Saturday, 25 July 2009

Thursday Night Quiz - Post Mortem

Well, I'm sure that you've been waiting with baited breath to find out how the quiz on Thursday night went, haven't you. Haven't you ? Well probably not, if truth were known. Still it might be interesting to tell you how it went, after disclosing all my compiling secrets last week, and so for no better reason than that, here we go.

One of the observations I made was that I find it works best to set a quiz for the middle-ranking teams . Its a good job that I didn't do one of my harder quizzes. We're in the season when some of the regulars are off taking their holidays, and so some of the teams were thin on the ground. I hope that no one feels insulted when I say this, but Brian, Rob, Terry and I are probably the best individual quizzers who take part in the quiz. I was QM, and both Rob and Terry weren't there. Now in one way that's a good thing, as it hugely increases the chance of one of the other teams getting a rare win, which is always a bit of a special occasion. However it did make Brian's team - which happens to be my team as well - short priced favourites.

This scenario creates a dilemma. You see, if you've ever been in the QMs seat yourself, working with a quiz you've compiled yourself, you'll be aware that it is actually possible to simplify some of the questions as you go along. Here's an example. In its original form as written, one of Thursday night's questions was this : -
The Tour de France moves to a conclusion this coming Sunday. Name the only British Rider ever to win one of the three main jersey competitions.
If you're a follower of the Tour, or regularly watch the ITV4 or Eurosport coverage then I'm sure that you know the answer, since they tend to say it pretty much every other day. Still, when I asked the question, I phrased it more like this : -
The Tour de France moves to a conclusion this Sunday. Only one british rider has ever won one of the three main jersey competitions. In 1982, which scottish rider won the King of The Mountains competition ?
Now admittedly if you know nothing about the Tour, then even that amount of information won't help. But if you do , at least it will tell you to forget about Chris Boardman, or Tom Simpson, and it should help you to remember that Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche were both Irish. The answer is
Robert Millar
Now maybe that didn't help all the teams, but I'm sure that it helped one or two. I'd say that I probably did something similar with about half a dozen other questions. But here's the point. At what point, I wonder, are you starting to patronise the teams ? Its a serious question, since you've already accepted that the quiz is suitable for the mid-range of your teams, which is most of them. I suppose that I can always use the argument that 'no one ever complains that the quiz is too easy ' as justification. Its true down the rugby club, anyway.

As it was I think all of the teams managed to get between the low 50s and the mid 60s, with Brian and the team another 4 or 5 points ahead.

Here's another point, and I have to put my hands up to this one. From a quiz book I took this question : -
Paul Shane, Su Pollard and Jeffrey Holland all starred together in which two sitcoms ?

Lovely ! - I thought. A nice two point question - one point , for Hi-de-Hi, is very easy, and the other point, for You Rang M'Lud, is rather more difficult.
I didn't check the answer. I KNEW that they were all in both.
My problem came when some of the answers came in. Two teams supplied Hi de Hi, but also Oh Doctor Beeching. I had a feeling that I was on a very sticky wicket with this one. I could definitely remember Paul Shane and Jeffrey Holland appearing in it, but I was uncertain about Su Pollard. Since I was uncertain, I couldn't give a point for it. I apologised to both teams, and said that for all I knew they were right, but I couldn't be certain. Of course, when I got home and googled it, they were right. Whose fault is that ? I'll be honest, I haven't checked, but the book I had the question out of could possibly have been written between You Rang M'Lud, and Oh Doctor Beeching. So that wouldn't be to blame. As I said last week - even if you do take care, you are going to make mistakes from time to time.

Clarity - wise I think I did quite well. There was a smaller than usual number of requests for a repeat or for clarification, although this may just be because there were fewer teams, with fewer members than normal. I'm glad to say that potentially confusing questions seemed to work - eg : -
What were the names of the two Women Police Inspectors in the TV Series Juliet Bravo, played by Stephanie Turner and Anna Carteret ? I know that this sounds obvious to say that you should specify whether you want actors' names or charaacters' names, but I've been to many quizzes where similar questions are asked, and its not clear whether the QM wants actors' names or characters' names. There's even been occasions when a QM has told you he ( for invariably it is a he ) wants the actors' names, when the answer is the characters' names, and vice versa. For the record, the two characters were
Jean Darblay (Stephanie Turner) Kate Longton ( Anna Carteret)

One final thought. Here's one of the two point questions I asked, which I did consider changing as I was in the process of asking them, but left as it was.
Which African Countries have the capital cities - a) Banjul - b) Bangui ?

Many of the teams The Gambia as the answer to part a, but I was really surprised when one of the teams had the correct answer to b - Central African Republic.
I was delighted with this, and looked on it as justification for leaving a very tough question in. Until it was pointed out to me later that the team who had the correct answer are famous for keeping an atlas just below their table ! Well, thinking about it I have seen them using books in the past, but I'd prefer to look on this answer as being more due to a sudden flash of inspiration.

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