Friday, 24 July 2015

Why Do I Say These Things?

I was back in the question master’s seat in the rugby club last night.  It’s only today that I realized that I’ve been setting quizzes in the club on a regular basis for the last 20 years – I distinctly remember that my first quiz in the club was asked on the first Thursday of the summer holiday in 1995.

This year has been the first year when I’ve put off being QM on anything approaching a regular basis. I don’t want to drag you through the whole litany of work issues and other issues all over again, but suffice it to say that while all these things rarely if ever stopped me from going to a quiz, there were weeks when it was just too awkward to find the time to make a quiz properly.

And I’m sure you know, it does take time to make a quiz properly. I reflected on this last night again. Now, we have some little customs, and whenever Brian or I do the quiz, after round seven we always say – ‘I’ve got a round 8 – if you want it.’ I will admit that last night’s quiz was a little trickier than I often make a quiz for the club, which probably explains why, when I made the traditional announcement – hardly anyone responded. Now, to be fair, I didn’t hear any shouts of ‘NO!’. But even so, I made the comment,
“Oh, thanks for that round of indifference. It makes all the hours I spent putting together a quiz for you worthwhile.” Which, to be fair, got a far warmer reception than the original announcement.

Which means I am a hypocrite, I am afraid. For the fact is – and I have tried hard to stop myself doing this – I am the first and often loudest person to moan in the club when a question setter asks a quiz which is not to my personal taste. I inwardly cringe when I think of some of the comments I just can’t stop myself making – along the lines of : -
‘Oh good, yet ANOTHER entertainment question!’ – and –
‘Why the hell are you asking a question nobody is going to know the answer to –‘ and the ever popular –
‘Question Master – What is etc. etc. etc.?
Me – And more to the point, who cares?’
I don’t know why I do it. Actually I do – it’s because I honestly can’t stop myself. And the ironic thing is that I’ve probably enjoyed the quiz in the club in 2015 as much as any other year I can think of. Finding a bit of form against the Lemurs possibly has something to do with it. I don’t keep a tally of how many wins each team has, but I reckon we’re pretty much neck and neck for the year, which is all the better considering that a significant number of the quizzes we’ve won have seen Lemurs fielding a full strength, or close to full strength team. Wins against a full Lemurs team in the two or three years previous have been as rare as rocking horse droppings.


Nobody ever complains that a quiz is too easy. Well I do sometimes, but nobody not obsessive about quizzes, sensible and well-adjusted does. I say this because while we’re on the subject of question masters and the setting of quizzes, it will soon be my turn to set the quiz for the Fox and Hounds. John and I started attending this one about a year ago. We only go once a fortnight, because we’re always made very welcome, and we want to keep it that way. About two months ago I agreed to a request to do a set of questions. As a rough guide, I thought that if I made it twice as easy as a quiz for the rugby club, then it should be at just about the right level for the regular players. .

Being honest, it didn’t really work. It was too hard for the regular players. I feel a bit sorry about that, but the right attitude in these cases is to invite honest, constructive criticism, and try to take it on board and do better next time.

Well, I tried. Thing is though, even though I made the quiz easier, second time around, it was still too hard for the players. Which gives me a problem, as you can see. After all, I have to ask myself, how easy can I make it before it becomes obvious that I am deliberately ‘ dumbing it down’, for want of a better word? I mean, in my opinion I’m already giving them quiz lite as it is. I'm worried that I'm only maybe one step away from 'I Can't Believe it's Not Harder' , and two steps at most away from insulting their intelligence. Oh well.  It won’t be for a couple of weeks, so I’m going to give it some thought. I’ll let you know how it went afterwards. 

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