Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year's Quiz Resolutions

Admit it, you thought I’d forgotten to post my New Year’s Quiz Resolutions didn’t you ? How could I ? We’ve little more than 4 hours to go before it’s too late, so I shan’t waste any more time.

Let’s start with a carryover. Last year I wrote : - “*I resolve to stop automatically saying that any team who beat us in a straight pub quiz must automatically be cheating on their phones, and to hold my tongue unless I, or a reliable witness, has actually seen them doing it. “ -
Every year I have begun my quiz resolutions with something like this, and ever year I have failed to keep it. So let me try something even more realistic : -

* I resolve to try to take defeat in pub quizzes a little more philosophically, to accept that there will always be a level of cheating in some quizzes, and to not moan about it endlessly when it happens.

I think that this still allows me to be indignant about cheating at my own ‘home’ quiz in the rugby club, especially if I add this next one to the list :-

* I resolve to carry on the fight against phone cheating in the quiz in Aberavon Rugby Club, and to maintain my firm opposition to it whenever it is my turn to be question master.

Since Alwyn joined the good fight in September it has been a winning battle, and Brian even told me that he will be warning teams against using phones to cheat in the New Year quiz of the year in a couple of days’ time. I think we have an really good chance of maintaining this in 2013.

Last year I resolved to listen to my team mates more sympathetically , and I tried hard to be true to this. I was delighted that a chance meeting in a Charity Shop with a former member of my team in the rugby club resulted in him coming down and being part of the team for the first time for several years. So this leads me to make this resolution : -

I resolve to be more careful and sympathetic in my comments about the quizzes produced by semi-regular and guest question masters in the rugby club, to keep my negative comments to myself, and to try to make my criticisms constructive rather than destructive.

Getting away from the rugby club, then, let’s move on to a few other resolutions I need to make.

* I resolve to apply to another TV quiz show if I see one I like the look or the sound of

I did this last year, and had a lot of fun in my audition for “Breakaway” even though I didn’t get on the show.

* I resolve to continue my support of the GetConnected Charity, participation in whose events has brought me a lot of pleasure in the last three years.

Each year the GetConnected Charity Quiz has gone from strength to strength, and I am always honoured to be invited to play my small part in the proceedings.

For several years now I have resolved to try to attend a Grand Prix event. I really, really should do this , but I’m not going to make a resolution about it this time, working on the principle that when it’s been a resolution I haven’t done it, so if I don’t make it a resolution then maybe it will actually happen this year. Still, I will make this resolution

* I resolve to try to become a little more actively involved in the Mastermind Club

I (re) joined the club this year following a lovely email. I don’t think I’m going to be in a position to attend the annual get-together in Llandudno in 2013, but I hope to become a contributor to the club magazine Pass in the New Year.

Just a couple of ‘keep it ups’ to finish then. Firstly :-

* I resolve to keep working at my quizzing when time permits

I say ‘when time permits’ because at the end of the day quizzing is my pleasure, and not something I ever want to feel is a chore. After all, that would render my last resolution impossible. I’m sure that you’ve guessed that my last resolution is what it always is : -

* I resolve above all else to enjoy my quizzing throughout the next year as much as I have enjoyed it this year.

I wish you all the same.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Sleb Mastermind - Show 5

I’m not familiar with actress Adele Silva, but I gathered from her chat with John that she appeared on “Emmerdale” for some time. Her specialist subject was the Children’s Stories of Roald Dahl. I felt sure that this would be a middling good subject for me, and was right, scoring 5 points. It was a bit of an odd round considering that there are so many novels to choose from, yet the majority of the questions were just taken from “Matilda”, “The Witches”, “The Twits” and “George’s Marvelous Medicine”. Was this something that had been negotiated between Adele and the production team, or just an accident , I wonder. Adele scored 8, pretty decent, but not a potentially winning score.

I’m afraid that I hadn’t previously heard of Christopher van Tulleken. I’m guessing that he may have done a show or two for CBBC in his time, although I don’t know. From his chat with John I think he’s a medical chap who accompanies expeditions to various inhospitable places . This makes sense of his chosen subject of Sir Ranulph Fiennes. For the second round in a row I scored 5, and I was pleased to know that in his younger days Sir Ranulph had used explosives to try to blow up part of the location sets built for the film Doctor Doolittle. Christopher achieved his double score with 10, which put him in the shake up at the halfway stage.

Agony Aunt Denise Robertson offered a true Mastermind subject in the shape of John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham. I guessed one answer, and that was it. This actually felt like a proper Mastermind subject – there certainly weren’t any gimmes which the average person in the street could guess. Denise had a perfect clear round of 12 correct answers, no errors, and no passes. I couldn’t help thinking to myself that if there was any justice she would go on and win, simply because her subject seemed relatively quite a bit more difficult than the others. I haven’t even got on to Milton Jones’ specialist round yet.

Even if the name Milton Jones doesn’t mean a great deal to him, you’d probably recognize him by sight if you’ve ever caught him on a panel game such as “Mock the Week”. Milton’s specialist round was potatoes. The set of questions he was asked, even allowing for the fact that this is the celebrity series, is by far the most tenuous I think I can ever remember hearing. Let me give you an example. I can’t remember the exact wording of the question , but it went something like – which American TV series set in the Korean War had the same name as a way of serving potatoes ? – I think that the rather ridiculous nature of this round was highlighted by the fact that it came straight after Denise’s. I had my best specialist round of the night with 10, which matched Milton’s score.

In the GK round each of the slebs did a very competent job. Adele Silva who went first actually put on the best round of the night with a very good 16, which in fact earned a little squeal of delight from her. Good job. I took a clear round .Adele was representing the Alzheimer’s Society. Chris van Tulleken’s chosen charity was Merlin. He didn’t do quite as well as Adele, but could still be pleased with a round of 15, which was enough to put him into the lead.

Milton Jones, answering for Club Capernaum, started answering his round brilliantly, and I think he had something like the first 10 in a row correct. Then it was almost as if he ran out of juice, or even just decided that he didn’t want to win, since he started passing and getting questions wrong, and only added another 3 to take his score to 23, incidentally the lowest score of the night. Denise, answering on behalf of the Bubble Foundation UK, needed 14 to win outright, and I have to admit that I wasn’t certain that she’d get there. She took a few passes along the way, and did pass on several questions. she kept her calm, though, and kept answering what she did know, which proved to be enough. In the end she added another 15 to take her score to 27, and bring a win which I thought she deserved for her specialist subject.

The Details

Adele Silva The Alzheimer’s SocietyThe Children’s Stories of Roald Dahl8 - 316 - 124 – 4
Christopher van TullekenMerlinSir Ranulph Fiennes10 - 015 - 225 – 2
Denise RobertsonBubble Foundation UKJohn George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham12 - 015 - 427 - 4
Milton JonesClub CapernaumPotatoes10 - 013 - 323 – 3

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sleb Mastermind - Show 4

Sleb Mastermind on a Sunday ? Whatever will they think of next ? Never mind, vigilant Dave still managed to catch it, and I’ll gladly share with you the dubious benefit of my opinion.

I have to be honest, all I know about the novels of P.G.Woodhouse has come from quizzes, never having read any of them, Still , when Ken Bruce announced that his specialist subject was going to be the Jeeves novels, I wondered immediately whether he was going to be asked Jeeves’ christian name. That question is part of Mastermind history, you see. Back in the day Magnus and the team received a very irate complaint that he had said that Jesus’ christian name was Reginald. The question that the viewer had misheard was of course – what was Jeeves’ christian name ? That brought me a point, and guesses of things I’ve heard in quizzes brought me another three. Ken managed 11, and we know from the past few shows that this is a great score for a 90 second round.

Comedienne Holly Walsh gave us a very different subject with badgers. In the normal course of events, in the regular I wouldn’t expect to get many points at all on this sort of subject. However this is celebrity Mastermind, and so I bagged myself a pretty decent 8. Holly got all the answers I got, and one more. Pretty decent performance I thought, and it would give her a chance in the last round.

Ah, the 1980s ! The early and mid 80s were a good time for me, so I was pleased to see Paul Young taking to the black chair tonight. He was answering on the films of Johnny Depp. Now, when it comes to films, I’ve seen what I’ve seen, and the rest, I haven’t. So I thought that I might be able to answer some. The stupid thing is, I watched “Edward Scissorhands” again earlier today, but I still got the question about the first hedge shape he cuts wrong. I scraped my way through to 5 points, which coincidentally is the score that Paul managed. I’d venture to say that he knos some of the films better than others, and got asked quite a few about the films he doesn’t know so well. That’s the way the cookie crumbles on the show, I’m afraid.

We hadn’t had a CBBC presenter yet, and to be fair we didn’t get one now. We did get Sid Sloan, though, and he’s a long serving CBeebies presenter, which isn’t exactly the same I suppose, but isn’t far off. Sid was answering on Liverpool FC under Bob Paisley – which was the most successful era of the club’s history. I’m not a Liverpool fan, but I thought that I should know enough to get a couple. I got a couple wrong which I should have known, but was happy enough with my 5 points . Sid did a little better with 6, but he too looked like he knew more than he scored, but just couldn’t quite dredge up the answers.

For the first time this series we really had a two horse race by the halfway point, and to be honest one of those horses looked a better bet than the other. First, though, we had Paul Young’s GK round. Paul was answering on behalf of Children with Cancer UK. I should imagine that when you’ve had a specialist round where things haven’t really gone as well as you’d hope, then it would be easy to lose focus on your GK round and let things go from bad to worse. Full marks to Paul for keeping focus, and managing to find himself a double figure score. I had a full house on this round. However my hopes of following yesterday’s grand slam with another one were to be dashed in Sid Sloan’s round. In one of the later questions in his round Sid was asked who had played the role originally played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Total Recall” in the remake. Sid knew it was Colin Farrell, and I didn’t. see – I told you that what I haven’t seen I haven’t. Like Paul, Sid added 10 to his score , and took the lead with 16. Not for very long, admittedly, but he had been in the lead nonetheless.

