Saturday, 28 April 2012

In the News Questions


Who are the following and why are they in the news ?

1.Marcus Mumford
2.Astala
3.Terry Connor
4.Kyle Walker
5.Wilson Kipsang
6.Siobahn Benita
7.Pussy Riot
8.Claire Squires
9.Carina Trimmington
10.Mary Beard
11.Korima “Ruby” El Mahrouj
12.Cao Yupeng
13.Frederic Michel
14.Kurt Mix
15.The Perfect American
16.William Balfour 

In Other News

1.Which TV drama has been axed by the BBC after 2 series ?
2.Which famous former Labour MP died at the age of 89 ?
3.Which player , likely to play in the European Championships, has also been named in the GB Olympic Football squad ?
4.Reading became Championship champions after drawing with which team ?
5.Which team became champions of Division 1 ?
6.– and which team were also promoted from Division 1 ?
7.Who was voted PFA Player of the Year ?
8.A TV crew from which channel were arrested in Bahrain ?
9.Which driver won the Bahrain Grand Prix ?
10.Who won the women’s race in the London Marathon ?
11.Where did Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic
12.Name the daughter of Jean Marie Le Pen who scored the biggest ever vote for the far right in the French presidential elections ?
13.Who awoke from a coma last week ?
14.How much is the UK giving to the IMF ?
15.Which 4 teams are the top seeds in the Olympic football tournament ?
16.China is in the middle of an attempt to buy which breakfast cereal ?
17.Which drink is about to be officially declared as the national drink of India ?
18.Which country won the last place in the Olympic football tournament ?
19.– and in which stadium did they manage to do it ?
20.How many times did Theresa May refuse to answer whether officials had confirmed the date and time to launch proceedings over Abu Qatada ?
21.Which comedienne has upset Streatham Council with comments about the area ?
22.Who spoke to a government committee on the issue of drug abuse last week ?
23.Which US state is holding a vote on the abolition of the death penalty ?
24.The director of the Dr. Phibes films passed away last week. Who was he ?
25.What was the score in the Chelsea v. Barcelona second leg match ?
26.– and who scored Chelsea’s goals ?
27.Which teams are in the same group as GB in the Olympic football tournament ?
28.Who will replace Alesha Dixon as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing ?
29.Sarajevo has voted honorary citizenship to which film star ?
30.Mike Tindall has announced that he is to leave which club at the end of the season ?
31.What was the final score in the penalty shoot out of the Bayern v. Real Madrid match ?
32.Which actor will play Tonto in a new Lone Ranger film ?
33.Last week academics announced that they believe that Shakespeare had a co writer for which of his plays ?
34.Who was found guilty of war crimes in the Hague last week ?
35.Which Syrian city was attacked on Tuesday ?
36.Who were deported to Saudi Arabia last week ?
37.PM Gilani of Pakistan was sentenced for contempt last week. How long was his sentence ?
38.Who beat whom in the two Europa League semi finals last week ?



Friday, 27 April 2012

Mastermind Grand Final Preview

This is a really difficult one. My brain knows that the final will have already been recorded, and nothing that I write here can have the slightest effect on the outcome. Yet I get more predictions wrong than I ever get right, and while my comments on the curse of the Clark sofa are made with tongue in cheek, the fact is that I do honestly feel as if I am harming someone’s chances if I tip them to do well. It’s pathetic really.
Well, here is my unofficial table of the results from the semis. I assure you that it is pure coincidence that the three finalists who have shared their experiences with us on LAM fill the top three places.
Name Semi SSPassesSemi GKPassesTotalPasses
Gary Grant120160280
Andy Tucker110150260
Nick Reed130120250
Maya Davis120131251
Mark Wyatt130122252
David Love13112125 2
I’ve little doubt that it strikes you pretty much as it strikes me, that this is going to be very close. Now, I will make a confession here. As always, anyone who can get to a final would be a worthy winner. I would be delighted for any of our three contributors to become champ, and any one of them would deserve it. I hope, though, that I could be forgiven for saying that in my heart of hearts I’m rooting for Gary, my skipper from Only Connect. I distinctly remember as we went into the Grand Final of OC series 4 putting on the mantle of omniscient greybeard, and urging Neil and Gary to enjoy the experience, because grand finals don’t come along all that often. Well, Gary, you’re making it a habit, and it’s a nice habit to have. Certainly that experience will stand him in good stead.
But then my other tip for the top, Andy Tucker, also has experience of the playing in a Grand Final – of Brain of Britain no less. So the two of them, Gary and Andy both have that advantage over the other contenders. So while it’s entirely possible that one of the other 4 will have a blinder of a performance and win, on the balance of probability when you add the previous experience, and the great general knowledge of both, I think that one of them will be champ.
As for the other positions, well, flip a coin. Nick Reed has shown well all series, and you’d be a fool to count him out. Mark Wyatt is a speed merchant when it come to supplying answers. He’ll go like an express train in the SS round, and if the GK suits, he’ll be right up there. David Love has been extremely solid throughout the whole competition and looks unlikely to be overawed by the big occasion. As for Maya, who , if I’m brutally honest, has somewhat exceeded my expectations, if she can match her semi final performance she’ll be in the shake up at the end.
The last really close final – well, Nancy won by two clear points – but the last really close final was probably mine in 2007. I can see this being another very tight one.
Best of luck all 6 of you – I can’t wait

Answers to News Questions

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news ?
1. Matilda
2. Gloria Bangekila Ngema
3. Sweet Revenge
4. Tom Bower
5. Jim Yong Kim
6. Saajid Muhammad Badat
7. Enoch Powell, Joseph P. McCarthy and Sitting Bull
8. Pep Guardiola
9. Phil Dowd
10. Brian Redpath
11. Brendan Barber
12. David Gilroy
13. Inga Bejer Engh
14. Dick Clark
15. Agni – V
16. Gloriana
17. Mark Clattenburg
18. Levon Helm
19. Ched Evans
20. La Fille du Regiment
21. Helena Torry
22. Royal Deluxe
23. Face Britain
24. George Zimmerman
25. Natasha Harris
In Other News
1. Which Space Shuttle made its final journey to Washington DC, on the back of a 747, en route to the Smithsonian ?
2. Which single is set to be rereleased after 35 years to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee ?
3. – and who was the lead singer of the band who released it, who distanced himself from its rerelease ?
4. What was the score in the FA Cup semi final between Spurs and Chelsea ?
5. Which two clubs will contest the Scottish FA Cup final ?
6. Who won his first ever grand prix in 111 starts in the Chinese Grand Prix ?
7. Pakistan’s first ever edition of which magazine sold out in hours ?
8. A plane belonging to which airline was forced into an emergency landing at Gatwick ?
9. Which team beat Arsenal 2 – 1, earning the rare accolade from Wenger that they had played better than Arsenal ?
10. What was the score in the first leg of the Real Madrid – Bayern Munich semi final of the Champions League ?
11. Who became the first club to win automatic promotion to the Premier League this season ?
12. Who hosted a talk show for the English Language Russia Today channel ?
13. Which prize is not being awarded this year for the first time in 35 years ?
14. Which US State adopted an anti abortion law last week ?
15. The Duchess of Cambridge and Pippa Middleton were both named on whose list of the 100 most influential people ?
16. Allegations have been made of a Home Office blunder over whose appeal to the European Court ?
17. What is ending with the final switchover to digital TV from analogue ?
18. In a survey which shop has overtaken John Lewis as the UK’s favourite ?
19. Who apologized for his elephant hunting expedition in Botswana ?
20. What was the score in the Chelsea v. Barcelona semi final first leg ?
21. – and who scored Chelsea’s goal ?
22. The lead singer of which 70’s group said that they had turned down an invitation to play in the opening ceremony of this year’s Olympics ?
23. Which rugby world cup winning player suffered a suspected stroke ?
24. Which publishers are selling their guides as ebooks for the first time ?
25. Which US stadium celebrated its centenary ?
26. A concert in favour of which film and TV characters is being held as part of the Proms ?
27. Where is a giant bell for the London Olympics being made ?
28. Which peer told Londoners they shouldn’t vote for Ken Livingstone ?
29. Who described Alex Salmond as a Caledonian Hitler ?
30. Which airline reported that it is considering imposing a controversial ‘take off ‘ tax
31. Which 91 year old guitarist passed away ?
32. The Louvre have announced plans to open a branch in which city ?
Who or what Answers
1. Musical that won Olivier awards in 7 categories
2. Engaged to Jacob Zuma
3. The unauthorized biography of Simon Cowell
4. Writer who wrote unauthorized biography of Simon Cowell
5. New President of the world bank
6. Terrorist freed for providing information on Al Qaeda to CIA
7. All of them were cited in Anders Behring Breivik’s speech to the court
8. Coach of Barcelona, denied that he is in line for job at Chelsea
9. Chosen as referee for FA Cup Final
10. Coach of Gloucester RFC who quit
11. Announced he is stepping down as head of the TUC at the end of this year
12. First person ever to be sentenced for murder live on British TV
13. Chief Prosecutor in the Anders Behring Breivik trial
14. The ‘world’s oldest teenager ‘ – US TV presenter passed away last week
15. Successfully launched Indian ballistic missile
16. Royal Jubilee rowing barge launched on the Thames
17. Only British football referee selected for 2012 Olympics
18. Drummer of The Band – passed away last week
19. Wales and Sheffield United footballer convicted of rape
20. Opera in the Royal Opera House with a (non singing ) performance from Anne Widdecombe
21. A shop dummy entered for local government elections in Aberdeen
22. 200,000 children’s self portraits projected onto the fa├žade of Buckingham Palace to form a portrait of the Queen
23. On trial in USA for murder of Trayvon Martin
24. New Zealand woman who died from drinking 10 litres of coca cola per day
Other news - Answers
1. Discovery
2. God Save the Queen
3. John Lydon
4. 3 – 1 to Chelsea
5. Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Hello
8. Virgin
9. Wigan
10. 2 – 1 to Bayern
11. Reading FC
12. Julian Assange
13. Pulitzer Prize for fiction
14. Mississippi
15. Tim Magazine
16. Abu Qatada
17. Ceefax
18. Ikea
19. King Juan Carlos of Spain
20. 1- 0 to Chelsea
21. Didier Drogba
22. Sex Pistols
23. Michael Lynagh
24. Haynes
25. Fenway Park Boston
26. Wallace and Gromit
27. Netherlands
28. Lord Sugar
29. David Starkey
30. Ryanair
31. Burt Weedon
32. Lens
BTW - Blogger has changed, and the only way I can get paragraphs to work is by using a table. It's a flippin' nuisance !

