It’s a philosophical question, I know, but I do feel moved to ask – who owns a pub quiz ? Obviously the person who compiles it. But then what about the landlord or lady in whose establishment it takes place , if this is not the same as the person who compiles the quiz. What about the audience, the people who take part, though ? For that matter, you can even split the audience, into the staunch regulars, and the occasional participants. All of these parties have their own stake in the quiz.
I raise the question because we have a new landlord for my favourite quiz in Cowbridge, which takes place every Tuesday night in The Duke of Wellington. I’ve said this before, but this quiz has had a number of things going for it, namely –
A 40 question quiz, containing a range of questions, including always a lyric question, a guess the year question, and a multiple points question which all teams can expect to score over half marks in , and most teams can expect to get up to three quarters of the marks available.
A 7 question rolling jackpot, separate from the main body of the quiz
A first prize, a second prize and a third prize – usually about £10 – £20
A choice of free sandwiches at half time
A chance to buy raffle tickets in the interval
All this for just a pound each, and another one pound for the team to contribute towards the jackpot. Now, I’m not saying that this was exactly quiz utopia, but for a Tuesday night pub quiz that wasn’t bad.
As is his right, the new landlord has changed the quiz somewhat. Last night’s quiz consisted of 8 rounds of 10 questions each – 2 GK rounds, rounds headed “Robots”, “United Kingdom” , “Cowboys and Injuns” , a picture round on Rugby Union International players ( come on, this IS Wales ) , Phobias, and Food and Drink. Each team was given a joker which could be played on any round other than a general knowledge one. Each point scored on a joker round was automatically doubled up.
Now, if you’re saying to yourself that I will have liked the fact that there were almost twice as many questions as before, then you are absolutely right. I’ve said it before, I’m a straightforward question and answer man, myself. The fact is that if you take all of the rounds together, the level of the quiz was quite a bit harder than before, and once again, if you think that this is something I like you are right. However, its not just about me.
The GK rounds particularly were hard. This is just my opinion, but I think that they were too hard, and too obscure for a midweek pub quiz. If you’re not at least a semi serious quizzer the phobias round probably proved a step too far for most. It’s a fine line I think that you have to tread between not insulting people’s intelligence, and not making them feel inadequate. I think the biggest winning margin we have ever had in the quiz prior to last night was 3 or possibly 4. Even allowing for twice as many questions we won by 13 last night. That’s a little worrying.
On the other hand, the money prizes for 1st 2nd and 3rd have gone. I’m not complaining about this at all. If the quiz last night is anything to go by I’ll enjoy playing in it for no prize at all, let alone the couple of bottles of wine on offer for first place. The Lucky 7 has gone as well. Again, its not that big a deal. Instead, the jackpot goes to a “Winner Takes All “ game at the end of the evening. 3 teams have their names drawn from a hat, and a member from each gets the chance to play the game , along the lines of old Brucie’s not- that- much lamented ITV game show, predicting whether a series of cards will be higher or lower than each other. You have to predict a lot of cards to win, so I foresee the jackpot growing a lot. Its a bit of fun, and I've got nothing against that.
No, probably the saddest thing about the evening was the demise of the sandwiches. You may be surprised to learn this, but I wasn’t actually one of the people calling out for the sandwiches when they failed to appear at half time. I missed them, though.
I hope that people will give the quiz a chance. It’s a very different kettle of fish from what it was, and I can see this putting some people off. I wouldn’t be saying this, but a significant number of teams failed to get even half marks, and from a top score possible of 94 points , we scored over 70, and only 1 other team scored over 60. I just hope that they’ll give it a chance to bed in. Which brings me back to my original question – who owns a quiz ? The landlord says that the new quiz format is one he used with great success in his last pub, and I have no reason to doubt this at all. I only hope that the other teams come to feel the same sense of ownership over it that they did of the quiz in its previous format.