"A good quiz setter will use various sources for what readers are likely to know and what is likely to flummox them. Researching national capitals, Olympic medal winners, longest rivers, and Cup final champions are just some of the categories for setting intriguing questions." So says Irish Examiner Quizmaster Noel Welch when we ask him how he sets his weekly quiz. A visit to the local library is a great source for research and reading various travel quides. Questions shouldn't require too much thought to answer, so the question itself should be just a simple sentence."
Some questions never go out of date, and are recyclable, like one of the twentycompiled for the very first edition of the Weekend Examiner.
''I remember, as it was just yesterday,'' says Noel, ''When one of the questions I used was:is the real name of which international singer? The answer: Singer, .''
Noel's interest in quizzes started when he was invited, in the early 1980s, to be quizmaster for the Re-hab Group, All-Ireland quiz, the not-for-profit organisation providing health and social care, training and education, rehabilitation, employment and commercial services. ''That proved a great experience,'' he explains, ''in setting questions to test some of the best pub quiz brains in the country.''
Noel includes among his hobbies, watching TV quiz shows, and top of his list is, 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,' which has been running onsince 1998, first hosted by , and presently hosted by . ''It's one of the best TV quiz shows ever,'' says Noel. ''From watching the show, I get ideas for questions and also, while listening to the radio, I might hear a song and immediately compile a question as who is singing it, or in what year was it first released. I also use travel books for information in compiling questions.''
Over the years Noel has received very positive responses from readers and even more during this year during lockdowns, the quiz has provided a source of entertainment for the whole family. ''In recent months, one family have been pitting their wits against other family members based abroad and organising a competition of who can answer the most questions,'' says Noel.
Keeping a close eye on news channels is another way of coming up with interesting questions, as he explains. ''It's usually the most recent news stories that can trip up quizzers. For instance, who is the Director-General of the World Health Organisation ()? The answer, of course, is Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Noel is always on the lookout for questions and always carries around a little notepad to quickly write down anything that might spring to mind for an interesting question. However, as we rely more on technology to recover information, then quizzes that celebrate roundabout ways of remembering, might be just what we all need.
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