So Farewell, then , Culverhouse Hotel -
I believe that it was in "Othello" that William Shakespeare wrote of jealousy as " the green eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on. " Mind you Shakespeare also wrote 'Titus Andronicus', which proves that he wasn't always half as clever as people think that he was. However, I digress. Gentle readers, as good quizzers yourselves, which I am sure that many of you are, you'll be fully aware of the occasional jealousy that a virtuoso display can arouse in other teams. Alas, last night this turned rather ugly.
If you've been with me since the summer, then you'll be aware of the difficulty I found trying to find a good Sunday evening quiz. The nature of the problem was twofold. Firstly, I don't like Redtooth Quizzes. For the uninitiated, Redtooth are a private company that produce quizzes for pubs and clubs. I don't like them, but they are popular, and if you play in them regularly and you like them, then good luck to you. Unfortunately for me, a significant number of pubs and clubs within a reasonable travelling distance subscribe to Redtooth, so finding a home grown quiz of a halfway decent standard on a Sunday evening can be quite difficult. This problem is complicated by the fact that we really need to have two different quizzes we can go to on a Sunday, so that we can alternate between the two, making sure that we never win any quiz more than once a fortnight.
We hit something close to the jackpot when we found the Culverhouse Hotel in Cardiff. You pay a pound each for a decent quiz, made up of 40 questions and a handout. 4 questions are 3 point multiples, and you play the joker on a round of your choice to double your score for that round. Then after the quiz its a pound each for the chance of the jackpot on a single name the year / guess the number question - closest to the correct answer scoops the pot. As regards the prize money for the quiz itself, well it covers your petrol and a round of drinks, but no more, but that doesn't matter. Its a bit of fun.
Last night was the first time we had played there for three weeks, actually. We left it a week longer since last time we played there we won the quiz and Phillippa scooped the jackpot, so we thought that we'd better give them a bit longer to get over it. Apparently 3 weeks was nothing like enough. This is what happened. We were joint winners of the quiz, with another team, who shall remain nameless in order to protect the guilty. So there was a tie break.
"Name the year in which the RNLI was first formed " asked our genial host. Immediately John, the King of the Tie Break , wrote down the answer 1824. The other team answered 1820. Of course it was 1824.
I think at this point that I should explain something. This quiz is a little unusual in that the QM reads through all 4 rounds without a break. Then he allows something like 15 minutes before asking you to swap over your papers for marking by another team. Now, the problem with this is that it is something of a cheat's charter. We saw several other teams immediately start texting on their phones, one of which, I have to say, was the team who tied with us. They were a team who quizzed standing up at the bar, a group of 20-and 30-something men who , I have to say, were somewhat the worse for drink, and did not fit your stereotype image of a successful pub quiz team. Not neanderthals, no, but certainly a team who managed to exude a bit of an aura of menace. They were incensed by our win, and called the QM over.
He came over to our table, and basically accused us of cheating. Of course, my daughter had just taken her phone out at that point, and was in the process of texting, and he leapt on this. At first I couldn't help laughing - until I realised that he was serious . Then I quickly went through surprise, shock, frustration, then extreme being-peed-off-ness, and I am afraid to say that I rose to the challenge. I explained that the phone had come out after the tie break - and pointed out that he himself had seen nothing, otherwise he would have done so when he presented us with the prize money. I then pointed out that the other team would not have even got into a tie break with us if they hadn't been texting for the whole of the 15 minutes before handing over. He backed off a little bit, but used the morally bankrupt argument that everyone ( except us ! ) used their phones a bit during the quiz, but it wasn't right in a tie break. He didn't ask for the prize back though.
After that I don't think anything would have persuaded John to go back to the Culverhouse Hotel again. However there was a particularly nasty incident just before we left. I had to pass the other team involved on my way to the Gents, and one of them made a point of calling me a * * * * ing cheat. Did I mention what shining wits they were ? Or is that a Spoonerism ? I know that the right thing was to maintain my dignity and not answer, and I didn't respond at all. Hence I am in one piece, as is the rest of my team, and we are not banned from the Culverhouse Hotel. Well, not in so many words, anyway. But we'd be very foolish to go back. Yes, we've done nothing wrong, and yes, the other team involved acted in a childish, threatening and frankly hypocritical fashion. At the end of the day, though, that doesn't make a lot of difference. If we went there again, we'd be looking for trouble.
I suppose that if I were a better person I'd be able to look at all this from the lofty perch of my own moral superiority and laugh it off. I'm not a better person , though. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.