Tuesday, 21 December 2010

TV Watch - Only Connect

Third Place Play-Off match – The Alesmen v. The Wrights

Here we are at the really sharp end of the series. Chris, Graham and captain Mark, the Alesmen, accounted for the Pool Sharks and then the In-Laws, and then only a run of terrible luck on the wall prevented them from beating my team, the Radio Addicts, to take their place in the final. Their opponents were this year’s surprise package, the Wrights. Pete, Rosa and captain Liz disposed of the Urban Walkers and the Bloggers, before being beaten by the mighty Epicureans in the semi final. What – no pre match prediction, Dave? No, well, you see this match was filmed before the final, and I already knew the outcome. Having said that, I didn’t know how the outcome came about, as it were.

Round One – What’s the Connection ?

The Alesmen won the toss, and flying in the face of convention Mark chose water. This revealed USS New York – Palazzo Venezia – US President’s Desk and Michael Landy’s Break Down . They guessed that all were made out of ships.In a way they were on the right lines, but not close enough. They were all made from recycled materials. I knew this just because I had actually read about the USS New York a couple of days ago, and I knew that the President’s desk was made from part of an old British ship, which the Alesmen knew. The Wrights were rather further away . Wrights chose horned viper. Good choice, since this brought them music from the Boo Radleys then Moby , and they correctly guessed that the artists involved were named after book characters – 3 points. Alesmen took twisted Flax , and received I, libertine , Venus on the Half Shell ( I knew this ! ) The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Fly fishing. Mark offered that they were all works by fictional authors, then explained fictional books by fictional authors then published in their own right. 1 point.I didn’t know about I Libertine, apparently the idea of a radio DJ who wanted to get this non existent book onto the bestseller lists. Wrights , still in the lead chose Eye of Horus which concealed Napoleon Bonaparte 1809 – Juan Peron 1955 – Henry VIII 1533 – Martin Luther 1520. Well, I was doing alright until Luther came up then divorce went right out of the window. Neither team got it, but funnily enough Luther was the big clue, since these were the dates that all of these figures were excommunicated from the catholic church. A lovely set followed. The Alesmen chose Lion and found Swedish : Omelette – Spanish : Potato – French : Marmoset – English : Cheese, and correctly answered that this was what photographers asked you to say in those languages to make you smile for a photo ! Marvellous set , that. Finally the Wrights finished with 2 reeds, and were given pictures of AJP Taylor, JMW Turner, JPR Williams and JRR Hartley – er – Tolkein. Unfortunately they only recognised JPR Williams, I think, which gave the bonus to the Alesmen. This put them one point behind the Wrights who led by 4 to 3.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?

The Alesmen began with two reeds, and received Philadelphia PA. One of them seemed to have the connection right away, as I did – shouting “Its Dancing in the Streets !” Unfortunately this was not the question. After Baltimore and DC had been revealed it seems that both teams ignored the song’s command “don’t forget the Motor City “, since that was the next in the sequence. The Wrights chose water for 675, 1087, 1136 . Neither team knew that these were all years in which St. Paul’s in London caught fire. If you knew that, then you’d definitely know the next would be 1666. However I didn’t either. Tough set. The Alesmen fared no better with horned viper, a picture set. The pictures showed Bill W. , founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Malcolm X and a Model Y Ford. The Wrights were close to a bonus, but just specified a Z, rather than a name ending in Z – eg Jay – Z. The Wrights then chose Lion, ad received North = DUP – and right away I think they had a good idea that we were looking at Northern Ireland political parties – then East = AP, and South =SDLP. Luckily for them Rosa corrected captain Liz’ rather woolly answer to West= SF, for West Belfast = Sinn Fein. The Alesmen then took Eye of Horus. Now this is one of very few Science ones I think I’d have had right. Ac – Al – Am made all of us think of chemical elements I’m sure. However I knew that although the elements themselves – Actinium, Aluminium – Americium were in alphabetical order their symbols weren’t. In full names, the next should be antimony – which is Sb. No points. The Wrights were given rather a straightforward one of St. Denis – Yokohama – Berlin. I say straightforward, but only if you’re a football fan. They didn’t know that these were venues of successive world cup finals. The Alesmen supplied the correct answer – Johannesburg, where this year’s final was played. Still, the Wrights maintained a one point lead with 5 to the Alesmen’s 4.

The Connecting Walls

The Wrights knew that they are a good missing vowels team, so a good performance on the wall would give them a fighting chance of victory. They took their time, but managed to unravel 4 sets. Chalky – Dusty – Nobby and Spud saw them barking up the wrong tree, looking for gang members or mates of various literary heroes. They are all naval nicknames. Personally my navel doesn’t have a nickname, but I digress. Ginger – Root – Wheat and White gave them beers, Triad – Suspension – Interval – Cadence gave them terms in musical harmony, and Beam – Arch – Swing and Pontoon gave them bridges. 7 points scored, and at most they would be 2 points behind after the round.

The Alesmen were determined not to let lightning strike twice in the same place, and so they absolutely demolished their wall. Trojan Horse – Keylogger – Virus and Worm gave them malware for the PC, Thunderbolt – Galileo – Beelzebub and Fandango all feature in the lyric of Bohemian Rhapsody , Submarine – Torpedo – Hoagie and Poor boy are American sandwiches, and Clockwise – Christ – Neutrino and Climax can all be preceded by –anti.Ladies and gents, had their semi final wall been anything like that, they would have been contesting the final. As it was they now led by 14 to 12.

Round Four- Missing Vowels

The first set was regimental names and nicknames. 3 buzzes for the Wrights to the Alesmen’s one made it a tie at the top. Films featuring bizarre plants saw the Alesmen get two right, but lose a point for a wrong answer. Then names that only use straight lines both teams got one wrong, but the Wrights answered more correctly than the Alesmen did. Types of book swung the contest irrevocably towards the Wrights. I can’t help wondering whether NNL would have allowed for Annal as well as the correct answer Annual ? Finally extinct mammals. This fell 2 – 1 to the Alesmen, but it was not quite enough. The Wrights ran out winners by 22 to 19.

Very well played to both teams. A fantastic match, and most enjoyable.

Next week, the final.


Andrew B. said...

Just about the nastiest set of 12 questions in Rounds 1 and 2 I can remember seeing! Wonder what the final will bring... at least the walls weren't too hard, so there was some respite.

(You have a typo in your account: St Paul's caught fire in 1087, not 1987!)

Londinius said...

Hi Andrew -

Just the one typo ? I must be getting better ! Seriously, thanks, I'll go and correct it now.


davidbod said...

Sometimes the 3rd place playoff is full of usable questions that, for whatever reason, aren't suitable for a semi-final or final. I tend to keep the best and fairest material for the important occasions.

Londinius said...

Thanks David.

I thought that there were some great sets there too, as I said in the review.


Chris said...

I would have been ready to dive in for 5 points with Dancing In The Streets but would have gone for 'on the streets of Brazil' as fourth answer as I'm far more familiar with the Jagger/Bowie version which is slightly different from the original - I wonder if it would have been accepted!

Looking forward to the final - just got my application form too!!

davidbod said...

The lyrics of both versions go:

"Philadelphia, PA
Baltimore and DC now
Don't forget the Motor City
On the streets of Brazil..."

...so, no, it wouldn't have been accepted.