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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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Front Door: Series 3, Episode 2

April 21, 2009 in Quizzes

Actually season 4, but since we sat one out it hardly counts ;)

Actually season 4, but since we sat one out it hardly counts 😉

With John away again, it’s Mike filling in here with another guest blog.

People like to win. Leaving aside the “doing it for the craic” losers – yeah, right – we all love to win something, sometimes. Table quiz, office sweepstake, race to the elevator, whatever. If there’s a sense of superiority on the table, all the better. Call me an old romantic, but the nature of winning is almost equally important to me. As a Liverpool fan, I see both sides of the win/loss chasm on a regular basis, from lucky wins to games thrown away or lost to some cynical cheating. Now, a part of me just wants to win, no matter what, but I try to keep my baser instincts under wraps.

Which is why I’m so cheered at the thought of serious competition in this quizzing series. Sure, a nice easy run-in to the grand prize of €500 would be nice and all, but having to earn it, as it were, is doubly rewarding. Tonight was a case in point. Firstly, we started a point behind overall – you may remember that particular tale – so we’d a point to prove. We’d borrowed Michael Lang as an able sub since John was doing his husbandly duties and came up against no shortage of surprises. Firstly, the questions were good. Not just “good by the Front Door’s standards” but genuinely varied and challenging. They’d the usual hallmarks of being composed mere hours – maybe even minutes – beforehand but were a vast improvement on previous quizzes.

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Blow-in Quizzers answers

March 3, 2009 in Quizzes

Answers from yesterday’s guest blog. We won, as we do, by a decent margin. Only once can I recall less helpful teammates though, back in college with two drunkies. Read the rest of this entry →

Guest blog: Blow-in Quizzers

March 1, 2009 in Quizzes

A welcoming bar out westBlow-ins get fierce reactions around our parts. They arouse suspicion are are frequently loathed on sight for being nothing more than strangers. On the flipside, I’ve worn that banner in the past as well: representing a Gort pub in the Galway heats of a national quiz for instance.

The one that particularly springs to mind dates from the early nineties when quizzing was hugely popular in the west. SBB and his wife used to set the questions, and to this day I don’t recall better. Anyways, Dad & I were on a team which won a big – about 45 teams – quiz in Carraroe. On our way out, the organisers of a quiz the following week invited us back to Lettermullen or Lettermore… Lettersomething anyhow. He seemed friendly enough, so we agreed.

Cue the following week where we landed in a small village pub in the middle of nowhere. Yer man, of course, wasn’t there and we could hardly explain what brought us out to the islands that wintry night. With banjos playing in our ears we squeaked a win (good idea or not, us Coynes don’t play for 2nd!) and promptly skedaddled out of there, plaques in hand.

Which is a roundabout way to introduce Friday night’s quiz. Shelly and I were invited by the organizer’s girlfriend who’d been humiliated by her last place finish last time. Sold to us as a charity quiz, it was actually a social club event. Sorta beneath us, said he loftily, like bringing ringers onto the Springfield Isotopes. Regardless, the questions were quite well written, wherever they were sourced from. Here are a selection on ones we remember.

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