Only Connect – Grand Final – Gamblers v. Strategists
Well, if you read my preview of the final, you’ll know that I plumped firmly for the Gamblers to win. Jenny Ryan, Alan Gibbs and captain Dave Bill beat the excellent Archers Admirers in their semi, and frankly looked to me to have just too much firepower for the Strategists. Chris Cummins, Sarah Higgins and Michael Dnes beat the Hitchhikers in last week’s show, and while they have had good performances in all three of their shows so far, I felt that they could find themselves too far behind after the first couple of rounds.
Round One – What’s the Connection ?
The strategists won the toss, and put the Gamblers into bat. Captain Scarlet and Reg Cox seemed a fairly gentle opener. Alan offered the team that Reg Cox died – strictly speaking was already dead – in the first episode of Eastenders , and Captain Scarlet died in the first episode of Coronation Street – sorry, Captain Scarlet. To be on the safe side captain Dave asked for the next clue, and Marty Hopkirk confirmed the connection. 2 points, and a good start off a lovely connection. The Strategists put themselves under pressure by failing to get the connection between East Timor – Lake Chad – Sahara Desert and River Avon. Living in Wales I know that avon is welsh for river – so Sahara also means desert etc. The Gamblers knew this and took the bonus. The Gamblers took the picture bonus, and in their turn failed to link a Danish Pasty, a bottle of Opium – a football and a Cod. Brilliant work from the Strategists saw them take a bonus by identifying wars. Apparently the pastry war was between France and Mexico ! They took the music questions, and undid all the good work, by throwing away the music connection.They didn't see Thelonius Monk – Aretha Franklin – Beverly Knight and Steve Miller as being related to Chaucer’s pilgrims. That, I am sorry, has to count as a gettable point dropped. Not by the Gamblers, though, who took the bonus. Victoria loved this question, she said, and with good reason. Lovely connection again. The Gamblers were offered apple crumble and carrot pudding, after which I spotted the connection. In fact I even predicted the last one would be woolton pie. Still, its easier when you’re at home. Chicory coffee on the third clue gave the Gamblers the answer, that they are all wartime recipes when something else has been substituted for a main ingredient. So the Strategists finished off the round with pieta Michelangelo – Rokeby Venus - Velasquez - Guenica – Picasso – Mild, mild west – Banksy. They tentatively offered murals, but the Gamblers’ Jenny knew that they were all works that have been vandalised. So pre – match predictions seemed to be coming true, as the Gamblers’ comfortably superior general knowledge gave them a lead of 7 – 1.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?
The first clue for the Gamblers gave them the connection straightaway. 6 in 1958 they sussed out referred to members of the EEC/Common Market. However what would come fourth ? They took the next clue – 9 in 1973 which certainly confirmed their logic. They offered 15 in 1988. This was wrong, and so the next clue – 10 in 1981 was offered to the Strategists. They correctly gave 12 in 1986. So with a bonus under their belts they tried otay – ebay -orway. Chris brilliantly worked out that this was the beginning of Hamlet’s soliloquoy in pig latin, but couldn’t work out how to render ‘not’. Neither could the Gamblers, although to be fair they were given hardly any time to do it. The Gamblers were given 4th : HND – 3rd LHR. Now this is exactly the sort of thing that the Gamblers excel at. They knew it was airports codes, and that the world’s busiest airport is now Heartsfield airport in Atlanta. They still needed to get the code , and they did – 1st:ATL. The Strategists were given the mathematical looking – Five =8/1 – Four = 11/1 – Three= 17 /1. They couldn’t fathom it. Neither could I. Dave did – Two = 35/1. They are the odds of rolling a number with two dice. The Gamblers for their go picked the pictures. An avocado, Rudolf Hess, a snake with an empty speech bubble gave them to correctly predict that they had been given hass – hess – hiss, so the last one , said Alan, would be Hoss Cartwright from Bonanza. When you’re good, you’re good, and when you’re good and on form, then you’re excellent. Finally the Strategists, and when offered a british egg, the Tibetan flag, and an England football shirt, they suggested something with 4 lions, and when pushed for an example by Victoria, offered Nelson’s column. 4 lions, you see. Good connection again.Still, the lead for the Gamblers had extended to 13-4.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
At the top of the show captain Michael of the Strategists had spoken of his embarrassment at fluking the wall in the semi. Well, I’m afraid no such embarrassment faced his team in this show. They quickly unravelled a set of terms believed to be derived from Julius Caesar, but I’m afraid that was it. Once the wall was unravelled they also spotted a set of page 3 type models. The ones they missed were 5th parts of a sequence – May – Epsilon – Boron etc, and formula 1 constructors.So even if the Gamblers failed completely, they would still have a huge lead. Jenny of the Gamblers repeated her feat from the semi of spotting a set almost instantly, seeing a set of Bob the Builder’s machines. They found a set of oranges, and then Alan with what I felt was a great shout saw a set of words, the last part of which were all girl’s names – chamber – chalice etc. When the wall was resolved the last set they didn’t get was Don Juan – Beppo – Cain – Darkness. I’ve heard of Don Juan, but never the other three – they were all written by Byron. Still, as Victoria said – you guys are just too good. Going into the final round, the score was 20 – 7.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
Let me quote from my preview of the match – “the Strategists , particularly in the shape of the excellent Chris Cummins, have an advantage in the missing vowels” Working on the premise that they often have up to 4 sets of 4 in the last round, and you can lose a point for an incorrect answer , it was still theoretically possible for the Strategists to win, albeit more of a mathematical possibility than a realistic one. Step forward Chris Cummins. The first set was World War I leaders. One went begging, but Chris picked up the other three. Next came arithmetical equations. The first 3 went straight to the Strategists, with only Dave picking up the last for the Gamblers. Famous autobiographies followed and the lead was down to 8 points. Chris picked up the first three, and the last went unanswered. The next category was Early Musical Instruments. The Strategists took this 3 – 1, but the end of the round had come. The final score was 22 – 19 to the Gamblers. This all goes to show how important the last round is. The Strategists had been comfortably beaten in three rounds, but a superb performance in the last made it a close match in the end. Full credit to you for that, Strategists. It was a last round to savour.
However the laurels go to the Gamblers, who, like Emmanuel College Cambridge manage the remarkable feat of winning the series despite being tipped to do so from the Clark sofa. Very well played. Anyone would have to admit that you proved yourselves the strongest and most resilient team in the series, and are full deserving of the title of champions. Congratulations !
Thanks to the production team and everyone involved with the show for another excellent series.