And the “Trivia on Tap” Segment Begins…

So, this is my first Reverie Hound post, forgive me if it sucks, but I’m still feeling my way around and things will only be getting bigger and better from here. What to do with this forum has been a topic I’ve been wrestling with for a few weeks, so I figured stop thinking and start writing.

To quote a great American, “Who Am I?” and, “Why Am I Here?” (Your first trivia question from The Hound is who said it…when and where was he?) However, to answer the question my name is Jeremy and I am a trivia host and a trivia junkie as well. I am here because when CJ started the Hound he wanted to get differing perspectives, and he thought I might provide an interesting one… and also maybe I might add some fun and challenging quizzes to the site. In future days, weeks, and months I expect my posts to be full of odd facts and cool questions but to kick things off I figured I would write about what I know, and that is trivia.

I intend to write not just about my trivia nights (which you can find out more about by liking the BRAIN SPORTZ Face Book page…HINT HINT HINT), but also about other trivia nights and hosts. I’ll write about the good, the bad, and the ugly; dos and don’ts of trivia nights. Basically, trivia in Chicago from the mind of a quizmaster. To start though I want to talk about one of the trivia host’s worst nightmares, blowing a question. Hey we are all human and mistakes happen, you just don’t ever want them to happen to you, but they inevitably will, and here is something that happened to me just last night.

So on nights when I am not hosting (A rarity these days), I like to get out and check out a trivia night or two when I can. Last night was one of those nights. In fact I had Mondays free all month and I had been going to Jack’s on Southport pretty much every Monday for their trivia night, which was hosted by a good friend of mine. Dan runs a top notch trivia night, and he is a great guy to boot. Jack’s is a nice bar with a terrific staff and as it is attached to the 404 Wine Bar it has not just a typical bar menu, but some GREAT FOOD as well. Anyway they began trivia on Mondays at the start of the year and Mondays are always a tough sell, but Jack’s to their credit has promoted the heck out of the night, and has run an event called the MEGABOWL this month. In order to qualify for the Megabowl a team had to score 90 points on any trivia night in March (Not a tough task, but still made you work a little). Anyway, the big event was last night and the grand prize included $500 cash as well as some other items. Now I write trivia questions for a living, so I have a little bit of an edge, and I had a pretty solid team put together… so here is what happened.

With 2 questions to go the standings were 121 for the Short Bus All-Stars, 120 for the Kid’s Table, and 115 for my squad. We were in 3rd down 6, but the final 2 questions are worth from 0-12 points. Each team wagers based on the confidence they have in their answer with the fear of losing the points if they get the question wrong. The question was as follows;

“This product was invented in 1906 with the name “Blibber Blabber”, but was a failure. In the 1920’s the product was reintroduced under a new name and became a success, and today over 200 companies make the product. Name it? “

Now we quickly dismissed Silly Putty as an answer as no way have 200 companies made it, but most of my team wanted to go with gum. I was absolutely positive gum was the wrong answer though and here is why. This week I asked the following question at a trivia night event.

“What Chicago company was founded in 1891 and produced soap and baking soda. In 1892 they began giving away a promotional item with their baking soda, and that item became so popular it is what the company is known for to this day. Name the company?”

The answer to my question is the Wrigley Company, and the giveaway was chewing gum. Having asked that question not more than 30 hours prior, I knew that chewing gum predated 1906 so there was no way that could be correct. So we opted to play it safe and take a 0. Anyway the answer to the questions was “Bubble Gum” but both Chewing Gum and just Gum were deemed acceptable. I immediately voiced my displeasure, as the only reason my team didn’t answer gum is because I knew gum had been invented prior to 1906 and the question clearly stated the product was invented in 1906.

This put Dan in a very tough position. As it turns out after the last question (After U2 there are two musical groups/bands that are tied for most Grammy’s won by a group with 22. One is Allison Krauss and Union Station the other is a group that formed in Texas in the 1980’s name the group?). We got that right and wagered 12 so we ended with 127 the Short Bus All-Stars had 133 and another team snuck in at 130. Problem is the two teams that finished ahead of us were given credit for correct answers on the first question for answering gum, but not bubble gum. I contended that it is fine if the answer is Bubble Gum as that could be construed as a different product then Chewing Gum, but if that were the case I felt any team with an answer of gum (or chewing gum) should be marked wrong, and lose their wager. If that had been the case we would have finished in first and won the $500 cash as well as some other cool prizes.

In the end we didn’t get the ruling, but we were given $100 cash as a consolation and offered a $200 redeemable at the bar on future visits. It was a fine gesture, and I hold no ill will, but you hate to lose in such a fashion regardless of the stakes. In the end I’ve been in that position. I’ve screwed up questions and answers and there is almost never a good or easy way out of such a predicament. Heck even game shows like Jeopardy have invited contestants back after faulty rulings hurt them. The sad truth is no matter how much fact checking you do it is unavoidable that something will slip by, you just don’t want it to cost a team a big prize, and even if it does, you want to do your best to rectify the situation. Dan did that as did the bar and no ill will is held.

C’est la vie. Well, til next time Hound Dogs. By the way, anybody know what the best-selling gum in the U.S. is? (Had to leave you with one last trivia question).

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  1. Pauly says:

    We were robbed!! :)

  2. Kwaz says:

    I can’t believe how much I enjoyed reading about your trivia controversy. Also awesome video clip.

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