Quiz #64 - Sunday 2nd April, Turf Tavern Carlisle
The second quarter of the year began this week, and it began with a first for the Carlisle quiz - I joined a team! Well, one other person, the gentleman I met last week who came in second alone. Nice guy, hope I get to join forces with him again sometime! His presence meant we started unusually well on pictures, with 7. I recognised a couple more but couldn't put a name to them.
Current events was a mixed bag, and we could only manage 6. Oh well. The top 5 lists suited neither of us unfortunately, as we've never been interested in Friends or golf. 3 of the regular character in the former (other than the title characters of course) and two of the relevant golfers gave us half marks overall. Alpha Links was another toughie, but we both managed to contribute a few answers for 6 overall.
Now the connections round was something a bit special. We had the first 3 easily enough, which saw cheering from the QM and one of the teams as they realised the connection. I agonised for ages before eventually realising that the missing 4th answer was Shunt, and the connection was Robot Wars. The very show I was watching before the quiz as well! Amazing link there!
Now those who read last week's roundup will know that the Wipeout round ended badly, and that was a real shame as it was my fault. The first couple of questions were fine, the third would have been a risky gamble. I'll come back to the 4th, the 5th was a question I've included in this week's quiz of my own, and the 6th we just didn't know. 7 8 and 10 we knew, 9 might have been a gamble we'd have gone for except that we definitely didn't know 6.
The 4th question was the athletic event closest in distance to the imperial mile. I knew it was about 1600 metres. Unfortunately, I said the 1500 metres was closest. Even though I alluded to it in our deliberations, I forgot the 4 x 400m relay. In giving 1500m, we wiped out. As did, incredibly, every single other team except one, who left that answer blank. An answer I was sure on, and I just didn't think it through enough. That others did the same doesn't change anything, and I'm gutted.
Fortunately, it didn't change the result, in that we couldn't have won anyway, even if we gambled on the two we left out, because we had no chance on question 6, and we still finished 2nd. So, a good score - but room for improvement.
Result: 29/55 (52.73%), 2nd/5
Quiz #65 - Monday 3rd April, Kings Arms Dalbeattie (G)
I'm sorry to say that before this quiz I did genuinely consider not going. K's quiz, alone after the busiest day of the year yet, was a difficult prospect. Not because it's a bad quiz by any means - far from it - just a long one and perhaps more tricksy than I expected to have been up to with my current energy levels. Of course the heading above does not give K's name, nor was I alone. Turned out that he'd unfortunately called in sick the day before, and asked another regular of the quiz to take over. And as for my team, that would be Big Tam's Appreciation Society - the 3 person version. Better still, I'll be with them next week too, as the son and daughter in law of of the couples will be there and I've been invited to form a second team with them.
I'll say it now - the quiz was fantastic, especially for one done at short notice by someone who perhaps isn't as experienced at doing them as A or K. It was well balanced for the audience, falling somewhere inbetween the two regular hosts in terms of both difficulty and length. Kudos on a job well done! Unfortunately I don't have the answer sheets here so I can't be specific about the questions we faced.
Round 1 was GK and we started we intended to continue, with an able 9/10. Round 2 was "Also known as", which in practice was varied enough to be GK again, and we had 8 of those.
Round 3 was a special round, of which there were 3 throughout the quiz. A decreasing number of points was on offer, depending on how many clues were needed to get the answer, starting with 5 and going to 1. Each team got one guess each, and the clues started off as very obtuse but the answer would be obvious by the end. The first was a an animal, and we had the idea early on that it was a condor we were looking for, but changed our minds to vulture - and wiped out for it. Most of the others got it right, and we'd learned our lesson. We also assumed were were effectively out of the running by now.
Round 4 was sport and games, this got us back on track with 8.5, and 8 on the 1960s (little of which I was any good for) continued the trend. The next descending points round was a country, and this time we waited for the 3 point question before answering Italy; we could have had it for 4, but a fair few teams didn't get it, and one that did needed the final clue for it.
Film and TV followed, and I was back in the game: we got all 10. Another GK round was nearly as good as 9 points saw us finishing strongly. Only one question remained, the last descending points one. It was a "Who am I?", and a quizzer's classic: whenever you hear the words "1755" and "Vienna" you know you're talking about Marie Antoinette. 5 points gladly taken, and fortunately not every team spotted the connection so quickly.
