Good old Asda – exposing the pub quiz cheats

Keep an eye on your papers tomorrow, as I suspect the story in the press release below might get a bit of coverage. Asda mobile has proved that we are now a nation of pub quiz cheats. It’s a good yarn and no doubt will be picked up. Even though it got less to do with clever statisticians at Asda and more do to with the clever people at their PR agency, Biss Lancaster.

The reason I don’t believe it is that I’ve actually tried text cheating and it is so fiddly and time consuming it is a total waste of time. By the time you find someone who knows the answer, you’ve missed three other questions.


Pub quiz scores on the rise as texting takes hold

Britain is fast becoming a nation of pub quiz geniuses after it was revealed that the score required to win is now between two and three points higher than it was a decade ago. But according to research from Asda mobile, the cause is our love of text messages rather than text books.

The figures came to light when Asda mobile noticed regular increases in the number of texts being sent between 8.30pm and 10.30pm on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings, the evenings when the majority of pub quizzes are held. To uncover the truth, Asda mobile teamed up with who confirmed their suspicions and revealed that the average score required to win a pub quiz has increased over the past decade. is Britain’s foremost protector of the quiz institution and estimates that around 2.5 million people take part in pub quizzes every week. Its Managing Director, Jane Allen, commented: “Feedback from quiz masters around the country suggests there has been a definite increase of between two and three points in the score required to win a pub quiz, as well as an increase in the number of sneaky quiz goers being caught using mobiles. It may well a coincidence and the average quiz goer may be more intelligent than they used to be, but we suspect foul play and believe texting is responsible.”

Craig Thirkell, from Asda mobile, commented: “It’s no secret that we Brits love a good pub quiz but it came as quite a shock to discover just how much under the table texting goes on across the country. Text messaging is now very much part of life and, as such, maybe pub quizzes should now include a round where the answer must be sent via text – after all, if you can’t beat them, join them!”

And a spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon, which operates almost 700 pubs across the UK, added: “Our pubs run regular quizzes and while they’re all operated fairly, no doubt some people use texts to get some of the more difficult answers from friends and family members.”



6 thoughts on “Good old Asda – exposing the pub quiz cheats

  1. I attend a pub quiz every Wednesday and guess what? My team cheats – unashamedly.

    The simple fact is that if we don’t, some other team does. To put things into perspective, the max points you can gain during the quiz is 50. There are 5 rounds – picture, entertainment, science/sports/arts, music intros and general knowledge. Thus three Q&As. We have them sorted thanks to Google and only recently realised that one of our team mate’s phones is able to recognise music, so that’s a guaranteed 10 now. So, overall, we often finish the night in the region of 40-45 points.

    Even with that, sometimes we do not win.

    There is no way in hell that teams when playing fairly could get more than that. No way. Thus, if we don’t cheat, what’s the point sitting idly by playing the moral goons while another team happily Googles away and wins the quiz? I’m all for fun, but I can be competitive too – and one team’s dishonesty is all I and my team needs to level the playing field.

    The quizmaster knows about what we do but doesn’t care. He gets paid at the end of the day regardless of who wins. Plus, as he asked on mic to a complaining team one night, what is he supposed to do? Banning phones would just be a pain in the ass to people who are in the pub for only a drink and chin-wag with their pals, and on a more serious note, you have no idea what the next phone call may be about. Personally I have my phone on at all times (apart from when sitting exams for obvious reasons) just incase.

    • Brilliant comment!

      Thanks very much for taking the time to post.

      I agree. With the rise of smart phones it is no longer ‘cheating’ – it is more about proving who is the better team of researchers.

      And the purists? Well I’m sure they will get fun out of using pure brain power to beat those who use the web.

      Mibbes they should stop calling it a ‘quiz’ though? Any ideas on an alternative name? Cannae see ‘Research Competition’ causing a rush to the pub.

      • Nothing brilliant about that comment at all.

        As a long time quiz host, I’ve seen the amount of cheating rise sharply in the last couple of years as the web capabilities of phones have improved.

        It’s fairly simple to root out cheats when only a few are doing it, but it gets harder when half the pub do it because they’ve seen others get away with it.

        I’ve lost many regular teams over the years, and the main reason they go? Too many cheats. And it all the fair teams leave, you might not have a quiz any more.

        Think about that next time you reach for your mobile because you are not clever enough to answer a question.

  2. I have no idea what to call it – it pretty much is a quiz as it rattles your brain whether you know the answer or not!

    Purists have only themselves to blame if they don’t resort to the phones. It isn’t even cheating – as there are no rulebooks in these pubs! So therefore, what rule is being broken by using your phone? I see no problem with it – people pay for these services and for once they’re finally finding a use for otherwise useless phone applications.

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