So, with the fun and games of gigs and such like now a memory, it's time for me to knuckle down and get some serious work done. I started writing this earlier in the week but I've still a decent way to go as it stands. It was a busy week , this one, and one which really called for good results, after the way things had been going. Let's find out!
Quiz #157 - Sunday 3rd September, Turf Tavern, Carlisle
Back to normal with this quiz tonight, in every sense of the word. The usual quiz, the usual opposition in the form of JDCS, and the usual team with M and J both being back. The way things are these days, they are my standard team if present, and I like that a lot. Normal quiz, but I wasn't on top form going into this, so my expectations weren't sky high.
Unfortunately we all share a relative weakness on pictures, and there's no way of pretending that our score of 6 was a start to be proud of. Unfortunately we're not the most balanced of teams, though we do each add something different to the mix, and I may talk about that in the future. Current events is usually a shared weakness too; I've got no problem with the political questions but I don't follow entertainment news. Really must start reading a newspaper every day, but again, that's another subject for another day. We had 4 there.
The lists came next, and the first of those wanted the 5 closest professional football grounds to Stonehenge. Improving my English geography is an immediate requirement of mine, and the fact that I'd been in the area recently means I should have known better on this. I was reluctant to put even Southampton, but nearby Bournemouth and Plymouth were there too, since Stonehenge is in a rural area. We got 3 though, at least. The other list wanted the origins of 4 given drinks. Easy enough, though Bombay Sapphire Gin is British, not Indian - obvious miss, that. 7 in total was a respectable total, overall.
Alpha Links followed the break, and a definition of the word "eclipse" gave us a solid start. There's really no excuse for me forgetting the Foggy Bottom area of Washington DC, where the Watergate Hotel is located, but I did. Never again. I guess I'll put that in my next quiz to be sure! We only missed one more though, for a solid 8. The connections round I should have done better on, had I followed up on mozarella cheese being made from buffalo milk, which I knew. Buffalo was the connection, and we had but 3 right answers.
And so we came to the wipeout round. Oh, the wipeout round. Let's not beat about the bush here, we gave 6 good answers and one stupid one, about C S Lewis's middle name. The question had it as stationery store, we suggested Staples and literally laughed at the idea, putting Smiths instead. Nope, Staples. How foolish we were...
That mistake cost us 6 points, and we really should not have taken the chance in the circumstances. Ultimately it didn't change the final outcome in that we'd have finished only a distant 4th with those points, but 28 against 34 is a big difference in terms of the respectability of the score. JDCS finished 2nd on 39, which was surprising, but they can be beaten, they are only human after all! It's a shame it ended the way it did, because that mistake aside, we were decent value for our points. That should be taken as a positive. We would have had 61.81%.
Result: 28/55 (50.91%), 6th/8
Quiz #158 - Monday 4th September, Kings Arms, Dalbeattie (S)
I felt a little strange going into this quiz, I must admit. I wasn't sure what it was, if it was good or bad, but I had a weird...feeling. I did something fairly unusual to start, I must admit, in that I didn't even consider doing the quiz alone and dived straight in to ask True Blue if I could join them, as S from their number was hosting. They accepted, and so I joined them for what I believe is the first time ever. They're a family team, and very very good, having won my 3rd quiz by 14 points. Turns out the Has Beens, a team whom I've joined before, also wanted me, but too late unfortunately. Flattering all the same, of course. BTAS were present, as were most of the regulars save for the Stooges. I've always liked S's quizzes, so I was looking forward to this.
As is traditional, we started with round 1, and gained a respectable 12/15, though there is seriously no excuse for me missing a question relating to a wedding anniversary gift. None. I need to completely memorise these already! Moving on, we had three sets of 5 questions by way of a TV round. The first gave us pubs and asked for the show which featured them, the second was 5 other kinds of locations, such as hospitals, and the third set did the same but with sets of children. A solid 13 here was very useful, and considerably more than I'd have gotten on my own, having never even heard of some of the shows featured.
Round 3 was much more my thing, geography. Again, it was three sets of of 5, this time with each set being about a different continent - US states, Australia, Europe. We got all of the first set and dropped only on apiece on the others, since I correctly argued that the Tasman Sea separates Australia from New Zealand. The Cook Sea isn't a thing, and the Bass Strait is what splits Australia and Tasmania.
The fourth round was sport, and this time it was 4 sets of 5, as we were asked for the last 5 winners of a given event in football, tennis, golf and...football again. World Cup and Premiership, specifically. I say the "last 5", but we were given the most recent, so it was the 4 before that. I knew the tennis ones and most of the football, but it was the team who got the golf ones, save one. 15/16 was very very good, however. Sport is clearly a strong area for this team.
