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If it wasn’t for bad luck…

April 30, 2013 in Quizzes

On Sunday night, at around 10.20pm, I lay down on the couch.  My intention was to watch Match of the Day 2, which was about to begin.  However, I never did manage to turn on the television.  Next thing I knew, it was 4.40am! Such was the effect of the fantastic weekend I had at the first Celtic Nations Quizzing Championships.

The Irish C Team, ready to quiz (l-r): Derek Cray, John O'Sullivan, Michelle Coyne and Ger Slattery.

The Irish C Team, ready to quiz (l-r): Derek Cray, John O’Sullivan, Michelle Coyne and Ger Slattery.

It was fun.  It was friendly.  It was full of quizzing.  Here’s a run-down of Saturday’s timetable, for instance: 10am Irl v Sco; 11am Irl v Wal; 12.30pm Individual quiz; 3pm Social quiz; 5pm Wal v Sco; 7pm dinner; 8.30pm Social quizzing (buzzers!). No wonder I was bushwhacked by the end.

The Irish team was 14-strong.  We had teams in the A, B and C divisions.  Alas, I must now admit that we didn’t win a single match.

In the cold light of day though, I don’t think we’re that far off the pace.  True, our A team were hammered on both occasions they took on Scotland, the eventual winners.  However, Wales beat Scotland in one of their matches and we could have beaten Wales in BOTH of our matches against them.

It’s always the ones that got away that sting the most and, for me and the A team, those defeats against Wales were the cruellest things.  In both matches, decisions made in the last round of questions cost us.  In the first game, we were two points ahead and facing a set of questions called ‘Euro snacks’.  In the second half of these matches, questions are worth three points each.  We got the first and third ones right but we were stumped by the second: “Caponata is a tomato and aubergine dish, native to which Mediterranean island?”.  It sounded Italian so we were between Sicily and Sardinia, obviously.  We plumped for Sardinia.  Incorrect.  Our opponents, strangely, didn’t go for Sicily either but that is indeed where it is from.  So we were eight up, and they had to face three questions on the remaining category ‘Judith’.

Blow me over if they didn’t go and get three-out-of-three!  And they weren’t easy either, being about a character from the Biblical book of Judith, a renaissance sculptor and a piece of music by Thomas Tallis.  So, a one-point defeat (and admittedly 10 losing bonus points) were our only reward.

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We’re all off to Edinburgh

April 26, 2013 in Quizzes

Edinburgh-royal mileThe first-ever Celtic Nations Quizzing Championship takes place this weekend and will see a team featuring some of Ireland’s top quizzers travelling to Edinburgh to take on the best of what Scotland and Wales have to offer.

I’m lucky enough to be on the team for this event and I’m really looking forward to it. 14 Irish quizzers are taking part in this event, which will last through all of Saturday and half of Sunday. A series of A, B and C team matches will take place (four v four) as well as an individual quiz before a final rankings table will reveal which country is the weekend’s champion.

The two days will also feature a social team quiz and a celebrity challenge, in which a team of TV quiz stars, including Barry Simmons (Eggheads) and Anne Hegerty (The Chase), will take on the winners of a local quiz contest.

It promises to be a great weekend and, of course, I’ll keep you abreast of how we all get on right here on the site. You can also keep an eye on the IQO Facebook page.

The Irish team: Micheál Coyne, Michelle Coyne, Derek Cray, Lorcan Duff, Paddy Duffy, Padraic Fanning, John Groarke, David Lea, Dave McBryan, David Murphy, John Nolan, Colm O’Sullivan, John O’Sullivan and Ger Slattery.

Ken Jennings

April 24, 2013 in Culture, Quiz Show


Check out this cool TED Talk given by famous American quizzer, Ken Jennings, in which he outlines his life as a trivia obsessive and what it was like to take on IBM’s supercomputer.

Is it wrong to use a phone to prove you’re right?

April 20, 2013 in Culture, Quizzes

dictionary-com-appIt’s been a while since I’ve posted an ethical dilemma for you all to consider. It’s also been a while since we spoke about phones and their use at quizzes. Well, this post will unite those strands.

