Friday, December 14, 2012

11th December–Home to the Nags Head

The arctic cold that had gripped the country for a week had enveloped the town in its icy breath leaving fog and slippery roads in the town and surrounding villages; yet still the intrepid stalwarts of the Quiz League ventured out to play the final games in the first half of the season.

The Phoenix were drawn against the Nag’s Head, a team with much experience sitting in fourth position in the League.

As always, much depends on how the questions suit the teams’ strengths and the Phoenix very much liked the Specialist rounds (Nick even got two sports questions right!!!) – but The Cock who had set them let themselves down very badly by not submitting them for vetting by the two teams not playing in the A and B Leagues and this is a timely reminder that the rules state that this should be done. Had they done so some awkward blunders could have been avoided: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No 8 is actually the Pathetique and not the Emperor that is a concerto and numbered 5; halva (not havla!) can be made from sesame seeds  but lots of other things too; and the last set (It’s Not About Parrots) has the same answer to three completely different questions. No doubt there are other blunders that could so easily have been avoided. Even so, at the end of the Specialist the Phoenix had stolen a lead of 63 to 40.

The General Knowledge were much more consistent (having been vetted by The Weaver) and to the Phoenix’ strengths allowing them to extend their lead with 73 points to 64 with a final score of 136 to 104. Individual scores were Bob 9/9, Wendy 12/9, Nick 15/12 and Tomo a very strong 15/18; conferred points were 4/12 and passovers 8/13. The Nags picked up 4/8 passovers.

It was a good game played with good spirit overseen with humour and laughter by visitors from the Knot who had struggled in from the wilds of Staffordshire and had set the General Knowledge questions. They were question masters for the night that ended with a splendid supper of burgers and chips.

Many thanks to Brian and Tracey, to the Nags Head and to the questions masters.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

4 December Away to the Plough Horntails


SONY DSCAfter several home games the Phoenix were away at The Plough, shrouded at night in a sepulchral green glow. It is a very friendly community pub with a strong emphasis on football – indeed our mascot Bosley was greeted as an old friend and strutted around as though he owned the place!

Our opponents have been old friends over the years and it was good to see them again.

Both teams liked the questions that produced some remarkable scores, in particular Malcolm from the Horntails who scored an outstanding 42 nearly getting a full house in the General Knowledge dropping only one question (just after being told he was on the way to getting a full house!!). And playing in position 3 – a great achievement!!

Both sets of the questions were pretty good with just one or two provoking discussion, in particular one in the picture round – question 3. It was an unusual situation at the start of the game in that the Phoenix’ sister team The Rams was top of the League with 9 points whilst the Phoenix were just three from bottom with 5 points – only 4 points in it; as usual all to play for.

At the end of the Specialist the Phoenix were ahead by 59 to 38 but there was a storming recovery by the Horntails (especially Malcolm) in the General Knowledge that ended with 71 each.

Individual scores were Bob 12/18, Wendy 15/9, Nick 6/9 and Tomo 9/18; conferred points were 7/16 with 10/6 passovers. The Horntails picked up 7/5 passovers. Final score135 to the Phoenix and 114 to the Horntails. It was a most enjoyable game with jokes and laughter rounded off with a chicken curry and rice – many thanks to the Plough and the Horntails.

And a special thank you to the question master who was obviously suffering discomfort, and particularly from Nick for not striking through the questions as they were asked making scanning and editing them for the blog an easy task.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

27th November – Question Masters


This week it was the Phoenix’ turn to ask the questions – Nick was fortunate to have the Plough, just around the corner from home and was treated to a super supper of sausages and chips. Wendy covered The Cock at Henbury and presided over a narrow win by our sister team the Rams over the Cock-A-2. Nothing known at present about the other two games.

The questions had been vetted by the Phoenix but still presented some problems for both teams, and whilst the Phoenix were 4 from the bottom at the start of the evening all teams beneath them had a game in hand so no doubt the Phoenix will slip further down the table when all results are known. In the meantime the Rams’ win takes them to the number 1 spot – congratulations and well done.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

CUP ROUND 2 Home to the British Flag


Hmmmm!! Up against an A League team – but we were up to strength with both mascots in attendance and a full team. As always it was a matter of the questions meeting the team’s strengths but this time they would have met with the approval of a Trivial Pursuits champion.

They ranged from bog-standard quiz questions (Dr Johnson’s biographer!!) to obscure mythology, little-known terrors, an obscure name for an opera hat that sounds like a phase of the moon, the inevitable phobia (that was spelt incorrectly just to make it even harder!!) and so on.

Whilst all six sections of the quiz were keenly fought both teams were gradually losing the will to live – this is reflected in the consistently low scores with neither team managing to answer questions – always an indication of poor question-setting.

