The Carleton, The Quiz and Becky

My 'local' pub is the Carleton Hotel, Pontefract. I have been going in there for the last 40 years, have worked there and have many friends who go in. I have never sworn out loud, never threatened anybody let alone swung a punch, never done anything that merits a ban, nevertheless I am barred. I have not been told why.

I know that I have hit a nerve:

My sin? In August 2012 I asked a bloke “where did you get that answer from?”

The simplest answer to my question, in fact the only credible one, is that the chap in question was part of a quiz team in the Carleton that knew the answer in advance. Not necessarily all of them as individuals, but almost certainly they had an 'inside line' (I will explain). Now my beef here is not with the team, hell, they are good guys, I used to join them on a fairly regular basis, I like them and members have expressed their incredulity for my ban. I would maintain steadfastly, however, that, barring circumstance I can not yet envisage, one or more of their members had been 'given a clue', and chaps, if you read this, read it thoroughly, hear me out, and you would be compelled to agree. I have cheated at quizzes, we all cheat in our lives, that is human nature. The scary thing is when people who enjoy the privilege of position use their power to quell dissent when they are caught out. Many see the easiest reply to a coherent and truthful criticism is to ignore it, and this is most easily maintained by stifling 'opposition'

Somehow, a member of that team was given the answer. Because of the nature of the question they would not have answered it unless they were either all total retards (none of them are) or they were absolutely sure the answer they gave was the one given in the quiz. This is why:-

The last round of the quiz is a 'wipe-out' round. What this means is that if a team gets a single answer wrong they do not score on the round (A blank space incurs no penalty). Whereas in most rounds it always pays to 'have a guess' this round is very different. In a wipe out round, no decent quiz player would ever take a wild guess at what looks like a ridiculously tough question (and the team in question are decent quiz players, they win on a regular basis).

Becky, the landlady, was asking the questions. During the last round she asked: “Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain consists of how many large upright standing stones?”. If ever there was a wipe out round question that deserved the respect of being left alone this was it. There were two of us doing the quiz and we just looked and laughed and sensibly left it blank, hopefully securing the nine points we thought would get for that round.

When the answers were read out, the answer for this particular question was announced as “17”.

My friend and I were happy with the nine points we had for the round, but when the winning team was announced, having scored 10 out of 10 for the wipe out round I was curious how they had managed to get the right answer for Stonehenge. Not even Kevin Ashman would have known it, and none of these guys were savants; I felt it was just a stretch. I asked and one of them said that two of them had agreed and were 'sure' despite his own reservations.

I then got the questions off Becky and was intrigued to read the actual question on the sheet..

Actual Redtooth Stonehenge question“Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain consists of how many large upright standing stones – 17, 21 or 25?"

Note the choices, which were not given during the quiz.

It is absolutely pertinent to find out why Becky did not finish the question off. What possible motive could there be for it? It was an absolutely critical omission given that the only way anybody would answer that question correctly in the wipe out round would be if they had an intimate detailed specialised and expert knowledge on the topic, or they combined total stupidity with extreme good fortune. As it turns out the team in question did not have detailed specialised and expert knowledge on the topic, but it is 1000 to one on they had detailed specialised and expert knowledge on the answer.

That any half decent team would risk such an answer on a wipe out round is a remote possibility. But....

The answer was WRONG. It was wrong on the question sheet that Becky was reading, and it was the same WRONG answer on their answer sheet. Not even just a bit wrong, they were miles out. Yet two of them had been “sure”. Look at the picture (and whilst you are looking, think about the effort and retention needed to actually perform the census).

Did they have previous knowledge of the answer? Any mathematician would tell you that is close to a certain probability.

Assuming there was previous knowledge was Becky, or somebody who knew the answer already in cahoots with the team, i.e. slipping them odd answers to help them win?

If the answer is “no” one would expect her to be extremely concerned that a team participating in her quiz had plumped to answer a ridiculous question on a wipe-out round with the same incorrect answer that was already on the question sheet.

If the answer is “yes” it would be entirely understandable that she would not read the full question with its options and then when caught out would ban me from the pub. After all, at the time I never accused anybody of cheating though the implication was crystal clear, yet I was threatened, shouted and sworn at, not only in the pub, but in the car park at 11:30 at night for the entire neighbourhood to hear.

If I am wrong in thinking there is a significantly high probability of Becky being a cheat, banning me from the pub will certainly not assuage my suspicions. I am concerned that, given the circumstances Greene King, the Carleton Hotel's parent company, who I have written too at length do not seem bothered. If I am wrong I wish someone would explain why, I have waited over a year.

I was humiliated, I was mocked, I have been lied to.

If I am right one must ask just how far Becky would go to cheat, and how much Greene King would regard as permissible.