Those 5 points proved crucial, as it meant we won by 3! It may have been my first win in Dalbeattie this year, which would mean that I've won at all the regular venues in 2017. However it happened, it was a great result. I'm not the biggest fan of doing these quizzes solo, but with a team it's a whole different story.
Result: 60.5/75 (80.67%), 1st/unknown
Quiz #66, Tuesday 4th March - Ship Inn Dumfries
It was back to normal in terms of the team at the Ship Inn, with the usual couple and half of the other one joining me. We were looking for an improvement on last week's sub-par performance, which was reflected on as it emerged others had been shown the football round and made the same mistake we did. Which is somewhat reassuring.
As for this week, we started on 4, which was enough for joint 3rd. Sport is never kind to us, last week proving that of course, and this week we went from 3rd top to 3rd bottom after a mere 5.5 - a score that in itself I'd generally take! TV & Film was much better, and we only narrowly missed out on a full house due to a 50/50. That put us back into third, ahead of two picture rounds.
The first of those was dingbats, and I've started to become more wary of these than I used to be after a difficult run on them. The others were confident on my behalf, but I wasn't wholly able to back that up, and we only managed 12 of the 18. The scores weren't given after this round, but after the specialist round - celebrity noses. Yeah thanks for that, team who chose it! To be fair, it was a good bit of fun, with some of the pictures being ironically chosen - Lord Voldemort for example, who famously has no nose. Unfortunately that didn't mean we knew many of them, as our 8/18 attests.
That left us 4th before the music, which was also back to normal in terms of me not contributing much. I was unlucky to miss a Queen song I recognised from the Highlander soundtrack, which the others believed as The Show Must Go On. I was certain it wasn't that, but weirdly, my own suggestion, Don't Try So Hard, was also from the Innuendo album. It was actually Who Wants To Live Forever, which was indeed on Highlander.
We got the other Queen one though and 17 others, restoring normality in terms of results here as we finished 3rd. The dominant pharmacist team were absent this week; the Caravan Park gleefully returned to the top of the leaderboard, though the other half of them shared in last place surprisingly. It's another picture-sport specialist next week which augers badly, but we'll give it our best shot. 3 quizzes so far this week and 3 podiums, nothing wrong with that!
Result: 57.5/96 (59.90%), 3rd/7
Quiz #67 - Wednesday 5th April, The Granary Dumfries
Standing room only at the Granary this week - the busiest I've ever seen it. There was football on, but that didn't explain it, as there were 23 competing teams. My friend and I were stuck by a pillar, one I used to use sometimes when I did the quiz alone and I couldn't find a seat. I've never needed it when in a team, but there really was no option. Awkward certainly, but we made do.
It's not unheard of for there to only be two rounds at the quiz, though in the circumstances it wasn't a bad thing given the team numbers. It's rare though that the total number of questions is below 50, as the QM here usually goes over. Round 1 was anagrams of foodstuffs, and it was a classic case of needing just one other person or an extra minute or two to get through them. It was a slow start, as it often is with these rounds (neither of us are good on anagrams), but we found our feet and started knocking off answers by the end. Picking out foodstuffs and looking for them in the words, such as chicken, lamb, steak, etc was an effective tactic. I'm not 100% certain on our score but I think we had 16, which was everything we could put a name to.
The other round was animals, and it was a mixed bag, as is fairly typical for this quiz. I've lost my notes from this round but we struggled our way through a tough round for 13 points. We would have been happy with finishing in the top half of a quiz this busy and difficult, but we did much better than that - 4th! The winners were a good bit further in front of us, but we were close to the top of a large tight pack in the middle. All in all, with only two of us (though there didn't seem to be many large teams, and Sporting Quizbon were absent) it was a pretty great result.
Result: 29/45 (64.44%), 4th/23
Quiz #68 - Thursday 6th March, Anchor Hotel Kippford
I felt almost nostalgic going to the Anchor this week, as the Motley Crew had returned! It was the first time in quite a while, though there were 6 of them, threatening an issue due to the very strict team limit. One arrived late and stuck to reading a magazine rather than actively contributing. I was surprised that we got away with that, even though we weren't doing anything wrong as she genuinely wasn't playing.
