It’s 25 years since I became a born again quizzer, being asked to play for the Neath Workingmen’s Club in the Neath Quiz League. I remember Peter, my captain, during that first season being surprised when I got something wrong. I can’t remember what it was, but I remember his comment – which was along the lines of he was surprised I got that one wrong because I was (in his opinion) such a good ‘lists’ quizzer.
I want to stress that I have only rarely ever deliberately learned lists for quizzes. I know that this may come across as playground boasting of the “I didn’t do any revision for that test’ variety, but it’s true. I’m not bragging, I’m just interested in lots of things, so, for example, if I watch the FA Cup Final every year, then I’m going to remember that Everton beat Watford in 84, lost to Man U in 85, and then Liverpool in 86 – and I’m not even an Everton supporter. Still, it is a fac that learning, and remembering lists can stand you in good stead in quizzes.
I mention this because I’ve been watching a quiz called Tenable in the last few weeks, and this is a quiz which is all about lists. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s hosted by the extremely likeable Warwick Davis. Each show tests just one team. In each round, one team member is asked to complete a top ten list on a variety of topics. So, for example, you might be asked – Name the top 10 most borrowed authors from British libraries in 2019. Well, you might be, although you’re more likely to get a popular entertainment kind of question, but you get the point. If you add five correct answers you can add money to your prize fund, and go through to the final round. The team captain can overrule you on an answer, and you can nominate someone else to give an answer. You can get one wrong. Get another wrong, and you ‘re out of the game. Last to play is the team captain, who can’t be out, and can choose to buy back team members instead of adding to the prize fund. The prize game is another board, where all ten answers have to be provided. Wrong answers eliminate players.
Hmm, that sounds quite complicated doesn’t it? It’s actually not when you watch it. One thing that it has done is to convince me that either I’m not a great list quizzer any more, or that I wasn’t ever a great list quizzer in the first place. I mean, it’s very, very rare that I can’t get at least five on a given list before making any kind of mistake, but it’s equally rare that I get all ten on the list. Yes, I know that I’m at the very least semi- retired from quizzing, but I’ve still got my pride.