Footballers v. The Draughtsmen
What, semi final time already ? Well, yes, last Monday saw two experienced and able teams battling it out for that coveted place in the final. In the first round the Footballers team of Barry Humphrey, Michael McPartland and captain Jamie Turner beat the Second Violinists 18 – 11. In the quarters they faced the much fancied Cinephiles, who featured our own Nancy Dickman, and managed a one point victory in a classic game. The Draughtsmen are no strangers to tight wins themselves either. Andy Tucker, Steve Dodding and captain Iwan Thomas, had tied with the excellent Joinees in their first round match, winning because of captain Iwan’s steely nerve and superior buzzing.The quarter final proved a little more relaxed, seeing them win by 28 – 14. Well, they were highly unlikely to manage a margin of that sort in this match.
Round One – What’s The Connection ?
Footballers kicked off with Twisted Flax, and the strains of Madness greeted our ears, singing Our House. Having nothing to lose from the safety of the sofa I had a punt , knowing that Our House is the title of the ‘Jukebox Musical ‘ based on Madness songs. This proved to be a good guess. The Foots took another 4 clues, including Never Forget by Take That, and We Will Rock You by Queen. Well, they still had it right. Captain Iwan of the Draughts took Eye of Horus, and this gave them the pictures. They took a gamble after three, on the name Patti, since the second picture was Patti Hearst. However when the last picture was offered to the Foots for a bonus, they knew that Patti Hearst, Richard Nixon and a turkey have all received a presidential pardon in the USA . The first picture which nobody recognized was Brigham Young. They had the chance to go further ahead with Water, which revealed The Poorhouse Fair – The British Museum is Falling Down – A Single Man – and Ulysses. I confess that, along with the Foots, I only had an inkling with the last one, which famously takes place over a single day. That was the connection, and the Foots were keeping their heads, and at the moment taking points every time they came to bat. The Draughts took Lion, and found Fluke of a Whale – Nose of a dog – Stripes of a zebra – and at this clue Steve had it, that they are all used to tell specimens apart. Good shout. The Foots took Two Reeds, and got Hercule Poirot 06/08/1975 – Tour de France 26 / 07/ 2007 – Captain Birdseye 07/06/1971 – English Cricket 02/09/1882. Now, I would have gone for a five pointer, knowing that Poirot’s last case – Curtain – was published in 1975, so I would have said that these were all when the thing in question died – or were reported as having ‘died’ in inverted commas. I didn’t really get the Captain Birdseye one, but the cricket one made it certain. The Foots again made sure of it, taking the full set of clues. Horned Viper remained for the D’s. Capital of American Samoa – US S. Pacific Supply base saw the D’s show their class by taking places with doubled word names off two. Which had an interesting effect on the scores. The Foots had played really well, making sure of their own points, and taking a bonus when it was offered. And yet they still trailed by 5 points to 4. First indications were that it would be the flash of brilliance rather than safety first which would bring victory in this semi final.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?
The Foots opted for Flax again. CHERYL MOVES BACK IN WITH ASH - UNITED – COLE LOT OF LOVE – were revealed. Obviously newspaper headlines to do with the tedious Cheryl and Ashley Cole saga, but what came next ? Well, actually they were about the Cole saga, but that was purely coincidental. They were , consecutively the 4th last, 3rd last and penultimate headlines of the unlamented News of the World. the last being Thanks You And Goodbye. Nobody had that one. The Ds took pictures behind Horned Viper. We saw two Stiles – Nobby came immediately to mind . Harold Wilson confirmed my thinking, and at about the same time as Iwan I said – Banks !- . I didn’t have the precise connection, in as much as these were England 1966 World Cup final players, working backwards from the number 4 shirt, but hey, I’ll still take it. Unlucky for the Foots that the first two sets fell out this way, but then them’s the breaks. Water revealed Wren – The Golden Hind –“Portcullis !” I shouted – then Britannia. Like me the Foots knew we were dealing with the tails side of pre decimal coins of rising value, and they had it for a point. Would thrift have been accepted, I wonder ? At some stage this rather than the portcullis was on the tails side of a threepenny bit. Whatever the case, the Ds took Two Reeds, with 2nd of May – 7th of September -4th of March . This was one of those nasty little puzzles, and neither team had it. The 2nd letter of May is a – the 7th letter of September is b – the 4th of march is c. So you need D – or the 1st of December. Fiendish, simple, and beautiful. Eye of Horus gave Germania Inferior to the Foots. This was followed by Belgica, then Lugdunensis. Obviously Roman provinces, but which one would be next ? The Foots didn’t have it, neither did the Ds. The answer wanted was Aquitania, and I wouldn’t have had it. Lion remained for the Ds. 0th : Protect Humanity – and like the Ds I guessed that we were on Asimov’s Laws of Robotics. They went off two for 3rd : Protect itself, and scooped the points for doing so. This had been an extremely tricky round, but the Ds had increased their lead, with the score now standing at 11 – 6.
Offered the choice the D’s plumped for Lion. it wasn’t long before they unearthed Greylag – Canada – Egyptian and Snow, a set of geese. This was soon followed by Cough – Acid – Chocolate and Pear – all confectionary drops. They worked out we had truck/engine manufacturers, and Newsnight presenters, but they couldn’t quite untangle them . I approved of them using up their three lives, rather than just letting the time run out. The Newsnight presetners were Wark – Esler – Tusa and Maitlis, and the engine manufacturers were Iveco – Paxman – Isuzu and Cummins. Tricky, but as I said earlier, them’s the breaks.
The Water wall quickly yielded a set of – the Day Of – to the Foots, with Rest – Reckoning – The Dead and Action. They could see a set of panels, and also Ian McEwan novels, but they just wouldn’t resolve at all. The second line – Repulse – Calcutta – Arnitson and Amsterdam was a right old swine. Apparently they were all East Indiamen vessels. What a nasty line. Solar – Saturday – Black Dogs and Atonement were the Ian McEwans, which left the panels – Wall - Pools - Rocker and Instrument. Nasty, nasty semi final wall, that one. So the scores going into the last round was 17 – 10 to the Ds.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
Fairies kicked us off , and the Foots took them 3 – 0. Subtitles to movie sequels proved tricky , but Andy of the Ds took the last 2. Food and their North American names were very much to Barry and the Foots’ liking, and they took them 4 – 0, AND the D’s lost a point. Then The Foots lost a point on lines from the Lord’s prayer. That, and the two managed by the Ds were just enough to give them a win by one point , 19 – 18. What a fantastic match ! Congratulations to the Draughtsmen, worthy finalists . But commiserations to the Footballers, a fantastic performance to come back after the disappointment on the wall like that. Well played both.