Thursday, December 17, 2015

15th December Away to the Dolphin Dragons

Still without Bob the Lemmings trudged through a dark and damp (but surprisingly warm) winter evening up the hill to The Dolphin to face the Dragons.
The Dolphin is a very friendly and welcoming pub sporting five handpumps that although all Robinsons are very well kept and in top condition.
It was a disappointing start for the Lemmings as Liz from the Dragons managed to get locked in the toilet – but escaped.
The game itself was very interesting as the lead shifted from one to the other, the Lemmings winning the first Specialist round but lost the lead with the second – the game continued thus until at the end of the Specialist both teams had 48 points. An encouraging start and a tribute to the question setters.
Fortune then abandoned the Lemmings who at one stage were 30 points behind, but they rallied and whilst unable to catch the Dragons they pulled back some points losing by 93 to 72 – final score 141 to 120.
A most enjoyable game  with no disputes and lots of laughter
Individual scores were Sunil 3/3 Wendy 12/6 Nick 3/18 Tomo 9/18 conferred 13/8 and pass-overs 8/6. The Dragons picked up 9/9 pass-overs
The evening was rounded off with an excellent stew with pickled red cabbage – hearty thanks to the landlord and staff, and to the Dragons for a most enjoyable evening.

And finally may all who see this and all players in the Macclesfield Pub Quiz League have a very merry Christmas and health and happiness in 2016.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Away to the Ox-Fford 8th December


Heads hung low and with drawn faces, the team trudged out to the playing area, they knew they were heading for another dull game and certain defeat and once again endure laughter, sneers and jeers for yet another poor performance. They were not to be disabused, Manchester United lost 3-2 to Wolfsburg and crashed out of the Champions League with barely a whimper.

At the Ox-Fford however, the buoyant Lemmings bounced into the room set aside for the quiz looking forward to a keenly fought but fun evening. Bob was unable to take part due to family sickness and his place was taken by Sunil, Nick’s son. The Specialist questions had been set by the Harrington Academicals which both teams thoroughly enjoyed, Dumb Britain in particular was original and great fun; nevertheless with the exception of Tomo the Lemmings’ scores were on the low side. At the end of the Specialist, the Lemmings were trailing with 44 points to the home team’s 73.The General Knowledge were less well received but did at least gain a nomination myboyfor the Nine Banded Armadillo award ; the Lemmings’ scores were a little better except for Nick whilst Sunil did something to defend the family honour. The Ox-Fford increased their lead with 89 points to 55 – final score was 162 to 99 – not much of a cliff-hanger but at least they went down fighting

It was an excellent game with lots of laughter as Alan Hodgson squirmed with embarrassment as he asked the GK questions he felt should have been vetted (they probably had been but suggestions ignored)

The Ox-Fford lived up to its escalating reputation with a selection of six real ales and very friendly staff - whilst the German football match was on TV it did not intrude until either team scored that then raised another set of questions.

Individual scores were Sunil 3/9, Wendy 6/15, Nick 3/3 and Tomo 15/12 – conferred points were 13/9 with 4/9 pass-overs

The evening was rounded off with a very tasty sweetcorn chowder – many thanks to the landlord, the home team and to Alan for his patience and good humour.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

1 December Question Masters


It was the Lemmings’ turn to set and ask the questions and we  are under a huge obligation to Matt, AKA Alan-A-Dale, who covered at very short notice for Wendy who had some family problems. Not only did he travel to the Weaver, he seems to have had the roughest ride of the four games.

All OK - good to see a game played well and competitively - until the Weaver pulled ahead in the last few rounds to run out winners without a steward’s enquiry.

There was some grumbling re: questions (even though only 2 GKs didn't get answered by anyone).  Can a race contain only one team/participant? - all three parties decided that it could so we replaced the three-legged race with a supp.  I suspect that many teams spotted "woolsack-gate" and a second supplementary did the job.

Balance was a common theme in discussion during and after the quiz – Alan L’s campaign for pairing sustained when the occasional difficult question was followed by a “doddle” – although I think (at team-level, at least) this probably evened itself out. Not sure if this was a broader pattern but the gap between the two “big beasts” answering 2nd (both scored 45) and the 2 going 4th (42 between them) was indicative of some seats being comfier than others on the night (with or without a woolsack).

