Friday, 17 May 2013

A comeback and a jackpot

Well, I hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve had a busy one, although I certainly can’t say that it’s been a bad one. Last night I was paid a backhanded compliment by Terry of Lemurs – the top team in the Thursday night quiz in the rugby club. “I see that you’re not going senile then.” he said, or words to that effect. Of course he was referring to my less than stellar performance as question master last Thursday, about which the less said the better. Last night, though, I redeemed myself when my team had one of the best comebacks since Lazarus.

The way it works in the club is that you have 8 rounds of (usually) 10 questions, and a handout. The handout might have 30 answers but you only get points for the position in which you come. So when there are 6 teams, the team with the highest score in the handout will get 6 points, and the team with the lowest score will get 1. Now the thing is that Lemurs are very good at the pictures . . . and we’re not. So we know that even on the occasions when we manage to pip them on the questions there’s every good chance we’ll lose out when the picture scores are added on. With two rounds left we were 3 points behind with the picture scores yet to be added on. It was a connections quiz last night, and in round 7 the link which needed to be found was between these answers - Therm - Bath Oliver – Bar Code – the Norse Goddess Hel. If you said – ometers, well in the words of Roy Walker, it’s good but it’s not right. Right at the death inspiration struck, and I said that they can all come after – iso - lines of equal whatever. We were the only team to get that connection, and we wiped out the three point lead on that one round. The next and last round there were two I wasn’t sure of. I zigged correctly, Lemurs zagged incorrectly, I guess, and we ended the questions with a two point lead. Now, me, I’m usually satisfied if we can win the questions but lose on the pictures. But we only scored one less on the pictures, and a rare foray into the W column ensued. Loved it.

Now there’s lots of things I enjoy about quizzing. One of them is going to a quiz I’ve never been to before, discovering that it’s a good, fun little homemade quiz, and if possible winning. A few weeks ago I was invited to go to the Dillwyn in Pontardawe by Brian’s wife Gail, who’d been invited a few times by another friend and had really enjoyed it. The Dillwyn in Pontardawe – now thereby hangs a tale. By coincidence I used to play for the Dillwyn in the now sadly defunct Swansea Independent Quiz League. We moved out of the Dillwyn when they went the way of a lot of pubs in going in for more of a restaurant/hotel sort of thing.

I rang Gail up on Tuesday, full of the joys of Spring having won in Newport on Monday night, but the weather was foul, and she didn’t want to know. Fair enough. I had made up my mind that I was going anyway, and so my daughter Jess (youngest of 4 girls and 1 boy) piped up with “D’you mind if I come, Dad?” To which the answer is always – no, I don’t mind. After all, you never know when they’re going to stick in something about modern music, do you? The pub’s phone was out of action, so I couldn’t get through to them to ask the starting time. Gail told me she thought it was about 8:30. So we arrived at 8:15 to find that the small bar where they held it was packed, and they were already on the 6th question of the first round. Well, we put our money down, and they let us join in, kindly telling us the questions we’d missed at the end of the round.

First round was ‘in the news’ and the second was TV and Entertainment. Then we had a handout with the flags of 10 African countries to identify. Thank you Sporcle – I’ve played that flags game a lot so we did well. In fact at this stage of the game we had a 5 point lead. The third actual round was pop music – 10 songs, point for the singer and point for the song. We managed about 16 points out of 20, more by luck than judgement. The general round fell our way, which left only the second handout. In this one we were given a map of the Shipping Forecast areas, and asked to identify each number on the map. We had a few wrong, but the vast majority right. All of which meant that we won by a comfortable 11 points.

Now, had that been that, and no prizes been handed out, or only a bottle of wine which I wouldn’t drink anyway, then all well and good, it wouldn’t have bothered me at all, thank you very much. But no. Having won the quiz, this qualified us for a chance to go for the jackpot. I’m sure you’ve seen things like this before. You’re given a choice of three envelopes – one has the real jackpot, one has a consolations prize – one has a booby prize. I’m utterly hopeless at this sort of thing, so I told Jess to pick – knowing full well that we would get the booby prize . . . and she picked the jackpot! We won’t exactly be retiring on what we won, but it was a nice end to what had been a terrific little quiz.

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