Grand Christmas Quiz 2016

Another year, another quiz.  I know you can’t wait to get started, so I won’t waste too much time on the preliminaries.  Two points are available for each answer, except where otherwise noted.  Answers to be revealed on 2nd January (probably).  First prize, as usual : a year’s subscription to the New Crimson Rambler.

This year I have broadened the scope a little, to include some questions about football, and, in a few cases, I have provided clues.

Q1  What do the following cricketers have in common?

a) A.C.D. Ingleby-McKenzie (Hampshire)

b) Dudley Owen-Thomas (Surrey)

c) Paul Franks (Nottinghamshire)

Q2  Who was the last Oxford Blue to appear in the top division of the Football League? (2 points for the player ; 1 if you don’t know the name, but can name the decade in which he first appeared.)

(The last that I know of – points will be awarded for any plausible later answer.)

Q3  This lady was the Mother of which future England cricket Captain?


Clue : her great-granddaughter is a well-known writer and art critic, and this is not her first appearance in this quiz.

Q4 The following is a description of a well-known cricketing personality’s debut as an entertainer :

He basically trotted out a stream of lewd jokes and foul language. Some people found it funny, but there were plenty who didn’t.” Friends described it as “One of the major disasters of his life” and were “relieved and grateful” when it was over.

But whose?

a) Fred Trueman’s stand-up comedy routine in a club in Stockton-on-Tees

b) Colin Milburn’s turn as a DJ in the Turner Suite at Wantage Road

c) Lionel Tennyson, addressing the Mothers’ Union

Q5 The case of “the Lustful Turk” was a notorious breach of promise action, featuring the Mother of which cricketing personality as the plaintiff?


Clue : he was later supposedly blackballed by the MCC for having described her as “a kind of genteel courtesan”.

Q6  The following is an excerpt from the autobiography of which Warwickshire cricketer?

Marijuana later crept into my life as an alternative to alcohol, which was starting to lose its appeal. Drinking alcohol on top of taking ecstasy allowed me to drink twice as much. Smoking marijuana was actually my attempt to rehabilitate myself.”

Clue : it is neither M.J.K. nor A.C. Smith.

Q7  Which English cricketer shared his name with a play by William Shakespeare? (2 points for the individual I am thinking of, but bonus points may be awarded for ingenious alternatives.)

Q8 The man in the hat was, for many years, Chief Scorer at Wantage Road, despite labouring under which handicap?


a) He gradually lost his sight, and had to have the play described to him

b) He was hopeless at maths, and always added the scores up wrongly

c) He was French

Q9  The urchin second from the left in the back row grew up to captain England at cricket, but who was he?


Q10  Which writer described which cricket tournament as being “widely and justifiably viewed as a civilisational nadir”?

a) Virginia Woolf, writing about the “Bodyline” tour

b) Clive James, about Kerry Packer’s WSC

c) Mihir S. Sharma, about the IPL

Q11  The Casuals XI of 1914 included two players of particular note :


a) (Front row, extreme left) captained Manchester City and England at football, won a Wimbledon doubles title, made a century at Lord’s, and once beat Charlie Chaplin at table-tennis using a butter knife.

b) (Back row, centre, in blazer) set a batting record that still stands, had a brand of whisky named after him, and was once accused of “Bolshevism” by Lord Harris for leading all of his side out at Lord’s from the same entrance. (He is shown here in close-up in a cartoon by Tom Webber.)


But who were they? (2 points each)

Q12  Alfred Stockwin, Northamptonshire’s groundsman at both the Racecourse and Wantage Road, once had occasion to pull a drayman down from his cart and give him “a good hiding”. But what had the man done to provoke this?

a) Watered the beer intended for the Pavilion

b) Suggested that Northants were not worthy of first-class status

c) Ridden his cart across the square

Q13  Three members of “the Establishment” on their way to see the Home Secretary. But who were they and what were they going to discuss? (1 point for each answer)


Q14  According to E.H.D. Sewell, the following were the nicknames of some then-prominent cricketers – but can you attach the right name to the right nickname? (1 point each)

Balmy ……………………………………… J.A. Bush (Gloucestershire)

Jungly ……………………………………….K.J. Key (Surrey)

Nutty ………………………………………. H.A. Gilbert (Worcestershire)

Fatty ……………………………………….. Father J.G. Grieg (Hampshire)

Frizzy ………………………………………. F. Martin (Kent)

Q15  Two cricketers, whose names will be forever linked – but who are they?  (1 point for the player on the right, 2 points for the other.)


