Last Monday brought us the last of the heats of Brain of Britain, and I was delighted to hear our own Paul Philpott taking part. Paul is the proprietor of the Just Quiz blog, and he played in the same heat of Mastermind 2011 as Brian Pendreigh, who was himself a contestant in this year’s BoB. It’s a small world. On with the show. Ian Banks kicked us off and managed his first question before being stopped by a definition of a hurdy gurdy. Dennis Muchmore was happy to take a bonus on that. he added one more of his own before failing to answer that Richmond Virginia was the second capital of the confederate states during the US Civil WAR. Ian took that one back from him. Paul came next, but he was stopped by his own first questions, a tricky little number on allotropes. Nobody managed a bonus. Maggie Pearce brought the round to an end, managing one, but being stopped by her second on the Basques.
Ian started off with two correct answers in the second round, but he didn’t know that Cassandra was punished by Apollo in having no one ever believe her prophecies – which were always true. Dennis took that one. It really is worth getting together a decent knowledge of greek mythology, because these questions do recur. Dennis stumbled on his own first question, but then nobody knew that polyps and medusas are stages in the life cycle of a jellyfish. Paul showed his class by taking two on the bounce, but nobody could get the Addled Parliament sat during the reign of James I. Maggie didn’t know that Sex and the Single Girl was written by Helen Gurley Brown – Dennis knew that , which kept him level with Ian on 4 points, with Paul a further 2 behind.
The next round saw each contestant fail on their own first question. Ian didn’t know that Napoleon won the battle of Marengo in 1800, which gave Paul a bonus. Nobody knew that Claudio Suarez set a world record number of football caps for an outfield player representing Mexico. Likewise nobody knew Paul’s question that the only mammal belonging to the class ornithorhyncus is the duck billed platypus. Maggie probably should have known that the first commander of the British Expeditionary force in World War I was Sir John French – Ian certainly did, and I suspect Paul and Dennis did as well, but were beaten to the buzzer. Round 4 took us up to the Beat the Brains interval. Ian didn’t know that Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday was linked to his campaign to get the birthday of Martin Luther King recognized as a National Holiday in the USA .Dennis took that. He didn’t know that Helsinki is still sometimes referred to in Sweden as Helsingfors – nobody had that. Paul didn’t know that the J in J Edgar Hoover is John – that one went to Ian. Finally Maggie got a nasty one asking the name of the largest glacier in the northern hemisphere. Neither the brains nor I knew that it was the Humboldt Glacier.
The Brains were given one chestnut and one bouncer in the interval. The bouncer was – where is the Penguin Islet ? Apparently it’s just off Tasmania in the Bass Strait. They didn’t know it, and neither did I. The chestnut was – where are the islets of Langerhans. Alas, they zigged with kidneys when they should have zagged with pancreas. Book token duly despatched.
At this stage Paul was three points behind Ian. Nothing to panic about, but we were entering the part of the competition where everything would be decided. He needed at least 12 to guarantee a place in the semis. Ian took his first, but didn’t know the peek a boo girl – Veronica Lake. Dennis did. He managed his own first two, but didn’t know that Somerse Maugham, when visiting the set of Spencer Tracey’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde asked – Which one is he playing now ? Paul had that one. Paul could have done with a nice set of two or three now, but he didn’t know a german doctor who first used cocaine as a local anaesthetic. Dennis nipped in for that one. Maggie did manage her first, but didn’t know that the original name for the Thompson twins in the Tintin comics in French was Dupont and Dupond. Good bonus that from Ian, I thought. Ian had 8, but Dennis now led with 9, and I’m afraid that they were starting to pull away from Paul.
Nobody knew the Falklands – as in Falklands Sound – for Ian’s first, offering a lifeline to the others, and a chance for Dennis to gallop off into the distance. Dennis, though , missed his own first. He didn’t know that Berne is the only city in Switzerland to be a World Heritage Site. Paul got a nasty one – asked which three leaders met at Cairo in World War II. Churchill and Roosevelt were gettable, but the real bouncer in that one was Chinese nationalist leader Chiang Kai Shek. Maggie took her first, but Paul took a bonus on her second with Hooke’s Law. Round 7 would pretty much decide the contest. Ian took the first , but he didn’t know that the flags of Bhutan and Malta are linked by dragons. Dennis took the best set of the whole show with 3, falling down on species of turtles , which fell as a bonus to Maggie. Paul didn’t know what an orchidectomy was. Maggie , according to Russell, chuckled slightly as she supplied the correct answer – the removal of a testicle. Nobody knew her first though, which was the full name of Interpol. It’s the International Criminal Police Organisation.
Ian started round 8 two points behind Dennis. So the win was possible, but also Russell had said at the start of the show that 12 would see him through to the semis. So he missed his first question. Nobody knew that L’Enfant laid out the street plan of Washington DC. Dennis took his first, but missed out on the Berkshire Music Festival, held in Massachussetts. Paul didn’t know the Tamworth Manifesto, which gave Ian one bonus. If he could take one more . . . well, that’s exactly what he did. Maggie didn’t know that ricin is extracted from the castor oil plant, and Ian did. So Dennis won with 13, Ian took a runner up slot with 12. Well played both. Hard lines, Paul – but I hope that you still found it an enjoyable experience.
Ian Banks – 12
Dennis Muchmore - 13
Paul Philpot – 6
Maggie Pearce - 5