Holly’s round brought me another wrong answer to go with Colin Farrell. I had no idea how many foot positions there are in ballet. Neither did Holly. Her answer of 52 was a lot further away than mine of 3 , but they were both wrong since it was 5. Representing Kid’s Company Holly scored 12, and set the target at 22. John sounded very impressed with this, but frankly, bearing in mind the scores we’ve seen in the other heats of the series I rather feel that this was more to build up some tension for the audience than out of any real feeling that Ken Bruce would have any difficulty getting the 12 he needed to win. Ken certainly didn’t seem to be feeling at all bothered , and indeed he rattled off 15, clearly the best round of the night. I managed a clear round with this set . So Ken finished with 26 for a clear win.

The Details

Ken Bruce Thomley Activity Centre The Jeeves novels of PG Wodehouse 11 – 0 15 – 1 26 - 1
Holly Walsh Kids Company Badgers 9 – 0 13- 022 – 0
Paul Young Children with Cancer UKThe Films of Johnny Depp 5 – 0 10-0 15 – 0
Sid Sloane The Sickle Cell Society Liverpool FC under Bob Paisley 6 – 0 10 – 1 16 – 1

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Sleb Mastermind - Show 3

I know that there’s been quite a bit of comment in the last few days about the relative obscurity of a large number of the contenders in this year’s celebrity series, and tonight’s show probably just added fuel to the fire. The only one I can claim to really have known anything about before the show was Neil Pearson. It strikes me that a significant number of the contenders in the sleb shows are CBBC regulars, which is ironic considering that CBBC viewers are probably among the last people I’d be expecting to watch these shows. Oh well, on with the show.

Adam Buxton is one half of the comedy duo Adam and Joe. I think that I have heard of the Adam and Joe show along the way somewhere, but that’s as far as it goes. Adam was answering on David Bowie in the 1970s. I guessed that this would not be that bad a subject for me, and my 5 points were probably par for the course. I tend to have a habit of coming very late to the party where TV is concerned, and this also worked with Bowie for me, where I only really started listening to him after Ashes to Ashes. Well, anyway Adam managed to get into double figures, which as we know is the mark of quality in a 90 second round, scoring 10.

Nelufar Hedayat is one of the CBBC people I alluded to earlier, being a presenter of Newsround. Her chosen subject is, I would imagine, one of the most turned down subjects requested for the regular series. I don’t actually know, but I would imagine that the production team do get offered The Harry Potter Novels by prospective contenders on a very regular basis. I make no bones about it, I fancied my chances on this set, and wasn’t disappointed to get 9. Either I know the books very well ( I do know them pretty well ) or this was a pretty easy set ( it was a pretty easy set ). Well, you can't blame Nelufar for that, all she can do is to answer the questions, which she did well, also scoring 10.

The prize for longest title of a specialist subject of this show, and I suspect the whole series went to Neil Pearson, who answered questions on English language Expatriate Press of Paris 1922 – 1939. I thought that this would be my nul points subject of the night, but was pleasantly surprised to find 3 points buried in amongst the stuff I didn’t know. With some inevitability it seemed Neil went on to score 10 as well.

The second CBBC sleb, and the last of the night, was Chris Johnson. I can’t say I’m entirely sure about what he does on CBBC, but it involves a puppet dog along the way somewhere. Chris’ subject was The 4 Monty Python films, and I have to say that as much as I had fancied my chances on the Harry Potter round, I fancied them even more on this one. In fact I was annoyed to have any wrong at all, although 10 points was not to be sniffed at, especially considering that Chris himself managed 9.

This ensured that he was first to return to the chair. Chris was representing Choice Cambodia. The dog puppet turned up during the inter-round chat , which I’ll be honest didn’t do a great deal for me, but there we are, each to their own. As regards the Gk round itself, well, this continued where last night’s left off, providing me with a full house. Chris, well, he didn’t find it quite so easy, but did manage double figures with 11 which took his total to 20. This left him with little or no chance of winning, but he seemed to have enjoyed himself, and it’s as much about that with the sleb shows as anything else. Adam, who was representing the Norwich Tanzania Association, did rather better with his own round. I found it much on a level with the other GK rounds we’ve seen so far this series, and whacked in another full house, while Adam managed a decent 14. This set the target at 24, but it still looked unlikely to win bearing in mind that the last two shows have both been won with 29s.

Marie Stopes International was the cause which Nelufar was representing. She actually started rather well, but a couple of questions seemed to pull her up in her tracks, and from then onwards it was a round of fits and starts. In the end she reached respectability and double figures, but only headed Chris by virtue of fewer passes, with Adam comfortably in front. I thought her round was maybe a wee bit tougher than the first two, but I still answered all of them correctly. Neil, representing Book Aid International, was the last to go, and I wondered two things. One – would Neil put on a round in the high teens, like the winning rounds of the last two shows, and two – would I get another full house so that I would have answered every GK question right in a whole show for the first time ever for me . The answers to the two questions were no, not quite – and yes. Neil’s 16 wasn’t as impressive as the previous two winning rounds, but his sixteen was good enough to put a little daylight between himself and Adam. His question were enough to give me a grand slam of full houses in the GK rounds. Well nobody said it was supposed to be as hard as the regular shows.

The Details

Adam Buxton The Norwich Tanzania Association David Bowie in the 1970s 10 – 0 14 – 1 24 – 1
Nelufar Hedayat Marie Stopes International The Harry Potter Books 10 – 0 10 -4 20 - 4
Neil Pearson Book Aid International English language Expatriate Press of Paris 1922 – 1939 10 – 0 16 – 1 26 - 1
Chris Johnson Choice Cambodia Monty Python films 9 – 2 11 – 5 20 – 7

Answers to News Questions

Sorry to say that I haven't been keeping up with the papers this week, so there's no new questions, but look out for more in 2013.

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news ?

1. Francesca Pascale
2. Dr. Derek Keilloh
3. Carlos Molina
4. Yasmin Nakhuda
5. Dishonoured
6. Karima El-Mahroug
7. Max Chilton
8. Ephraim Mirvis
9. Mr. Justice Bodey
10. Instagram
11. Nick Pollard
12. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith
13. Tom Odell
14. Ian Watkins
15. Park Guen-Hye
16. Bethan Jenkins
17. Scott Johnson
18. Justice Collective

In Other News

1. Who is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ?
2. Which party were returned to power in the Japanese General election ?
3. Who said that he would refuse a knighthood ?
4. Who is the BBC Sports personality Coach of the Year ?
5. What was the score in the Spurs v. Swansea match ?
6. Which team defeated Chelsea in the final of the World Club Cup ?
7. Who presented the trophy for Sports Personality of the Year ?
8. Why is the inquest into the death of Amy Winehouse to be reheard ?
9. Which hunt were fined last week for illegal hunting ?
10. What was the score between Arsenal and Reading ?
11. What was the result in the Fourth Test v. India ?
12. Which premier League football club cancelled their Christmas party as a response to poor results ?
13. Which Wales international rugby union player was revealed to have a serious back injury last week ?
14. A Salvation Army has been selected to represent which country in the Eurovision Song Contest ?
15. Part of Antarctica is to be renamed what ?
16. Which 78 year old actor will be joining the cast of Coronation Street ?
17. It was announced that the Lindt Gold Bear has been banned for infringing which company’s copyright ?
18. What has happened to the Dead Sea Scrolls this week ?
19. Which 4 sports lost all of their funding last week ?
20. Who attended a cabinet meeting for the first time last week ?
21. Which airline came bottom of a Which? consumer satisfaction study ?
22. Who was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year ?
23. Who lectured students at the Harvard Business School ?
24. What was the score in the Chelsea v. Leeds capital one cup ¼ final ?
25. Which verdict was quashed by the Lord Chief Justice this week ?
26. Who is Middlesex CCC new batting coach ?
27. How much are Thalidomide survivors to be awarded in damages ?
28. What first marks out this year’s Queen’s Christmas message ?
29. What was hailed as Scientific Breakthrough of the year ?
30. Who will Man Utd. play in the last 16 of the Champions League ?
31. – and Celtic ?
32. – and Arsenal ?
33. What was the result of the first England v. India T20 international ?
34. Who has been nominated as US Secretary of State ?
35. Who lost a High Court Battle to get his union to pay his London rent for life ?


Who or What are the following and why have they been in the news ?

1. She became engaged to Silvio Berlusconi
2. He was convicted of acting dishonestly when Baha Mousa died in British custody in Iran
3. Boxer defeated by Amir Khan
4. Japanese owner of Darwin the macaque, who went to court to try to get him back
5. The top computer game this year according to Edge Magazine
6. Nicknamed ‘Ruby the Heart Stealer ‘ fined for non appearance in court
7. New British F1 driver for Marussia next year.
8. New chief Rabbi
9. He ruled that Neon Roberts must have surgery for a tumour despite mother Sally Roberts’ wishes
10. Website which claimed it had the right to use photographs uploaded to it for adverts – has since changed policy
11. Delivered report on the BBC Savilegate enquiry
12. Killers about whom Truman Capote wrote “In Cold Blood” – their bodies are to be exhumed
13. The first man to win the Brits Critics Choice Awards – previous recipients were all women
14. Lead singer of the Lost Prophets – remanded on sex abuse allegations
15. South Korea’s first female president
16. Welsh Assembly member banned from driving for drink driving
17. Interim head coach for Scottish RFU
18. Group with single “He Ain’t Heavy m he’s my brother” for the Hillsborough Families charity , tipped for this year’s Christmas number 1

In Other News

1. Bradley Wiggins
2. Liberal Democrats
3. Danny Boyle
4. Dave Brailsford
5. 1 - 0
6. Corinthians of Brazil
7. The Duchess of Cambridge
8. Coroner Suzie Whitehead allegedly did not have the right qualification
9. Heythrop Hunt
10. 5 - 2
11. A draw
12. Newcastle Utd.
13. Lee Byrne
14. Switzerland
15. Queen Elizabeth Land
16. Timothy West
17. Haribo Golden Bears
18. They have gone online
19. Basketball – handball – table tennis - wrestling
20. HM Queen Elizabeth II
21. Ryanair
22. Barack Obama
23. Sir Alex Ferguson
24. 5 - 1
25. The Hillsborough Inquest Verdict
26. Mark Ramprakash
27. £100 million
28. It was recorded in 3D
29. The Discovery of the Higgs Particle
30. Real Madrid
31. Juventus
32. Bayern Munich
33. India won by 5 wickets
34. John Kerry
35. Arthur Scargill

Friday, 28 December 2012

Sleb Mastermind Show 2

Been a bit busy today what with one thing and another, so I didn’t have time to wiki any of tonight’s specialist subjects. Mind you, the only ones which I think would have really lent themselves well to the challenge – Prince and Shackleton – were my best rounds tonight anyway. Let’s get on with the show.

