Withington Pub Quiz League

QUIZBIZ - 18th May 2016


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As the evening got underway Roddy consulted the Team Captains to solicit their views on a number of issues.

See Team Captain Consultation below for a summary of what was said.

Compulsory Mantis Shrimp won the vote for Question of the Season;

'Dr O'Neil Reunited' (a mash up of Ethel Rodin and The History Men) squeaked home in the evening's quiz

Another excellent End of Season evening at the Albert Club!

Hoards of Liverpool fans in the back lounge watching the Europa Cup Final, and Ladies Tennis teams trooping in and out, could not dull our ardour as we were royally entertained by Dunker Barry with an eclectic mix of questions that taxed our grey matter.  As befits the heritage of our league it was a team formed from a mash up of Red Lion teams past and present (The History Men and Ethel Rodin) masquerading under the soubriquet 'Dr O'Neil United' that walked off with the evening's honours.  They were closely followed by The Opsimaths who, through judicious use of their Joker, ended up just 3 points adrift of the winners.  Compulsory Mantis Shrimp checked in in third place.

At the midway point Barry summed up the season in glowing terms emphasising the greater competitiveness our league has acquired in the past few years with at least half the teams in with a realistic chance of honours each year.  He was also pleased that the recent efforts to get our matches finished between 10pm and 10.30pm and avoid the drift towards 11pm that has crept in over the past few years, has paid off - and without too much heavy-handedness on the part of the QMs.  His one slight regret was the inexorable spread of the themed round.  Lately we have had papers where 6 or 7 of the rounds have carried a theme.  Perhaps, he suggested, we could use our ingenuity to fashion other types of rounds to counterbalance the spread of themes.

As in previous years the 'Question of the Season' was voted for during the evening from amongst the 30 Questions of the Week nominated on the website during the season.  The results were as follows:






Compulsory Mantis Shrimp

The title of which Beatles song, also covered by the Carpenters and released on the album Help! may have referred to cards indicating a clean bill of health carried by Hamburg prostitutes in the 1960s?

Ticket to Ride


The Charabancs of Fire

Father Megson recently tried to excommunicate a quiz player from the Griffin.  Unfortunately he misread the instruction manual.  He managed to find the two ex–Manchester City players he thought he needed for the ceremony but was unable to contact their ex–manager who had recently died in Liverpool.  Which two players and manager did he mistakenly think he needed?

Bell, Book and Kendall


The History Men

According to raconteur Peter Ustinov when Charles de Gaulle resigned as French President in 1969 he and Madame de Gaulle gave a brief conference to the English press at the Elysee Palace.  Madame de Gaulle was asked what she most looked forward to now that de Gaulle had stepped down.  “A penis” she replied with a smile.  There was an embarrassed hush.  De Gaulle turned to his wife.  What did he say?

“The word in English is pronounced 'Happiness'”

Mantis Shrimp happened to win the 'Question of the Season' award last season (under the guise of their previous title 'Compulsory Meat Raffle') so we'll see if they can make it a hat-trick of setting triumphs this time next year.

So - done and dusted.  I'll put the website to sleep - not the Peggy Mitchell permanent sort of slumber, you understand - but a mere touch of aestivation, because come late September we'll arouse ourselves and do it all over again.  Have a great summer!

In the mean time if you want to see a few photos to prove to those at home that you really were at the Albert Club click here

Team Captain Consultation

Here is Roddy's summary of the views expressed by Team captains....

"1. Match Timings

Only one of the captains was in favour of strict adherence to timekeeping rules.  All the other captains were keen to finish matches earlier but thought that this should be achieved through a combination of self-discipline and the QM curtailing conferring where necessary.  One team captain suggested that the first half should be pushed on so that in the event of a close finish there was plenty of time to allow for more conferring towards the end of the match.  My own view is that teams can always start earlier than 8.30 to ensure a punctual finish.  I was reminded by players who took part in the league in its formative days that matches began at 7 o'clock with a 9 o'clock finish!

2. WIST Cup

All teams are happy with the present format.  It was suggested that it would be better if more than one team from Stockport could put up some resistance as in the last couple of years both halves of the competition have been dominated by teams from our own league.  Perhaps we should ask the Stockport league as to their views on the WIST competitions.

There was some discussion about whether the format of the WIST matches favoured our league or whether there was a difference in strength between the 2 leagues.

3. Cup handicaps

All teams were happy with the present handicap system used in our end of season Cup competitions, except for Tony, who suggested that the handicap should only be calculated on performances in the second half of season (i.e. matches post Christmas) as this better reflected a team's strength going into the Cup matches.  One captain suggested a different format to the competition with the first 6 teams in the league at the end of the season playing off for the Val Draper Cup whilst the bottom 5 contested The Plate.

4. New members

As was expected no one had a solution for gaining new teams.  It was thought unlikely that a complete team would present itself.  Mike O'Brien had heard that people were put off by our format whereby we pose questions to individuals (most other leagues confer their questions from the outset).  It was suggested that the most recent Manchester University University Challenge sides might be invited to put forward teams.  I put this to the Mantis Shrimps and one of their members said that he would  make contact to propose this.