Scores were as follows for each round (home team first) 11/10, 12/15, 11/10 – half time score 34/35; 6/7, 11/8 so with one round to go the Phoenix were a nose ahead by one point and the last round finished …. 14/14. The Phoenix had scraped home by just that one point.

An excellent selection of sandwiches and pork pie was gladly received at the end of a stressful evening. Thanks to Brian and Tracey for the hospitality and to the British Flag for their patience.

Friday, November 16, 2012

12th November Away to the Robin Hood



“Feared by the bad,

Loved by the good …”

The Robin Hood is a lovely, old traditional pub found as you leave the village of Rainow heading into the hills. Within the exposed stone walls there is a very interesting menu but the food does not mean that it is no longer a pub and among the real ales there were two local brews, from Red Willow and The Vale all in top form.

The quiz team only joined last year and were promoted to the B League after just one season; among the players last night was Tim who was one of the original members with Bob when the Phoenix were first formed with another name and venue.

Asking the questions with a light touch was Heather from the Park Tavern.

The Specialist questions were set by The Wharf and were approached from a rather different direction than normal: one round had answers that were all either dogs or someone called Leonard or Ernest; this was followed by a Geography round in which the answers when printed in upper case do not contain the letters ABDOPQ – unfortunately one of the given answers (Belize) clearly broke this rule as did one of the supplementaries. Other questions favoured daytime TV watchers. All the rounds were keenly contested and The Robin Hood finished with a slight lead of 39 to 36. No problem, the General Knowledge are the Phoenix’ strong point.

The Park Tavern had set the questions that were balanced and fair but … the Phoenix really struggled steadily falling further behind finishing the round with 58 to the home team’s 80 – a sound thrashing!! From a personal best a couple of weeks ago, for instance, Nick scored a personal worst in all the years he has played!!Steaming mad

Individual scores were Bob 6/6, Wendy 3/21, Nick 3/0, Tomo 9/6; conferred points were 7/21 with 8/4 passovers; The Robin Hood picked up 5/10 passovers. Final score 122 to 94. This despite Rosie’s presence.

The evening rounded off with excellent chip butties – thanks to the pleasant staff, the team and special thanks to Heather, particularly as she kindly changed the 0 in Nick’s score to a smiley face.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

6th November–Home to the Plough Taverners


Not looking good!! No mascots again and lots of distractions: presidential elections in the US, City against Ajax in the Champions League, Macc Town playing Tamworth and the Phoenix have won only one game in the Quiz League – by just one point!!

The Plough Taverners are old friends over many years and it was good to welcome them to the Waters Green.

The questions were very different, even beginning with a joke!! Then followed by four (yes four!!) picture rounds. There was some amusement as the first round asked us to identify the country “Highlighted in green ..” or some other colour when the images had been printed off in monochrome!! The advertising slogans round soon identified the daytime TV watchers but the Dingbats brought a real hammering to the Phoenix who managed just one point to the visitors’ 8 (all by the same player!!). The quotations in the history round were a refreshing change too. All in all, with the exception of the Dingbats, the questions played to the Phoenix’ strengths as they finished with a lead of 64 to 49.

The General Knowledge were also very good and again the Phoenix benefitted. You will notice a remarkable coincidence in the scores for this round.

Mention must also be made of the questionmaster, a young lady who does not usually play in the quiz but her Dad Dave from the Plough Horntails could not make it and prevailed upon her to ask the questions which she did with calm efficiency and humour.

Individual scores were Bob 12/18, Wendy 15/18, Nick 6/18 and Tomo 18/18 (three excellent scores over 30) with 9/11 conferred points and 4/11 passovers; the visitors picked up 3/11 passovers. The Phoenix won the General Knowledge round with 94 to 69 winning the game with 158 to 118.

Of the distractions, Obama won the election with Romney surprisingly gracious in defeat, which is more than can be said for City who gamely recovered a two-goal deficit to end in a scrappy finger-jabbing draw. And Macc beat Tamworth 2-0 dragging themselves up to about 7th in the League.

The evening ended with excellent sandwiches including Brian’s famed roast beef and ham – thank you Brian and Tracey, the Plough Taverners and our questionmaster.

Monday, November 05, 2012

30th October Home to the Park Taverners


OnRosettece again the Phoenix were without their mascots – Bosley was out on the razz celebrating coming second in the veteran dogs competition at the Treacle Market whilst Rosie was grounded for sneering thimageat when she entered a similar competition in Langley she came first.

Otherwise the Phoenix were at full strength apart from lingering colds and looked forward to meeting old friends the Park Taverners, a very strong team. On the last game the Phoenix had won but the Park were unlucky to have had to play with only three members. This time they had a full complement and were rairin’ to go.


