I had quite a wait for her turn, though, since she was drawn to go last. Drawn to go first was Peter Wharmby, who was taking as his subject RMS Titanic. I had the feeling that this would be one of those subjects where, if you waited patiently, a few questions would come up which you’d know. The Carpathia, J. Bruce Ismay, Guggenheim being examples of the sort of thing I mean. In the end there were enough of these to bring me 7 points, which was an encouraging beginning to the show. Peter Wharmb y certainly knew his stuff, enough to bring him 14 points and no passes. The signs were that the questions were flowing slightly more freely than they were last week – not a lot though as I still thought there were too many overly long questions tonight.
The first of tonight’s University Challengers was Thomas Grinyer. Thomas was taking the American Revolutionary War. This was another subject that offered a small but gemlike clutch of gimmes – Delaware – Valley Forge – Yorktown to name but three, and so this subject added another 6 to my aggregate. The round didn’t quite come off as I’m sure Thomas hoped. he obviously knows his stuff, but never quite managed to put together enough of a run of correct answers to build up a momentum. 8 is a perfectly reasonable score, but it’s not enough to give you a chance of winning when someone already has 14 on the board.
Colin Wilson, like Rachael, has ‘previous’ on Mastermind. He was a repechage slot semi finalist in Jesse’s series in 2010. Back then his performances were built on very good specialist rounds. I liked his subject tonight – East German Athletics 1976 – 1988. Colin answered like an old experienced hand, snapping out his answers almost as soon as John had finished asking the questions. As for the questions, well they mostly focused on athletic performances themselves, and in particular the performances in the Olympics, which suited me fine. Colin managed 13 and no passes, and I managed 8 of them . So I was already on an aggregate of 21 for the show, my best for weeks. Whether I would be able to add any of them during Rach’s round was a different question, though.
Well, at last the moment that I’d been waiting for had come. Rachael has been this way before. She won the third heat of Ian’s 2011 series, with a brilliant round on Belle and Sebastian and a solid performance on GK, before being pipped by Julia Hobbs for a place in the final. Her subject tonight was John Peel’s Festive Fifty. Right, confession time. I read an article about Rachael and her subject a good half hour before the show, and what she mentioned in the article brought me three of my 6 points. Loved the mention of the Frank Chickens, whom I saw in a free show in Battersea Park in 1985. Hmm – not my cup of tea, but I still got the question right. Rachael placed herself in joint first at half time with an impressive 14 and no passes. Incidentally my aggregate SS total was 27, which is one of my very best.
I was pleased to see that Thomas Grinyer didn’t seem too badly affected by being in fourth at the turn around, and he put on a very good 15 point round on GK. Mind you, this will have come as no surprise to those of us who witnessed some of his fine performances in UC last year. OK, so 23 didn’t look like a winning total in this show, but it certainly looked like it would be enough to at least put some of the competition into the corridor of doubt.
Colin Wilson , during both of his previous appearences on the show had produced solid rather than inspiring GK rounds. At the start of this one he was going great guns, however although he continued to snap out answers at speed – good technique that – the number of correct answers tailed away. By the end of the round he had at least managed double figures, and his 23 points was achieved with no passes, which at least put him into the lead for now.
Peter Wharmby , our only totally unknown quantity tonight, never seemed particularly hurried in his answers in either specialist or GK, and yet he kept finding enough correct ones to push his score to the target and then beyond. I always try to be fair to every contender, but I hope that I might be forgiven for saying that with every correct answer he gave I couldn’t help trying to calculate what this might mean for Rachael’s chances. Peter scored 13 and 3 passes, which would give him a shot at a semi final repechage slot . This gave Rachel a target of 27 and 2 passes to be sure.
Rachael herself would tell you that she wasn’t really a quizzer before University Challenge. In her last appearences in the show, Rachael’s GK rounds weren’t as impressive as her specialist rounds. Since then Rach has really got the quiz bug, and has played a couple of years in a quiz league. The stupendous GK round she put in tonight is a testament to just how much regular quizzing in a good league can help you improve your GK. From a very early stage in the round it became very clear that not only was Rachael going to win, but she was going to set a monster of a total. 19, count them, 19 correct answers taking her total to 33 and no passes. what a performance ! Rachael, many , many congratulations !
Well played too to our other contenders, especially to Peter Wharmby, whose 27 just may take him to the semis.Good show.
|Peter Wharmby||RMS Titanic||14 - 0||13 - 3||27 – 3|
|Thomas Grinyer||The American Revolutionary War||8 - 1||15 - 4||23 – 5|
|Colin Wilson||East German Athletics 1976 - 1983||13 - 0||10 - 0||23 – 0|
|Rachael Neiman||John Peel’s Festive Fifty||14 - 0||19 - 0||33 – 0|