Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Catching Up

OK, well that’s enough about Olympics – as wonderful as these games have been. What about things even closer to home ? My last post before today was last Tuesday. Now, there’s been a certain amount of debate over who actually said the quote I’m going to use. I heard that it was independent Hollywood film producer David O Selznick, but other sources give it as professional gambler and card sharp ‘Canada’ Bill Jones. Well, whoever said it was once seen by a friend playing a game which he knew to be rigged . Upon being warned that the game was fixed Selznick/Jones replied “I know, but it’s the only game in town. “ It was in the same kind of mood as this that I played in a quiz last Tuesday. Now, I don’t go out of my way to deliberately upset people, so there’s no need to mention the name of the pub. Suffice it to say that I’ve played there on a Sunday night before and been amazed at the brazenness with which people have used their phones during the quiz. But, you know, I just wanted to play in a quiz.

I took my middle daughter Zara with me. The quiz , a Redtooth, had a very Olympic flavor to it, and this was very much to my liking. The last question was a ‘Who Am I ?’ type question . You know the sort of thing. 5 clues are given – if you get it on the first you get 10 points, 8 on the second etc. The first clue was something along the lines of – ‘ A sportsman – I was born in Dayton Ohio in 1955.’ I was pretty certain that this had to be Ed Moses, so we took the full gamble. Nobody else did. In the end we dropped 7 points all night, finishing with 53. To be beaten by a team which outscored us by a half point ( horrible guess the year questions – half point if you’re within 2 but not spot on. ) Bearing in mind that the most they could have had for the gamble was 8 points, that means that they only missed 4 and a half in the rest of the quiz. What do I know ? Maybe they were playing fairly and it was all kosher and above board. In which case my advice would be for them to take up quizzing seriously, because that was a hell of a performance.

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Well, that was Tuesday. Dai Norwich was QM at the Rugby Club on Thursday. Two points of discussion for me arose from this quiz. The first one was a question he asked – and I’m really sorry, but from the distance of these few days I just can’t remember what it was – which nobody gave the correct answer to. When he gave the answer he said words to the effect of “Nobody got this one right – I didn’t expect anyone to. “ Both Brian and I burst out with ‘What the hell are you asking it for , then ? ‘ – at exactly the same time. Don’t misunderstand my point here – I sometimes ask questions which are not correctly answered by any of the teams. But it’s not deliberate. I often reject questions because I think that there is no chance of any of the teams being able to answer them. However I do ask things which I think are difficult , but it’s quite possible that someone in one of the teams might be able to answer. I’d like to think that there is a difference . I don’t always achieve this, but I try to stick to the principle when I’m compiling a quiz that I want people to have the chance to show how much they know – I don’t want to ram home to them how much they don’t know.

The other interesting thing about the quiz was that Dai gave each team the chance to play a joker on one of the rounds of their choice. You could answer the questions, and then decide whether to play it or not, rather than having to play it before the start of the round. I don’t mind it as an occasional gimmick, but I have to confess that I’m a bit of a boring old traditionalist at heart, and the thing about using jokers is that it does mean that in a tight quiz a team might actually lose despite having answered more questions correctly than the winning team. Still , variety is the spice of life, and I have to put my hand up and admit that I have actually done a joker quiz in the club myself before now.

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So to Sunday. It was Sylvia setting the quiz in the Dyffryn Arms , and she came up with a very interesting idea indeed. There are always five rounds of ten questions in the Sunday night quiz – three rounds in the first half, and two in the second. Sometimes there’s a handout, usually pictures, and sometimes there’s not. Sylvia explained that in the quiz the questions in each round would be harder than the previous round. So Round One would be very easy, and Round Five would be so difficult that each of the questions in the round would be worth 2 points. Some of the questions in some of the rounds were multiples. An interesting format.

At the halfway stage John and I were joint leaders with some friends of ours who often play with Brain of Britain runner up Rob, although he wasn’t there this time. Neither of our teams dropped a point in the first half. However in the second half the last round did the damage. We outscored them by 5 answers, I think, which actually translated into a 10 point win, which rather flattered us. I certainly thought that it was a brave choice of format to go with . This is just my opinion, and as always, please feel free to disagree, however in my experience it always seems that the harder a quiz gets, the more it suits the more serious quiz teams. Maybe this was Sylvia’s intention, and whatever the case I’m very grateful for it.

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Looking ahead to tomorrow, it’s my turn to be question master in the rugby club- lack of appropriate remuneration notwithstanding ( see my post of 29th July – How Much is a Pub Quiz Worth ? ) . The temptation to go all Olympic is huge, but I haven’t. I’ll probably eke out the Olympic questions over the next couple of months. What I have decided is to risk public ire by not providing a picture handout. We’ll have something different on Thursday. I know that people love the picture rounds – Heaven alone knows why because personally I can’t stand the damn things – but love them they do, and so it’s only rarely that I’ll use something else. But what the hell. Variety is the Spice of Life, so they say ( although I always thought it was paprika, myself. )

7 comments:

dxdtdemon said...

I am extremely impressed that you remembered Edwin C. Moses at all, let alone by his birthplace. I wonder if that quiz appeared at the restaurant here in the Dayton area that has "British-style quizzing", and how many people would be kicking themselves if they didn't get it on the first clue. There is an Edwin C. Moses Boulevard here that takes people from Interstate 75 to the University of Dayton.

Londinius said...

Hi dxdtdemon
Well, thanks ! I ought to add that I am a massive track and field athletics fan, and as you know Ed Moses is simply one of the greatest of all time. I knew he was 21 when he won gold in Montreal in 1976, and I knew he was born in Ohio - so it was a little bit of a no brainer.

Watergrass Jon said...

I agree with you about picture rounds – never liked them, didn’t like setting them, never was very good at them - but I was always told they were the most popular round. Some people use to do the quiz JUST for the picture round. Occasionally I used to vary it with a different kind of table round, to be pondered during the break. Variations included “Name the next in a series” , “Name the top 5 of …” “Complete the Set”, conumbrums, cryptic clues, anagrams etc. With picture rounds I either themed it (Landmarks, sports trophies, Sirs and Dames, birds, country outlines) or more recently a mixture of people, places, object, badges, flags and so on. It’s always the round that takes me longest to devise, and I always leave it until last.

Dave Bill said...

Guaranteed to come up in Olympic Quizzes.

The Bulgarian 400m hurdler who fell at the first: Vania STUMBLDOVA

Name of the dressage horse ridden by the German runner-up: DAMON HILL

Londinius said...

Thanks Dave - that's two of next week's In The News Questions !

LisaH said...

I hate picture rounds. Usually the local social club quiz has a picture round worth 20 points - recently a music round has been incorporated too so that's 30 points I can't help much with. Last time they had Dingbats instead and no music round and we won easily for once - I've asked for this to be a regular feature but I was outvoted.

Watergrass Jon said...

There was also an American showjumper called "Rich Fellers" - I guess they pretty much have to be.