Stuart Kelly’s Online Literary Pub Quiz

12 May 2020



Stuart Kelly’s notorious literary pub quiz went live on Zoom on 6 May, but was the digital edition as fiendishly impenetrable as it is in real life? We asked Charles Dundas from the winning team what they made of the evening, which involved dogs on camera, echoes on the line, confusion over the first word of Ulysses, and some frantic behind-the-scenes Googling. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse even made an appearance.

The winners, with a healthy score of 34 out of a possible 48, were Five Red Herrings,* a very appropriate team name given Dorothy L Sayers’ famous novel was set here in Galloway. With University Challenge veteran Charles Dundas on their team, and 6+ years of monthly book quizzes at Blackwells under their belts, it’s no wonder these Lord Peter Wimsey fans from Edinburgh did well.

Stuart’s quiz was “more challenging [than others] but not impossible” for this team of seasoned quizzers. The rest of us might have been tearing our hair out, but as Charles Dundas says, “The important thing is to have fun.” One round that stood out for them was on the first and last words of books, although they still managed to answer the question on Ulysses despite the slight error in the question. However, they did stumble on the colours of the Four Horsemen (noted for next time, guys!).

Life under lockdown has certainly not been stopping these trivia junkies. Blackwells has moved its quiz online and they were there as usual last Monday, and just two days after their victory at Stuart Kelly’s quiz they went on to win the Scottish Book Trust’s online book quiz on the Friday. “For an introvert who loves quizzes, I’m basically in my comfort zone,” says Charles. 

By running Stuart Kelly’s infamous quiz online, it has allowed teams like Five Red Herrings the chance to take part without having to travel to Wigtown. They have all resolved to come in person next year, however, so that gives the rest of us about enough time to prepare if we want to be in with a chance of beating them.

*Five Red Herrings is comprised of Charles Dundas, Daisy Mollison, Vikki Reilly, Nikki Smith, and Charlie Mollison.