Steve Kidd’s Quiz of The Year, 2022

Thank you!

In 2022, I participated in 334 quizzes. Of those 42 were on-line, and of those I hosted 39, and, much as I thought broadcasting from Worcestershire Beacon, Pavis Wood, and Leith Hill was tremendous fun, they don’t count. Take it as a given they were brilliant.

5 of them were written down. The Boars Head in Poynton (Thursdays) was excellent, but none of them were my Quiz of the Month (QOTM).

All the rest were SpeedQuizzes of which 13 don't count, as by some factor the quiz did not go ahead, but we can't criticise the pub or host. Shit happens. Talking of which 24 of them I would not want to go back to, all things being equal (Click on the map above and look for 'meh!'). 13 of them I considered 'OK'. 253 I would 'recommend', the majority of which (188) I would 'Highly Recommend'. That is pretty good going in that I reckon the default on SpeedQuizzes is pretty.. pretty.. goood.

What I really want to illustrate on this page is how totally brilliant some of them were by describing my Quiz Of The Month, then selecting a Quiz Of The Year. What I will definitely illustrate is my inumeracy, as there are 17 of them, but in this crazy Everything Everywhere All at Once world I thought it was totally unfair to leave out particular quizzes. (I really think it is pretty unfair that some hosts, Dave Bradley, Franny Ward, etc etc etc are not in the final 17). I repeat; there were 188 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and each of them has a valid claim.

N.B. I have precluded any host from being included twice. It would be pretty boring if it were just Tony Murphy (insert your own name there). I regret Owen Andrew being a late visit to Hemel Hempstead last year, as I think it might be he who made me think I should keep a better diary, resulting in this.

So. Here we go, in chronlogical order:

January - Urmston Sports Club, Urmston, with Jonny Spangles

Jonny is one of those guys who – no he isn’t, he is a man alone, combining entertainment, quiz and a lovely welcome a great crowd. The daddy. If I were asked to define serendipity, this was it. I had intended to go to some quiz north of Bury, but it was really more of a locals' get together and I did not want to intrude. Plan B, nip round the M60 ten miles, and see the godfather of quiz in action. How the fuck does he manage to pack a place to the rafters for a bottle of wine and 100% enjoyment? I subsequently saw Jonny a couple more times in the year, and he just nails it.

February - Cricketers, Knaresborough, with Danyell Tate

Go-to quiz. Simple, cosy, ace. This should be really the benchmark for assessing quizzes. When all's said and done, at the end of the day, it's 60 questions in 80 minutes, in a cozy pub a friendly welcome. On a Friday. Yes, Dannny doesn't quite get every pronunciation perfect, and I do want to come in and install a great sound system for her, and personally I would enjoy a 'longer' scoring system, and other teams might enjoy fast tracks, but... It's a free quiz so WTF? This is the starting place. My New Year's Eve addition would be that this is the quiz I have visited the most times this year, 9 times! OMG I didn't go last night. This quiz illustrates perfectly what a nice person can do with simple equipment and SpeedQuizzing questions. I love it so much.

March - Counting House, Goole, with Jon Davies

Li'l John is THE most welcoming host ever. Makes me glad to be alive. Salt of the earth. After my review of March and much deliberation over a month of great quizzes, I'm not going to split John or Sam at The Bridgewater in Leeds. Both very different, but both MOST EXCELLENT. Joint QOTM

March - Bridgewater Arms, Burley, with Sam Hart

Welcoming teams and Sam, the host, is sweet too. Two burgers for 6 quid is not quiz but pretty tasty. Sam is not letting me down. Good solid quiz sensible music buzz in round great prizes for first three. The Bingo is not fixed! Get Sam's baby a present. After my review of March and much deliberation over a month of great quizzes, I'm not going to split Sam or John at The Counting House in Goole. Both very different, but both MOST EXCELLENT. Joint QOTM. The addendum is just an observation. Sam is the consumate professional, he gets everything right, and this pub is super busy and is every week. Curiously he does one the same over at Roundhay and.. WTF, hardly anybody there. I think it may be a reflection on the curiosity of human nature. I just know that if people go into Sam's quizzes they will come back again and again. I will.

