Friday, 17 February 2012

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 15

Well, I won’t lie to you, the wiki challenge certainly enlivened tonight’s two shows for me.The wiki what ? I’ll say a little bit more about that in another post, but I don’t want it to get in the way of the shows themselves. So let’s get started. James Cullen was first of tonight’s eight contenders, and he answered on our first popular culture subject of the evening, Kate Bush. Ahhh, Kate Bush. Sorry, I was miles away there. If you’re a chap who was an impressionable teenager when she first burst onto the scene, you’ll know what I mean. James Cullen was certainly not a teenager – in fact he can’t have been born when Kate Bush first burst onto the scene, but notwithstanding that he put in a fine round. 15 points and 1 pass was a very good return for 2 minutes’ mental effort.

Edwin Deady took the prize for the most unusual subject of the evening, with Ancient and Primitive Boats, which come to think of it was one of Sealink’s less successful advertising slogans, wasn’t it ? Yes, showing my age again. I was happy to take a point for knowing that the coracle men can be found on the Teifi, and that was it for me. Poor Edwin I think was expecting something rather different from what he was given in this round. I may be wrong, but it looked to me very much like a textbook case of the contender’s and the setter’s conception of the parameters of the subject being somewhat at odds. I think that Edwin was expecting a lot more about the construction of various ancient boats, and a lot less about the people who actually built them. He seemed so shell shocked by the time the first minute was up that he was probably missing stuff he’s known for years as well, poor chap. It’s not pleasant when it happens, I’m sure.

A good old, more traditional SS followed , as Jackie Heaton answered questions on the Detective novels of Agatha Christie. Everyone seemed to be on pretty solid ground here, as the setters posed questions which needed quite a detailed, in depth knowledge of the books for anyone to do well. I’m not a Christie fan, and I managed just the one answer myself. Jackie’s 11 was a good score, but it left her with some work to do in the GK rounds.

Anthony Barton was answering on the Franco Prussian War. This was one of the two subjects in this show I used for the wiki challenge. Once again, I will come to that in another post. So I won’t tell you how I did with it, but Anthony did just fine, picking off 15 correct answers and one pass, albeit that he always seemed slightly surprised when one of his answers was right – even though the vast majority of them were just that. So it maybe wasn’t quite a case of being a two horse race by the half way stage, but you fancied that the winner would be Anthony or James.

Spare a thought for Edwin Deady. It must be pretty horrible having to come back to the chair after you’ve had an SS round where it’s something you clearly know a great deal about, but for whatever reason it hasn’t worked out. You’re trying to cope with the disappointment of that, and you have all the pressure of 2 and a half minutes of GK, where a win is out of the question for you, and it’s going to be a hard slog just to get something like a decent score. So well done to him for keeping his head enough to get eight points to take him to respectability. Jackie did a little better with her own round, to the tune of one point, putting her up to a total of 20. That was never really going to be enough to win, not with 2 players still to come. One of them might have a ‘mare of a round, but surely not both of them. For the record I had my lowest score – 15 , on James’ GK round, my highest on Jackie’s with 19, and 16 on Edwin’s, and 18 on Anthony’s.

Well, James Cullen certainly won’t have enjoyed his GK round very much. He struggled, and passed a few, and became becalmed in the middle of the round. Having said all that, although his GK score of 7 was the lowest of this show, it was still enough to put him ahead of Jackie with 22. Which meant that Anthony needed 7 and no more than 3 passes to win the show. Surely he’d do it comfortably. Well, at the start of the round it didn’t necessarily seem that way. He took a long time to get into his stride, but unlike many contenders maintained his pace through the tricky last minute, and even picked up a little. His 11 wasn’t the most impressive GK round we’ll see all series, but in the context of what seemed to be a very nervous show, it wasn’t bad at all – certainly good enough to put daylight between James and himself. Well played, sir.

The Details

James Cullen The Life and Music of Kate Bush15 - 17 - 422 – 5
Edwin DeadyAncient and Primitive Boats4 - 08 - 612 – 6
Jackie HeatonDetective Novels of Agatha Christie11 - 39 - 620 – 9
Anthony BartonThe Franco Prussian War15 - 111 - 526 – 6

9 comments:

bj said...

Interesting. I would have done best on James's GK set and worst on Jackie's - exact opposite of you Dave. I felt a bit sorry for James, who clearly knew Water for Elephants and Paretsky, but couldn't get them out.

Londinius said...

Hi bj

Often one man's GK meat is an other man's poison ! I tend to do best on rounds where the contender builds up a head of steam - it is true that momentum makes a lot of difference in a MM round.

drgaryegrant said...

I totally agree with 'Ancient and Primitive Boats' that it appeared Edwin clearly was expecting something different, hence his relatively low score.
I have to say though, I almost predicted that before the show, in that when I saw the subject I thought "That's brave - that could mean ANYTHING" ie boats in history, archaological boats, primitive boats as used today, their construction, what they were used for, boats worldwide, who used them etc etc.
Sometimes the art is in picking a subject that is a good fit for the show ie has fairly narrow, easily definable parameters. I dare say the gent in question has had a lifelong interest in aspects of old boats - just not the ones the setters chose to ask about! But I'd still contend that your interests in life do not *always* make good specialist subjects. I haven't done SO bad on things I've picked for the show which I wasn't interested in before. I reckon that if you don't know it already, you can't get complacent with your revision!

Londinius said...

Hi Gary

Yes, and one thing I hadn't thought about before. If you pick a subject which is pretty much 'new' to you, then you are actually probably approaching it from exactly the same position as the setter. Which is not a bad idea at all when you think about it.

Andrew B. said...

Do they not have specialist setters for the specialist subjects these days, then? They certainly used to (e.g. Patrick Moore for Astronomy).

Londinius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Londinius said...

Hi Andrew

AFIK that ended when the Magnus era ended. Certainly there are a number of setters credited by name at the end of each show, the same ones, and 21st century quiz. However the guys at 21st Century Quiz also do know who to ask to get expert help with a huge range of subjects. For example, you may recall a fuss over nothing in the news a couple of years ago, when Gareth, who was answering on Northampton Town, was asked if he could lend a particular book to one of the setters for 21st Century Quiz. The setter didn't know it was Gareth who was going to be answering the questions - the setter just knew that he was someone who was extremely knowledgable about Northampton Town, and would have a copy of the book in question.

jeffgrimshaw said...

I agree that Edwin was probably expecting a different focus on his SS round compared to what he actually got. I similar thing happened in my heat where Keith, who took the chess player Tigran Petrossian for his SS, received lots of questions on specific moves in individual games, which he admitted that he wasn’t expecting and which contributed to his relatively low score.

jeffgrimshaw said...

Regarding the SS, when you apply, you have to submit to the production team a list of books that you have used as reference material. The claim from the team is that this to ensure that they are clear on what you understand the subject to be and that they won’t necessarily use them as the source of the questions you are asked.

However, based on my SS round, I’m fairly certain that they did indeed use the 2 books I provided – certainly all of the answers could be found in those 2 books. In fact, one of my questions specifically mentioned one of the books and another one asked for information that was so obscure and specifically worded that it could only have come from the other book.

I’m not saying that this is wrong, but I’m fairly certain that they didn’t ask any subject experts to contribute to my questions. Maybe they only do this if there isn’t sufficient material easily available? (You can certainly pick up the 2 books I used easily enough on Amazon.)