Trivia Matter? Hardly.
I'm not sure I can pin down one thing that makes Quizzo my favorite trivia night in Washington. It has irreverent hosts Neal and Rebecca, clever questions with a sharp pop-culture edge that fly from baseball to '80s movies to obscure American history, and a wise-ass Capitol Hill crowd that amuses with its banter and team names (often unprintable). Quizzo is always tougher than you think, but with two three-round games every week, another chance to win is right around the corner.
It's a fun event, but it's about to get bigger: This Monday, Quizzo is one of nine trivia nights across North America taking part in a very special contest: The City vs. City Smackdown.
Organized by Philadelphia trivia master Johnny Goodtimes, who hosts games at several pubs in that city, the Smackdown features teams of contestants in nine cities answering the same 50 questions on the same night. The team with the highest score (from all participating cities) wins $300. Second place gets $150. Each city also has its own prizes; the Pour House is offering $100, $50 and $20 bar tabs for D.C.'s top finishers.
If you've ever wondered whether Washington wonks are smarter than caffeine-fueled Seattleites or whether the thin air in the mile-high city of Denver affects the brain, the first City vs. City Smackdown should provide answers.
(A full list of competing cities, subject to change: Boulder, Chicago, Denver, New York, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Seattle, Toronto, Washington.)
Here's how the night works: Each team can contain up to eight members, and there's a $10 buy-in fee per team. (Don't worry if you only have a couple of friends who can play. "Having eight people doesn't make it a better team than four or six or even two," cautions D.C. host Neal Racioppo. "When you have a bigger team, you have more opinions out there, and more chance of being wrong.")
There will be five rounds of 10 questions each, starting with "softballs" and getting progressively harder. One round will consist entirely of audio clues. Racioppo says there will be "Delta Force level" tiebreakers in case teams from different cities end up level on points. If you're looking for sample questions, sorry; even the hosts won't see the final list until Sunday night.
The Smackdown begins at 7, and you'll need to show up by 6 to register and find a seat. No cell phones, Internet use or help from non-team members are allowed. "We will have spies everywhere," Racioppo promises, though he doesn't think they'll need them because, "this is an honorable city filled with honorable people."
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