Friday, 6 January 2012

Mastermind Marathon - Heats 7 and 8

Heat 7

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.

The Details

Hughie Jones The Cambridge Apostles10 -25 - 1115 – 13
Sarah WallerThe Life and Work of Antonia Forest14 - 212 - 526 – 7
Guy TozerThe French Revolution13 - 211 - 524 – 7
Jeremy PlattThe Life and Works of Gustav Mahler11 - 38 - 519 – 8


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Heat 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 !

The Details

Eric BanksMajor Battles of World War II13 - 19 - 722 – 8
Nick ReedEnglish League Football Grounds15 - 014 – 329 - 3
Mel KinseyWatergate and the Fall of Richard Nixon12 - 210 - 422 – 6
Derek WalkerSatirical Works of Juvenal10 - 111 - 321 – 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

29 comments:

LisaH said...

Hah, that could be the first and last time I scored 5 more than you on a specialist round, David - and Antonia Forest has been a SS before (Gillian (surname escapes me) did her who I think got to the semis last year) She's actually far too technically good a writer to mention in the same breath of Enid Blyton - although I probably enjoyed Blyton far more as a child!

DanielFullard said...

As I said on TQA Nick reeds round in specialist was the easiest I have ever known in mm

drgaryegrant said...

Yes, there's something wrong when several people you know score 10 or more on *someone else's* SS. Also, how on earth did the chap who did 'WW2 Battles' not get 'Midway'? There were, not to labour the point (even tho I am ;-) ) 'gimmes' in pretty much every SS last night...

drgaryegrant said...

You see, Dave, do you think you - even as a former champ - should be scoring 11 on a random contender's specialist subject? It wouldn't be that hard to do a good tough 'WW2 Battles' set which an expert would know, but the layperson would struggle with. I think the fact you got 11 (and I got a fair few, though I wasn't specifically counting) is further proof that they are trying, erroneously in my view, to make the SS more accessible to viewers playing at home. Basically, they just shouldn't be that easy.

bj said...

That was odd... Sport is genrally one of my poorest subjects. I know about tennis and Scottish football and some odd quiarky things, but I am particularly weak on English football (compared with all those quizzers who are English and into their own brand of football). Normally I would expect to score zero on any SS to do with English football, but I scored 10 on English football grounds, which is one of my best ever scores on someone else's SS. I was particularly pleased to predict the question on Archibald Leach, but didn't anticipate an opener asking which ground is in Matt Busby Way (visited it in the snow a few weeks back when down at the big new media complex). All I would say is that it was a good choice. Football grounds do change, but not much, whereas one of the things I find tough about sport is a new set of winners for absolutely everything every year.

And, yes, I couldn't agree more with Dave that the GK on Heat 8 was way harder than on Heat 7. You reckoned you scored two fewer on average per round, Dave. My aggregate for the Heat 7 GK rounds was 69 (13-19-18-19). For Heat 8 it was 46 (10-12-14-10). That's six points of a difference between the two heats per round - quite significant when you consider highest scoring runners-up go through.

bj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DanielFullard said...

Great point, most football fans, even casual ones would have been able to get good marks on that round. Its hardly specialist knowledge is it.

Londinius said...

Hi Everyone,

Gary - do I think that I should be scoring 11 on a specialist subject I haven't prepared for ?

No.

I don't blame the two contenders at all - and I think the fact that Nick Reed won the GK as well as the SS proves he was a worthy winner. But I did feel that the level of some of the questions - I think of 2 in particular - the Matt Busby way one, and the two fighter aircraft the RAF relied on in the Battle of Britain - to be too easy for a specialist round. These were the level of sleb specialist questions - possibly even easier. I don't know enough abotu Watergate to say that the questions were much harder - but put it this way - they didn't ask who was the US president at the time of Watergate, which would have been a comparably easy one.

Well, I hope that this show was just an abberation. I do know that the production team do care very much about making the show fair for all concerned.

Dave

drgaryegrant said...

We'll see! It'll be interesting to watch the SSs in the coming weeks (sadly not next week tho, as some ruddy bakery show is on instead - I mean, really...)

Just one minor correction - you haven't got John Sneddon on your repechage board - he scored 30 (4) in Andy Tucker's opening episode.

LisaH said...

As a Mastermind also-ran with I only got 3 of the WW2 ones - it struck me as a fair round!

I got 6 of the football grounds although I'm not a football fan (and though I live in a constant sea of football-related chatter it's generally about Man U and the blindness of referees.....

I was helped by local questions on Reading and Old Trafford but there were a few chestnuts in there eg the Boleyn Ground and St James' Park and I would expect most men with decent general knowledge to score more than that - it struck me as much too easy.

eugene said...

