Maybe last week didn’t quite live up to the highs of the previous one quiz-wise, but it made up for it in other ways, and even in narrow quiz terms it certainly wasn’t lacking in interest.
Half term week is now upon us, and I won’t say that I’m extremely sorry about that. My year group for this academic year is Year 11. It’s always a strange time, preparing to say goodbye to a group of children you’ve worked with really closely for four years, and in the last few weeks we’ve had all of the excitement of preparing for their leaving the school, organizing revision sessions, etc. etc. It’s been a busy time. Then, rather out of the blue, during the last week the Head came and asked me to take over as Head of English from the coming September. Given the choice I would have preferred that it hadn’t come about in the circumstances that it has, and it’s really not my place to go into any detail about them, but if I said that I’m not very happy to be taking the job on, and relinquishing my Head of Year post, then I’d be lying. The Governors happened to be meeting later that day, and the appointment was ratified before I went home that evening. I’m sure it’s going to be a steep learning curve, but I’m already really looking forward to it.
Well, that’s all outside of quizzing anyway. As for quizzing, well, I only played in a couple of quizzes last week. On Sunday in the Dyffryn Arms the landlord introduced a sound round to the quiz, with 10 speaking voices to identify. I’m afraid that I’m a bit pants at this sort of thing, and so when that round played out it ended our chances of a win. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all. I won’t be winning it tonight either since it’s my turn to be question master tonight.
On Monday night we were back in the Pill Harriers. When you get out of the habit of going to a quiz like this one you can easily forget what a terrific quiz it actually is. Maybe I’m mellowing in my old age, but even though we didn’t manage to win this time, the fact is that I really enjoyed the quiz. We might have won, but we covered ourselves in shame on the handout. There’s normally between 50 and 60 points available on the list handout, and I’m afraid that we were rubbish on the list of films that won the Oscar for Best Picture which begin with the letter A. OK – we messed it up, but you’ve got to admit, it’s a pretty good question to put in a handout, isn’t it.
As for Thursday, well, since neither Brian nor I was question master we had what passes for a full team. Lemurs, the strongest team in the club, were missing two members, and this gave us our second win in a row – and this is a rare occurrence for us. Alwyn, the QM, used a four part question to end each round, and I’m guessing that this probably exaggerated the margin of victory. What is more worthy of note is that we won the picture quiz. I say worthy of note, because we never win the picture quiz. In fact we never outscore Lemurs in the picture quiz. So I have to make the most of it, because it will probably never happen again.
Do you have a lucky pen? I’ve had a lucky shirt for several years now, but never really a lucky pen. I’d better explain this.
If you’re a regular you’ll know how important Mastermind is to me. Well, three or four weeks ago I saw on eBay (LAM would like to remind you that other internet auction sites are available) that a production assistant who worked on the show in the mid 80s was selling a couple of items she’d picked up during her time working on the show. One of them was a pen. It’s a black ballpoint, which has the BBC logo, and the word Mastermind in the font they used for the titles in the mid 80s. On the cap is a wee silhouette of the chair. I bought the lot, and when it all arrived I bought a new refill, and put it in the pen. I’ve used it for every quiz I’ve played in since, winning 5, drawing 1 and losing 3. Is that enough to qualify it as a lucky pen? Probably not. I’m not quite so sad that I keep a strict record of my wins, losses and draws, but I wouldn’t be that surprised if these results are broadly in line with my results from the pre-pen era. Still, if it does turn out that the pen actually lacks the power to materially influence the results in a quiz, then there’s always the power of the shirt to fall back on . . .