The addictive nature of quizzes of all types has long been recognized by radio and television as a winner. In the North, quiz leagues involving teams from pubs, clubs and companies is big business, and that is now spreading to East Anglia. The board game, Trivial Pursuits, owes its popularity to the phenomenon.
Joe Mason has found a nightly niche as questionmaster on page six of the Eastern Evening News with a blend of local, international, classic and trivial questions. Many of our readers test themselves regularly, and many more dip in on a casual basis.
I believe Joe’s success stems from an ability to nudge latent knowledge, and not frighten people with an attempt to display his own cleverness. As a member of a quiz league team, I am among the regulars and reckon on an average success of about 60 per cent., without recourse to reference books.
This is Joe’s first book and I am sure it will provide many challenging hours for Mason devotees and newcomers to his unique mix of teasers.
Peter J. Ware
Editor, Eastern Evening News
But wasn’t it headache producing work? Writing 60 questions a week and checking them all, and pitching the degree of difficulty at the right level left me with a genuine headache very often. This was all long before the internet, smart phones or even computers. They would have made my job a lot easier but in my opinion they have robbed quizzes of much of their fun. What is the point of asking difficult questions if a quick bit of googling will reveal the answer on Wikipedia? I spent about three years doing the daily quiz on the Evening News.
There were a few spin-offs from the exposure I got on the newspaper; hosting quizzes around the city being one of them. It wasn’t something I enjoyed enough to do it for free although numerous people were only too glad to do it for nothing. I don’t think I ever had complaint about a wrong answer though. It was complaint I made about the mistakes that appeared in the previous quiz in the Eastern Evening News which got me the job in the first place.
Apart from the work I did for Eastern Counties Newspaper (they had not yet adopted their new name of Archant) the job led to a few other journalistic assignments. I wrote another quiz book of exclusively East Anglian questions and this was published by a firm in Peterborough, whither I went (by bus – and it is long journey on a bus seat) to publicize it on Radio Cambridgeshire. At least the edition sold out, and produced me a little money. I even got a job interview at the BBC in Manchester to be a question reviewer on Mastermind. This was in 1995, and as you can see I didn’t get the job; but the BBC did pay for my trip to Manchester.
Here anyway are some quiz questions to amuse you.
- What was name (including nickname) of the Viking leader who brought about the death of Saint Edmund?
- Where were Nelson’s parents married?
- What are the two Associated British Ports in Suffolk?
- Who wrote the music to the hymn Jerusalem?
- Which coins of the old currency remained in circulation after 15th February 1971? I still have plenty of copies of the quiz book to give away, so email me if you want one or have any ideas of somebody who may! Perhaps you know of a good cause that could use them.