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Welcome to our 'Frequently Asked Questions' page.  Now, lest there be any uncertainty, this is not a page full of questions that regularly get asked in our quiz matches!  No, it's where you'll find answer to questions people typically ask ABOUT the quiz league, how its run, match format, and so on and so forth.  

The information here is broken down into four sections, as follows ...

Host Licensee's FAQ

Questions such as who pays for the quiz, where and when it is played, what refreshments might be available and when the season starts.

Team Captain's FAQ - League organization

Questions such as team and squad composition, types of fixtures, start dates for league and cup competitions, match times, how league points are awarded, and who is awarded trophies at the end of the season.

Match FAQ - quiz format

Questions such as match format, start times, time allowed to answer questions, scoring team and individual questions, handling disputes etc.

League Sponsor's FAQ

Questions concerning openings for prospective sponsors, what might be sponsored, advertising etc.

Host Licensee's FAQ

Who is eligible to take part?

Any licensed premises can enter a team, or teams.  While the league grew out of the old Tetley's League, participation is no longer dependent on association with a particular brewery or brand.

However, that is not to rule out possible future involvement of sponsors.  We might look to group some teams into divisions associated with a particular sponsor or sponsors.  But rest assured we will resist any pressure to exclude teams from the League simply because they do not tie in with a certain brand.

Who Pays the Wise Old Owls' league fees?

Typically these are paid by the licensee of the premises where a team plays it's home matches.  The fee is not large and the Wise Old Owls make it easy by providing the host with free pub quizzes they can use to raise funds to help pay the league fees.

How much does it cost

As little as 40 per team.  For the 2001/2002 season the standard league fee will again be 50 (still not expensive) but prompt payment will earn a discount of up to 10Teams just wishing to register for the 'knockouts' at the end of the regular season pay 10 - covers entry to the 'Champion of Champions' and Plate competitions (where appropriate).

How much does that work out per match

Teams registering for the full season play at least 16 matches (home & away), more if they have a good run in one or other of the knockouts.  This equates to as little as 2.50 per fixture, or a little over 60p a head per match!

What exactly does my payment cover?

In short, everything.  The questions, fixture lists, newsletters, bonus pub quizzes, league and cup trophies (winners) and certificates (winners and runners up), special events, they are all covered by the one-off payment of your league fee.  You will not be asked for a penny more!

The special events referred to include our 'Finals Night' when the cup competitions are settled and league and cup trophies etc. are handed out.  These evenings are open to all and teams are not charged for attending.  Nor are licensees asked to contribute to the costs we incur on those occasions.  The Wise Old Owls arrange and pay for everything, the P.A., the advertising, the food, prizes for table quizzes and beer tickets for spot prizes.

When is payment due?

Payment is due when you register your team.  For those participating in the full programme of events, if payment is made upon registering - or indeed at any stage before the end of the calendar year in which the season starts - the fee for joining is just 40, a saving of 10 on the standard price.  Teams joining for the knockouts only must pay when registering, before any draws are made.

What's all this about you helping with league fees

To help you meet your costs, each week Wise Old Owls include two copies of a 20 question trivia quiz with the ordinary match questions (one copy each for the Home & Away sides).  By running your own in-house quiz & selling entry forms in your pub a small profit can be made.  Given teams typically play 16 league & cup fixtures in a season, a profit of just 2.50 a week can cover all your League fees!

Are fixtures

Teams are grouped in leagues of approximately eight teams, roughly based on the Postcode of their address.  We do try and group teams of a similar standard together while keeping traveling to a minimum.  Also, the season's knockout competition is zoned in the early rounds.

What if there aren't enough teams in our area

All fees will be refunded in full in the unlikely event a league cannot be formed in your area.  In practice we tend not to bank your cheque until we're sure you have some opposition.

What do I do in those weeks my team is 'at home'?

By lunchtime Tuesday a special match envelope should arrive containing the week's questions etc., this should be left unopened and put in a safe place.

In the unlikely event the match envelope has not arrived by noon Tuesday, contact Wise Old Owls and we'll make sure you get a set in time for Wednesday evening.

do I have to do on Wednesday nights?

