Saturday, 24 April 2010

Quizzing For Their Supper

I think I may have mentioned my son Michael to you before. He’s not a very, very serious quizzer, although he did get to the audition stage for Sport Mastermind a couple of years ago. He’s very good company in a quiz ,though - ‘a hell of an improvement on his old man ‘ as one of my team mates unkindly but fairly put it a while ago. So let me begin to cut to the chase. Mike rang me up to ask if I wanted to go to a quiz in Cardiff with him and his girlfriend last Monday. This faced me with a heartrending decision.OK, so there's no UC or OC on the telly at the moment to keep me indoors on a Monday, but this still left the question - Should I say yes, and go to Cardiff, where the only thing I like about the quiz is Mike and Ceri’s company, and a big cash prize, or should I say no, and go to Newport, where there is a much better quiz in the Pill Harriers Rugby Club, set by the incomparable Trevor Parry ? In the end I did the honourable thing, and went to Cardiff for the cash.

To be fair Mike and Ceri do live in Cardiff, where he works and she studies, so I don’t get to see anything like as much of them as I’d like. So missing out on Newport was no great hardship. Not only that, but Mike has made it perfectly clear to me that if we go and win , then their share of the cash pays for their week’s shopping. Now what kind of dad would I be if I ignored that ?

So let me set the scene for you. It all takes place in a fairly big pub, not right in the centre of Cardiff, though, and it offers an extremely generous £100 first prize every Monday evening. No, in case you’re wondering, I’m not going to reveal the name of the place. I don’t want the other teams’ ranks being unnecessarily swollen with serious quizzers for the next time that Mike invites me down, thanks all the same. I do wonder how they can afford to give away this kind of a prize week in week out, though, when its only a pound per team member to enter. I had a quick count up, and although there were a lot of teams playing, and some quite big ones too, I didn’t make the number of players anything like 100. It was a fairly well attended night, too. The previous time we went before that , about 4 weeks ago, there can’t have been more than abut 30 people playing.

Why am I going on about this quiz, anyway ? Well, its just that I had something of an epiphany - albeit a rather bijou, small scale, low rent epiphany. You see, I don’t normally like picture quizzes. There, I’ve admitted it and come clean. I know full well that they are a legitimate part of pub quizzing, and I know that many regular players enjoy picture rounds very much, and are very good at them, and if you’re one of these people I say jolly good luck to you. I don’t like them, but as always you are very welcome to disagree. Now, at this particular pub we go to, I am afraid to say that a certain amount of phone cheating has gone in the past.Teams have been told off for it, and words have been said. Not just by nasty, suspicious old me, I hasten to add.Its an insidious thing though, and there’s no guarantee that you’re not going to be tucked up by it sooner or later. Still there we are, if the question master is happy with the way that some of the teams go about their business on a particular evening, then I might not like it, but I haven’t a lot of choice other than shutting up and getting on with it. If you don’t like the way a quiz is run, then you don’t have to play in it, I do understand. On Monday night, then, the picture round contained a number of old film stars from the 40s and 50s, and even old politicians. There might be a way of cheating on picture rounds using a mobile phone, but if so, the teams playing on Monday night haven’t found it. So, while some teams scored a rather suspicious 51/51 on the questions to our 49/51, none of them managed more than 14/20 on the handout, and our 18/20 on the pictures proved unbeatable, and, hooray ! - Mike and Ceri could afford to eat last week ! So if I ever go off on a rant about picture rounds again, you all have my permission to call me a hypocrite, and remind me about this posting.


Unknown said...

I have to agree wholeheartedly. I only now play pub quizzes where I am confident that we will be on a level playing field - usually only Nic Paul's excellent Sunday quiz in Harpole. Also, I struggle with picture quizzes. It is bizarre - I'm a police officer and many of my colleague have excellent memories for faces. Tell me who someone is and, more likely than not, I'll give you all the details of when our paths have crossed.

Londinius said...

Hi Chris

Thanks for your comments. I do think that the majority of quizzes I go to are 'clean' for want of a better word. However, when you go a quiz, which has a decent if not hugely challenging range of questions, and you find several teams of people in their late teens or early twenties all managing massive scores, then you can't help wondering whether you have stumbled upon a well of undiscovered talent, or much more likely, whether something fishy is going on.

I'm ok with old sportspeople/politicians/film stars/writers on pictures. I really struggle with pictures of anyone - especially women - in their twenties and younger.