Only Connect – Semi Final ½ - The Archers Admirers v. The Gamblers
On paper this week’s show was the ‘good enough to be a final’ semi final. We had one last year as well, you may recall. I’m not trying to be rude to both the Strategists and the Hitchhikers, who will contest next week’s show, but the fact is that the two teams in this week’s show have been the pick of the bunch in the two rounds so far. The Archer’s Admirers, Paul Peters, Andrew Bull and captain Min Lacey, have shown all round excellence, and set the highest scores in both the first and second rounds. The Gamblers meanwhile, Jenny Ryan, Alan Gibbs, and captain Dave Bill have set the second highest scores in both rounds, and are known for their all round quiz excellence. So who do you pick. Well, my ‘gun against the head and forced to make a choice’ prediction last week was the Archers. So how did it all pan out ?
Round One – What’s the connection ?
The Gamblers kicked off with alpha and landed the picture connection. Offered a coin, the crossed swords of the hands of Victory in Baghdad, a plaque on the side of Nelson’s column, and the Victoria cross, neither team could see the proper connection. The Victoria cross, I will be honest was the only one I knew was made from melted down guns, and so I wouldn’t have had that one either. Hey, it’s the semis – its meant to be hard. The Archers got the music connection which I had on 2 ! Kiki Dee – Bobby Vee and Danny Kaye gave them singers whose surnames are letters of the alphabet. Now that’s a nice connection. Purple dye, the Lascaux Cave Paintings, James Cracknell’s medals, and the Jules Rimet trophy gave the Gamblers a set that were all found/recovered by dogs. Very good shout there, I thought. The Archers took triangle, and then when their second clue – pi – radians came up I gave up at once.Andrew, though, confidently supplied the answer of 180 degrees – internal angles of a triangle etc. Very good work, and you have to say that the Archers were making the running at this stage. The Gamblers were given a cryptic – bottle = drink, silk = bail out, roof = get angry, and Jenny realised at the same time as me that the connection was –hit the. To be fair she was under pressure in the studio and I wasn’t. The Archers finished with Sister Rosetta Tharp, Zadie Smith, David Walliams and st. Paul. I was as nonplussed as the Archers were, but the Gamblers knew it. All of them had changed their name by one letter. Damn good shout – like all the best connections to get wrong, you can see it clearly once you know. A timely shout from the Gamblers meant that the Archers only finished the round 5 – 4 ahead.
Round Two – What comes 4th ?
The Gamblers began with 0 = black , 1 = brown, 2 = red, and I = confused. So were both teams. 3 actually equals orange, as it is a sequence of colour coding of resistors. You pays yer money . . . The Gamblers had 29/11/1192 – and I cheated by putting the pause button on the iplayer while I worked it out for 5 points here. It was obviously palindromic dates, but what came 4th ? With a second to go, Min and the boys worked out it would be 01/02/2010.The Gamblers were given the pictures, and began with the national flag of Afghanistan. Well, Afghanistan is alphabetically the first country, so working alphabetically, it would give you the flags of Albania, Algeria, and for the point – Andorra. The team worked hard for the point here. Well worked out. Woodrow Wilson 1944, Harry S. Truman 1975, Richard Nixon 1995 escaped both teams. Although I noticed Dave of the Gamblers just got it too late – the last being Riachrd Nixon 2008. The connection was when actors playing these roles were nominated for Oscars. Tricky, but once again, it’s a semi final. The Gamblers correctly predicted that 1947 India would follow 1944 Iceland, 1945 Korea, and 1946 Syria, these being the years in which they gained independence. Given Esteem, Love and Safety the Archers had to pass, and although the Gamblers could see it was the hierarchy of needs, they didn’t get it was physiological needs. Not surprised, either.
So a tough round of sequences, well played by both teams, took the score to 8 – 7 in favour of the Gamblers. So far so much to plan – I had the Gamblers as slightly better on the first two rounds in the previous matches. So what would the walls bring ?
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Archers took the first go. In a nasty wall they found a set of terriers, and then a set of names meaning red, then what looked a little like inspired hitting and hoping solved the whole thing with seconds to spare. The other two sets were surnames from Sex and the City, and words which follow the word blood – which they failed to identify. So 7 points altogether. The Gamblers followed, and they were given the alpha wall. Jenny took my breath away with the speed at which she identified that Cabbage Patch Kids, Superman, Moses and Kate Aide were all adopted. A set of baskets followed shortly after. So plenty of time was left in which to use the three chances for the last two lines. Again , it looked like Jenny who figured out that four of the words could be doubled with themselves to make song titles – eg sugar sugar – louie louie etc. The last lot were all Dickie’s, which Dave seemed to realise as they were giving answers to the others. So a full house, which gave them a 4 point lead of 18 to 14. Now, gentle readers, if you read my preview of the semi finals, I said that I thought that the Gamblers needed a 4 point lead going into the missing vowels round, which the Archers have been superb in. They had just such a lead. Grandstand finish to come ? You bet.
Round Four – The Missing Vowels
The first set was Subtitles of novels. 2 – 1 to the Gamblers. The next set was Greek Gods and their roman equivalents. At this point the Gamblers held a 6 point advantage. 4 points of which disappeared as Paul and Andrew shut them out completely. The next set was famous football derbies. The first two fell to the Archers. We were all square ! 6 unanswered points didn’t become seven though, as Alan buzzed in for the next, and Dave, the one after that. Two point lead duly restored. The next category was railways and rail services. Alan identified the Shinkansen, and that was it, game over.
So the Gamblers won a match which always promised to be as good as a final, by 21 to 24. Many commiserations to the Archers. You have been a very fine team, and you never know, had the draw for the semis worked out another way, you might well have made the final. That’s the luck of the draw. I do apologise with landing you with the curse of the Clark sofa. Gamblers – I take my hat off to you. You've made a bit of a nonsense of my pre-match prediction, but I don’t mind at all. To use a sporting analogy, your performance on the wall tonight was worth the price of the entry ticket by itself. I wish you the very best of luck in the final.