In fact, there has been an influx of new members over the last couple of years with a number of teams have bringing in younger replacements. 

My suggestion is that 'Contact Us' page on the website could invite people  to come along and observe proceedings.  In the flesh the questions might not appear quite so intimidating.

5. Website

Almost everybody was complimentary about the website.  One person asked about the new format promised last year.  The only criticism was from the Mantis Shrimp who said that the message board was more cumbersome to use than the usual message boards available on the web and there should be no problem in finding an alternative provider.  There should be no reason for not seeing all the threads on one page instead of having to click multiple times.  Rachael also said that she can only use 2 pages on the site as the software that reads to her only works with the Homepage and one other.

One person remarked that the message board isn't used as often as it used to be."

My interpretation of these views is that....

  • We should continue with our efforts to ensure matches do not go on too late by urging the QMs to be a bit more forceful on the time taken to confer (especially on passed over questions) without introducing 'rule by stopwatch'

  • I will discuss the WIST competitions with Mike Wagstaffe to see what Stockport's views are but we are broadly in favour of leaving things as is

  • The Cup handicap system also continues as is, but if there is a degree of support for Tony's idea of only calculating handicaps on the post Christmas scores then we can easily bring that in early next season

  • We all need to look out for new members and new teams - I will put something on our 'Contact Us' page as suggested

  • I will make a valiant effort to upgrade the website format and navigation this summer/autumn.  I do have new software to help me but last year I was just too lazy to carry it through to conclusion.  One of the things needed is the ability (which up-to-date sites have) of being able to view content equally well on a mobile phone as on a PC.  I think this would help Rachael in particular.  When I upgrade I will absorb the message board facility into the site rather than leave it as a link to another site.

....and also

For those of you who walked off with trophies please remember to get them engraved to record your victory before next year's End of Season presentations.  Manchester Trophy Market at 287 Palatine Road in Northenden (0161-946-9209) will get it done for you at very reasonable rates and will ensure the engraving is consistent with the inscriptions already on the trophies.


Great little tailpiece which will be much appreciated by those WithQuizzers with longer memories (like say Kieran, Brian or Roddy).....

I had an email this week from John Holden, lately a Chunky Stockport League player - but earlier one of the Amboβ team in the Withington League.  This is what he says....

"Hi Mike,

Your archives are slightly wrong.

Amboβ won the Withington quiz league in (I think) 1994/5.  The fact of winning it isn’t the sort of thing I’d ever forget, bearing in mind the amount of work that went into it.

 Amboβ were runners up in the previous season (the one with the near pub brawl) to Kieran’s team, by one point, and I don’t remember the Swan Vestals being in either equation.

 I believe our title year was 1994/5, as I was given a pressing reason to invite myself onto a Stockport team, and I can date my 'arrival' in Stockport, via the Stockport archives to Autumn 1995.  In November 1996 I started working every evening except Thursday, and had to stop Withquizzing, so it wasn’t 1996/7 or later.

 We had to beat the other Griffin team, the one with two ladies on it, in our last game, to win the league by one point at the Griffin.

It was my great regret that Tom had not shared in the win, despite the lurid circumstances of his departure.  Barrie Atkinson took over from Tom, and played a full part in our title win."

Amboβ were a Fletcher Moss-based team in the early 1990s and were named after (I think) a brand of lager marketed by Hydes.  The 'eszett' at the end of their name was a deliberate affectation.  If I remember rightly Rebekah Ottaway was team captain.  The famous 'near pub brawl' incident involved a visiting Griffin team (headed of course by Kieran) and a somewhat 'tired and listless' Tom Stephenson.  Following the incident the Withington Quiz League Disciplinary Committee was hastily convened (for the first and last time) to arbitrate on affairs.  I think an apology was forthcoming and things carried on their merry way thereafter.  Interestingly though John very much regrets that as a result of this incident Tom retired from the quizzing fray and was unable to share in Amboβ's glory the following season.


Make Me An Egghead

If you remember a few years ago Dave Rainford became an Egghead through taking part in the Make Me An Egghead programme.  Well not surprisingly (as one of the premier quiz leagues in the land) our members have been invited to apply for a new series.  A successful candidate would be guaranteed expenses-paid trips to Glasgow, untold wealth and more, much more than that, a chance to become a media superstar.  Here's the email I received from the Eggheads Production team....


As promised, please find below some additional information regarding the BBC quiz show Make Me An Egghead.

Hosted by Jeremy Vine, Make Me An Egghead is a nationwide search to find two contestants (one male and one female) who are good enough to join the Eggheads, considered the UK’s most fearsome quiz team.

The winner of each show will move into the next heat.  The series concludes in a Grand Final and the winner will become an Egghead on the next series.

We are currently looking for intelligent and competitive personalities to take part in the programme and will be holding nationwide auditions over the next few weeks.

I have attached a flyer in the hope that you can post it on social media or noticeboard and circulate it amongst colleagues, friends and family who may be interested in appearing on the show.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any more information or if indeed you would like an application form yourself."

And here's the obligatory flyer....

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