Mastermind - Semi Final 6

All too soon we come to our final semi final of this year’s series. So let’s cast an eye over the runners and riders for this final group one qualifier.
Mark Wyatt – 31 (3) – 7th on unofficial list
Quentin Holt – 30 (0) – 9th on unofficial list
Simon Alvey – 29 (4) – 15th on unofficial list
Eliot Wilson – 28 (5) – 20th on unofficial list
Sarah Waller – 26 (7) – 26th on unofficial list
Yes, as you can see we had a more balanced roster for this show than in some of the others. Difficult to pick a winner based on first round performance , since only 3 points separated the top four of tonight’s contenders. Mark Wyatt looked to have the whip hand, and yet both Quentin Holt and Eliot Wilson outscored him by 2 on GK in the heats. As is often the case, the contender who handled the pressure best was probably going to win.
Eliot Wilson was the last of the high scoring runners-up to go in this year’s semis. He lost out to finalist Gary Grant in heat 14, although his was the performance of the night on GK. Back then he answered on the life of Enoch Powell. Tonight another politician, albeit a rather less controversial one, in the shape of Harold Macmillan. In 2 minutes in the heat he’d managed 13. Tonight he managed the same score off half a minute less – a serious performance, which, bearing in mind his GK prowess, looked likely to give him a real shot.
In heat 24, LAM reader Quentin Holt won an exciting show by scoring 15 on both of his rounds, just beating Julie Aris on pass countback. Then he was answering on The London Olympics of 1908 and 1948. Tonight he offered us Sir Isaac Newton. 12 questions – 12 correct answers, and then the buzzer after the last question. Quentin couldn’t answer straight away, and so John asked him “Shall I tell you the answer ? “ I felt like giving Quentin a standing ovation for saying “No, give me a minute!” and then even more for dredging up the correct answer. That took some nerve ! A perfect 13 , if anything an even better round than he managed in the heats. Can’t do much better than that.
On paper Sarah Waller looked like the underdog in this show, much as it pains me to dismiss the chances of a fellow teacher. But then these games aren’t played on paper. Sarah won heat 7 answering on the life and work of Antonia Forest, but tonight her specialist subject was the History of the Cayman Islands. Full marks for an original subject there. She didn’t quite manage a 13 , but she managed 12, and that’s proportionately better than her 14 off two minutes in the heat . Well done for that. Dark horse she might have been, but she was giving herself every opportunity of pulling off an upset.
The highest ranked of tonight’s contenders was Mark Wyatt, who won Heat 9 off the back of a perfect round of 18 on Nick Drake. Proportionately that would take some matching in tonight’s round on Band of Brothers, and maybe he didn’t quite manage that. Still his thirteen and one wrong answer was pretty good – certainly good enough to keep him up with the two leaders going into the GK round. 4 contenders down, and it still looked like anyone’s game.
The last contender to go in the specialist rounds in the semis, then , was Simon Alvey. Simon won heat 6 on The West Wing, scoring 15 points in the process. Tonight his subject was a far more traditional one , the English Civil Wars in the 17th century. I’m afraid that Simon couldn’t match the scores we had already seen. It seemed to me that he made an error in an early question which played on his mind, and it was a while before he could pull himself back into the round after this. He scored 7.
Which of course meant that he returned to the chair first in the GK round. He’d scored 14 off 2 and a half minutes in the heats, so is obviously no slouch, and to be fair he started very brightly with this set. A little becalmed at halfway he just failed to register double figures for the round and finished with 16. Sarah Waller came next, and she too kept her composure, and picked off what was there to be answered. Her tactic was to answer what she knew, and pass rather than guess what she didn’t/ It’s a valid tactic, and it brought her a further 9 points to give her the lead on 21. You sensed that it probably wouldn’t be enough, but it’s a respectable semi final score, be in no doubt about that.
Three contenders headed the table at the halfway stage with 13 points, and Eliot Wilson was the first of these to go in the second. He required 9 points of his own to take the lead. He started very crisply, and seemed to be seeing the ball in flight well, as it were. However he too slowed down as the round continued, and rather surprisingly he too scored 9, the third contender in a row to do so. It’s perfectly respectable, but it’s not the kind of 2 minute total you need to be posting to give yourself a realistic chance of winning. Still, for the third round in a row the bar had been raised, and now stood at 22.
I had a sneaky feeling that this was going to be Quentin Holt’s night, and so I can only apologise to Quentin if this in any way put the mockers on him. We’ve seen that he is capable of putting in a very good performance on GK – witness his performance in the heats. I’m sorry to say that it didn’t come off this time. It didn’t work out for him, and he finished with 19. It happens. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can end up having a ‘mare if it’s not your night.
It was all down to Mark Wyatt, then, to go out and grab the round by the scruff of the neck. He needed 10 to win outright. Now, he’d scored 13 off two and a half minutes in the heat, and with 30 seconds less time, it looked as if it could be close. Well, it could have been, but it wasn’t. Mark is a very good, quick, crisp answerer – if such a word exists – and he never looked in the slightest trouble throughout the round. He made it with some time to spare, and eventually breasted the tape with 12 points for a total of 25. Well played , sir !
So that completes the semis. We have to wait for the final, though, since the snooker is on, and heaven forbid that Mastermind should have the temerity to get in the way of that. I’ll be posting a preview shortly.
The Details
Eliot Wilson The Life and Times of Harold Macmillan 13 - 0 9 - 4 22 - 4
Quentin HoltSir Isaac Newton 13 – 0 6 - 019 - 0
Sarah Waller History of the Cayman Islands 12 - 1 9 - 5 21 - 6
Mark WyattTV Series Band of Brothers 13 - 0 12 - 2 25 – 2
Simon Alvey The English Civil Wars in the 17th Century 7 - 0 9 - 4 16 - 4

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Zimmer Frame on Stand by,please

As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s been ( yet another ) busy work weekend. Still, I would hate you to think that your Dave is all work and no play at all. I broke off for a couple of hours at 7pm last night to watch my latest guilty pleasure, The Voice. As it happens I’m watching tonight’s as I type this. Still, as I say, I was watching it last night, and one of the voices was Deneice Pearson. If you’re not old enough to remember, Deneice Pearson was one of five siblings who formed the mid-late 80s soft R&B combo Five Star . Don’t worry – I’m not about to go off on one about how good/bad/indifferent they were. I know it’s all a matter of opinion. If you disliked them, well and good, likewise if you liked them. No, I’m afraid that when I saw her, the thing it brought immediately to mind was watching Going Live with my 4 year old daughter, when Five Star were being interviewed, and taking calls from viewers, when one mischievous little imp rang in to ask them “Why are you so . . . . (LAM is a family show, so I won’t write the actual words which followed – but they rhymed with ducking bap). I even remember the name of the boy who made the call, because we were asked once in a quiz – How did Elliot Fletcher cause controversy on children’s TV show Going Live in 1990 ? ( or 89 – it was one or the other )

Which in turn brought to mind the famous Bill Grundy interview. This happened in 1976 – I distinctly remember that I was 12 years old. I may be wrong, but I think you could only see it at the time if you lived in the Thames TV franchise area. Well, I did. Basically the Today show was a teatime chat and current affairs-y sort of thing – not a million miles removed from BBC’s One Show, come to think of it, although a little earlier in the evening. The group Queen were due to be guests, but dropped out at short notice, and some bright spark had the idea of getting the Sex Pistols on in their place. After a fairly tame start to the interview , Steve Jones let go with the F word, and John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) the S word, which seemed to wind up Bill Grundy, who got him to repeat it. Distance lends enchantment to the view , but I remember sitting with my grandmother ( honestly ) watching this , open mouthed, desperately wanting to laugh, but not daring to, hoping that she wouldn’t switch it over. I couls ee she was disgusted, but to be fair to her the only comment she made was after Steve Jones called Bill Grundy a f@*!ing rotter, when she looked me in the eye and said "Do people still use the word 'rotter' , now, then ? " My initial impression was that Bill Grundy was actually egging them on. I guess that I wasn’t the only one who saw it this way either. An interview like this wouldn’t pass without comment even now in these permissive times. Back in 1976 there was a huge rumpus. I’ve read about it since, and I don’t know that the late Bill Grundy’s career ever really recovered. To be fair, he did become the answer to a hardy perennial quiz question , about whose career was wrecked when he interviewed the Sex Pistols on the Today programme etc. etc.

It’s funny the things that make a big impression on you at the time, isn’t it ? I mean yes, at the time I doctored a couple of safety pins so I could clip them to my ear and make it look like they were actually going through it ( they weren’t ) but at the time I much preferred the safe Scandinavian europop of Abba to their own offerings – although I wouldn’t have said so. I had enough of the Michael ripped out of me at the time as it was, without going out of my way to sit up and beg for it. True to form, I only really started to ‘get’ it with punk just as that first great explosion was dying away. Still, I watched the Bill Grundy clip on Youtube last night again, and experienced a suprising glow as I did so. Surprising ? Well, it’s just that I never quite expected to look back on them with the same kind of nostalgia that my parents looked back on Elvis and his contemporaries.

Once again – I’m ready for my zimmer frame, Mr. Demille.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The 3rd Degree

It's been a busy week, and I'm afraid it's also a busy working weekend as well, hence the posts yesterday, when I knew I could find a couple of hours to do it. I was tapping away at the keyboard, listening to the last e[isode of this year's series of the 3rd Degree on Radio 4. I will admit that I haven't caught any of the previous espisodes of this series - the rotten devils who schedule radio 4 have moved the Monday quiz to 3pm, which is hopeless for me, I'm afraid.

If you haven't listened to the 3rd Degree it's a relatively lighthearted quiz between a team of students from a particular University, and a team of their lecturers. There's no great significance to me not having listened to any of this series before, it's a pleasant enough half hour, even if Steve Punt isn't quite as amusing on this , in my opinion, as on the Now Show. However, I digress. Well, as I say, I was listening to The 3rd Degree from Monday, and this question was asked - something along the lines of : -
"Which two word phrase is actually a legal term to refer to events so long ago that nobody can remember them, which is taken to refer to the reign of Richard II ? "
Well - thought I - that would be time immemorial. However, I thought that went back to 1189 - which come to think of it was the start of the reign of Richard I. The answer was given as Time Immemorial - but then Steve Punt went on to confirm that it was indeed 1189.

