Keeping Your Eyes Peeled: Identifying that Elusive Theme Round

At the beginning of every weekly show, teams are reminded of a theme round that will appear at some point that night. The host sets up the rules and is ready to jump into the first round. First, a reminder… “I will not tell you which round is the theme round, that is your job to figure out.” This task is often a tough one, but those two points could get you to the ever-sought-after perfect score of 102.

Round one is coming to an end and the imagination is running wild. “Europe, Lipton” – your teammate thinks the theme has something to do with tea. But Rich Uncle Pennybags seems to be a bit of a stretch for the third answer to complete the theme. As the host announces the answer and moves straight onto the bonus question, your hesitation has been verified, keeping that extra antenna out for the upcoming rounds.

As with all questions and categories, theme rounds can cover any topic. Whether it’s famous families from TV shows or body parts, they take a keen ear to identify. The best advice to give in being a successful theme round identifier would be that the topics can vary greatly. Focusing on the words, rather than the topics of each question in the round, is the best way to turn in the correct theme at the bottom of that third answer.

Themes will also vary in their forms from time to time. Most often, they are cut and dry. For example, a theme round including “postman, pilot, and judge” is a clear sign that we are looking for occupations. Sometimes they require taking another step, and the imagination is tested.

If you have been playing Trivia with Last Call for some time, you may remember a theme round with the answer of Mr. Peanut. At first glance, peanut, spats, and monocle might not seem to have anything in common. A more in-depth look verifies that answer could in fact be Mr. Peanut, as all three of those parts make up the mascot. As mentioned in the opening announcements given by the host at each show, remember that the answer can be a word, homonym, or basic theme. Most importantly, it can also fall under the category of et cetera, and in this case, there is no topic that is off limits.

Keep your cool, and keep those words in your mind as you are pondering the answers to the second and third questions of the round. This in itself is no easy task. At any given bar, the table next to you could be shouting at the TV because of a missed shot, your teammate could be going on and on about their delightful baked potato, and the team next to you might be sitting there arguing (loudly), that this song has to be a hint. In the hurricane of noise that is washing through the bar, take a step back, let it all sink in, and calmly thread the needle of that elusive theme round.

“And that was today’s theme round paragraph, blog readers. Things with eyes: Potato, Hurricane, and Needle.”

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Last Call Trivia

Last Call Trivia began in the Fall of 2007 when founders Adam and Drew saw a niche for great Trivia Nights in the Cincinnati market. The 10 years that followed bootstrapped their love of Trivia into the seats of hundreds of bars across the country. The best part of our epic journey has been the community we’ve been able to create and that community is a testament to the power of Trivia Nights. We believe that our role in this industry is not a zero-sum game, but rather an infinite game where we seek to help knowledge spread and lives change.

2 thoughts on “Keeping Your Eyes Peeled: Identifying that Elusive Theme Round”

  1. Good article, with one exception. Every host I’ve played with (and I’ve been playing for years!) have announced in advance that “this round is the theme round”. Now, some hosts will tell you the theme answer is due before the end of the theme round, others will tell you the answer is due prior to the asking of the final question of the night.

    Two of the three current hosts in the Phoenix area will also tell you in advance that “this question contains one of the answers from”, while the third host won’t tell you until the answer has been read for that question. I don’t know which is the better way to play the game. If it were me, I’d prefer to know in advance which round is the theme round, and which question (prior to being read) is the hint question.

    1. We strive to maintain a consistency between all of our shows. Thus, hosts are instructed to unveil the theme round after the third question and before the bonus question. Half the fun of guessing the theme round is trying to figure out which one it is. I’m disappointed to hear that some hosts have strayed from the original design. I will send out a reminder to all our hosts about the importance of a consistent format in all of our shows. Thanks for your comment!

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