Pub quizes

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  • #1
wolram
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How are you at pub quiz es, i have just joined a team and an doing quite well but to be [good] i would have to improve significantly as the amount of knowledge needed is huge.
 

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  • #2
Evo
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You might want to buy some sets of the "trivial pursuit" games and study the questions and answers. The few examples I've seen of pub quizes on tv, the questions were like those you'd find in those games.
 
  • #3
FlexGunship
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How are you at pub quiz es, i have just joined a team and an doing quite well but to be [good] i would have to improve significantly as the amount of knowledge needed is huge.
My team (basically me and my buddy Art) and I have been doing trivia for seven years now.

We started at the Brewery Lane Tavern in Portsmouth, NH and the continued when it became Mojo's (until they made it too family-friendly and it all fell apart). Then we did the Central Wave trivia in Dover until the girl that did it relocated to a less trivia friendly bar. We've been going to The Coat of Arms (also Portsmouth) for the last several years. Recently we've added the British Beer Company (also Portsmouth) since they opened a few months ago. And I go with my dad to Uno's trivia each week as a father/son thing.

I'd say Art and I have been pretty competitive through the years. My dad and I, too, but we go to a much more casual type of trivia. I've won a lot of prizes though... this past summer I went on the Isles of Shoal's booze cruise twice without having to pay.

Here's the real trick to trivia, no one just knows the answer. It would be a really un-fun game if you just had to know everything. In reality, you need to figure out the answer. It's a very lateral-thinking game and no one considers it that.

Here's an example:

"Which territory did Richard Nixon historically call in July of 1969?"

So you start thinking like this:
  • Nixon resigned, right? When was that? She didn't say "President Nixon."
  • Was Nixon even president in 1969? When did Ford take over?
  • What things can be considered terriroties? Land masses? Countries? Maybe just a major city.
  • What happened in 1969 that I know about? That was the moon landing right?
  • What was Nixon famous for? China? Something about China?
  • It was a historic call? What could be historic about certain calls?

Usually you and your teammates will have a lot to discuss. Everyone has some tidbit of information. You might know that the moon landing took place in July of 1969 but have no idea that a phone call took place. Your friend might know that Nixon called the moon but have no idea when that happened.

Ultimately, your answer is the best guess you can make based on the information you've come up with. Art and I work well together because we accurately convey how sure we are about our tidbits of knowledge. We use language like: "I'm 90% sure Nixon called the moon." And "I know for a fact Apollo 11 landed in July of 1969."

I've learned new facts by figuring out answers to questions... even before hearing the answer!

"Which singer performed the song No Particular Place to Go long before being accused by hundreds of women of filming them in his restaurant restroom?"
  • I'm pretty sure that song is by Chuck Berry, right? I'm like 99% sure.
  • I know, for a fact, that he owned a restaurant.
  • Hmm... he must've been the one filming women in the restroom. That's crazy! I never knew that!

EDIT: That being said, Art does spend time memorizing movie lists on IMDB and country names and capitals. I've spent time memorizing rivers, the periodic table, and common chemical reactions.

But, again, no one asks: "Which movie won best picture in 1956?" They ask: "Which 1956 best picture winner about a wealthy bachelor was based on an 1873 novel of the same name?"
 
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  • #4
collinsmark
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Here is my general advice.

(1) Figure out the categorical preferences of the particular pub/venue hosting the trivia. Different pubs will concentrate on different categories differently than other pubs. Some pubs will higher incidence if "history" questions, some "geography," and others TV/movies, and others something else. For example, the pub trivia that I attend has a relatively high incidence of questions about United States Presidents. There are also a lot of questions in my pub asking to name a particular State in the USA. In other pubs throughout the world, such questions would almost never arise. Take notes for a few weeks analyze the statistics later, if necessary.

(2) Once you've found preferential categories of the particular pub, you can do some research on those categories. For example, if the category is geography, study a world map over morning coffee -- just familiarize yourself with it is all. For some categories it might be useful to pick up a high-school textbook on the subject and look it over in your free time. If current events is the category, read the paper. For TV/Movies, well, either become a couch potato or get somebody else on your team who is; that leads me to the next bit of advice.

(3) Pick your members such that all bases are covered. Given the preferential categories used by the pub, try to have a team member, on your team, knowledgeable about a given category, such that all preferential categories have a representative. [Edit: Don't forget to bring a sports fan, if sports is common category at the pub at which you are playing.]

