Sunday, 25 June 2017

Weekly Roundup, W/E 16/06/2017

I’m beginning my typing of this sitting at home while waiting for a gas company to arrive. Oh the joys of home ownership, and the regret of not taking a full day off since my time is running short. Good thing I have so much alternative work to keep me occupied, then! Last week was another busy week of quizzing, though most of my thoughts were devoted to my own next event, which is tonight as of writing this intro. I effectively took 3 days off after last week, which I really cannot afford to do in future. Lesson learned, I suppose (and hope)! Or not, as it turns out, as I finish this nearly a full week later on Sunday afternoon. Fortunately my next roundup is only 3 quizzes long, so will be up in short order.

Quiz #114 – Sunday 11th June, Turf Tavern, Carlisle

M was working this evening, so I began the week with J’s team. J himself wasn’t there either, but A was, and they had a place for me. More people came as the quiz went on, so we ended up with 8 in total. A large team to be sure, but there were some heavy hitters in the opposition, so nothing was certain. That was especially the case as this was a special “Best of Britain” quiz that has been held back for a special occasion for a while now. The election the previous Thursday seemed as good a time as any for that!

Fortunately, between us all we started well on the pictures, finishing with a solid 9. Only Charles Dickens eluded us, but “old British man with a beard” could have been any number of historical figures to be fair. A round on Britain generally replaced the current events round, and this was tricky, though we finished strongly with the last 4.

The first list was the top 5 most populated British towns ending with the letters “ton”. That’s harder than it looks, and we got 3, that being a lot better than the 1 we got on Cliff Richard songs. Me and music, etc, etc…

Alpha Links was fortunately pretty reasonable this week; aggravatingly I couldn’t remember the Baccarat song “Yes Sir I can Boogie” but we got 8 of the rest. I was again culpable for overruling Charles Bronson as the right answer to a question, having been sure he was American, but the other person wasn’t certain either. The connection we should have had. 2 of the answers could have led to breads, but sadly did not. I may need to borrow that connection for the future though! This left us with the Wipeout round, and we knew we were struggling in places so played it nice and safe. Only 4 ventured, but 4 gained nonetheless.

We ended up only 1 point lighter than we had been the previous week (and we were 1 fewer on the wipeout, so effectively identical otherwise), though with different opposition, we were never going to win. 41 and 43 were the scores above us; nothing we could have done about that! A podium finish nonetheless, so a solid start to the week.

Result: 33/55 (60%), 3rd/6

Quiz #111 – Monday 12th June, Kings Arms, Dalbeattie (S)

Knowing that I’d be joining Big Tams was certainly a confidence booster going into this quiz, S’s second effort. I really enjoyed her first, which BTAS won and which I did alone. That was a bit of a rollercoaster with 3 great round and 3 really bad ones, though I’m only speaking of my performance there, and not the quality of the quiz itself. I was intrigued to see what would come this week, as S remains an unknown quantity for now.

We started with 10 GK questions that suited us nicely. A full house, thank you very much! Next was a brilliant science/geography round. We were given a sequence of chemical elements. Their symbols on the periodic table spelled out a world capital. For a point each, we needed to give the capital and its country. I’ve done quizzes like this before on Sporcle and adore them. The trick is that if you can work out one or two, or if you happen to know a couple of the symbols, you can use them to work out letters in other answers. Of course, in this case you need the country as well, which in the case of Asuncion (Paraguay) you may well not! For our part, we continued our perfect start with 20/20.

Sport followed, and as ever, this was our downfall. It was a great round though; we had to give the years in which certain events happened, one each from the last 10. We knew 4 for certain, and messed up on all the others unfortunately. We moved onto local knowledge, which was also a mixed bag as we got 6. Amusingly, the team got the road number of the street they live on wrong as part of that. We went one better on cat breeds, whereby we’d been given the first and last letters and needed the others. Should have had a couple we missed though.

We finished with a music round, and were generously given the choice of giving either the artist or the song for the point, based on the first line of it. We were also told if the artist was male, female or a group. All told, these were okay, and we got another 7.