Q16  True or false : the German writer W.G. Sebald was named after W.G. Grace, as a secret gesture of support for the Allied cause?

Q17  Which of the following has not, at some time, been the nickname of one of Market Harborough’s football teams?

a) The Huntsmen

b) The Cheesecakers

c) The Corsetmen

Q18  Who is the author of the hymn (no. 307 in “Hymns Ancient and Modern”, rev. ed.), whose first verse is as follows?

God, whose farm is all creation

take the gratitude we give;

take the finest of our harvest,

crops we grow that men may live.

Q19  The nine sons and three daughters of William Kingston, Headmaster of Abingdon House School :


How many of the nine sons represented Northamptonshire at cricket?

a) Three

b) Five

c) Eight

Q20 A fine player for Northamptonshire, a flat-mate of Colin Milburn, and a familiar figure at Wantage Road, who sadly died this year.  Who was he?



Happy quizzing, and a Merry Christmas to all my readers! 



The Belated Eight : a Festive Quiz

Apologies to any readers disappointed by my failure to produce the traditional* Christmas quiz.  We are, though, still in the Christmas period, so here are eight Yuletide brain-ticklers for you.  All answers to the usual address by Twelfth Night please (any answers received after 6th December will be discounted and will, additionally, bring you a year’s bad luck).

Q 1.  Herbert Sutcliffe raised a few eyebrows at the Yorkshire v Oxford match at the Parks in 1930 when he (with Wilfred Rhodes in the passenger seat) drove up in a brand new …

a) Cadillac?

b) Rolls-Royce?

c) Studebaker?

Q 2.  Why did Umpire Syd Buller (centre) need a police escort when he left the field at Queen’s Park,  Chesterfield in 1965?

Syd Buller

a) He had allowed Fred Trueman to pepper Derbyshire’s Edwin Smith with bouncers, breaking his arm.

b) He had no-balled Derbyshire fast bowler Harold Rhodes for throwing.

c) It was rumoured that he had ordered the beer tent to be shut down, because he thought it was making too much noise.

Q 3. Who wrote –

“My locks have become a bit of a trademark over the years, especially as I grew them fashionably longer at about the time that I got back into the England side.  The fact is, I like my hair long, and although it has excited one or two bitter criticisms from traditionalists, it has certainly never adversely affected my cricket.”?

a) Bob Willis

b) Denis Compton

c) Ryan Sidebottom

Q 4. The author of one of earliest “diaries of a season”, with the original caption.  He shares his initials with a Fylde Rugby Union player and a French film actress – but who is he?

“Batsman … waits his turn to face the West Indian bowlers after he had sent down a few short-pitched deliveries at them.  The anticipation makes it worth putting up with the difficulty of smoking a fag through the visor.”

Q 5.  In 1833 a Nottinghamshire newspaper had this to say about the women cricketers of which Leicestershire village?

“Last week at [S…..] feast, the women so far forgot themselves as to enter a game of cricket, and by their deportment as well as frequent applications to the tankard, they rendered themselves objects such as no husband, brother, parent or lover could contemplate with any degree of satisfaction.”

a) Syston

b) Sileby

c) Saddington

Q 6.  Which well-known cricket writer wrote of himself as follows?

“In my own reports of cricket matches, I tried for naturalism.  Flippancy was never far absent, because cricketers, especially bowlers, need flippancy to live and avoid going a little queer.  I was doomed to affront those to whom cricket is a quasi-religion … some of the Colonels were very angry, and wrote complaining about “inane asides and abominations ” and demanding the immediate return of Sir Pelham Warner and his articles.”

a) Mike Selvey

b) R. C. Robertson-Glasgow

c) Alan Gibson


Q 7. Umpire Frank Chester signalling a leg-bye.  During a Surrey-Sussex match in the 1930s a firmly struck straight drive from Freddie Brown from the bowling of John Langridge knocked what part of Chester clean off, so that it smashed first bounce into the sightscreen?

a) His trilby?

b) His right arm?

c) His left leg?