(4) Play a lot. Repeat questions are more common than you might think. Trivia, by definition, is trivial information. And there is an infinite (or at least vast) amount of trivial information in our universe, and even in just our world. But nearly all of that information is boring and makes for poor trivia questions. A question such as, "A man living at <insert address> in <insert town> has a carpeted floor. What color is the carpet?" Trivial, yes. But such questions would cause the audience to throw objects at the host in disgust. In order for a trivia question to be a "good" question, it (a) must have some sort of interesting twist, or "zing" to it, and it (b) must be something that pretty much anybody could (or at least might) know, if only one had been paying attention at some point earlier in their life. The pool of potential questions that meet these requirements are much, much smaller than the set of all possible trivia questions. As such, they get reused more often than one might expect.
 
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  • #5
Evo
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  • #6
wolram
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Thanks for all the pointers guys, i think i may get better using them
 
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I'm pretty good at trivia because I know a little bit about a lot of things, and I'm a pretty good guesser. For instance, if the question is about someone who was a cubist, my answer would be Picasso. Doesn't matter what the question is, I just know he was the most famous cubist, and I'd probably be right. Trivia rarely asks really specific questions about certain topics, it's usually just questions that you should know if you're relatively familiar with the topic.
For example, any science category on Jeopardy would be easy for pretty much anyone who posts here.
 
  • #8
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Argh, I hate trivia. Why fill your brain with (relatively) useless knowledge? Your brain does have a finite upper limit to how much you can store in it you know...
 
  • #10
collinsmark
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I'm pretty good at trivia because I know a little bit about a lot of things, and I'm a pretty good guesser. For instance, if the question is about someone who was a cubist, my answer would be Picasso. Doesn't matter what the question is, I just know he was the most famous cubist, and I'd probably be right. Trivia rarely asks really specific questions about certain topics, it's usually just questions that you should know if you're relatively familiar with the topic.
For example, any science category on Jeopardy would be easy for pretty much anyone who posts here.
Yes, leroyjenkens brings up a very good bit of advice here. This sort of goes along with (2) and (4) of my last post (Post #4), sort of. But it's really deserving of its own number. To summarize leroyjenkens' idea:

(5) If in doubt, go with the obvious. If you've already narrowed down the number of possible answers, the correct answer is likely to be the least obscure. For example, suppose as part of the question you are given some information about a particular Jimi Hendrix song, and asked to name that Jimi Hendrix song. The answer -- in all probability -- will be "Purple Haze." Sure, there's a small chance that the answer might be "Foxy Lady," but it's not likely. And you can pretty much rule out all the obscure Jimi Hendrix songs that most people can't name off the top of their head, because Pub Trivia questions simply aren't written about those.

So for the most part, all you really need to do in preparation is know the very basics of any particular subject, and then go with the least obscure, possible answer that fits the question. Most* of the time your guess will be correct.

*[Edit: Well, much of the time, anyway.]

Argh, I hate trivia. Why fill your brain with (relatively) useless knowledge? Your brain does have a finite upper limit to how much you can store in it you know...
Every once in awhile I do come away with learning something mildly interesting. Most question/answers are not necessarily worth remembering. But sometimes, just sometimes, maybe.

Did you know that Detroit (eventually a city in the present state of Michigan) was founded by a French guy named Cadillac?
 
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  • #11
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So for the most part, all you really need to do in preparation is know the very basics of any particular subject, and then go with the least obscure, possible answer that fits the question. Most* of the time your guess will be correct.
Exactly. So if you don't know anything about Opera, get a little knowledge of opera. Don't know anything about theater? Read up on some top playwrights. Make sure you get a bit of Shakespeare in your brain.
But if you don't know what topics you should learn about, you can go to the Jeopardy website and see all the questions they have had over the years.

Here's the website: http://j-archive.com/showseason.php?season=28
Put your cursor over the money value of the question to see the answer.

You can just look down the list and see you need to know a bit about: Greek mythology, movies, clothing, rivers, fruit, actors, music, etc. It's good to know a lot of various stuff, not just for trivia, but it makes you more interesting. You can keep conversations going with your knowledge of any situation you may come across. So it's not useless.
 

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