I was vaguely familiar with Professor Alice Roberts ,who was answering on the Moomin Novels of Tove Jansson. Now I did read a couple of these when I was in the primary school, but that was a good 40 years ago, and I’m afraid that I couldn’t remember enough to get more than 1 point – and that one was a lucky guess. Alice on the other hand put in a seemingly effortless 11 – a couple of wrong answers, but certainly a score which could be the springboard to a win, as we saw in last night’s show.

You might not be familiar with the name of actor Ewan Macintosh, but if you’re any sort of fan of The Office you’d recognize him as Keith Bishop. Ewan was answering on the strange TV show Twin Peaks Remember that one ? Well I never watched it, but even I knew that the murdered girl was called Laura Palmer, and the Kyle Maclachlan character was agent Dale Cooper. That accounted for my two points in the round. Once again, a praiseworthy double figure score was achieved, as Ewan scored 10.

I will admit that I was not previously familiar with the work of DJ Bobby Friction. Somehow I can’t imagine that this is something he’ll lose any sleep over. Bobby offered us the life and music of Prince. Now, I would never claim to be either a) particularly good on pop music, or b) a fan of the man himself, but the fact is that he made a significant body of work in the 80s, and I was able to get my highest specialist score of the night with him with 6 points. Bobby himself managed 8 , nothing to be ashamed of, but a score which left him with a lot to do in the GK round.

I’m not familiar with the work of comedian Simon Evans either, but I always have a bit of time for a gentleman who favours the wearing of the flat cap indoors. So I was hoping he’d do well on his chosen specialist subject of the Endurance expedition of Ernest Shackleton, Well, he did a lot better than I did. I was pleased enough to manage 4 points, which was precisely 1/3 of the total that Simon achieved. His score of 12, impressive for a 90 second round, is the highest SS score of the series so far.

There’s often some discussion about the relative easiness of the celebrity GK rounds. I don’t think that there’s any secret that they’re meant to be easier than the rounds in the regular series, or that the rounds are tailored to each sleb to give them their fair share of ‘gimmes’. I have no problem with this – after all, this is meant to be a bit of celebrity fun, where the participants get a chance to test themselves, and bring a little bit of money and a little bit of publicity to a chosen cause. It really isn’t about giving them a chance to humiliate themselves. I almost had a grand slam on the GK rounds tonight – I had clear rounds on Ewan’s, Alice’s and Simon’s rounds, but the question about Ke$ha in Bobby’s round did for me.

All of our slebs had GK scores in the teens tonight. Bobby Friction, answering on behalf of Cancer Research UK, managed 13 , which put him into the 20s. Ewan , representing the Steven Gerrard Foundation, had an absolutely disastrous start to his round, when he just couldn’t seem to get his head together on the first two or three questions, but after that hardly had another one wrong for the rest of the round. He added 15 points to take his overall score to 25. Enough to have a realistic chance of winning the show ? Probably not, I reckoned, based on the rather benign nature of the questions so far.

Alice, whose cause was For Ethiopia, couldn’t quite manage to overhaul it, though. This was probably because she wasted several seconds trying to dredge up from her memory that an angle of 90 degrees is a right angle. After all that she passed as well. She did recover, and in the end she added 13 to her total to come close, but 24 was not going to be enough.

It fell to Simon, representing Plan UK, to wrap up the proceedings then, with the best GK round of the night. It possibly wasn’t quite as good as Val McDermid’s from last night, but it was clearly the best of this show. He answered every question, 17 of them correctly , which took his total to 29, the joint highest of this series so far. Will it be beaten ? Well, I think that there’s room for one of the slebs to squeeze out at least another 2 points , but it’s a serious score off 210 seconds.


Professor Alice Roberts For EthiopiaThe Moomin novels of Tove Jansson11 - 013 - 324 – 3
Ewan MacintoshSteven Gerrard FoundationTwin Peaks10 - 315 - 125 – 4
Bobby FrictionCancer Research UKThe Life and Music of Prince8 - 113 - 221 – 3
Simon EvansPlan UKShackleton and the Endurance Expedition12 - 017 – 0 29 – 0

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Sleb Mastermind Show 1

Ah, we’re through the quiz free zone. Pointless slebs was on earlier, then there was my quiz for the club ( seemed to go down ok tonight thanks for asking ) and as soon as I got back a while ago, Sleb Mastermind to watch on the iplayer.

Maybe I’m being a little bit nasty here, or maybe I’m just showing my own ignorance, but this first show was something of a rarity for me in as much as I’ve actually heard of all four celebrities on it. I’ve had a look at the list of all the people taking part this year, and I have to say that quite a few of the names don’t ring a bell with me at all. Still, let’s deal with the job in hand first. Chrissy Rock, an actress who took part in I’m a Celebrity a series or two ago, kicked off the series with a round on Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Those of you who caught my previous post will know that this was one of the subjects I took the wiki challenge with. Through a combination of things I already knew, and things I picked up from my Wikipedia research I managed 8 points, which incidentally was the same score that Chrissy Rock managed. I didn’t think that was all that impressive until I realized that the specialist rounds are only 90 seconds long in this series.

Double gold medal winning paralympian athlete Hannah Cockroft came next, answering questions on my second wiki subject , the group McFly. Once again good wiki work brought me 8 points on this round. Hannah though achieved the feat of getting into double figures. In a 90 second round that’s a mark of quality. She was certainly going to be in contention at the halfway stage.

Lizo Mzimba was the second longest serving presenter of BBC’s Newsround, after John Craven , and is currently BBC News ‘ Entertainment Correspondent. Lizo’s specialist subject, the Smiley novels of John Le Carre presented me with a huge obstacle, inasmuch as I have never read any of them, or watched a dramatic presentation of any sort of any of them. So the big fat zero I achieved didn’t exactly come as a surprise. Lizo though was impressively quick and sharp with his answers, although he only outdid Hannah by virtue of incurring no passes as he scored 11.

I can’t say that I’ve ever read any of Val McDermid’s novels , but then she’s probably never read any of mine either. Val was answering on The Life and Works of Christopher Marlowe. There was an awful lot about the life, and not such a huge amount about the work, so much so that I was happy to take my 4 points from this round. Val, though, certainly knew her stuff about the man who suffered a great reckoning in a small room. She too scored 11 and no passes.

John paid tribute to a high scoring first round, and that was fair comment . He also commented that the GK round would probably sort the men out from the boys. He’s been doing this job for long enough to know damn well that this is exactly what it would do. Chrissy Rock came back, and provided a little light relief in her chat with John. Unfortunately she tried to do so during her round as well when she began floundering. I know that this is a lighthearted joust and the slebs are all doing it for a bit of fun, and to provide some cash and a little publicity to some very worthy causes, but I’m afraid I just don’t like it when they start giving John backchat during the questions. OK, unreasonable rant over. Chrissy score 5 to take her score to 13.

Hannah only needed 3 to take the lead, and she managed this in fairly short order. The job now was to whack in enough correct answers to make life difficult for Lizo and Val. To be fair to her she managed double figures again, but bearing in mind the GK scores we often see in the sleb version of the show her score of 22 seemed unlikely to win. A point which was borne out by Lizo’s round, when his 14 took the target to 25. 14 is a very good score in a 2 minute round in regular Mastermind, but the best slebs tend to do quite a lot better than this in their GK. So the only question that really remained was this – was Val a really good celebrity contender or not ? The answer came quickly, as it became very apparent that yes, Val is a very good celebrity contender, as she whacked in 18 correct answers in her two minutes, to put her comfortably ahead of the rest, as she finished with 29. Well played all.

The Details

Chrissy RockFamilies for Justice The Life and Work of Toulouse Lautrec8 - 05 - 413 - 4
Hannah CockroftForget Me Not Children’s HospiceMcFly11 - 111 - 222 - 3
Lizo MzimbaSave the ChildrenThe George Smiley Novels of John Le Carre11 - 014 - 025 - 0
Val McDermidEavesThe Life of Christopher Marlowe11 - 018 - 129 – 1

Wiki questions - Toulouse Lautrec and McFly

Right then, as promised a set of wiki derived questions for two of tonight’s sleb specialist rounds. I was a little disappointed with Toulouse Lautrec’s wiki page – there wasn’t a huge amount about the works in that.

Toulouse Lautrec

1. What was the full name of Toulouse Lautrec ?
2. In 2005 which of his paintings sold for $22.4 million at Christies in New York ?
3. Where was he born ?
4. What was the name of his father ?
5. Who was the first person to give the young Henri informal drawing lessons ?
6. Where did the young Henri take thermal baths in the hope that it would aid his health and development ?
7. Which bone did Henri fracture at the age of 13 ?
8. What relationship were his parents ?
9. Which genetic disorder, from which he may have suffered, has been nicknamed Toulouse Lautrec Syndrome ?
10. How tall was he as an adult ?
11. Under which successful portrait painter did Henri study in Montmartre ?
12. In 1882, after Bonnat moved from Paris, with whom did he study for the next five years ?
13. In 1887 Henri exhibited in an exhibition in Toulouse, using which assumed name ?
14. Which critic invited Henri to exhibit 11 pieces in Le Vingt in Brussels in February 1887 ?
15. Who bought the painting Poudre de Riz for the Coupil et Cie gallery ?
16. Which model did Henri use in several paintings including La Blanchisseuse ?
17. Louise Weber was immortalized in one of Lautrec’s posters for the Moulin Rouge – what was her stage name ?
18. Which writer did Henri befriend and immortalize in a portrait which he painted in a visit to London ?
19. Which cocktail was supposedly invented by Henri ?
20. Where did Henri die at the age of 36 ?
21. Where is he buried ?
22. Henri designed a famous poster for whose cabaret at the Ambassadeurs ?
23. Which dancer, who is named in other posters, features in his poster “Divan Japonais “
24. As a member of which social circle did he become friendly with the Natanson brothers, Tristan Bernard and Romain Coolus ?
25. Henri contributed a few illustrations to which magazine in the mid 1890s ?
26. What were reputedly Henri’s last words ?


1. Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse Lautrec Monfa
2. La Blanchisseuse
3. Chateau de Malromé near Albi
4. Comte Alphonse
5. Rene Princeteau
6. Amelie les Bains
7. Right femur
8. First cousins
9. Pycnodysostosis
10. 5ft 1 / 1.54m
11. Leon Bonnat
12. Fernand Cormon
13. Treclau
14. Octave Maus
15. Theo Van Gogh
16. Carmen Gaudin
17. La Goulue
18. Oscar Wilde
19. Tremblant de Terre / Earthquake
20. Malromé
21. Verdelais
22. Aristide Bruant
23. Jane Avril
24. Revue Blanche
25. Le Rire
26. Le Vieux Con ( The Old Fool )


1. The band took their name from a character in which series of movies ? ( give up if you get that wrong ! )
2. Following their launch the band signed with which record label, with which they stayed until 2007 ?
3. What is the name of their own label ?
4. The band were given a leg up when they supported which other band on their 2004 tour ?
5. In which category did they win a 2005 Brit Award ?
6. The band became the youngest ever to have an album debut at number 1 . What was the title of this debut album ?
7. The band’s 4th studio album was given away free with which newspaper before being released for sale commercially ? 8. In which 2006 film did the band appear as themselves ?
9. When Tom Fletcher auditioned to join Busted, who did he lose the place in the band to ?
10. When Island records were beginning auditions for the band, what was its projected name ?
11. Dougie Poynter and Harry Judd were recruited to the band through an advert in which paper ?
12. What was the title of the band’s debut single, and first number 1 ?
13. The title of the debut album Room on the 3rd floor was taken from the room where Jones and Fletcher wrote most of the album in which hotel ?
14. Which song was on the other side of the double A single which included It’s All About You ?
15. All the profits from It’s All About You Were donated to which cause ?
16. McFly were one of the headline events in the Live8 event in which country ?
17. Which ride at Alton Towers was renamed for a month to celebrate the release of the band’s 2005 album Wonderland ?
18. Which Queen song was released as a double A side with the band’s Please Please single in 2006 ?
19. Which of the group’s songs was heard in the film “Night at the Museum” ?
20. Which artist supported the band on their 2007 Up Close and Personal tour ?
21. Where did the band record the crowd singing "we don't care" which was later used on their single "One for the Radio".
22. Which disc did the band release in aid of Children in Need in 2008 ?
23. In June 2009 the band did three concerts in support of which organisation ?
24. With whom did the band co write the single Shine a Light ?
25. What was the title of the band’s 40 minute movie, released on DVD exclusively in HMV stores ?
26. Who was Harry Judd’s partner when he won the 9th series of Strictly Come Dancing ?
27. With whom did McFly team up to make their first range of jewellery ?

28. Which McFly song did Chris Moyles play every Friday on his Radio 1 Breakfast show from 2010 until 2012 ?
29. What is the title of the band’s autobiography, released in 2012 ?
30. In 2005 the band made a guest appearance in which BBC drama ?
31. What was the title of the 2007 Dr. Who episode in which the band made a cameo appearance ?
32. Which band member won the 11th series of I’m a Celebrity


1. Back to the Future
2. Island Records
3. Super Records
4. Busted
5. Best British pop act ?
6. Room on the 3rd Floor
7. The Mail on Sunday
8. Just My Luck
9. Charlie Simpson
10. V
11. NME
12. 5 colours in her hair
13. The InterContinental Hotel in London
14. You’ve got a friend
15. Comic Relief
16. Japan
17. Nemesis
18. Don’t Stop Me Now
19. Friday Night
20. L’il Chris
21. Annadale Hotel, Sydney
22. Do ya / Stay with me
23. The Forestry Commission
24. Taio Cruz
25. Nowhere Left To Run
26. Aliona Vilani
27. Gioia
28. Star Girl
29. Unsaid Things
30. Casualty
31. The Sound of Drums
32. Dougie Poynter

Sleb Mastermind 1 - Wiki challenge

The subjects for tonight's first show of this series of Sleb Mastermind are as follows : -

the boy band McFly
the George Smiley novels of John le Carre
playwright Christopher Marlowe

I've left it a bit late to be preparing for the challenge, and so I have to be realistic about what I can do in the time available. The temptation would be to go for Christopher Marlowe,but then I'd like to see how well I can do on that subject without any preparation. I've never read anything by John le Carre and there's no way I can read them in the time . That leaves Toulouse Lautrec and McFly. That's quite a nice pair because one of them I'm interested in, and one I'm absolutely not. I'll leave it to you to work out which one is which. So I'll start with Toulouse Lautrec, and post the questions, and then time permitting I'll do the same with McFly. Watch this space.

1227 QI Facts To Blow Your Socks Off

- is the latest QI book . I had no intention of buying this one yesterday when I was browsing the kindle store. After all, how long are 1227 facts going to entertain you ? But then I noticed that this is currently on offer for the kindle. You can have it on your device within a matter of seconds for the princely sum of 20p. Well, even though some of the facts have appeared in other QI books already, and even though my socks resolutely remained on my feet when I read some of the other facts, it's got to be worth 20p of anyone's money.

If you want to check it out for yourself, then click on the link below : -

1227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks Off

About Competition

You might not have read my previous post
“A quiz free zone ? Au contraire.”

The post was about the quiz games I’d played with my kids over the last few days. In it I finished with the comment
“Now , in case you're worrying that me beating my kids at these games might inflict any lasting psychological trauma upon them, please don’t. For one thing they are all grown up – the youngest two will be celebrating their joint 19th birthday in 2013, but also they have wiped the floor with me in several games of The Simpsons electronic Monopoly over the last couple of days. But that, as they say, is another story.”

This provoked a very interesting comment from LAM regular dxdtdemon,
“Reading your final comment, I was just curious if the reason that there are fewer quizzing opportunities in the UK compared to other Anglophone countries was because no one wanted the kids feelings hurt.”

What an interesting question. I’m not in a position to say whether it is actually a fact that there are fewer quizzing opportunities in the UK compared to other Anglophone countries in the first place. Perhaps you could amplify why you think that might be the case dxdtdemon. Still leaving that aside for now, I have to say that it does raise a very interesting point about competition, and how healthy it actually is.

I think we can take this wider than just quizzing. Certainly since my childhood in the late 60s and the 70s there was a move against competition for children in the UK. I’m thin king particularly in sporting terms here. In a way I can understand this. Children need hardly any convincing at all to start believing that they’re no good at something, and giving a child a history of failure can be very damaging – unless you provide them with a history of success to set alongside it.

I think back to my own experiences . Up to the age of 14 my experiences of sport were almost entirely negative. In the primary school up to the age of 12 we were taught PE and Games by teachers, who , in most cases , either knew bugger all about teaching sport, or had no interest in it whatsoever. Sports lessons would comprise almost entirely of the teacher picking two captains for a team game – for the boys it was invariably football in Autumn and Winter, and cricket in Spring and Summer. Those of us who never showed any great natural ability were either told to ‘get in goal’ for football , or would invariably never get to bat or bowl in cricket. Especially if you were in goal in football the game held out the prospect of receiving no acknowledgement if by some miracle you actually did something well, and receiving the whole team’s scorn and derision if you lost.

I don’t remember any teacher ever trying to show me how to kick a football properly, or hold a cricket bat properly. To be honest, it was a disgrace the way that PE and Games used to be taught to the least able pupils in English schools. If you taught any other subject with the same attitude – eg – well, this lot here, they’re not good at it so it’s a waste of time me trying to teach them how to do it, so I’ll just let them get on with it – there would be uproar , and rightfully so. So for me, up until the age of 14, my experience of sport was entirely negative. I saw the whole thing as an exercise in pointlessness and humiliation, and I’m sure a lot of kids felt the same as me.

It changed because of one good teacher at the comp ( the school I attended from 11 – 18 ) . He got me interested in rugby ( Rugby Union originally, although I also love Rugby League now as well ) How did he achieve this miracle ? Well, by good old fashioned teaching. In his lessons, everybody got taught how to play. Everybody got taught what was expected in their position within the team. Prima donnas were allowed to flaunt their talents, yes, but were absolutely not allowed to draw attention to any weaker player’s shortcomings. As a result, I got interested enough in the game to turn up for extra practice after school, and to eventually find myself playing for the school team. Even then in the 70s rugby was dying out amongst comps in West London, and by my last couple of years in the school there was only one other school in the Borough which also played. And they were good and we weren’t. With the result that we only ever won about 2 games in all the years I played. Which didn’t actually matter that much. A number of my mates were playing in the same team, and we had a lot of fun with it. Now, had the teachers taken each one of us individually, and pulled us up on our shortcomings after each match then I guess it would definitely have taken away our enjoyment, and maybe some of us would have quit. But they didn’t. We trained, and we worked on improving things on the pitch, and sometimes it worked, but most of the time it didn’t. It didn’t matter that much. So I didn’t get that much from playing rugby in terms of success, but I got so much more from it. Playing a team sport is such a valuable learning experience.

I’ve made this point before, but competition is really not a dirty word. People aren’t stupid, and neither are the huge majority of children. They know that if you have competition then someone is going to win, and someone isn’t. I don’t think that there’s anything harmful in that. It becomes harmful when children have been forced to take part and then are made to feel that they have no chance of winning, and never will have a chance of winning. It becomes harmful when they are then ridiculed or belittled for their inevitable failure.

All of which has taken us a long way from quizzing, and I apologise for getting so far off the beaten track, as it were. Going back to the original comment, is it true that there are less quizzing opportunities in the UK compared to other Anglophone countries ?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A quiz-free zone ? Au contraire

Ah, well, it will all be over soon. What, Christmas ? No, sorry, I meant the quiz free zone of the last few days. No Pointless – no BoB – no Christmas UC – no Sleb Mastermind, and no quiz to go to in the evening.