I was just a little surprised that this error hadn't been picked out in the question setting stage, or the editing of the show. It didn't make any material difference to the result of the show, but, I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old, but I found myself tutting, much the same way that I do when a QM makes a mistake in a pub quiz. Is pedantry an unavoidable complication of quiz obssession ?

News Questions

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news ?

1. Matilda
2. Gloria Bangekila Ngema
3. Sweet Revenge
4. Tom Bower
5. Jim Yong Kim
6. Saajid Muhammad Badat
7. Enoch Powell, Joseph P. McCarthy and Sitting Bull
8. Pep Guardiola
9. Phil Dowd
10. Brian Redpath
11. Brendan Barber
12. David Gilroy
13. Inga Bejer Engh
14. Dick Clark
15. Agni – V
16. Gloriana
17. Mark Clattenburg
18. Levon Helm
19. Ched Evans
20. La Fille du Regiment
21. Helena Torry
22. Royal Deluxe
23. Face Britain
24. George Zimmerman
25. Natasha Harris

In Other News

1. Which Space Shuttle made its final journey to Washington DC, on the back of a 747, en route to the Smithsonian ?
2. Which single is set to be rereleased after 35 years to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee ?
3. – and who was the lead singer of the band who released it, who distanced himself from its rerelease ?
4. What was the score in the FA Cup semi final between Spurs and Chelsea ?
5. Which two clubs will contest the Scottish FA Cup final ?
6. Who won his first ever grand prix in 111 starts in the Chinese Grand Prix ?
7. Pakistan’s first ever edition of which magazine sold out in hours ?
8. A plane belonging to which airline was forced into an emergency landing at Gatwick ?
9. Which team beat Arsenal 2 – 1, earning the rare accolade from Wenger that they had played better than Arsenal ?
10. What was the score in the first leg of the Real Madrid – Bayern Munich semi final of the Champions League ?
11. Who became the first club to win automatic promotion to the Premier League this season ?
12. Who hosted a talk show for the English Language Russia Today channel ?
13. Which prize is not being awarded this year for the first time in 35 years ?
14. Which US State adopted an anti abortion law last week ?
15. The Duchess of Cambridge and Pippa Middleton were both named on whose list of the 100 most influential people ?
16. Allegations have been made of a Home Office blunder over whose appeal to the European Court ?
17. What is ending with the final switchover to digital TV from analogue ?
18. In a survey which shop has overtaken John Lewis as the UK’s favourite ?
19. Who apologized for his elephant hunting expedition in Botswana ?
20. What was the score in the Chelsea v. Barcelona semi final first leg ?
21. – and who scored Chelsea’s goal ?
22. The lead singer of which 70’s group said that they had turned down an invitation to play in the opening ceremony of this year’s Olympics ?
23. Which rugby world cup winning player suffered a suspected stroke ?
24. Which publishers are selling their guides as ebooks for the first time ?
25. Which US stadium celebrated its centenary ?
26. A concert in favour of which film and TV characters is being held as part of the Proms ?
27. Where is a giant bell for the London Olympics being made ?
28. Which peer told Londoners they shouldn’t vote for Ken Livingstone ?
29. Who described Alex Salmond as a Caledonian Hitler ?
30. Which airline reported that it is considering imposing a controversial ‘take off ‘ tax
31. Which 91 year old guitarist passed away ?
32. The Louvre have announced plans to open a branch in which city ?

Friday, 20 April 2012

Calling Des and Jack

I had a lovely email a couple of days ago from Luke Kelly, of the victorious Manchester University team , reigning University Challenge champions. In the email he asked ,

"I was just wondering if you (Or Des Elmes) knew, or had a rough idea of, the overall buzzer scores for the series. I would have thought it was Manchester Joyce, but it struck me the other day that it might be Pembroke Pugh as he played only one fewer matches but was probably more dominant in his team than Joyce was in Manchester. Or perhaps someone else?

Best wishes,
Luke "

Well, I've already replied to Luke with my apologies that , no, I don't actually know this. I'm afraid I tend to throw away any written notes after I've posted the review. So , Des, Jack - if you read this, both of you guys are so on the ball with the statistics that I wonder if you could possibly help Luke out with his query ? Thanks.

Answers to News Questions

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news ?

1. Mahmodan Singh
2. Trenton Oldfield
3. Dr. Alex Woods
4. John Garrett
5. Anonymous
6. Flashback
7. The Gospel of Us
8. Buford
9. Snowball
10. Ryou un Maru
11. Carly Rae Jepsen
12. MS Balmoral
13. Louis Oosthuizen
14. Raf Simons
15. Derek
16. Andreas Derleth
17. Gu Kailai
18. Tim Rex
19. John Elfed Jones
20. Joe Skerrat
21. Bingu wa Mutharika
22. King’s XI Punjab
23. Graham Mitchell
24. Neptune Collonge
25. Katie Walsh
26. Unha 3
27. The Casual Vacancy
28. Heidi Hankins
29. Damien Comolli
30. Big Buck

In Other News

1. Who shot a 7 under par 65 on the 3rd day of the US Masters ?
2. Which 3 new cities will be created for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee ?
3. Rebels in the Azawad region of which country have declared independence ?
4. The BBC have expressed outrage at whose adverts for Virgin TiVo ?
5. What was blown up in the Thames Estuary on Easter Sunday ?
6. Which Nobel prize winning author has been banned from Israel ?
7. Which team beat Saracens in the Heineken Cup quarter final ?
8. Which country defeated Britain in the Davis Cup ?
9. What was the final gold tally for GB in the cycling world championships ?
10. In which event did Sir Chris Hoy win his 11th world championship gold medal ?
11. What was the result of the second test England v. Sri Lanka ?
12. Robert Mugabe was rumoured to be critically ill in hospital in which country ?
13. Which South Wales town suffered the heaviest downpour in the UK on bank Holiday Monday ?
14. What became Broadway’s highest ever grossing show ?
15. How tall is the Shard ?
16. Which comedian angered Liverpool supporters with comments about Liverpool’s refusal to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster ?
17. The European Court ruled that who can be extradited to the USA ?
18. Who has quit the race for the Republican party nomination for president ?
19. Who broke down in tears after his own London Mayoral Election broadcast ?
20. Who has been announced as the author of the next James Bond novel ?
21. Kevin Costner revealed that he her been planning to use whom in his abandoned sequel to The Bodyguard ?
22. Nine miners were freed after a week of being trapped in a mine in which country ?
23. Who beat Man Utd 1 – 0 midweek ?
24. A bronze bust of whom was unveiled by the Aintree winner’s enclosure ?
25. It has been announced that who will become the first man to be featured on the cover of Elle in July ?
26. Matt Groening has finally revealed that the Simpsons’ home of Springfield is in which state ?
27. Who turned down the opportunity to become a permanent member of the England RU coaching staff ?
28. Which organization issued a list of the top 50 things to do before you turn 11 ¾ ?
29. – And what was number 1 on the list ?
30. Which TV station has acquired the rights to show all of the Bond films ?
31. Which has become the 17th state of the USA to ban the Death Penalty ?

Answers

1. Indian pm who hosted talks with President Zadari of Pakistan
2. Protestor who swam out on the Thames and brought the Boat Race to a halt
3. Oxford oarsman who collapsed at the end of the race
4. Umpire of the said boat race
5. Hacking group who claimed responsibility for disrupting Home Office website, and promised to do so every Saturday
6. Trojan believed to infect a million macs
7. Michael Sheen’s film of the Passion, world premiere in Port Talbot, slammed by critics
8. Town in Wyoming sold in internet auction
9. Cat in Peterborough who attacks postmen through letterbox
10. Japanese ghost trawler from tsunami, blown up by US Coastguard
11. Had first UK number 1 with the song Call Me Maybe
12. Ship participating in the 100th Anniversary Memorial Titanic cruise
13. Golfer beaten by Bubba Watson in play off for the US Masters
14. New artistic director for Christian Dior
15. New sitcom starring Ricky Gervais, to much criticism
16. Winner of Mr. Gay World
17. Chinese Politician’s wife linked to death of Neil Heywood
18. Suffered heart attack on MS Balmoral
19. Former head of Welsh Water who said England should pay more for welsh water
20. Boy who was kept alive on an artificial heart for 251 days before a transplant
21. The Dictator of Malawi who died last week
22. Team in Indian Premier League from which Stuart Broad has had to withdraw due to injury
23. Man to be retired for murder in Portugal after 17 years
24. Grand National Winning horse
25. First woman to place in top 3 in Grand National, on Sea Bass
26. Failed North Korean rocket
27. Title of 1st adult novel by J.K.Rowling
28. 4 year old with IQ of 158 admitted to Mensa
29. Sacked Director of Football at Liverpool FC
30. 1st jump horse to win 17 consecutive races

In Other News

1. Peter Hanson
2. Perth, Chelmsford and St. Asaph
3. Mali
4. David Tennant
5. A world war II German Mine
6. Gunter Grass
7. Clermont Auvergne
8. Belgium
9. 6
10. The Keirin
11. England bt Sri Lanka by 8 wickets
12. Singapore
13. Bridgend
14. The Lion King
15. 1016 feet
16. Alan Davies
17. Abu Hamza
18. Rick Santorum
19. Ken Livingstone
20. William Boyd
21. Princess Diana
22. Peru
23. Wigan
24. Ginger McCain
25. David Beckham
26. Oregon
27. Andy Farrell
28. National Trust
29. Climb a Tree
30. Sky
31. Connecticut

Mastermind - Semi Final 5

Let’s have a look at the list of contenders for tonight’s show, and how they did in their heats: -

James Mackenzie – 22 - 9GK 30th on the unofficial list
Anthony Barton –26 - 11GK - 26th on the unofficial list
George Ferzoco -27 - 14GK 23rd on the list
Allan Clarke – 27 - 12GK - 24th on the list
Maya Davis – 27 - 13GK - 25th on the list


Yes, alright, all of the contenders in tonight’s semifinal were among the lower scoring qualifiers of the first round. It can happen. It didn’t alter the fact that only one of these five contenders was going to qualify for the final, and whoever it was they’d have to earn their place.