April - Wulstan, Newcastle-under-Lyme, with Stuart Provan

As near to a perfect quiz as is easy to imagine. On the technical side Stuart was clear and attentive, he started bang on the advertised time, the score board was the default screen between questions. I asked him if he had removed the shite questions, like how many vowels in consonant, and balanced out a couple of the usual 4 or so football ones and he replied he was glad somebody noticed. He had connections between questions, sensible music, consistent scoring. A buzz in round. The more I think about it, this was a man after my own heart. Was it just for 'good' players? Not at all, he had fast tracks in the last round for ten questions. It happened today that the top two teams played extra well to divvy up the top spots, but they, like the quiz, were exceptional. I could go on, great pacing, sensible breaks, music which had us shazamming to find out who it was. This guy had the recipe. Highly recommended. QOTM April 2022.

May - Harvest Mouse, Hewall, with Gary Stephen Jones

Quiz of the Month, May 2022 Green King is a great start. Gary is even better. There's a buzz in round! Gary seems like just the best, really nice person and just a great little quiz with the right balance, if anything favouring me. £20 green king voucher. Perfect. Quiz of the month this month against some really stiff competition, the likes of Dan Nicholas, Danyell Tate, Dean Barnes, Helen Kinsella, James Dowd, John Lowe, Sam Gandy (Online host of the century), Shaun from LSI, Kevin Jay, Steve Jackson and Wayne Johnson. We are spoiled. I have been to a few of Gary's quizzes and I could cuddle him! I would say that a great barometer of human worth is, if you have trudged across Chat Moss for 5 miles, had your legs eaten by carniverous insects hatched in Hades, and see them in Lidl in Irlam entirely by coincidence - that's a man!

May - Hedley Verity, Leeds, with Adam and Beth

There's no avoiding it I've got to make this joint Quiz of the month on the last day. Why? 75 and 25 + 10 pound token for third place. Straight sets well delivered 60 questions. No fuckaboutery whatsoever. Done in 90 minutes. Wetherspoon pub and all the associated benefits. Beautiful crowd. Great building. Good screenage, scores and questions on phone and now I can tell what Beth is saying. Highly recommended even without the fantastic prizes. I really should go here every week, but I'd spoil it (I hope!). Adam is one of the reasons why Wetherspoons have started putting on quizzes. Buzzin'

June - Yates, Halifax, with Carl Carr

Good set up. Sound and screens tip top. You can get 4 pints of John Smith's for 10.50. Pound to enter. Stickler for 8.30. very friendly. Making sure everything is good for the players. Great start. Bonus for new entries! 25 voucher per round omg if he just showed the scores it would be QOTM. This is an unusual one to judge. There's no score reveal BUT. Carl is not fixing it, so. 4 £25 voucher prizes and the best team gets shagged in the third, bitchslap round. That becomes a hilarious badge of honour. The music round was modern, but sensible and fun modern. I was at sea it, but because I'm thinking "I should know this", not "I've never heard it before". OMG I didn't get Lou Bega and took ages to get Ricky Martin. So not that modern and bira moretti may have played a part. Anyhoo, despite transgressing loads of my finicks, I'm going to have a long think about this being not one, but four quizzes of the month. Just great, Highly Recommended. QUIZ OF THE MONTH in a very strong month. Apart from sheer force of personality and courtesy, Carl’s promptness, great screenage, amazing prizes and spreading of love make this, on re reading, an obvious choice. Hell, any of the Highly recommended ones I would want to recognise and the worst thing about these crazy reviews is constraining my praise and enthusiasm. Thankyou all hosts, get in Carl!!

July - Dockyard, Didsbury, with Tom Guy

Another very excellent quiz. The B slap round was the penultimate one, which gave Ashton and myself time to have a huge win despite there being a team in who were competitive for the first 4 rounds. Buzz-in name the music artist was a good round. Name the flag was pretty good for Ashton. We had a superb last round which was evil mode and we left exactly the right two alone. £70 prize for £2 each entry and a very prompt start at 7:30. Highly recommended. July 2022 was a month of great quizzes, and it breaks my heart not to not laud so many hosts enough praise for their entertainment and kindness. But.. DESPITE a bitch slap round (I am getting used to them, I don’t like them but I understand why they may be percieved as being a thing), even the pricey drinks, for great content, sensible varied buzz in music, good presentation, return of the stake money, and consistency (I’ve played this one twice), Tom and his game leg, gets QOTM against some pretty amazing competition