I was at a quiz last night and my team (table 9) ended up tied for the lead at the end of round 10. Cue tie-breaker. Both tables received a fresh answer sheet and were asked four new questions.

Here they are:

  1. Who played Red in The Shawshank Redemption?
  2. Name either of the robots in the Star Wars series of films
  3. Which geographic region is shared between Argentina and Chile?
  4. In what year’s Summer Olympics did Ben Johnson win the 100m before being banned?

As far as I knew, we had answered all four correctly when we handed up the sheet. We’d even written down the names of both robots. Our opponents (table 12) weren’t as quick as ourselves but, even so, looked confident when they submitted their answers.

After a quick check, the quizmistress announced “We have a winner.”, followed by “Table 9 have three [really?] and table 12 have two [no way!]”. However when she went through the questions she noticed that whilst table 12 had only gotten one of the robots, that’s all she’d asked for. So, another tie-break?

The thing is, Q3 (as phrased) has two correct answers. She was looking for Tierra del Fuego but we had answered the other one: Patagonia.

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Friday Fun Time

April 12, 2013 in Quizzes

mallets_malletGood day to you all.  Here follows a real hotchpotch of a post.

It includes:

Right, so starting at the end (naturally), the IQO now has a web page and a new initiative.  Each Friday, the IQO site ( will host five tricky, tricky questions to test you all.  Scouts’ honour you can’t use google.  Anyone can take part and can do so by simply emailing their name and answers to

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Something to sink your teeth into 2

April 8, 2013 in Quizzes

Before I begin, I’d like to invite anyone around Galway to come along to a quiz I’m hosting in aid of YAP Ireland in Flannery’s Hotel, Renmore, on Thursday evening, at 8pm. It should be a great night and it’s definitely a great cause.

Odlums-editIt’s time for me to reveal the answers to the questions I posed in last weekend’s Food Quiz-related article.

In that article, I forgot to mention the contribution a team called ‘The Louisiana Purchase’ made to the night’s entertainment. These were four American students who were always at a disadvantage following Round 3, the Irish food company logos (see below). However, they accepted their handicap with good grace and played on for the rest of the night, even finishing less than 10 points behind their nearest rivals.

As a reward, we threatened them with a glass of the slops of the liquid tasting round but, you’ll be glad to learn, that didn’t come true. In fact, the bar gave them a round on the house. I think they were happy with this outcome. 😉

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Something to sink your teeth into

April 6, 2013 in Quizzes

food-quiz-screenLast Monday night, the second annual Galway Food Festival came to a close. Like its first year, the final event of the weekend was a table quiz hosted by The King’s Head, High Street. Also, like last year, I was the quiz masterchef.

It’s rare, even for me, to do the exact same event one year on. This did enable me to put into action some of the advice/feedback I received 12 months ago, following that first food quiz.

In 2012, everyone had loved the taster round (which included the likes of cumin seed, thyme and cardamon) so this year we had two! I added a liquid-based taster round to programme. Thankfully, everyone enjoyed it. There were even calls for a second round of samples! 🙂

That was about the height of it for drink fans though. Last year’s feedback had also included an email telling me that there were too many drink questions! So, I made the quiz almost entirely food-based this year. Well, it is a food festival, to be fair.

The first year’s champions, The Kitchen, were invited up on stage at the start of the night to be presented with a commemorative plate, designed by Judy Greene. Would they be returning to the stage again at the end of the night, I wondered…
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Quizzing in Englisch (part 3)

April 2, 2013 in Quizzes

Right, I’ll stop going on about my holiday in Germany now. After the jump you’ll find the answers to the music round I posted at the weekend.

In other news, on Sunday last the TQ family sat down and enjoyed an Easter meal which featured the leg of lamb I won a few weeks back. I can report that it was the tastiest quiz prize ever. 🙂

Speaking of tasty, I hosted the second-ever Galway Food Festival table quiz in The King’s Head last night and a tremendous night it was. I’ll post a report on how it went, along with some questions for you to try, tomorrow.

In the meantime, click the ‘Read the rest…’ link to see those musical answers.

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