I have to thank my kids for anticipating this , and heading off any chance of me developing withdrawal symptoms, with their choice of presents this year. Amongst the goodies were several quiz games – namely Scattergories – the QI game – The Chase Board Game and the Pointless Board Game. Well, you know what it’s like – there’s no point having them if you’re not going to play them. Let’s say a little bit more about them, then.

Scattergories first really crossed my path a few months ago when I made a post about a quiz game I owned as a kid, called Tell me. At least one person commented that Scattergories was a similar game with a similar appeal, and I have to say that they had a point. Inside your game box you get a set of list cards. each card contains 6 lists, and each list has 12 different categories. You also get a 20 sided dice, which has different letters on each face, and a set of score sheets. You pick the list of categories you want to play with, and then roll the dice. whichever letter lands face up, then you have to write down something for each of the 12 categories which starts with that letter. A rather natty electronic timer comes in your box, and you start it as soon as each player is ready. As soon as the timer runs out, then you have to stop writing. Scoring is simple. If your answer for a particular category is not also given by any other player, then you get a point for it. In case of a dispute as to whether an answer really fits within a category or not, a vote of all players ensues, and the majority verdict goes. You get two rounds with the same list, and then, at the bottom of the card is just one category. For the last round each player has until the time runs out to write down as many things within the category as they can which begin with the letter that is rolled on the dice. Same rules apply, only unique answers score points. After the three rounds add up the scores , and the one with the highest score wins. Simple.

It is not startlingly original – in fact kids at the school in which I teach play a paper and pencil version called Boy Girl – but it’s a very good format. A game takes no more than between 10 – 15 minutes to play, and it really isn’t about luck, so much as it’s about knowledge and judgement. Which come to think of it is a pretty good recommendation, I’d say.

I think that anyone trying to make a game out of Q.I. was giving themselves several headaches. Firstly, it isn’t a game show. It is a panel show. Yes, it does follow a sort of quiz format, but it’s not one which readily lends itself to playing at home. Secondly the point of the show is proving that things you may think you know aren’t always true, and that the real facts are very often Quite Interesting. You score points either by answering questions correctly, which is unlikely, or by coming up with some interesting facts of your own. You lose points – many of them, by answering questions wrongly, in a way which sets off the klaxon because it is the expected wrong answer. You’ve seen the show , you know how it works.

So the question is , how do you translate this format into a game that is playable at home ? Paul Lamond’s answer is the Q.I. Board game. The game is played out on a board which is divided into two halve, the top mirroring the bottom. Each player only plays on one half of the board at a time, it doesn’t matter which. These halves of the board are traditional It’s rather reminiscent of a snakes and ladders board without the snakes or the ladders. Move along the board, and the first to the end is the winner.

OK – so far so straightforward. Now, in order to move along the board you have to answer questions. All the questions are in a book. They are a bit of a mixture. Multiple choice – some of them are typical QI questions, and some of them are a lot more straightforward. Get it right, and move on. Get it wrong and you stay there. However, I haven’t mentioned the klaxon yet.

Yes, there is an electronic klaxon as part of the game. You see, some answers are klaxon answers, and incur penalties. Also, if you think someone else has given a klaxon answer, then you can set it off yourself, with various penalties and rewards .

This is not a seamless translation of a TV format in the way that both The Chase and Pointless are, and I have to say that it’s not as satisfying a game as they are. Which brings me to . . .

The Chase. If you’ve ever been a regular viewer of the Chase – and a lot of people out there have - you’ll know that it consists of three distinct rounds – the cashbuilder – the ladder – the final chase. I was intrigued to see how this game would incorporate these three distinct stages into the game

It actually does so very well. One of the main pieces of game kit that you get for your money is the electronic timer and buzzer. This enables you to play against the clock in both the cashbuilder round, and the Final chase. I think that the game’s designers made a fundamentally correct decision in the basics of the game in not having one player to be the chasers. This is how it works. You each play individually against the clock, answering questions to earn cash. Each question earns £1000. After you’ve all gone, then you pick up a card with the corresponding amount of cash on the blue side. Then you turn it over, and see the other two offers, the high one for taking a step closer to the Chaser, and the low one for taking a step further away. Here’s the clever bit. You each have your own Chaser following you ! The second set of question cards give you a 3 multiple choice questions on each side, and , crucially, tell you which Chasers get them right, and which get them wrong. To move down the ladder, just keep answering them correctly, just like the show. If you get caught, then just like the show, you’re out. The person who carries the greatest amount of money through , then that’s the person who faces the final chase.

The final chase. As a straight and serious general knowledge quizzer I loved this round. 2 minutes of quickfire general knowledge questions against the clock. Hmm, that sounds familiar. Two of the opposing players combine to play the Chaser. If they catch you, you’re out, if they don’t , you win ! Yippee ! Unlike the show I would say that the player has the advantage over the chaser in this round. Mind you it all depends on the strength of the players involved.

I think that it’s a good idea not having one player condemned to just playing the chaser. I think back to childhood, and an enjoyable yet complicated board game called Escape from Colditz. Playing this game was dependent on someone being willing to play the German guards, which was, as I recall, a singularly unrewarding role. However I will say that rather than sharing the question master duties this one works better if someone is willing to just be question master for the game. Speed of asking the questions is vital for the cashbuilder round and the final chase. This means it’s better to have the same person asking for everyone.

All in all a good game which is faithful to the original show, and the quiz game I’ve most enjoyed playing over the last few days.

Which is not to say anything against the Pointless game. Like The Chase, this game tries very hard to replicate the gameplay of the show itself, and does so pretty well in my opinion. I’ve gone on a bit about the other games, for which I apologise, so I’ll try to be a little more succinct about this one. It has the same rounds as the show, although cleverly it avoids players being knocked out . So you all go through to the final, but if there are three teams playing, then the team which has done best gets three guesses, the next best two , and the last only one. It’s all done with cards, and this was a little fiddly, since there are 4 different sets of them. Still, you need them, because these are what actually makes the game work.

Bearing in mind that I’d won in Scattergories, Q.I. and The Chase ( see, I told you before that I can’t deliberately play to lose, and that I’m horrible to play against ) I agreed to let the kids fight this one out, and I just acted as questionmaster. Mind you, I found that interesting enough bearing in mind the ‘oh really’ factor about a lot of the categories. If I’m honest it didn’t quite grab me as much as playing the final chase in the chase game, but it’s still very enjoyable.

Now , in case you're worrying that me beating my kids at these games might inflict any lasting psychological trauma upon them, please don’t. For one thing they are all grown up – the youngest two will be celebrating their joint 19th birthday in 2013, but also they have wiped the floor with me in several games of The Simpsons electronic Monopoly over the last couple of days. But that, as they say, is another story.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve Traditions

So , have you been doing any of your own Christmas traditions today then ? I have. Yes, I've been carrying out the tradition of compiling the quiz for the Christmas Hangover quiz on Thursday in the rugby club . What do you mean it isn't very festive ? It isn't much of a tradition either. I don't always end up compiling the quiz for the one which comes after Christmas but before New Year. Still, the fact is that when I do, I tend to do it on Christmas Eve. See , tradition.

What complicates it slightly is the fact that I also did the quiz last week. My voice is only just recovering. I'd better explain this. I'm sure I've mentioned the microphone / sound system problems we've had in the club in a recent post. Well, apparently the club bought a new microphone. ( Good luck with that. We've tried it before and it seems that it's the system that's useless, not the mike. Still, soldier on.)OK, so we have a new microphone, and now IT HAS TO BE KEPT BEHIND THE BAR AND NO ONE EXCEPT THE BAR STAFF CAN TOUCH IT. Fair enough, I don't claim to be technical, and so I've no problem with the bar staff setting it up. Except for the fact that the only one who knew where it was was not actually working last Thursday evening. The upshot of which was that I ended up standing by the bar and shouting out the questions all evening.

I never took Drama at school ( although I have taught it. It's a long story - it wasn't big and it wasn't clever and I'm not proud of it.) I did do a bit of acting at school though, and I remember having watched some desperate old luvvie on a TV show saying that the secret of shouting, or speaking loudly is to do it from the diaphragm, and not from the vocal chords. Easier said than done, but I managed it - 8 rounds of 10 questions and a handout ( and no charge for playing in it either - how much value is that ? )

I was struggling a bit on Friday , which was the last day of the school term, but I managed it. So I'm hoping that someone on this coming Thursday will have an idea of where to find the mike, and that the mike itself will deign to work properly for more than the round and a half that the old one used to give us. As for the quiz itself, well, free from time constraints I put it together the old fashioned way today - just me, a pad of paper, and the LAM towers quiz library. I'll be honest, I really enjoyed putting it together. All of which probably indicates that it will go down like the proverbial lead balloon on Thursday. Time will tell. In the interim, may I take this opportunity to wish all readers , and everyone who has ever taken the time and trouble to leave a comment a very, very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

News Questions

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news ?

