Friday, 18 January 2013

Only Connect Special - The Davids v. The Eggheads

The Crossworders v. The Eggheads

Last year we had a one off special where Mastermind champions took on reigning Only Connect Supreme Champions the Crossworders. The Crossworders saw off that challenge. Well, the Crossworders were rested for this one. Instead, the OC ‘home’ team as it were consisted of the Crossworders’ captain David Stainer, Dave Bill captain of The Gamblers, and David Lea, captain of the Analysts. Three skippers of three winning teams, and three Davids to boot. “I’ve never liked the name. “ Said Victoria. Well, I just hope that husband David Mitchell was watching, since I’m guessing that might have been for his benefit.

Where exactly could Jenny and the team turn to find challengers worthy to take on such a veritable supergroup? To “Eggheads”, no less. Rather ironically the Eggheads team boasted no less than two mastermind champions of their own. The first of these was Pat Gibson, 2005 winner, and winner of the second series of “Are You An Egghead?” On the other side of the skipper was LAM reader and all round good- egg(head) Barry Simmons. Amongst many distinctions, Barry won the first series of “Are You An Egghead ? “. In the middle of the sandwich was original Egghead, and 1983 Mastermind ( and the last person to win Mastermind International )Chris Hughes. No shortage of knowledge, then, on either side. However the Davids had the benefit of more experience on the show than any other team, and that could prove decisive.

Round One – What’s the Connection ?

E’s starter off with twisted Flax. This revealed Jurors -3, Petals on Remembrance Poppies : -2 , Premier League teams +8. Time was running out, and the E’s showed their inexperience by not calling for the last clue, and then offering no answer. The last clue was Kings called James – 5. That gave it to me, and I’m sure that it might well have given it to the Es. As it was the Ds had it, working out that this was the difference between England and Scotland – there being 7 Scottish King James, but only 2 of them also being Kings of England. Good set. Horned Viper gave the Ds Coypu in Louisiana – Enlistees in the American Civil War – Author of the Sasser Worm – Saddam Hussein. Neither team had it, and neither did I. The answer ? They all attracted bounties . Not fond of coconut myself, but it takes all sorts. After two very tricky sets to start, the Es picked water, and kicked off with Four Fishermen’s Wives of Cadaque ( Dali ) –Long Grass with butterflies (Van Gogh ) – Black on Maroon ( Rothko ) – Infuriatingly they again let the time run out without even seeing the last clue. had they seen it – Le Bateau (Matisse ) they would surely have had it. Le Bateau was famously hung upside down, and the others were all hung wrongly at one time or another. Lion gave the Ds a set of picture clues. B*Witched – M*A*S*H* and a couple of other things all had asterisks as part of their names , which is easy enough to see as a written clue, but not as a set of pictures. The Es now needed to find some points behind Eye of Horus. They were dwelling too long on the first clue each time, but at least passed on quickly from Apollo 12. Actually I took a flyer on this one. The most remarkable thing about Apollo 12 was that it was struck by lightning seconds after liftoff, and so struck by lightning was my guess. Pan Am flight 214 neither confirmed it nor ruled it out for me. As did Lee Trevino. York Minster did confirm it though. Pat was straight in and the Eggheads were away. Two Reeds gave the music set to the Ds. They went for preserves, having heard jam and marmalade as part of the third and fourth pieces, but it was not the right one. The E’s went for spreads – and both were close. Since the first was the Who’s Heinz Baked Beans, the answer was actually that you can spread them all on bread. So at the end of this opening round Ds led Es by 3 – 1.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?

