This week’s contestants were Christopher Anton, Alan Boden, Richard Tindall and Ray Ward. Ray I had the pleasure of meeting in 2010 when I guested for North London in a summer league match. Needless to say, he is an excellent quizzer, and so was burdened with the dubious benefit of support from the Clark sofa during this heat.
Christopher Anton kicked off with 2 answers in round one, but he couldn’t remember that the Spanish Armada set out from Lisbon. Ray did for a bonus. Alan missed out on his first question, and in fact nobody could identify the Greek mythological chimaera from a description. Richard Tindall took a good three answers, but monotremes tripped him up. They’re those mammals distinguished by their egg laying abilities, as Christopher knew for a bonus. Finally Ray took two of his own, but couldn’t name Turin as the original capital of the Italy. Nobody quite managed that one. So Christopher, Richard and Ray all went into the next round with 3 points. Christopher laid down a marker by taking a full set of 5 and a bonus at the start of round two. Alan took his first, but missed out on the Kreutzer sonata. I was particularly pleased with guessing that one correctly myself. Richard took his first, but missed the fact that Tolstoy had 13 children with his wife Sonia. Ray knew that one. Ray took one, but missed out on Wales’ unfortunate rugby captain Sam Warburton. Alan had that to double his score to 2 points. Richard had 4, and Ray 5, but Christopher was ahead of the pack with 9. It didn’t look as if Christopher would wait a long time before scoring another point, but that’s exactly what happened. He didn’t know that Asser wrote the life of King Alfred the Great. That was another bonus for Alan. He took one of his own. Richard failed on his own first question, and I was a little surprised that none of the Brains knew that the solan goose is the nickname for the gannet. Ray took his first, but then got a nasty little question concerning a quote, which actually turned out to have been made by Mother Theresa. This brought us to the break for the Beat the Brains interval, and meant that Alan and Richard had 4, Ray had closed up to 7, but Christopher still led with 9.
A couple of rather difficult questions awaited the brains, and I can’t say I’m surprised that they couldn’t answer either of them. Neither could I. They didn’t know a) that in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, King Arthur is said to possess a sword called Caliburn rather than Excalibur – b) In the same source he is said to possess a spear called Ron.
Christopher was given one of those questions which required a bit of creative thinking, but was work-out-able. Asked for the name of the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, nobody quite managed to see that this would be Hermaphroditus. Alan managed a couple of answers, but didn’t know Culzean castle, which Ray did for a bonus. Richard was asked one which nobody could answer, about a composer who was actually born in the Netherlands. Ray missed out on his own first question, not knowing that c quotation about a Prime Minister actually referred to Neville Chamberlain. Richard and Christopher’s scores were unchanged, while Alan had improved to 6, and Ray to 8. Again, Christopher missed out on his first question. This was a bit of an old chestnut, asking which creature an ailuraphobe fears. Alan knew it was cats. He took one of his own. Richard again came a cropper on his first question, but Ray knew full well that Gruoch was married to Macbeth. He went on to take his own first question, but then couldn’t identify that Vanilla Ice’s number 1 hit Ice Ice Baby used the baseline from Queen’s hit Under Pressure. Still the bonus had brought him level, and the answer to his first question put him into the lead, with 11, Christopher remained on 9, Richard on 4, and Alan had moved up to 8. Round 6, and again Christopher failed to answer his first. I thought that Ray had a great shout here, knowing that the Labour Party first started to call themselves the Labour Party in 1906.Alan put himself ahead of Christopher with 2 answers, but when asked for a specific halogen couldn’t dredge up fluorine. Ray did. Richard couldn’t manage to explain the derivation of ZIP as in zip code. Ray was close, but nobody quite managed zone improvement plan. Ray had the chestnut about which UK city had the first postcodes. He was geographically quite close with Ipswich, but it was Norwich. Christopher and Richard hadn’t managed to add to their scores in this round, Alan had improved to 10, but Ray had a 3 point lead with 13. With one more round to go, you had to fancy it looked like a win for Ray.
It had been a long time since Christopher had managed to put any points on the board, so it was nice to see him answer his first question. He missed a rather simple one asking for Dava Sobel’s Longitude for his second, and Richard made no mistake to take the bonus for it. Alan needed a good run, but his first question required the name for the three legged symbol of the Isle of Man. Christopher knew that this was a triskelion. Richard did not know where strychnine comes from, but Ray did. With the win already secured, Ray could afford to miss out on his first question. Laertes is the character from Hamlet who shares his name with Odysseus’ father. So the contest finished with Ray winning with 14, Christopher and Alan tied on 11, and Richard on 7. Well played, Ray ! Good luck for the semis.
Christopher Anton – 11
Alan Boden – 11
Richard Tindall – 7
Ray Ward – 14