The same can't be said of film, which was round 5, but fortunately that's something I was able to bring to the table. It was a tough round, but I had 6 of the team's 7 answers out of 10 here. It looks like this round might have gone a bit pearshaped without me, and I'm glad to have helped!
Last, we had music, but it was unplayed and split, again, into three sets of 5. The first set were general questions, the second were songs from musicals, and the third were anagrams. We struggled, but did manage to get 8.5, which I'll gladly take from music.
This always felt like a difficult quiz, probably S's hardest yet - and that's a complement, as I enjoy a challenge, and I feel like after a nervous start she's coming to enjoy writing quizzes. But I knew we had performed strongly, at least until the last round. That last round turned out not to matter much, as we had won, and by 9 points! That was amazing, I really didn't expect that. This was absolutely the kind of lift I wanted, and after a promising performance the day before, it was brilliant to be on top again. More of this, please!
Result: 68.5/86 (79.65%), 1st/unknown
Quiz #159 - Tuesday 5th September, Ship Inn, Dumfries
It felt good to be going back to the Ship Inn, a quiz that I honestly do enjoy and that I do wish I was back at more often again. Unfortunately, it's become my "expendable" evening, but with my team coming and riding high off of last night's result, I was eager for more. In fact, we had a complete team, with D & even R joining myself, S, A and B. The NCP were there, of course, though M was absent, meaning that their guy J teamed up with a group including I believe his daughter and some friends.The lawyers were back, though the pharmacists were not, and I think to be honest that they've largely stopped coming. Very unfortunate if that's the case, as I like those guys.
Round 1, GK as ever, and difficult as ever, though it did feel fairer than it has done. We found ourselves tied 3rd with 4, in a range of 2-6 scores. Nothing to quibble about there, really. Geography is a strong point for me, and I showed it in round 2 by helping us to a useful 8, though we were still 2 behind the leaders after this round. We were alone in 2nd, however, with the teams tying with us and the NCP both slipping slightly. We closed the gap to 1 point after the sport round with our 6.5, and it could have been more had I not been overruled. Yes, sport is tricky for all of us, but when I've got a pretty solid idea, surely that's better than picking a random answer? Oh well.
For the pictures this week, we had road signs. Some of these were very obvious, some much less so, and it was probably going to come down at least in part to how picky the host was going to be with the answers. We rejected at least one correct answer, but had 20 others out of the 24 to earn a share of the lead.
The specialist subjects are getting increasingly bizarre, which doesn't make them any more pleasant usually as it forces the host to really reach for questions. I wish people would realise how much harder that makes it on all of us...this week though, it was an interesting choice, "politically relevant pets". That's a tough one to study for, but ought to have thrown up some interesting nuggets. At the very least, the questions couldn't come from Wikipedia alone, here. And it was a really good round, the kind which shows what this quiz has the potential for. We got 5.5, which I'm perfectly happy with. The NCP appeared to do better, as they now led us by 2.5 and we had another team with us on 44 points.
That left the music, and with R here the strategy amounted to going to the bar while she raked in the points. Well, not quite, and 19 would have been considered a disaster back in the day, but it was our best score in the subject for quite a while. I don't know how, but these sets end up getting harder and harder, and a specialist is definitely needed in a successful team. I think the fact that they're so varied is a factor, so you pretty much need someone who listens to al kinds of music.
When all was said and done, we finished with our highest score at this quiz for a very long time. 63 was a fantastic score, there's no denying it, even though it was only enough for 2nd behind the dominant NCP. Their music knowledge is fantastic though, and the girls alone have stormed to multiple wins based on the last subject. I'm not big on the last round being 30 points, but I've been over that before, it is and it won't change. After a run of bad results here, this counts as a triumph, so I'm very happy with this.
Result: 63/94 (67.02%), 2nd/8
Quiz #160 - Wednesday 6th September, Granary, Dumfries
Expectations at the Granary have increased in recent months, as L and I are both getting better, with my general preparations helping me out with what I'm up against at this venue. Still, we have had some awful results too, including recently. We also had C with us, and our chances were further boosted tonight by an unlikely addition to our team - M from the Roofrax. I've quizzed with M before, most notably for a spell last year when the Granary was closed for refurbishment, which saw us both switch to the Hole in the Wa' for a few weeks. That quiz is a lot more serious and intense than the Granary, so I prefer the latter, but it'll certainly do in a pinch. He also went to the Ship Inn for a time, where I joined the Roofrax on occasion. The rest of them weren't there this week, and we gladly accepted his company. The other usual suspects, such as Sporting Quizbon, were present, but there were only 3 of them this week, so it looked like being an intriguing contest.
