Our annual quiz sheets go on sale on 1st September, and we’ve just got them back from the printers so we’re ready and raring to go!

We’ll be telling you the topic, and the reason for it, very soon now. But in the meantime we thought we’d share some of the process behind getting the quiz sheets ready each year, by answering some of the questions we’re often asked.

Q1: Where do the questions come from?

A lot of people assume we buy a book of questions from somewhere and use them, but we don’t. Each year a small team spends the months after the marking of the previous quiz sheet thinking up topics and questions, and tweaking them until they’re happy.

Q2: So how do you pick a topic?

There’s no fixed process, but sometimes a germ of an idea comes from current events in the club. For example, Heroes and Villains (2018/19) was a nod towards Peterborough Lion John Cheetham, who ran the quiz for many years but passed to higher service early in 2018 (in case you wondered, he was the hero inspiration not the villain). This year is a special year for the club and that has played a huge part in this year’s topic.

Of-course it’s no good having a topic without questions, and sometimes a promising topic has to be dropped if we can’t come up with the questions to match.

Q3: OK, so where do the questions come from then?

Actually, we usually start with the answers and work backwards to come up with questions. Usually we can come together in our small team and generate maybe 50% of the answers in an evening to get us started, but it takes a while to get to 100, and many of them will be swapped out if we can’t find a good question or the answer isn’t sufficiently distinct.

Q4: How to you avoid making mistakes?

Short answer: We try very hard but we don’t always succeed.

There turned out to be a glaring error one year that almost nobody noticed – almost every returned quiz having the “right” answer despite the question having been wrong. And that despite multiple proof-reads, and a select team of helpers working through early drafts of the quiz in strict confidence. Being human isn’t always an asset!

Q5: How strict are you when there are mistakes in the returned answers?

We are strict, in the sense that it’s unfair for someone who spells a name right to miss out on a prize to someone who spelt it wrong. But sometimes there are various correct spellings of the same word/name, or several perfectly valid answers that just aren’t the ones we came up with, and those are accepted. Marking therefore takes a long time, as any answer which deviates from ours needs to be looked up and checked to see if we can accept it. And we always accept obvious corrections, but can’t accept multiple answers to one question (unless they’re all judged to be right).

Q6: Why do you keep it all secret until 1st September?

This is a tradition started by Lion John Cheetham that we’ve carried on, because we think the element of suspense adds a bit of fun. Only the small team know the questions (and answers!), and then obviously the printer; even our club president and fundraising chair are kept in the dark until 1st September.

Q7: Is it cheating if I Google the answers?

How you answer the questions is up to you! But we try to take into account that a lot of younger people might be more savvy with technology, and that might balance out having less historic knowledge. We also try to make sure some questions are too cryptic to Google, and that others are easy enough that lots of people will get them without trying.

The quiz is three things: a bit of fun, a massively important fundraiser for us, and a prize competition. We try to get the balance right across those three.

Q8: Can I help sell the quiz sheets?

You absolutely can! Every year a high proportion of the quiz sheets sold are not sold by Peterborough Lions.

There are two options. The first, if you simply want to support Peterborough Lions, is to just sell them, and pass on the money you collect to us. The second, if you have another cause you want to raise money for, is to sell them on a 50:50 basis: for every sheet you sell you keep half the money for your great cause, and we have the other half to cover printing and support our own causes.

If either option is of interest, please get in touch.

Q9: I find it hard to read the questions, my eyesight isn’t great, can you help?

Indeed we can! Fitting 100 questions into an A4 leaflet means the text is quite small, so we understand this is problematic for some people.

So, available to purchase online we have an A3 version – same quiz, just twice the size.

The printing costs of the A3 version are quite high (about £1/each!), but we don’t want to pass that cost on to those unfortunate enough to need them, so we only print a limited quantity each year and sell them at the same price as the standard quiz (we don’t even charge extra postage). That means they are available if you need them, and this year they should also be available via RNIB on a 50:50 basis to support RNIB funds, too.

We are also trialling a new printing process this year which should improve the contrast and make the questions easier to read, even on the standard sized sheet.

Making the quiz accessible is important to us so if there’s any other changes we can make please do let us know.

Q10: So what did you say this year’s topic is?

I didn’t, but nice try 🙂

Not much longer to wait….