Friday, 17 December 2010

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 16

I was absolutely delighted tonight when I checked out the programme information before the show. Although they don’t usually say the names of the contenders beforehand, they do give the specialist subjects, and when I saw Nikola Tesla being listed tonight I knew that it meant that Jonathan Evans would be on. Jonathan is a LAM reader, which proves that he is a man of wit and discretion and that is more than enough to guarantee him the full support from Clark sofa. However he is also from Neath, the town where I have been proud to work for the last quarter of a century. We exchanged a few emails earlier this year when Jonathan knew that he was coming on the show, although he kindly hadn’t spoiled things for me by telling me how he got on.

So, how did he get on ? Well, we would have to wait a little to find out. First to go was Kate Morris. Kate is a teacher, which in another week would have been enough to earn her my support, and her specialist subject was The Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Very well she did with it too. At times she seemed a little hesitant, and at times she had a couple wrong. However what she did very well was to keep picking off the answers that she knew, to not hesitate too long over any question, and to not pass. 14 is a good score on a specialist round.

The second specialist round, offered by David Coleman, was a complete change of pace from the first. David was answering on Burgess and Maclean. Right. This doesn’t happen all that often, but sometimes you get a round, and you feel that the contender has just concentrated on one particular aspect of their subject to the detriment of others. When this happens, a low score is often the result. I guess that this is what happened with David’s round tonight. He finished with 5.

In a way I got the feeling that something similar happened with Daryl Hewison’s round. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, Daryl scored a very respectable ten points on the Life and Works of Lewis Carroll. What I mean is that he was so good on the arcane details of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, compared to how he did with those questions on lesser known works, and Carroll’s life. Still, 10 was enough to put him into second for the moment, and with 2 and a half minutes to follow on GK he certainly wasn’t out of it by this stage.

Jonathan , a student, must be one of the younger contenders in the series this year. However he went to his task with a will. I did put together a set of some questions on Tesla when Jonathan told me that he was going on the show, and although I can’t remember enough about them to say how many of them actually came up in tonight’s round, I remember enough about Tesla to know that he was a very interesting man. Undoubtedly a genius, I’m afraid that he certainly trod the line between genius and madness a little carelessly on occasion, particularly in his later years. A complex subject, certainly, but Jonathan stuck to his task, and achieved respectability with 9 .

With the banker only paying 27 and over for a runners’ up spot the only game in town for tonight’s contenders by the halfway stage was winning the show and gaining a semi final place thereby. Kate Morris certainly had the advantage on this score. However large leads have been overturned in the past. The first to chance his arm was David Coleman. He actually managed to put up tonight’s best display on General knowledge. It wasn’t a great round, but it wasn’t bad, and after scoring 13 on this round, I wouldn’t blame him for wondering what might have happened tonight if he had really got hold of his specialist subject.
Jonathan then was in third place at the halfway stage. To maintain this he needed 9, and to take the lead one more than that. I was pleased to see that he maintained his composure during the round. When you get a couple of questions which you don’t know in a row, its very easy to get stuck into either a pass spiral, or a rut of blurting out wrong answers even when you know the right ones. Jonathan kept on picking off points throughout the round, and you can’t ask a lot more than that. In fact I felt that Jonathan was very unlucky. Jon H. phrased one of the questions about the Gherkin – or the Swiss Re tower, something like this : -
“What common name is given to the Swiss rebuilding of the City of London ? “ I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Jonathan’s reaction was something like mine – when I thought to myself that I had never heard of the city being rebuilt by the Swiss. A little unfortunate that. Watch it back on the iplayer and see what you think.

Daryl needed 10 for the outright lead. For a while it looked like he would get it too, but unlike Jonathan he really did get caught in a rut during the second minute and really never managed to pull out of it. There was a certain symmetry to a round which saw 8 correct answers and 8 passes, but it put him in joint third place. So whatever happened now , Jonathan would be at least second place. Could he win ? Well, yes, he could, but to be fair two and a half minutes is a lot of time to score the six points that Kate needed. She managed it with a bit to spare, and in fact added her own ten to take her score to 24. Well done ! A timely reminder, I think, that a good score on your specialist subject is still essential, albeit that there’s more time for General Knowledge this year.

As for Jonathan, well done on your first performance on Mastermind ! 2nd place in a heat is nothing to be ashamed of at all, and you can hold your head up high among he good citizens of Neath. I do hope that you enjoyed it.

The Details

Kate Morris Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan 14 – 0 10-5 24 – 5
David ColemanBurgess and Maclean5 - 113 - 518 –6
Daryl HewisonThe Life and Works of Lewis Carroll10 - 38 – 8 18 – 11
Jonathan EvansNikola Tesla9-310-319-6

Current Highest Scoring Runners-Up

Nick Mills – 34 – 4
Hamish Cameron – 30 – 2
Anne Skillen - 30 -7
James Collenette - 29 – 2
Duncan Byrne – 27 - 2
Ian Packham - 27 – 7


Andrew B. said...

One of Daryl Hewison's questions was very debatable: "What is the profession of the two men... in the first knot of A Tangled Tale" ("Knights"). If you read the fourth knot, it says they had been "in knightly disguise, and had returned to the ordinary style of two country gentlemen". His answer of "travellers" was as least as good as "knights". Reminiscent of a quote from Magnus Magnusson in his Mastermind book about the dangers of setting a question on a book without reading the whole book!

Well done to Kate Morris - it's a personal thing, of course, but I found her GK questions much harder than those of the other contenders.

Londinius said...

Hi Andrew

I'm afraid that I've never read it, so I bow to your superior knowledge on this one. As you say, its a personal thing- I didn't perceive any huge difference in level between any of the sets, but then that's just me.