Why quizzing?

I often wonder how and why I got into quizzing; it certainly seems to predominantly be a pastime for the middle-aged - going by attendances at pub quizzes and quiz leagues up and down the country, anyway. I don't particularly mind that - I enjoy the competition, the learning, the fact-hoarding, the reading, the travelling. It all adds up to something that never seems to get old for me - well, it hasn't yet, and I'm one of those people who tends to go through obsessive phases of things, in that I'll watch a certain TV show and read as much about it as I can, or a particular film series, or a book, or something else. Anyway, here's how it all started, for anyone who's interested...

Around a year or two ago, I was watching TV one day, bored, when I stumbled across a new quiz show - The Chase. New to me, anyway, though I think it must have been in its second or third, perhaps fourth, series. It was different to anything I'd watched in terms of quiz TV - fast-paced, exciting, loads of questions, but the thing that interested me most was the chaser in the chair. I was mesmerised by their question-answering prowess, reeling out answer after answer in the final chase. I wondered who these people were. How do they become so knowledgeable, I thought to myself? Truth be told, I didn't know, but I sure was going to find out. And from there it started and spiralled...

I've always had a fairly decent general knowledge for my age, I think - I remember having a pack of world capitals snap cards when I was younger, and I'd always had encyclopaedias and an interest in reading from a young age, but The Chase had awoken a desire to learn far more than I'd ever done before. I started reading about the chasers themselves, saw that one of them was described as a Grand Master, and decided to look it up. It was from there that I found the Quizzing UK website, and thus the Grand Prix circuit that I've recently started playing on. I'd never known that something like that existed, and the names that I saw read like a who's who of quizzing - Kevin Ashman, Pat Gibson, Anne Hegerty, Mark Labbett, among others. 

That's when I decided to improve - there wasn't much of a pattern to it, as I recall. Generally I read a lot online, answered questions, picked up as many facts as I could, and tried to cement the chestnuts. It was then that I discovered just how much there is to learn, and just how good the top players are. The standards at the top really are incredible. Fast forward a year or so, and I was in need of more. That was when, as a random search, I googled "Lancaster quiz league", not expecting to find anything. I was surprised. I discovered the Lancaster City Quiz League in November 2013, read the questions, looked at the teams and the stats and had a desire to join. I only plucked up the courage to join in January, when I sent off an email to the league's secretary, who put me straight into The Pub's (yes, that is the very original name of the pub) team. I played a few matches and found I really enjoyed the competition - light-hearted socially, but fierce once the questions were being asked. Had I not sent that email, this blog would probably never have been started, and I probably would have confined quizzing to the back of my mind like everything else.

From there, I started attending the Quizzing GPs, and taking part in more quiz events. On Saturday, I'll be attending the Stockport Grand Prix, my third Quizzing UK event so far, a culmination of all the knowledge I've accumulated so far. As quizzers know, there's always more to learn...

QM Quiz #9

1 Protozoa of the genus Plasmodium cause which disease?
2 Which highest point of Indonesia is also the highest mountain to be found on an island?
3 In which city was Anne Frank born in 1929?
4 Which retired US professional wrestler, comedian, and actor is often referred to as "The Hardcore Legend" and was a special guest referee in the closing match of WrestleMania 2000?
5 Air Algerie Flight 5017 crashed this week in which African country?
6 Traditionally more affluent than other South American countries, which nation has been known by the sobriquet "the Switzerland of South America"?
7 By what nickname was Joan of Arc most commonly known?
8 Who directed The Bridge on the River Kwai?
9 High Land, Hard Rain was the debut album of which Scottish new wave band?
10 From her second studio album, 21, "Set Fire to the Rain" is a song by which singer-songwriter?
11 The Ustase was a fascist terrorist organisation active in which modern-day country from 1929 to 1945?
12 In what year was Channel 4 first broadcast in the UK?
13 What is the largest island of Fiji, comprising much of the population?
14 Which Middle Eastern country has a name that means "two seas"?
15 A complex of five internationally significant sites, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Museum Island can be found in which European capital?
16 Who rose to fame with his revolutionary 1957 book, Syntactic Structures?
17 Found on the Neretva River, Mostar is the fourth-largest city in which country?
18 What is the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name?
19 Which US vice president served under Richard Nixon from 1969-1973?
20 In which decade did the deadliest hurricane in history occur, striking the Caribbean and killing thousands?