Unfortunately there was a lot of pressure on me for the joker round, as it was my suggestion. This is a bit of an awkward paragraph to write, hence my getting it out of the way at the start. There's...a personality conflict between myself and one of the team. It's not that we dislike each other, but we're very different people, yet impassioned in our way, and it shows. Significantly, he's very aware of my flaws as a quizzer, and unlike most people, is very willing to point them out. These flaws include my confidence occasionally leading to costly misfires, and he's made completely clear that he doesn't think I'm as good as I apparently think I am.
I don't have the confidence to actually stand up to someone like that, though if I did I'd try and point out that my wrong answers stick out far more than my right, and that I genuinely try my best not to push my own views ahead of those of others. Ironically, this worked both ways at this quiz in that I was told I'd "redeemed myself" for an answer someone else had given. The whole thing is unfortunate because it exacerbates my existing worries and doubts; I hate conflict, especially when I'm the cause of it, and I absolutely can't stand the idea that I might be too pushy, especially when I'm seen as at best an honoured guest in a team and at worst a mercenary with no loyalty but to himself. I've had similar feelings at the Grapes, and I'll return to this issue in my review of that quiz. I do try and facilitate proactive discussion and decision making, but when listening to what I say, I never try and force my opinion, especially when I'm not genuinely sure.
To clarify the Joker round situation, I'd suggested the last round, cryptic chocolate bars; I figured we could get all of them easily enough, and two of the others agreed. We could all rule out GK, and dingbats too. "The Last Round" sounded familiar, but I warned against it as I suspected I'd remember the questions but not the answers. TV was an option though. The guy I conflicted with suggested "musicians nicknames"; I was by no means opposed but ruled myself out of that one if chosen. I did my best to not control the discussion, merely to coordinate the flow of ideas, but I'd been the first to suggest the cryptic round and it came across as my decision. We were pretty indecisive, as is common, and without a decision we risked a scenario like the one a fortnight ago when we almost randomly ended up with GK as the joker. The other guy did not have support for his choice; that's not my fault, and I was sincere in my belief that my suggestion was correct, which was backed up by others.
Anyway, we started well, with 6 on GK, after which followed the musicians round. We certainly would have been justified with this as our joker, as we got 7. Ironically, the guy himself was responsible for changing the last answer from the right one to the wrong one, costing us the full house. The Last Round was questions linked by last, and it seems to have been one we actually had had at this venue, not the Granary as I thought it was (though it might have been done there too). We recognised the questions but struggled on the answers; eventually we had 6, though that was after the QMs upgraded two half points to full points.
The TV round was our third 6 of the night, justifying not choosing that as the joker as well. Dingbats was worse, with 5. I must admit I dived in too fast on one of them, potentially costing us the point. It was a fractious round, as two in particular caused me direct conflict with the aforementioned guy. In one case, I correctly insisted that he was wrong with his suggestion, though it turned out none of us were anywhere near the actual answer. The other one was a classic case of me conveying the suggestion of someone else in the team to the wider group, him correcting said suggestion (which in this case he was right to do), and getting annoyed at me for raising it in the first place. He thought I was pushing my own suggestion, and excessively so. I guarantee I wasn't.
By the end of the round, he seemed annoyed at me, and the pressure on the joker round was real. Excessive, as it happened, and I wilted under it. The questions were harder than I was hoping for, and I wasn't able to coordinate my thoughts well enough to get the answers. True, neither did anyone else, but it was clearly my fault that we only got 12 on the joker...at least I think it must have been 12. I thought 10, but the score suggests not. The worst of it was that we missed out on the win by a single point. Fortunately, we left with another £25 for our final prize fund, which everyone, him included, seemed pretty happy with, but it should have been more and I know it.
It meant I left the quiz deflated and self-hating. Having doubts and insecurities is one thing - when other people openly agree and it causes problems within the team, it's another entirely. No one else has any issues with me, and I'm not even sure that he's seriously bothered about me, but there's something there and it does affect me. Lord I wish I could bring my own team to these things!
Result: 42/56 (75.00%), 2nd/9
Quiz #69 - Friday 7th March, The Grapes Springholm
There was one more quiz to go in the week, and it was essentially a new team. A couple I was expecting to be there was not, but the last original member of Our Big Chance was there with two others, whom I joined. We managed to get another regular in with us as well for 5 in total. There was sad news to start the quiz, which I don't feel comfortable sharing publicly, but which I do want to acknowledge. All concerned have my sincerest sympathies.
