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The capital gets quizzical

[ 2009-09-24 11:39]     字号 [] [] []  
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Question: Which British pub tradition has Beijingers wracking their brains to trump trivia rivals?

Answer: Quiz nights.

How the popular pass time made its way to Beijing is unclear, but several bar owners in the city agree that Frank Siegel, boss of Sequoia Cafe in Jianguomen, was one of the pioneers.

They started holding monthly quiz nights at the cafe, then known as John Bull Club, seven years ago after an Irish employee suggested them as a way of bringing in customers on slow nights.

"At first I was pretty skeptical because I'd never heard of a quiz night, but it soon proved so popular we began running it every two weeks and then weekly," said Siegel.

It's Tuesday night and Julian Fisher is the charismatic quizmaster at Tim's Texas BBQ, also in Jianguomen. Teams of up to seven are huddled around tables, all frantically scribbling on pieces of paper.

Round 1, and contestants must identify celebrities whose names contain either Jack or Jones in vintage pictures. When time is up, Fisher gets the teams to swap sheets and starts reading out the right answers, usually accompanied by cheers and groans as it becomes clear who the real brains are.

Fisher, who has been running pub quizzes for more than five years, said: "You begin to look at life anecdotally. I'll see a sign or something in the street and begin instantly thinking of questions surrounding that object," he said.

When it comes to the geography round, Fisher starts with a zinger.

"Which country's name is an anagram of a synonym of a homophone of an even prime number?"

Sighs fill the room. "Is that really a question?" asks an exasperated participant.

The answer is Laos.

It's all over, and when the scores are totted up it's a tie for first place between Slithey Toves and Nesbsters.

"We never expected to win tonight, that's not why we came. We go to quiz nights because we like the challenge, the atmosphere. Most importantly, we like the cheap beer," he said.


1. Who was one of the pioneers of quiz nights in Beijing?

2. How often are the quiz nights held?

3. What is the name of the quizmaster at Tim's Texas BBQ?


1. Frank Siegel, boss of Sequoia Cafe in Jianguomen.

2. Weekly.

3. Julian Fisher.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

The capital gets quizzical

About the broadcaster:

The capital gets quizzical

Chantal Anderson is a multimedia journalist at the China Daily Web site. Originally from Seattle, Washington she has found her way around the world doing photo essays in Greece, Mexico and Thailand. She is currently completing a double degree in Journalism and International Studies from the University of Washington.