Both teams tended to struggle with the specialist questions as they were quite out of the ordinary and in fact quite informative (see in particular the Irish round) with some rather obscure questions followed by some that the players hesitated to answer as it seemed so obvious. But by and large both sets were quite enjoyable.

At the end of the Specialist the Park Taverners had crept into a lead of 5 points with 45 to the Phoenix’ 40 – not much to worry about there as the Phoenix have frequently overturned such a lead.

Both teams were more comfortable with the General Knowledge questions but once again the Taverners showed their class and took the round with 93 points to the Phoenix’ 90 – final scores 138 to 130.

Individual scores were Bob 12/18, Wendy 3/9, Nick 3/18 and Tomo 6/24; conferred points were 12/13 and passovers 4/8 (very low!) while the Taverners picked up 6/7 passovers.

A keenly fought game rounded off with a selection of tasty sandwiches from Brian and Tracey. Thanks to both and to the Taverners for a most enjoyable evening.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

First round of the Cup/Plate


The Phoenix were back again at the Cock in Henbury this time to face the original quiz team, adversaries for many years.

Although Bob was back from his meandering, we sere still undermanned – both Rosie and Bosley were unavailable. Nevertheless we pushed on and in a friendly and fairly well matched game managed to take the round with a score of 84 to 64 that does no justice to the Cock.

The evening ended with an excellent selection of sandwiches and salad – many thanks to The Cock staff and team

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Local Derby 16th October


Duncan (right) and Jukebox Jury dead-heat in last year's Irish St Leger

The Phoenix and the Rams gathered for their first clash of the season at the Waters Green Tavern; to the Phoenix’ great indignation they were shifted from their normal seating arrangements to the visitors’ table on the grounds that it was the Rams’ home game!! Bob has still not resurfaced and Tony again manfully stood in as reserve; similarly Bosley covered for Rosie as the team mascot. Boz quickly stretched out and fell asleep causing Tony great discomfort as there was nowhere to put his feet and we were all too soft to shift Bosley.The Nags Head had not managed to gather a full quota of question masters and once again Tracey had to share her time with the cellar, the food and and acting as question master.

Whilst there were no distractions in the pub, there was much discussion about the England Poland World Cup game (that was postponed because they forgot to close the retractable roof in a downpour and the field was flooded!!) while the under-21 game against Serbia was a disgusting display of racism and violence.

The Phoenix really struggled in the Specialist rounds and at one stage were 20 points behind with Nick having failed to get onto the scoreboard. They were then very lucky with the James Bond round scoring 3 points each and 3 passovers ending the Specialist rounds with a deficit of 5 with 46 to 51.

The General Knowledge rounds were much more evenly matched and the scores were fairly even making it a real cliff-hanger. The picture above is not in fact the Derby, but the Irish St Leger – that finished  with a …. dead heat!! The Phoenix won those rounds by five points with 84 to 79 leaving both teams with 130!!!

Individual scores were Tomo 6/15, Wendy 15/12, Nick 3/27 and Tony 9/9; conferred points were 7/14 and 6/7 passovers. The Rams picked up 8/10 passovers.

It was a great game with a friendly spirit that was rounded off with an excellent feast of chicken curry with rice and chips. Thank you Tracey, and a big thank you to the Rams.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012



A tough game with two substitutes in the first home game of the season: Bob was wandering the country looking for a serai to park his caravan but thankfully Tony stepped in at short notice and put in  a strong performance; and Rosie could not make it but was replaced by Bosley a retired guide dog (Nick’s son’s).

The Knowalls are a very strong team from the Knot in Rushton Spencer who were promoted from the C League at the end of last season – their first!!

Once again the gods conspired against us; not only were Macc Town playing Gateshead but the Tavern was hosting Ladies’ Darts, a cribbage final and the quiz!! We were fortunate to have Tracey, owner/landlady of the Tavern, asking the questions – at times it got rather noisy but Tracey was able to restore order with that eloquence for which she is well-known . Both teams struggled with the questions, especially the Specialist that yielded very low individual scores ending with the Phoenix clinging to a very slender lead of 42 to 37. The General Knowledge saw some improvement but the Phoenix lead was slipping away.

The team was well-disciplined, wrong answers usually being given only when the rest had shown they had no idea; but conferrals did not always work as when Wendy had to compensate for a wrong answer about her home town Liverpool by correctly giving the correct answer to a question about bras, both conferred by Nick. Nick however confused Botticelli’s Primavera with Rubens’ Judgement of Paris, and wrongly accused the rouĂ© Liszt of an affair with Clara Schumann when it is widely believed to be Brahms.

Individual scores were Tomo 6/12, Wendy 9/12, Nick 3/18 and Tony 3/6; conferred points were 11/14 and passovers 10/12; The Knowalls picked up 7/12 passovers.

