Sunday, 31 March 2013

A round up and a wee rant

I sit here in the comfort of the oft mentioned Clark sofa, reflecting on what was quite a week, quiz wise. Last Sunday John and I scraped home by a point in the Dyffryn Arms . Then on Monday night we had the finale of the Bridgend Quiz League season. The regular league season finished the week before, but this was the Cup Final and the AGM. In the final we played the Crown A from Maesteg. The lads beat us in our home match in the regular season last year, and very nearly beat us in the away match in the regular season this year, when we only scraped home by a point by answering the last two questions correctly. So they were certainly not opponents to ever be taken lightly. It was a very tight contest, up until the roll up round. The format of the cup means that about two thirds of the way through the contest you get the roll up round where each side gets a set of 5 questions. You can stick after answering any one of them. Get all five right, and you get 2 for each answer and a two point bonus. Get any wrong, and you get nothing. Because we were in the lead, the lads knew they had to go for more answers than we had – and unfortunately they went an answer too far. That meant that we were able to go on and win the contest.

With regards to the AGM, you may have read the post that I wrote a couple of weeks ago about demoralizing other teams. I did raise the issue at the AGM . The teams there assured us that no, they don’t feel demoralized, and if anything the presence of one team who have won the double three years in a row, and have outscored other teams on the majority of weeks in the season acts as a spur, rather than a deterrent. That’s actually terrific – I’d like to think that’s how I’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot. But I still felt it was an issue that I should raise because there had been that comment in the local paper. I think one of the chaps there misunderstood the point I was trying to make, since he made a point of saying that we’re not unbeatable – no arguments from me about that one – and seemed rather annoyed that I’d brought the issue up. Well, I didn’t want to upset anyone, but if you don’t put these things on the table, and you don’t talk about them, then you just don’t know if you have a problem or not. I rest my case, me lud. Whatever the case, I have to say that I think it was a great 40th Anniversary season for the league – many congratulations and thanks to the committee and everyone involved for that.


How do you gauge whether your quiz is going down well or not? It can be difficult to tell. It was my turn again in the club on Thursday. I filled in with 3 quizzes during my stint as de facto organizer while Brian was ill, but he’s back at the helm now, which means that the number of quizzes I have to do won’t be so many now. That’s fine by me. I enjoy being question master and compiling the quizzes, but I’m just happy to fit in as and when needed. Time was that I wanted to do it every week, but as Sam Goldwyn is supposed to have said, we’ve all passed a lot of water since then. Still, as I say, it was my quiz on Thursday. It’s always difficult to gauge how well people have enjoyed it, because people will always tell you they did. They’re polite like that. I do tend to keep an eye on the scores , because people never complain that a quiz is too easy. so if the scores are a little higher than normal, well, that’s not a bad sign at all. If they’re a little lower – well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s lead balloon time, but it’s worth taking note of. I believe that it went down OK. Using the scores as an indicator , the first few rounds were maybe a point or two harder than usual, and the last four rounds a point or two easier, so I think it evened out.


While we’re on the subject of the quiz on Thursday night, if you do a pub quiz with, how should I put it, a more . . . mature clientele, sooner or later you’re going to experience this. You finish your quiz, announce the final scores, congratulate the winners and start to tidy away the papers, and then you see one of the punters approaching the table with a gleam in his eye. This will invariably be a fringe player of a fringe team. You just know that he – for it is invariably a he - is going to take issue with one of your questions. It doesn’t matter how reputable your sources are, or how carefully you checked your answer, he KNOWS his little piece of knowledge and he is going to trot it out in front of you come hell or high water. He doesn’t give a monkey’s that you just don’t CARE. He never even stops to think that you have dedicated several hours of your life to putting the quiz together and then asking the questions all so that he and everyone else can enjoy an evening’s entertainment for which they are not asked to pay even one copper coin of the realm. Nothing is going to stop him putting you in your place. One such pillock approached me at the end of the quiz, a huge grin on his chops like he thought he was doing me a huge favour, and he said,”I’ve got a piece of information for you.”