The first to lay down a marker was James Mackenzie. Last time out he offered us the Lost Railways of West Yorkshire. Tonight he was still answering on a transport related subject, in the shape of Route 66. Welcome to the city that’s oh so pretty, etc. etc. In his previous specialist round he scored 13. Tonight he also scored 13, which was a superb performance considering that he only had 90 seconds in which to do it. I’ll be honest, I still thought he was a little bit of an outsider based on his GK score in the first round heat, but give him his due, he certainly couldn’t have got off to a much better start.

Anthony Barton won heat 15 on the Franco Prussian War. His second specialist subject was Flanders and Swann – follow me follow, down to the hollow etc. In the heat Anthony scored 15 , a very good performance on a two minute round, I can assure you. A couple of questions rather caught him out this time, I’m afraid, and a long pause, bad in a 2 minute round, can be pretty devastating in a 90 second round. He rallied , and fought his way to 7 points, but I fancy this was playing on his mind as he returned to the chair later.

You might remember George Ferzoco. He won heat 16, answering on Frederico Fellini, and avoided a number of passes on his GK round by snapping out the answer ‘Smith’. A perfectly legitimate tactic, albeit one that requires admirable presence of mind. It was vital that he did so , as well, since he only went through on passes. In this semifinal, George was answering on the Italian Football team since 1978. His first minute was extremely good, but just a couple of wrong answers tripped him up. He finished on 10 – a good score off 90 secs, but one that left him trailing by 3.

Allan Clarke won heat 17 on Luton Town FC. Heats 15 – 16 – 17 ? Hmm, interesting. As had George, Allan scored 15 in the heat. His specialist subject of choice tonight was the Ramage novels by Dudley Pope. No, sorry, never read any so I can’t really comment. We’ve seen a few perfect rounds already in these semifinals, and this was another of them, 13 questions and thirteen correct answers. Fine performance.

Lastly Maya Davis, the only one of tonight’s semifinalists that I’ve met. Maya scored 14 on the life and work of Gerald Hoffnung in heat 2, which she won comfortably. Tonight her subject was the owls of Great Britain. I actually learned a few of the Latin names for common British birds a decade or so ago, so I was delighted that tyto alba was part of the first questions. Maya didn’t quite manage perfection herself tonight, but she was close, and finished on 12, handily placed on the leaders’ collective shoulder at the bell.

As I mentioned earlier, I do think Anthony was shell-shocked a little by what happened in his specialist round. In the heats he had managed 11 in two and half minute on GK. Tonight he just couldn’t get going at all, and in the end his score was 10. Sir, you have my sympathy. The chair could strike any of us, and when it does, there’s nothing you can do. George Ferzoco scored 14 in the heats, with a few Smiths thrown in into the bargain. He didn’t do quite so well proportionately tonight, leveling off with 9 points. 19 off 3 and a half minutes is fine, but it’s not a semifinal winning score, and I think he must have known this as he walked back to his seat.

Maya needed 8 to take the lead herself. She is a general knowledge quizzer, indeed we met when we were in consecutive heats of brain of Britain 2009/10. She only scored 13 in the first round, but she certainly started as if she meant business tonight. Comfortably through the 20 point barrier with quite a bit of time to spare she raced on to equal her first round GK score, off 30 seconds less time. That must have given her some satisfaction, as must the fact that she had set a challenging target, which wasn’t going to be beaten easily by either of the leaders.

James Mackenzie needed to exceed his GK round score of 9 from the heats to have any chance of winning the show. As do many contenders, he certainly started brightly enough. Before halfway through the round , though, he was becalmed, and from then until the end points were not easily gained. 21 was not a winning score, but the 8 he managed did represent a proportional improvement on his first round. If you can do better each time you sit in the chair, then you can’t ask a lot more than that.

It was all down to Allan Clarke to settle who would become the latest finalist. He needed to score 13 to be sure. To be honest it looked unlikely when you consider that he only managed 12 in the heat. However Maya had shown that it was possible to perform quite a bit better in the semi GK round than the heat, and so nothing was impossible. Again, Allan made the customary fast start, but bogged down just a little in the middle of the round. It wasn’t disastrous, but it did mean that he needed to answer his last question on the buzzer in order to tie the scores and take us to pass countback. It was not to be. His 11 took him to the brink, but he remained agonizingly one behind.

Well played all, especially Maya. Many congratulations ! That was a performance which has to be taken seriously. I still feel that Andy and Gary look more likely champions, but you never know. Best of luck.

The Details
James Mackenzie Route 66 13 – 0 8 - 3 21 - 3
Anthony Barton Flanders and Swann 7 - 13 - 5 10 – 6
George Ferzoco The Italian Football team since 1978 10 – 0 9 - 3 19 - 3
Allan Clarke Ramage novels by Dudley Pope 13 – 0 11 - 1 24 - 1
Maya Davis British Owls 12 - 013 - 1 25 - 1

Saturday, 14 April 2012

In the News

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news ?

1. Mahmodan Singh
2. Trenton Oldfield
3. Dr. Alex Woods
4. John Garrett
5. Anonymous
6. Flashback
7. The Gospel of Us
8. Buford
9. Snowball
10. Ryou un Maru
11. Carly Rae Jepsen
12. MS Balmoral
13. Louis Oosthuizen
14. Raf Simons
15. Derek
16. Andreas Derleth
17. Gu Kailai
18. Tim Rex
19. John Elfed Jones
20. Joe Skerrat
21. Bingu wa Mutharika
22. King’s XI Punjab
23. Graham Mitchell
24. Neptune Collonge
25. Katie Walsh
26. Unha 3
27. The Casual Vacancy
28. Heidi Hankins
29. Damien Comolli
30. Big Buck

In Other News

1. Who shot a 7 under par 65 on the 3rd day of the US Masters ?
2. Which 3 new cities will be created for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee ?
3. Rebels in the Azawad region of which country have declared independence ?
4. The BBC have expressed outrage at whose adverts for Virgin TiVo ?
5. What was blown up in the Thames Estuary on Easter Sunday ?
6. Which Nobel prize winning author has been banned from Israel ?
7. Which team beat Saracens in the Heineken Cup quarter final ?
8. Which country defeated Britain in the Davis Cup ?
9. What was the final gold tally for GB in the cycling world championships ?
10. In which event did Sir Chris Hoy win his 11th world championship gold medal ?
11. What was the result of the second test England v. Sri Lanka ?
12. Robert Mugabe was rumoured to be critically ill in hospital in which country ?
13. Which South Wales town suffered the heaviest downpour in the UK on bank Holiday Monday ?
14. What became Broadway’s highest ever grossing show ?
15. How tall is the Shard ?
16. Which comedian angered Liverpool supporters with comments about Liverpool’s refusal to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster ?
17. The European Court ruled that who can be extradited to the USA ?
18. Who has quit the race for the Republican party nomination for president ?
19. Who broke down in tears after his own London Mayoral Election broadcast ?
20. Who has been announced as the author of the next James Bond novel ?
21. Kevin Costner revealed that he her been planning to use whom in his abandoned sequel to The Bodyguard ?
22. Nine miners were freed after a week of being trapped in a mine in which country ?
23. Who beat Man Utd 1 – 0 midweek ?
24. A bronze bust of whom was unveiled by the Aintree winner’s enclosure ?
25. It has been announced that who will become the first man to be featured on the cover of Elle in July ?
26. Matt Groening has finally revealed that the Simpsons’ home of Springfield is in which state ?
27. Who turned down the opportunity to become a permanent member of the England RU coaching staff ?
28. Which organization issued a list of the top 50 things to do before you turn 11 ¾ ?
29. – And what was number 1 on the list ?
30. Which TV station has acquired the rights to show all of the Bond films ?
31. Which has become the 17th state of the USA to ban the Death Penalty ?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Mastermind - Semi Final 4

Here’s the run down of how tonight’s contenders did in their first round heats : -

Andy Tucker – 36 – 18 GK – position 1 on my unofficial list
John Marshall – 31 – 15 GK ( runner up ) – position 8 on my unofficial list
Chris Cummins - 30 – 15 GK – position 12 on my unofficial list
Paul Smith – 28 – 15 GK ( runner up ) – position 18 on my unofficial list
Mike Clark – 27 – 11 GK – position 21 on my unofficial list


A pretty fair spread of contenders. On paper Andy Tucker looked very much the man to beat, but then nothing is ever guaranteed in Mastermind – especially in the semis, where you only have 3 and a half minutes to make your bid for that place in the final.

Chris Cummins, an Only Connect Grand Finalist in series 3, began his bid to add a place in the Mastermind Grand Final to his collection by answering questions on The US Masters golf tournament. In the first round heat Chris scored 15 in 2 minutes on the career of Victoria Wood. Tonight he started very confidently, but a couple of passes and a couple of wrong answers meant that he failed to get into double figures, finishing with 9. Not a disaster at all, but the likelihood was that he’d be a few points adrift going into the GK rounds.

In the first round Mike Clark won through on a nail biting tie break, just surviving a brilliant fightback by Ged Meheran. Then his subject had been Seinfeld, and he’d scored 13. Tonight, answering on the His Dark Materials Trilogy he scored 10, which I would say is proportionately slightly better off 90 seconds than 13 off 2 minutes. He answered every question, meaning that there were no nasty little passes to count against him should it be another match as tight as his first.

John Marshall was unlucky to come up against as strong a contender as John Beynon in his first round. Back then he scored a very impressive 16 in 2 minutes on British Speedway 1945 -1970. Tonight he offered us a change of pace, in the shape of Clyde River Steamers 1890 – 1960. I had two of these. I knew about the Waverly – well I’ve actually seen it at Briton Ferry Docks once upon a time, and I guessed about the Walter Scott one. I venture to say that 12 off 90 seconds was pretty much on a par with his first round score, and it meant that he was going to be in contention going into GK.