If your team is 'at home' you will need to provide somewhere for two competing teams to sit while playing the quiz, preferably somewhere not too noisy.  At 8.30pm just hand the unopened match envelope to your team's captain. 

Matches should start at 8.30 p.m. and last approximately 90 minutes (including the half-time 'Beer Break').  By about 10 p.m. matches will be concluding and some 'away' teams tend to drift back to their home pubs.

What about 'hospitality'?

Licensees generally provide some modest snacks at the half time-break (about 9.00-9.15 if the match kicks off on time).  These are always greatly appreciated by the teams.  However, you should in no way feel obligated to provide snacks.

So who does the rest?

Wise Old Owls supply all the rules, questions & answers, league tables, fixture lists, league newsletter, and so forth.  All we ask is that after each match, the captain of the winning side telephones us with the result.  We do the rest!

How many people take part?

In a match each team has four players - though any number of people can play for a team during the course of the season.  This means a 'squad' of people can be assembled and encouraged to come along each week.  For home matches a Questioner is needed - though he or she will normally be one of the 'squad members'.

So, w
hen does all this happen

The regular season starts in late October.  It runs through until the March of the following year.  We usually take a fortnight's break over the Christmas & New Year holiday period and on the first Wednesday of January each year (where that is on or after the 3rd of the month) we hold our annual Steve Crew Memorial Event.

At the end of the league season a Yorkshire-wide Champion of Champions knockout competition is held.  We also run a 'Plate Knockout' for those teams who are unlucky enough to get eliminated in the early stages of the Champion of Champions contest.  A team's league registration fee includes free entry to both these, as appropriate.

How do I sign up my team?

Simply complete this application form and send it to us at 50 Greenbank Road, Altofts, Normanton, WF6 2JU.  Alternatively, complete it in electronic format and send it to us at  You can then follow this with your cheque (payable to Wise Old Owls) in the normal post to the address above.

What if I have any more questions?

No problem, just e-mail your question to us at

Team Captain's FAQ - League organization

On what nights are matches played?

The most recent season ran from 15th November 2000 to March 2001, at which point our 32nd annual end of season knockout competition was staged.  This concluded on April 2001.  This year we hope to start a bit earlier - most likely the last Wednesday in October.

Matches are played on Wednesday nights and ought to start at 8.30 p.m. & last approximately 90 minutes (including the half-time 'Beer Break').  Matches are followed by a non-scoring friendly round which, subject to prior agreement, is usually played as a 'beer round' - the losers buying the winners a drink!

How many in a team?

Matches are a head to head contest between two teams of four.  One member of each team is designated 'captain'. 

Can we have a squad of players?

Teams are urged to have a squad of more than 4, if only because they have to supply a Questioner for their home fixtures.  There is no restriction on squad size.  The only limitation is that you cannot ordinarily play for more than one team in a season (exception to this rule is at the discretion of the Wise Old Owls and subject to veto by other teams).

What is the level of other teams in the league?

Mixed.  It varies from the willing amateurs who celebrate if they win more than one fixture in ten, to the professionals who can field players who've won BBC Radio 4's Brain of Britain competition (at the last count we have two such individuals, plus a scattering of Grand-finalists from '15 to 1').  However, even the best team gets beaten from time to time - we have had some very famous 'upsets', especially in the knockout competitions - and the average team in the league is likely to loose as many games as they win.

What are my responsibilities as captain?

None of these are particularly onerous.  Mostly common sense is called for.  You, or an appointed stand-in, will have four principal responsibilities ... 

1.  Ensure your team shows consideration to other league members, i.e. making sure you turn up on time to fixtures, keeping your licensee advised of fixture commitments, and welcoming visiting teams when you are at home.

2.  Lead your team in matches, i.e. participate in the coin toss at the outset of the match, when at home show the unopened match envelope to your visitors, give your team's answers in the team rounds, ensure your team approaches matches in a sporting manner and, where necessary, participate in any discussion as to the resolution of disputes.

