Quiz #49 - Sunday 12th March, Turf Tavern Carlisle
After 3 weeks of 6 quizzes, I've got Friday "off", as I will every 2nd Friday going forward, as I'll not be back to Haugh of Urr until the Summer. The occasional break will probably be appreciated, as there have been times in the run of 18 quizzes in 20 days that ended last Friday that I've been a bit...frazzled! I still did 5 this week though, and that started, as always, with the Turf.
I've got to say, I'm coming to really like that place. It's a light-hearted quiz with jokes, banter and a friendly host whom I get on well, as I do with his friends who also play. In fact, it's been suggested that our knowledge set go together pretty well, and we're looking at potentially doing a quiz together at some point in the future - at a different venue, of course.
He seemed to be better at this week's pictures than I was; they were the hardest set yet, and I managed only 1 - Serena Williams. Tennis isn't a bad sport for a speciality when it comes to quizzes, even if football would be better. Better knowledge of the latter would have gained me an extra point on current events, which was little better of a round, as my lacklustre 4 attests to.
Still, if I'd started badly, it was only going to get worse from there. If there's one thing I really hate doing in quizzes, it's getting 0 in a round. Even a token 1 point makes me feel a lot better, but in rounds 3 and 4, I couldn't even get that. This quiz counts them as two halves of the same round, but for my stats they are separate. The first half was about songs by the Police. I can name a couple of Sting solo songs, but not his band. Cricketers who have scored 200 in 1-day internationals was the second half, and I forgot the only name on the list I'd even heard of, Tendulkar. I did name 5 cricketers, at least.
This put even more pressure than usual on Alpha Links...and I couldn't live up to it. 5. The connections round was a bit more fun, as I knew the second answer was Firefox, which could only mean the connection was internet browsers. I wasn't the only team to give the 4th answer as "Chrome" before the question was even asked, but at least one team failed to score anything here. I missed the first question because I forgot about the ancient Navigator. Still, things were looking up, right in time for...the risky round.
Wipeout started decently, as I had the first 3. Okay let's shorten this - I had 8 of them, and I was relatively sure on them. The other two were both 50-50s, and by that I mean we were given two options. I had an decent idea of which was the right answer, too. Gambling meant potentially getting 7 points, including the 5 bonus ones, and becoming a legend at the quiz. Not only would the bonus have been won for the first time, but by a soloist! Did I have that kind of courage? The cost was 8 points, and I knew I was really struggling, even if not just how badly. I decided against it, though I'd have been right both times.
I'd have come 2nd if I'd gone for it - I was 5th because I didn't. I'd have been last if I'd gotten one wrong, but only by 2 points. Do I regret it? In a way, because I'd have gone down in a blaze of glory if I'd been wrong and gained a place in the history of the quiz because I'd have been right. But I'd also have an early contender for "lowest score of the year". 40% is pretty bad, but it's not awful in the context of this quiz. There were no right or wrong answers here, and I think either option had its justification. I'll take that as a start to the week.
Result: 22/55 (40%) 5th/8
Quiz #50 - Monday 13th March, King's Arms, Dalbeattie (A)
My 50th quiz of the year! Already! Wow. Well, I'll wax lyrical on that in another blog post, this one is about the business at hand. We were out of our usual room because of renovations, and the dining room we were shifted to was very tight for space. I didn't need much though, as I was alone.
We started and ended with GK, as A tends to do, and I could have done better in the first, I think. 6.5 is respectable, however, which about sums up the night. I scored solidly throughout the quiz, showing why I'm a force to be reckoned with when backed up by a couple of able colleagues to cover the gaps in my knowledge and a few specific weaknesses. I've demonstrated that at this quiz a few times now, but on this night, I was alone and my score was restricted accordingly.
I couldn't help but feel that it was the sort of quiz I write, in the sense that there were a number of quizzing chestnuts in there, and ones I'd heard recently at other quizzes. It's certainly not identical in style to my own, but I can understand the thought processes.