Our second highest scoring runner up of this show was Paul Smith. Paul lost heat 4 by a single point , when he answered on Aircraft of World War II. Then he’d scored 13. Ironically this was exactly what he needed to score if he was to take the lead in this round. I was pleased to see that his subject was Classical Mythology. Back in 1981 we held a Mastermind competition in my old school – Elthorne High School – in Hanwell, London Borough of Ealing. I’m far too vain not to say that I won the competition, and my specialist subject was Greek Mythology. I still remembered quite a bit, it seemed since I managed 9 of these, which was the same total that Paul achieved.

Finishing off the first round was our top performer from the heats, Andy Tucker. Andy scored a fantastic 36 in the first round, which comprised of 2 rounds of 18. Back then he scored a perfect round on Robert Bruce Lockhart. Tonight , offering the interesting subject of The East Africa Campaign of World War I he didn’t manage perfection, scoring 11 and no passes. The main, thing, though, was that he was only one point off the lead. Andy, like Chris, has also been a grand finalist in another show, Brain of Britain, no less. You fancied at this stage that he had every good chance of making another Grand Final.

Chris Cummins returned to the chair to set a target. 15 off 2 and a half minutes in the heat was a good score, but not the kind which would necessarily blow the opposition away. Actually the 12 he managed tonight is a good score for a semi final, but being 3 points behind at the halfway stage he really needed a couple more to put the front runners into the corridor of uncertainty. He finished on 21. Paul Smith unfortunately became becalmed halfway through his round, and didn’t manage to reach the target. He finished on 17. Mike Clark managed to get into double figures with his own GK round, posting a healthy 10, but it still left him the wrong side of Chris’ score.

Andy returned to the chair, and immediately set about the business of showing us all how it’s done. His 15 off two minutes was at least as good as his 18 off two and a half in the first round heat, and catapulted him comfortably into the lead with a very useful 26. When you’re not the last one in the chair all you can do is give it your best , and set the highest score you possibly can. Andy did all that and some more.

It was comfortably into the realm of the do-able but very difficult for John Marshall. Within the first half minute or so his tactics became clear. John already had one pass, and Andy had none, Therefore passes didn’t matter to John. Even if he scored no passes at all in his GK round he still couldn’t tie with Andy- he had to beat him. It was a close run thing. After the minute mark John dived into a pass spiral. I thought then and there his chances were gone, and yet he picked up speed again. He was on 25 as the buzzer went – so even if he’d answered the last one correctly he’d still have lost on passes. As it was he didn’t give a correct answer, and so finished in second, having pushed Andy all the way to the tape. Well played gentlemen ! Special congratulations to Andy – a very serious contender for the title. Good show.

The Details

Chris Cummins The US Masters 9 - 2 12 - 2 21 - 4
Mike Clark The His Dark Materials Trilogy of Phillip Pullman10 - 0 10 - 0 20 - 0
John Marshall Clyde River Steamers 1890 - 1960 12 - 1 13 - 4 25 - 5
Paul SmithClassical Mythology 9 - 1 8 - 3 17 - 4
Andy Tucker The East Africa Campaign in World War I 11 - 0 15 - 0 26 - 0

Answers to News Questions

Who or what are the following, and why have they been in the news ?

1. Diane Hill
2. Lord Gold
3. Stilijan Petrov
4. MDNA
5. German Gorbuntsov
6. Visions of Ecstasy
7. Noah Stewart
8. Geraldton – Western Australia
9. Azmara Quest
10. Switch
11. Daniel Bartlam
12. Clayton Osbon
13. The Shard
14. One Goh
15. Reverend Brian Shipsides
16. Helen Collins
17. Sunshine and Sweetie
18. Cedric Brown
19. Operation Muttley
20. Yuka
21. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad
22. Samantha Brick
23. Jim Marshall
24. Laura Johnson
25. Babar Ahmed
26. Graham Freeman

In Other News

1. Whose daughter appealed for the public to send him postcards ?
2. Whose gravestones have been removed from the Austrian town of Leonting ?
3. Which ground hosted the Saracens v. Harlequins match , with a record attendance for a rugby Union club match ?
4. Who has had more number 1 albums in the UK album charts than any other solo artist ?
5. Who claimed his twitter account had been hacked when he seemed to mistakenly refer to Bradford as Blackburn in a tweet ?
6. Whose memorial wood has been decimated by disease ?
7. Who drew 3 – 3 with Manchester City ?
8. Which anniversary was marked on 2nd April ?
9. Which team beat Arsenal 2 – 1 ?
10. Mount Etna erupted again. How many eruptions does this make it so far for 2012 ?
11. What is the new charge for prescriptions in England ?
12. Behaviour on which airline saw Gavin Henson in trouble ?
13. – and which club sacked him for this behaviour ?
14. Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray in the final of which event ?
15. Which TV presenter is set to face trial for harassing his ex girlfriend ?
16. On the 2nd April sanctions were applied to which African country ?
17. A lone gunman killed students in which religious university in Oakland California ?
18. Who is the UN special envoy to Syria ?
19. Who have been sentenced to jail for illegal residency in Pakistan ?
20. Which Today presenter said that Thought for the Day should present secular views ?
21. Dick Cheney had which operation last week ?
22. Who has been rumoured to be the singer for the theme of the new James Bond film Skyfall
23. Who resigned as BskyB chairman
24. By which score did Barcelona defeat Milan ?
25. What derailed new Bombardier trams in Blackpool ?
26. How much was Network Rail’s fine for the Grayrigg crash ?
27. Which three primaries were won by Mitt Romney last week ?
28. Which state was decimated by a dozen tornadoes?
29. Which supermarket range are going to be completely revamped ?
30. Where did the Queen give out Maundy Money ?
31. Whose Lonsdale Belts are to be auctioned ?
32. Which foodstuff has Sarkozy banned from the Elysee Palace ?
33. Who led after the first day of the US Masters ?
34. Which country has ruled out sending women athletes to the Olympic Games ?

Answers

1. The lady who set herself alight decanting petrol in her kitchen
2. Heading up the government inquiry into cash for access
3. Aston Villa midfielder sadly diagnosed with leukaemia
4. Madonna’s new album
5. Russian shot in east London in March
6. Only film ever banned in UK for Blasphemy, due to be released now on DVD
7. First black singer to top the UK classical charts, with his album , “Noah”
8. The racing yacht from which injured British sailors were removed
9. Liner which caught fire before docking successfully in Malaysia
10. New film starring Eric Cantona
11. 14 year old who murdered his mother, allegedly acting out something he’d seen on Coronation Street
12. Pilot who underwent a nervous breakdown in the middle of a flight, and had to be removed from airliner on a stretcher when safely landed
13. Became Europe’s tallest inhabited stricture last week
14. Suspected of carrying out the Oakland shootings last week
15. Jailed for carrying out more than 200 sham marriages
16. 80 year old who landed her husband’s light aircraft when he died at the controls
17. Edinburgh’s pandas – Tian Tian and Yang Guang who failed to make sweet lurve during her 3 days of fertitlity this year.
18. Stole a car and drove off with two babies still in their seats]
19. Surveillance operation to prevent dogging in Cannock Chase
20. The preserved baby mammoth discovered in Siberia
21. Alleged 9 / 11 Mastermind who is facing military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay
22. Writer who made comment that other women hate her for being beautiful
23. Creator of the Marshall Amplifier who passed away last week
24. Millionaire’s daughter convicted of driving looters during the riots
25. Terrorism suspect who has been jailed for almost 8 years fighting extradition to US
26. Owner of London Wasps arrested over alleged phone hacking

1. Max Bygraves – suffering from Alzheimers
2. Alois and Klara Htiler – Adolf Hitler’s parents
3. Wembley stadium
4. Madonna
5. George Galloway
6. Linda McCartney
7. Sunderland
8. 30th anniversary of the invasion of the Falklands
9. QPR
10. 5
11. £7.65
12. Flybe
13. Cardiff Blues
14. Miami Masters
15. Justin Lee Collins
16. Mali
17. Oikos University
18. Kofi Annan
19. Osama Bin Laden’s wives and daughters
20. Evan Davies
21. Heart Transplant
22. Adele
23. James Murdoch
24. 3 – 1
25. Sand
26. £4 million
27. Washington DC, Wisconsin, Maryland
28. Texas
29. Tesco Value
30. York Minster
31. Sir Henry Cooper
32. Cheese
33. Lee Westwood
34. Saudi Arabia

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Last night's quiz

Well, further to my last post, Lemurs were actually there last night, although not in full force, with two members missing. So allowing for that , my prediction wasn't too far off. I predicted a maximmum of 73, but also said that I thought that their winning score would be between 68 and 73. As it happened they scored 67. Here's the questions, if you'd like to see how you would have done against their winning score : -

Round One
1. Who is Trenton Oldfield ?
2. In 1983 “Do you really want to hurt me “ was the first ever number 1 for which group ?
3. Which Archbishop of Canterbury was the subject of TS Eliot’s verse drama “Murder in the cathedral “ ?
4. Which public school, situated about 2 miles from the town of Buckingham, was attended by Richard Branson, George Melly and David Niven, among others ?
5. What is the connection between your last three answers ?
6. Which international cricketer was nicknamed Swampy ?
7. In which American TV action series did Edward Woodward play Robert McCall ?
8. With which product would you associate Monolo Blahnik ?
9. On Which river does Derry – or Londonderry – stand ?
10. In a car. what is an OHC ?

Round Two
1. Name the hacking group who have said that they will disrupt the Home Office website every Saturday ?
2. What original name did James Cook give to Hawaii ?
3. In darts , What is the lowest score you cannot finish on with just two darts ?
4. Which instrument was Bix Beiderbecke particularly associated with ?
5. What is the connection between your last three answers ?
6. Which footballer was both the first Englishman to win the Champions League with an overseas club, and the first Englishman to win the Champions League twice ?
7. Who came to fame as a singer through BBC’s 1998 reality show The Cruise ?
8. Which female vocalists recorded albums called a) Lioness and b) Lionheart ?
9. Who makes the perfume Baby Doll ?
10. Which card game is called blackjack when played in a casino ?

Round Three
1. Michael Sheen’s film of the Passion had its premier in the Apollo Cinema (in Port Talbot) on Easter Sunday. What is its proper title ?
2. Which film star was killed in a road accident in 1955 when he was driving his porsche spyder ?
3. Which British city holds an annual Goose fair ?
4. Which runner took the bronze medal in the 1968 Mexico city Olympics 400m hurdles, in the same race that David Hemery took gold ?
5. What is the connection between your last three answers ?
6. What is the name of the moon on which the film Avatar is set ?
7. Which 1980s group made their only film appearance in a film called Take it or Leave it ?
8. Which is the world’s largest distributor of toys ?
9. What do chefs call The Master Spice ?
10. Torquay, Brixham and which other resort make up the area known as Torbay ?

