(Photos by Katherine Muhlenkamp)

The final question

Is the end nigh for pub trivia in Ida Noyes?

Devoted readers—all four of them—might remember that we have covered the trivia night at the Pub in Ida Noyes before, in 2004 and 2009. But this venerable tradition (it’s been going on since 2002, we think—alcohol-tinged memories are hazy) may be on its last legs: the final Tuesday night trivia game, at least in its current form, will be November 29.

Tuesday night without trivia is downright unthinkable to me. I’ve probably spent more Tuesday nights there than anywhere else, including at home, since I started playing in 2005. The game continues to draw hundreds of students, staff, and others. I asked Ed Martin, longtime trivia judge and former player, what caused this sudden turn of events.

The primary problem, he says, is a lack of interest on the part of the judges—not the current judges, who have been writing and reading questions since 2008, but a hypothetical future group to take over the reins. The most recent crew of judges is slowly dissolving: two moved to the North Side and were finding the time commitment prohibitive, one has health problems, another is just plain burned out, Martin says. They tried to recruit a group of successors over the summer, but the promise of free food and drink from the Pub—the only material payment the judges receive for their labors—didn’t rouse enough interested parties. Given the amount of time they put into writing the questions (at least eight per judge per week), then running the game every Tuesday night, it didn't make sense for the two remaining judges to take on the entire burden.

As a stopgap measure, the Pub is offering a board-game night every Tuesday. But the end of trivia isn’t a done deal yet—it could still be forestalled if the judges can recruit a few good men and women to write questions. If you’re interested, contact me, and I’ll put you in touch with Ed Martin and the rest of his gang. And there’s another possibility: could trivia be reborn, rising from its own ashes?