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The Tinfoil Hat Brigade

A short introduction

The Tinfoil Hat Brigade first competed in Brit’s Pub’s monthly trivia contest on a day that shall live in obscurity, August 2, 2005, under its original name Ye Olde Pretenders.[1] In subsequent years the team competed as “Charlie Don’t Surf” and “Chocolate Buddha” before settling on its current name in, perhaps, 2009.

Despite having won a fair number of monthly contests, including a very impressive three in 2012[2], the Brigade has never won the year-end finale. This is a sore spot for its members.

Biographies of team members are given below. These are listed alphabetically, lest anyone think he or she is more important than anyone else on the team.[3]

The core gang of five

Bob Bob is the most demonstrative and loudest member of the team. His areas of specialty include obscure sports such as curling, Australian rules football and “snooker.” He is the go-to member of the team when it comes to such questions as, “Who finished 57th in the 1975 British Open, and which club did this golfer use on his 170-yard approach shot to the 13th green on the third day of this tournament?”
Drinks: Guinness, Sprite
Lisa Lisa can recite the complete list of Oscar-nominated actors and actresses in alphabetical order. If necessary she is able to recount the marriage and divorce dates of each. She can recognize the high school yearbook photos of any celebrity, living or dead. (The photo of Lisa is a fake one, because she refuses to participate in Facebook, calling it a scary netherworld of identity thieves and perverts.)
Drinks: Pepsi
Roger Roger is almost as extroverted and loud as Bob, wears a beard and has an underdeveloped sense of humor. He is not to be questioned when it comes to matters of geography, European history or Monty Python. Knows the names and birthdates of every U.S. President, Vice President, Speaker of the House and Postmaster General to ever hold office. Probably speaks Klingon as a second language.
Drinks: Newcastle Brown Ale, Sprite
Steve Steve specializes in such Anglofile favourites as Shakespeare, Dickens, and Cockney rhyming slang. He is disappointed every month when the one inevitable Shakespeare question requires no very impressive knowledge of the subject. He thinks he is pretty good at geography, but when there is disagreement, Roger is always correct. Steve is a poor sport, frequently disputing given answers to questions that begin with “Name the only word in the English language …”
Drinks: Chateau Thames Embankment
Tim Tim is a quiet, reserved individual with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the flags of the world. The subject comes up every three years in the “picture round,” but unfortunately the poor color reproduction used on the handouts tends to confuse, leading to disappointing results. He has expert-level knowledge of popular music, except for the “crappy stuff” that is played on the radio. Tim hopes one day for a music round themed around Iggy Pop or Tom Waits.
Drinks: Summit EPA (or three)


The super-subs

Keith Keith fills in very nicely for Lisa when she is away with his impressive Hollywood, Bollywood and Broadway repertoire. Has a better beard than Lisa. Keith is a Brit’s Pub veteran who competed for the Tinfoil Hat Brigade’s longtime rival, the Hanoverians, before its breakup in the wake of Tim (UK)’s circuitous return to his English homeland. (Photo is of Keith. A different Keith.)
Drinks: Cranberry juice
Paul Paul believes that his classical education gives him an edge when it comes to questions that contain any words derived from Latin. He also has an impressive command of second grade mathematics (his textbook includes all of the answers in a special section at the back of the book). He tends to make Steve seem less of an ornithological expert than he would otherwise appear to be.
Drinks: The hoppiest ale on the menu


Charlie Don't Surf, August 2008
The only known photo of the trivial minds in action, showing 60 percent of the team competing as Charlie Don’t Surf in August 2008.


  1. An earlier edit of this page claimed that no one was sure exactly when the team had formed. Roger has since uncovered the original email posted by Tim on (my birthday) July 25, 2005:

    From: Tim B
    Subject: FW: RE: Trivia Night at Brits


    Trivia night is next Tuesday (it’s the first Tuesday of every month) at Brits Pub. We will probably play in one big team. There’s a small penalty for teams over 5. My friend Tim suggests its good to get there by 6:30 PM, and it looks like there’s a small fee. Apparently, current events are a big part of the competition, so read your papers and blogs, and watch the news.

    The rest, as they say, is history (and current events, science, music, etc, etc.)[^]

  2. The Foilers have racked up two monthly wins over the first seven months of 2013. See Big Boy?. [^]
  3. Just between you and me, Steve is the most important member of the team–in his own mind. [^]

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