Saturday, 20 March 2010

Mastermind Round One - Heat 22/24

Mastermind – First round – Heat 22/24

Well, we’re fairly zipping along towards the end of the first round now. Still, not to worry. BBC2 Wales announced at the end of the show that the next heat is being kept back to Thursday 1st April. Yes, just in case the audience are starting to get used to it again, lets hold it back, and shift it to a different day and keep them on their toes. Hopefully this might just be BBC2 Wales, who are very much a law unto themselves.

Still that was the end of the show, and not wanting to be accused of putting the cart before the horse, lets look at the show itself. This week’s 4 contenders, like the vast majority in this series, were all newcomers to Mastermind.
Iain Crawford kicked off the show with a very traditional type of Mastermind subject, the Life of Sir Robert Peel. Now, to people of a certain age, Robert Peel immediately makes you think of the founder of the Metropolitan Police, and the eventual repeal of the Corn Laws, but during the round it became obvious that there was an awful lot more to the man’s long political career than this. I thought that Mr. Crawford looked a little uncomfortable in the chair, but despite a mid-round wobble his knowledge was secure and bought him a distinctly useful 12 points.

Diana Muir brought her knowledge of Gertrude Jekyll to the chair , to be put to the test. One thing that wasn’t mentioned, unless I missed it, was the way that Robert Louis Stevenson borrowed her surname for a well known story, since he was a friend of her brother Walter. Still, had it been asked I’m sure that Diana Muir would have known the answer, since she produced a good round of 13. To be honest, what little I knew of Gertrude Jekyll I’d always thought of her as being essentially Victorian, yet she lived until 1932.

David Sutherland was this week’s third contender. In a week of notably traditional Mastermind subjects, his specialist stuck out a little from the crowd, being The Child Ballads. This is not, as I might have thought, a collection of children’s nursery rhymes, since the name Child refers to the man who collected them. They are in fact a collection of 305 English and Scottish ballads, and their American variants, collected together by Mr. Child. OK, got that everyone ? Well, David Sutherland certainly had, and much more besides. In a round which had every appearance of being a bit of a potential maze he negotiated it very well, ending with 14.

Jim Murdock finished up the first half, then, with the Life and Work of Charles Baudelaire. – Yum, yum – thought I , having studied Les Fleurs du Mal as part of my French A Level. However, this was to ignore the fact that I studied my A Levels a quarter of a century ago, and as regards French I was never much good anyway. Pretty much all I can remember is the teacher’s remark that he died ‘mad as a hatter and riddled with syphilis’. That's Baudelaire, not the teacher. You pays yer money . . . All I can say is that this seemed a pretty tough round to me, and there were times when Jim Murdock looked a little shell shocked. He pushed on through into double figures, though, scoring 10.

This necessitated a quick return to the chair. In his heart of hearts Jim Murdock must have known that he was pretty much out of contention, and he did take a bit of time to get going. Still, on the positive side his last 60 seconds were very good, and he pushed his score up so well he almost made the psychologically important barrier of 20, falling just short with 19. With a really good performance on GK, theoretically any of the remaining three contenders could have made the 25 they needed to get onto the runner up board, and certainly any of the three of them could win. First into the lists was Iain Crawford. Again, he was perched a little awkwardly on his chair, but he started confidently . He dropped a couple mid round, but nonetheless managed to get into double figures with 10 , giving him a final score of 22. Diana Muir seemed to be answering quite slowly, but most of the answers she was giving for the first minute or so were correct. She too managed 10, to give her a lead of 1 point. The prospect of a tie break looked a distinct possibility as David Sutherland returned to the chair. This flew out of the window as his pass total grew larger than Diana’s. Still, he was making progress towards the target, and as the buzzer went he became the third contender in a row to score ten. By virtue of his superior performance on specialist, this was enough to give him the win.

Well played all contenders, in an exciting and close contest. Congratulations to David Sutherland, and also to Colin Wilson, whose passage into the semis this guarantees.

The Details

Iain Crawford The Life of Sir Robert Peel 12 - 1 10 – 3 22 – 4
Diana Muir Gertrude Jekyll 13 – 2 10 – 1 23 – 3
David Sutherland The Child Ballads 14 – 2 10 – 4 24 – 6
Jim Murdock The Life and Work of Charles Baudelaire 10 – 3 9 – 4 19 – 7

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

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