More pints than points

Saturday 21st May 2011

QUIZ night at the John Y Gwas is one of those occasions when there are several competitions happening simultaneously.

The six of us split into two teams, which means we’re competing against each other as well as the other teams in the pub. Meanwhile, my own desire to win competes against an irrational thought that maybe I can convince myself that winning is of no importance whatsoever.

Excuses will be offered for poor scores in specialist rounds, especially when our egos allow us to suggest that the reason we don’t know the answers is because we’re above mundane subjects like celebrity chefs, motor racing, Winter Olympics venues and Eurovision Song Contest winners. Kudos will, however, be granted to any individual on our teams who gets the correct answer to any question we collectively consider difficult, even if it is in one of the categories mentioned above.

Invariably, the team with me on it scores fewer points than our friends’ team. I am, alas, the weakest link.

On which station, incidentally, do you need to be on a 909am in order to catch a 606*?

Anyone daring to admit to sharing my love-hate relationship with these things should buy a copy of Brain Men: The Insider’s Guide to Quizzing by Marcus Berkmann. There’s something Nick Hornby-ish about the image it evokes of beer-swilling men arguing over the two names needed to complete a list – Happy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Sneezy* – or the value of the Scrabble letter H*.

Berkmann’s favourite goes back a few years. He told me that…

In an opinion poll conducted by the Church of England in 1998 to establish who was the best-known Christian in the world, God came first, Mother Teresa third and the Pope ninth. But who came second*?

…is an ideal example of a teaser that leads to much heated discussion, resulting, more often than not, in huge cheers when almost every team somehow gets it right.

Sorry, I can’t find a way to hide the answers. I hope you’ve not been peeping.

(* Radio 5 Live; Bashful, Grumpy; 4; Cliff Richard)

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