The Great Believers v. The Free Speakers
Last Monday night I was playing a quiz league match in Maesteg. A very nice bunch of lads the opposition were as well, and I was in conversation with one of them. The subject turned onto TV quizzes, and he mentioned Only Connect, saying words to the effect of – I love the show, but I wish it was a little easier because I don’t get many of the answers at home. Well, I dare say that if he watched this show on the iplayer, then he’ll have enjoyed it very much, for, being in the land of the celebrity team and the children in need special, the level was just taken down that notch or so. Lets have a look at the teams. The Great Believers were John Lloyd – producer of some of the finest TV shows ever seen on BBC2 – Q.I. and Not The Nine O’Clock News to name but 2. The original holder of the title “The Thinking Man’s Crumpet”, Joan Bakewell . Then the captain , Nick Hornby. I knew Nick Hornby was a quizzer, because Markus Berkmann mentions it in his brilliant “Brain Men”, and so he was a fitting skipper. ON the other side we had the Free Speakers – Simon Singh – writer of the brilliant “Fermat’s Last Theorem”, celebrity Masterminder John Sessions , and Ian Hislop- the most sued man in british legal history, apparently. On with the show.
Round One - What’s the Connection ?
I think that long term fans of the show will have had quite a few five pointers at home while watching this one. The Believers took Twisted Flax to start, finding – Paintings signed by Leonardo. Got it ? Well, anyway, they also took – Locks on the Suez Canal – Bones in a Shark. Confident of the answer, they offered that there are none of any of the list. Quite right too. Your shark is made of cartilage, innit. Not to be outdone, the Speakers also took their first set off three clues. Eye of Horus gave them – Sell Socks in packs of 3 – Make the Channel Tunnel a no-fly zone – Ban terrorists from having beards. What else could it be but policies of the Monster Raving Looney Party ? Quite right. Horned Viper gave the Believers a burst of music, and they heard Leader of the Pack – God Save The Queen – Je T’Aime – Relax. They knew that all of them were banned by the BBC. Lion gave the Speakers a picture set, and I will admit that I think they did well to get this off three. A bread basket – a muffin – and a six pack gave them colloquial expressions for a stomach. They consolidated this when all that the Believers caouls come up with for – St. Saddam’s Hospital – Uncle Albert Hall – Kelsey Grammar School – Sandi Toksvig House – was a british comedy show. Yes, but which one. I thought that the Speakers were given quite a bit of leeway before they came up with Little Britain, but there we are, its all for charity. This gave the Speakers a chance to go further ahead, which they did on a full set , seeing that Erté, Hergé, Jeep and Esso are all names made up from the phonetic sound of initials – Esso = Standard Oil – you see. So at the end of the round the Speakers led by 6 to 3.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?
A lovely , clever little set caught out the Believers with water. They were given the names George – in blue– Paul – in grey – Ringo – in black. They offered John in Red. No no. This was the order of the Beatles crossing the road on the Abbey Road album cover, and the colour of clothes they were wearing. So it would be John in White. Love it. The Speakers were given 604,800 – 86,400 – 36,00 and knew that the answer would be 60. Number of seconds in a minute – hour – day etc. Well worked out. Joan Bakewell was close with the next , knowing that ITA – IBA – ITC were successive TV regulatory bodies, but it was Ian of the Speakers who supplied OFCOM for a bonus. The Speakers found their second set of pictures with sailing ships, a red wax seal, and some cabbages. They knew that we were dealing with shoes and ships and sealing wax , and cabbages – so the next would be Kings. The time has come, the Walrus said, you see. The Believers hadn’t stopped living up to their name, though, and given Blessed Plot – Earth – they knew that we had John of Gaunt’s speech from Richard II. Which sequence ends with England. Well done ! Finally the Speakers showed just a chink in their armour, missing Wilberforce – Humphrey – Sybil. Both teams knew we were talking about cats in 10 Downing Street, but neither know that Larry is the present incumbent. So both teams doubles their scores during the round, giving the Speakers 12 and the Believers 6
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Speakers wen first, and they found this rather more difficult than the previous rounds. They unraveled Corgan – Joel – Ocean and Idol as a set of singers with the christian name Billy. That was it. When the wall was resolved they could see that Winter – Crystal – Topkapi and Potala are all palaces. They knew that M – The Big Heat – Fury and Metropolis are all films by Fritz Lang. Mastermind – Hex -= Go and Kensington they identified as strategy board games. So a total of 5 points, and just a little chance for the Believers to narrow the gap.
The Water wall was tackled with gusto by the Believers, and they resolved it with a little time to spare. St. Clements – Virgin Mary – Prairie Oyster – Shirley Temple they knew to be non alcoholic cocktails. Bell – Learning – Bathtub and Demand they said were all curves – correctly . Lemon – Coren – Muggeridge and Bird they knew have all edited Punch. I don’t blame Victoria one little bit for saying her Dad Alan was the best. As a humourist, Alan Coren was a bit special. Lemon was Mark Lemon who was the founding editor. Orange – Turtle – The Week and Trial they missed – perhaps a little surprisingly, the link being Mock. So , going into the all- important missing vowels round, the Speakers still led, by 17 to 13.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
Famous film quotes kicked us off. Both teams had one , but the Speakers also dropped a point for an incorrect answer. A wonderful category followed- things that have been reported as carcinogenic by the Daily Mail. ( Could be anything ! – I grunted at home, and indeed, this proved to be correct ) Honours even on these, two points apiece. Just time to start Number 1 singles which start with parentheses – which was taken by the Speakers, and the 4 point gap with which we began the round was still in place. So a win for the Free Speakers by 20 to 16. Well played both teams. I’ve put a few quid into Children in Need on the strength of the show – why not do the same ?