Friday, 22 January 2010

Mastermind - First Round Heat 15/24

The continuity announcer invited us to take a place in a nice comfortable chair as she introduced the show, the implication being that the black chair itself is anything but. Actually I can vouch for the fact that it is perfectly comfortable. If you feel uncomfortable during your rounds, believe me, its not the chair’s fault. Right, that’s my rant about the BBC's blatant display of furniturism over with, and lets get on with the show.

Chris Askew, the first of another four newcomers to Mastermind, kicked off the show with a popular culture offering, in the shape of the Life and Music of Lou Reed. Lou Reed - just think – Walk on the Wild Side, think , er , that Perfect Day song the BBC used for its own adverts a few years ago. Actually I do know that there’s quite a bit more to Lou Reed than this. Chris Askew kicked off pretty well, and was 6 questions in before his first pass. He seemed to slow down a little , and he didn’t get all the rest of them right, but he kept the round going right to the end, and 11 points is certainly not to be sniffed at.

Our second contender, Nathan Jones was burdened with the support from the Clark sofa tonight. Well, he is from Swansea, which is literally just down the road from me. His specialist subject was the Finnish nationalist and statesman Karl Gustaf Mannerheim. Mr. Jones mused , in his filmed insert, what Europe would be like today, in fact what Britain would be like today if there had been no Mannerheim. No idea about that myself. However Mr. Jones himself did me proud tonight, with a fine 14 on what looked like a tricky subject.

Dining hall manager Gerard McHugh picked a very traditional Mastermind subject in the shape of Classical Greek Mythology. I take no great pleasure in the fact that I said to myself as he went to begin his round that Mr. McHugh had picked a really nasty subject, on which it would be very easy to come a cropper. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, I love greek mythology, and when I was a kid in the 70s, planning my future assault on the black chair, I always intended that I would take this as a subject. The problem is this, though. They aren’t going to ask you stuff you might be asked in a normal quiz when it’s a specialist subject on Mastermind. Knowing, for example, the name of the mortal gorgon, or the vulnerable part of Achilles, isn’t enough. On this subject, they are going to ask you some really difficult things. So you’ve got to really know your stuff, and alas, tonight Gerard McHugh fell somewhat short. He scored 4.

Gina Jolliffe finished the specialist round off, with a set of questions about Martin Nadaud. I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of him, although I felt slightly better when, in her filmed insert, Gina Jolliffe at least described him as an ‘obscure’ politician. So I cannot possibly say how easy, fair or difficult the questions on this round were, compared to those of the previous round. A score of 7 suggests that these probably were more on the difficult side.

Gerard McHugh at first seemed to be on a very good run at the start of his general knowledge round. The first 5 questions in a row were correctly taken, and they weren’t all easy by any stretch of the imagination either. Unfortunately a long pause before a pass seemed to knock the metaphorical wind out of him, and he only managed to raise his score to 10 by the end of the round. Its a shame. The first part of his round shows that he is better than this.
Gina Jolliffe’s general round took its time to ignite. Once she really got into her stride from about the minute mark onwards she began to push her score nicely upwards, but too much time had been wasted at the start of the round to give her a realistic crack at a surprise win. She scored 9. It must be said that all of our contenders tonight showed some nerves by the time we got to the general knowledge rounds. They showed commendable reluctance to pass, but did waste a lot of hesitation time. Chris Askew failed to convince with 8 points, and you have to say he looked very relieved when the buzzer went. Maybe this contributed to him failing to identify the Beatles’ song “From Me To You” from its first line.

So with only 6 points needed for a win , my boy Nathan Jones looked good for the win. As far as I know I haven’t met Mr. Jones at a quiz before, and you have to say that his GK round was a very nervous affair compared with his confident romp through the specialist questions. He cautiously nudged up to the target, and then through it, as he scored 7 to take the win. Well, Nathan Jones, a win is a win, and whatever happens in the semis, and nothing is impossible, you will always be a Mastermind semi finalist, and very many congratulations to you for that.

The Details

Chris Askew The Life and Music of Lou Reed 11 – 2 8 – 2 19 - 4
Nathan Jones Karl Gustaf Mannerheim 14 – 1 7 – 4 21 - 5
Gerard McHugh Classical Greek Mythology 4 – 4 6 – 1 10 - 5
Gina Jolliffe The Life and Times of Martin Nadaud 7 – 1 9 – 0 16 – 1

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


Silver1946 said...

Hi there. Glad to have introduced you to Martin Nadaud.Well worth a bit of research, and although I had intended to cover just the life of MN, it was decided to do the life and times. And yes,the GK is my speciality. Thanks for your comments..

Londinius said...

Hello Gina,

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. One of the things I absolutely love about doing the blog is when fellow Masterminders like yourself, and people who play in the other great quizzes, take the time and trouble to leave a comment.

Yes indeed. One of the hidden benefits about watching Mastermind is you're alays in danger of learning about something you didn't know at the start of the show. The little I've read about Nadaud since confirms that he was a remarkable and interesting man, who played his part at a particularly volatile time. I will have to read more, i think.

Yes, you could tell that you were a good generalist from the GK round. You top scored that round - well done.

I do hope that you enjoyed your Mastermind experience. Will you try again in future, perhaps, or is that one taste enough for you , do you think ?

Best wishes

Dave C.