1 Malaria
2 Puncak Jaya
3 Frankfurt
4 Mick Foley
5 Mali
6 Uruguay
7 Maid of Orleans
8 David Lean
9 Aztec Camera
10 Adele
11 Croatia
12 1982
13 Viti Levu
14 Bahrain
15 Berlin
16 Noam Chomsky
17 Bosnia & Herzegovina
18 KLM
19 Spiro Agnew
20 1780s

Absence explanation

People who read this will probably have noticed that there have been no posts for the past fortnight or so... basically, I've been in Greece for two weeks so haven't been able to post anything new. I could have scheduled posts to post in advance but that would actually depend on me being organised. Anyway, I'm back now, so I'll start keeping the blog updated. Cheers.

QM Quiz #8

1 In which city is the J. Edgar Hoover Building, headquarters of the FBI?
2 The chief town of the island, what was the capital of Corsica until 1811?
3 The fifth-largest constellation is named for a hero of Greek myth - with the Roman version of the name being used. Which hero?
4 Which Nigerian writer's first novel, Things Fall Apart, is the most widely read book in African literature?
5 Two people have won the FIFA World Cup as both player and coach. One is Franz Beckenbauer; which Brazilian is the other?
6 Pyelonephritis is an inflammation of which bodily organ?
7 Which Surrey-born economist (1766-1834) argued in his 1798 Essay on the Principle of Population that efforts should be made to reduce the population?
8 What is the name of the family of space vehicles being developed in Russia? They are intended to become the mainstay of the Russian space fleet in the future, and the first flight took place successfully yesterday.
9 Also known as Operation Jubilee, a disastrous August 1942 Allied attack on which German-occupied port of northern France influenced the Normandy landings?
10 Which country was known until 1972 as Ceylon?
11 Which Italian-built deep-diving bathyscaphe reached the deepest point of all the oceans - Challenger Deep - in August 1953? It was the first manned vessel to have reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep.
12 Which British band took their name from the headline of Guy Peellaert's painting featuring Frank Sinatra?
13 Known in the West as Madame Mao, who was the final wife of Mao Zedong?
14 Which of the halogens has a name deriving from the Greek for "strong-smelling"?
15 Who was the first male tennis player to win all four Grand Slams on three different surfaces?
16 The Columbus Channel - or Serpent's Mouth - separates the south-westernmost point of Trinidad and Tobago from which South American country, eleven kilometres away?
17 Bassanio, Portia, and Shylock are characters in which Shakespeare play?
18 What is the common name of birds of the order Strigiformes?
19 Located in Indonesia, what is the highest mountain in the world to be located on an island?
20 Created in 1972, the Templeton Prize is awarded for progress in which field?

1 Washington, D.C.
2 Bastia
3 Hercules
4 Chinua Achebe
5 Mario Zagallo
6 Kidney
7 Thomas Malthus
8 Angara
9 Dieppe
10 Sri Lanka
11 Trieste
12 Frankie Goes to Hollywood
13 Jiang Qing
14 Bromine
15 Andre Agassi
16 Venezuela
17 The Merchant of Venice
18 Owls
19 Puncak Jaya
20 Religion

Quiz in the North

Just seen Dan Fullard make a post about this on his blog so thought I'd put one here as well in case anyone hasn't seen it.

