Outsmart­ing The Min­ers

The Tribune (NZ) - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - RACHAEL KELLY

In­tense ri­val­ries, spying and skul­dug­gery - it must be quiz night at the lo­cal pub.

Once a month the goats are sorted from the sheep, as the lo­cals put their knowl­edge to the test in the quest for glory.

I’m a new(ish) re­cruit to the Dome Dum­mies, who have bat­tled for su­pe­ri­or­ity over other teams for more than 20 years.

You’d think that a jour­nal­ist and three well-read, knowl­edge­able farm­ers would hold their own in a gen­eral knowl­edge quiz, but that’s not al­ways the case. We al­ways start well. Hav­ing two mem­bers of the team who have lived in the district for 60 years means our lo­cal knowl­edge is pretty good.

We can name the huts on the high coun­try sta­tions around us, the side roads in or­der from ours to the clos­est town and the trib­u­taries of the lo­cal rivers.

Next up is news ques­tions - so we don’t do too badly there, if I do say so my­self. And of course with three blokes in the team we’ve got sport cov­ered off nicely.

After 20 years of quizzing, some ques­tions have been re­cy­cled, but that’s not al­ways a good thing.

If we re­mem­bered the high­est pos­si­ble score in snooker from last time we got it wrong, or that Scot­land were world cham­pi­ons in ele­phant polo in 2005, we could be onto a win­ner.

While we have mo­ments of sheer bril­liance that leave even us stunned, in­evitably we’ll have one medi­ocre round that will see us slide down the leader­board, lan­guish­ing mid-ta­ble.

It’s usu­ally a pic­ture round where there are cryptic word puzzles to solve - and that’s where the skul­dug­gery comes in.

Teams can spend $5 and buy an an­swer from the quiz­mas­ter - but why do that when you can just cheat? One of our mem­bers, who shall re­main name­less, in­evitably has to visit the bar dur­ing this round and will stop and have a yarn to a fel­low farmer, cast­ing a

‘‘Not sur­pris­ingly the bot­tles of wine are first to go, and there have been tus­sles over home­made pre­serves.’’

sub­tle eye over his an­swers.

He’s so well prac­ticed at it they don’t even know he’s do­ing it, but he usu­ally comes back and gives us a cou­ple of much-needed an­swers to keep us in the hunt.

We’ve also been known to trade an­swers with neigh­bour­ing teams who know we’ve got a shot at beat­ing The Min­ers, a new team of, quite frankly, geeks, who are our big­gest ri­vals.

The Min­ers came to town with all their blus­ter and univer­sity de­grees a cou­ple of years back, and I’m sad to say they’ve dom­i­nated the top of the score­board since then.

Not with­out some cheat­ing though. Funny how one of them al­ways pops over to say gid­day mid-quiz, and he’s even been known to shout the odd round in the hope of but­ter­ing us up.

But it’s at raf­fle time that we all re­ally need to be on our toes.

All the prizes are laid out on the ta­ble and when the num­ber is called, ev­ery­one with that num­ber races up and picks a prize.

Not sur­pris­ingly the bot­tles of wine are first to go, and there have been tus­sles over home­made pre­serves.

If your num­ber comes up late, you could be go­ing home with a set of John Den­ver cas­sette tapes.

It’s amaz­ing how much money a small town can raise for a good cause while hav­ing some good-spir­ited fun.

JO MCKENZIEMCLEAN

It’s amaz­ing how much money a small town can raise for a good cause while hav­ing some good-spir­ited fun.

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