On a recent Celebrity MM I got 10 on a SS round on '70s disco music and thought to myself "I won't ever get double figures on a SS round on the normal show." I got 7 on the WW2 battles round (missing a sitter or two along the way) on Friday's show, which struck me as easier than normal as that's not really an area of particular interest. I fancied I might be able to do OK on English football grounds, but was extremely surprised to score 12 on that one (I'm Scottish, I'm vaguely interested in English football but certainly no fanatic). I have to agree with Daniel on this one - that was by far the easiest SS round I've ever seen. I doubt any self-respecting football fan could have scored much less than double figures on that one.

Andrew B. said...

Well, I didn't find the "stadia" questions that easy, scoring about 7, though this isn't a subject I'm especially good at (I've scored way more than that on some subjects before now).

Having read four of Antonia Forest's 13 books (the "school" ones), I managed 4 on that round, so arguably they were also too easy (at least one of the four was an absolute gimme).

MashamLad said...

Hello, it's a shamelessly self-googling Nick Reed here. Having barely seen Mastermind over the last few years, I have to agree with the consensus as to how straightforward my football grounds questions were.

Having revised hard, I was surprised and a little disappointed not to have been more challenged. I would probably have got 12-13 without revision, and a number of smug friends have been letting me know they did so on the programme.

It was a relief to have done well on general knowledge, as I would have been annoyed in the place of Eric, Mel or David had the final result been narrower.

Incidentally, to silence the said smug friends, I have prepared 20 football ground questions based on my actual revision. If anyone fancies a go, please let me know.

Best wishes, Nick

LisaH said...

Having revised hard, I was surprised and a little disappointed not to have been more challenged. I would probably have got 12-13 without revision, and a number of smug friends have been letting me know they did so on the programme.


I felt exactly the same last year - I spent 2 hours each evening for 3 months mugging up the George Cross and then got a set of questions I could have scored 10 on without revising at all - my revision gained me 4 points. However, you can only answer the questions you get, Nick - and congratulations on your win!

Andrew, I've read 6 Forests and scored 5 so there must have been about 1 per book! Interesting that you are the second male reader I've come across in the last 2 weeks. Did you know someone's written another school one?!!

bj said...

Firstly, let me congratulate Nick on getting all but one of the answers on footie grounds. You can only answer the questions asked. And you won the GK round. Good luck in the semi. (I know it has already happened, but don't know how you do.) Did you prepare a whole load of poss questions for MM on the grounds specialism? I know some people do. Why not post your set here? Also, Gary has prepared some excellent questions on Scottish grounds, which he posted on my site. Gary, why don't you stick them up here too and see if anyone can beat Paul's score. I know it's a bit off-topic, but there is obviously an audience if Dave doesn't mind his site being hijacked by footie ground fanatics.

bj said...

PS. I have never heard of Antonia Forest. Notts Forest, but not Antonia.

eugene said...

FWIW, I thought Nick had the hardest GK set of the 8 broadcast during Friday night's double header. He scored very well on a tough set, so there is no disputing that he was a worthy winner!

jeffgrimshaw said...

It’s Jeff Grimshaw here – I was a contestant a few weeks ago (I’m currently clinging on to one of the runner-up spots…) I must say that I found my own SS (Chicago Bears) generally easier than I expected it to be, although given the niche subject (in the UK anyway) most folks probably wouldn’t have noticed. My round could be broken down as follows: 10 points that I just “knew”, 5 points gained from revising, 1 pass to a question I knew but had a brain freeze, 1 wrong guess to a good question and 1 wrong guess to a question that was SO obscure I didn’t feel it was a fair question at all.

jeffgrimshaw said...

Oh, and for the record, I scored 12 armchair points on the football grounds round

MashamLad said...

OK here's the "facts I enjoyed discovering while revising" quiz on football grounds. Best I've had from my friends so far is 4 so I think I've pitched it at the expert end of the market...

