I must admit that my delay in posting my latest weekly roundups was somewhat deliberate, this time. At the end of Friday's quiz, a bombshell was dropped: the lease on the pub was in the process of being sold, and there was no guarantee that there would even be another quiz. I was devastated, I can't pretend otherwise. 2 years 11 months ago was when I started my quizzing, and it was at The Grapes.
I found out this Friday that the pub changed hands at the start of the week, and the last of the quizzes was the one just past. The good news is that the new owners intend to begin the quizzes again, though they didn't appear to know how when I spoke to them on the phone, as no instructions had been left. Obviously it won't be the same man doing it so I've no idea what to expect, but I'll definitely be going along all the same, when it starts up again.
In the meantime, I'd have missed the next one anyways due to going on holiday, and there's the monthly Laurie Arms quizzes to give me at least some kind of a Friday fix until the new ones start. There may also be something in Castle Douglas, I'll need to try and find out more about that. If possible, I'll write a post specifically about the Grapes quiz, though I may struggle for the time for that. The show must go on, however, and I've got 3 weeks worth of reviews to write.
This week was the last week of the first half of the year, and I've drawn up some statistics about that which I'll post separately.The first priority was making sure that I ended the first 6 months on a high.
Quiz #122 - Sunday 25th June, Turf Tavern, Carlisle
At the Turf Tavern I was joined this week by M & J. The idea that J and I will usually be on oppoosite teams at this quiz has definitely now died, as we're teaming up fairly often. A was there too but busy with other things rather than quizzing. I now have a better idea of our rivals, to whom I'll be referring generally as JDSS, since I can't come up with anything better and they, like everyone else, don't use a consistent team name.
Pictures and current events are our usual weaknesses, but we started strongly, with 7 on both. One of the ones we missed in the latter was a 50 50 between Gatwick and Heathrow airports, the other two we had no answer for.
The first of the two lists of 5 was on populations...I don't have more than that and it's too far back for me to remember, that's unfortunate. We got 3 out of the 5 though, with our correct answers being China, India and Indonesia, and Brazil and Russia being incorrect. Wait, hang on, I'm pretty sure this was about projected future populations, by either 2030 or 2050. I was surprised Brazil was wrong, and the USA was correct, Nigeria being the other. The other list was all M - I've never seen Phoenix Nights, but he had the 5 main characters instantly. Click click, boom boom, 8 for the round and we had started well. Always weird saying that when you don't know the scores until the end, but hindsight, etc.
Alpha Links I usually feel more confident on, and this was an outstanding team effort. We did miss 3, including the Diners Club as the first credit card which was a bad mistake on my part, but the other 7 were welcome additions to our points collections. The connections round was another where we combined our respective knowledge to get a full house on cartoon dogs. M was the one who knew Nana Mousskouri, which was before my or J's time!
We had a reasonable idea that we were defending a decent number of points going into the wipeout round, so played it ultra-cautiously. We got the first 3 with ease, one of which was a Bond question and another from my own last quiz, but we stopped after that. There was nothing we felt good enough about going for.
A pity, as we ended on 37 - a very high score for us, but which only tied for 2nd/5. It looked like JDSS had wiped out and so only beat us with 1 on 38, but that was overturned as they proved they'd given a Canadian definition of a requested term, which was in fact valid after all. I stood up for the tiebreaker, but lost on the cost of the Alaska Purchase, meaning we finished 2nd. Can't complain though, we didn't have bad round until the very end, and anything can happen in Wipeout. A solid start to the week.
Result: 37/55 (67.27%), 3rd/5 after tiebreak
Quiz #123 - Monday 26th June, Kings Arms, Dalbeattie (K)
Twice a year, there are special quizzes at the Kings Arms - a summer barbeque and a Christmas dinner. There's also a third actually, for the town's Civic Week, which is in August and is a competitive prize quiz. This was the first of these, and naturally it meant that the attendance was very high. I'd forgotten this, and the fact that it meant I'd struggle for a team, not that doing the quiz alone is something I'm a stranger to. As it happened I joined two others, relatives of one of No Kan Do, whom I'd teamed up with last time they were in town.
