Two big quizzes on two consecutive days. Someone up taking up arms against the sea of phone cheats in the rugby club – and my team winning the quiz on the same night. You can’t ask a lot more than that . Can you ? Well, apparently, you can. A while ago I preordered the new Mastermind Quiz Book, which was waiting for me when I got home from work this evening.
I will confess that Nancy Dickmann, champion in 2009, did email me a few days ago about the book. Nancy is one of the three champions who was interviewed for the book – Jesse ( Honey ) and Pat ( Gibson ) being the other two. Nancy received a pre-publication copy as a thank you for her involvement, and she was kind enough to alert me to the fact that this very blog gets an honourable mention on page 237 – in a section entitled “Life After the Black Chair “ ( hmm – sounds familiar, that. ) I quote ,
”In 2012 Mastermind winners were to be found everywhere from the blogosphere ( David Clark’s lifeaftermastermind ). . . “ My thanks to compiler Richard Morgale for the name check, and if any readers are making their first visit to the blog because of it, then you’re very welcome.
As for the book itself, well, you’re probably thinking to yourself that I’m biased, and you’re right. I am . I can’t be dispassionate about anything associated with the show. So with that admission, I have to say that my first impressions are that I like the book a lot. The book is organized into 31 shows. In each show there are two specialist rounds, and two general knowledge rounds. Each round consists of 30 questions. By my reckoning that’s getting on for 4000 questions, which really isn’t bad going at all, although possibly no fewer than you would expect from a book of almost 600 pages. That’s not all, though. Between each show there are short sections which are designed to be of interest to the show’s fans. Some of this won’t come as anything that new to fans – the much touted rejected subjects for example, but there’s quite a lot of new stuff as well – interviews with Nancy , Jesse and Pat, for example, and sections on Celebrity Mastermind and Junior Mastermind. For anyone thinking of applying to the show too there’s some good advice on passing, and also on preparing for general knowledge rounds.
I believe that the questions are all taken from the show – indeed I can recognize some of them from rounds I have seen, and indeed even some that I was asked myself. I think that there has been some mixing and matching of questions from different rounds to make each round up to 30 questions – maybe I’m wrong , but I think that the round on the Modern Summer Olympics has some questions that I was asked in 2006, and also some questions that Andy Crane was asked in 2010. Nothing wrong with that either. In fact there’s nothing wrong with any of the questions. The GK rounds are difficult enough to keep good and serious quizzers going, but also fairly accessible to the armchair fan as well – I’ve worked through just the first 5 shows, and I’m averaging 25 out of 30 for the GK rounds. I’m enjoying the Specialist rounds a lot as well. I've scored well, in fact , very well, on some of them, but when you average it out, quite a bit less overall than on the GK rounds. That's how it should be.
The best thing I can say about the book is that it stands up well alongside Boswell Taylor’s 1970s paperbacks, which were all collected in a hardback edition in the 1980s. Good stuff.