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Starter for ten: How to win your Zoom quiz

In lockdown, we're all trivia nerds, but could you cut it with the best of them? Ed Power asks the hard questions of Ireland's best quizzers

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Leon Andersen of Quiz Masters, which hosts quizzes online and around the mid-west. Photo: Don Moloney

Leon Andersen of Quiz Masters, which hosts quizzes online and around the mid-west. Photo: Don Moloney

Dave McBryan who won Mastermind

Dave McBryan who won Mastermind

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Leon Andersen of Quiz Masters, which hosts quizzes online and around the mid-west. Photo: Don Moloney

Here's your starter for 10. What pastime has seen a huge up-tick since the lockdown began? The answer - hey, no peeking at your phones! - is, of course, the quiz. 'Quizzing', and yes that's a word now, has replaced Twitter pile-ons, Instagram humble-bragging and banging on about how Normal People has changed your life (honestly, it probably hasn't - that's just the social isolation talking) as the internet's favourite time-killer. Or so you might conclude if you've been hanging with pals on Zoom lately.

Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen have hosted quizzes from their living rooms. As have British comics Lenny Henry and Jo Brand and, rather inevitably, Stephen Fry. Somewhere out there, Hozier - the only person in Ireland not suffering haircut withdrawal symptoms - is probably hosting an quiz even as we speak. Possibly Bono and Matt Damon too. Everyone's at it. All interests and knowledge levels are catered for. Mirren and McKellen's Luvvypalooza quiz includes a round on the UK's National Theatre (first question: what is the UK's National Theatre?). And former Stranglers singer Paul Roberts makes sure to include music questions in his weekly virtual quickfire jamboree.

Added to that, the profile of quizzing in Ireland has taken a leap following the victory this month of Edinburgh-based Dubliner Dave McBryan in the latest season of the BBC's Mastermind (specialist subject: fencing). A few weeks previously, another Irish clever-clogs, Lucan student Conor McMeel, won Britain's University Challenge as part of the team from Imperial College London.


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