This was only a 3-round quiz tonight, as there were two rounds of 20 questions. Not my preference, but perfectly normal for the quiz. The first round was a sequences round, and I'll not say much of it as I'm doing such a round in my own next quiz. We did pretty well, and I was good value for a few of the answers, as we picked up 7.
The first round of 20 was a bit of a horrible round for us - reality TV. It was a good night to have C with us, as this was likely to be something she could help with, though L knew more and I, surprisingly, probably knew most. To be fair, this round was full of quizzing chestnuts, like Craig Phillips and Tim Campbell as the first winners of the UK versions of Big Brother and The Apprentice respectively. We managed a superb 19, which pretty much made the night.
The final 20 were GK, and this was where I hoped M would help out a fair bit, improving our usual 12. He did indeed, and we got 15, which I was very happy with.
If you're keeping score, that 15 gave us 41/50 - and victory! We dominated this quiz, that's plain to see. SQ were back in second on 35, at the head of a pack that was more spread out than it often is. I'm delighted by that result, I think it's our 4th win and a very impressive one. I showed good knowledge and worked well with the team. Excellent night.
Result: 41/50 (82%), 1st/11
Quiz #161 - Thursday 7th September, Masonic Arms, Kirkcudbright
Normally, my week would be over by now, but I wanted to do some more quizzing, so I ventured down to Kirkcudbright. A longer journey even than Carlisle, I believe this was onl the 2nd time I've made it this year. I'm known and liked there all the same, and the hosts were glad to see me. I joined a team, the same team that a couple of the Tourists from Dalbeattie are a part of. They were away and I was happy to join in. The format is 12 rounds of 5, with a bonus round you get at the start, and an optional joker round for double or nothing in the main quiz.
For the bonus round, it was logos. The round was split into two halves. The first gave us 5 slogans and 5 logos, all different supermarkets. The second was multiple choice, and was a case of picking the correct logo from subtly different alternatives. We finished...well, I'll tell you at the end!
The quiz itself, now let me find the answer sheet...oh, here it is. A lot of rounds to cover, so I'll try and be brief. GK always starts the quiz, and we picked up all 5, albeit thanks to a lucky guess and clarification over a question. Round titles can be cryptic here, but it was pretty obvious that one called "R" was just going to be answers starting with that letter. I was surprised to see no jokers called, but perhaps people were concerned about a potential very challenging question at the end, which is fairly common as I recall. There was a tricky one, for Rickenbacker guitars, but we had it and all the others. Our first dropped point came at the end of round 3, which gave us terms from various sports which we had to name. Ice hockey eluded us.
The 4th round gave us celebrities and we needed to give their year of birth. No jokers were played, so we all got an extra point each for the exact year, with the original questions asking for the decade. Again I mixed up Obama's birthday, though never again. 3 of the 5 we were out by one year, though we did get 4 decades for 4/10 in total. Round 5 was geography, and another 10 pointer. One of the extra points came from the other river in New York beginning with H (Harlem, the Hudson being easy). The others were on the last question, which asked for a Central American country bordered by 4 others, and to name the 4. This caused some confusion, especially since you had to specify which was the country bordered by the others, and which was one of those bordering it. We got 2 there, and 7 in total for the round. The first half of the quiz was concluded with unusual food from around the world. We almost had a full 5, but put blowfish rather than pufferfish for the main ingredient of Fugu, and only the latter, which I had offered, was accepted after it was googled. We weren't the only ones, then.
At the half way point, we were tying for the lead with 29. Bingo takes place at half way, and after that, we moved on to a round of answers beginning with S that we got a relatively easy full house on. No jokers were played in the first half, but a few were played on TV & Film, which most of the teams soon regretted. This was due to the question of how many series of the Great British Bakeoff there had been. We guessed right with 7, but weren't playing a joker, fortunately as we missed the last question. We were considering whether/when to play ours, and made the right decision not to play it on food & drink, as we missed 2.
Based on the reactions of the other teams, it looked like a few jokers had been missed, so we elected not to use ours at all. UK geography only added 2 to our score, making this seem a good decision. One of those was a fantastic answer from me, the hills known as Marilyns. "Accidental science" seemed scarier than it actually was, which I suspect explains a few withheld jokers, and we got a useful 4 points. GK always ends the quiz, just as it begins it, and we finished with another 4. the second half was lower scoring than the first, but there were fewer points on offer, too.
First things first, the bonus round. We ended up winning a 3-way tiebreak for that, which was fantastic to see! In the quiz itself, it was going to come down to our decision not to play a joker - and it was the right decision, as we won the quiz! The top 3 scores were 43, 46 and us atop the pile on 51. Really really delighted with that. Clearly I contributed something, though it's clearly a strong team, too. I do have a tendency to do fairly well when I venture out as far as Kirkcudbright, and so it proved again. It was a lovely evening, and I'll hopefully make it out again soon!