As expected and befitting the pedigree of the two teams, the quiz was hard-fought, but with humour increasingly on show in the latter stages. An apparent escapee from the WGT’s ladies’ darts team did briefly interrupt the second half with a lengthy and vociferous monologue nearby, whilst a passing punter slipped by to offer Mark some (useless as well as unwelcome) advice on the chemical properties of diamond.

What was very clear to me is that the evening could have been less enjoyable had I been personally implicated in the setting of the questions. As such, I will continue last week’s message – could the “chicken and egg” problem of dodgy questions vs. too much grumbling. My impression of the Weaver is that whilst they are a team who are happy to criticise a question (and these were criticisms I could frequently see coming), they also often have a perfectly legitimate suggestion for how it could be rephrased. In this spirit, two suggestions for the question-setters scrapbook:

  1. “West Sussex” and similar. Not an ideal answer if the player might respond with “Sussex”, for example. Correct? passed over? ask for further guidance and then when “East Sussex” comes out, it is a freebie to the opposition?

  2. “Specifically” seems like an invitation for trouble – was glad that nothing was riding on the last question. The initial answer of “concerto” was a long way from wrong. “With which instrument….”?

This was my first (and quite possibly only) exposure to a top of the A League ding-dong. It was a healthy reminder of the breadth of competitiveness and skill on show across the divisions. Whilst many participants see the purpose of Tuesday’s to be fun, there are serious quizzers out there and they are not wrong in wanting their contests to be decided by the skill of the players and not the questions. Like football referees, questions will never be perfect, but that shouldn’t preclude discussion of how to get closer.”

Matt was only able to help out as the Robin Hood have a pool of players, and it was Bob who returned to the lovely Peak District pub as question master.


"Tonight's quiz was a question masters dream. A warm, friendly and welcoming pub with two teams who were up for a good night's entertainment.

The Robin Hood and the Dolphin Dragons engaged in combat but sparked off each other in the most humorous ways. Driven by banter from Jim Kennelly and Liz Horrocks in turn, the evening bounced along most agreeably. Even the 'problem' questions were dismissed with a casual 'have a supplementary'.  Best of all was agreement between the two teams that you can ENTER a three-legged race with two people but you can't RACE until there are four.  This promoted much hilarity, as did the "Who wrote Blue Suede Shoes?"  It began when Tim Grimes of the Robin Hood asked the assembled teams what was the anthem of one-legged Elvis lovers.... answer... "Blue Suede Shoe". This prompted a rare joke from question master Bob Langstaff who halted proceedings to tell the sad story of the man who had trouble with his feet. The doctor examined him and informed him that he actually had TWO LEFT FEET! Not in the sense that he couldn't dance, but that he literally had two left feet. The man was grateful for the answer to his problem but depressed that he had two left feet. He left the surgery and as it was a lovely sunny day he decided to cheer himself up by going into a shoe shop and buying himself a pair of flip-flips."

Dolphin Dragons won the match 158 to 130. Great evening.”

Tomo made his way to the Dolphin where he too had an enjoyable evening.

“I had a good evening, too.
I don't know how Little Women got into the Mr & Mrs round and it was immediately pointed out that The Woolsack is sat upon in the House of Lords, but apart from that it was  a very good evening. The Royal Oak marked the specialists down as they were getting some stinkers, but overall the balance looked good. The Dolphin gave the specialists 8. I can't remember the scores for GK.
Final score Dolphin 156 - 143 Royal Oak”

And finally Nick was at the Ox-Fford that has just been renovated and has a very friendly landlord and staff. Moreover, they are no longer tied to Marstons and had an interesting selection of real ale including Sharp’s Atlantic (previously only seen in bottles) and who remembers draft Worthingtons? It was a very friendly tussle, with the two major errors already referred to being spotted and without the challenge of a single three-legged horse race. A high point was Haydn getting all of his General Knowledge questions. The evening was rounded off with an excellent selection of hot pies – a most enjoyable time with thanks to both teams who tolerated Nick’s twice reading the answer instead of passing over the question with good humour and with every good wish for the new landlord’s success in the future.

Comment has been made about the times shown on the blog – the server is in America and shows their local time – I’ve not found a way to change it but will ask Google who own Blogger.