Q 8. In his book “Lancashire Hot-Pot“, an account of the 1946 season by the Hon. T.C.F. Prittie, the serial prison-of-war camp escapee and “former cricket correspondent of the Manchester Guardian” described the only first-class match to have been played in a particular Leicestershire village.  He reports that play was frequently held up by cars being driven across the outfield to reach the refreshments tent, that “it was when the Leicester second innings began that some evil spirit took hold of a crowd which, up till then, behaved as one might expect cricket-lovers to do” and having related numerous incidents of bad sportsmanship from the crowd, concluded “Cricket must not … be allowed to become the cockshy of the bucks and bumpkins whose spiritual homes are the prize-ring and the greyhound track.”

But which village was this?

a) Barwell

b) Burton Overy

c) Burrough on the Hill.

*An “invented tradition”, of course. I invented it only last year.


A Winter Wonderland

I hope you’ll forgive me for being an Unseasonal Beast (particularly on such a beautiful Bank Holiday weekend), but I wonder whether you’ve thought about what you’re doing for Christmas this year?  If not, you might like to consider …


“Leicestershire County Cricket Club would love to sprinkle magic on Christmas by hosting your party at Grace Road in 2015.  Whether you have a large office staff or just want to spend this special time of year with a few friends and family, we offer the personal touch to cater for your requirements.  We are transforming Grace Road into a winter wonderland and our special festive menus offer something for everybody.”

And, indeed, it does (including a vegetarian option of “Mushroom, Brie, Hazelnut and Cranberry Wellington” and half a bottle of white or red house wine) at a very reasonable price of £35.00 per person, £31.00 pp for emergency services, schools and colleges, cricket clubs and £28.00 pp for LCCC members.  There are four sittings on 5th, 12th, 18th and 19th December.

The Friends of Grace Road are also selling their traditional Christmas cards (£5.00 for 10), depicting the usual fox roaming the snow-covered outfield at an apparently deserted Grace Road.  This is how I like to imagine the scene in the close season – the gates locked, with a last wistful look back, by the old groundsman at the end of September to leave the ground pretty much the haunt of coot and hern (and fox) until they are flung open joyfully again with the first coming of the daffodils.

But this (to my mind) romantic conception is, I hope, far from the truth (and, if it’s not, then we’re in trouble).  The players, for one thing (in spite of their constant complaints about being over-worked) are now employed on twelve month contracts and spend the Winter months “training” (i.e. honing their physiques in the gym and exchanging insults on Twitter).  The administrative staff (a small band these days) presumably keep the offices manned and the coaching staff, perhaps, “coach” the players.

Beyond that, the absence of any distracting cricket in the close season offers the club the ideal opportunity to “maximise non-cricketing revenue” by hiring out its various premises.  The Meet has its detractors, but it offers a pleasant enough space with a fine view out over the foxes frolicking in the snow (suitable for conventions, trade fairs, exhibitions and meetings); the Charles Palmer Suite is, as the leaflet implies, the ideal venue for weddings, bar mitzvahs, Diwali shindigs and Christmas parties (particularly with the ever-cosy and well-stocked Fox Bar close at hand).

I suppose they could even turf the players out of the gym to do something useful (like go down a pit, if they can find one) and offer membership of the facilities to the general public at a premium rate. That might help pay for a strengthened middle order next season, as opposed to some abnormally strengthened stomach muscles among the existing staff.

But there is another aspect to this.  The club is, above all, a club, a voluntary association and its members’ relationship to it is one, precisely, of membership; we are not mere customers, consumers of a commodity.  For many (the much-despised County regulars) watching the cricket provides company, distraction and a sense of belonging in the Summer months and it would be good if that thread of fellowship could be maintained in the Winter.  I believe the Leicestershire Cricket Society holds its meetings at the ground in the close season, for instance, (though I’ve never managed to attend) and it would be cheering to picture one of those delicious Christmas dinners being attended largely, if not exclusively, by the Members and other supporters of the Club.

Further details of Christmas at Grace Road and other tempting deals are available at

and don’t forget, folks, Grace Road Christmas parties are …

Foxiest Parties