So far behind, and an ever increasing workload! Fortunately, this is a week that will stick in the memory for quite a long time; if last week was a standard week with no real notable events, this week was the exact opposite. So if I'm ever going to delay in putting a post up, this wasn't the worst week to do it on. Read on to see what happened!
Quiz #86 - Sunday 30th April, Turf Tavern, Carlisle
This was a strange week in that there were a lot of unusual team combinations - a lot of hybrid teams. This started at the very beginning of the week, which was on the bank holiday weekend. That meant that my Granary team, Three's Company decided to join me in Carlisle! All three of us had the day off afterward, so why not? M wasn't there because of work, so it was just us. We took our team name from our Granary rivals, Sporting Quizbon, hoping it would bring us luck.
At first, it did! A storming 8 on the pictures was followed by an amazing 10 on current events! This was totally unheard of, though our luck evaporated on the lists. Both were geography, in a sense. The first was football, looking for stadiums close to a given location. Apparently it was the shopping centre in Sheffield, that giving us the only two we could get. The second list was the country that manufactured given drinks; we had 3, including a couple of really obvious ones like Smirnoff vodka.
Usually, Alpha Links is where I shine, but it was tough this week. One was a case of picking a random city in English beginning with C, another needed a disease beginning with E, and two more we couldn't even guess at. 6 was our lot. The connections was reasonable, as we got 4 on boxers, missing just the first question.
For the wipeout round I'd warned heavily against taking risks, and we didn't. A nice Bond question helped us to 5 without incident. Mostly, anyway, as I did correctly recall One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest as Jack Nicholson's first Oscar win, which I'd heard recently.
All said, we had 38, which was a great score, but only gave us 4th place. The team I'd won two weeks prior were there in full, and stormed to the win with 48. Nothing to be done about that, at all. It was a great night, and saw me cement my friendship with a guy I'll call here, J. We're usually chatting after the quiz anyway, but this time, he said he'd come up on Wednesday for the Granary! That meant the week was looking very interesting indeed.
Result: 38/55 (69.09%), 4th/9
Quiz #87 - Monday 1st May, Kings Arms, Dalbeattie (P)
Another week at the Kings Arms, another guest host! This meant a mystery of a quiz, and it was one in which I joined another new team, the Has Beens. I actually have joined them before, but not that exact setup.
Their knowledge of the monarchy gave us a great start on a tough, unusual starter round. It was in two parts. The first wanted the first 10 people in the line of succession - in order. The 2nd half was the same but for the 10 most recent reigning monarchs. One wrong answer here threw you off. Getting Prince Andrew and Edward the right way around, and knowing who preceded Queen Victoria were easy places to wreck the round. Being given the first two for free was barely a help, either. We had 19/20, missing only the 10th in the first part, which was fantastic.
Round 2 was also tricky, being a map of the Mediterranean that wanted the names of 9 islands and a sea. Again, we dropped only one. Round 3 was really interesting, but if I may be brutally honest, ideally should have been given at the start of the quiz for us to work on right through. It was the first letter in each word of proverbs, which was deceptively difficult in the time frame. Great round, but only had 10. Missed a few obvious ones, too.
The next round was just general knowledge, and this restored our pride with a strong 17.5. A round on books followed, and this was even better, as we got 19/20. So far, this was a real team effort, which was great. The last round was the toughest yet, though the premise was simple: The artist responsible for the best selling album of each year of the 1980's. We were told the number of males, females, and groups, and that one artist had two. The exact years were not required. We got the double - Michael Jackson - luckily guessed Abba (1980), and got one more that I can't remember. Fortunately, it seemed that the other teams were struggling with this as well.
As it turned out, the last round really didn't matter a bit - we had won, and by 12.5 points! A strong performance in the first round and on books seemed to be where we won it, especially as the first round was a virtual wipeout round (albeit in two halves). It was one of the hardest quizzes I've done at this venue in a long time, and to come out of it with the prize money was simply amazing!
Result: 78.5/100 (78.5%), 1st/unknown
Quiz #88 - Tuesday 2nd May, Ship Inn, Dumfries
Okay, so this was a typical team setup, for the only time this week. A & S were there as per usual, though that is dependent on their work. The Caravan Park were almost at full strength, bolstered significantly by a former Mastermind semi-finalist who is the uncle of one of their regulars. That pretty much guaranteed we weren't going to win, though we have beaten him once before. It was a surprisingly quiet and subdued night actually, with the Pharmacists team absent (we call them that, though at least one is a paramedic and I'm not sure how many are practicing pharmacists at all), along with the Cree West mental health team that includes my former counsellor.
We started in typical fashion, scoring 5 on GK in surprisingly high-scoring round overall. "High" meaning the lowest score was 3 teams on 3, at any rate. The Caravan Park were one ahead of us with 6. Sport is seldom ever kind to us, but somehow we chanced our way to 6 - no change at the top of the table, then, with only a single point gained by one of the teams on 3 affecting the leaderboard at all. Geography anagrams marks perhaps the only time I've ever been genuinely excited to actually look at an anagrams round, and we managed 9, missing just Singapore among the 10 world capitals. Oops. Luckily the rest were easier, but the Caravan Park had them all and were now two clear at the top, by the half way point.
