Tag Archives: quizmaster

Popmaster Stand-Ins

On the Ken Bruce Society Facebook page, everyone likes a moan when someone is standing in for Ken.

It’s just not as good.

But it’s easy to criticize.

Ken makes it sound easy. Off the top of my head, here’s some of the things he’s got to do in the fifteen minutes between 1030 and 1045:

  • Make each contestant feel at ease and react appropriately to their faintly dull celebrity encounter; excruciatingly normal job or recent bereavement in a way that doesn’t sound too derisory despite the pressing need to get on with the quiz.
  • Ask the right questions.
  • Pronounce everything properly.
  • Immediately know whether a given answer is right or wrong.
  • React appropriately (i.e. giving extra praise for a very good answer – this is one of the things that makes him better than all the stand-ins).
  • Know when a half answer merits a point (this is a subtle skill and again Ken does it better than all the stand-ins – his own massive pop knowledge helps him make the call)
  • Listen to the producer in his ear for corrections or borderline decisions. (without breaking the flow).
  • Give people a fraction more of a moment to get an answer out if they’re not doing well (he is GREAT at this).
  • Play the right clips.
  • Remember to give the correct answer for listeners EVERY TIME after a contestant gets it wrong.
  • Rephrase a not-so-well-written question in a better way.
  • Be alert to cheating – and speed up accordingly.
  • Remember the contestants’ names (and where they’re from).
  • Sell the BBC tie-in with whatever question demands it.
  • Convince the listener he’s enjoying this. I mean, he obviously does, but there must be some days where he can’t love it quite as much and still he projects total positive sincerity about the quiz EVERY SINGLE TIME.
  • Keep the pace just right so the quiz finishes at 1045, not 1043 or 1048

And probably loads more.

Anyone can push buttons but fewer can present Popmaster properly.

Ken rules.

For cheats and hints to win Dr Paul quizzes in Edinburgh, get the weekly email.

Thursday Night Pub Quiz Edinburgh

Quizzes Tonight:

7pm – Argyle Bar (Cellar). Jackpot £30. Cheat answer: Jessica Simpson (pic round)

9pm – The Newsroom. Jackpot £50. Cheat answer: Pulp (music round)

NOTE: We are UPSTAIRS tonight at the Argyle Bar (i.e. the ground floor instead of the cellar)

Hey. If you’re a visitor to the city then welcome. I hope you’re having a great time.

Just do us a favour and don’t be a prick.

Also, make sure you check out local culture as well as the “Fringe”. In other words, come to the quiz tonight. Unlike all that Fringe pish, you can actually win some money.

For reading this post you get a wee bonus which is a cheat answer for tonight (see top info). The music round clue tonight is Pulp. The song sounds like this:

The video includes the technique of little kids playing young versions of the band members.

Innovative huh? Well yeah, but of course Queen had done it nine years earlier with ‘The Miracle’

Sheer quality.

Anyway, don’t bring kids to the quiz tonight. Leave them at home, get a babysitter. Get pished. Start a fight.

Yeah. Also, remember to stop me and buy a packet of Cunto Cards  if you’re looking for that special gift for the foul-mouthed fiend in your life.



For cheats and hints to win Dr Paul quizzes in Edinburgh, get the weekly email.

Wednesday Wannabes

Come and join the awesome quiz party like no one even knew!

7pm – The Joker & The Thief. Jackpot: £60. Cheat news: One of the music round pieces is by Marina And The Diamonds. See video below to hear the song.

9pm – The Brass Monkey (Drummond Street). Jackpot: £30. Cheat news: One of the picture round answers is Vanilla Ice

Whatever happened to Marina & The Diamonds? I liked this song at the time but haven’t heard much since.

A quick WIki reveals she’s doing fine, releasing albums and having hits and all that kind of shit. I guess I don’t really listen to the charts these days so maybe I missed her newer stuff.

If I ever meet her and I can kick off conversation by referencing two things we have in common. First our surnames. Mine is Diamond, hers’ is Diamantis (same thing, but Greek).

Also, she lived in Greece for two years and so did I. There you have it.

Perhaps she’ll reveal that she once ran a quizmaster and her whole pop career is just shadow-artist expression and that what she really wants to be is a quizmaster.

And I’ll look her straight in the eye and say ‘You just haven’t earned it yet, baby‘.

For cheats and hints to win Dr Paul quizzes in Edinburgh, get the weekly email.

The Top 13 Mistakes Made By Novice Quizmasters

Being a quizmaster can look easy. But it aint’ necessarily so!

If you’ve been roped into preparing and/or hosting a quiz-night with no previous experience, it might be a harder job than they’d guessed.

So to help novice quizmasters, I put this article together by asking my Quizmasters Group on Facebook the question: “What are the top mistakes made by amateur quizmasters?”

Here are the top thirteen errors made by novice quizmasters

Remarks in quotes come from real quizmasters, many of whom do it for a living.

1. Setting questions that are too hard… or too easy.

“To overestimate or underestimate the players. Nothing is more disastrous than to have teams scoring ZERO, you don’t enjoy it and they don’t. Getting the mix right so that most can go home saying I knew that one! is what it’s about. The best teams will win, the art is getting them to doubt and argue about answers. ”

2. Setting questions that are too dull.

“Asking questions about wedding anniversaries or birthstones.”
“Making the questions too local.”
“Setting on pet subjects”
“Erring on the side of hard-and-unenjoyable rather than fun-and-challenging”

3. Careless Wording

“Asking Questions beginning ‘when’ and ‘where’? Are you looking for day/month/year or city/county/country/continent?”
“Setting questions with colours as answers. Is greeny/blue the same as aquamarine?”

4. Getting It Wrong

“Downloading quizzes off the internet – and not checking sources.”
“Facts do go out of date and others are not correct in the first place. Check your questions”

5. Making It Slow, Long & Heavy

“12 rounds of 20 questions each.”
” Not keeping it light.”
“Making it a chore for the players, instead of a fun experience.”
“Going too slow.”
“Taking too long to mark the answers.”

6. Being Too Showbiz

“You’re a quiz host not a Saturday night TV show personality. It’s about the teams participating, not your own ego.”
“Like a referee at a football match, we should be invisible.”

7. Being Not Showbiz Enough

“Not being a fun, personable host. Engage the crowd, crack jokes and keep it light.”

8. Not knowing your stuff

“Mispronouncing words.”

9. Only Accepting The Answer On The Sheet

“Not having the balls to correct your own mistakes”
“Saying ‘That’s what’s written on the sheet’ or ‘The Quizmaster is always right'”
“You’ve got the internet! Use it. Mistakes happen but ‘computer says no’ attitude is annoying.”

10. Tech-Prep Failure

“Panicking about the sound system not working. *flicks a switch*. It’s now working.”
“Not bringing spare equipment in case of failure – eg mikes, leads etc”

11. Mic-Technique Failure

“Too much bass on the microphone. Absolutely endemic.”
“Not knowing how to use a microphone properly. Either too close to the mouth or too far away or varying between the two.”

12. Letting Cheat Get Away With It

“Not clamping down on Googlers”

13. Being A Phone Nazi

“Getting too arsey with people on phones.”

So there you go, all the tips! One or two of these may seem contradictory, but it’s all about balance. Not too showbiz, not too dull. Not too military discipline, not too much laissez-faire. Not too easy, not too hard. Just get it right!

Thanks to all the quizmasters on the quizmasters group. Too many to name individually and I’m bound to miss someone out, so thanks to all! Meet them all at the Facebook Quizmasters Group


For cheats and hints to win Dr Paul quizzes in Edinburgh, get the weekly email.