After the first GK followed generalised rounds on history, arts & literature, geography, and film & TV. I scored 5, 6, 7 and 7 respectively, though ended with my lowest score of the evening, 4. At least one team apparently got 0 on the last round though, and it was pretty tough. I was a decent way away from the winners at the close, but not last, and I did actually edge out some-time winners No Kan Do, with whom I've quizzed. So not a bad night, by any means!
Result: 35.5/60 (59.12%)
Quiz #51 - Tuesday 14th March, Ship Inn Dumfries
I couldn't help but feel a little nervous going into the venue this week, having requested a little fine-tuning to the quiz. I was going in without the Quizlamic Extremists, which meant I'd be joining the Newbridge Caravan Park again - this time quizzing for the first time ever with one of their number, who is, and I mean no disrespect to anyone else, arguably the single best quizzer who attends. Without wishing to blow my own trumpet, I appreciate that there's an argument for myself there though, and I have to say I'd love to challenge certain people 1-1 as a test - him definitely included. He's a chef by trade, which is certainly an advantage when you know a food and drink round is coming!
But that would be round 3. Round 1 was the first litmus test of the quiz's difficulty, and our 4.5 stands as proof that it was as high as ever. I did get a decent answer or two, such as identifying Tony Blair from just his middle names. That left us tied 4th, a rarity for this team. I believe the leaders were one of the regular teams who routinely flout the supposed team size limit of 6. We have been assured that it will be adhered to next team, which is good to know because the winning team were 9-strong this week. There were a couple of new teams too, which is good to see, though they also went above 6 people.
Round 2 was sport, and my record of joining teams who lack a sport specialist continues - again, no disrespect intended to anyone. We only got 3.5 though, which worsened our position. That was more than doubled when food and drink finally came around, and our chef can be thanked for that. I am now getting the impression that it's against the law to not include the question "Where does goulash come from?" in such rounds - and I realise the irony of me joking about that, considering I did the same in my own round.
Dingbats were the pictures, and that has not been a kind round to me lately. These were better, however, and despite a stumble, we restored some pride by getting our answers in first, though our position was still well below 1st. This wasn't something the Caravan Park were used to, though I've been in such positions many times before.
The specialist round, Easter this week, was chosen as it would theoretically be a bit easier than more complex rounds, and it was my specific beef last week. Unfortunately, as the clock ran ever-later, my fears were realised. There were some very challenging questions, such as "How much did the largest ever chocolate bunny weigh?". No options or margin were given. We laboured to 5.5, and this left us 6th - seldom has the NCP been so low in my memory, and while I was hardly hurting the team's score, I wasn't able to propel us to the podium.
30 points are on offer in the music round, and most teams usually score pretty well. We seemed to find it quite tough, which again is rare for this team, but the others apparently found it worse. 19 isn't a great return unless it's me alone, but was enough to put us up to 3rd. Since my last win here, 7 weeks ago, I've come 2nd once and 3rd 6 times. That's quite an impressive record, I don't mind saying!
Still, I can't help but be a little disappointed that the quiz finished so late again, and was so difficult. I love a challenge, but this quiz attracts some strong quizzers and even we are battered into submission on a weekly basis. A little fine-tuning - that's all that is necessary.
Result: 51.5/82 (62.8%), 3rd/9
Quiz #52 - Wednesday 15th March, The Granary Dumfries
It was back to business as usual at the Granary, with the return of the regular host. The guest QM was present, but he was participating this time. Well, I say it was business as usual, but the format did change as it is wont to do on occasion. That's no bad thing, I like the fact that you never know quite what to expect when you turn up! In this case, it was a quiz of two halves, in more ways than one.
Rather than the standard 5 rounds of 10 questions, there were two of 25. Both were language-based, in a sense. The first was cryptic holiday resorts, so clues to various towns and cities that people might go on holiday to, at home and abroad. They were very difficult, especially with only about 15 minutes to answer them all in. It was a slow start for us, but by the end of the round, we were picking them off, albeit primarily by naming holiday resorts and trying to find a match. 10 was never going to put us near the top of the leaderboard, but was better than we were looking at in the first few minutes.
