Graeme Jones offered us The Valley of The Kings. I would say that the aristocrat who sponsored Howard Carter’s excavation to find the Tomb of Tutankhamen was probably one of the most obvious gimmes tonight – that I think it’s fair to say is well within the bounds of general knowledge. As it happens I had my highest specialist score in this round tonight with 5. Graeme struggled and fought his way through to respectability with 10, and I think judging by his face he was kicking himself about one or two of the ones he missed.
Isabel Morgan’s subject, The Life and Work of George Orwell, should, by rights, have been the SS which suited me best. In fact I only managed to scrape the one point by remembering Mr. Frederick from ‘Animal Farm’. This was a good, confident round from Isabel. She needed in depth knowledge of both the life and work to get the majority of these, and 14 looked to me to be a good return. It put her into the lead, with one more round to go before half time.
Simon Alvey offered us a little light relief, as it were, in this week’s popular culture subject, the TV series The West Wing. I have never watched any of the series, so I was at a bit of a loss to think of where I could possibly gain any points. When a question asked about a problem with a North Korean would be defector who played an instrument I correctly guessed piano. I don’t care if it was pure blind luck – they all count. Simon needed no luck. He was answering at 100 miles an hour, and looked at the end of the two minutes as if he could have happily gone on for another 5. 15 points put him into pole position at half time.
All four contenders managed double figures in their GK rounds tonight, which is a less common occurrence than you might think. I thought myself that the rounds were pretty fair, and much of a level with each other – my own scores were respectively 19, 19, 17 and 20. Graeme began crisply and succinctly, picking off the answers he knew with the minimum of fuss. Alas, it never quite looked like he was going to be able to whack in something like 15 or 16 which would have been a sufficiently challenging total. Nonetheless 12 and 2 passes is very respectable, and it left him with a final total of 22 and 3 passes. Hannah returned to the chair. She seemed quite composed as she picked off 11 of her own answers. Her total of 24 was just enough to make the last couple of rounds interesting, albeit that I think you’d still have got fairly long odds on this score keeping her at the top of the leaderboard until the end of the show.
Isabel gave us the most hesitant round of the show. She obviously knew a number of answers which just didn’t quite make it off the tip of her tongue. 10 is by no means a disastrous score. However it only put her level with Isabel – both had scored 24 with 5 passes. All of which raised the interesting prospect that we might in fact see a tie break if Simon couldn’t score more than 8. For a moment or two at the start of Simon’s round that looked a possibility. He locked into a nervous pass spiral right at the start, passing on three in a row. He pulled out of that with plenty of time to spare though, and began rattling off answers – some right and some wrong – at a fair old clip. That’s good technique. Keep blasting away, and if the total you require is quite a modest one, then you’ve every good chance of getting there. Simon did with tread to spare, and in the end whacked in a commendable 14. His winning score of 18 meant that there was daylight between him and Isabel and Hannah in second. Well played.
|Hannah Coates||Sir Francis Walsingham||13 - 1||11 - 4||24 – 5|
|Graeme Jones||The Valley of the Kings||10 - 1||12 - 2||22 – 3|
|Isabel Morgan||The Life and Work of George Orwell||14 - 2||10 - 3||24 – 5|
|Simon Alvey||The West Wing||15 - 1||14 - 3||29 – 4|