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Quizzing without a break (or a brake)

November 19, 2013 in EQC, Quizzes

Guest blog time. At the European Quizzing Championships, the Irish team was accompanied by Brendan Daly, a radio documentary-maker. Here is Brendan’s take on quizzing’s greatest weekend of the year.

Our embedded report Brendan in action.

Our embedded reporter Brendan in action.

I always wanted to know what Ringo Starr must’ve felt like during The Beatles’ heyday and as I tagged along with 12 Irish quizzers during the three-day European Quiz Championships in Liverpool earlier this month I felt an irrevocable kinship with the drumming mop-top: sartorially inept, intellectually outclassed but generously indulged.

I followed the Irish team to Liverpool with the idea of making a radio documentary about the event and the people who attend it. I wanted to find out a few things: what makes these quizzers, some of whom have travelled thousands of miles, come to a tournament like this? Is it about answering questions or is there something else? And do they know the capital of Azerbaijan?

I’ll be honest: I had my reservations. In his candid autobiography, I, Partridge, Alan Partridge reveals how he frequently breaks into an impromptu braking distance quiz to plug an awkward silence at a cocktail party. Is this what I had let myself in for? Not a chance. There wasn’t a single question about stopping distances or even road safety standards, for that matter.

That’s not to say the questions weren’t bruising. There were questions about magnesium chloride, He-Man, an endangered Kyrgyzstani antelope, Roseanne Barr, an opera set during the first Crusade, an Ecuadorian rap artist, Hermann Göring, and a transgender Bosnian supermodel (not in the same round, mind). Like Ringo’s drumming on ‘She’s Leaving Home’, I was feeling out of sync. What would make anyone want to spend three days of their life holed up at quizzing carnival groping for answers to ridiculously difficult questions?
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No luck in Naas

October 16, 2013 in Housekeeping, Quizzes

John-banditThe Irish Blog Awards were handed out on Saturday night last in Naas. For the second year running, tablequiz.net left empty-handed. 🙁

I guess I should be happy, all told. The site was chosen as a finalist in two categories this year, as opposed to one 12 months ago. However, when you’ve twice trucked all the way to Kildare and received nowt but some nicely designed (if hastily scrawled) certificates, it’s takes the wind out a little.

We did have a great night (see photo!). And hey, even if we didn’t win, we were there – which is more than can be said for the winners of 10-or-so categories. 😉

Anyway, back to the quizzing. Thursday evening will be busy as, after the usual live broadcast of After the Fact, I am the host of a table quiz in aid of Claremorris Community Radio.

There’s a great prize up for grabs, especially as we reach this time of year: a €500 voucher for Smyths’ Toys for the winning team!

The quiz is slated for 8.30pm in The Dalton Inn, Claremorris. Admission is €40 for a team of four. I hope to see you there.

Please note: I won’t be wearing the bandit mask on the night.

Blog awards shortlisting

September 15, 2013 in Culture, Housekeeping

blog_awards_2013_badge_shortlist12 months ago, I had one of the best nights of my year when I attended the Irish Blog Awards in the county town of Kildare.

I had some good news over the weekend as the blog has been shortlisted again this year in two categories! That’s not to say I can book my tickets yet. Unlike the Booker Prize or the Oscars, the blog awards shortlist is actually the second-last step on the selection of finalists for the big night. That list of finalists is due to be published on September 29th.

For the record, the blog has been shortlisted in Best Sport/Recreation and Best Podcast categories. The latter is a nomination for After the Fact, the show I host on Claremorris Community Radio, which is podcast each week.

Finally, the odds on my needing to get out the suit in October are further improved by the fact that Mrs TQ.net has also been shortlisted. Her fantastic site leavingcertenglish.net has made the cut in the Best Science/Education category!

Huzzah, I say!

The craic table

October 15, 2012 in Culture, Housekeeping

Tablequiz.net came up short at the Irish Blog Awards on Saturday night last.  We were defeated in the Best Popculture category, as I had predicted earlier in the day, by the excellent A Year of Festivals in Ireland.  Seriously, check it out.

