You wait the best part of a month for another Mastermind heat to come along, then two come at the same time. Just half an hour after the end of the 9th show of this series of sleb Mastermind shows as well. Rather too much than not enough, and on that note, let’s get on with the first of our two heats tonight.
In heat 7 the first thing that drew my attention was that John had his old hairstyle, which suggests that the sleb shows were done after these. Fair enough. Retired archdeacon Hughie Jones kicked off the show, and his specialist subject was the Cambridge Apostles. If like me all you knew about the Cambridge Apostles was the connection with the Philby, Burgess Maclean business, then you’ll also have been glad that this came up in one of the questions. Other than that I was struggling. Hughie scored 10, and my first reaction was – very good score . Then I remembered that we were back in real MM, not the Sleb shows. It’s still a decent score, but vulnerable for a SS round.
Sarah Waller, who followed Hughie into the chair, was answering on the subject of the life and work of Antonia Forest. Who, I have to admit, was a new one on me. Antonia Forest was a children’s author, a contemporary of Enid Blyton I guess. I’m sorry to say that I answered precisely none of these. Sarah however managed a good 14 – fantastic off 90 seconds, but still very good off 2 minutes. She was going to be in contention.
Guy Tozer answered on the French Revolution. I’m glad to say that here at last there were at least a few questions which would prove guessable for the generalist – i.e. me. This was another good round – anything in the teens is worth scoring in a 2 minute round. 13 put him one behind Sarah at the halfway stage, and so it really was everything to play for, providing that Jeremy Platt didn’t blow them all out of the water.
Jeremy , who finished off the SS rounds, was the only one of tonight’s first set of contenders whom I know to have previous form, although not in Mastermind. Jeremy was in Ray Eaton’s heat of last season’s Brain of Britain, so he’s not a stranger to the pressure of a top level broadcast quiz. His subject was the Life and Works of Gustav Mahler. he made a pretty decent fist of it too – 11 is certainly not to be sniffed at , even if it did leave him a bit of work to do in the GK rounds.
It’s relatively rare to see a contender suffer from quite the pass hell that poor old Hughie fell into in his round. he just couldn’t get started – and believe me, 2 and a half minutes is an awfully long time when that happens. I counted that he got through 19 questions, of which I managed 16. At the end of the round he had 15 altogether. Jeremy did a bit better. I liked his set a little more, and only missed on one of them. By the end of the round he had added another 8 to take his score to 19. In all honestly you had to fancy both Guy and Sarah to improve upon this total.
Guy went first. He never looked totally at ease, but of the two of them I felt he had a slightly nicer set of questions. He seemed to be answering a lot more quickly than anyone else tonight, as I made it that he got through 21 questions. He managed 11 of them, to set the score at 24. In all honesty I felt that he was probably 3 short of what he needed to go through. Sarah wasn’t answering as quickly , but then she needed just 11 to win outright, and so accuracy was probably more important than speed in her round. In the end she passed the target with a question or two to spare, and managed 12 for a total of 26, and a little daylight between herself and Guy.
|Hughie Jones||The Cambridge Apostles||10 -2||5 - 11||15 – 13|
|Sarah Waller||The Life and Work of Antonia Forest||14 - 2||12 - 5||26 – 7|
|Guy Tozer||The French Revolution||13 - 2||11 - 5||24 – 7|
|Jeremy Platt||The Life and Works of Gustav Mahler||11 - 3||8 - 5||19 – 8|
No time to draw breath, for the second heat of the night was already upon us. Eric Banks began with a rather wide subject , the major battles of World War II. Without reigniting our whole debate over the accessibility or otherwise of the specialist rounds, this was a round which I found really accessible – you didn’t have to be an expert to do rather well with these. I’m no expert on world war II, but I managed 11. So under these circumstances I’m glad that Eric managed to get into the teens with 13 points.
I quite fancied my chances with the second specialist subject as well. Nick Reed was answering on English League Football Grounds. It’s a good few years since I read Simon Inglis’ excellent book , but enough had stuck . Again, anyone with an interest in football who is over 30 had a decent chance with quite a few of these, and for the second time in the evening I managed double figures – this time scoring 10. Nick managed a fine 15 himself.
Now, our third contender tonight was , by any standards, a Mastermind veteran. Before tonight, Mel Kinsey had contested the first round of Mastermind three times before, in 1995, 2004 and 2009. He had twice contested semi-finals, in 1995 and 2009, and he had once contested the final , in 1995 – where he was runner up to none other than Mr. Kevin Ashman. I’ve said before that experience does count for a bit in mastermind, and so you wouldn’t have been blamed for putting your money on Mel before the start of the show. Offering us Watergate and the Fall of Richard Nixon , Mel managed 12. This gave him a 3 point deficit to make up, but with 2 and a half minutes for GK he was certainly not out of it.
The satirical works of Juvenal were our final specialist subject tonight, and they were what we were offered by Derek Walker. Being unfamiliar with the works – we studied Caesar and Ovid for my latin O Level, and that was enough – I was happy enough to have my one guess come off , and to take the point and run. Derek managed 10 points – nothing to be ashamed of, but not enough to really give him a shot at winning.
Derek returned to the chair to kick off the GK rounds. His eleven was a battling performance. By way of comparison I found these rounds about 2 points harder than the rounds in the previous show, but yes, I do know that it’s all in the eye of the beholder. They’re all easy if you know them , etc. etc. Mel followed, and what was needed was a real statement of intent. Unfortunately Mel struggled a bit with this - and I scored one point less on this than I did on the previous round – 15. Mel added 10 points to set the target at 22, but even being optimistic you had a strong feeling that this was not going to be enough.
There was hope given in Eric’s round. though. His progress towards the target, steady at first, became more tortuous as the round went on. He had his 9 for 22 with a question to go, but a pass on the last meant that he stayed on 22, with more passes than Mel had. Could he really win a place in his third semi? Well, no. Nick took a little time to pick up speed, but when he did he made no mistake. He powered through the target, and went on adding points until the end of the round, where he finished with 14, which gave him a combined total of 29. Well played !
|Eric Banks||Major Battles of World War II||13 - 1||9 - 7||22 – 8|
|Nick Reed||English League Football Grounds||15 - 0||14 – 3||29 - 3|
|Mel Kinsey||Watergate and the Fall of Richard Nixon||12 - 2||10 - 4||22 – 6|
|Derek Walker||Satirical Works of Juvenal||10 - 1||11 - 3||21 – 4|
Highest Scoring Runners Up
John Marshall – 31- 5
Simon Spiro – 27 - 5
Susan Holmes – 25 – 1
Jeff Grimshaw – 25 – 4
Peter Royle – 25 -5
Hannah Coates – Isabel Morgan – 24 – 5