Lies … Damn Lies

This is my first blog in several months, and there’s a reason for this. With a blog title of Beer and Quizzes, you would expect, well … beer and quizzes. However, I’ve not actually participated in a quiz since the Birmingham Grand Prix and I’ve only been to The Pub twice in the intervening period as well. This gives sparse pickings for the contents of any type of semi-amusing ramblings.

There are also reasons for this lack of quizzing. The Other Pub (the pub a few doors down from Hulk*, which you can read all about in a previous blog Exile) agreed to run the quiz wot I wrote (in true Ernie Wise style-ee). Regular readers may remember that the problem with this pub, certainly from the Royal Blokes* point of view, was that the furniture was seemingly made for fantasy characters of the hairy footed variety. This annoyed Cpt. America* in particular.

Given this (the diminutive furniture, not the annoyed banker), and taking into consideration that it will probably feature heavily in forthcoming blogs, I’ve upgraded the name for The Other Pub to The Green Dragon (that’s the pub in Hobbiton for non-Tolkeinites. And before you say anything, The Prancing Pony is in Bree so is an unsuitable analogy).

The Green Dragon Quiz has been going well, and was an absolute sell-out for the Halloween edition – helped by the fact that the microphone at The Pub was shagged (technical term) and The Governess* couldn’t run her quiz that night so everyone trooped the 5 minutes down the road to my quiz. This has had the result that both Amber Nectar* and The Team With No Name have defected and are now enjoying the delights of cheaper beer, free quiz entry, free buffet part way through (heavily featuring multiple products made of dead pig – it is The Black Country after all) and longer opening hours. They wouldn’t have got that if they’d have defected to Stalinist Moscow instead.

The teams at the Green Dragon (shout out to The Fork ‘Andles, Jean Genie, AJ and The Sparklers – that last one is actually two teams, not some Merseybeat-esque combo from 1963) also have the pleasure of Parker* and Mrs Parker (who hereon in shall be deemed Dark Angel, as that’s her twitter handle/hashtag/whatever it’s called) actually reading out the questions on a seemingly bi-weekly basis. This has allowed me to sit up the corner, nursing a (cheap) pint of something or other, usually Hobgoblin or Ringwood, and being self-critical of my questions. The rewriting resulting from this has increased the overall quality of the quiz, and my quizzes are now regularly being run at eight other locations from Leicestershire to Cornwall.

Blatant plug alert! You can now buy a Perfect Pub Quiz on the website, with instant download; or on eBay. You can also come along to The Green Dragon Christmas Quiz on 16 December – full details on the Facebook page.

While the above has had its advantages, it’s also had its disadvantages. The first part of the blog has been written on the eve of the British Open Quiz Championships, my first quiz since being immersed into the serious world of quizzing in early October. Now I fully intended to read a newspaper a day in preparation for this, and I haven’t actually managed to read a single one yet. As such, my only ‘revision’ for tomorrow has been watching University Challenge and Only Connect, although my mental enjoyment of the latter has been somewhat overtaken by my visual enjoyment of Victoria Coren-Mitchell’s great tits. Not as great as Lucy’s though, as I’m sure you’ll agree:


The fact that she’s also taken up drumming (Lucy, not Victoria) has not gone down too well with me … nor with the neighbours. I suppose I only have myself to blame. It’s the obvious outcome of the combination of two months of neglect and allowing her unlimited access to my half- decent Rock CD collection that caused this.

The title of this blog is part of a phrase attributed to Benjamin Disraeli by Mark Twain (good luck to those of you who’ve stumbled across this blog by searching on either of those two names – that’s all you’re getting). The missing part is the ‘and Statistics’ bit, and is in reference to my World Quiz Ranking (for I have such a thing).

I’ve joined the UK Quiz Circuit, and by default the World Quiz Circuit, part way through the season. As each of these provide rankings based upon the sum total of the seasons results, despite coming 55th on the day of the Birmingham GP, I’m actually ranked at 444 by the British Quiz Association. However, my World ranking is weirdly higher, at 394. This is because not everyone who takes part in the UK event also chooses to participate in the World Ranking Quiz (the Hot 100) as well. I’m hampered in my World ranking by the fact that the top players have an accumulated score from 7 rounds, while I’ve only taken part in one.

Based upon the October 2014 results alone, I was 115th in the world, a much more satisfactory score. This equates to me being the 84th highest ranking European player, the 33rd best in the UK and Ireland and the 12th best player in England. I can therefore claim to be one of the top 15 quizzers in England, which anyone who knows me will know is unlikely – so is it lies, damn lies or statistics?

The British Open – Newark. 6 December 2014.

Ok, the rest of this blog has been written the day after the night before.

This was a much tougher quiz than I was expecting. Clearly the old ‘Fail to plan; Plan to Fail’ adage is correct because I ended up 61st out of 69. It could have been worse, I could have ended up with 69 – but at least that would have given me the opportunity to litter the remainder of the blog with sufficient innuendo to make you think this was Carry on Quizzing. My Hot 100 score was also only 44 – one less than last time. On the bright side everyone said it was a much harder quiz this time and the position doesn’t matter, only the ranking points that come from it.

Regardless of all of that, the team quiz was a different kettle of fish. It was a highbrow/lowbrow pairing of questions quiz, and my team mates this time (again selected by the organisers) included the former British Ambassador to Azerbaijan and a director of Grimsby Town FC (if nothing else, the last bit should make The Seven Year Bitch* jealous).

Now while I didn’t do too well on the highbrow questions about the next lines of Shelley poems, or who played Hamlet’s mom in the Branagh film; I did know the lowbrow lyrics to both Agadoo and Ernie and I could recognise Stifler’s Mom at 500 paces.


Add to this my uncanny ability to match the quote with the Fawlty Towers episode (this one) and my knowledge of who plays Citizen Khan, and we came a massive second – beating the only Chaser in the room (all the Eggheads are recording a series at the moment and had to do the quiz from a broom closet in BBC Glasgow). The team that beat us consisted of two Mastermind champions, an Only Connect champion and a 15-1 runner-up so we did bloody well. The Ambassador really was spoiling us!

I can now leave the blog on a happy note – until the rankings are published and I spiral back into another round of psychosomatic quiz based anxiety and depression.

Footnote: Victoria Coren-Mitchell’s great tits are a pair of wonderful examples of Parsus Major. Whilst I enjoy these, I don’t think she should be keeping wild birds like that, especially in a TV studio, and certainly not with all that ‘Disney Snow White singing together in a cheerful way crap’ they do while the contestants are trying to work out the Connecting Wall. It must be very off-putting.
Jennifer Coolidge is Stiffler’s Mom and Adil Ray plays Citizen Khan. Samuel Taylor Coleridge invented the word psychosomatic – this was one of the questions I got wrong – I thought it was probably Byron.

*see Cast List


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