I’ll take a wee break from my round up of the most recent TV and radio quizzes if I may, because I’d like to tell you about Wednesday evening. I’ve mentioned my son Mike before. The previous Wednesday he’d gone to check out a quiz he heard about, and really enjoyed it. He invited me to go with him and play this Wednesday just gone, and I don’t get to see as much of Mike and Ceri as I’d like anyway, so of course I said yes.
My first inkling that maybe the evening wasn’t going to go as I thought came when I drove into Cardiff to pick my middle daughter Zara up for the quiz. She wanted to come, and so I was to pick her up, then rendezvous with Mike and Ceri at their place. All well and good, except for the fact that the Bute Tunnel was closed. And the problem is – well, I only know my way to Zara’s going via the Bute Tunnel. So I was running late when more by luck than judgement I realized I had just driven past the corner shop at the end of her road. We got to Mike’s even later, mainly because I was so agitated that I kept missing turnings. At least after I got to Mike's all I had to do was follow Ceri in her car.
And follow. And follow. It was after we crossed a junction of the M4 several miles away that I realized we were heading well out of Cardiff. The quiz itself turned out to be in a place called Morganstown. It was in a very big pub called the Ty Nant, and it was absolutely jampacked. Still, we found the only free table, squeezed ourselves around it, and Mike began to explain how this quiz worked.
“It’s like this , Dad , “ he explained, “ You buy a different answer sheet for each round you want to play in. Each answer sheet will have a different configuration of the 25 numbers – yours might have number 5 at the top, and mine might have 13 in the same place. You write the answer to each question in the box with the right number. Then when he gives the answer, the first person to – “
”You mean . . . It’s a bingo quiz ?!” I replied .
I think I should explain my incredulity. You see, one of the original reasons why I started LAM in the first place was because I was at a loose end on the Sunday night I started it since the Dynevor Arms in Groesfaen had just decided to switch from a good, honest, straight pub quiz to a bingo quiz, partly because John and I kept winning the money more often than any other team. The way a bingo quiz works is that the numbers for each answer are spread out on your answer sheet in a grid, 5 by 5. Each answer sheet has the same numbers on it, but not in the same order. You write all your answers on the sheet. When the answers are given out, in random order, if you get it right you can cross out the number. Once you complete a line, you shout out house and win the money. So it doesn't matter even if you have all the answers right, you're going to have a lot of different winners all the time. After we heard this we then and there decided that rather than kill the quiz, we’d stop going in the hope that they’d be able to entice some of the former regular teams back, and haven’t been back since.
Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. We were there, and so we might was well make the best of it, and as I said, I always enjoy Mike and Ceri’s company at a quiz. As it was we played very well. We had 23 out of 25 in the first round, 24 out of 25 on the music round, and 25 out of 25 on the last round. For which we didn’t win one penny, because other people had lines come up more quickly than we did. That’s life. Time was when I was all about winning money at quizzes. Nowadays I rarely play in quizzes where there is a money prize though, and even when I play in a quiz where there is a prize, for example in the Dyffryn Arms on a Sunday night, if I win I don’t often take the prize. In most cases the pleasure of playing in the quiz is prize enough. But I do like to know how I’ve done. If I was a true Corinthian ‘playing just for the love of the game ‘ sort of person, then it wouldn’t matter to me. But I’m afraid it does. I like to know how I’ve done , not just in terms of how many questions I’ve answered correctly, but in terms of how many other teams , if any, outscored me, and by how many points. Which was the real problem I had with this bingo quiz. At the end of each round you knew how many questions you’d answered correctly, but you had no idea how well you’d done relative to any other team. Which I would imagine is actually a positive point for some people, but not for me, unfortunately.
I wouldn’t like to give you the idea that I didn’t enjoy the evening, or wish that I’d stayed at home. I did enjoy it, but this was more due to the fact that Mike, Ceri, and my daughters Zara and Jess were with me than the quiz itself. Having now played in a bingo quiz, I can’t say that my opinion of them has changed drastically. If you play in one regularly, and you enjoy it, then that’s great, and I’ve no wish to say anything negative, other than it’s not for me. It’s just how I feel – and the fact that I got lost on the way home had nothing to do with it.