Round Four
1. Why was the town of Buford, Wyoming in the news last week ?
2. If something is ovoid, what is its shape ?
3. In Beatrix Potter, who was Peter Rabbit’s cousin who returned to Mr. MacGregor’s garden with him to retrieve the clothes Peter had left there on a previous visit ?
4. Which song provided Blondie with their second number 1, as a follow up to Heart of Glass ?
5. What is the connection between your last three answers ?
6. Who is the only player of the open era to win 5 consecutive men’s singles titles at the US Open ?
7. Who has recently presented a series of great Railway Journeys on BBC2, which have made Bradshaws’ Railway guide an unexpected publishing hit again ?
8. What name is given to the japanese art of flower arranging ?
9. In which city would you find the famous Charles Bridge ?
10. Which is the UK’s oldest chocolate bar ?

Round Five
1. Who or what is or was Ryou Un Maru ?
2. Which film comedian – one of the three amigos – took his stage name from a village in Maryland?
3. In southern USA, what name is given to a raised embankment to stop rivers from bursting their banks ?
4. In which month is Groundhog Day celebrated in the USA ?
5. The song 76 Trombones features in which musical ?
6. What is added to Drambuie to make a rusty nail ?
7. Which plot was a 1683 attempt to murder Charles II and his brother James, and was named after a country house in Hertfordshire ?
8. What is the connection between your last 6 answers ?
9. What was the nationality of Angel Cabrera – US Open winner in 2007 ?
10. Copper and which other metal make brass ?

Round Six
1. Which Nobel Prize winning author has been banned from ever entering Israel ?
2. What is the nickname of the star Sirius ?
3. What prize is awarded to the player who scores the most goals in the world cup finals tournament ?
4. What is the proper scientific name of Fools’ Gold ?
5. Which Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers film features them dancing to the song Cheek to Cheek ?
6. Which nautical phrase is sometimes used as a nickname for a camel ?
7. What was the title of the only UK top 40 hit for American vocalist Tracy Chapman ?
8. What is the connection between your last six answers ?
9. Where was the first ever formula 1 world championship race held ?
10. Which is the only palindromic top 10 single in the UK by a palindromic group ?

Round Seven
1. What is the name of the ship which was carrying relatives to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic ?
2. Which traditional pub game uses a table with 9 holes ?
3. What was invented by Whitcomb Judson ?
4. In which TV series did Michael Landon play a grounded angel ?
5. What is the connection between your last three answers ?
6. Sir Chris Hoy won his 11th world championship gold medal in the world track cycling championships in Melbourne last week. In which event ?
7. Who played psychiatrist Dr. Roger Corder in the Human Jungle ?
8. IN which city is the world’s largest railway station ?
9. Over which object were weddings in Gretna Green traditionally carried out ?
10. What is the longest nerve in the human body ?

Round Eight
1. Who did Bubba Watson defeat in the play off for this year’s US Masters ?
2. Which fruit is a cross between an orange, a tangerine and a grapefruit ?
3. In Citizen Kane – what actually was Rosebud ?
4. What was the first item ever sold on ebay ?
5. What is the traditional county town of the old East Riding of Yorkshire ?
6. Who was the first ever subject of This is Your Life in the UK ?
7. How is rapper Calvin Broadus better known ?
8. Who wrote the song “I will always Love you “ ?
9. Which river did the roman call Sabrina ?
10. What is the connection between your last 8 answers ?

Answers

Round One
1. The swimmer who stopped the Boat Race
2. Culture CLUB
3. Thomas a BECKET
4. STOWE
5. Corners on Silverstone racing circuit
6. Rodney Marsh
7. The Equaliser
8. Shoes
9. The Foyle
10. Overhead Cam

Round Two
1. Anonymous
2. The SANDWICH Islands
3. 99
4. CORNET
5. ICE CREAMS
6. Steve McManaman
7. Jayne Macdonald
8. a) Amy Winehouse b) Kate Bush
9. Yves St. Laurent
10. Blackjack

Round Three
1. The Gospel of Us
2. James DEAN
3. NOTTINGHAM
4. John SHERWOOD
5. FOREST
6. Pandora
7. Madness
8. McDonalds
9. Pepper
10. Paignton

Round Four
1. It was sold on the internet for $900,000
2. EGG
3. Benjamin BUNNY
4. SUNDAY Girl
5. EASTER
6. Roger Federer
7. Michael Portillo
8. Ikebana
9. Prague
10. Frys Chocolate Cream

Round Five
1. The Japanese ghost trawler blown up by the US coastguard
2. CHEVY Chase
3. LEVEE
4. FEBRUARY
5. The MUSIC Man
6. WHISKY
7. RYE house Plot
8. AMERICAN PIE
9. Argentinian
10. Zinc

Round Six
1. Gunter Grass
2. The DOG star
3. The Golden BOOT
4. IRON Pyrites
5. TOP HAT
6. SHIP of the desert
7. FAST CAR
8. Playing pieces in Monopoly
9. Silverstone
10. SOS by Abba

Round Seven
1. MS Balmoral
2. BAR Billiards
3. ZIP fastener
4. HIGHWAY to Heaven
5. CODES
6. Keirin
7. Herbert Lom
8. New York
9. The Blacksmith’s Anvil
10. Sciatic

Round Eight
1. Louis Oosthuizen
2. An UGLI fruit
3. A toy SLEDGE
4. A broken Laser POINTER
5. BEVERLEY
6. Eamonn ANDREWS
7. SNOOP Dogg
8. DOLLY Parton
9. SEVERN
10. SISTERS

Tonight's Quiz - final check, and predictions

I’m heading out to the quiz in just over an hour, and I’ve just been giving the questions the once over before I ask them. I’m minded to make a prediction or two.
If Lemurs are there, then I think they should win comfortably – they have all round strength in depth, including my fellow BoB runner up Rob Merrill. So taking for granted that they will be there, and that they put out a full strength team, here’s my prediction of what I think a winning score should look like : -

Round 1 – 9/10
Round 2 – 9/11
Round 3 – 8/10
Round 4 – 9/10
Round 5 – 9/10
Round 6 – 10/10
Round 7 – 9/10
Round 8 – 10/10

- forgetting about the picture handout, that makes a target of 73 out of 81 for the questions, which is actually quite high, thinking about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lemurs can get something between 68 and 73 – but if they’re not there a lower score will win. I’ll let you know tomorrow, and I may even print the questions, so you can judge how you would have done against the actual winning score.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

How Far Would You Go For A Quiz - Our Games Marathon

I finished putting the quiz together yesterday in time to head off down to Newport for Trevor’s Monday night quiz. It’s a bit of a step – well, actually, at a 90 minute round trip it’s a lot of a step – but now that the league season is over in Bridgend I want to start going over to Newport when I can. When you’re not working the next day it becomes an attractive prospect. Before my old mate Alan passed away a couple of years ago there were three of us who made the trip regularly, and we could share the driving between us, but sadly those days have passed. It’s drive myself, or don’t go now.

If you’ve never regularly undertaken an 80 mile round trip to play in a quiz, you’re probably asking yourself – is it worth it ? I suppose that if you looked on it in purely financial terms, the answer would be no. Even if you win – as we did last night – you won’t win enough money to cover what you spent on petrol I’m sure. But in terms of the quiz – well, yes, actually , I think it is. For your money - £2 to enter – you get 3 rounds of twenty questions. The first 10 to a dozen are all in the news – and despite me combing the papers for questions myself I have never managed to predict all the questions Trevor picks. The rest are a wide mixture of subjects, and during the evening you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear at least a couple you’ve never heard before. Trevor runs his own business setting quizzes, and as you’d expect he knows his onions, and has great skill in putting the rounds together. Between rounds one and two you get a picture handout – or as we call it – our Waterloo. We only conceded about 3 or 4 points on the pictures last night, and that was the foundation of our win. Then between rounds 2 and 3 you get a handout round , with multiple questions on a range of topics, and usually about 50 points on offer. If it suits you, then it can make the difference between a win, and a minor placing. Last night it suited.

There’s a real pleasure in a well put together quiz like that, and I’m honest enough to admit that it’s all the more so if you win. Of course, I’m back at school next week, and with the best will in the world that changes everything. But I’ll definitely be happy to make the round trip again when I can.

-------------------------------

I don’t really know why we chose to do it today rather than any of the other days that I’ve been home, but today my youngest daughter Jess and I decided on the spur of the moment to have a bit of a games marathon . Rules ? Well, not many since you come to mention it, but the main idea was that we’d take it in turns choosing the games. I got first choice – well , age does have its perks. My first choice ? The World According to Ubi. I was recommended this game last year by LAM readers bj and cwj, and I have posted about it since. This game has actually really got something. Basically the board, which is very large, is a map of the world, overlaid with a hexagonal grid. The name of the game is finding places on the map, which are the answers to questions – some of them quite cryptic – on cards. Each hexagon is split up into 6 triangles. You role two dice to find out which area you have to answer a question about, and whether hexagonal accuracy, or triangular accuracy is required. If you answer the hexagonal correctly, you get another go. If you answer the triangular correctly, you get a piece of a pyramid. Once your pyramid is built, answer a triangular question to earn the capstone, and you win. The game may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. People tended to find it difficult because the questions are so tricky if you’re not a quizzer. Even if you are, getting triangular accuracy can be difficult. I promised Jess I’d help her with that unless she got as far as needing just the capstone, in which case she was on her own. Even so, it took us the best part of three quarters of an hour or so to play to a finish. The more I play this game – which isn’t very often unfortunately – the more I enjoy it.

I can’t say the same about the Disney trivia game that Jess brought out for her first pick. This wasn’t the official Disney Trivial Pursuit, but you can see that it was certainly influenced by the giant of all quiz board games. Basically it too involved piloting pieces around a board ( shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head), answering questions to collect different coloured Mickey Mouse ears. First to collect all the colours, get to the finish, and correctly answer a category question chosen by the opposing player would win. I was surprised actually at not knowing some of the questions – for example, did you know that in Cinderella, the song the mice sing while running around making Cinderella’s dress – “Cinderella , Cinderella etc. etc. “ – is officially called The Work Song ? No, I didn’t either, which probably explains why Jess beat me 2 – 1 in our best of three mini tournament. Which meant that we were all square at 2 games apiece .