August - Clarendon Arms, Kenilworth, with David Frost

If this does not get quiz of the month I'll stand the drop of York. The guy was upstairs in this architype gorgeous pub in a beautiful village with literally a mountain of prizes and games and set up an hour before the start with his wife and baby. He took 15 minutes out to tell me the crack. Come on Dave. Do it for the kids! On track after a 4/1 start round buzzer round 6 -6 3, sensible music. And some brilliant competition. Vikings who rattled me! That's GOOD. I shouldn't worry about them. It's me. Never forget:

I can't see how I could score a pub higher

I must add that there were some great quizzes I went to this August

September - Royal Oak, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, with Tony Murphy

At 2.20 a pint, Greene King, Ashton and Dave on my table, and the consummate genius, warmth and balance of Tony Murphy. Fuck it. Quiz of the month unless I get a bj at subsequent one. Original content and structure, buzz in, great music. Happy birthday Ashton for Monday. I want a threesome with me and two Tony Murphys

September - Railway, Chaddesden, with Brian MusicVision

How can I enjoy something so much? This quiz started easy and progressed through 96 questions into a challenging and well contested competition in a great pub with beer at £2 a pint; all ingredients were just about perfect. Didn't get a BJ. But... On reflection and a re-listen I can only heap further praise on this exemplary pub quiz. I know I said Tony Murphy was a shoe in for quiz of the month, but this is not a beauty contest. Most everything is more than good, framed within a perfect structure. Don't be fooled by the gentle first two rounds, there were some terrific questions, including my question of the year, is TNT the same as dynamite? 15 of the sixteen said yes, were wrong! and lost points. :( The music round was a joy, each question challenging but relevant. Who knew Andy Kim wrote Sugar Sugar? And before I go, Brian uses SpeedQuizzing brilliantly, with sliding scales throughout and fast tracks on the PENultimate round. Huge thumbs up. If someone asked me "How do you design a pub quiz?" I would now say "This"

October - Olde Lion, Cleobury Mortimer, with Nic Cox

So far so good. Two rounds, 1 Gk, one 'real or lookalike', both 4/1. Nic is unplugged on asking questions which I really like. The pub and village are straight out of an Ealing comedy- that, of course, is a high compliment. And Nic Cox has the best name since Halifax (McCauly Woodcock). I think there is a buzz in round and I'm parked 900 metres away by the River Rea. There was a great pop music buzz in round. And a final GK evil round. The quiz was £2 per person to enter, you can buy beer for £3.50 and cider for £3.30. So win or lose, a good night. Ended up being the perfect storm of awesomeness. Hell, it's in the frame for QOTM. I should not allow myself to review quizzes after 4 or 5 or 6 pints. Just a really good, rock solid quiz. I'm not worthy. On a relisten I realise I must list the content

128 questions, but seemingly delivered effortlessly, with decent breaks. Outstanding in retrospect. He's used the cakemix then he has added a gateaux of his own! 8 start and done and dusted for 10.15. I Yearn for pubs and quizzes like this

November - Vine, Sale, with Chris Matthews

This was my prediction. Not much on the scoring, fast tracks to the end, 10 teams, win, Recommended. My initial thoughts were negative, before the quiz started. These were my apres quiz thoughts: I was nearly right on predicting the numbers and position. I was completely wrong about Chris Matthews. It was a terrific quiz, and he was the best. Write a GREAT review tomorrow. This is the actuality. Perfect scoring on a sliding scale (Yes there wasn’t much on the handsets). Loads of questions and sensible music round on TV shows. Fun game bottle chucking. Fast tracks to question TEN on the last round of 20. 5 nearest wins questions with NO inflation. Nice certificate as well as the cash. Ashton, as usual, was imperious, but Chris just exuded joy. A GREAT review. Highly Recommended

