were gaps in my knowledge as to some of the answers. Most of them I don't have an issue wth my not knowing, but I was furious at forgetting Weimar Republic again. Even after the round was over, I still couldn't bring it to mind. Definitely in my "forgot it twice, will remember it the third time" pile. 19 in total was certainly strong, but there were questions that bigger teams with wider knowledge bases would have had that we didn't.
Round 2 was homophones, and these were easier. It's the sort of round that often turns up at the Grapes, and I had 9 easily. I've never heard of Eve Pollard so missed the last. The third round I'd also heard before - at The Kings Arms. That time, I was with Big Tam's and we got 8. It was a double-answers round, so things like "dik dik". That was one of 3 animals in the round, the others being the two we missed last time, aye aye and mata mata. I had those this time, but not the author of 3 Men in a Boat, Jerome K Jerome.
It was a comfortable 9 for me, but concluded a night of despair for my teammate, who felt unable to contribute much of anything unfortunately. Nothing to be done about that I suppose, and a feeling I know all too well. It meant that by the end, we had our best ever percentage at this quiz; I've never gone as high as 80%. And yet we only finished 5th; Sporting Quizbon had the win as usual, the broad and varied knowledge of their team of 8 losing them only 3 points all quiz. We would have needed a full house on R1 to beat that, which wasn't happening. A good case study then, of why last year I didn't bother recording how I placed, only my own results.
Result: 37/46 (80.43%), 5th/13
Quiz #35 - Thursday 23rd February, Anchor Hotel Kippford
I correctly suspected that The Motley Crew would not be in attendance this week, which meant I was hoping that one of the other teams I've joined before had a space. The Disciples did, so I joined them. For our joker, we decided on the cryptic music round, figuring we could work them all out between us. That was at the end of the quiz, so we had a long wait ahead.
GK gave us a good start with 7/8; this is a laidback, easy-going, funny team - but they know their stuff, and obviously I was able to contribute a thing or two myself. We went one better on the actors who played duos in police shows, like Cagney and Lacey, getting a full 8. I don't think I'd have had a single one alone! Spelling was always going to be a dangerous round, and we struggled to 5. That was better than the team would have done without me, I dare say, though the only one I'll attempt to repeat here is "broccoli". The others were even harder.
Film and TV doctors was harder than the police officers, but we still had 6. A map of Europe was the picture round, and we had to name the 8 labelled countries. Some were easy, but others, less so. There was some controversy in the marking, as the answers were clearly mixed up. For example, there was no denying that 2 was Poland, and not Switzerland. This meant that the marking of this round was saved for the end; unfortunately the delay in marking didn't mean we could correct our having mixed up Austria and the Czech Republic, for which I must admit some culpability.
Our joker round also had some controversy. Most of them were easy, but there was one question we missed, "Expressions of surprise". We were not alone in being confused by the answer "The Corrs". I suppose it makes sense in that there's an expression "cor blimey", but that's archaic these days, and not something that was ever much used in Scotland anyway. The QM is from Yorkshire, where it was more common. To be honest, I don't much like that question, especially considering how many others could have been used in this round. They accepted "A-Ha!" as an answer as well, after protests, which goes to show the problems that can arise when a question has multiple potential answers. Best in such cases to try not to be too clever for one's own good as a question setter, though I appreciate that the temptation can be hard to avoid!
Unfortunately, those missed points were crucial, as despite a tremendous score, we only tied for 2nd, missing 1st by a single point. The team who tied with us only had two people as well, which made for an odd reversal of my usual feelings! There were chances missed, especially jumping for the cryptic music joker round too quickly when the team knew they'd be strong on TV, but the Donuts, who won yet again, are always in and around it. Perhaps next week!
Result: 47/56 (83.93%), joint 2nd/14
Quiz #36 - Friday 24th February
I was on a good, albeit winless, run this week. Could I finally cross the line at the end? I'd be making the attempt with a depleted team of 3, and in the face of strong opposition. The KPD weren't fielding a numerically strong team, but they did have arguably their strongest pair with them, and the Teddy Bears had the benefit of a couple of very strong guys who have been absent a while. On the flip side, there were a couple of visiting teams who stood to potentially struggle on any questions that had more of a local flavour, and there often are one of two of those.
The first GK was a real rarity here, in that I'd heard almost all the questions before. I was ready with "Paul" the moment I heard the words "Barbie's boyfriend", because I knew the question was going to ask for Cindy's other half. There were a couple I didn't know, but a good guess of Michael Collins for the Apollo 11 astronaut who didn't walk on the moon helped us to a full 10/10. I've done that before on special rounds a few times at the Grapes, but I'm not sure I've ever had it on GK. The first subject was eponymous inventions, and they gave us a strong 8 as well, but the Teddy Bears had 17, so the other teams were likely to have similar scores.
The next GK was much harder, I felt. I shouldn't have gotten the number of loaves and fishes with which Jesus fed the 5000 the wrong way around, but there were a couple of others we might have had if the coin had landed on the other side. Between us, we managed 5. The specialist redeemed us though, as we scored 9 on the 3rd in various sets of things. As noted by the team, in at least a couple of the sets, the missing one was perhaps the most famous, interestingly enough.
GK number 3 was a great round, with some difficult questions that we answered well for another 9. There followed the kind of language round that this quiz does so often and so well - I love them. The answers were all 7 letters, the middle letter being "l". So, cyclops, dialect, and so on. We got another 9, missing only "implore", for a second 18. That's very rare in this quiz, though it represented the high tide of our fortunes.
The penultimate GK gave us 5 of the first 6, but only 1 thereafter. We overthought "longest land border" and went to Asia instead of USA/Canad, but just didn't know the rest. I've probably done that before, too, oops. The final specialist round was a hidden link connection, and another very hard one. I thought it didn't get much harder than the "old Vauxhall cars" one they did last time, but this was tough enough that no one got the connection. In fact, a bonus point was offered to the first team to shout it out, once given the answers - I scored that once I heard "Good old boys", telling me it was the Don McLean song "American Pie". Even from the other answers I wouldn't have gotten it in the round itself, and we only had 3 of those, for a combined 10/20.
That left the final round, and unfortunately, we had the worst score in the house, a mere 4/10. Granted this round is usually and proved today to be harder than other rounds, but it cost us here. Last time, we were leading by 1 point going into the final round and lost by 1 point after it. Exactly the same held true this time. Another loss by a single point, my second in a row at this quiz and my second in a row this week. A disappointment to be sure, but not in terms of overall performance. The quiz was much easier than last time, by the QM's own admission, but it was by no means easy. It was an excellent night as always, and I've no regrets.
Result: 64/90 (71.11%), 2nd/5
Week in Summation
I said at the start that this was a strange week, and it was, but overall a very good week. It's very unusual that I'll score 80% and not finish in the top 3 even once, let alone twice. The quizzes have been of an excellent standard, the company has been great, and I've given a lot of really good answers to tough questions. I've had a mixture of light-hearted banter and more serious analysis, repeated rounds which always help me remember the answers for future occasions...the only thing missing from this week has been an actual win!
In general, I do seem to be improving my scores, and I'm very pleased about that. I'm not going to bother nitpicking about the little negatives here and there; the controversies have already been covered above, in terms of my performance, there's too few of them for it to matter any.
Total Result: 326/443 (73.59%