Horned Viper was the Es first choice. Justin Dunelm came first, and immediately Pat threw Barack Obama on the table, should you pardon the expression. They gambled with it, but it was incorrect. The other two clues were Richard Londin, and Sentamu Ebor. Bishops signatures, so if we were rising in precedence, it would suggest either Rowan Cantuar – or – Justin Cantuar if this was recorded more recently. The Ds knew what they were looking for, but surprisingly went for Cantab rather than Cantuar. Hard lines. Water gave the Ds Le Depart 1792 – Le Triomphe de 1810 – La Resistance de 1814. None of us knew that the last would be La Paix – 1815. They are all sculptures on the Arc de Triomphe. Rightly did Victoria describe this one as a hideous question. Eye of Horus for the Es began with the number total on a roulette wheel –which all three knew was 666. Full UNIX file permissions might just as well have been written in hieroglyphs for all that it meant to me. Teletext subtitle came next – which is obviously 888. So all they needed to do was to say phone number of emergency services, or something of the sort ,but even with Victoria reminding them “Remember it’s a sequence “ they didn’t. Instead they offered another 666 – the Number of the Beast. The Ds gave emergency services for the bonus. Don’t be mistaken – the Eggheads are every bit as good as they seem on Eggheads – well, actually they’re even better, but inexperience of this particular show was costing them dear. Twisted Flax offered the Ds Death of the Queen Mother – Iraq and Weapons of mass Destruction – Confidence in the Media and the Police – and neither team could quite see the connection. I certainly couldn’t. The connection was that parliament was recalled for each of them, and the next was rioting in London & other cities. The Es took Lion as their last of the round, and kicked off with 8 =Cu + Sn . Sounded like Copper and Tin to me, but what 8 had to do with brass I didn’t know. 9 = cu – still no idea. Barry got that they were wedding anniversaries, and so they went for 11=Fe – iron for steel. Victoria gave them another bite at the cherry , and Chris added 11 =Fe + C ( carbon). See, I told you they were good. The Ds finished off the round with Two Reeds gave the Ds the picture clues . This was a really clever set. We saw a flower of some kind, a canary, the canary islands. Neither team ( nor I ) got the next, which was dogs. The Canary islands were named after dogs. The canary birds were named after the canary islands. The canary creeper plant is named after canary birds. Great set. The upshot of all this was that the Ds now shared the lead with the Es, who both had 4. Good game.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Ds took the Water Wall, and Travolta, Holmes, Alley and Hubbard gave them famous Scientologists. Cruise, Remote, Quality and Birth gave them a set which could all be followed by the word –control. I’m not sure that they had a clue about the last two lines when they untangled them right at the death , but they still untangled them. The line of Button, Diver , Patch and Gatsby left a last line of Damage – Forgettable – Caraway and Committee. David L took a speculative punt that Gatsby led them to a group of characters in Scott Fitzgerald novels, and was right to do so. Dave B had the answer to the last set, but just too late – that each could be split into two separate words. Still, 7 points on a tough wall was very much not to be sniffed at.

Very quickly the Es untangled Rata – Bono – Forma and Tempore – which can each be preceded by Pro. Harlequin – Saint – Wasp and Saracen are each the singular of the names of English Premier rugby union teams. Just like the Ds, they solved the last two lines with a little but not a lot of time to spare. The first line – Saffron – Lemmy – Fish and Skin , were all single word pseudonyms for singers. Rock – trapper – Shark and Maniac remained. Nobody – except, one suspects, Victoria – knew that they are all styles of poker player. Fair enough.

With 7 points to the Es, you couldn’t have written a script for a better lead in to the grandstand finish, with both teams locked on 11.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

The first category were all known by three initials. Nobody took the first, then the Davids took the next three on the bounce. The Ds took three of the four works of non-fiction, but lost a point as well for getting Eats Shoots and Leaves wrong. Pat found his range in French Phrases, taking them 3 – 1, but time was running out. Barry was terribly unlucky with Peter and The Wolf Characters and their instruments, offering Grandfather Bassoon instead of Grandfather AND Bassoon. Small thing – it didn’t make a difference to the result, but in the vowels you just have to be spot on I’m afraid. That was the end of the game, and the Eggheads had acquitted themselves well, which is no less than you would expect, but nonetheless the Davids had won by 17 to 13. Low scores ? Not at all - this was full-on Grand Final level Only Connect, and that’s as hard as it gets. Great show.


jim360 said...

It was an interesting match and I expect the Crossworders/ David Stainer well never ever ever be beaten at this game(!).

But I got the impression that the eggheads, at least in the Sequences round, didn't really "get" the point of the game. Which actually made it all the more impressive when the teams were level after the Wall.

I did some background reading on the Crossworders and discovered the almost inevitable, that they're seasoned quizzers extraordinaires. Such a record I seriously envy -- though I'm never likely to do anything about it!

Londinius said...

Hi Jim

I tend to agree with you about The Eggheads. They didn't get that 666 had to be part of a sequence, even when Victoria told them. BUT - when you're under pressure in the studio, desperately trying to see some connection, it's easily done.

Never is a long time, but no, I can't see anyone beating the Crossworders. Well, put it this way, it will take a hell of a team to do it.

Watergrass Jon said...

A slightly disappointing contest by both teams I thought, with several gettable answers muffed. Expected the Ds to win more comfortably, but squeaked in in the end. The Es didn't seem to have even seen the show before, which was surprising. Pleased to say I got the Canary question, it's the sort of q I wish I'd written. Glad you liked by "England/Scotland" q, but surprised no-one managed my Bishop q (bishop names are a bit of a quiz chestnut); not sure what the Es were thinking on that. That's it until March!

Londinius said...

Hi Watergrass Jon

I agree about the bishops one. I really think that the Eggheads got themselves in a muddle on it, and didn't actually want to go off one clue. As you say, quiz chestnut, and I didn't expect the Davids to miss it.

Still, your mind can play funny tricks on you in a quiz sometimes.