As much as I hate to revisit such an awkward subject as the one in the last review, I've been conscious of a clash with one of the team for some time now. I'm not aware of having specifically done anything, and I figure it is an issue of differing personalities and attitudes. That's fair enough, as I can't deny I take things more seriously than most who go along, and without wishing to blow my own trumpet, I do have a fairly broad array of knowledge that I often get the chance to demonstrate. You could call it youthful enthusiasm combined with competitive spirit and relentless determination. Not everyone is going to take well to that in village pub quizzes, especially on a Friday night.
Nonetheless it is unfortunate. It's definitely not intentional on my part, but I don't see an easy resolution. It's left me sadly feeling that certain people would prefer I not join them. I'm tolerated, and they're too polite to say anything openly, but I do feel like there's a certain discomfort. If I knew of others I could bring along, forming my own team, it might be best - the QM has suggested I'd benefit from such a thing many times in the past, but sadly I don't know anyone I could do it with!
Anyway, enough of that, onto the quiz itself...not that I have a huge amount of positive things to say of our score either. We started well, with the first 3 on GK, but rapidly declined and we had only 5 in total. The first specialist was answers linked by crying, and they were tough. It was another 5, and I felt I should have remembered one or two more, but wasn't much help on the rest. 3 of them we couldn't even guess at, which was ominous, especially with the Teddy Bears, whom we were marking, scoring much higher than us.
Next up was our best pair of the night - and indeed the last rounds where we managed even half marks, unfortunately. A great run of questions 5-9 helped us to 7 on GK, after which came a round in which all the answers began and ended with the letter m. That's the sort of round I excel in, and I had 8. I'll admit that I did take the lead on giving those answers, but none of us got the other 2. One was maxim, which I should have had, and I don't remember the other. Our 15 was definitely the high water mark of the evening, though even that paled against the scores of the other teams.
The next GK was a total disaster, mitigated only barely by the classic "last book of the old testament of the bible" question coming up. Given we only had 2 more that was the smallest of mercies, especially given a criminal error on a UK politics question. My brain was getting overloaded by this point and it was showing. The pressure, the knowledge that all I was giving wasn't enough, my wariness of being too pushy yet determination to add to our score where I could...it just didn't feel right. The third specialist was a round of answers starting with X Y and Z, and as explained to me later, it was tough to find a line between too hard and too easy for this round. We struggled to a mere 4. I might have remembered one or two others if I were in a better frame of mind, but it wasn't to be.
The next two rounds were a pair of 4s. GK was much the same as it had been through the night, as I missed a couple I should have had, but the others didn't know them either. The QM recognises that connections rounds appeal to a few people there, not just me, and seems to have made them a relatively regular fixture. This time, I was on a hiding to nothing as the connection was shops in a nearby town with which I'm not really familiar. Nothing to be done.
To even get half marks in the quiz overall we needed 5 in the last GK, but all we got was 3. Credit where it's due, the winning team's 70 was exceptional; apparently, before the current owners took over, they used to dominate the quiz, winning 9 times in a row once. Bizarrely, I actually work with one of them, though I've never seen him there in my time. For our part, it was a disaster, as I've said. I felt a bit overloaded in the head, and the pressure was high. As with last night, I wilted.
It was still a good night of course, I always love these quizzes. But as with last night, I failed to live up to my own high standards. I pin that on myself, not the team - if I were as good as I want to be, I'd have beaten the 70 alone. I'm not there yet, but left resolved to improve. I will get there, if I put the work in.
Result: 43/90 (47.78%), 4th/4
Week in Summation
It was a week that started exceptionally, but ended on a rather lower note, unfortunately. Leaving aside the stupid wipeout error, Sunday was great, and Monday even better. Tuesday's score felt like a late save but a welcome one all the same, Wednesday was pretty darn good in the circumstances. Thursday was one of those cases where the narrow loss hurt all the more because I could have made it a win. Friday was basically a disaster.
I did finish the week determined to improve, which is a better response than dejection. There were still plenty of positives to take from the week, including all the correct answers I gave on Thursday and Friday, and I'll try and focus on that.
Total Result: 261/417 (62.59%