Rejoice, trivia fans: Quizzo, the one-time king of local quiz nights is back. Kind of.
Quizzo, which ran at the Pour House from September 2001 to until ending in January 2008, became one of my favorite test-your-knowledge events thanks to a wide-ranging set of questions, snappy pace and the wit and wisdom of both host Neal Racioppo and the fanatical regulars, who'd arrive at the bar well before the start time.
Racioppo is still in retirement, but the new version of Quizzo, which takes place on the first three Tuesdays of the month at Capitol Hill's Union Pub, has a familiar feel to it. "Scorebabe" Rebecca Scott, who kept score at the old Quizzo (and who is now married to Racioppo), reads the questions, tallies the points and throws out zingers the whole time. What's different is the new format.
There are five rounds per game. Three have eight general knowledge-style questions, with a heavy dose of pop culture, and two are themed rounds that vary from week to week. For those, you may get a sheet with photos of famous actors and have to identify them. You may have to write a list of the 13 Michael Jackson songs that topped the Billboard chart.
Lists factor heavily into the non-themed rounds, too. The eighth question of each round, called the Ocho, involves a question with multiple answers: for example, name all five Daily Show correspondents. Each correct response is worth a point, so your team could earn a four-point bonus if you get them all.
If you're feeling confident about a particular round, you can still "Joker," which doubles your point tally. Be careful, though: You can only do this once per game, and extra answers given as answers to the Ocho don't count.
Quizzo remains a lot of fun, even if the Union Pub's dining room can be kind of crowded, especially when some participants spread their bags and coats around on empty barstools to save seats for friends who haven't arrived yet. (This isn't the middle school cafeteria, people.) The game begins at 8; try to get there by 7:30 to get a seat. There are all-night drink specials, including $12 pitchers of the house ale.
Of course, there are prizes: The winning team gets a $50 bar tab. Second place is good for a $20 bar tab. Third place took home a bottle of merlot. And the best team name -- think R-rated puns on current events -- wins a free pitcher of beer.
To whet your appetite, here are some sample questions from last week's game.
1. Even though it may have felt like it, last week's playoff game between the Twins and the Tigers wasn't the longest baseball game ever played. How many innings was the longest game? (To get it right, your answer has to be correct within two innings.)
2. To mathematicians it's the propensity of a system to be sensitive to initial conditions. To the rest of us, it's just a bad 2004 Ashton Kutcher movie. What is it?
3. A TV analogy for you. David Brent is to Michael Scott as Gareth Keenan is to _____?
4. This Serbian-American inventor is responsible for figuring out alternating currents and a gadget still used in radio transmissions, but, sadly, his only real claim to fame is having a minor '90s rock band named after him.
5. Beyonce's dance routine in the "Single Ladies" video was inspired by the work of which choreographer?
Bonus: Name the members of the Weasley family in the Harry Potter books. (There are nine.)
-- Fritz Hahn (Oct. 20, 2009)
1. 26, in a 1906 game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves. (If you said 24 to 28, you get the points.)
2. The Butterfly Effect
3. Dwight Schrute. (These are characters on the original UK version of "The Office" and its American counterpart.)
4. Nikola Tesla
5. Bob Fosse
Bonus: Arthur, Molly, Percy, Charlie, Bill, Fred, George, Ron and Ginny.