April 15, 2024


In the world of bar quizzes, Frank Paul is a legend. Today’s riddles are taken from the fantastic diabolical quiz he held at The Mill in Cambridge, which appears in his latest book.

I have chosen questions that involve wordplay rather than general knowledge. Like all great bar quiz puzzles, you’ll be able to work it out if you think hard enough (and maybe ask a friend for help.)

Five rounds. Three questions per round. Go!

Round 1: Synonyms

Change one letter of each word to make pairs of synonyms. So “paid and dug” can be “paar en duo”.

a) Mistress and buffering

b) Engaged and girlfriend

c) Conscious and primed

Round 2. Spoonerisms

The answer to these questions is spoonerisms, a phrase that is repeated with its initial sounds swapped. So the answer to “What is the difference between a lovely glove and a small, quiet cat”?” is “A person’s a cute becauseand one is a dumb kitten.”

What is the difference between:

a) a martial arts star and unwrapped French cheese?

b) an intrigued visitor to our shores and someone furiously holding an inquest?

c) the jewelry of Vermeer’s painted girl and an aristocratic Peeping Tom?

Round 3: Roman numerals

The first part defines a word and a Roman numeral. When you add the letters of the Roman numeral to the word, you get the word described after the equal signs. You can add the Roman numerals either before, in the middle of, or after the word. So “objectively sentimental + 55 = a dozen” is resolved as TWO + LV = TWELVE

a) A growth that can form on the body + 151 = someone who drives a vehicle

b) Bambi, for example + 54 = carry or transfer to someone

c) A small bed + 2,001 = commit

Round 4: Fish

a) What is the only London Underground station that does not contain any of the letters of the word “mackerel”?

b) What is the only US state that does not contain any of the letters of the word “mackerel”?

c) What is the only chemical element that does not contain any of the letters of the word “mackerel” (It is also the one with the shortest name)

Round 5: Mammals

Guess every few words. Each is spelled identically except for the addition of the name of a mammal inserted within or on either side of the second word. Thus “a stuffed dough and a plunderer” is “pie and pirate”

a) Case and part of a plant used to symbolize desolation or an uncomfortable silence.

b) Dishonest statements and events where winners are randomly selected from ticket holders

c) Agreed and elaborated or difficult

NO SPOILERS please. Please post your favorite bar quiz questions, and spoonerisms, below.

I’ll be back with the answers at 5pm.

The Cryptic Pub Quiz Book by Frank Paul is out on Thursday 4th April and can be bought on the Guardian Bookstore or other online retailers.

I’ve been doing a puzzle here on alternate Mondays since 2015. I’m always on the lookout for great puzzles. If you want to suggest one, email me.



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