Friday, 8 February 2013

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 23

A pupil asked me today why people want to apply to go on Mastermind in the first place. The most meaningful answer I could give the inquisitive young scamp was that there are lots of reasons why people do it, and it is probably a slightly different one for each of us. I wonder what answers each of tonight’s contenders would give. All four of them were newcomers to the show, according to my database. First up was Jonathan Payton. His subject , Joy Division, was one of those popular culture specialist subjects that commentators who don’t know any better often think are somehow easier than more traditional Mastermind subjects. They’re not. I’ll be honest, I was never a fan at the time, and knew so little about the band that I’m afraid I failed to trouble the scorer at all. Jonathan started extremely well, and though he stumbled on a couple he kept his score ticking along well enough to post a competitive 12.

The Battle of the River Plate was certainly a more traditional Mastermind subject. Kimberley Westall was answering, and I’m afraid that judging by her expression when John announced her score of 6, she didn’t do as well as she had hoped. Whether this was due to nerves, or due to the number of questions she was asked about things which were less directly and more tangentially associated with the battle, who could say? Whatever the case, sadly it does happen sometimes, and all you can do is try to put it behind you, and concentrate on posting a good score in GK.

Having managed 3 answers on the previous subject, I was hoping, although not expecting, to do a bit better on Marcus Hake’s subject, the Ashes Series since 1981. Anyone who has played on the same team as me for any length of time would probably tell you that every time a cricket question rears its head in a quiz I tend to groan. Hopefully they’d also tell you that I do occasionally also get cricket questions right, but let’s just say that as a subject it was always way down on my list of potential specialisms. So I was actually delighted to be able to pick off 8 of these. Which was quite some way behind Marcus, whose 13 looked a good bet to lead us into the GK rounds.

This was not to show any disrespect to Mick Judge, but I had a feeling that his subject , Tod Slaughter, was one of those slightly more obscure film sets which could prove tricky even to the well prepared contender. I’m sure that Mick was indeed well prepared, but even so he found the round a little bit of a struggle, eventually amassing a respectable total of 8. With the best will in the world, it looked as if we had something of a two horse race on our hands going into the general knowledge round.

So then Kimberley returned to the chair, and realistically the challenge ahead of her was to set a respectable, or hopefully good total. This she managed. If nerves had affected her during her specialist round, they certainly didn’t seem to be doing so in this round, as she sensibly dealt with each question on its own merits, and reached double figures and respectability by the end of the round. When Mick Judge followed her into the chair he did step up the pace a notch or two. He wasn’t totally out of the competition, but needed to set a monster total to give himself a realistic chance. Well, maybe he didn’t manage that, but his 14 and 1 pass was a good round, which meant that he could look back on his Mastermind experience with his head held high.

So to the two horse race. Jonathan Payton, clearly meaning business, set off at a good pace towards the total. He did seem to let a couple of wrong answers get to him. This is only natural, but to do really well in a GK round it is important to be able to put wrong answers behind you without another thought. He managed another 11 points, which took him just past Mick’s total, although nowhere near a runner-up semi final slot. He would only qualify if Marcus failed to beat his total. This looked unlikely from quite early in the round. Yes, we’ve seen better GK rounds this series than Marcus’ but it was still pretty good, and more importantly it was paced and controlled well. Marcus never looked like running out of steam, and 15 took him quite some distance past the finishing line when the buzzer went, with a good total of 28. Well played!

The Details

Jonathan Payton Joy Division12 - 011 - 323 – 3
Kimberley WestallThe Battle of the River Plate6 - 310 - 316 – 6
Marcus HakeThe Ashes Series since 198113 - 015 - 128 – 1
Mick JudgeThe films of Tod Slaughter8 - 314 - 122 – 4


Jon Payton said...

Thanks for the very honest review. Marcus was the calmest by far beforehand, and deserved to win. I did indeed let some wrong answers affect me, and left thinking 'what if', despite having a modest personal target of 20+ points and avoiding last place.

Londinius said...

Hi Jonathon, and welcome to LAM.

I'm surprised to see you say that you had a modest personal target. Judging from some of your answers - especially from the start that you made to the GK round I guessed that you're certainly no novice at quizzing.

All credit for achieving double figures in both rounds. Well played - and I do hope that you enjoyed your Mastermind experience.