1. Which two existing League clubs moved to new grounds in August 2010?
2. Which team played league football at Kepier Heughs and Holiday Park?
3. The stands at Molineux are named after Billy Wright, Stan Cullis, Steve Bull and which other club legend?
4. Which two teams entered the League in 1920 both playing at grounds called “The Nest”?
5. Nearly all main stands and club offices and east-facing to avoid looking into the afternoon sun. Why did Chester City’s Deva Stadium build them facing west?
6. Which was the first League club to build a cantilevered stand?
7. Who played League football at Watling Street, Dartford?
8. What is the name of the church which cuts into the corner of Goodison Park?
9. Which League ground was used as a prisoner of war camp during WW2, with prisoners’ huts being built on the pitch?
10. Which current ground’s record attendance was set longest ago, for an FA Cup tie against Burnley in 1911?
11. Which two teams moved to new grounds in both 1895 and 1997?
12. In the early 1900s, which ground was designed, surveyed and engineered by Harry Pumfrey, an art school graduate and carpenter with no architectural knowledge or experience?
13. Which club played at Oozehead, Pleasington Cricket Club, Alexandra Meadows and Leamington Road before building its current ground?
14. Which club’s offices were in the adjacent Princess Royal pub until 1929, when the League ordered them to move the offices into their Main Stand?
15. Which club’s former ground built a stand in 1926 requiring the bridging of the Rover Trent?
16. Which stadium won the “Building of the Year” Award from the Royal Society of British Architects?
17. Opened in September 1910, which was the first League stadium named after a living club benefactor?
18. Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium was renamed Hillsborough in 1912. What had it been called for the 20 previous years of its life?
19. Of the 30 new grounds opened by existing League clubs since 1988, which is the only one to have hosted the club’s all-time record attendance?
20. Peel Croft and Derby Turn are former League grounds for clubs from which town?

drgaryegrant said...

Crikey, now that would have been a hard set. I only know 9 (St Luke's) because I'm sn Everton fan, and have been to memorabilia sales inside. Though I would guess 5 is so that they look out onto Wales rather than England! (And quite right too, if so...)

As a counterpart, and mainly for Brian's benefit (Paul won't be able to hijack these!) here's 5 fewer Scottish questions....
So, you have 2 minutes on Scottish grounds - your time starts now:-
1. Until Mid-90s improvements, which ground, next to a railway line, suffered from the fact that the floodlights would sway, plunging the pitch into darkness, if a train went past during an evening fixture?
2. Which ground is next to a former mental institution, the crowd would sometimes be bolstered by up to 33% by 'inmates' on a day out?
3 Which ground's name, translated, roughly means 'hill of dung'?
4 Which ground utilises the floodlights from Cardiff Arms Park, after the Welsh ground was demolished?
5 Which ground, notorious for its freezing terraces, is approximately 20m from the North Sea?
6. Which ground features a stand named after someone who died within the stadium?
7. What feature, now seen the world over, was first introduced at Pittodrie Stadium in the 1920s?
8. Which ground has hosted four world championships in a sport that is played neither on grass, nor an athletics track?
9 Which team plays at a stadium occupying the site where the Cutty Sark tea clipper was built?
10 In what way did a scrotum damage Ayr United's stadium in 2011?
11. Which Scottish team are unbeaten in European competition matches played at their home stadium?
12. Which ground has a stand that shares its name with an Enid Blyton creation?
13. Two Scottish grounds were previously thought to hold a record, but it has since been established that the record belongs to MTK and BKV of Budapest. Which record, and which two grounds?
14. Which team obtained 478 seats from Newcastle United for their main stand Newcastle being chosen because they wear similar colours?
15. At 127m above sea level, which is Scotland's highest altitude stadium?

bj said...

OK, I don’t follow football any more, but I used to. I went to Gothenburg when the Dons won the CWC in ’83 and I have been to a fair few Scottish grounds. I think I have been to about two in England, but here goes…

English answers
3. I think that came up on Friday, didn’t it. I didn’t know it then and can’t remember what was said.
11 Sunderland and Bolton?
15 Stoke?
16 Stadium of Light?
O/w no idea.

Scottish answers
I got 3 out of the first 5. I now know the answers, so won’t post anything, so others can have a go.
6. Good question, no idea.
7 Dugout? I am an Aberdeen fan.
8 Nope
9 I assume this has to be Dumbarton?
10 ?! (To quote from Only Connect)
11 And you are a Raith Rovers fan…
12 Ah the Golliwog Stand, where is that again?
13 Pass
14 Elgin City. I wrote a feature about them and their bid to get into the league. My wife comes from Huntely, they are the closest league team… Now, I am having doubts.
15 Hmm, I think it is maybe Airdrie. Funnily enough I was just thinking about Excelsior in the context of Question 11, because Queen of the South played their home European match there. I was at that one too.

LisaH said...

Is 5 something to do with it needing to face into England rather than Wales - or a premonition that the team would 'go west'?

eugene said...

