As a quiz host myself, I try to attend other quizzes when possible to see how others do it. How they cope with hecklers, do they add/deduct marks for large/small teams, do they give out half points if someone gets the answer almost right, how long the quiz runs, and what kind of prizes are given out, if any. Generally they do all run to a very similar formula: four to seven rounds usually of ten questions, plus a hand out round which is usually pictures or dingbats (words represented by symbols) to identify. Blank sheets are given out, with spaces to fill in each answer as the question is read out by the host. After each or every two rounds, teams swap papers and mark each others’ as the host reads out the answers. Usually teams then call out their scores to the trusting host, who totals them up and announces the total scores and winners. Some send an assistant out to get the scores.
One Quiz I went to was different: each team was given out printed sheets of the questions, with spaces to fill out the answers. It was like a giant handout round: no questions were read out and it felt like we were all doing an exam. The quizzers seemed to like it; they said there was no annoying host do distract them from thinking and conferring. I was surprised, as in my experience during the questioning section, hosts do nothing but read the question and then give teams time to confer and deliberate. Until I went to a quiz hosted by a radio presenter, who behaved as if they were on air and had to fill every silence, talking continuously between questions. That night, the exam option seemed preferable.
Whilst some hosts do it for a living, or here it would have to be supplemented by another job, many are retired, doing it for fun or to raise funds for charity. With the exotic handout rounds some give out, I wonder whether they spend all profit on ink.
I once was hosting and realised to my horror, mid-quiz, that I’d forgotten to bring the answers to a dingbats handout quiz. Not something one can look up on line, so I had to sneak out in a break to phone my mother back in the UK who had sent me the quiz in the first place, and wait for her to ring round her own quiz team to try to remember what the answers had been.
Chatting to some fellow hosts, and it seems we all share similar problems: Andy installed a handicap system for larger teams many years ago, after he had to separate the winning and runner-up teams outside the venue when they turned to fisticuffs to settle the score; Angie found herself rapidly writing a Music Theory round whilst hosting the previous round, when the sound system broke down minutes before the Music round; One Hallowe’en, Paul was plunged into darkness by a powercut and had to scream by candlelight for the remainder of the evening: most quizzers believed it was a deliberate action to create an atmosphere.
Whilst most rounds seem to be general knowledge (albeit described varyingly as Random, Trivia or Pot Luck) most do include some themes: traditional ones such as Geography or Sports. I like to mix things up a little and take requests for future rounds, and as such have run rounds on such varied topics as Volcanos, Lawnmowers, Bras and Pies (now THAT’S what I call Random).
Music is always a risky round: many love it, but an equal number hate it, and also include TV Themes or Lyrics under the same hated umbrella. Sports is another ‘Marmite’ issue. Current Affairs is extremely popular, but risky – the news, and therefore answers, may change during the drive to the venue, and these rounds take a deal of creating but can’t be re-used.
But it can be greatly rewarding. As Andy put it, “In the ten years that I’ve been hosting quizzes I’ve met people from all walks of life , from all over the world, some of the nicest folks you could ever meet, and have made some life-long friends. I genuinely feel really fortunate for that. And it makes the job well worth it.”
Where to find your closest Quiz:
Peggy’s, Peiga 2pm
Tipsy Turtle, Argaka 7pm
The Local, Chlorakas 7.30pm
Frog & Toad, Coral Bay, music quiz 7.30pm
TALA CATS fundraiser at Thessaloniki, Chlorakas 8pm
Cork and Bottle, Anarita 8.30pm
Veterans’ Bar 2pm
Mike’s Bar, Kato Paphos 3pm
Fly Again, Argaka 7pm
Carpe Diem AKA Oliver’s, Mesogi Road 7:30
ONLY TNR fundraiser at Coral Star, Peiga coast road first Tuesday every month 7.30pm
Lofty’s (prev Britannia) 2.30pm
Gravity Road Diner, Droushia 6pm
Village Inn , Kissonerga 6pm alternate weeks
Kamares Club 7:30
Apenanti, Letymbou every OTHER Thursday 8pm
PAWS fundraiser at Phoenix Club 6.30pm second Thursday every month (need to book)
ANIMAL RESCUE CYPRUS fundraiser 7pm at Mesogi Arms third Thursday every month
Frog & Toad, Coral Bay 7.30pm
ODY’s Bar, Kato Paphos 7.30pm
Corner Cafe, Polemi every 4 weeks 7.30pm
The Railway, Chlorakas 8pm
Rock and Sole, Tombs of the Kings Road Paphos 4pm
Jezebel hosts a cruise on the Sea Star Yacht every Sunday, 11am to 3pm from Paphos Harbour