I’ve said before that the scores can be very tightly bunched at this quiz, and so it proved again this time. There was a 3-way tie on 53 – which if you’ve been adding the scores up as you’ll go, you’ll know was just below our winning 54! Really excellent result, with every point counting as we just went that step further than the others. Razor-thin margins, which is a great feeling when you’re on the right side of a situation like that! It’s my own quiz here next week though, so with the other half of BTAS still missing, it will be interesting to see if they can repeat their victory from last time around.

Result: 54/70 (77.14%), 1st/unknown

Quiz #116 – Tuesday 13th June, Ship Inn, Dumfries

There was nothing out of the ordinary about the Ship Inn quiz this week, just business as usual. S, A & B were in the team, along with another A who is a friend of S & A, and we started midtable with 3. If you’re a regular reader, you know there’s nothing too shameful in that, though the leaders did admittedly have 7.

Food & drink isn’t a strong suit for us, but does favour the Newbridge Caravan Park as they’ve got a chef in their number. I’m not sure where they were after round 1, but I am sure that we closed the gap to 1 point on the leaders with our 6, without our 4th place actually changing. We jumped to 2nd after a film & TV round postponed from last week for unknown reasons, on which we got 8/11. That said, the gap to 1st increased to 3 points.

Another dingbats round followed, and like last week there were 12 questions. We couldn’t quite emulate our 11 from before, but 10 was good enough. The specialist round was “celebrity deaths” which could have been anything really, especially due to how many famous people died in 2016.  I must admit to not liking dates questions with no context, and the exact date of death of Alan Rickman was a very hard question. We got 5 in total for the round, just 1 behind the leaders.

Now I believe the leaders were the Toffees, who are a middle-aged couple whom I know to be very good at quizzes generally, but not quite so hot on music. That gave us a potential opening, and we took it – our 17 points won us the quiz! That’s the first time in ages that that has happened (can’t remember exactly how long off the top of my head) and I am so happy about it. We’ve had a string of close calls and near-misses, so it felt really good to be king of the mountain once again!

Result: 49/83 (59.04%), 1st/9

Quiz #117 – Wednesday 14th June, Granary, Dumfries

Back to business as usual at the Granary, after last week’s food & drink fun and games. It was a relatively quiet quiz, though still 10 teams which would be a lot for most other venues around here. L & I had our work cut out again, starting with sport before moving on to music. Oh dear! We actually did really well on sport for once, with the questions being from 2016 and 2017; we got 9. Music – also from 2017 - let us down a bit though; only 5 there.

The first GK round of the evening the QM called Pot Luck, but I don’t differentiate between such things. It wasn’t easy, especially as L doesn’t tend to do particularly well on these sort of rounds, and we only got 5. Another topical round followed, film in 2017, and those gave us a better 7.

That left only another GK, this one a bit easier than the first, and we got another 7, leaving us an agonising 3rd place, just one point behind Sporting Quizbon, and a further one behind Universally Challenged, a student team who I think were claiming their first ever win at this quiz. They did it with 10/10 on music, and I’m honestly really pleased for them. They’ve been getting better lately, and it’s always nice to see a team win that doesn’t normally. Very close for us, but much better than last week all the same, especially given the subjects, and I’ve got no regrets.

Result: 33/50 (66%), 3rd/10

Quiz #118 – Friday 16th June, The Grapes, Springholm

So far, I’d done 4 quizzes this week and achieved 4 podiums. Was another possible? I don’t think I’ve managed 5 in consecutive days, though I don’t need my extensive data collection to explain why that is. It was a quiet night, with only 3 teams. The Damned United were both absent so it was only the Teddy Bears, us (Our Big Chance), and the KPD (5 of them, but one joined us). For our part, I was delighted that R was back again. As you’re probably reading this, hello, and I don’t compliment people just for the sake of it! R’s wife wasn’t there this time, but we did have M from the KPD and L, who has been with other teams the last couple of quizzes.

The stage was set for a close battle, and that was exactly what we all gave in the first pair of rounds. We started well with the first GK, a strong team effort getting us deserved 8. Unfortunately the first specialist round was newspaper comics, and none of us read a newspaper regularly. Some of the questions relating to comics from decades gone by helped us none either. We only managed 4, though the errors include a near miss as I went for Otis instead of Odie as the dog in Garfield. From me I call that idiotic, from others I’d have called it…not “unfortunate” as I’ve been known to imply stronger sentiments when using that word, but a genuine non-issue. As it happened, honours were even throughout, as one pair team also got 12 and another had 11.