3.  Phone in your match score, if your team has won, its your job to contact us with details of the result (e-mail

4.  Act as a contact point for your team.  From time to time either Wise Old Owls or other team's captains may need to get in touch.  This requires we have a phone number or e-mail address at which you can be contacted.

What is the points system for matches?

Teams receive 2 points for a win and 1 for a draw.  Teams also get 1 bonus point for reaching a match score of 60, 2 bonus points if they score 75 upwards.  By these means even those teams sensing they will be defeated have reason to persevere.  Also it means teams effectively compete against every other division member, striving to score as high as possible to gain all important bonuses.

If we do well, what can we win?

Teams are organized into divisions, or Conferences.  Typically a 'conference' has six to eight teams.  The team topping their table at the end of the season receives a trophy (in perpetuity) and a certificate to record the achievement.  Runners-up also receive a certificate.  Also, a team's performance in their Conference is taken into account when we draw up seedings for knockout competitions.

Will winning a trophy cost us anything?

No.  All trophies and certificates are covered by your team's joining fee.

Actually we're pretty naff.  Is there any point to us taking part?

Yes.  First and foremost its about having a bit of fun and an excuse to visit some pubs you wouldn't normally venture to.  It doesn't matter how poor (or how strong) your team is, we already have some teams of exactly your level.  And remember, the finalists of the 2000 Plate knockout both finished bottom of their respective Conferences, only winning 5 of 28 regular season fixtures between them!

How do I sign up my team?

Either refer the licensee of your 'home establishment' to the first section of Q&A on this page or complete this application form and send it to us at 50 Greenbank Road, Altofts, Normanton, WF6 2JU.  Alternatively, you may complete it in electronic format and send it to us at  You can then follow up your registration form with your cheque (payable to Wise Old Owls) in the normal post to the address above.

Teams wanting to participate in the year 2002 knockouts should fill out this alternative application.

What if I have any more questions?

No problem, just e-mail your question to us at

Match FAQ - quiz format

What is the match format?

There are nine rounds.  All of these, except Round 5, feature eight questions.  Each is based on a common theme.  In rounds 1-4 and 6-9 the questions alternate between teams A & B, four going to each team.

Each week there is also a tenth, 'friendly', round.  This is a written team round (with 10 answers) which is played for fun only - scores don't count towards the match result.  Subject to both sides agreeing before the round is played (most teams consent) the losers generally buy the winners a pint!

The atmosphere is generally relaxed (many teams not sticking to official time limits) but answers to questions are expected before opponents fall asleep!  When questions are answered incorrectly they are passed over for a bonus.

After the half way stage teams 'change ends' so to speak.  In the first half the team designated 'A' answers first on the odd numbered questions (i.e. 1,3,5 & 7), and then takes the even numbered questions (2,4,6,& 8) in the second half.  This is done for 'balance', there being a widely held belief (not necessarily correct!) that its easier to answer the even numbered questions - e.g. if you take the last question in the round you've the benefit of being able to exclude the answers to questions 1-7 in your thinking!

Both round 5 and the extra post-match friendly 'beer round' are different from the others.  They are written rounds and both teams get the same questions, for which they have a specified time to write down their answers.  Papers are then exchanged and the correct answers read out.

For the best idea as to how a match progresses, have a look at how the last two Champion of Champions matches progressed.

How are answers scored?

For team rounds its 2 for a correct answer, 1 for a bonus.  Individual rounds are 3 for a correct answer, bonus starts at 2.  For full details, request a set of match rules from

What is the level of questions like?

Mixed.  We try to cater for all types, neither boring the anoraks nor demoralizing the willing amateurs.  What we try to do is pitch the majority of questions at a level where a half-decent team will get most of the answers, but have enough hard questions to enable the better team on the night to establish its ascendancy.

Are there any individual questions?

Yes.  Although mainly a team quiz, rounds 4 & 9 are individual.  Both are slightly different.  Round 4 is invariably pretty straightforward, all questions being on the same theme and never too taxing.  Round 9 is a bit special.

In the final round there are four pairs of questions, each on different (and quite diverse) topics.  Players get to choose which subject they will take.  A lot then depends on how good a spread of knowledge your team has, and whether the captain makes the right decision when two players each demand to answer on the same subject!