I can't deny unfortunately that there was a slight personality conflict here; I did my best to avoid any issues, but the lady of the couple and I did have some tensions due to our respective personalities, which made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. I was standing my ground and so was she, which happened last time as well, and while nothing was said of it, I'm certain she was aware of it as well.
Anyway, moving on! We started with 20 questions on TV, and while we struggled a little a first, eventually they almost all came to us for a start on 18. British geography followed, and I really do need to memorise where everything is in England, as a few errors there restricted us to half marks - 7.5/15 only. The third round was pictures, dingbat clues to films. I'm annoyed that I couldn't somehow put "boar" and "rat" together for Borat, despite saying the words often enough, but we got the other 11 which was some consolation.
Round 4 was what I'd expected at the start, 20 on general knowledge: 15.5 came of it, which I'll take, albeit somewhat begrudgingly, as we couldn't afford to drop more points knowing a music round was coming. History followed and this was much better, as it usually is, and we got 14/15. The music was where we came unstuck, as I'd known from the start we would. We got 4/18, and I'd rather not dwell on that.
Meaning no disrespect at all to my team, my hopes were not high for tonight as the others were all out in full force. I'm sure we were not last, but we were 9 shy of the podium and 19.5 off the winners. All's fair there, not much more we could have done; the few extra points I wish I'd been able to give us on geography and the like wouldn't have done us any good without an extra 10 or so on music, and that just wasn't happening.
Result: 70/100 (70%), unknown/11
Quiz #124 - Tuesday 27th June, Ship Inn, Dumfries
B & A weren't with us this week at the Ship Inn, so it was myself, S & A, up against an NCP team that included their guest Mastermind semi-finalist on a night that had a football specialist subject again. This looked rather ominous, but hey, we'd do what we can.
At any other quiz, 2/10 on GK is an unmitigated disaster. Here, we were on the podium in a 4-way tie for 3rd, with one team on 0 as usual and two on 1. The leaders had 4 and 4.5. Arts and literature saw us drop a space to 4th as the NCP flexed their intellectual muscles to get to 12.5/20. We had 5 from a tough set. Science favoured us more, and I pulled out a great answer to get vanadium as a chemical element from just its number in the periodic table as part of our 7. That put us back in 3rd at the half way stage, a little shy of 50% overall.
The picture round this week actually wasn't one, it was instead Ditloids. That's those things where you have letters and numbers, the letters being intials for words. So, 7 D I A W is 7 days in a week. The others struggled to get their head around the concept, and I was left frustrated by not seeing more than 5/10. Could and should have had more, there. We naturally collapsed on the round about the Lisbon Lions, a dominant Celtic team from the '70s, our mere 2 sending us plummeting down the table.
Music was our last chance to recover, and to be fair, we did, a typical 16 being enough to get us to joint-3rd. That was well behind the 2nd placed team on 48 and the winners on 53.5 though, so fair play to them - they were both just better than us on the day.
Result: 37/80 (46.25%), joint 3rd/9
Quiz #125 - Wednesday 28th June, Granary, Dumfries
Wednesday's quiz, a minor milestone as number 125 for the year, started in unusual fashion in that we knew there would be 2 rounds of 20 in advance, though unfortunately not the subjects. The first of these proved to be GK, and not for the first time this week, I was left frustrated by a score that should have been higher. 12 is pretty typical for the quiz, and I'll need to take a specific look at this subject at this quiz to see exactly how typical. I set my own standards higher though, so I was unhappy. L tends to struggle generally on these sort of rounds but our team is what it is, and probably won't be expanding any time soon.
Next was a picture round and it was locations of British music festivals on a map. Some of them had indicative names, others did not, so I'm putting this as a geography question. We got the obvious ones, but our guesses just didn't pay off and we only had 6, alas.
The final 10 were another GK set, and it was a harder one at that; this has been done before at this quiz. Again, I found myself unfortunately on my own here, and could only manage 3.
Given our standards at this quiz recently, 21 is a disaster, though we still ended up in the middle of the pack, almost directly inbetween Universally Challenged on 15 and Sporting Quizbon on 25. A resurgent Roof Rax won it I think, on 33. A bad day at the office, in an increasingly frustrating week.
