Sunday, 23 July 2017

Making it easy

I’ve never deliberately tried to ‘scupper’ a team’s chances when I’ve compiled a quiz. For one thing, I would imagine that it’s a far harder thing to do effectively than you might think. For another, though, it goes against the principle which I think should guide you whenever you compile a quiz, You’re not in competition with the teams, no. Any fool can go on the internet and come up with 80 questions which most teams would struggle to answer. What’s the point in that? What you should be trying to do is to produce a quiz which will give as many people as possible an evening’s entertainment. If you stick to this aim, then you’ll have some better quizzes, and some worse quizzes, but by and large you won’t go far wrong. 

I mention this because it was my turn to compile the quiz for the rugby club on Thursday. As it turned out, Thursday was also a red letter day in another way, being the last day of this school year for the good people of my school. Now, I could have told you the result of the quiz before we played. When I’m playing, there are normally just two quizzes really contesting things, my team, and Lemurs, the best team in the quiz. When I play, sometimes we win, more often Lemurs win. When I’m not playing, if Lemurs are there, they win. 

Now, nothing was going to change that, and I’d be a fool if I even thought about manipulating the result. Now sure how I could do it even if I wanted to. But as I was compiling the quiz, I did want to try to make the gaps a little narrower – to give the other teams at least a chance of getting decent scores of their own. The obvious way to do that is to make it easier. Yet, although nobody ever complains that a quiz is too easy, I don’t really think that anyone wants a quiz full of everyday, easy questions. So the answer I came up with was this.

I often use connections in a quiz – three or four questions, where the questions are unconnected, but a link can be made between the answers. Well, this time in each round the first question was a news question, but after that questions 2 – 9 were all connected by their answers, with question 10 being the connection itself. 

So how well did it work? Generally the scores were a lot higher than they normally are when I compile the quiz. Hopefully the teams enjoyed it, but there’s no point me asking, since none of them would tell you to your face even if they hadn’t. They’re nice and polite like that. Lemurs always have a double figure lead over the second place team when I compile the quiz, and this was the first time that their lead over the second placed team stayed within single figures.

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