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There’s always next year

November 29, 2013 in Quizzes

ryan-crotty-scoresMan, oh man. The Claremorris AFC sports quiz has become the bane of my life.

A quick recap. Two years ago myself, Ger, Willie and Andy hit the lead after round 8, only to perform disasterously in the following (picture) round and finished fifth. Last year the same team were in third all night long and couldn’t close the gap on the teams above. But at least we finished on the podium.

Last night, with new team member Jason in for the now-emigrated Andy, we were in second place right from the first round. Seven rounds later, we were still second, just one point behind the same leading team.

It was at this point that, once again, the wheels came off the wagon. We finished pretty poorly, with two consecutive 7/10 rounds, and dropped down the leaderboard to finish fourth on 89/100. 🙁

This is an annual event on the Claremorris quizzing calendar and attracts a regular crowd of hardcore sports fans. The pressure is pretty intense as teams in the room will score 9/10 more often than not. Ourselves, for instance, we scored four perfect rounds, including the pictures (see below). Thus we knew that, finishing as we did, we hadn’t a hope of getting anything.

For the record, the winners (table 16) scored 93/100, with two teams just behind them on 92. That pair of teams forwent the option of a playoff and simply divided up the second and third prizes between them. By my count there were 18 teams in the room.

The quizmaster, Kevin, did a good job keeping the show going albeit he was left stranded by a couple of questions, which were written by someone else, having more than one correct answer. Cue a lot of heckling! He handled it well though, allowing a couple of extras and, more impressively, disallowing a few also.

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Remember these?

November 27, 2013 in Quiz Show, Quizzes

The big event of quizzing around these parts will take place on Friday night, when the St. Brigid’s club’sInternational Sports Quiz‘ happens in the Hodson Bay Hotel, near Athlone.  I was chatting with one of the event’s committee members at the weekend and he told me that, by Saturday last, they had 70 confirmed teams.  70!

The same man told me that their original aim had been to try and get 100 tables.  However, he wasn’t too bothered with the fact that they hadn’t reached this figure as they now know that many tables won’t fit in the Hodson Bay’s ballroom!  Anyway, it promises to be a great event and best of luck to everyone who has entered.  I’m available for subbing duties if anyone has a free spot on a team.  😉

While I may not be quizzing in Athlone on Friday, that’s not to say I won’t be taking part in a sports quiz this week. The night before, Claremorris AFC host their annual sports quiz in The Dalton Inn, Claremorris. Myself and Ger have a bit of history in this one and we’ll hoping to do a lot better than two years ago and slightly better than last year.

The final blast from the past is Division, a quiz show which will air on RTÉ this Sunday evening. Readers of the blog will know all about this show, my dalliance with taking part and eventual decision to not do so.

Yesterday,’s Daily Edge subsite featured what they called an “exclusive sneak peak” of the show. If you feel so inclined, check out the whole article. Indeed, it’s possibly worth it for the comments beneath, several of which are pretty much on-the-money for me.

If you want to skip to the chase though, here is the preview clip itself:


Game, set, penalty shootout… answers

November 26, 2013 in Quizzes

high-kingsWith respect to yesterday morning’s post, I must admit I wrote it in a bit of a rush. This was probably quite obvious as I (a) never told you whether we won the playoff and (b) forgot to add the footnotes to the bottom of the post. Apologies all.

Last things first, I can reveal that we did indeed win! We got five of the six correct, beating our opponents by one. I’ll outline the answers (and tell you which one we missed) before the end of the post.

Oh yes, I also need to tell you all about the ‘guess’.

Firstly, let’s be honest no-one at a quiz ever really guesses. By which I mean the let’s-just-pick-a-random-name-and-hope guess – what I’d call a pure guess. I suppose you might make that kind of guess in a situation where you genuinely haven’t a clue of where to even begin with an answer and reckon ‘there’s no point putting up a blank answer’. However, one of these guesses coming in and getting you a point is the equivalent of picking a winning lottery number. Very, very rare!

Most of the time we make educated guesses, with the level of education on the given issue varying wildly. I think it was in the World Quizzing Championship this year that, when asked to name a specific Korean film director, I wrote down “Park”. I haven’t a clue about Korean film directors but I do know that Park is a very common Korean surname. Whaddya know – it was the correct answer!

Last Friday night, we had a guess which involved probably the smallest amount of education possible. We were asked:

If Clancy, Holden and Dunphy are three of The High Kings, who is the fourth?

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Game, set, penalty shootout, match?

November 25, 2013 in Quizzes

tennis-ball-netStrangely it seems, the more involved in international championships I get, the less I take part in table quizzes. Of course, by that I mean the less I take part in table quizzes, as a contestant. I’ve been involved in loads of quizzes over this calendar year but as a question setter and quizmaster.

So last Friday night’s Claremorris Tennis Club table quiz was a nice opportunity to ‘get back in the game’ as it were. I attended on the invite of Andrew, one of the captains on my radio quiz show, After the Fact. To complete the team, he had lined up Lorraine, his nemesis on ATF and his own brother Paul.

The quiz was down for 9pm so, of course, it didn’t start until around half-past. After that though, the quizmistress ran a pretty tight ship, moving through each round quickly, getting the answer sheets collected and getting on the next one. Other quiz hosts please take note!
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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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Read, play, see how you got on

November 12, 2013 in EQC, Games, Quizzes

A relaxing image, from one of the answers below.

A relaxing image, from one of the answers below.

Here’s a quick post, the purpose of which is mostly to give you the answers to the questions I posted last Friday.

First, though, here are a few links I spotted over the weekend which might be of interest.

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EQC 2013: Photos and sample questions

November 8, 2013 in EQC, Quizzes

The Ireland B team at EQC 2013Last weekend was brilliant and, travel trauma aside, I really enjoyed it – even the quizzing! If you’d like to have a look at a gallery of photos I took, please head on over to the IQO Facebook page and look see. Or, if you’re lazy, here’s the direct link.

I’ve had a few requests for questions from last weekend. Rather than upload an entire quiz etc, I’m actually going to showcase questions from each of the quizzes over the weekend, to give those who missed the tournament a taste of how it went.

And how hard the questions were!

So, here we go. Starting with…

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EQC 2013, day three

November 4, 2013 in EQC, Quizzes

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, under which we spent most of our weekend.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, a structure we spent most of the weekend underneath. Note the contrail…

Good afternoon readers. Some of you may have been waiting for my report on the third and final day of the European Quizzing Championships. “Where have you been, John?” you’re probably asking. Well, in this case I have a definitive answer. I’ve been to Cork and back.

More of that anon, let’s get back to the quizzing in Liverpool.

Sunday morning started with the last quiz in which Irish team members would be taking part, the Pairs. Eight of us entered this event, which we only ever do on this one day of the year. I teamed up with Mark Henry whilst Kevin Jones and Dan O’Malley also formed a Team Ireland pair. David Lea, Lorcan Duff, Dave McBryan and Paul Philpot also took part, albeit they did so with partners from other nations.

Whilst admitting up front that almost everyone in the room had been out late the night before, clearly it must affect some more than others! Mark and I did OK but missed a few sitters. My proudest moment was recognising this song and being able to identify it. No guess work needed, I just knew it. (How, I don’t know!)

Using that, erm, highlight, as inspiration we managed to drag ourselves up to a respectable score of 46, which was good enough for a handily symmetrical 46th place. Lorcan and David, with their partners Paul Steeples and Kathryn Johnson, both scored 10 points more, and finished tied in 20th place.

Of course, all of us in the room were trailing in the wake of the wonderteam that is Pat Gibson and Kevin Ashman. The defending champions won again with a score of 77.
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