Result: 21/50 (42%), 6th/13
Quiz #126 - Friday 30th June, The Grapes, Springholm
And so it was, the very last quiz at The Grapes. That makes this review rather difficult to write, I must be honest. By no means could anyone have known it would be the last at that point, as I'm sure attendance would have been far higher had we have done. As it was, there were only 3 teams - the KPD, the Teddy Bears, and us, the Damned United. Yep, I had both I & M with me for the last dance.
I said after the quiz that I'd always wondered how I'd have gotten on doing the quiz myself, and if there was to have been another quiz this week, I'd have taken up that challenge. It wasn't to be, of course. Still, I knew I had strong team this week and that was reassuring.
We started impressively, with 9 on the first GK set, only missing the last question. I was pleased to finally remember the Ponderosa Ranch as a key location in Bonanza, having gotten it wrong before. I think all 3 of us knew most of these. The first specialist round was on myths and legends, and was a great fun round. One of the questions from it I'll be including in my next quiz, so no hints there, but we got it right on our way to a solid 7. 16/20 is always a good start, and to be honest, where I want to be standing at this stage as it gives us a little leeway in case of a bad set later.
If it was to come (it was, as it happened) it was not in the second pair. As per usual, the first question in the GK rounds was on current events and we had all 4 of those. In this round, it helped us to 8. The next specialist was one of those linked words rounds, which I also count as connections in my stats, the link being points on a compass. So, we had Fred & Rose West, the North Star, etc. 10 questions, 10 points, and we knew we were in control even without knowing the other teams' scores.
Unfortunately that was the high water mark of our fortunes. GK was as good as it had been so far, as we got another 8. A long discussion about a given Monopoly square failed to yield a correct answer even after I drew a crude diagram, but that was okay. The specialist round was this week's hidden link, and it was a beauty of a round. Knowing that the quiz may soon be ending, the QM paid tribute to his beloved regulars by writing a connections round about...us, ourselves. Such a shame that I didn't know my teammates' surnames, nor they mine! We only got 4 (one of which was a joke answer), though by our own admittance if we'd worked out Shenandoah we would probably have gotten the connection, and thus a few more answers. A lovely tribute all the same, and I honestly don't care about the score on this one.
The final set was no worse than it had been for GK, as we picked up another 7 points. So far, so good. The final specialist, of both the night and the quiz itself, was highly appropriate - the first ever at the quiz, back 8 or 9 years ago when the quiz started. It was local knowledge, and that left us out of luck as I'm from the wrong end of the region and I is from Yorkshire. We were never going to do very well here, only getting 2. It was before this round started that an allusion was made to what had actually been formally announced after I'd left after the last quiz, and thus my spirits sank. Still, there was work yet to be done.
One final round of GK remained, and I'm pleased that we got the last question right, about the last British hangman. We also got the first and 3 others for 5 in total. Our poor score in the previous round turned out not to matter, as we had won by 8 points. A title defended, I undefeated all year since his return from a long trip abroad, and the three of us will be the last ever champions at this quiz, at least in its current form.
This last review of this quiz probably has something of the air of a tribute to a lost loved one, because it feels that way. I know it's "just a quiz" but it's my favourite quiz, it's where it all began for me, and I'll miss it greatly. My first and last appearances were victories, and I'll treasure the memories. The wins aren't the point though, the great times I had there were. I wish the outgoing owners all the very best of success in the future, and I do hope to see some of the old crowd at a new quiz in that venue again.
I'll end this by breaking convention this once - Robert, if you're reading this, I'll be living near your work very soon so I'll pop in and say hi sometime! If you're ever in Dalbeattie, I'll join you any time for the quiz there on a Monday! It was great doing the quiz with you, and I'm really glad you got to return before it ended.
That's all, folks.
Result: 60/90 (66.67%), 1st/3
Week in Summation
A sombre end to a week that has been a times, it's fair to say, frustrating. Performance-wise, I'm very happy with Sunday and Friday, and considerably less so with the bits in the middle. I really can't think of anything else to say that I haven't already, so I suppose I'll leave it at that. I'm leaving the Grapes on a high, and I'll take the positives from that last quiz.
Total Result: 225/375 (60%)