My third choice was The University Challenge Electronic Game. I don’t know if you ever saw this one a few years ago when it came out. It has an electronic ‘desk’ from which 4 buzzers emerge, and a set of lights which gradually count down the duration of the game. The big criticism which people made of the game when it first came out – that there aren’t many question cards, is a valid one. There are 4 sets – Basic – Beginner – Intermediate and Advanced. We played with the beginner set, but I made a rule that Jess would get first crack at each starter, and I’d only answer if she got it wrong. Still, the fact is that even the beginner cards still have questions of quite a decent standard, and by the time the gong went – yes, it really does have the sound of the gong going off at the end of the game – it was a fairly comfortable win. 3 -2.

Jess surprised me with her next choice – Scrabble. To be fair to her we hadn’t stipulated that the games had to be quiz/question based. About a year ago I wrote a post about the way my father desperately wanted to beat me at Scrabble when I was a kid, and the way I couldn’t just LET him win, even though it would have made my life a lot easier at the time. So I gave her fair warning about this, and we began. At this point Jessie’s slightly older twin, Jen, my third daughter came in with her boyfriend Shaun. Who were both instantly taken with the idea of the games marathon, and when they promised to make lunch while we were seeing out the first game, we graciously allowed them to join in from the next game. Well, that made our head to head score irrelevant, but never mind.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure whose idea it was to leave the board games behind and move on to Buzz Quiz World, on the PS3 (What on Earth is a PS3 ? It is a new fangled video games console, I am reliably informed, m’lud. )I don’t know if you’ve ever played any of the Buzz games, but this one at least does have categories other than modern entertainment. Well, anyway, as we progressed towards the last round – which I never lose, there was a knock on the door. The repairman for the washing machine had arrived. Did I mention that we were waiting in for the repairman ? Well, anyway, I explained what the problem was ( basically we’d prefer the water to stay in the machine rather than squirting all over the floor ) , and by the time I rejoined the game, I found that in my absence they’d decided that the current game would continue , and the result would be winner takes all , superceding all previous games. And they made sure that I was already out, thus making Jess the Supreme Games champion of the day. I have to take my hat off to the girls – a display of nefarious chicanery of which I would have been proud myself. Chips off the old block.

And when I think – I could have ended up just wasting today !

Monday, 9 April 2012

Variety

I’ve mentioned Brian before. He’s the organizer/chief setter of my favourite quiz down the rugby club on a Thursday night, and also this season has been a constant feature in the Llangewydd Arms team in the Bridgend quiz league. Now, in my salad days when I was green in judgement, although not, I’m afraid cool in blood, I used to pass comments whenever anyone new took a turn at being question master . I’d always anticipate a less than satisfactory evening – and sometimes my worst fears were confirmed, and sometimes they weren’t. On such occasions Brian would always gently pull me back into line with this saying – Variety is the spice of life. Don’t knock it until you’ve given it a fair try. Wise words.

Well, that was quite a long time ago. Back 15 years and more ago when I started setting quizzes for the rugby club I was keen as mustard to do it. I would have set the quiz every week if I’d been allowed. It’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t. Now I can see what he was driving at. It's very useful to have people wanting to set a quiz themselves. Putting together a quiz for the club is never a chore, even now, but it is time consuming. Well, it is if you take the necessary trouble over it anyway. Today I’ve been putting together the quiz for this Thursday , and it’s taken a few hours. I don’t like to use a quiz that I’ve used elsewhere, or put into one of the books, I feel happier compiling a brand new one for the club. Anyway, all done now. But if I'd had to do the quiz two or three weeks ago while we were at the busiest part of the busiest term of the school year. Well, I would have been pushed to do it, that's a fact.

Going back to my original point, last night I returned to the Dyffryn Arms. John is still in Hong Kong. I put my head around the door, but I couldn’t see the team I’d promised to play for, and so I was faced with a dilemma. Play as a singleton, or try to join another team. Well, Keith who often sets the quizzes there – and does a very good job of it too if I might say so – was on his own by the bar, and so I suggested we join forces for the evening. A little later Graham, one of the other two regular setters , joined us, as did a couple of other guys. It turned out that we had a new setter doing her first quiz last night – Stacey I think her name was. A gentleman should never make wild guesses about a lady’s age, so let’s suffice it to say she was comfortably within that age bracket a chap like me would define as ‘young’. Well, time was that I would have expected the worst, and would probably have said so to someone as well. Yet actually, the quiz she came up with wasn’t bad at all, in fact I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It was the usual five rounds. The first four were categories – In the News – Television – Music – I can’t remember the other, sorry, and the last round was General Knowledge. There was also a handout, about which more later. What I liked about it was that these weren’t question just plucked out of thin air. The TV and music ones had a fair old sprinkling from across the ages, as did the TV. I was delighted with myself for dredging up that it was Ray Brookes who narrated Mr. Benn, but a lot less delighted with myself for doubting it as an answer so much that I crossed it out and put something else instead.

I did mention the handout. It had a dozen album covers, and there was apoint for identifying the artist, and a point for identifying the title. Well, yes, it's no good expecting me to come up with stuff like Arctic Monkeys - Strokes - Smashing Pumpkins etc. , but even amongst all them you had Gary Numan's The Pleasure Principle, FLeetwood Mac's Tango in the Night and ABC's Lexicon of Love. So there had still been a little thought gone into putting a few which the oldies could get.

Yes, alright, the guys and I did win, and what’s more over half the Lemurs from the rugby club were there too, so we had serious opposition as well. But it just struck me that isn’t it nice to see a much younger person firstly volunteer to put a quiz together, and secondly to do so with a bit of skill, and end up delivering a good, honest enjoyable pub quiz. After all, this is the future of quizzing. It’s something Brian and I have discussed quite a bit. One of the sad things about the quiz in the rugby club is that I’m still one of the younger quizzers there. And I’m not that far off fifty. We have one team with some younger guys. They were in their 20s when they started coming, but they must be pushing their thirties now. Alright, I could get on my high horse and say – well, that’s all well and good , we don’t want loads of twentysomethings coming in here, bringing their phone cheating and their rounds full of recent entertainment questions with them. But that attitude won’t get us anywhere. The quiz will die if we don’t get some younger teams coming along. How we do it, I don’t know. There is undoubtedly an advantage in the rugby club quiz to being over 50 – and some weeks, over 60. If a younger team did come along I could well understand them feeling a little alienated by some of the questions. But what do you do ? If you slant your quiz towards younger teams, who are just not there in our quiz anyway, you risk upsetting your regulars – and your first duty when you set the quiz in the club is to try to give them a good evening out after all.

Anyway, I enjoyed the quiz last night !

Friday, 6 April 2012

News Questions

Who or what are the following, and why have they been in the news ?

1. Diane Hill
2. Lord Gold
3. Stilijan Petrov
4. MDNA
5. German Gorbuntsov
6. Visions of Ecstasy
7. Noah Stewart
8. Geraldton – Western Australia
9. Azmara Quest
10. Switch
11. Daniel Bartlam
12. Clayton Osbon
13. The Shard
14. One Goh
15. Reverend Brian Shipsides
16. Helen Collins
17. Sunshine and Sweetie
18. Cedric Brown
19. Operation Muttley
20. Yuka
21. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad
22. Samantha Brick
23. Jim Marshall
24. Laura Johnson
25. Babar Ahmed
26. Graham Freeman

In Other News

1. Whose daughter appealed for the public to send him postcards ?
2. Whose gravestones have been removed from the Austrian town of Leonting ?
3. Which ground hosted the Saracens v. Harlequins match , with a record attendance for a rugby Union club match ?
4. Who has had more number 1 albums in the UK album charts than any other solo artist ?
5. Who claimed his twitter account had been hacked when he seemed to mistakenly refer to Bradford as Blackburn in a tweet ?
6. Whose memorial wood has been decimated by disease ?
7. Who drew 3 – 3 with Manchester City ?
8. Which anniversary was marked on 2nd April ?
9. Which team beat Arsenal 2 – 1 ?
10. Mount Etna erupted again. How many eruptions does this make it so far for 2012 ?
11. What is the new charge for prescriptions in England ?
12. Behaviour on which airline saw Gavin Henson in trouble ?
13. – and which club sacked him for this behaviour ?
14. Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray in the final of which event ?
15. Which TV presenter is set to face trial for harassing his ex girlfriend ?
16. On the 2nd April sanctions were applied to which African country ?
17. A lone gunman killed students in which religious university in Oakland California ?
18. Who is the UN special envoy to Syria ?
19. Who have been sentenced to jail for illegal residency in Pakistan ?
20. Which Today presenter said that Thought for the Day should present secular views ?
21. Dick Cheney had which operation last week ?
22. Who has been rumoured to be the singer for the theme of the new James Bond film Skyfall
23. Who resigned as BskyB chairman
24. By which score did Barcelona defeat Milan ?
25. What derailed new Bombardier trams in Blackpool ?
26. How much was Network Rail’s fine for the Grayrigg crash ?
27. Which three primaries were won by Mitt Romney last week ?
28. Which state was decimated by a dozen tornadoes?
29. Which supermarket range are going to be completely revamped ?
30. Where did the Queen give out Maundy Money ?
31. Whose Lonsdale Belts are to be auctioned ?
32. Which foodstuff has Sarkozy banned from the Elysee Palace ?
33. Who led after the first day of the US Masters ?
34. Which country has ruled out sending women athletes to the Olympic Games ?