Information straight from John Wilson who has organised a quiz in the north of England for Saturday 9th August:

"Fed up of having to travel to quizzes?
Well, let us bring the quiz to you.
Announcing Quiz in the North, to take place on Saturday 9th August at Rochdale Town Hall, starting at 11:30. Before lunch there will be a shortish written quiz with a slight bias towards questions about the north. After lunch there will be a quiz using handsets organised by Dave Bill, and then Dave Tilley will preside over a team table quiz.
All are welcome for all or part of the day. Admission is £5 towards venue hire and printing costs.
If you have any queries, please contact me on 07969 858632 or via email at johnandirenewilson@btinternet.com
I'll hopefully be attending, and there should be a decent number of people there. 

Geography-biased questions

A host of questions centred around my favourite quizzing area:

1 The Milad Tower offers panoramic views of which large Asian capital?
2 What is the largest island of Fiji, and the site of the nation's capital, Suva?
3 A lake shared by Argentina and Chile is named on the Chilean side by one of the founders of the country. How do the Chileans know this lake that the Argentinians know as Lake Buenos Aires?
4 How many members are there in the Commonwealth of Independent States, an organisation whose members are typically ex-Soviet countries? 
5 Which US city's Beale Street is an iconic thoroughfare in the history of blues music?
6 Which US river flooded in early 1937, with damage stretching from Pennsylvania to Illinois? The river is widest just west of Louisville.
7 The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and utilisation of what?
8 What is the nearest US city to the Falls of the Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area?
9 What is the county town of Shropshire?
10 Galle is a major city situated on the south-western tip of which island?
11 A lusophone is someone who speaks which language?
12 Taur Matan Ruak is the president of which republic?
13 The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connects Brooklyn with which other New York City borough?
14 What is the capital - and largest city - of Tajikistan?
15 The OPCW is the Organisation for the Prohibition of what?
16 Who was the first woman to sit as an MP in the House of Commons?
17 Among the world's least-developed countries, which landlocked African republic was formerly known as Nyasaland?
18 The flag of which German state is a bicolour of white over green?
19 Which Italian company is the second-largest utility company in Europe?
20 The Abraj Al Bait is the tallest clock tower, and one of the tallest structures, in the world. In which city of major religious importance can it be seen?

1 Tehran
2 Viti Levu
3 General Carrera Lake
4 Nine
5 Memphis
6 Ohio River
7 Wetlands
8 Louisville
9 Shrewsbury
10 Sri Lanka
11 Portuguese
12 East Timor
13 Staten Island
14 Dushanbe
15 Chemical weapons
16 Nancy Astor
17 Malawi
18 Saxony
19 Enel
20 Mecca

Miscellaneous quiz round-up

Fifteen to One 
The revival series must have been successful - well, in ignoring the annoying format extension that eliminated the pacy nature of the original series - enough to warrant a second series as Remedy Productions are advertising for people to apply. I've decided I'm going to fill out an application and hope I get an audition. Worth a shot, I guess...

Paid setting
I've managed to find some paid setting opportunities which I'm really pleased about. I'll still update the blog regularly, but I'll probably need to give more priority to the paid setting. 

Twitter account
The blog now has a Twitter account - here. Hopefully people may find the blog from there and decide to bookmark it, or perhaps they'll visit it once and mark it down as a site never to be visited again, I'm not sure which. Still, if you're on Twitter, please follow! 

Some questions
Ten quick questions gathered from Schott's Original Miscellany (an excellent book, if I may say so myself):
1 What is typically the final event of the decathlon?
2 Who assassinated US president William McKinley?
3 What is chionophobia the fear of?
4 On which date does Princess Anne's birthday fall?
5 How old was T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan when he died in a car crash in 1977?
6 Ted Hughes became the United Kingdom Poet Laureate in 1984 after whom declined?
7 Matisse, Rouault, and Dufy were exponents of which French art movement?
8 Only making two, which Bond film was the first to star Timothy Dalton in the lead role?
9 What is the only London street where traffic must drive on the right?
10 Which letter is represented in Morse code by two dots?

1 1500 metres
2 Leon Czolgosz
3 Snow
4 15th August
5 29
6 Philip Larkin
7 Fauvism
8 The Living Daylights
9 Savoy Court
10 I