Right, as trailed at the end of my earlier post, here is a list of my plans for the future of the site – and perhaps for quizzing in Ireland.  I know that probably sounds a bit grandiose but read on. Judge me afterwards.

I drew up this to-do list over the Christmas holidays:

  • Enter the Pioneer Superbrain competition.  Alas this one is already a non-runner.  I got in contact with Michael Keane, Chairman of the Association’s National Leisure Committee, and it turns out that the competition is no longer open to non-members of the PTAA. It used to be open to all comers but the rule was changed in 2009.  Unfortunately, their website hadn’t been updated to reflect this (it will be now).  Anyway, I’m afraid I’m no Pioneer, so that’s the end of this particular road. 🙂
  • Report on Mastermind Ireland. Well, it is happening.  I had a chat with one of the production staff involved in the show. It is due to be filmed during the month of March.  If you were hoping to give it a shot, I’m afraid you’re probably out of luck*.  It’s going to be Celebrity Mastermind.
  • Enter the Scór quiz.  This is happening.  I’ve been in contact with Hugh, the local GAA club’s Scór organiser, and he’s keen on my taking part. It will be happening from mid-February on.  I’ll keep you informed.
  • Host an Irish heat of the World Quizzing Championship. I’ve volunteered to be the organiser of an Irish heat for the World Quizzing Championships.  This event happens in June each year with quizzes taking place in several venues throughout the world on the same day (32 countries last year).  I’d hope to have an event in a central, easy-to-reach location.  Whether that will be Dublin, Athlone or Limerick Junction, I haven’t decided yet. If anyone would like to help out (or take part in the discussion over venues), please mail me at quizmaster@tablequiz.net.
  • Set up an Irish quiz federationOur trip to Bruges last November was put together in a very ad-hoc fashion. We were willing to go and they were glad to have us.  There is no Irish quiz body which can select an Irish team to travel to such an event.  Up to last year, one could have selected one based on the results of the Rehab All-Ireland table quiz.  Alas, that has gone now. So let’s get a group together and fill this vacancy.  A volunteer body which could organise national quizzing championships for both individuals and teams and also nominate (and perhaps even fund, all going well) a team or teams to travel to the European championship. I had figured I’d get the wheels rolling on this right away.  I’ve since reconsidered and now think that perhaps the evening of the Irish heat of the World Champs would be the best time for an inaugural meeting.  Surely, we’ll have more Irish quizzers in the one place that night than on any other?! Again, if you’d like to contribute, contact me on quizmaster@tablequiz.net.
  • Return to the European Quizzing Championship. If things go to plan with the previous point, I guess I’ll have to try and qualify!

* I say “probably” but perhaps I’m discounting the site’s heretofore silent celebrity readership? 😉

Here’s a very quick post with the answers to the questions posted over the weekend in The first cut is the…

I don’t have anything else to tell you… so let’s get on with it!

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The first cut is the…

It’s not often that you can pin down which question in a quiz is the hardest.  Over the course of a few hours, the questions asked at the start of the quiz fade away from your short-term memory, being replaced by their more recent counterparts.

Not so on Tuesday night last, when I attended the weekly quiz night in Gilligan’s, Claremorris.  Question 1 it was.  The very first of what would turn out to be 104 questions.  I doubt anyone in the room got it right.  That said, the team whose answers we were marking did manage to get the first names right so perhaps I’m being quick to judge.

After that, things got considerably easier.  The winning team’s final score of 92 points making this pretty clear.  My team trailed in second, on 88.

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Here are the answers to the (sports) questions posed earlier in the week in Defeat from the jaws of victory.

I’d like to tell you about one more unpleasant thing that happened at this quiz.

A member of a team who are, apparently, in the hunt for victory each year in this quiz copped on pretty early that we were a serious team.  This chap got in to the habit of coming by our table after each round to see how we’d got on.  We were sitting near the bar so I guess he could claim that he was (always) just on his way up for a drink but we thought his intention was clear enough – he was worried about how well we were doing.

Now, whenever I’m doing a quiz I tend to put my phone out on the table.  I don’t think there’s any need to deny that I own a phone.  Also, I’m not doing anything surreptitious with it, so what have I got to hide?  At the midway interval, your man came over to see how we’d got on with the previous round.  We told him we’d definitely missed the Italian scorer in the Premier League question below.  “Are ye sure?” he asked. “Yeah, we’ve just looked up the answer on the phone,” we told him*. He did a very dramatic ‘Tut, tut’ thing and moved on.

Anyway, so what, you’re asking.

Well, after the picture round, when we weren’t at our most ebulient, he arrives over to see how we’ve done.

“We’re out of it” we tell him. “We only got seven of them.”

