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by Bill Turnbull
The Pub Quiz
First and foremost it must be remembered that a pub quiz is meant to
be an entertainment, not an exam. It is also meant to help fill the
coffers of the landlord or indeed to help keep the pub a viable
proposition so that we can all continue to enjoy what goes on in its
If you are going just for a night out and a few laughs pick three
like minded friends or indeed another couple but if you are serious
and want to win pick three friends with different interests, one may
be interested in all forms of sport another, a TV and film addict
and so on.
Setting the Quiz
This is most important no-one likes to go to a quiz and remain mute
for the rest of the evening and come away thinking that they are
ignorant or at worse thick.
So a good mix of questions is very important not too much of any one
subject, it is ok that you know that Nottingham Pork Butchers beat
Grantham Thursday on Ash Wednesday but no-one else will so keep away
from the esoteric and obscure knowledge.
Try and make it so sixty percent are fairly easy, then twenty
percent that can be guessed at and the remainder slightly more
difficult with possibly the last ten percent a bit special.
I usually stick to forty questions so that leaves room for a half
time, so that the nicotine addicts can run out into the cold wet
evening for their fix, those with weakfish bladders can empty them
and the rest can replenish their glasses to the great enjoyment of
the landlord, it also spins the quiz out so the participants will
spend longer in the pub hopefully imbibing which is of course the
object of the exercise.
The quizmaster is a very important part of the quiz and he should be
someone with a modicum of grey matter as he may have to be an
adjudicator when the answer is not what is exactly on the answer
sheet but pretty close he may decide to award the point or award a
Keep the questions short as there will always be the people who were
not listening or scraping their chairs along the floor and want them
repeated, stick to one repeat or you will still be there in the
morning some quiz goers need to hear them three or four times, make
it known at the beginning that you will repeat the questions only
once. And always have a supply of spare pens it always amazes me to
see people turn up for a quiz and don't think to bring anything to
write with. Someone will always come up with how am I expected to
know that I wasn't born then, my stock answer to that was what
happened in 1066, they usually know or they should not have been at
a quiz in the first place, so I tell them they look well for their
If this is an ongoing weekly quiz there are various ways that you
can keep the participants interested, set a quiz in which all the
answers begin with the same letter, introduce named subject rounds
of five questions each ask the participants to pick one of the
rounds and play their joker which means they will get double points
for that particular round. There are other ploys that can be used
you will be able to see some ideas on the Quiz for Free website. And
most important always have a tie-break question up your sleeve. For
those who don't understand tie breaks (and I have been to quizzes
where the quizmaster didn't) the answer should be a number and the
team that gets the nearest to it wins.
I hope this has been helpful. Bill.