Saturday, 22 January 2011

Mastermind - First Round Heat 19

I think that the last time that we saw Julia Hobbs on TV would possibly have been in the 2009 series of “Are You An Egghead ? “ As far as I know we’ve never met, but nonetheless I knew enough to know that she would be the one to beat on General Knowledge tonight. Before that though she had to negotiate her specialist round, the Life and Work of Armistead Maupin . The production team always assure all the contenders that every care is taken to ensure that if the contenders provide the optimum correct answer, then all the contenders have exactly the same amount of questions. I believe them too. But I have to say that some times I cannot help thinking that some of the contenders do get very long questions, and that is what it seemed like happened with Julia’s round. 13 was a good score to take away from that lot.

Stan Hedley’s round on Prehistoric Orkney was one which I guessed would be unlikely to give me many chances at getting any answers correct, and I was right. Skara Brae is about the limit of my knowledge, I’m afraid, and when those words were contained within the question, and not part of the answer, I was out with the washing. Still, Stan knew his stuff. I don’t care what your subject might be, 15 is very good going.

The Films of Michael Mann was this week’s dip into the world of popular culture. As the round rolled on I came to the conclusion that although I’ve heard of pretty much all of these films, I certainly haven’t ever watched many of them, so I’m guessing that Mr. Mann and his oeuvre probably aren’t really my cup of tea. They appeal to Nick Stewart, though, since he knows a lot about them. Anything in the teens is a good score, and his 13 and 2 passes matched Julia’s .

Finally then to Chloe Wells. Chloe was answering on the Finnish Winter War, one of the most interesting and yet underplayed conflicts of World War II. I took a couple of these , but Chloe’s performance was understandably considerably better than this. Despite seeming rather nervous, she bagged a fine 15 to take forward, and ensure that she would be last to go in the general knowledge round.

Never one to pass up the chance to show off, I boldly predicted to my nearest and dearest that although Julia would be the first to go in the GK round, she would set a target which the others would fail to reach. Well, we’ll see how true that was shortly, but she rattled along fairly comfortably, albeit that she dropped one or two that might have been gettable. Nonetheless she added another 14 to finish on 27. Looking at the fallback position of getting onto the runners up board if worse came to the worse, this wouldn’t have been quite enough, since she would have been disqualified by virtue of the 4 passes overall. So it really was all or nothing.

Poor Nick Stewart fell into one of the mothers of all pass spirals in his won round. The confidence drained out of him, and for half a dozen questions in a row all that he could force from his lips was the dreaded P word. This is when I really feel sorry for those who have to do a 2 and a half minute GK round. When you’re on a roll it goes like a flash, but when you’re struggling I should imagine it seems like an eternity. He finished on 18.

Stan Hedley kept up with the clock for much of his round, and to be honest I felt that of the two remaining contenders he looked the more likely to give Julia a run for her money. Time wore on , though, and not quite enough answers were coming. At the buzzer he was still a couple short, making it into double figures for the round, to end with 25 overall. As for Chloe Wells, it was fairly clear before the minute was up that her best round was going to be her specialist round, and there’s no dishonour in that, either. She maintained her smile, and at the end seemed to have enjoyed the whole experience, finishing with a decent 24 overall.

So well played, Julia ! Thanks for not letting me down , and making my prediction come true ! Good luck in the semis .A quick glance at the Repechage board reveals that with 5 shows to go, Nick Mills is safe. Mind you, with 34 there was no realistic chance that he wouldn’t be.

As for me, I scored 6 on all the specialists added together, and 69 on the GK, for a total of 75.

The Details

Julia Hobbs Life and works of Armistead Maupin13 - 2 14 - 227 - 4
Stan HedleyPrehistoric Orkney15 - 010 - 425 - 4
Nick StewartFilms of Michael Mann13 - 25 - 918 - 11
Chloe WellsThe Finnish Winter War15 - 19 - 724 - 8

Current Highest Scoring Runners-Up

Nick Mills – 34 – 4
Hamish Cameron – 30 – 2
Anne Skillen - 30 -7
James Collenette - 29 – 2
Philip Evans – 28 - 1
Duncan Byrne – 27 – 2

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