Friday, 28 October 2011

Missing the right news

For quite a while now , in a very small way, its been as if the ‘quiz gods’ have been mocking me. Allow me to explain.

If you’re a regular reader, then you’ll know that I ‘do the papers’. Well, the paper ( singular) anyway. Doing the papers means setting aside a little portion of your day to trawl through the newspaper, looking for things which could make up ‘in the news’ questions. Its not uncommon to find between a dozen and fifteen a day. These are what I use for my weekly ‘in the news questions’. And if you’re waiting for the answers to the last set, and for the questions in the next set, then you only have a day to wait, as I’m planning to post them tomorrow morning.

Years ago I was told by my late friend and mentor Allan Coombs just how important and effective it is to do this. It is to my shame that I either took this with a pinch of salt, or more likely just couldn’t be bothered to put it to the test for more than two decades. Still, there is more joy in Heaven over a sinner that repenteth, and so forth.

If nothing else, its made it a hell of a lot easier to get “in the news” questions for my own quizzes in the rugby club. For one thing, it means that I don’t just include news questions about things that have happened in the day before I compiled the quiz . Its not just that, though. You know that I don’t only play in the rugby club every week. I play in at least another two during the week, and if nothing else it gives you confidence to feel that you’re well prepared on the news, and unlikely to be caught out badly if the question master has chosen to use that as a category.

Now we come to the mockery. In the rugby club, when I’m playing in anyone else’s quiz, I somehow almost always manage to avoid the news questions when the setter of the week asks them. I don’t know how I manage it, yet I’d say that on average, 5 out of the 8 questions will be on things I just haven’t seen in the paper. Heaven alone knows how I have managed to do it, but if you only saw my performance in the news questions in the rugby club, you’d say that all of the ‘work’ had done me no good whatsoever.

Fast forward to last night. There were just the three of us playing- myself, George and Dennis. For the first time in weeks Lemurs, the other very good team in the quiz, had a full complement of players – Claire, Gail, Terry and Rob. A quick digression here if I may. Rob has been ill for several weeks – he missed the CIU finals in Derby, and so it was lovely to see him back in action last night. Glad to see you back, Rob. Returning to the theme, then, you could say we were up against it last night. As it happened, we did lose, but only on the picture handout. We fell behind on the questions, then drew level, then fell behind, then went ahead going into the last round. With a one point lead, a full house would bring a win on the questions. No chance ! And the worst thing was the question which did it for us was one I had heard before, but just couldn’t remember the answer to. Oh well, a draw on the questions is better than a loss.
Still, the silver lining to this was that, at last, I knew the answers to the news questions. Which was brilliant . Mind you, 4 of them had been penciled in for my quiz at the club THIS week. Such is life ! If it means that I am at last getting myself ‘tuned in’ to the news questions from the club, then it’s a small price to pay.


Paul Steeples said...

One of the things I like about TV and radio quizzes is the lack of ephemeral news questions (simply because they'd be completely stale by the time the programme went out). I know people who comb The Week from cover to cover looking for stories which will come up in quizzes, and respect to them. But I'm afraid that to me, a quiz is a test of what you know, rather than what you can learn, and that's the way I want to stay...

Londinius said...

Hi Paul

I tend to agree about broadcast quizzes. I also never used to try to learn things specifically for quizzes. The only thing is that once I actually started doing the papers - and I won't lie, even now I can't be bothered to use more than 2 newspapers a day at most - once I actually started doing it the whole thing became a challenge - could I 'spot' the questions which were going to come up any given week , and thus 'beat' the qm by knowing the answer. Sad and pathetic, I know.Guilty as charged.