The picture round was another geography map, the second in consecutive days, but annoyingly, I simply cannot remember what the map actually was! It couldn't have been particularly big, 10 questions, and we got 9. The transport specialist round was less unique to me than it was to others, as the subject does come up every now and then. It was reasonable by specialist standardards, and we got 7/11. Which left the played music, and that was typical of the round lately - 16/30.
We'd been 1 point behind the caravan park going into the last round, but were 3 behind at the end. Given their calibre, there's really no shame in that. The difficulty of this quiz hasn't fallen any, though it remains enjoyable. We'll win again, eventually!
Result: 56/81 (69.14%), 2nd/6
Quiz #89 - Wednesday 3rd May, Granary, Dumfries
I was at the Granary much earlier than usual this week, because J was here from Carlisle. I showed him some of the sights of Dumfries before we went in and enjoyed the great food there. I was hoping to point out the key competition as they came in - but very few of them actually showed! That threatened the quiz even happening, but ultimately there were 10 teams present. Only one was a major rival that I recognised, with at least 4 major regular teams absent, including Sporting Quizbon. The Roof Rax, the over 35s social group who have gone as far as making uniforms for the quiz, were there though. For our part, we were 4 as C was along for the occasion.
We started with a film round, that wanted the 10 highest grossing films of this year so far. C wasn't really able to contribute too much to the whole quiz, but sitting awkwardly close to another team meant she couldn't exactly say too much anyway without giving up all our answers. L isn't much of a film buff, but J and I are, and we powered our way to 8.
Next was cryptic geography - again, this was on the two of us, but I somewhat wilted under the pressure of a tough round and we only got 6. People named William saw us get the same score, as we correctly predicted a couple of answers but missed others. The last round was a pretty standard issue GK, and it's fair to say that I took the bull by the horns. I'm the de facto captain of this team, and did my utmost to show why. The others all contributed however, and I've never said that the effort was mine alone.
When all was said and done, a typical round gave us a typical score of 13, but a decidedly atypical win with 33! Our 2nd ever and it only took us 3 months after our 1st. Absolutely incredible. The Roof Rax were 2nd, as we took advantage of the other teams not being there. That's not to say that the way we played, we couldn't have beaten Sporting Quizbon and the others, but we will never know that! We did very well, and I'm delighted. A great introduction to the quiz for J, who I'm sure will be back - he's very welcome any time he likes!
Result: 33/50 (66%), 1st/10
Quiz #90 - Friday 5th May, Grapes Hotel, Springholm
One more chance to get a third win of the week came at the Grapes, and it was an unusually low turnout there, too. This was a real shame as it was meant to be a packed charity quiz, but the charity themselves were unable to make it, as seemingly were a few of the regulars. Perhaps the bank holiday week was a factor, or it could just have been random. The teams ended up slightly different from normal, mostly 3 people in them. My companions this evening were two of the Teddy Bears. I'm fairly sure I've joined that whole team before, but not for a good while. Another of the Bears was with both the Damned United, which immediately put the win in doubt. The KPD also had their usual 3, and they're very good in their own right. A good night was promised.
We started solidly, with 7 on both the first two rounds. Can't remember if this was the first or second time in a week that I forgot the real name of the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist, but it certainly happened here. Between us we worked out some decent answers so the score was well-earned. We had the same on the hidden link connections round that this time started the specialists rather than ending them, but it felt disappointing as we mised the connection. Though to be fair, everyone else did too, and not for the first time, I grabbed the bonus point by being the first in the room to spot it - words that contained all the vowels. Some of the questions had been familiar, at least.
We were already behind the Damned United, and that continued after the second set, which at least demonstrated consistency as we got another 14. The increasingly typical standard is for the first question of each GK round to be current events, rather than doing a whole round on it, and we got all 4 of them this week. 6 was okay here, as there were a couple we couldn't even guess at. The specialist was the classic "add a letter to your first answer to get a second" round, and we got 8 of those. I love those rounds, but under pressure, they're tricky I have to say..
The third set was tricky, with a pair of 5s being the result after a specialist round on questions linked by sight, hearing and smell. Not much we could have done. We marginally improved that with the final set, which also saw consistent scores - 6s. I hoped for more from a round on "Lasts", which the Anchor in Kippford has also done before. As the host hoped, I got Last of the Mohicans instantly from James Fenimore-Cooper, which I've missed twice before. That's the kind of chestnut I just can't get away with getting wrong at my intended level.
That left us still in contention going into the last round, but we knew we'd need the Damned United to slip up to win, and it didn't happen. We could only manage 3, which meant we'd succumbed to an 8 point defeat. We were still second though, and that's no mean feat against those guys. It's always interesting to have different company of an evening, too. Good night!
Result: 53/90 (58.89%), 2nd/4
Week in Summation
Two wins, two second places, and taking a big leap forward in terms of my Carlisle social circle, in a week with only one standard team setup. What can I say, it was amazing! The Granary win would go on to cement our reputation as a serious outfit at the quiz, and we lost to amazing quizzers on Tuesday and Friday. On every level, this was really excellent. It can't win the "prize" for best week of the year, as that will definitely go to the week I won the Granary quiz the first time unless something ridiculously good happens in future. I hope it does of course, ha! But yes, this week will definitely be on the highlight reel.
Total Result: 258.5/376 (68.75%)