Are you fed up with teams using their smartphones to Google the answers during your pub quiz nights, spoiling the fun for your honest regulars?
With so much information at their fingertips, some pub quiz contestants are being tempted use the power of the internet to find answers. Fortunately, there are various ways to scupper these cheats. Our aim is to compile pub quiz questions that can not be quickly or easily Googled.
Here are our suggestions as to the best ways to make your pub quiz questions Google proof.
Photos of places, animals and objects can be difficult to identify on Google. The determined cheat could photograph an image and use an app that identifies pictures so stay one step ahead by distorting images or by getting close-up.
Puzzles and Riddles
Using original word or number puzzles is a great way to beat the smartphone cheats. Examples include number series, maths posers, anagrams and dingbats. Observation based and lateral thinking questions also work well.
Asking contestants to identify extracts from pop songs can defeat the smartphone cheats, particularly if you only use instrumental clips without lyrics (which could be Googled). Beware, there are now mobile apps that can identify audio clips so you may need to play your clips backwards or at half speed, or create a “mash-up” of two or more clips played together.
Using questions which require players to identify an association, an odd-one-out or a common link is a great way to make your quiz ungoogleable.
Example: What word can be a ball game, a soft drink or an edible fruit?
Give people insufficient time to reference the internet by making your quiz rounds quick-fire. For this to work you would need to collect the answer sheets promptly at the end of each round. When using this format it can be fun to see the ongoing team scores as the quiz progresses.
You could ask the teams to estimate the probability of a certain event or guess what is the most likely of a series of theoretical scenarios. These can be fun questions and are good levellers as answers are usually guessed and the brainiest teams don’t get an advantage.
Example: If all the Earth's water was made into a sphere what would the diameter of this ball of water be: 860 miles, 1860 miles or 3860 miles?
In this type of question teams have to identify a song, nursery rhyme, movie etc. from a brief summary of its story. These questions are tricky to write but it can be fun to include one or two in your quiz.
Example: Identify the song from this summary, “Everybody! Prepared for the latest rhythm? The hot weather makes it an appropriate moment to shimmy on the sidewalks of three US cities and beyond”.
Chances are that most quiz cheats are attracted by big prizes. By keeping your prizes modest the smartphone brigade may stay away. Also, any suspicions of cheating are likely to result in less contention if the stakes are small.
It is difficult to be 100% certain that a team is cheating when a person is spotted using their phone. If cheating is suspected, our advice is that the quizmaster should make a general comment that an (unspecified) team has been spotted using a smartphone and would that team please not submit their answer sheet.
We suggest that the quizmaster starts off the quiz by insisting “If you’re using your phone it looks like you’re cheating, even if you’re not, so please put it away.”
After all, people readily accept not being able to use their phones when in a cinema, albeit for a different reason.
Good luck with your quizzes. If you have your own suggestions on how to make pub quizzes Google proof please get in touch.
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Answers to example questions: £480, Squash, 860 miles, Dancing in the Street.