1. Francesca Pascale
2. Dr. Derek Keilloh
3. Carlos Molina
4. Yasmin Nakhuda
5. Dishonoured
6. Karima El-Mahroug
7. Max Chilton
8. Ephraim Mirvis
9. Mr. Justice Bodey
10. Instagram
11. Nick Pollard
12. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith
13. Tom Odell
14. Ian Watkins
15. Park Guen-Hye
16. Bethan Jenkins
17. Scott Johnson
18. Justice Collective

In Other News

1. Who is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ?
2. Which party were returned to power in the Japanese General election ?
3. Who said that he would refuse a knighthood ?
4. Who is the BBC Sports personality Coach of the Year ?
5. What was the score in the Spurs v. Swansea match ?
6. Which team defeated Chelsea in the final of the World Club Cup ?
7. Who presented the trophy for Sports Personality of the Year ?
8. Why is the inquest into the death of Amy Winehouse to be reheard ?
9. Which hunt were fined last week for illegal hunting ?
10. What was the score between Arsenal and Reading ?
11. What was the result in the Fourth Test v. India ?
12. Which premier League football club cancelled their Christmas party as a response to poor results ?
13. Which Wales international rugby union player was revealed to have a serious back injury last week ?
14. A Salvation Army has been selected to represent which country in the Eurovision Song Contest ?
15. Part of Antarctica is to be renamed what ?
16. Which 78 year old actor will be joining the cast of Coronation Street ?
17. It was announced that the Lindt Gold Bear has been banned for infringing which company’s copyright ?
18. What has happened to the Dead Sea Scrolls this week ?
19. Which 4 sports lost all of their funding last week ?
20. Who attended a cabinet meeting for the first time last week ?
21. Which airline came bottom of a Which? consumer satisfaction study ?
22. Who was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year ?
23. Who lectured students at the Harvard Business School ?
24. What was the score in the Chelsea v. Leeds capital one cup ¼ final ?
25. Which verdict was quashed by the Lord Chief Justice this week ?
26. Who is Middlesex CCC new batting coach ?
27. How much are Thalidomide survivors to be awarded in damages ?
28. What first marks out this year’s Queen’s Christmas message ?
29. What was hailed as Scientific Breakthrough of the year ?
30. Who will Man Utd. play in the last 16 of the Champions League ?
31. – and Celtic ?
32. – and Arsenal ?
33. What was the result of the first England v. India T20 international ?
34. Who has been nominated as US Secretary of State ?
35. Who lost a High Court Battle to get his union to pay his London rent for life ?

Mastermind Round One - Heat 18

This week’s Mastermind didn’t necessarily bring us quite as much excitement as last week’s, but it was not without interest, nonetheless. First of the 4 Mastermind virgins in last night’s heat to take on the specialist round was Allan Nicholas. Allan offered the first of two popular culture subjects, in the shape of the BeeGees. I was pleased to be able to take 7 of these myself. Kevin seemed to be doing well, but became just a little becalmed in mid round. 11 and 2 passes is a perfectly respectable score, but I suspected that it wouldn’t be the highest one we’d see in this show.

Mark Cooper was answering on the second popular culture subject of the week, the Life and Films of Kevin Smith. I have to come clean, I’m not familiar with Kevin Smith or his work, so I couldn’t do much with this round. Well, I couldn’t do anything with it actually. Again, Mark, like Allan, looked as if he really did know his subject, but as such 10 points wasn’t quite the return he might have expected. Again, it’s perfectly respectable, but it can end up giving you a lot to do in the GK round.

Now, our third contender was Tony Ryan, and in John’s introduction I’m sure that he said that Tony comes from Neath. OK, I live in the neighbouring town of Port Talbot, but I’m proud to work in Neath, I played in the late lamented Neath Quiz League for a number of years, and I’ve played in many many pub quizzes in Neath. I don’t recall ever meeting Tony – which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it’s a fairly sizeable place – but the local connection was enough to guarantee him fairly vocal support from the Clark sofa. Which as we know can be the real kiss of death to a contender’s prospects. Tony was answering on the Falklands Conflict, and he managed to avoid the curse of the sofa enough to score his own 11 points and 2 passes. Whatever happened now he couldn’t be worse than joint second at half time.

Which brings us to the final contender of the night, Rob White. Rob was answering on what should have been my ‘banker’ subject of the night, the Life and Work of Thomas Hardy. To be fair I had 6 of these, but that pales into insignificance compare to what Rob did with his round. 15 questions came, and 15 were despatched over the boundary rope. However the last just prevented him from a perfect round. Nonetheless 15 was enough to give him a 4 point lead at the halfway stage, and that, as we know, is an advantage which is not to be sniffed at.

Mark returned to the chair to initiate the GK round. My first thought as he rattled off answers to his first few questions was – hmm , he’s not bad at all. Of course, one of the things we’ve noticed about the 2 and a half minute GK rounds in the last few years is that it’s important to maintain momentum throughout the round, and that’s not easy. Mark did maybe just lose a little, but his 14 was a good performance. In my heart of hearts I though his total was 2 points short of what would be a challenging target for Rob, but nonetheless it was a good Gk performance. Allan, sadly, couldn’t match Rob’s efforts. Bearing out my comments about maintaining momentum, Allan never really managed to get going. The questions didn’t really fall for him, and he looked as if he might be dwelling on some of the answers – although this might just have been my imagination. He was clearly off the pace with a fair amount of the round still to go, and in the end he finished with 18 points.

I think that the point I was getting at earlier with Tony was that I haven’t any evidence to suggest whether he is a regular quizzer or not. At first, when he set a pace which seemed to match Mark’s, I thought that yes, maybe he is. He fell just a little bit behind the clock mid round, though, and though he gritted his way through to the end of the round, his total of 23 was one short of Mark’s. All of this made Rob’s task quite clear. 9 and no more than 2 passes would bring him victory. Anything more would make it an outright win. Anything less , and his score would not get him through as a high scoring runner up. 9 isn’t a huge total, but it took Rob a little while to establish any momentum. However establish it he did, and by the buzzer he had added another 12 points to his total to take him to 27. Well played there. Alright, if I’m honest, purely on the evidence of this show then Rob wouldn’t seem to have the kind of GK which would threaten some of the contenders we’ve already seen, but then funny things can happen in the semis.

The Details

Allan Nicholas The BeeGees11 - 27 - 518 – 7
Mark CooperThe Life and Films of Kevin Smith10 - 014 - 324 – 3
Tony RyanThe Falklands Conflict11 - 212 - 323 – 5
Rob WhiteThe Life and Work of Thomas Hardy15 - 012 - 527 – 5

Answers to News Questions

Week of 8th December

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news ?

1. Jatenderpaul Singh Bhullar
2. David Rawle
3. Mark Joyce
4. Keith Johnson
5. Elizabeth Price
6. Brett Straub
7. Owen Roberts
8. Peter Bowers
9. Ellen Gandy
10. John McAfee
11. Nancy Huston
12. Richard Neiuwenhuizen
13. Michael Christian and Kate Grieg
14. 2Day FM
15. Eldwick Primary School, Bingley
16. Bopha

In Other News

1. Who won “I’m A Celebrity “ ?
2. Which comic is only now available in an online version ?
3. The Louvre museum is to open a branch in which Northern French town ?
4. By which score did MK Dons beat AFC Wimbledon ?
5. By Which score did a magnificent England rugby team defeat New Zealand ?
6. What was the score in the Wales v. Australia test match ?
7. David Beckham played his last game for LA Galaxy in the MLS final against which team ?
8. Which fashion house founders are on trial for tax evasion ?
9. Author David Relin committed suicide. What is the title of his famous book ?
10. Name the other members of England’s Rugby World Cup Group ?
11. Which of the six nations is in the same group as Samoa and South Africa ?
12. Which of the six nations is in the same group as France and Italy ?
13. Which weapons have been deployed by NATO to protect Turkey from Syria ?
14. Who is the PGA Tour Player of the Year ?
15. Ronnie O’Sullivan is said to be negotiating his return to snooker for what ?
16. In his Autumn statement the Chancellor revealed that Austerity will continue until which year ?
17. Which former TV personality was detained by police in response to allegations of sexual assault ?
18. In 2013 which group will be performing gigs at the Tate Modern ?
19. Which jazz legend passed away ?
20. Skyfall is now the most successful film ever at the box office in the UK – which film has it knocked from the top slot ?
21. Netflix announced a deal to show the films of which studio ?
22. What penalty did Frankie receive for his drug offences ?
23. Alastair Cook took the record for hitting 23 test centuries for England. Who was the first English batsman to hit 22 ?
24. Which world leader recorded a spoof end of the world video ?
25. Which media figure was held by police on sex claims and then released ?
26. How much money are Starbucks volunteering to pay over 2 years ?
27. Name the architect who died at 104 ?
28. What was the score in the Varsity Rugby match ?

In the News – 15th December

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news ?

1. James Arthur
2. Mehr
3. Juan Manuel Marquez
4. Nicolas Maduro
5. Matthew Stott
6. The Snowman and the Snowdog
7. Impossible
8. Huw Lloyd Langton
9. Edward Devenny
10. Hannah Miley
11. The Tallow Candle
12. Wlodimierz Umaniec / Vladimir Umamets
13. Saser Muztagh
14. Ryan Lanza
15. Joe Root
16. Norman Woodland

In Other News

1. Sir Patrick Moore passed away at which age ?
2. Which European PM resigned ?
3. Who scored the highest number of goals in a calendar year, and whose record did he beat ?
4. What was the score in Man Utd v. Man City ?
5. Who was hit by a coin thrown in that match ?
6. England won the 3rd Test by which margin ?
7. Gerard Depardieu was reported as moving into tax exile in which country ?
8. What was the top trending term on Twitter in 2012 ?
9. Who said that his daughter made him vote for Will Young on Pop Idol – which took place 2 years before she was born ?
10. Who reached an out of court settlement over sexual assault allegations ?
11. What was the most tweeted event of 2012 ?
12. What is the first African city to have its own version of Monopoly ?
13. Who will be joining the cast of “Waterloo Road” ?
14. What is the population of the UK according to the 2011 census ?
15. What is the title of the Spice Girls musical which opened this week ?
16. Who wrote it ?
17. Which team beat Arsenal on penalties in the Capital One cup ?
18. Which team beat Norwich 4 -1 in the same competition ?
19. Which Welsh rugby union player is out of the 6 nations due to the need for surgey on his Achilles tendon ?
20. Which controversial referee will take charge of England’s first 6 Nations match ?
21. Who claims that Max Clifford gave his personal details to the News of the World ?
22. Who made his first ever tweet on 12/12/12 ?
23. Which is the only British destination to make the Rough Guides’ Top 10 Must See destinations ?
24. Which country claimed that they launched their first satellite last week ?
25. Which famous world musician passed away last week ?
26. Liverpool FC apologized to Fulham FC for ‘tapping up’ which player ?
27. Who was banned for verbally abusing referee Mark Clattenburg ?
28. Who did Warren Gatland announce as his British and Irish Lions coaching team ?
29. who is the US Ryder Cup 2014 captain ?
30. Which team did Swansea City beat in their Capital One Cup ¼ final ?
31. Kauto Star will now begin to compete in which sport ?
32. Chelsea beat which team in the semi final of the world club challenge ?
33. Alexander Litvinenko was announced to have been a spy for whom ?
34. The technique of fracking, given a go ahed from the government last week, is specifically used in the UK for extracting what ?
35. What was the derisory amount of the fine given to the Serbian FA for the racism of its fan towards the England under 21 team ?
36. Which rugby player was banned for two weeks for stirking Rory Best ?
37. Who will captain England in the T20 matches against India ?
38. The BBC’s first visible newsreader died last week. Who was he ?
39. What punishment was handed out to former MP Margaret Moran last week ?
40. Where will the 2014 Tour de France begin ?
41. Which alleged hacker had charges against him dropped last week ?
42. In which state is the Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a terrible massacre took place last week ?