Fortunately, the second half was totally different. I watch Only Connect, and have done for years. The last round of that show is a Missing Vowels round, and I've gotten pretty good at it - clues to given subjects but only the consonants are shown. As I'm sure you can tell, that's what this round was. They were all British sitcoms, too. Now I couldn't have told you a whole lot about quite a few of them, but I knew the names! Every one. Most of them came immediately, a few we worked out between us. As in the last round, naming possible answers and trying to fit them in worked quite well, and we had more than enough time to pick off a couple of stragglers.
We were actually the first team to hand in, which was at my insistence once we'd checked thoroughly, because I've never done it at this quiz and wanted the personal ego boost. Hey, I'm human! We did indeed have all 25, having not fallen for the trap that some did of putting Bird instead of Bread, which gave us a very nice score of 35. It was well down the leaderboard, with Sporting Quizbon only dropping 4 points in the entire quiz, but I'll take that score at the Granary every time.
Result: 35/50(70%), 9th/14
Quiz #53 - Thursday 16th March, Anchor Hotel Kippford
I really can't claim that the Motley Crew are my usual team at the Anchor, unfortunately, as they've only been once I think in 2017, twice at the most. Still, this quiz will come to an end until November in about a month, and I'll quiz with whomever I can until it does. Often, this has meant the Disciples, but they had a full complement, so I again joined the owners, albeit this time they lacked their son so we were only three.
There was a fair bit of pressure on me at this quiz, albeit most of it was in jest. That said, I do seem to have a bit of a reputation there, at least among certain people, and I did want to do my best to live up to it. We started pretty well, too, with 6 on GK. I had the opportunity to press my answers at least, which is the benefit of a smaller team - I struggled in that on Tuesday..
Science and tech is a risky subject for a joker round, and my team weren't keen at all. I was inclined to agree, based on past experience, despite personally being pretty okay on it overall (I think...must get those stats updated!). As it happens, we had them all! The questions fell pretty handily for me, and I got to show off a bit by writing "Hubble" as soon as the question asked "Which telescope..." because it was never going to be anything else. The rest of the question proved it, but still, some questions have very predictable answers, in spite of many theoretically possible ones.
So this was a good start, but I was much less confident about the next 3 rounds. TV catchphrases was also pretty reasonable, and we scored 6. Famous people though, made us less comfortable and we only got 4. The picture round was even worse, and I'd been dreading it since the start as I'm awful at getting celebrities these days - never mind when they were younger. I spotted the Rory McIlroy trap to get Andy Murray, but we had only one other. Nothing to be done about that, but we scored more points in the first two rounds than those 3, so I was right to be concerned.
Our joker round was the last, "Around the UK", in the hope that two of us might have been able to combine our knowledge to get some points. And we did - but only 4. Half the questions started "Which English county..." which gave us no chance. It was always a risk, but so would science and tech have been - I've chosen it as my joker when playing solo and scored just 2/8, so knowingly disadvantaging the whole team on the off-chance wouldn't have felt great.
We ended up 2nd last, but in a high scoring quiz - our score has won before. You needed broad entertainment knowledge here for rounds 3-5, and that was where we fell down, as well as in our joker selection. Not the best end to the week, though I couldn't help but notice that the Disciples fell out of the podium as well, where they'd been the last 3 weeks when I'd been with them. Oh well, as I'm constantly saying - there's always next week!
Result: 34/56 (60.71%), 7th/8
Week in Summation
It's actually been a pretty good week, all things considered. My attention has been very much divided due to other things going on in my life, but I've kept attending and scored decently. My consistent run at the Ship Inn continues, I proved my proficiency at language based rounds at the Granary, and only narrowly missed out on a chance at glory at the Turf, so there's definite positives to look back on, and few outright negatives really.
This time last year, results like this would have probably looked very good indeed, so the fact that they're not spectacular shows my improvement. I'll keep working at it, and try and improve further. I always knew it would happen gradually, my efforts being planned for the longer-term. I've a consistent run of podiums to my credit at least, so even my defeats are nothing to be ashamed of. The Turf quiz isn't on next week, so I need to find another to start my next 6 day run. Who knows what will happen there!
Total Result: 178/303 (58.75%)