The General Knowledge finished with 78 to 74 to the Knowalls leaving a final score of 116 to 115 – a win by just one point to the Phoenix. Despite the distractions it was a most enjoyable game rounded off with a magnificent dish of sausages in onion gravy with chips and bread and butter. A double thank-you to Tracey and we look forward to the return match.

Bosley enjoyed it too – especially when he was rewarded with half a sausage!!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Away to the Cock-A-2 2nd October

“I hear the strain of strutting chanticleer: cock a doodle do”

The first game of the season, drawn against the Cock-A-2, - old adversaries who played at The Castle before its demise and then moved to the Cock at Henbury; a very good team who generally achieve what the Phoenix set out to do – fluctuate between the A and B Leagues and this game marked their return to face the Phoenix. A friendly bunch so please ignore the apparent criticism above from The Tempest.

The Cock is a large pub in Henbury on the outskirts of Macc with several large rooms, one of which had been set aside for the quiz. The staff are very pleasant and friendly and the Robinson’s beer is on top form. A warm and welcoming pub.

The questions had been set by the Oxford C and were received very favourably – a good balance covering a wide range. After the first round of Specialist questions the Phoenix had slipped into a  lead of 6 with 10 to 4 – hopes soared. However the next round saw the Cock-A-2 come storming back 13 to nil!! From then until the end of the Specialist the scores were fairly even but the Phoenix never managed to make up that deficit scores ending 68 to 60 in favour of the home team.

In the General Knowledge the first three rounds all went to the Phoenix who scored 33 to the Cock-A-2’s 25 thus evening the scores. However they could not keep up  the momentum and Cock-A-2 slipped further ahead with some storming rounds final score being 163 to 147.

Individual scores were Bob 15/21, Wendy 9/21, nick 9/9, Tomo 15/15, conferred 7/14 with 5/7 passovers; the home team picked up 9/10 passovers.

To lose with 147 points is pretty surprising, but it was a very friendly match ending with a tasty selection of sandwiches. The task is to repeat that total throughout the season!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

“The Harvest Is Past …


… the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

Yes, as Isaiah noted, the long wet summer has splashed to a chilly end yet once again The Weaver sprang to life as the town’s quizzers emerged from the darkness of Thornton Square to signal the new season of the Macclesfield Pub Quiz League.

The Phoenix at least were able to look back to one warm day in July when the clouds broke for the annual party and the sun shined on friends, some of them members of other teams.


The origins of this ritual feast go back to the year the Phoenix were promoted to the A League and a celebration was felt to be in order; the next year was to mark our return to the B League and subsequent years have marked yet another close run thing.

There was music with mandolin, squeezebox and several guitars (with Steve holding it all together). Bob gave a magnificent account of the ballad of Cowheel Lou,imagea tribute to Mike Harding, and Nick had even managed to secure the services of an opera singer, a student at the Royal Northern College of Music whose voice rang clearly across the valley – a marvel!!image

Nick had gathered some nibbles, Brian and Tracey from the Waters Green Tavern very generously donated a barrel of excellent ale and Nick’s sons provided another. Several guests brought cakes and sweets to round off the meal that were gratefully received. An excellent day.

But back to The Weaver on a chilly and wet evening for the League AGM and Plate Final. The AGM was as all such should be – over in five minutes - but then a problem arose. A team from the Park Tavern had elected to play only in the knock-out competition and had battled their way through to the Plate Final (winning one game with only two players!!) but sadly on the night (after various changes at the Park among other factors) were unable to get a team together and the Harrington Academicals took the Plate by default. There was then a fairly even split by those in attendance – either get together a scratch team to play the Academicals, or go into the next room to watch City play Real Madrid. In the end both happened and a very entertaining quiz game ably questioned by Bob ended in a win for the scratch team; not wishing to gloat but United’s former player Ronaldo scored for Madrid in the 90th minute to win the game 3-2.

We were fortunate to have a professional photographer in attendance in the person of Matt Eagles (he plays in the soon to be relocated Albion team) who has captured the spirit of the evening in a fine collection of photographs that can be seen here.

We all look forward to the start of the league in two weeks.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

“And Now The End Is Here …


… And we must face the final curtain” with apologies to Paul Anka.

Doing it Frank’s Way
For the last round of the season (excluding knock-out competitions) the Phoenix were asking the questions – having clung to second place despite some heavy losses it was clear that this position was in jeopardy as two teams that were joint second each had a game in hand. Sure enough, both teams won leaving the Phoenix wallowing in fourth place.

Nick asked the questions in a very good humoured game between the Park Taverners and the Lamb – the questions did not rate highly and the scoring was generally low, but the Park Taverners pulled through in a very close fought game (97 to 91) that regrettably saw the Lamb relegated to the C League next season.

