Steve Kidd's Quiz Pages

'Chicanery' - Cheating in Quizzes by Quiz Hosts

There are too many honest, straight-up quiz hosts to list. To you I apologise, this can but tarnish all. You make the world a better place and I sincerely hope you accept this as a wake-up call as to common practice which casts a shadow on your integrity, is unnecessary, and fundamentally bad for your business.

There are mistakes (mistakes!), There is feckaboutery (the overt application of measures that advantage the lesser teams at the expense of better ones) and there is chicanery (cheating).

Cheating is difficult to prove. Nevertheless occasionally suspicions can be supported by irrefutable evidence. I must have visited well over a thousand different quizzes, and suspect cheating too frequently. It is with a heavy heart that I can state that in SpeedQuizzing cheating by hosts is epidemic, a logical conclusion extrapolated from those too-frequent instances when clear evidence is recorded, and retained.

And the craziest thing is - quiz hosts do not need to cheat. There are perfectly good methods of feckaboutery that can 'make a game of it'; after all, "it's just a bit of fun" (sic). And the craziest thing (part 2) is that hosts who cheat are often the nicest people (damn!).


There are many ways to cheat, but in SpeedQuizzing the easiest and most common way is for hosts to either shave points of the leaders or add points to others. This is simple enough to conceal, and if done competently can be close on impossible to prove.


Now if this point altering doesn't alter the result and prizes it may be clumsy and unnecessary but I would suggest it is not immoral. I know that the boosting of lower teams scores is perceived to (and may) make them feel better, like bumpers on a bowling alley. Meh.

If the cheating of scores alters the result and prizes it is definitely dodgy.

If the quiz is free (lest we forget "there is no such thing as a free lunch") cheating is wrong by most normal interpretations.

If the quiz is paid for, cheating is, I hope, downright illegal; if you pay for something you should get it as advertised.


Any 'remarkable' performance is worth analysis. My goodness they had some good athletes back in the day. Florence Griffith Joyner was the 17th fastest PERSON in the UK, let alone female, and as for some of the distances things were chucked - Holy Guacamole!!!

When good teams do not do so good, when the host conceals the scores, and, especially, when he says "It's really really close at the top" should all trigger alarms. I mean, think of it for God's sake - I have never met a competitor who would not prefer to know what the ongoing score is, and what earthly reason would there be for an entrepreneurial showman to not SHOW the scores if they are "really really close"? FFS


If any (SpeedQuizzing) host has issues with this and wishes to deny this is happening in their quizzes, that is a piece of cake. Show us our scores on our handsets and give us frequent updates on the tables. It is what the app is designed to do. (Big thanks to hosts who do this already)


The stated reason of hosts who practice chicanery is usually to 'make it exciting', 'even things out' or variations thereof. But this is patently illogical - I mean it is piss-easy to gain these objectives without being underhand. Fast Tracks, Nearest Wins, Spin the wheels, separate rounds separate prizes, handicapping and all sorts of innovations can be all above board and, if implied beforehand and applied consistently, THEY ARE FAIR (i.e. What you see is what you get, you don't have to buy into it). Now we all state things that assuage our guilt. We usually believe what we say - it is called 'cognitive dissonance' the psychological process that stops our brains exploding by actually comprehending the bullshit we all participate in (it is not 'bad' necessarily, but it is definitely human). So what is the real reason? Forgive me straying into speculation here. Perhaps in a group of large apes the nominal leader will do everything they can to maintain that position, and if that involves stymieing challenges to the perceived hierarchy so be it; even better if it can be done without detection (i.e. cheating).


I have screen recordings. How the scores are plain wrong. They are impossible totals. These are far from the only such records I have, but there is only one I have made public. I have no desire to damage people's livelihoods or the good they can do, and have given the hosts concerned ample opportunity to make amends. I wouldn't bother watching it if I were you, but I would say be confident that it has been scrutinised by others.

I have several recordings demonstrating chicanery. I have only placed one online (It is enough) as most (not all, yet) people I have bang to rights say "sorry, it won't happen again", and even "thankyou" - these are a credit to themselves.

Sunth Siva and some other score fixers are outright cheats, and by association the hosts that work for them and the pubs that employ them are heavily implicated. If they are not cheats only a successful court case may prove otherwise, and that won't happen. I wish to add that at least Marc Hodgson has the balls to front up to it. He is bolshy, he is wrong to do so, but his quizzes are otherwise good and his hosts pretty excellent. Sunth is just a smarmy get who not only cheats his customers but lies to his 'friends' about it.


The aim of a quiz host is to generate joy and encourage custom to get some money over the bar and get a wage. I have no evidence whatsoever to prove score fixing doesn't work in this respect. But neither does anybody have evidence that it does! On the relatively small sample I have surveyed not a single respondent wanted covert score fixing. I suggest that pubs are busy because of a good host and entertainer. Of the many great examples of hosts who don't use chicanery (I hope), they have busy pubs some where tables need to be booked a week in advance. Chicanerous hosts will not attract as many quiz fans. In what other field of entertainment do purveyors disenfranchise their core support? I really hope one day a quiz host who fixes scores will understand the economics of breaking the laws of fair play, and especially the laws of Trading Standards


Pubs: Don't do it. Hosts: Don't do it. Use feckaboutery. Fast Track to question 15 on the last round if you have too. That keeps EVERYBODY in the mix to within five minutes of the end. That gives everybody a chance without precluding the good teams from winning (they still will win a lot of the time, but I reckon that's fair play to 'em?). Nearest wins keeps the top teams interested, but to have such a large value to incorporate all teams, it turns the whole shebang into a one question quiz. Wheels of fortune can be fun and fair (even though 'lose your score' seems terrible at the time!). Random point gains such as turtle races and bingo are at least fair. Handicap!!

Whatever you do

Make your quiz above board - it is simply the right thing to do.