Friday, 15 January 2010

Mastermind - First Round Heat 14/24

At the end of a very hectic and enjoyable week, what better than to kick back with the double bill of Mastermind and Q.I. ? We’ve reached show 14, which means there’s still ten more to go after this. So, that’s elementary arithmetic out of the way. Now let’s get on with the show.

When Stuart Maclagan applied to come on the show, I’ll lay odds that he was a dead cert to get in from the moment that the production team read what he wanted to do for his first specialist subject , none other than The History of the Eurovision Song Contest. I’m not going to lie, I love the Eurovision. If you’re interested yourself I can heartily recommend Tim Moore’s book “Nul Points”. So a great subject . It was interesting that Stuart Maclagan proved to be a mine of obscure Eurovision trivia, and yet he had to really struggle to dredge up the name of Jahn Teigen, famously the first ever nul points man. Still , Mr. Maclagan himself did considerably better than the great Teigen, scoring an impressive quinze points himself.

Tonight’s first Traditional Mastermind Subject came by way of Peter Cowan, who offered us Caesar’s Gallic Wars. Considering the importance they have had in the history of Rome, they only lasted a relatively short time, from 58 – 50 BC . In his filmed insert he explained that the results gave Caesar wealth, an army and power . That’s all very well, but was he happy ? Probably was actually. So should Peter Cowan have been with his 13 . He looked extremely nervous, but this was a tricky round he negotiated with skill.

Matthew Platts gave us the Russian born American writer Ayn Rand. In his filmed insert he put forward his view that Ayn Rand “ might almost be described as an American Thatcher “ . That’s an American version of the former British Prime Minister, and not someone from New York who makes roofs out of grass. Cards on the table, all I knew about Ayn Rand is that she wrote “Atlas Shrugged”, and I only know that because this book put the police chief off reading for life in the first series of “South Park”. And you thought that South Park wasn’t cultural ! 12 put Matthew Platts in third place, but not so far behind the lead as not to be in contention.

Traditional Mastermind Subject Two tonight came in the shape of Florence in the Renaissance 1400 – 1550 . Aline Griffiths explained her deep interest in the period during her filmed insert. Deep interest is as good a reason for taking a particular subject as any, but I have to say that I feared for her chances, simply because with such a catch all subject it can be very difficult to cover all the bases. Questions were perhaps a little long winded, and I think that maybe she might have done better to have nominated either the politics of the time, or the art . Still , double figures is never to be sniffed at.

When she returned quickly to the chair I though that Aline Griffiths produced some good answers in her GK round, and I was a little surprised that she didn’t score more than 9. I can only suggest that she was perhaps just a little slow in her answers. 19 was not going to put her through, unfortunately. Matthew Platts answered his first half dozen answers confidently, quickly and well. After this correct answers proved a little harder to come by, and he levelled out at 10 , for a final total of 22. That’s not a winning score, but it’s a perfectly respectable one.

Peter Cowans then layed down the gauntlet. He managed to produce the best general knowledge round of the night, scoring 12 to end on 25. Considering how nervous he still appeared to be, I thought he had some good answers, and although Andrew Maclagan only needed 10 to draw and 11 to win, it was enough to put him within the corridor of doubt, as you might say. Stuart Maclagan certainly didn’t make short work of the score, but he kept ticking along. With three questions to go he had scored 10, but the rest of the round ended without another point. Would we have a tie break, then ? I did wonder, since John made a point of stressing the tie break rules halfway through the show. But no. Peter Cowan had only scored 2 passes, but Andrew Maclagan had done even better, with just one. By this slender margin he claimed the automatic semi final place. Still, 25 and 2 was also enough to put Peter Cowan onto the highest runners-up board, and so you never know. Well played gents.

The Details

Stuart Maclagan History of the Eurovision Song Contest 15 – 1 10 – 0 25 – 1
Peter Cowan Caesar’s Gallic Wars 13- 0 12 – 2 25 – 2
Matthew Platts The Life and works of Ayn Rand 12 – 2 10 – 2 22 - 4
Aline Griffiths Florence in the Renaissance 1400 – 1550 10 – 2 9 –1 19 – 3

Current Highest Scoring Runners Up

John Cooper29 – 3
Ian Scott Massie26 – 2
Les Morrell26 - 3
Colin Wilson25 - 0
Peter Cowans25 - 2
William de'Ath25 - 4


Matt Platts said...

I'm not beaten, my friend - I'm going to apply again, and win.

Londinius said...

Matt - Hi ! I didn't notice your comment before - sorry about that - hence my late reply. Your attitude does you credit. personally I found that it ws easier second time round, and so there is no reason whatsoever to think that you can't give it a good go . I shall watch out for you in future series. Best of luck !


Matt Platts said...

Dave, do you happen to have a recording of the episodes you reviewed for Life After Mastermind? Also, are you publishing Life After Mastermind as a paper copy? Thanks in advance for any reply, and for your kind words seven years ago!