8th December - Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news ?
1. Sikh Guardsman, who has stood guard outside Buckingham Palace wearing turban rather than bearskin, despite alleged pressure from other soldiers
2. 11 year old nominated for British Comedy Award for his role in Moone Boy
3. Player who knocked Judd Trump out of UK Snooker
4. Leader of North Norfolk Council who shot his wife then himself
5. Winner of the Turner Prize 6. 25 year old student who was wrongly identified as the founder of the Independent newspaper in the Leveson report
7. Husband of Ann Clwyd MP who she claims was treated like a battery hen when he died in hospital
8. Judge given an official reprimand for calling a burglar courageous
9. Swimmer who has switched allegiance from the UK to Australia
10. Software founded, wanted in Belize – fled to Guatemala- since extradited
11. “Winner” of the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for ‘Infrared’
12. Assistant referee kicked to death by teenage Dutch footballers
13. Australian DJs responsible for hoax call to get details of Duchess of Cambridge’s condition in Edward VII hospital. The nurse who gave the details – Jacinta Saldanha – tragically committed suicide a few days later
14. Radio station that has suspended the two DJs
15. School in which children have been banned from attending the Nativity Play
16. Typhoon that caused devastation in the Phillippines

In Other News

1. Charlie Brooks
2. The Dandy
3. Lens
4. 2 - 1
5. 38 - 21
6. 12 - 14
7. Houston Dynamo
8. Dolce and Gabbana
9. 3 cups of tea
10. Australia – Wales – Winners of Oceania 1 and a play off winner
11. Scotland
12. Ireland
13. Patriot Missiles
14. Rory McIlroy
15. The World championships
16. 2018
17. Stuart Hall
18. Kraftwerk
19. Dave Brubeck
20. Avatar
21. Disney Pixar
22. 6 month ban
23. Wally Hammond
24. Julia Gillard
25. Max Clifford
26. £20 million
27. Oscar Niemeyer
28. Oxford 26 – Cambridge - 19

15th December – Who or what are the following ?

1. Winner of the X - Factor
2. New Iranian ‘alternative’ to YouTube
3. Boxer who knocked out Manny Pacquaio in round six
4. Named as successor by Hugo Chavez
5. Man City fan who invaded the pitch during the match against Man Utd
6. Raymond Briggs sequel to the Snowman
7. Single released by X Factor winner James Arthur
8. Former guitarist of Hawkwind – passed away
9. Submariner convicted of selling secrets to Russian agents
10. British swimmer won gold in 400m individual medley in world short course championships
11. New Hans Christian Anderson story discovered
12. Jailed for 2 years for defacing Mark Rothko painting
13. Mountain photographed from International Space station and wrongly identified as Everest
14. Gunman who carried out massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School
15. Scored 73 in first innings of 4th test – debut innings for England
16. Inventor of the Bar Code – passed away aged 91

In Other News

1. 89
2. Mario Monti of Italy
3. Lionel Messi – beat the record of Gerd Muller
4. 3 - 2
5. Rio Ferdinand
6. 7 wickets
7. Belgium
8. Euro 2012
9. David Cameron
10. Dominique Strauss Khan
11. David Cameron and Boris Johnson ‘dancing’ to the Spice Girls at the Olympics closing ceremony
12. Lagos
13. Angus Deayton
14. 56.1 million
15. Viva Forever
16. Jennifer Saunders and Judy Cramer
17. Bradford City
18. Aston Villa
19. Rhys Priestland
20. Alain Rolland
21. Paul Burrell
22. Pope Benedict XVI
23. Margate
24. North Korea
25. Ravi Shankar
26. Clint Dempsey
27. Gareth Barry
28. Rob Howley – Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell
29. Tom Watson
30. Middlesbrough
31. Dressage
32. Monterrey
33. MI6 – and - Spain
34. Shale Gas
35. £65,000
36. Dylan Hartley
37. Eoin Morgan
38. Kenneth Kendall
39. A 2 year supervision order
40. Leeds
41. Gary McKinnon
42. Connecticut

Brain of Britain - Heat 4

For the first time this series a name I recognized. Firstly, though, let’s go through the full list of contenders in this week’s show : -

Scott Dawson
Bel Freedman
Darren Martin
Steve O’Gorman

If you’re wondering which of the four has previous, well, it’s Darren Martin. Darren has twice been a contender in Mastermind, having taken part in Discovery Mastermind, and reached the Grand Final in Andy’s 2003 series. A contender to be reckoned with , certainly.

Scott Dawson kicked off. Last week the first contender had a relatively benign first set and scored a full set of five. In this week’s show it looked like the same thing was going to happen. However Scott couldn’t answer who had christened the Pacific Ocean as Pacific, and so a bonus with Magellan went to Darren. Bel took her first couple, but couldn’t identify that Sarawak is part of Indonesia, which brought Scott a bonus. Darren failed to dredge up the word ‘bionic’ for his own first question, which gave Steve O’Gorman a bonus. He took his own first two , but failed on the ski resort of St. Moritz, which brought Scott a bonus.

Moving on to round two, Scott only took his first, but missed out on Cape Carbonara, which is part of Sardinia. Bel took that, and also her own first , but didn’t know that the ‘shaking palsy’ was named after Mr. Parkinson. Darren had that one. He went on to take his own first three, but didn’t know the knife that is the emblem of the Royal Marine Commandos. Bel took that bonus. Steve didn’t know that the last prosecution for witchcraft in the UK took place in the 1940s. Darren knew that, and this point was enough to put him 1 behind Scott. Scott took his first but he didn’t know about the coronaria dexter and coronaria sinistra, and neither did the others, although they all gave it a lash. Bel didn’t know about the Carmargue, but Darren did. Darren took his first, but didn’t know that Only Connect takes its name from a well known quote from EM Forster’s Howards End. Scott took that one. Finally Steve took a couple, but didn’t know that the former Portuguese colony with a name which means shrimps is Cameroon. Scott took that which gave him a lead of 10 to Darren’s 8 at the Beat the Brains interval.

A great and tricky question, which I was delighted to get right, was asked as the first of the Beat the Brains questions. There are 10 elements of the Periodic Table which have names which start with a different letter from the first letter of their symbol. Sodium is one – name the others. I reeled off mercury – lead – potassium – gold – silver – tin – antimony – tungsten and iron. So did the Brains. None of us had the answer to the second – which is the odd one out and why of these – seaborgium – bohrium – meitnerium – roentgenium ? Apparently Meitnerium is the only one named after a woman. Fair enough.

Scott knew his first of the next round, but didn’t know that The Rose Tattoo was created specifically for Anna Magnani. None of the others knew it and neither did I . Bel missed her first, but picked up a bonu on Darren’s first , when he didn’t know that the german equivalent to a French Hotel de Ville – or a British Town Hall – is a Rathaus. No comment. Steve didn’t know that the Tate Britain was built on the site of the old Millbank Penitentiary, but Darren had it. This maintained a two point gap between himself and Scott, who led by 11 – 9.

Scott again took his first question, but didn’t know that the American Groundhog Day is held at the same time as Candlemas, and again Darren took this tricky bonus. Bel didn’t know that barium and various other elements give off a green flame when burned. Darren took another bonus. His first answer took him level with Scott, but he failed on his second, giving Scott the lead again when he identified the golden bough as mistletoe. When Steve failed to identify the country whose capital is Ashgabat, Scott was in there with the answer of Turkmenistan, to give him back the two point lead. He had 14 going into the last round, and Darren had 12.

Just to make it even more interesting, Scott failed on his first question. Darren correctly answered that a group of specific officials within the catholic church would have the title Monsignor. Bel couldn’t identify Virgil’s Aeneid, and Darren found the second bonus he needed to go level. If he could answer 3 of his own correctly then he had definitely won. Sadly his first did for him . It fell to Steve to identify Peter Sellar’s brilliant spoof travelogue sketch as Bal-ham , Gateway to the South. It was all square. Steve toolk three to guarantee himself 3rd place, but then he failed to answer which US president was the first born in the USA. Darren failed, and so did Bel, but Scott supplied the correct answer – Martin van Buren. That was enough to give him the win. Very well played – but well played Darren as well. His 14 could well be enough to see him through to the semis as well.

The Results

Bel Freedman – 7
Steve O’Gorman – 9
Darren Martin – 14
Scott Dawson- 15

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas University Challenge

I’m enjoying the Christmas University Challenge series playing at the moment across the week at 7:30pm on BBC2. We’ve only seen a couple of editions so far, so it’s a little early to make hard and fast pronouncements on the series, still, for what it’s worth here are my observations.

As with last year, the questions seemed somewhat easier than the regular series. I was even getting some of the Science ones right, by way of an example. As I said in my posts about the 2011 Christmas series, this is totally understandable. The point of the show is not to show up the illustrious alumni who have sportingly agreed to take part in the show. However it does raise a question in my mind.

Last year we saw a couple of former winners playing for a couple of the teams – in fact I think that both of the finalists had a former winner amongst them. So far this year I only have the team members’ own introductions, and their performances to go on, but I don’t think that there was a real quizzer among any of the 4 teams we’ve seen so far. Which is absolutely fine if that’s the same for all of the teams. However . . . well, the fact is that I know that a very, very good quizzer who has won a very prestigious show on television was approached about the possibility of appearing on his university’s team in this series. He hasn’t been on yet, and I don’t know if he will be on – maybe they changed their minds later. The fact is, though, with these questions, and with the kind of opposition we’ve seen so far, he would eat the other teams alive and spit out the bones afterwards. Any really good quizzer would.

