The four hardy quiz warriors who had won their places in this first semi final were Austin McQuade, Dennis Muchmore, Frank Potter and Ray Ward. The form guide, such as it was, suggested that there was next to nothing to choose between yesterday’s four semi-finalists. Their scores in the first round ran the whole gamut from 13 to 15. Still, as we know, the scores don’t tell the whole story. For one thing, they don’t tell you anything about the relative strength of the opposition. I’ve played against Ray once, and I know that he’s a very strong player, and so I fancied he was the man to beat. On with the show.
Austin kicked off. He took his first 2 , but missed out on St. Vitus ‘ Dance. Frank took that. Dennis didn’t know the Sports Personality of the year for his first – I’m sorry, but that’s basic, especially considering some of the really tricky questions he was to be given as first questions in the rounds to come. Frank took one, but didn’t know that Oak Apple day falls in May. Ray took 2, but Vercingetorix took him out of the equation. At the end of the first round, once bonuses were taken into account, Ray , Dennis and Austin each had two, and Frank led with 3. Austin missed out on Edgar Allan Poe for his first. Dennis didn’t know a guanaco for his. Frank at least took his first 2, but didn’t know that Captain Bill Turner was the last captain of the Lusitania. Ray took a good three, but didn’t know that the fireworks display commemorated in Handel’s music for the Royal Fireworks took place in Green Park. Again, once bonuses were added, Frank and Ray both had 6 each. Austin didn’t know that Odysseus came from Ithaca – Ray did. Dennis got a nasty one about a way of producing gemstones – nobody had that one. Frank didn’t know that the fyrd was the anglo saxon army or militia. Ray didn’t know that Our Exploits at West Poley was the only children’s novel written by Thomas Hardy. So neither of the front runners had managed to put a spurt on , but Ray had put his nose in front with 7. For round 4 Austin got a music question about ELP’s version of Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. He didn’t know the first names of the trio. Dennis didn’t know that ‘Bonnie Dundee’ was loyal to James II during the Jacobite rising. Frank didn’t know that NASCAR racing grew out of moonshine smugglers. Ray didn’t know petiole for his first. All contestants seemed a little becalmed on their own questions, but Ray was taking the bonuses where they could be had, and his lead had now extended to 8.
This brought us to the Beat the Brains interval. The first asked them which British educational institution was founded by Miss Emily Ward in London in , but can now be found in Bath. They didn’t know it was the Norland college for the famous Nannies. The second asked which educational establishment is in White Lodge in Richmond – which they knew to be the Royal Ballet School.
All looked really tight between Ray and Frank as we began round 5. Austin took his first but didn’t know that chokey comes from an indian word for toll house. Dennis didn’t know the film The Three Faces of Eve. Ray nearly got it, but gave her 12 faces instead. Frank took his own first but didn’t know that patchouli comes from a member of the mint family. Ray didn’t get his first which asked for the title vizier. Which meant that the two were now both tied on 8. Good game. Austin gave Ray a bonus with Cleve Cloud for his first. Dennis took one, nobody knew Sir Stafford Cripps for his second. Frank got a very tricky Geog one which gave Ray a highly valuable bonus. Ray missed out his first, but no matter , he’d gone out to a 2 point lead with 10. In round 7 Austin took his first , but didn’t know Picasso’s second wife. Dennis got a nasty first one about Sir Patrick Spence which nobody knew. Frank didn’t know that the R101 crashed near Beauvais, and Ray was in like a coiled cobra. As for his own, he missed his first, but nobody knew that silver dishes into which we put golden apples are women . Fair enough. Both Ray and Frank had added a point to their scores. Austin got another music question to start, but Ray took the bonus, recognizing that it led to the independence of Belgium. Dennis took his first question, but got a nasty one about a scotch convoy for his second. Frank Potter didn’t know that Tel el Kebbir was in Egypt. Another point for Ray. He didn’t know Alberto Juantorena won 400m Olympic gold , though, which didn’t matter. He now had a 3 point lead.
So the last round had arrived. Austin didn’t know Charles Russell founded the Jehovah’s Witnesses – nobody knew it. Dennis didn’t know a group of works completed in the 1860s. Frank needed a good set , but his first did for him. The Daily Review was founded by Daniel Defoe. Ray had already won, then when asked his first question – just as well because he had it wrong, Guarani being a native people, language and currency of Paraguay. Austin had that. So many congratulations to Ray Ward. A worthy winner, and I think it’s fair to say that in yesterday’s show his all-round knowledge was greater than the other contestants. That’s pretty much what it’s all about.
Austin McQuade - 5
Dennis Muchmore - 6
Frank Potter - 10
Ray Ward - 13