“Seven?!” he said, his tone indicating that they’d done much better.  “Well, I guess ye couldn’t look them up on the phone.”

What. A. P&:<k.

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Before we get into 2012 on the blog I must tell you all about my very disappointing end to the 2011 quiz year.  Expect the worst and all your surprises will be happy ones, they say.  The opposite of this being that, just when you think you’re doing well, the rug will get pulled out from under you.

And so it was, at the annual Claremorris AFC Sports Quiz, which took place in the Dalton Inn on the Wednesday before Christmas.  RTÉ’s Martin Carney was the host, for reasons I couldn’t fathom.  He added a little glamour to the whole occasion I guess!

It was my first time taking part in the event but I’d heard great things about it.  The questions were said to be of a very hard standard with a great variety of sporting knowledge needed to prosper.  So, being in contention throughout the night before hitting the front after round 8 would be something to be thrilled about, surely?

In quizzing, as in sport, how a result arrives dominates the memory of the result itself. Who’s more happy with a 2-2 draw – the team that lead 2-0 or the team that pulled back the two goal deficit? Yet, they both finished with the same result, didn’t they?

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Bye, bye, Bob

Bob Holness, the host of the 1980s student quiz Blockbusters died last Friday.

My memories of the show are a little vague, to be honest.  This may or may not be dependent on the fact that the British channels didn’t always work in our house during my youth.  What I do remember is: 1. the mascots, 2. I could never understand why it was two versus one (unfair, surely!) and 3. the dance at the end!

Looking at the video above, I can now add the the questions were easy and the hair styles were massive! Funny what you retain, isn’t it?!

Look behind you

Happy new year one and all! Let’s hope 2012 holds as much quizzing fun as 2011 did.  For a final moment though, let’s look back at the highlight of 2011, our trip to the European Quizzing Championships, one last time.  Mike and myself have already had our say.  Now it’s David’s turn.

And so, late to the party I arrive and whether I’ve brought the finest wine or the cheapest bottle of generic vodka will be in the eye of the beholder. The entrées have been provided by John and an intriguing little number supplied by Mike but enough of tortured party metaphors and let us talk of Bruges.

Looking back after this length of time, it is even more obvious to me that there are fundamental failing within Irish quizzing that mean that Ireland as a nation is a long way from ever appearing in the finals of the EQC. John and Mike have made most of the salient points on this issue but there are a couple more I’d like to throw into the mix

I think Mike nailed it on the head by challenging quiz setters to no longer pander to their audience. Something I’ve been accused of more than once is setting table quizzes that are far too hard and I did write half the questions for the supposed quiz from hell (see Don’t work… too hard; however, the shocking round was written by the silent-but-deadly Michelle) but I honestly believe that a) it wasn’t that hard a quiz and b) that making it a quiz where the scores are higher, the central premise of it being a GK quiz, i.e. the display of more general knowledge than your opponents, would have been lost. This is not the Special Olympics, not everyone “can be a winner” so why not accept that and reward ostentatious outbursts of intellectualism?

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Belated Christmas wishes to all the site’s readers.  I hope you had a lovely day and didn’t eat too much!

The blog’s Chinese correspondent, Kieran, pointed me in the direction of a quiz billed as the “world’s hardest”.  It was published on The Guardian’s website on December 22.

Secondary school students on the Isle of Man are obviously very knowledgeable – generally.

From the Guardian website:

Pupils at King William’s college on the Isle of Man have been tormented by its annual general knowledge quiz since 1905. Until 1999, the quiz was compulsory, with 300 pupils aged between 11 and 18 having to answer the 100 cryptic questions in a set time – the average score being two.

So, do you think you can beat a score of two? I glanced through it and I think I’ve got about five but they are cryptic and the answers won’t be announced until the middle of January so even I will have to wait and see.

Check it out at: www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2011/dec/22/king-williams-college-quiz-2011

Here are the answers to the questions posted last week in Now that’s what I call…

I’ll be back later today with a post about a very tough quizzing experience I had last night.

In the meantime, click on the Continue Reading… for the answers.

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Now that’s what I call…

… a Christmas quiz.*

The final quiz of 2011 took place in Gilligan’s, Claremorris, on Tuesday last and, fittingly, it was Christmas themed.

The picture round featured 12 “santas”, there was a round in which we had to name the carols which matched the cryptic clues and we had a round in which the questions were nothing to do with Christmas but the answers were homonyms of things that were.  It was very well done.

I was on the same team for the second week in a row.  That’s right, even though the tables are pulled from a hat, we three (kings) managed to end up together once again.  Thankfully, while we hadn’t been anywhere near winning last week, this time we managed to take home the final prize of the year.

It turns out we know a lot about Christmas.

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