This is why I wonder whether we will be seeing anyone else with ‘previous’ playing for any of the other teams as well. I know that this is only a lighthearted yuletide joust , just for the fun of it, but it would be a bit harsh on any team who have come on the show for the fun of it to be walloped by the only team who have a very serious quizzer playing for them. Time will tell.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Only Connect - The Grand Final

The Scribes v. The Draughtsmen

The Scribes, who have been this year’s surprise package , consisting of Holly Pattenden , Gareth Price and Dom Tait, had a fairly resounding first round victory over the Ciphers, winning 31 – 13. In the quarter final they saw off the TEFL Teachers 27 – 9.Then in the semi-final they beat the much fancied Wordsmiths by 25 – 14. Their opposition in this Grand Final were the Draughtsmen. Andy Tucker, Steve Dodding and captain Iwan Thomas, had tied with the excellent Joinees in their first round match, winning because of captain Iwan’s steely nerve and superior buzzing.The quarter final proved a little more relaxed, seeing them win by 28 – 14.In the semi final they face the Footballers, who gave them all the trouble they could handle, eventually squeezing through 19-18.

So who would win ? On paper, before the start of the series I’d have said the Draughtsmen. But you just couldn’t ignore the form that the Scribes had shown all series. One thing I was sure of, though. If the Draughtsmen weren’t ahead going into the last round, then the whip hand would be with the Scribes.

Round One – What’s the Connection ?

Eye of Horus kicked things off for the Draughts. England : Wales and Brazil:Scotland gave them the correct answer that these were footballers whose names were countries other than those they played for. Horned Viper brought the Scribes a set of pictures. We saw Girl with A Pearl Earring – Victoria Coren – Men at Work sign – and Statue of Liberty. Neither side saw that they were all flipped – the wrong way round – and neither did I. The Ds took Lion, and had Marty Feldman’s last film – Captain of Queen Anne’s Revenge – at which stage I had it – Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I , and with a rush of blood to the head they went with Red Beards. They were probably kicking themselves after when the Scribes had the bonus for saying that these were all people with different coloured beards – Yellow – Black – Red, and the last one , the wife murderer, being Blue Beard. Scribes took two reeds, and had Head : Meissa – Beltbuckle – Alnilam – and I had this one at this stage – Left Leg : Rigel, and skipper Dom knew that these were star positions in the constellation Orion. The Ds had water, and Champion of 1981 Grand National . They considered going for a five pointer, but wiser heads prevailed. -It told of Pennywise the Clown , and - Town where Battle lies were not enough to give them the answer. The Scribes gratefully took a bonus, knowing that the three of these , and - Had a 1974 hit with Killer Queen were all clues in which the answer is actually contained. Twisted Flax brought the Scribes the music set. They took the first three, and impressed me hugely by knowing that they were all written in the form of a letter. Well done for that. This meant that they actually led after the first round by 6 points to 3. You couldn’t help wondering whether dropping those two gettable sets was going to play on the D’s minds as we went into the next round.

Ropund Two – What Comes Third ?

Horned Viper gave the Ds a tricky set – A=azure a saltire argent ( St. Andrew’s cross ) – D = Sable a cross or (St. David’s Cross )– at which they guessed G=argent a cross gules, knowing that this was the cross of St. George. Unfortunately this was actually next in the sequence alphabetically. The Scribes couldn’t take advantage, not knowing that the cross of St. Patrick is P = Argent a saltire gules, Very very bad luck to the Ds, and it was turning out to be one of those nights for them. Scribes took the Eye of Horus. Now, not that I’m one to brag ( alright , I am ) but as soon as Kendal Mintcake came up I said “Young Ones – University Challenge “ and ticked them off to Lord Monty ( Hugh Laurie). So that would have done me fine for a five pointer . Neither team could dredge it up, although both knew what it was all about. Two Reeds gave the Ds 5:Marylebone Old Church – 6: White’s Club Soho – 7: Fleet Debtor’s Prison. I guessed the connection – the Rake’s Progress – but not the 8th destination. It was Bedlam Hospital. Lion was taken by the Scribes, and I wouldn’t have had this one on all three ( and to be honest would have struggled even if the answer had been in front of me. ) Disposable Cigarette Lighters – Hot Air Balloons – Production of Ethylene were the clues, and the Scribes knew that it was uses of simpler alkane gases, so something methane-y would do. Fair enough. Twisted Flax brought a good picture set for the Ds. They knew a tamarind, followed by a tamarin monkey , so it would probably show the river Tamar in the last. Sounds easy, but you have to know a tamarind when you see it in the first place, and I certainly didn't. Just water remained for the scribes. NNNE – NEENE – EESE. These I thin k they all figured out as compass directions, but neither team knew that they were pairs of compass points going clockwise. The scores, then , were 6 to the Ds, and 8 to the Scribes. The gap had been narrowed to 2, but being realistic the Ds needed a lead, and there was only the wall round remaining before the vowels in which to get it.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Scribes kicked off with the Lion wall. Some fairly adept button pushing saw them untangle Fry – Smolt - Alevin and Codling – young fish. They could see a set of boats, and a set of Jacks, but these would not untangle. Eventually they could see a set of contributors to That Was The Week That Was , and they untangled Levin – Martin – Rushton and Percival. That was it. When the wall was resolved they saw Mormon – Ketch – Frost and Sprat were the Jacks, and Snow – Brigantine – Buss and Yawl were the boats- two mast-ers to be precise. That was 6 points, and just a glimmer of a chance for the Ds.

The Water wall was no more forgiving to the Ds than the Lion had been to the Scribes. Eight Ace – Mr. Logic – Tin Ribs and Black Bag they knew were all characters from Viz. They knew there was a set of plural nouns used as singulars, but they just wouldn’t unravel, nor would the other 2 lines. When Sportscene – Burnistoun – River City and Landward were revealed they guessed correctly – based on Sportscene I’d guess – that these are programmes made by BBC Scotland. Coast – Employment – Data and Consumer are all things that can be followed by Protection. This left the plural singular nouns, which were Graffiti – Opera – Agenda – Candelabra. Hard luck on that wall, and it meant that they scored 5, to give the Scribes another precious point to add to their lead, which now stood at 14 to 11.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

Put in its simplest terms, the Scribes had been one of the finest vowels teams we’ve seen all series, and while the Ds have been good, they haven’t been as good as the Scribes when it comes to the vowels. You fancied by this stage that the 3 point lead , although slender, would be too much of a gap to bridge. It certainly looked that way when the Scribes took Things that Good Children do by 3 to 1. Wooden objects and their traditional wood saw the Ds lose a point and gain a point, and the Scribes take three. The last category – three consecutive months saw the Ds lose another, and the Scribes take 1. At the end, then, the final scores were 11 to the Draughtsmen, and 20 to the Scribes.

Commiserations to the Draughtsmen. It just wasn’t your night. Many congratulations to new champions the Scribes. Worthy champions indeed – and I apologise for never marking you out as such at any time earlier in the series.

Congratulations also to Jenny, Rachel, David and the Only Connect team, on another fantastic series, and on your 100th show. By the way – I really liked the lovely Only Connect badges all the team were sporting. Any chance of them being awarded retrospectively to other runners up – specifically the runners up in series 4 ? No ? Well you can’t blame a chap for asking . Great show.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I know that you have made the list, and indeed even checked it twice by now, and probably have a very good idea of who’s been naughty and nice. Still, I thought that for what it’s worth I would chip in with my two penn’orth and let you know how I’ve got on with my quiz resolutions. Let’s look at the first one :-

*I resolve to stop automatically saying that any team who beat us in a straight pub quiz must automatically be cheating on their phones, and to hold my tongue unless I, or a reliable witness, has actually seen them doing it.

Well Santa, me old china, if you’ve read the blog much in the last 12 months you’ll know exactly how ell I managed to get on with this one. I could play the lawyer, and insist that as regards the exact wording of the resolution I haven’t done too badly – being as the cheats in the rugby club that I labeled MDNs ( Morally Deficient Numpties ) I did actually observe using their phones, but let’s not split hairs. I’m just not very good at quietly accepting that a team which we have no trouble beating, and beating well, for a long time suddenly overnight become too good for us to live with , when there is no perceptible change of personnel. Does that make it alright ? No ? Didn’t think so.
Verdict – Naughty

• I resolve to not close the door to appearing on some other broadcast quiz, but only to apply to something because it might be fun.

Job done, Santa. I applied to Breakaway, and even got as far as an audition, even though I wasn’t invited to appear on the show. I’ve also applied to other shows, from which I had no response at all. But by my calculations that is enough to ensure this.
Verdict – Nice

• I resolve to keep working on my weak areas

Well, I have worked on my weaker areas, yes. I wouldn’t like to give you the idea that I have been spending every waking moment working on my knowledge, though, because I haven’t. In fact I wouldn’t say that I’ve worked anything like as much on my game this year as last. So it’s an area for development next year.
Verdict – Nice – ish

• I resolve to try harder to try to attend at least one or two grand prix events this year.

No excuse for this one. Absolute failure I’m afraid.
Verdict – Very Naughty indeed

• I resolve to try to listen to my team mates more carefully, and more sympathetically – even if I’m pretty sure that the answer they have suggested is very wrong. Well, I shouldn’t really be the one to comment on this one. One of my team mates should. Still, I’d like to think that I have gone some way along the line towards this one, and am fairly happy that I can say that I have tried.
Verdict – Nicer

• I resolve above all else to enjoy my quizzing throughout the next year as much as I have enjoyed it this year.

This is always something of a given with me. In recent weeks I have found it hard to post in the week, and this accounts for the glut of posts each of the last few weekends. However I would hate anyone to think that this has been through a loss of enthusiasm. Nothing of the sort. It’s been a really enjoyable quiz year, what with doing the double double in the Bridgend Quiz League, stamping out the scourge of phone cheating in the rugby club ( for the time being at least ) winning in Birmingham, and playing in the GetConnected Charity Evening. So I am delighted to give myself a resounding : -
Verdict – Very nice indeed.


Well, that’s two naughties to 3 nices, so although it was a bit of a close squeeze I’d say that I make it onto the nice list again this year. As for wishes for next year – well, we’ll look at the newest resolutions in a week or two’s time.