The Church House Bollington was the other team in joint second and in another close finish (126 to 123) they beat the Plough Horntails widening the “goal difference” over the Park Taverners and thus securing promotion to the A League next season.

It has been a most enjoyable season for the Phoenix with some close finishes, some surprise defeats, a lot of laughter and excellent team work. Also Bob and Wendy were in the top 10 individual scorers with Tomo close behind; Nick was languishing in mid-table obscurity.

Well done to the Church House Bollington, we’re looking forward to playing old friends the Park Taverners again next season along with newbies from the C League the Knot Knowalls and the Rising Sun; joining from the A League will be the Cock-A-2 (the former Castle team) and the Nags Head.

Finally a big thank you to Brian and Tracey for their support and hospitality throughout the season and to all the teams we played for making it such fun.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Phoenix’ Last Chance Saloon


This was the Phoenix’ last game of the season on which their hopes for promotion rested. Playing at home against the Plough Horntails the Phoenix were looking to avenge the defeat when they last met. Despite having lost several games they were still second in the League and hopes were high that they would be able to achieve at last their ambition to be in the A League if only for one season.

The Horntails are old friends and adversaries although there were a couple of new faces in the lineup. The Phoenix on the other hand were at full strength and had Rosie the mascot too.

The Specialist questions had been set by the British Flag and whilst there were no high scores, we thought they were original and very good. At the end of the Specialist the Phoenix were trailing 43 to 45 – not a big problem.

The General Knowledge were set by the new team the Robin Hood and this was their first attempt at question setting – they acquitted themselves well but they need to check the balance – one player got about four music questions!

But it was in the General Knowledge that the Horntails stormed ahead with one of the new faces in particular getting a very high score – they took the GK with 80 to 55.

Individual scores were Bob 9/9, Wendy 6/9, Nick 9/6 and Tomo 6/3; conferred points were 9/23 and passovers 4/5. The Horntails picked up 3/7 passovers.

The questionmaster was Liz Horrocks from the A League who stepped in at the last minute to cover for the British flag who were a questionmaster down – she controlled the game with good humour and it was a delight to see her.

The game ended with a good selection of sandwiches – thank you Tracey, Liz and the Horntails.

But a sad day for the Phoenix.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

13th March–Home to The Park Taverners


Back to full strength this week – including Rosie!! Our opponents are old friends but it was disappointing to find that they were having to play with only three members. On the last occasion we were soundly beaten and we would have preferred to start with a level playing field. This was of particular importance as the Phoenix were clinging on to second place by the skin of their teeth from the Park Taverners and Church House Bollington both having equal points and separated by “goal difference” but with a game in hand.

Tradition was always that the place of a missing player would  be taken by an ashtray, but of course since the smoking ban they are hard to find and the hapless question master had to refer to absent friends.

Special mention must be made of the question master as it was the first time he had ever done it and he also had to control timekeeping which he carried off with considerable aplomb.

The questions had a fair sprinkling of river questions that seemed to excite Graham from the Park and they were very good indeed – I think we marked them the highest of the season. Bob and Tomo both had great runs in the general knowledge. At the end of the Specialist the Phoenix had nosed ahead with 47 to 37 and the General Knowledge finished at 88 to 62, final score being 135 to 99.

Individual scores were Bob 9/24, Wendy 3/9, Nick 9/9 and Tomo 6/21; conferred points were 17/12 with 3/13 passovers. The Park picked up 3/7 passovers.

It was a very relaxed game with lots of laughter and jokes, and Nick said it was the most enjoyable game he had played that season. Brian rounded off the evening with a magnificent chicken casserole. Thanks to Brian, the Park Taverners and the question master for a most enjoyable evening.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

”We shall not flag or fail …” 6th March

Yes this was the return match against the team from British Flag who are not pictured alongside. We knew this would be a tough match as despite a series of losses recently the Phoenix were still second in the League with the Flag holding first place.
Moreover, Bob was off on his hols somewhere and Wendy was laid up on a strict diet of pain-killers (our two best scorers!!) – and Rosie was absent too!! Fortunately we managed to drag Steve out of retirement to play and Eric  was roped in at the last minute.
We thought the questions were pretty good except that several should have had some leeway. There was an interesting spread of classical and pop music and all were obviously carefully thought out.
The Phoenix played well as a team and it was a very friendly and enjoyable game with a relaxed and sympathetic question master from the Plough Horntails.
Tomo showed why he regularly appears in the League’s top 10 and Steve and Eric both played a solid game.
Individual scores were Steve 6/9. Eric 9/9, Nick 3/12  and Tomo 9/15; conferred points were 7/15 with 7/4 passovers. The Flag picked up 8/10 passovers. Final score 134 to the Phoenix’ 105.
A most enjoyable evening was rounded off with a fine selection of sandwiches - thanks Tracey, Gill and the Flag – a very pleasant evening despite the score.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