Nick's English grounds set is rock hard, I've been to approx 20 English grounds but none of those look easy on first glance, think I'll tackle Gary's Scottish set. Hopefully I should get a few of these as I've been to a game at every Scottish league ground except Dumbarton and St Mirren's new stadia (not to mention lots of former league stadia such as Annfield, Douglas Park, Muirton Park, Love Street etc). Ok here goes:

Until Mid-90s improvements, which ground, next to a railway line, suffered from the fact that the floodlights would sway, plunging the pitch into darkness, if a train went past during an evening fixture?
Quite a few Scottish grounds next to railway lines, Starks Park maybe?
2. Which ground is next to a former mental institution, the crowd would sometimes be bolstered by up to 33% by 'inmates' on a day out?
No idea, but I'm tempted to say that most Scottish football fans are in need of psychiatric help.
3 Which ground's name, translated, roughly means 'hill of dung'?
No idea again, could be any of them given the manure that passes for football on display at most of them.
4 Which ground utilises the floodlights from Cardiff Arms Park, after the Welsh ground was demolished?
I have a dim recollection that this is Cliftonhill, Albion Rovers.
5 Which ground, notorious for its freezing terraces, is approximately 20m from the North Sea?
Gotta be Gayfield, marginally colder and closer to the sea than Pittordie.
6. Which ground features a stand named after someone who died within the stadium?
Pass.
7. What feature, now seen the world over, was first introduced at Pittodrie Stadium in the 1920s?
Pass.
8. Which ground has hosted four world championships in a sport that is played neither on grass, nor an athletics track?
Best guess, Central Park, Cowdenbeath - speedway or stock car racing?
9 Which team plays at a stadium occupying the site where the Cutty Sark tea clipper was built?
I'm with BJ on this one, Dumbarton?
10 In what way did a scrotum damage Ayr United's stadium in 2011?
I assume that's Hurricane Bawbag? I'm just surprised it didn't leave Somerset Park in marginally better shape than it found it.
11. Which Scottish team are unbeaten in European competition matches played at their home stadium?
I think this is Raith Rovers, I was at the Bayern Munich game at Easter Road, which they lost, but from what I can remember they won the previous 2 home ties in the competition at Starks Park. My team, QOS, are unbeaten on our home ground in Europe too, as BJ says we played our only home European game at the "delightful" Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie. Oh well, at least we got a trip to the marginally more glamorous Copenhagen out of the away leg!
12. Which ground has a stand that shares its name with an Enid Blyton creation?
No idea.
13. Two Scottish grounds were previously thought to hold a record, but it has since been established that the record belongs to MTK and BKV of Budapest. Which record, and which two grounds?
I'm assuming this is the record for close proximity and the grounds are Tannadice and Dens Park.
14. Which team obtained 478 seats from Newcastle United for their main stand Newcastle being chosen because they wear similar colours?
Elgin City?
15. At 127m above sea level, which is Scotland's highest altitude stadium?
I think this is Ice Station Broadwood, it's not that close to the sea, but it definitely rivals Gayfield and Pittordrie for the title coldest ground in Scotland.

Gruff said...

I have a lot of sympathy for Nick. It is a bitter/sweet feeling when you score really highly, but also know that you did hours upon hours of prep that was at way to high a level.

The game is about winning, but I bet Nick could have got the same score with the difficulty ramped up a couple of notches. For a contestant that would be much more satisfying.

LisaH said...

Please will someone put me out of my misery on the Enid Blyton character!

eugene said...

Of course, I just realised the answer to the Enid Blyton question: The Famous Five Stand at Easter Road, a stone's throw away from where I live. I should have got that one straight away!

drgaryegrant said...

Yep, Famous Five stand it is. The answers is full:-

1 Raith Rovers (who I support)
2 Ochilview, Stenhousemuir
3 Pittodrie
4 Cliftonhill, Albion Rovers
5 Gayfield, Arbroath
6. Fir Park (Motherwell) - the Phil O'Donnell Stand
7. Dugouts
8. Central Park, Cowdenbeath - has held 4 Stock car World Championships (if you've never been to this dump, you are so far from the pitch because of the track, you may as well not have bothered going)
9. Dumbarton
10. 'Hurricane Bawbag' blew the roof off the main stand
11. Raith Rovers - who beat Gotu Itrotarfelag and Akranes in their two games at Starks Park
(defeat to Bayern Munich was at Easter Road).
12. Hibs - Famous Five stand
13. Dens and Tannadice; the two closest football stadia in the world
14. Elgin
15. Broadwood Stadium (Clyde)

Londinius said...

Blimey !

See what happens when you leave the blog alone for a few days ! Sorry I haven't been around - it's been the first week back at school.

Special thanks to Nick - many congratulations on a fine performance, and thanks for taking the time and trouble to leave comments here.

Not sure if this is a record number of comments for any post on LAM - but I think it is - but it's defintiely a record for comments on any post about Mastermind !

Dave