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Listen to: They didn’t suit you

January 15, 2014 in Culture

They didn’t suit you, the radio documentary detailing my journey to last year’s European Quizzing Championships, aired last Saturday on RTÉ Radio One. If you didn’t hear it at the time, it will be repeated on Sunday next (January 19th) at 7pm on the same channel.

If that’s too analogue for you, fear not – you can listen by going to the show’s page on the RTÉ website:

Alternatively, listen right here:

Radio 1 documentary airs this weekend

January 6, 2014 in Culture

Brendan Daly listens

Brendan Daly listens

Tune in to RTÉ Radio 1 this weekend (on Saturday at 2pm and/or Sunday at 7pm) to hear the voices of Ger Slattery, Mark Henry, Dan O’Malley, Andrew Newman, Lorraine Murphy, Ronnie Swiggers, Jane Allen and a host of other quizzing luminaries speak on quizzing and the European Quizzing Championships.

They Didn’t Suit You, is the name of a documentary recorded by Brendan Daly and produced by Ronan Kelly. Brendan tagged along with myself and the Irish quizzing team both before and during last November’s Euros in Liverpool.

The resulting programme will be (I think) about 45 minutes long and will air on Saturday, January 11th, at 2pm. It will be repeated eight days later at 7pm.

For more info, and a slideshow of some very familiar photos, please check out the page on the RTÉ Doc on One mini-site.

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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EQC 2013, day two

November 3, 2013 in EQC, Quizzes

The Individual 'Final 20' in progress.

The Individual ‘Final 20’ in progress.

Day two at the European Quizzing Championships centres on the individual quiz event.  We all march in to the hall, tired and bleary at 9.30am, and are subjected to 100 questions, silently, on paper.

Seating at the individual is never up to the individual involved.  Seats are assigned, using one method or another.  This year, our places in the hall were based on a list of first names, sorted alphabetically.  Unsurprisingly, this meant that I was at a table entirely populated by Johns.  Myself, my Irish colleague John Groarke, a Dutch quizzer called John and, the radical of our group, a Belgian called Johnny.

The quiz started well, with round one containing a very Irish question: “Which missionary monk founded a monastery on the island of Iona on Scotland’s west coast…?

To anyone who’s gone through Ireland’s primary education system, this is quite a simple question.  More so, due to the fact that this particular man is known by two names, which surely increases the quizzer’s chance of hitting upon the right answer.  Columba, I went for, but Colmcille would have been equally valid.  The presence of Columba at the end of round one’s paper provided a nice symmetry as that round had opened with a question on an “… iconic US TV character… who preferred to use his own car, an early 1960s Peugeot 403 convertible…”  I’ll let you work that one out yourself.

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EQC 2013, day one

November 2, 2013 in EQC, Quizzes

Good morning all.  Day one of the European Quizzing Championships is behind me and I am tired.

Mind you, I’m probably not as tired as I was this time last year.  Then, I had gotten up at 2am to drive to Dublin Airport to catch a flight to Riga.  From there, I then drove a hired car the four hour journey to Tartu.


Flight time is study time

This year, I had the luxury of staying in my brother Pat’s house in Ennis, before getting up at the relatively late hour of 5.30am to catch a Shannon-Manchester flight with my team-mate Ger.  The two of us had a very pleasant travelling experience, with Ger doing his best to ensure that the journey time wasn’t wasted by cramming as many obscure capital cities into my brain as was possible.

Upon our arrival in Manchester, we had over an hour to wait for our connecting train to Liverpool.  In the station beneath the airport we bumped in to Sebastian Jacoby, one of Germany’s best quizzers (and one of the men who consigned Ireland to a 10th place finish last year).  Sebastian considered joining us on our train to Liverpool but, unfortunately, he was waiting on a team-mate to arrive on a different flight. We bid him adieu.

The train journey went by quickly and we arrived in Liverpool at 10.40am.  We were greeted by grey skies and a mysterious water falling from them.  This turned out to be a bit of a problem for me as, I discovered, one of my shoes has given up being waterproof.  So, from our walk to our lodgings, for the rest of the day, I squelched around with wet (and indeed cold) feet.

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