Saturday, 31 December 2011

Sleb Mastermind Show 4

A family gathering meant that I didn’t get to see last night’s show until the wee small hours on the iplayer. Up first it was nice to see Matthew Hoggart. As I have said before in the blog, cricket is very much a bogey subject for me, but I remember Mr. Hoggart’s heroics in the 2005 Ashes series very well, and so I wanted him to do well. His subject, Friends Series 1 and 2 was one of those in which I fancied my chances too. My daughter Jessie got 6, and I got 8. Poor old Matthew knew more than he could dredge past the tip of his tongue, but he ended the round with 5. His chosen charity is the Harley Staples Cancer Trust.

I will confess to not recognizing Jules Hudson. I guessed he was probably a TV presenter, and was right. He presents a show which I have heard of called Escape to the Country. Jules was answering on what looked to be a pretty good traditional Mastermind subject – Operation Market Garden. If you’re not familiar with the name, Operation Market Garden was the allied airborne landings in Arnhem, a bold plan which, had it worked, might well have shortened the war. Jules certainly knew his stuff, and earned a very impressive 12 points. He was representing The Gurkha Welfare Trust.

Justin Moorhouse is a comedian. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t aware of his work before last night’s show. However this only bodes well for the man. I had never heard of either John Bishop or Micky Flanagan before their respective appearances in past series, and now look at them. They’re all over the place. Justin’s specialist subject was the life and career of Les Dawson. I have a huge soft spot for Les Dawson. Often viewed as the last of the British old fashioned stand ups, I think Les was a hell of a lot more than that. Justin obviously thought so too, and he put on a terrific display, answering 11 correctly on behalf of the Wood Street Mission.

Finishing the first round off then was the actor Ray Fearon. He’s been in many stage and TV productions, but probably reached one of his biggest audiences when he was a contestant in Strictly a few years ago. Ray, who was answering on Shakespeare’s Othello, used the inter-round chat to pay tribute to the universality of Shakespeare, a good point which we need to remind ourselves of each new generation. Ray too managed that hallmark of quality, a double figure score, although his very good 10 was only enough to put him third place at the halfway stage. Ray’s chosen charity is the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust.

Returning to the chair you could have forgiven Matthew for being daunted by the size of the task ahead of him. He needed to score 6 to go ahead of Ray, and as we’ve seen once or twice before this is by no means a given. He gritted out the round, blocked what he couldn’t hit on his pads, and sent a few into the boundary. By the end of the round he’d managed a battling eight to take his score to 13. John told him that he wouldn’t win. The question was, would he stay in 4th ? It certainly looked like it. Right, you can call it nerves, or brain freeze, or whatever you like, but sometimes, on occasion, something happens when contenders sit in the chair, and they fail to do themselves anything like justice. I have no doubt that Ray knew a lot of answers which he just couldn’t get out, for whatever reason. But the fact was that he only managed to add 3 to his score, putting him level with Matthew on 13. He can take at least a crumb of comfort from the fact that this is not actually the lowest score in a sleb round that we have ever seen. If you want to know who was – well, google it.

Realistically then a three horse race at half time had become a two horse race. And it was Justin Moorhouse who was coming up quickest on the rails as we entered the final few furlongs. His GK round was the best from a sleb that we’ve seen so far this series. It was quick, it was accurate, and there were no passes. A score of 17 was a fine return, and set the target at 28, a score which equaled Chris Packham’s series best 28. Actually if anything it was slightly better, as Justin never passed on a single question. That’s good quizzing. Jules put on a decent show, but before the minute had gone it was obvious that he was behind Justin and not going to catch him. In the end he managed a pretty decent 11, not a bad score for Sleb MM at all. This gave him 23, and will ensure that he’s well within the top half of scorers for the whole series. But it was Justin’s game, and well done to him ! Fine performance.

The Details

Matthew Hoggard Friends Series 1 and 25 - 28 - 2 13 - 4
Jules HudsonOperation Market Garden12 - 1 11 - 0 23 - 1
Justin MoorhouseLes Dawson11 - 017 - 0 28 – 0
Ray FearonOthello 10 - 13 - 5 13 – 6


DanielFullard said...

Don't worry Dave, one of the local quizzes I go to, always make a point of expressing their suspicions of cheating if they don't win

Londinius said...

Hi Daniel

Thanks for the nice things you said about LAM on the Quiz Addict.

I think that sometimes, when you get right down to it principles matter. This is what makes me react when I see blatant cheating going on even when there is no prize of any kind at stake. It's the principle.

I've been playing in and taking my regular turns at setting the quiz in the rugby club for over 16 years now. It is very important to me, and I just think that sitting there and cheating with your phone shows an utter contempt for the rest of the teams, and for the person who has put a little time and effort into putting together a free evening's entertainment for everyone playing.

Alright - my motives aren't totally as pure as that. I work the papers, every day if I can , and certainly as you know I compile a set of news questions every week. If someone beats me in the New Year quiz on the events of the previous year because a) they've worked harder than I have, or b) they just got lucky and the questions just fell right for them, then damn good luck to them. But if some numpty who never usually plays anyway comes along with his iphone and happily googles his way to the win, then yes, I do get really peed off about it. And what pees me off most is the way that for the last two years, said numpties have come along with 2 of our regular teams, who should know better, and DO know better. Nobody in either team has had the common decency to turn round and explain to them - look, sorry, but that's not how we play the game here. And then whenever I go into my diatribe about phone cheating next time it's my turn to do the quiz, they have the sheer brass neck to sit there nodding along with me, and murmuring their approval when I say that if I suspect anyone of cheating with phones they will receive zero for that round. But then, as we all know, it's only really cheating when other people do it.

Sorry - touched a nerve there I think. Basically it all comes down to - do I really want to do the work preparing for the quiz next week, when it will all probably end in tears anyway ?

Answers on a postcard , please.