Pub Quiz Tactics Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Pub Quiz Tactics

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The pub quiz is a feature of British pub life that is sadly underrated. Usually held in midweek or on a Sunday evening, it consists of a quiz master, who is often one of the locals with too much time on their hands, asking questions of anyone in the pub who cares to listen or, more importantly, pays to enter the quiz. The questions are split into rounds, at least one of which is music, and usually players compete as part of teams of around four people. Prizes range from beer to cash.


The tactics employed by teams vary from the happily amateur to the scarily professional. Your average novice will either only answer the questions they are sure of getting right, or will write down an answer to every question, regardless of the relevance or even sanity of that answer. The professionals will bring a number of specialists to the quiz who have layers of knowledge hitherto found useless in the bulk of humankind, like 'how many species of archer fish exist in the Amazon basin?' Specialisms usually include sport, animals, food, history, geography, literature and current affairs. The quasi-professional teams are often made up of people who always win at Trivial Pursuit and whom people dislike because they are too clever by half.

The best way for the semi-serious amateur to play a pub quiz is to have a good stab at as many questions as possible, but not to simply write random words down on the answer sheet. Like golf, it's far better to play a putt near to the hole and maybe get it in than to swing wildly and hope to goodness it ends up in the hole.

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