The big event took place in the Osprey Hotel in Naas and saw awards being handed out to winners in 28 categories, the presentations being interspersed with the three courses of a lovely meal.  In spite of the whole non-winning thing, myself and Mrs TQ.net had a great night, thanks majorly to the other nominees who shared our table (Table #9).

In a big picture sense, we were all losers.  Literally, five of the seven of us were nominees so you’d have expected that the chances of at least one award (or vase, in this case) sitting on our table by the end of the night were good.  Alas, none of us got called to the stage.

This was a shame for us of course.  It was also a shame for the organisers as we were ACTUALLY THERE.  By my count seven categories were won by bloggers who, for various reasons I’m sure, hadn’t travelled to Naas.  One particular chap took on the role of phantom collector and, by the end of the night, he was getting cheers every time he appeared!

This wasn’t the only wrinkle the organisers had to deal with.  While the hotel is pretty new, and the rooms were quite swanky, their sound system is awful.  That’s not the organisers’ fault though.  On the flip side, I was a bit disappointed for the winners of the first 10 awards (handed out before the starter course) as they weren’t even asked if they’d like to say a few words.  Presumably some of them must have been annoyed at this as the MC announced at the start of the second 10 awards that winners could now give a speech, if they so chose.  Great for them but those first 10 winners never did get a chance to come back to the stage.

The night’s big winners were Wise Words, winner of four awards including the blue riband Blog of the Year gong (an even bigger vase), and Molly Moo, the winner of three awards.  Our own table of ‘winners’ featured: The World’s Talking, Nessa’s Family Kitchen, Bake for the Border and Greig Houghton Photography (the last two being a high-achieving husband-and-wife).  Ok, we won nothing but I’m claiming an honourary ‘Loudest Table’ prize as even the MC was forced to acknowledge us.  Then again, we were probably louder than she was, due to the crap microphone.

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Answers to head of the class (perhaps)

September 30, 2012 in Culture, Quizzes

So, here’s a confluence of coincidental events. I’ve owed you, the reader, the answers to the picture round I included in last Wednesday’s post, Head of the class, for a few days now.

Of course, you know my method of naming articles.  This one, when it arrived, would be called ‘Head of the class answers’ or something like that.

So what? Well, the thing is, I got some great news last night.  This little site of mine has made the final five for the Popculture section of the Irish Blog Awards. Woot!

So… I may actually be ‘Head of the class’ in this category. See what I did there?

But seriously folks, the other nominated blogs are all excellent and it’s an honour to be included in such a list.  The awards themselves are being presented on October 13th so, if nothing else, it’ll give myself and Mrs Tablequiz.net an excuse to book a babysitter and go away for the night. 😉

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SongPop and other good news stories

September 9, 2012 in Culture, Quizzes

SongPop, a cause for good or an addictive time sink?  Well, truth is, it’s both.  So I guess it comes down to your attitude to addictive time sinks and, generally speaking, I love them!  Judging by my Facebook wall, loads of other people feel the same about it.

For those who are uniniated, SongPop allows you to challenge one of your friends to a quickfire audio quiz, in which the intros to five songs need to be identified in as quick a time as possible.  The app awards scores based on the time (to a tenth of a second it appears to me) it takes and someone wins.  Simple as that.  Straight after winning or losing, you have the opportunity to rechallenge your friend.  At this point you also can decide what category the next five songs will belong to.

It’s an inherently social game and, while you can ask the app to randomly match you up with an opponent, it makes most sense (and is most fun) when you challenge your own friends to a match.  This is probably why the app is so popular on Facebook, as it piggybacks your friends list, informing you of who’s already playing the game and/or allowing you to suck invite new friends in.

If you like audio rounds at quizzes, you should definitely check it out.

Blog awards latest: Some great news this morning – tq.net has been shortlisted for two categories in the Irish Blog Awards!  It’s made the cut in the ‘Best Sport/Recreation’ and ‘Best Pop Culture’ sections.   Still, there’s no need to dig out a tuxedo just yet; the remaining nominees will be distilled further at the end of the month when the Finalist List will be published.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Finally, up Galway! Here’s hoping to the first half of Connacht’s possession of the All-Ireland senior trophies being in place by this evening.