December - Winchester Gate, Salisbury, with Nick De Souza

Exemplar quiz. Nick is welcoming, clear, well prepared, a true pro. The questions are copious (c 100), many original, the crappy ones pre-discarded, and the format contains some nice touches, like the 5 numbers at the start. Zero feckaboutery, not even fast tracks. The pub is what Americans visit England for, with staff who were just lovely, Book ahead and get there for 7.30. Now, the specialist rounds could have been written by me for me, with orthodox football, ‘folk’ music, and stage shows, so I’m not gonna complain about the way they fell. E games? Mutter mutter mutter, but I’m a boring old fart and there were only six, and I didn’t concede that many as the format with go wide rewarded strategy. I love SpeedQuizzing sets delivered straight by a reasonably competent member of the bar staff – absolutely. But here we have a craftsman, adding so much. If I had been last it would still be hot favourite for December. I never write thank you – until now. Thank you (The thankyou at the top was written after this)

December - Wateringbury, Maidstone, with Marc Coates

Wow! I’m reticent to start this review, as there is a great deal to write. It is -8º on the 17th December, my laptop is frozen, my camping gaz is liquid (i.e. not boiling, i.e. totally low pressure), And my breath is misting up the screen and my glasses. It is fucking cold – but it is ace as well. And this is not a quiz review yet. Marc Coates sets three blocks of questions, each block being 4 rounds of ten specialist questions, plus one ‘nearest wins’. Each question is worth 4 points for correct and 3, 2, and 1 for the fastest answers, as so we got:

The really good teams get handicapped, there is zero fuckaboutery, the questions were neither patronizing, nor were they overly esoteric. Balance is the word I keep thinking of, with every aspect of this quiz. The sets were absolutely fair in their pitch relative to each other. For the subject rounds you can play a joker and double your points.This, IMHO is an optimal quiz design for a quiz fan. Fair, consistent, clear, and balanced. He gives you a sheet with the subjects on prior to the start, so you know exactly what you have in front of you, as well as which you have the scope to strategise, with your joker, and speed of reply. The tech is good. No screens, and no scores or scoring on the handsets, but with a good, clear score-check every ten questions this becomes immaterial (The score-checks disappear in the last few rounds, only Georgina and Marc had the privilege of witnessing the Titanic battle in the final straight). Marc seems to know what he is doing, and there were no occasions I can remember when his diction was not perfect. He was so genial. I was made to feel very welcome by Marc, Georgina, Steve Walker (An amazing quizzer who started of -91 and just ground his way to the top), Kevin (whose quiz I am going to tomorrow) and Jamie. The pub was nice and busy, with 16 teams. This is a genuine contender. OMG it has put the cat amongst the pigeons for my Quiz Of The Year

December - Miners Welfare, Llay, with Johnny and Jamie Bryan

I didn't see this one coming!! Beautiful building, nice people I think. 4 Quid plus a beer. Mick and Kylie invited me to join them and are sweet. Jeez. Its different to Kent and Hampshire but... all hand written 100 plus questions. Proper atmosphere. OMG its just a really good quiz. An absolute plethora of questions, zero fuckaboutery, not just original questions, the last round, 20, multiple choice, evil and esoteric was unique. And still fair with free entry and a decent prize of a £50 tab with 2 litres of shot slots libdrally scattered throughout the night. I've got to give it a gold cup, despite two already going out this month (and Jonny Spangles and Gary Jones wern't even in the mix, they have one already!). The thing is, they are so different. Johnny gave me such a nice introduction and big up at the end. A truly great quiz, in a local club for local people but the the kindest welcome for a sassensch. Not just a bit of fun. A whole lotta fun! :) ***** joint QOTM

Sweet baby Jesus and the orphans. If I were Duncan Laing I would lead the charge of hosts not mentioned and beat me up. Writing this has made me realise. I will do lots more. I find it salutary to think that hosts can get away with bitchslaps (which I personally detest). I am an advocate of fast tracks, especially in pubs where there might otherwise be foregone conclusions. But most importantly. I am an advocate of quizzes, especially these fantastic ones, so thanks to Alan Leach and the crowd at York for the product.

Finally: I genuinely feel that if any of the guys on this list were somewhere in a village between Birmingham and Coventry on a balmy evening in August and you had took time to climb upstairs with a pint and a mobile phone, you might agree that my Quiz of the Year is a fair cop:

Clarendon Arms, Kenilworth, with David Frost

He has buggered off to Mexico and I didn't win! Damn, I'll have to start again.

You are all winners