The definitive University Challenge drinking game

Try saying hapax legomenon after this

University Challenge and binge drinking. Both are British institutions, both are liable to leave you with a headache, and both are perfectly acceptable ways for a uni student to while away a Monday night.

So, as Freshers’ Fortnight rolls on, we thought we’d gift you on a Monday evening with the drinking game you didn’t know you needed – because we know it’s not just knowledge you’re thirsty for.


The group is to be divided into two teams – one to support each university playing. Flip a coin to decide who is backing which university.

You must drink one finger of your drink every time the other university gets a question right and gains points, or when your university gets a question wrong and loses points.

During the game, if somebody manages to answer a question before the question is answered onscreen, they can nominate one person on the other team to down their drink.


The introductions – drink one finger when:

A contestant has a hard-to-pronounce aristocratic surname

A contestant is clearly too old to be at university

A contestant has brought a soft toy mascot along with them

A contestant is studying a subject you’ve never heard of

For the rest of the game, drink one finger whenever:

Somebody mutters angrily under their breath after getting a question wrong

Jeremy Paxman raises one eyebrow

Jeremy Paxman says “correct”

The crowd nervously laughs

A contestant with glasses answers something correctly and looks smug

Someone gives an answer which sounds like a made-up word

Drink two fingers whenever:

After much deliberation, the team captain leans forward and says “we don’t know”

Jeremy Paxman raises both eyebrows

Jeremy Paxman says “come on”

Jeremy Paxman insults someone

A contestant says “sorry”

Someone buzzes even though they clearly don’t know the answer

Someone buzzes, gets the answer wrong and loses five points

Someone guesses “Tchaikovsky?” in the music round

Someone gives an answer which is inadvertently offensive

Drink continuously:

For the entirety of the opening theme

For the entire time anyone drinks from their glass of water

For the entire time the music plays during the music round

In the time between Jeremy Paxman saying “come on” and the contestant answering

In the time between someone getting an answer wrong, and someone else finally getting the same answer right

Down your drink if:

Your team loses the game

Somebody calls Jeremy by his first name

One of the teams is entirely white and entirely male

Somebody actually has the balls to stand up to Jeremy Paxman