Saturday, 19 February 2011

Mastermind - First Round - heat 23

The penultimate heat of this year’s first round, as ever, brought together an eclectic mix of specialist subjects. Naturally my first thought was to see whether I would be able to answer at least one question in each specialist round, or whether I would have to resign myself to getting the weekend off to the worst possible start. I checked the list – Queen, OK – Dante’s Commedia – good – RAF Bomber Command during world war II- could just scrape a couple – freshwater fish of the British Isles – oh dear.

Still, its not about me. Its about the contenders. Warren Tang kicked things off with a round of questions on Queen. It is to my shame that I admit I twice passed up the chance to go to see Queen live when I was in my teens. In my defence I was doing my A levels at the time, and the proceeds from my Saturday job in Budgens in Northfields Avenue didn’t stretch very far. Still, that’s the way it goes. Warren knew a lot of his stuff, but I thought that there was an interesting point about his technique. I may be wrong but I think there were at least two questions requiring names where he gave the wrong Christian name but the right surname. Had he just given the surname, I’m sure that he would have been given the points. There’s an old quizzers’ saying – Christian names for show – surnames for dough.

Harriet Earle was one of this year’s younger contenders, who offered a seriously heavyweight subject in the shape of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I yield to no one in my admiration of this work of genius. But it’s a hell of a subject to have to learn for a Mastermind round. I scraped three points on it – incidentally the same amount as I had scored on Warren’s round. I thought that Harriet’s score of 8 was commendable on what I can vouch for as a very complicated subject. However it did put her at a considerable disadvantage already, with two contenders yet to play.

RAF Bomber Command proved a fruitful hunting ground for Karl Taylor. He showed commendable good sense in coming up with an answer for every question. It isn’t easy to do at all, and requires huge concentration – it really is SO easy just to let the P word slip from your lips. His score of 13 was a good one, and put him in contention for the win. I didn’t think that this would be my worst specialist round tonight, yet as it was I only managed a solitary one correct answer on this one.

As I said , the freshwater fish of the British Isles is not a subject which I can say I had any great degree of relish for. Not so Thomas Perry. He produced one of the finest specialist rounds we’ve seen all series. 17 questions, to which he provided 17 correct answers, and believe me it looked as if he was digging deep for a couple of them. A fantastic round. If you’re interested I was also delighted with the fact that I managed three of these myself – which meant that my combined score for the 4 rounds was 10. Double figures, and I’m happy to take the money and run on that one, thank you very much.

Little remained for Harriet or Warren to play for other than pride, a runner up repechage slot looking just too far away. Harriet managed a battling nine, and poor Warren hit something of a pass spiral during his round of 8. So the targets for Karl worked out something like this. If he could find 5 correct answers and fewer than 6 passes, he would be guaranteed runner up spot. To go into the repechage slots with only one heat left he needed to improve upon 27 and 1 pass. Obviously to win he needed to set as high a target as possible, being that Thomas already had a three point head start. Karl put together a good round. He was getting a few wrong, but what he was doing well was providing an answer to every single question, and not getting too worked up or worried about the ones that he missed. By the buzzer he had added 14, to take his score to 27. Crucially he hadn’t passed at all. All of which meant that even if Thomas did surpass the target, Karl would be joining the repechage board.

Thomas certainly did pass the target. Then he kept going. And going. Seriously , 16 isn’t the finest GK round we’ve seen this series, but its pretty good, especially when you put it together with the perfect 17 he scored in the first round First round form doesn’t necessarily mean that much when you get into the semis, but nonetheless this is a combined score that marks Mr. Perry out as a dark horse for a place in the final. As for Karl, well done sir ! A well earned place on the repechage board with only one show to go. Well done too to Philip Evans, whose own place in the semis is now guaranteed.

The Details

Warren TangQueen 10 - 08 - 718 - 7
Harriet EarleDante’s Commedia8 - 29 - 317 - 5
Karl TaylorRAF Bomber Command 1939 - 194513 - 014 - 027 - 0
Thomas Perry Freshwater Fish of the British Isles17 - 016 - 233 - 3


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
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Karl Taylor – 27 – 0

1 comment:

Harriet Earle said...

Hello! I was googling myself (don't ask) and came across your post. Thank you for your very kind words. I'm rather honoured to be discussed on blogs - I feel like a celebrity! I retrospect, the Commedia was really too much for me to try to learn (though it's still my favourite). I rather wish the good folk at MM had let me go with The Simpsons - infinitely easier and less Italian to learn!