Friday, 20 February 2009

Finishing with Newport

Well, its been half term this week, and so I have had a little bit of extra time on my hands. Since Sunday I've played in 4 quizzes, with a record of 2 wins, one second place, and, shame though it is to admit it, a last place. Lets deal with that one first.

I've discussed the Monday night quiz in Newport in this blog on a few occasions before. If you've read any of these you'll know that my bugbear with this quiz is the fact that the QM uses handicaps to supposedly counteract the ability gap between the teams. For me this came to a head on Monday night. Firstly the QM changed his mind, and a good team who were capable of beating us without any handicap had their head start upgraded from 0 to 4 points. Everyone except for us was given a head start. What made it all so unpalatable was that the handicaps bore no relations to the standard of quiz that was actually asked. There are times when the standard of questions that are asked will give the best teams the possibility of overcoming those teams who are given a 15 - 20 point head start. Then there are times when he standard of questions gives you no chance. What gets me is that the QM seems to have no conception of this at all. Monday night's wasn't a good quiz, and in each round of 20 there were 16 or 17 questions so easy that all the teams would get them right, and 3 questions so difficult that if you managed to get one of them you were doing really well. So I've come to the decision that I'm going to give this quiz a miss for a while from now on. Every week I whinge about it all the way home now, and I'm still angry about it on a Tuesday, so its better off to leave well alone, I think. I've chatted to Barry and Alan about it, and laid my cards on the table, and I'm glad I went on Monday rather than leaving them in the lurch. At least now they've got time to make up their own minds what they want to do.

Sunday, then, was the Culverhouse Hotel. We'd never lost this quiz before Sunday night. As it was it couldn't have been much closer. We lost by 71 points to 72. To use the vernacular, I think we've been rumbled. We're not very good at picture quiz handouts. Up to now every handout has been a written one requiring some amount of knowledge, rather than facial recognition. In terms of team size, when it comes to picture quizzes bigger is very often better, and the two of us were beaten by a team of 8 or 9 people. I think we've made our mark though, as there was a massive cheer when it was announced that we'd been beaten. That's fair enough. If you didn't lose now and again, then you wouldn't get so much pleasure from winning. I just hope they don't realise that it was the pictures that proved our achilles heel. I wouldn't put it past the QM to use pictures every week from now on if he does.

Tuesday night was Cowbridge. I only go to this once in a blue moon, because its a bit of a journey, and its a little irresponsible for me to be doing more than one midweek quiz during term time. But then it is half term this week, and so that proved no obstacle. Its a good quiz, 40 questions and a bonus jackpot round. We messed up 2 questions on football managers in the lower division of the English League, and another two on other things, to score 43 - some of the questions carried more than one point. This score was matched by two other teams, so it was announced that there would be a tie break. I smiled, since I knew that my quiz partner, the mighty Davies, is the King of the Tie Break. My daughter Phillippa and I sat back , and left it to John.
"In which year was Coca Cola invented ? "
was the question. John immediately jotted down 1884, and strolled over to hand it to the QM. Actually, he was one year out, since its 1885, but it was still close enough, and we got another one to add to the win column.

On Wednesday I wanted to go to the cinema to see "Slumdog Millionaire". However my local cinema only had it on once a day , the late showing. Mary didn't want to come with me, neither did Phillippa. Now, if it had been earlier in the day, then I would have gone on my own anyway. But going alone to the late showing like Billy No-Mates just wasn't on. And I am fully aware that when its written down on the page that appears even more sad and pathetic than it felt at the time.

Yesterday brought a phonecall from Andrew Pugh, of the Neath Port Talbot Guardian. He's been reading the blog - so you see, you are in good company. They're thinking about doing a follow up article . So we had a very pleasant conversation for a while. One thing he'd picked up on was the entry I made about the tie break in a quiz in the Haywain a few weeks back . He was interested in the idea that there are facts - like the fact that there are 336 dimples on a golf ball - that the average person on the street wouldn't know, but a regular quizzer would, and he asked if I could send them some. So I sent him these five : -

) Which actor, who played the villain in a Bond film, was actually a cousin of Bond's creator, Ian Fleming ?
(Answer - Christopher Lee, who played Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun )

2) Which rank in the Royal Air Force is equivalent to a Major in the Army and a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy ?
(Answer - Squadron Leader )

3) In the Bible, who or what killed a quarter of the world's population ?
(Answer - Cain , who killed his brother Abel when there were only 4 human beings )

4) In which part of the UK are cars banned ?
(Answer - the Island of Sark , in the Channel Isles )

5) FA Cup. Sunderland did it in 1979. Villa did it in 1981. Who did it in 1980 ?
( Answer - ALAN Sunderland scored the winner in the final in 1979 - RICKY Villa did it in 1981 - so the answer is Trevor Brooking, who scored the winner in 1980 !)

Then yesterday evening was the quiz in Aberavon Rugby Club. I haven't lost a quiz there this year yet, although its bound to happen soon. The only 2 quizzes that my team has lost in 2009 were the ones where I was question master ! We looked to be in trouble since there were only three of us. Not only that but our main rivals, the Lemurs had both of their very good quizzers in their team last night. In my experience, if you have one very good all rounder in your team, and none of the others teams do, then you're favourites to win. Well, we had one in our team - yours truly ( arrogant, I know ) . However Lemurs had two - which made them the favourites. It was nip and tuck all evening, all square going into the last round, but we eked out 2 points more than Lemurs did. Even allowing for the fact that they got a point back on the picture handout, that still gave us a 1 point win.

That, thinking about it, is what its all about for me. We won a few bob for second place on Sunday, and a bit more for winning on Tuesday, but that meant nothing compared to the satisfaction of winning a good quiz, against a very good team.

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