Answers to News Questions

1. Peter Cruddas
2. Sir Michael Spicer
3. Chris Cairns
4. Adam Parr
5. Gabor Rakonczay
6. The Arnold Palmer Invitational
7. Liam Stacey
8. Dylan Hartley
9. Judge John Larkin
10. Francis Maude
11. The Pirates Next Door
12. Mega Millions
13. Gary McKinnon
14. Richard Lee Norris
15. I Dreamed a Dream
16. Hank Haney
17. Viaspan
18. Baby
19. Jean Paul Guerlain
20. The Virgin and Child with St. Anne

In Other News

1. Name the two time former world darts champion who passed away last week
2. Which town is officially the accident prone capital of the UK ?
3. Who has been offered the position of coach to the British and Irish Lions tour of 2013 ?
4. What was found near the Queen Charlotte Islands ?
5. What has become the most expensive ITV drama ever produced ?
6. Which driver won the Malaysian Grand Prix ?
7. Barack Obama has warned North Korea over what ?
8. Margaret Thatcher was revealed to have said that she would not go into politics if she had her time again – for what reason ?
9. How have the London Olympics snubbed John O’Groats ?
10. Which club won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy ?
11. The Pope paid a much publicised visit to which country ?
12. Which former Conservative Cabinet minister passed away last week ?
13. Which car company recalled 100,000 cars in the UK ?
14. Which coach was sacked by Inter Milan last week ?
15. From the end of April what will be the new prices of 1st and 2nd class stamps ?
16. Foreign Olympic coaches officials and athletes will be banned from doing what in the UK during the Olympics ?
17. A forest fire broke out near Newport , South Wales last week – where ?
18. How did organisers of a shooting event in Kuwait cause anguish to the winner from Kazakhstan ?
19. What was the result of the Chelsea v. Benfica match ?
20. What was the result of the replayed Spurs v. Bolton FA Cup match ?
21. Where in the UK is Einstein’s brain going on display to the public ?
22. What was given to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall , on her visit to the set of the TV drama “The Killing “ ?
23. Which Rugby League team were threatened with receivership unless they could raise £500,000 by the end of the month ?
24. Andy Murray has announced that he will be unavoidable for the Davis Cup tie against which country ?
25. What was Sri Lanka’s lead over England after their second innings in the first test ?
26. Which football club were fined by UEFA for the behaviour of its fans during a match against Udinese ?
27. Who was been appointed England’s Rugby Union coach until the world cup in 2015 ?
28. Which senior conservative said that their front bench risks being seen as out of touch ?
29. The public are to be allowed to see he sets for the Harry Potter films – where ?
30. Who have unveiled their first uniform specifically for muslim girls ?
31. Who won the Bradford West bye election ?
32. Where is the first new grammar school campus for 50 years set to open ?
33. Who scored a century in England’s second innings of the first test v. Sri Lanka ?
34. What was Sri Lanka’s winning margin in this test ?
35. Which 80s sitcom is being revived by its writers for a UK cable channel ?
36. Which country held a general strike on Thursday 29th March ?
37. Which BBC Game show is to be axed ?

Answers

1. Conservative co-treasurer sacked for implying donations can bring access to senior politicians
2. Former Cabinet Minister whose published diaries suggested that Margaret Thatcher said she would not go into politics if she had her time again
3. New Zealand cricketer who won the first ever twitter libel case in UK
4. Resigned as chairman of the Williams F1 team
5. 1st man to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a canoe
6. First event to be won by Tiger Woods for 2 years
7. Swansea student jailed for 56 days for tweets about Fabrice Muamba
8. Banned for 8 weeks for biting Gordon Ferris’ finger in England RU win over Ireland
9. Suing Peter Hain over comments in his memoirs
10. Conservative minister who advised people to store petrol in jerry cans
11. Winner of Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize
12. US Lottery with world’s biggest ever jackpot of over $500 million
13. UK hacker declared mentally fit to face trial in USA
14. Underwent the world’s most extensive face transplant
15. Stage show in Newcastle upon Tyne based on the life of Susan Boyle
16. Former coach of Tiger Woods who published his memoirs
17. Preserving fluid for organs for transplant – batches found to be contaminated
18. Elephant who escaped circus in Cork
19. Perfumier found guilty of racism in France
20. Leonardo’s last masterpiece – restored and put on display in the Louvre

Other news

1. Jocky Wilson
2. Melton Mowbray
3. Warren Gatland
4. Abandoned trawler from tsunami
5. Titanic
6. Fernando Alonso
7. Planned long range rocket launch
8. The effect it had on her family
9. They are only sending a replica torch there for a photo opportunity
10. Chesterfield
11. Cuba
12. Lord Tony Newton
13. BMW
14. Claudio Ranieri
15. 50p and 60p
16. Getting married
17. Risca
18. Playing a fake Kazakh national anthem from Borat rather than the real one when a Kazakh shooter won
19. 1 – 0 ( first leg)
20. 3 – 1 Spurs
21. The Wellcome Collection
22. A sweater
23. Bradford Bulls
24. Belgium
25. 34 0
26. Celtic
27. Stuart Lancaster
28. David Davies
29. Leavesden Studios – Herts ( Warner Bros )
30. The Scouts
31. George Galloway
32. Sevenoaks
33. Jonathan Trott
34. 75 runs
35. Yes Minister
36. Spain
37. Total Wipeout

Mastermind Semi Final 3

I knew that this week was Gary’s semi-final, but being the good egg that he is he hadn’t given me any idea of just how he did. Obviously he was bearing the full burden of support from the Clark sofa tonight, but countering that I couldn’t help noticing that he was wearing the lucky shirt. Still, let’s get on with the show.

Tonight’s contenders , and their placings on my unofficial first round table, were as follows : -

John Beynon – 2nd
Ken Owen - 5th
Gary Grant – 6th
Jonathan Perry – 28th
Mary Bucknall – 30th

SO this was looking rather like one of the top heavy semis we see at least once every series. Based on their first round performances, and their track records over the last couple of years, all three of Ken, Gary and John had every good hope of getting to the final.

That’s not to discount Jonathan and Mary completely. However Jonathan, offering us the Life and Times of Cardinal Wolsey, struggled to impose himself on his round, and after 90 seconds he had managed 4. It happens. Don’t forget the fact that he won his first round heat, and is a Mastermind semi-finalist. He has nothing to apologise to anyone for. There’s lots of people who’d like to be able to make that boast themselves.

Ken Owen posted a perfect specialist round last time out with 16 on the Roy Grace novels. Answering on the Apostle Simon Peter tonight he did even better. His perfect 15 from 15 off a 90 second round was about as good as you can get, and this round required a very detailed knowledge of the subject. With last week, when Julie Aris managed a perfect 15 to take a useful lead after the SS you always suspected that she’d be in danger of losing the lead on the GK round. Ken, on the other hand, looked good value to hold it – depending on how close the remaining contenders could come to matching him in their specialist rounds.

Mary Bucknall this time out answered on Heraldry of Britain. Now, there’s an old fashioned Mastermind subject, I thought. 10 points and 1 pass seemed to be a pretty good return on a round which had only 1 or 2 points for a good quizzer who’d done no specialist work on the subject – I did know the mullet was the five pointed star. As we know, double figures in a 90 second round equals a job well done. However you fancied that she wouldn’t be able to bridge a 5 point gap in GK.

Next was Gary, wearing his lucky shirt. In 2010 Gary and I both wore lucky shirts in the first round of Only Connect , and at least one of them must have worked since we won that round. Gary was answering on the history of the Monaco Grand Prix. That’s one of those subjects where you always suspect the sneaky devils are going to find one or two things to catch you out, however hard you manage to work on the subject. Gary is an old hand at this game now though, and when those couple of questions did rear their ugly heads he snapped out answers anyway to avoid passing, and didn’t let it affect the momentum of the round. In the end he managed 12. The three point gap looked large – but not impossible.

Finally John Beynon, the runner up in Brain of Britain 2011. John came heartbreakingly close to making the final in his last Mastermind semi final in 2009. I had 4 right on his round, about Catherine the Great. John though managed to get into the teens, with 13. One point more than Gary, but still two points behind Ken. So at the halfway stage we looked as if we were in a three horse race, and the three horses were the ones who’d performed best in their heats. No surprises there so far.

Jonathan returned to the chair, and John felt duty bound to pass comment on his modest score on the first round. Well, believe me John, it won’t have been caused by lack of trying. Actually, the GK round that Jonathan produced was a very good one. He scored 12, and putting that into perspective, 12 from 2 minutes is actually better in real terms than 13 from two and a half minutes, which he scored in a his heat. So well done, sir ! Jonathan could easily have been forgiven for losing his concentration completely in GK – he didn’t and produced a good round.

Mary Bucknall had scored 11 in the GK round in her heat, and this suggested that she might find it rather hard going in the semi. I’m afraid that this was the case, and she finished with 13 points. As I said , though, Mary won her heat. She is, and will always be a Mastermind semi-finalist , and there’s a lot of people who wish that they could make that boast themselves.

With all due respect to the previous two contenders, it was at this point that we moved to the real business end of the competition. Gary was three points behind Ken. All he could do was make the highest score he possibly could in GK, to set a challenging target. And what a round he produced ! This was a fantastic display. 16 off a two minute round is a wonderful performance, and these were by no means gimmes either. The speed he maintained was exemplary, and you could feel the concentration coming out of the TV. To put it into perspective, if you can leave your opponents requiring double figures in GK you at least put them into the corridor of uncertainty. This left John needing 15 just to equal him, and Ken 13. Basically it left John staring down the barrel of a gun, and Ken with a difficult ask.

John had a go, but he picked up a pass which meant that even 15 wouldn’t be good enough. His 13 was actually a very good round in its own right. But it wasn’t enough. Which meant it was all down to Ken. As for Ken, well, he managed 15 in two and a half minutes in the heat, which suggested that this was going to be tight. It didn’t help when he had two of his first three questions wrong, and maybe I’m doing him a disservice here, but it looked as if this played on his mind a little bit. Before the minute mark Ken was behind schedule, and in the end he finished with 22. It was hard lines on Ken and especially John being put into such a relatively strong semi, but they can take comfort from the fact that they were beaten by an outstanding performance. I’m not just saying that because Gary is a mate, a LAM reader, and my Only Connect skipper. Watch it yourself on the iplayer. You’ll see what I mean. Many congratulations, and the very best of luck in the final.

The Details
Jonathan Perry The Life and Times of Cardinal Wolsey4 - 212 - 216 - 4
Ken OwenThe Apostle Simon Peter15 – 0 7 - 022 - 0
Mary BucknallHeraldry of Britain10 - 13 - 713 - 8
Gary GrantHistory of the Monaco Grand Prix12 - 0 16 – 028 - 0
John Beynon Catherine the Great13 - 013 - 126 – 1