Where is the world’s highest waterfall?
Name the two leads in the film ‘Brief Encounter’.
In which city would you find Leonardo de Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’?*
Well, if you know the answers to these, then there’s a strong chance you’ve competed in the odd pub quiz or two. This very British phenomenon has now spread across the English-speaking world, and is still growing in popularity at home, as pubs branch out to attract more punters through the door. In some places, you can – if you are keen enough – go to a pub quiz every night.
My other half and I have been going to quizzes for years now, with the team name ‘Zippy and Bungle’ (I’m Zippy, because I’m regarded as a bit gobby...). We’ve recently started going to quizzes in Brighton, and luckily for us we’ve been joined by our friend George, so we’ve been able to expand the team name!! We’re not fantastically successful, if I’m honest: we’re fine on history, geography, science, entertainment and general knowledge, rather rusty on music, dodgy on art and completely hopeless on sport.
Of course, the quizzes themselves vary enormously. Some are nice and straightforward, with enough easy questions to give everyone a chance to compete. Others are fiendishly difficult, attracting semi-professional teams, and some focus on specific areas, like music or entertainment, for example, for those with special interests.
Our worst experience was a local quiz in Kensington, where rounds included sections of horticulture and ‘Name the next line’ from Shakespeare’s plays. The former needed an encyclopaedic knowledge of plants, and the latter seemed to focus on the more obscure plays, like ‘Titus Andronicus’ and ‘King John’ – rather than the standard ‘O’ level favourites. We scored a miserable 8 out of 100, whereas the winning team – complete with an English teacher and several members of the Royal Horticultural Society - scored over 90. (I guess that's Kensington for you).
We have won a few, however: my own personal triumph came in answering, ‘How tall is the spire of Salisbury Cathedral?’ which, for some reason, I just happened to know (404ft). In contrast, my other half astonished one pub by naming all the squares on the Monopoly Board, in the right order! The quality of answers can decline, mind you, as the evening wears on, depending on the quality of the beer...
Brighton has a good selection of Sunday quizzes, several of which we’ve tried. The Prestonville has a Sunday quiz at the trickier end of the scale; the Duke of Wellington has a middle-of-the-road quiz, with a music round (usually 1960s and 1970s rock and pop), whereas the Windmill has a slightly easier quiz, followed by a few rounds of ‘Play your cards right’, which you enter by a draw.
So, why not swot up and try your hand at being an egghead? All you have to lose is your pride...
*(Answers: the Angel Falls in Venezuela; Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson; Milan).