I’m afraid I was what Basil Fawlty described as “a trifle brusque”. –“Look, “ I said,” they all come out of books. I don’t make them up off the top of my head. If you think the answer’s wrong, I’m sorry, but that’s the answer in the book.” Inevitably he replied that no, he didn’t mind(he did mind) he didn’t blame me (he did) and that he wasn’t complaining (he was), but he wanted me to know the information about that specific question. It’s not uncommon that you get to this point, where your complete lack of interest in what he wants to tell you becomes obvious, that some of them start offering to bring you in evidence to prove their point - passages from books, newspaper clippings, notes from their mum, you name it. Now, the response you want to give when they start doing this in a quiz where the result honestly makes no difference because there are no prizes or points at stake is, “ Look, how sad are you? In case you haven’t noticed. . . I don’t care! You lost by 12 points! It wouldn’t have made any bleedin’ difference! Let it go and leave me alone.” The response you actually give, because you are a moral coward who is scared of upsetting people – well I am, anyway, - is , “Oh, you don’t need to do that. But you have to understand I have to go on the sources that I have etc. etc. “ Which is normally enough to send them away , happy in the knowledge that they have scored some kind of moral victory.

Well, I didn’t exactly do that on Thursday. To be honest I got a little annoyed with the air that the bloke was putting on and just walked away from him as he was getting to the – I’ll bring you a note from my mum to prove it- stage. I know it’s rude, but to be honest, had I stayed I would have said something a lot ruder. Maybe I should just put a notice on the QM’s table saying –"Please don’t try to tell me I have got something wrong after the quiz, because a ‘sod off’ often offends." -

Happy Easter!


Ben Dutton said...

Regarding the last issue Dave - I host two quizzes a week, and at least once a month, in one of them, one of these sorts of people will come to the quiz master's corner to argue their case. I love hearing them out, and then attempting to shoot them down. Sometimes its easy:

This week, the answer was 'Sudan'. Adenoidal Man, as I call him, said in his grating way, "Actually Sudan doesn't exist any more - it is North and South Sudan." Actually, it's not. Case shot down. I sent him home to do his research.

A month or so ago, Adenoidal Man got me on one. I didn't know. I told him, if he was right he could have a bonus point next week. He goes away happy, I spend a few hours researching - and shoot him down the following week. A risky strategy, but as I spend 4-5 hours researching each quiz, the chances of me being wrong are slim - slimmer than Adenoidal Man being right.

Oh, and once it was a woman.

Londinius said...

Hi Ben

With regards to shooting such people down, in my experience someone who wants to argue about a question after the end of the quiz just won't listen to anything you have to say about it anyway. For example . at a quiz in Misgyn a couple of years ago, a woman (actually it is unusual for a woman to do this, in my experience) came up to me and said ,"You know that you said the collective noun for penguins is a rookery? Well, you're wrong."
When I somewhat wearily pointed out that no, I was right, and she was welcome to check in her own time, she came back with,
"I don't need to check. I think I should point out that I'm an English teacher, and I know this sort of thing."
I replied that I too am an English teacher, and believe me it is not an absolute prerequisite to have an expert-level knowledge of collective nouns.
"And, " she continued, oblivious to my tapping foot and the reddening of my face with rising indignation," we come here all the time, and we've been playing in quizzes for five years."
I went to defcon 4 at this one.
"Have you ever seen Mastermind on the telly? Because I won it a couple of years ago."
She looked around to a couple of the other teams, who nodded in confirmation, and then, with the words, "Arrogant tw*t" she turned on her heel and left the stage.

I'm all for taking a quiz seriously, but even for me there are lines that I wouldn't cross.

Ben Dutton said...

Collective noun questions are a bit of a pain I find - a huge number of animals have more than one. As to Penguins, I didn't think they had a collective name.

A Google search throws up this: "At the 4th International Penguin Conference in Chile in September 2000, it was agreed by penguin researchers that they would try to refer to a group of penguins on the land as a "waddle" of penguins and a group in the water as a "raft" of penguins. We hope that these collective nouns will become widely accepted in the near future. They also said that the word ‘rookery’ is no longer used very much."

Nevertheless, that woman was out of line to act in such a manner.