So we were back at the beginning for the second set, which saw another 12 from us, this time 6 and 6. I gave a great answer in Dumdum as an Indian town that gave its name to a bullet, and another couple in Alfonse as Al Capone’s first name and Hyde Park as the location of Speaker’s Corner. Both of the latter and one more were also in a Granary GK round this week, but that was it so it wasn’t a repeat round by any means. Amazing coincidence since I know the QM here writes his own rounds! The specialist was an interesting one on languages, i.e words in or deriving from different languages. I’m sure that’s not the first time I’ve not realised that “dinkum” means “honest” (“fair dinkum” we all knew though) but a couple more we had no chance on. Again, the scores were 12, 11 and 12 so we were pretty much all tied.

I lost track of where the others were after the third set, but we had another strong GK round with 7. Close but no cigar on at least one more. The specialist here was the classic “change a letter” round. Okay so it’s normally adding rather than changing, but the principle was the same, and most of them I was rattling off more or less as they were being asked. We dithered on one or two, and I must admit that we were freely given an answer or two from people not strictly participating in the quiz on our way to a 9.

To be honest I’ve long made peace with such things happening at this quiz. I’m not sure if the QM himself reads this blog, but I’ve no regrets about posting about such things here in my personal space. Especially as it’s my personal preference that things be totally 100% above board, and I won’t apologise for being too honest. I can’t deny I take things very seriously, perhaps excessively so, and I know that means I’m disliked by some people because of it. I can’t control the actions of others, whether it be someone in the team asking someone sitting at the bar if they happen to know the answer to a question, or said person at the bar seeing that we don’t immediately have it and giving it freely. I’m not making specific allegations here, simply being transparent for the sake of my integrity and that of the quiz itself.

Anyway, moving on, the scores still seemed to be close, but I’m not sure exactly how close. The final pair was very tricky. We gave some decent answers on the GK but still couldn’t manage better than a 5. The connections round is now definitively established as the last specialist each time, and the QM was keen to hear me repeat my praise for the round as often as possible until the end of the quiz. The link was methods of measurement, though the older ones used in the early questions – peck, cable, Newton, etc meant it wasn’t obvious for quite a while. We agonisingly missed out on a couple we should have gotten, most notably second while searching dates in early February for Groundhog Day. It meant we had 7, for 12 in total. Everything now rested on the final round.

The final round has been the bane of my existence at this quiz many times. So many agonising defeats caused by throwing away a winning position here, and so it sadly proved again. We had a long discussion over what raw material a currier works with, and I was sure it wasn’t leather because that’s a tanner. Oops, a currier does work with leather, after the tanning process is finished. To be fair, it was a guess only, I don’t think the person suggesting it knew it for sure. I didn’t know a single one of these, and between us we only got 1. That meant that yet again we were 2nd by 1 point, with the KPD 2 further behind us on 51.

It was a frustrating end to the night, as the implication was very clearly made that the defeat was my fault. At least, that was how it felt, though that was probably at least partially my own typical assumption of the blame in such scenarios. I dislike writing the answers at this quiz at least partially because it puts me in that position, leaving me open to accusations of poor judgement and favouring my own, wrong suggestions. That’s happened at the Anchor in Kippford before too, where again there is a personality conflict within the team. Here tonight, as before, any such allegations tend to ignore all the good answers I’ve given. I’m the first person to admit when I don’t actually know something, but in close quizzes, it’s the wrong answers that stick out. Great quiz, but a painful defeat.

Result: 53/90 (58.89%), 2nd/3

Week in Summation

With 2 wins, 2 3rd places and a 2nd place finish, this was an incredible week! Weirdly, in a way it didn’t feel like it because on Sunday we were thoroughly trounced by the teams coming first and second, and there were agonisingly close defeats that did feel in their way like defeats on Wednesday and Friday. We still took our rivals close on each occasion, however, and there were two fantastic wins on Monday and Tuesday. Wins with BTAS aren’t exactly unheard of, but nothing can ever be taken for granted, especially at such a close quiz with such high standards. The end of the week was somewhat frustrating, but I still gave some great answers and I feel more positive in retrospect than I did at the time. My personal standard is still nowhere near good enough, but this was an excellent week all the same.

Total Result: 222/349 (63.61%)

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