Result: 51/70 (main quiz - 72.86%, first/unknown), 17/22 (bonus - 77.27%, first after tiebreak), 68/92 (combined, 73.91%)
Quiz #162 - Friday 8th September, The Grapes, Springholm
Surprise! Well well well, far from my week being over, I was back at the place where my quizzing journey began. I found out about this earlier in this week, thanks to happenstance. The new owners of this pub have indeed restarted their quiz nights, this being the second of these. I must admit, I was very nervous going into it. What would the quiz be like now? Who would be there? Who would I get to join? Would I get along with it all?
Not all of the old crowd were there, that's true. The KDP were present, the Teddybears too, and my original teammate, L (not the same L from the Granary, of course). There were also some people whom I didn't know. The Damned United were absent, and travel issues might keep them away going forward, time will tell.
It was teams of 2 in order to increase the team numbers a bit, so I had M from the KPD on my side. L was with her daughter. The quiz itself wasn't the same format as it was, so I'll go through it as I go. Let battle commence!
The first round was 20 questions of GK, and it was relatively easy. The host appeared to struggle with the pronunciation of some of the words, which meant some repetition was required. It was clear that she lacked some experience with hosting quizzes, though you had to appreciate the brave attempt. There was also a bonus question at the end for getting the phrase spelt out by the first letters of all the answers. I was doing most of the work in this round, and worked out the phrase as "Mad Dogs And Englishmen", which itself gave me a couple more answers. We had 18/21, which left us tied with the KPD.
Round 2 was answered connected by drinks, and there were 15 of these. I really should have gotten the film Tango and Cash, and indeed need to watch it. We had 9/15, which again tied with KPD.
Round 3 was, ugh, song lyrics. I'm always going to really struggle on this sort of a round, but again, M was having it even worse on a night where the questions just didn't fall for her. A point for the artist and a point for the song meant the round was worth 30, and yes, I do have an issue with the balance of the quiz. We got 14, the KPD, 7. One team managed 28 on this, totally wiping out whatever advantage we had from the first two round. was pleased with a couple I got though, like Hotel California by the Eagles.
The last round was 15 questions on film and TV bars, and I've done enough of these rounds that there were plenty that were familiar to me; I correctly predicted several questions, though I didn't get them all, and we finished with 11. I think the KPD had 8 on this. I wasn't following the other teams.
As it happened, that music round decided the quiz, as it so often does at the Ship Inn. Our 52 was a solid score, especially as most of it did come from me (which I say with the utmost respect for my teammate), but that team who managed 28/30 on music had done the damage there, with 56 in total surpassing us for the win. We finished 2nd, I didn't catch the 3rd placed score, but the KPD were 4th on 42.
So what did I think of the new quiz? Honestly, I was disappointed. I knew it wouldn't be quite as it was, but it really did show. The inexperience of the hosts, who seemed nice and enthusiastic enough but who just can't compare to their predecessors, was definitely a factor. I don't mean to offend there, it was a good effort and I'm sure they'll grow into it as time goes on; they were keen to take suggestions from the attendees as to how to improve, which is always good to see.
The problem that I have is, in part, all the changes I've gone through even in the last couple of months since the last quiz. What I want and need from a quiz has changed, and it may be that the Grapes doesn't provide the kind of environment I need to be in in order to nuture my growing interest in the higher end of quizzing. That's not a slight on the venue, it's a reflection on me. If that proves the case, then yeah, I need to address whether or not I'd be better spending my Fridays doing things like studying or working on my blog. I'll monitor the situation going forward, though I'll keep going for now. It might be that I prioritise the Laurie Arms, admittedly, since that one is established and I do have a team there now.
Time will tell, but yeah, this was a disconcerting experience. It was like my favourite food being discontinued, then finding it back on the shelves again - but only a supermarket own brand variety, making it similar but notably worse in most aspects. That's just how I feel, I'm sorry to say.
Result: 52/81 (64.20%), 2nd/7
Week in Summation
This was a much better week than I've had lately. I decided to throw in the Kirkcudbright quiz after discovering that I'd be going to the Grapes again, thus making it a full set of 6 for the first time in a long time, and I loved it! Having felt a bit "off" last week, my mojo seems to be back. I felt strange on Monday, but that strangeness seems to be reinvigoration! 3 wins is superb, and a very rare thing indeed. I even played well in the quizzes I didn't win, for the most part.
Weeks like this are why I do this, at least in part. It was pretty eventful, and for the most part, pretty awesome. I'm definitely hoping for more of the same in the near future!
Total Result: 320.5/458 (69.98%