Wednesday, 22 March 2023
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

If there is one thing that the Brits love more than beer it's a quiz

Written by  Feb 19, 2023

Time to get those thinking caps on it is Pub Quiz time! “So why do you call it a Pub Quiz,” questioned my coffee partner. “Well it is a quiz, and it is usually held in a pub,” I smiled. “So what if you hold it in a restaurant?” he was getting a little sarcastic.

If there is one thing that the British love doing it is being tested on their knowledge and at the same time watching other people going through the process. Any excuse for a quiz and they are raising their hands to join in.

I was asked a couple of weeks ago to make and host a Pub Quiz for a large group of foreign visitors, mainly working in EU institutions, and of course I accepted.

Just this last Christmas period I made a handful of quizzes for my family and every night we’d gather and banish the cobwebs from our grey cells.

One of the most popular shows on British radio is a music quiz called “PopMaster.” My mother listens to it religiously every day. Although I’m not sure why as the questions are, well let’s just say challenging. But she isn’t alone, an amazing 9 million people tune into this music quiz on the BBC every day. Yes, more than twice the population of Croatia listen to this radio quiz daily.

I checked out the TV schedule in Britain, basically from around 2 in the afternoon until 9 in the evening you can watch wall-to-wall quiz shows. From Who Wants to Be a Millionaire to The Chase, every format you can think of. Seven straight hours of quiz shows every day.

And while we are on Millionaire there is a slight problem in Croatia with the introduction of the euro. It is no longer a million, but 150,000 euro. Is that false advertising?

Although the actual prize isn’t really that important, it’s that satisfaction of answering a question correctly that counts.

And in a Pub Quiz the socialising is really the key, the quiz is an added bonus.

So why Pub Quiz, I came back to answer the man in front of me over my cappuccino. Most TV shows pitch their level of difficulty to align with the standard of the typical pub quiz, a competition introduced in Britain in the 1970s as a way of enticing customers on slow nights during the week. Pubgoers form teams, usually of four to six players, and consisting of family members or groups of friends; they often devise a catchy name such as “Les Quizerables” or “The Quizzard of Oz”. Does that make sense?

If you mix the two things that the Brits absolutely love the most, quizzes and beer, then you are onto a winning formula. Pub owners soon learnt that if you then formed leagues that you’d get constant business as the teams didn’t want to lose their position in the league. Cunning.

It’s not really a format that has totally caught on here, at least in the south of Croatia. Which is rather strange given the fact that a) in the season the Brits would flock to the quizzes and b) out of the tourist season you’d have a full café or bar at least once a week. Win/Win.

“How will you make the questions for this quiz?” I was just finishing my coffee. That’s always the trick. If you make them too hard then everyone will lose interest. Too easy and it becomes boring. Finding the so-called “happy medium” the sweet spot is the key. And as this large group were coming from outside of Croatia I thought “why not make a Dubrovnik category.” Any opportunity to open the eyes of foreign guests to the city to the hidden beauties and wealth of history. A little free advertising.

From geography, to sport and even a Valentine’s day category, the evening flashed by with smiles, scratching of heads and groans of despair and yelps of success.

Great local beer and a fun evening of competition. Maybe the future of the Pub Quiz here is greener than I thought.

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