Some weeks all your team will be able to take a subject they are comfortable with, but just occasionally you'll be wishing you'd fielded some anorak for their specialist knowledge of 'beer mats' or 1960s radio shows!  Anyway, the format for the closing round leads to some pretty fraught endings, matches often going down to the wire.  Most agree it keeps everyone interested right to the end!

What kind of subjects can we expect?

It is a General Knowledge quiz with the questions set in categories for each of the rounds.  The subjects cover a wide range from Recent News to Ancient History and Gunpowder Plot to the vegetable plot!

What about the mix of subjects?

We strive to rotate subjects and not to have too much of the same thing from one week to the next.  We try also not to have any one set of questions too steeped in a particular area - e.g. a quiz featuring a TV, a Pop music, a Cinema and a Theatre round would be just too 'entertainment orientated' - ordinarily you'd not expect to see more than one of these together in the same match.

At the end of the 1999/2000 season we issued a questionnaire which helped identify types of question people thought were used too often, or not enough.  We aim to rely on this feedback when drafting subsequent season's questions.

What if I have any more questions?

No problem, just e-mail your question to us at  Alternatively, when you e-mail us, request a full set of match rules.


League Sponsors' FAQ

Do the Wise Old Owls have any sponsorship at the moment?

No, we have no sponsors at this point in time.

Has there been sponsorship in the past?

In a manner of speaking.  Our principal league, the Wise Old Owls Yorkshire Quiz League, grew out of the remnants of the former Tetley's League.  When Tetleys were bought out by Carlsberg they discontinued the competition.  This was a great shame since some 400 teams from across Yorkshire took part.

What are you seeking to find sponsorship for?

The Wise Old Owls are keen to consider any form of sponsorship, whether it be sponsoring ... 

  •   individual teams
  •   individual conferences within the league,
  •   the League as a whole,
  •   an existing annual knock-out competition
  •   a new knock-out competition* 
  •   some or all of the trophies we present each year.

(* We are considering a new handicap knockout for next season.  We have also been approached to set up a North of England challenge contest - for which sponsors would be most welcome)

What levels of sponsorship are you seeking?

At the lowest level a contribution of 25 would see a sponsor's name associated with one of the six conference trophies, 50 would attach a name to one of our knock-out trophies.  Other opportunities exist at higher levels.

What are these 'higher level' opportunities ?

First is the possibility to create an entirely new knockout competition bearing a sponsors' name.  So as not to put the burden of expense for a more lengthy season onto licensees & teams, we would look to a prospective sponsor meeting the costs of writing & producing question sets as well as simply funding a trophy.

Cost would depend largely on the number of entrants (the more teams that enter, the more rounds are required) but by way of an example, for a 6-round competition with some 64 entrants, entirely funded by the sponsor, one would be looking at an all-encompassing fee in the region of 600.

The second opportunity is to sponsor the league as a whole.  This would see the sponsors' name tagged to all trophies and, with serious sponsorship, the league could look to expand to the levels previously attained by the Tetley's League.  Indeed, with the right organizational support there is no reason this could not be expanded nationally, or even internationally.

Sponsorship at this level would involve meeting the entry costs of teams into the Wise Old Owls Yorkshire League, currently standing at 40 per team per season.

What possible benefits are there for sponsors?

At the lowest level locally based sponsors can have their name associated with a popular activity for a relatively small sum.  Question sheets and League Newsletters could perhaps be adapted to carry sponsors' adverts.

As we move up the scale somewhat, the Wise Old Owls might make an ideal partner for a local newspaper.  Not only would sponsorship produce a supply of fresh local-interest copy, but we could readily provide suitable questions for publication in the sponsor's publications.

At the top of the scale we offer a real opportunity for a sponsor to get their name noticed throughout a large number of licensed premises.  Moreover, there will no doubt be added opportunities to tie in licensed premises involvement in the quiz league with the sponsor's other promotional activities.

What if I have any more questions?

Just e-mail us your question at





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Last modified: August 23, 2001