It has been some years since the Phoenix played at the Harrington Arms. The pub in Gawsworth is an original 17th century farmhouse that developed into a pub whilst retaining the farming business. For many years it was run by the fearsome Mrs Bayley who deeply resented Robinson’s Brewery, the owners, interfering in the way she ran things – she never forgave them for introducing handpumps as she preferred to take a jug down to the cellar. There was always a jar of pickled eggs on the counter and I remember once having the temerity to ask if there were other baps than cheese and onion – “You’d be glad o’ that if you’d been picking potatoes all day!” It was famed as the pub with the 20 watt bulb and known locally as The Slaughtered Lamb.

Sadly Mrs Bayley passed away some years ago and the business changed hands a couple of times. And what a change now!! Bright lights, warm fires and a fine food menu and the farming business is a separate concern. An historical era has finished.

The first round of 20 questions went to the Phoenix with a lead of 10 points, but round 2 went to the Harrington by the same margin; rounds 3,4 and 5 went to the Harrington with a couple of points but they pulled ahead strongly in the final round taking the game.
The questions have raised some problems. I originally took a decision to publish the questions every week to prevent duplication, to resolve any queries and to allow teams to go back to particular questions as required; it was never meant to be a repository for future games. It has been pointed out to me that over 40 of the questions for this game were lifted from a single game played two years ago (see General Knowledge Q49 onwards) which is rather disappointing.
Nevertheless this was not noticed at the time although some questions seemed familiar; it was a most enjoyable game with Bob managing to get one of his notorious jokes in (“I used to hate Jane Austen until I went on a Northanger Management course”) rounded off with a splendid selection of sandwiches including the best roast beef ever!!

Scores for the six rounds were 18/8, 12/21, 9/12, 10/14, 13/15 and 13/19.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Battering On Pancake Day


February 21st – Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Day. The day of confession before lent begins, and an opportunity to use up eggs that were traditionally given up for Lent. Or on a more secular note it is known as mardi gras (Fat Tuesday) a time for dancing and merriment. On this day, the Phoenix travelled to Bollington for the return match against the Church House, a busy pub serving excellent food and on the night serving excellently kept York Brewery’s Guzzler beer – a light and tasty golden brew.

The Phoenix have suffered some defeats recently and were bent on redressing the balance. The questions were interesting even having a round on old radio programmes – something of a first surely as was the round on philosophers.

Notwithstanding the interest however, the Phoenix were trailing at the half-way mark with 50 points to the home team’s 52 – but we’ve usually done well with the General Knowledge so were not unduly bothered.

But it was not to be – the questions were varied and balanced but the Church House won the round with 78 to 71 with a final score of 130 to 121.

It was a very friendly game against old adversaries the only sour note being when Nick blamed Doris Day for getting an answer wrong – she hadn’t said whether the Black Hills were in North or South Dakota!

Individual scores were Bob 9/12, Wendy 6/21, Nick 6/12 and Tomo 12/9 with 13/10 conferred points and 4/10 passovers. The Church House picked up 3/12 passovers.

John from the Albion was a good-humoured question master and the evening was rounded off with a selection of sandwiches.

Sadly it was a battering for the Phoenix on pancake day!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

14th February–Another Massacre


On the 83rd anniversary of the St Valentine’s DayFile:Valentine Day massacre.jpg massacre the two teams of the Waters Green Tavern gathered for the local derby. Tension rose high – lonely wives left behind to celebrate the romantic night of the year alone, seeking comfort in the warm embrace of East Enders. Speaking of murder, vice, doom and gloom …

Yes on this day all those years ago, Al Capone sought to eliminate his rival Bugs Moran when he organised out-of-town gangsters to rid his fair city Chicago of unwanted whisky smugglers, prostitution pimps and drive-by shootists. Two assassins were disguised as police officers and entered the warehouse that was used as Moran’s headquarters and ordered the seven people outside; there they were joined by four plain-clothed guys and they all opened fire. But the Moran gang were ‘ard!! Six were killed outright but Frank Gusenburg, who had been hit with fourteen bullets told police no-one had shot him!! He died three hours later.

It seems public opinion was not terribly impressed with Capone’s clean-up operation (since it just meant he could do more of the same) and the FBI were stirred into action – Capone was arrested for tax evasion two years later (tax evasion – the first zero tolerance?) and died of syphillis in prison.

The Rams and the Phoenix settled down for a different kind of showdown.

We thought the questions were very good indeed and whilst there were no big scores (except Bob with a very creditable 18) at the end of the Specialist rounds the Phoenix were leading 58 points to 43.

Just as Moran’s gang were dressed in Sunday best with no inkling of what was to come, the Phoenix sat back smugly and ordered another beer.

The General Knowledge rounds started and it soon became clear that Kalashnikov Keith P of the Rams had simply been holding fire as he started on a remarkable run. As before the questions were very good but the Phoenix did not do so well – in fact largely due to Keith’s run of 27 points (emphasising why he is the top scorer in the B League) the Rams massacred the Phoenix winning the round with 93 points to the Phoenix’ 65 giving them the game with 136 to 123. No complaints, the questions were good, balanced and fair to both sides but on the night the Rams were the better team.

The Phoenix individual scores were Bob 18/15, Wendy 9/15, Nick 6/12 and Tomo 9/3; conferred points were 11/15 and passovers 5/5. The Rams picked up 5/12 passovers.

It was a most enjoyable game overseen by Graham from the Park Tavern with good humour and firmness on time. It ended with a magnificent chicken casserole that Brian proudly brought in with his shiny new slow cooker – it was delicious.

Thank you Brian, thank you Graham and thank you the Rams for a great game – well done.

Thursday, February 09, 2012



With apologies to Billy Fury for mutilating the title of his song.

After playing the Albion only last week we were facing them again this week on their own ground – and it must be said that the Albion has changed considerably since our last visit – it is now much friendlier and the one (Robinson’s) ale on tap was in very good condition. After an initial confusion with the seating arrangements the team settled down to their usual jocular selves. But we knew that after last week’s very close result they would be out to win – and to make matters worse Rosie was missing.

The Phoenix got off to a very shaky start and at the end of the Specialist questions were trailing by 10 points with 33 to 43 although the questions were fine; they fared rather better with the General Knowledge but the questions cannot be allowed to go without comment. The lack of E-mail for one of the teams seems to have caused problems with the vetting as there are at least two wrong answers in the GK (both indicated on the questions blog). Whatever did we do before E-mails?

Rosie made a late appearance that perhaps helped the Phoenix claw back some of the lead finishing the GK with 75 to the Albion’s 70. Final score 113 to 108 to the Albion knocking the Phoenix off their shared top spot. Individual scores were Bob 3/15, Wendy 6/12, Nick 3/9 and Tomo 3/12 with 11/14 conferred and 7/13 passovers; the Albion picking up 7/9 passovers.

It was an enjoyable game and the better team won – well done the Albion. Nicely rounded off with a selection of sandwiches – thank you the Albion.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

31st Jan–the Plate Quarter Finals


The Phoenix had been drawn against the Albion, always a tough team to beat, especially when the answers are all conferred. Moreover it was rather discouraging to learn that John of the Albion was probably alone last week in knowing that the horse’s head appearing in the Godfather was called Khartoum!!

Once again the FA had created a distraction with both City and United playing League games but the tension was such that no-one asked about the score at any time. It was a bitterly cold night so the Phoenix grabbed the fireside table forcing the Albion to sit by the draughty door, a bit of gamesmanship that did not go unnoticed!! But we had Rosie and she likes the seat near the fire.

The questions had been set by the Ox Fford and the Cock-A-2 (formerly the Castle) and whilst being generally difficult were equally balanced. Unfortunately the tension got to the Phoenix such that on several occasions they talked themselves out of a correct answer.

The first round of 20 questions set the scene for a difficult game ending with 10 each; round 2 put the Phoenix ahead with 11 to 8; round 3 saw the Phoenix nose ahead with 13 to 12 but slip back in the next round with 15 to 17; the fifth round was 12 each with the last round seeing the Phoenix just edging it with 11 to 10. Final score to the Phoenix with 72 to 69.

It was a great game with lots of laughter and good spirits, well controlled by John from the Cock-A-2 and lubricated by Allgates stunning California ale (named after a Wigan coal mine) a golden beer its taste belying its 3.8% ABV.

Oh and United beat Stoke 2-0 drawing level with City at the top of the League since Everton managed a 1-0 win.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

24th January - Away to the Plough Horntails

ick was not playing in the quiz as he was soaking up the culture of London (including the exhibition of illuminated manuscripts at the British Library – hence the opening character) but with the assistance of a judge they managed to win the game against the Plough Horntails. The questions can be seen here. Hope to show detailed results in the future.
Have now had a chance to look at the results and comments - in a week of generally low results and critical comments, the Phoenix did well. At the halfway stage they were ahead with 49 to 27, and they won the General Knowledge rounds 77 to 63 with a final score of 126 to 90. Tim playing his first game in the League did very well in the Specialist questions whilst Tomo achieved a magnificent score. Individual scores were Bob 3/18, Wendy 9/12, Tim 12/6 and Tomo 12/21; conferred points were 7/12 with passovers 6/8. The Horntails picked up 7/8 passovers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

17th January 2012 Home to the Lamb


image“And the Wolf shall dwell with the lamb”

This was the first game of the second half of the season and the Phoenix were lying second with the Park Taverners snapping at their heels. The Lamb have had some unfortunate results and were holding up the rest of the League – see the link to News & Views aside. It was therefore with a vulpine, confident swagger that the Phoenix gathered on their home turf. Coincidentally Macc Town were playing Bolton in a 3rd round replay of the Cup having drawn 2-2 in the first round – both they and the Phoenix had a lot to live up to!!

The Specialist Questions (set by The Church House Bollington) were different (not to say unusual) with tongue-twisting questions and mathematical symbols. Unfortunately these were far more to the Lamb’s taste than to the Phoenix who finished the rounds 13 points behind (45 points to the Lamb’s 58)!! Only Bob and Tomo got into double figures (12 each) so there was a lot of hard work to do!!

The General Knowledge were more to the Phoenix’ taste and the scoring was pretty steady as they fought to get back into the game. After a couple of beer breaks in which the Magic Rock Curious ale fortified spirits and minds the Phoenix had managed to make up the deficit and get a nose in front eventually finishing the questions with 79 to 51 – a good recovery.

Individual scores were Bob 12/12, Wendy 3/18, Nick 3/12 and Tomo 12/12; conferred points were 12/14 and passovers 3/11. The Lamb picked up 6/3 passovers.

For some reason the game lacked the sparkle we have come to expect and have previously enjoyed with the Lamb and we don’t think it can be put down to the questions. Perhaps it was the pain Nick was obviously experiencing with his neck that spread to the rest of the players’ bums.

Final score then was 124 to 109 – a fine recovery sadly not matched by Macc Town who lost the replay 2-0.

A fine selection of sandwiches rounded off the evening. Thank you Brian and Tracey.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quizmasters 10th January


This week the Phoenix set the specialist questions and asked both sets at the four games in the B League – hopefully not as unctuously as Anil Kapoor in Slumdog Millionaire.

There was a special round to celebrate Bob’s 25 years in the quiz league and generally they went down quite well. The big question remaining is which of the quizmasters got the best supper!! Did anyone do better than Nick with chips, sausages in onion gravy and bread and butter??

Monday, January 02, 2012

13th December–away to the Plough Horntails

From our sports writer Duncan Disorderley


I thought I might pen a few lines to your blog as I met my old friend Bob Langstaff the other day and we got around to talking about the early days of the Macclesfield Quiz League when I was first reserve for the Robin Hood in Rainow. It’s good to see that this old hostelry has a team in the Quiz League once more, trying to do as well as its illustrious predecessors. It’s even better to know that the Robin Hood is still open! This time last year there were three pubs in Rainow and now there’s only the one - The “Rising Sun” has finally set, and the “Highwayman” has robbed his last shilling. Bob told me that my old mate Graham Holt was making a guest appearance for the Tavern against the Plough Horntails so I thought I’d go along for old time’s sake as this year is Bob’s Silver Quizzing Anniversary.

The quiz itself was quite good, but not like the quizzes of yore. Those were the days! – the Quiz League of the 1980s when men were men and so were most of the women. There were guys like Nick Dennis, ex-Brain of Britain who led the fearsome Millstone team and used to insult opponents using the ‘sledging’ like the Aussie cricketers do only in a Cockney accent. His team was so dedicated they used to interview hire and fire! They were all fairly old so they had a young lad who was under instruction during the match to answer only sport and pop music questions (at which he was a master) and confer on all other questions.

Then there was the famous smoking Vicar, David Harrison who gave up the league when he could no longer chain smoke his way through twenty rounds. He once played on the quiz team for one of the little house-pubs – I think it was the Morning Star - and we were neck and neck until we had a specialist round on Saints and he knew the bloody lot! I’m convinced to this day that it was divine intervention. Yes, those were the days, when you had to put up with questions like “What is the only creature besides man that can catch leprosy?” That raised some eyebrows I can tell you. Then there were those team members who came out for a pint and an argument. I won’t name the chief antagonist as he may be still around, but no, it wasn’t Paul Beard – he made PB seem like a choirboy!

The Tavern team did OK. Graham held his corner, Bob has lost none of his charm and good looks and Wendy only made one howler when she said that a Royal Enfield was where the queen kept her chickens. Tommo answered well between bouts of making things disappear and they eventually won the match. Didn’t see Nick though. Somebody told me he was away celebrating his 70th birthday. I must say he doesn’t look seventy, though he must have done at one time!

And in case you were wondering, nine-banded armadillo’s can also catch leprosy.

Cheerio for now

Duncan Disorderley