Francophiles v. Fell Walkers
Another show which put two unbeaten teams against each other to sort out who went straight into the semis. The Francophiles won a great close game against the Festival Fans in their first match. Well, we’ve already seen that the Fans are a formidable team, having won their second match. So the team of Ian Clark , Sam Goodyear, and captain Mark Walton were fancied to go well in this show. Well, they were on the Clark sofa, anyway. The Fell Walkers beat the General Practitioners with a very convincing performance on the vowels in their own first round. The GPS are out of the series, losing fairly convincingly to the Festival Fans, the Francophiles own victims. So maybe I was doing Jim Taylor, Craig Almond and captain Mike Amberry a disservice, but my pre show form guide suggested they would be underdogs.
Round One – What’s the Connection?
The Francs won the toss and elected to be first receivers. Captain Mark opted for Twisted Flax which kicked off with drinker respirator. What’s a drinker respirator? asked one of the team. Well, quite. A Ted Hughes protagonist made me think of the Iron Man. Was the first an iron lung? Were we looking for irons? Well, yes. The next was – It separated NATO and the Warsaw Pact, which was surely Iron Curtain. The Iron Chancellor finished it off. The Fell Walkers chose the Eye of Horus next because it was looking at them in a funny way. My toe bleeds, Betty didn’t shout out to me anything much, although any phrase which ends with Betty tends to conjure up a mental picture of a fresh faced Michael Crawford. Teacher! Teacher didn’t make it much clearer for me, nor did Who cooks for you. I was nowhere near, but I loved the answer of titles of foreign versions of original British sitcoms. Victoria liked it too, even though it was wrong. The last clue was – a little bit of bread and no cheese. I had no idea. Ian I think had the answer, with transliterations of bird calls. Fantastic answer, but I shall be writing the pilot episode of my sitcom A Little Bit Of Bread and No Cheese over the summer holiday, I think. The Francs, off to a good start, looked to capitalize with Horned Viper, voicing the second vowel as they should. Mali and Guinea came up, and hello, - I shouted – a five pointer. The Francs were close with the same flag, and closer with reverse them, but actually it was you need to rotate them. Thanks Sporcle. Two Reeds fell for the Fells, and brought them a set of pictures. The first was Battersea Power Station – hello, I thought – Pink Floyd Albums? A pair of hands shaking – so we had Animals, then Wish You Were Here, and if I’d had the guts to go for it, which I wouldn’t have done in the studio, then it would have been two five pointers in a row. A brick wall came next, and I predicted the next would be a prism. Which was right. Sam of the Francs groaned as Lion brought them the music set. Well, the only one I recognized was the last one – Breakfast at Tiffany’s – The Francs were all at sea.The Fells, I think, were in the same boat as me, gusessing they all shared titles with movies. No, they were all meals/mealtimes. Water remained for the Fells. Associated Press didn’t reveal a great deal, Ocean Spray not a lot more. Morning Star- well, that wasn’t it’s original name, but I doubted it would be as simple as that. Were they all, perhaps, names that the Beckhams had considered for their children at one time? John Lewis finished it off. Were they , I wondered, all cooperatives? I knew that the John Lewis Partnership and the Morning Star were. Quite right, as it turned out, and the Fells knew it as well. This meant that as we ran headlong into round two the Francs led by 6 points to 3.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
The Francs intrigued Victoria with their choice of the eye of Horus. They were given £1050 – Quercus Genus Specimens – What? Quercus, I thought, was the oak family. Didn’t help. Bowler hat in the USA. Ah. Penny dropped. 1000 Guineas – the Oaks – The Derby – so we would see something representing a saint with a ledger, or something of that ilk – all being English classic horse races. Fabulous set – kudos to the setter. The Fells ignored the chance to buy a bit of luck by leaving the second vowel of Horned viper unvoiced. 1:Umbrella – (Rihanna?) 2: Uptown Girl (Billy Joel? Westlife? Huh?)3: Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Ah – I thought – are we talking about how many different times these songs have got to number one? But in that case, which song would have got there in 4 different times? I rejected Spirit in the Sky and Bohemian Rhapsody, then had an unpleasant mental flashback of Robson and Jerome and plumped correctly for Unchained Melody. Neither team really had the point of the set, being seduced by the fact that Do They Know It’s Christmas was a Christmas number 1. Lion gave the Francs Romantic – Classical – Baroque, and Sam, who had sussed out the set early, explained that these were consecutively earlier periods of musical epoch. Water gave the Fells 1>>8- 8>>10 – 10>>19 - . Sorry, but no answer from the Clark sofa. The teams didn’t know either. Basically – one ends in E. The next number up from one that starts with E is Eight. The next number up from eight that starts with T is ten. You see how it works. Fiendish, but that’s why we watch the show. Two reeds showed a set of pictures, kicking off with what looked like a tiger lily – next was a blond young lady – then some peaches, and at the same time as I was saying – Geldof, so were the Francs. Admittedly Paul Yates is actually the real connection. I suggested the oldest of Paula Yates’ daughters as Fifi Trixibelle, and so did the Francs, correctly so. Which left the Fells to chance their collective arm with twisted flax. F: Pale Yellow didn’t shout out anything to me, other than – you don’t know it, Dave. Cl: yellow green. Nope – still struggling. The Fells looked to be onto something good, suggesting next might be bromine: brown. Close – Br: dark red. So working through the halogens we’d have iodine – I next. Which colour? Gawd knows. Having worked so hard on it the Fells fell at the last by giving us sodium. The Francs had iodine, but not the colour, purple. So the Francs did not extend their lead further, but a score of 12 – 3 looked pretty convincing for them.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Fells kicked off, and they needed the Lion Wall to yield up all of its secrets to give them the best chance of prevailing in the final round. The sounds of bells looked to be a set. Sean Penn films looked promising as well. The bells were resolved with ding dong – tintinnabulation-bong and knell. Slaughter – Milk – Raise and Dehorn they knew were all things you can do to or with cattle. There was a beautiful set of phonetic renderings of Prime Ministers names there – Peal – Blare – Lore and Rustle, and they needed a little bit of leeway to get there on that one, and once they had them, bingo, we were done. This left Bad Boys – Colours – Mystic River and The Game. Sadly they just didn’t know that Sean Penn was in them. Still 7 points meant that the vowels game would at least be doable, and depending on the performance of the Francs on the Lion Wall, could become very interesting.
Right away they saw chess games, and I saw Houblon and Leigh Pemberton –Governors in a Bank of England stylee - . Very quickly they unraveled en passant – stalemate – gambit and castle for the chess terms. The Bank of England Governors – George – King – Houblon and Leigh Pemberton followed quickly. Looking at what was left I am ashamed to admit that I recognized X Men more quickly than Beckett plays. The Francs knew they were both there, and did it on the first go. Angel – Rogue – Cyclops and Storm were the X Men, and Endgame – Footfalls – Rockaby and Happy Days the plays. So the Francs duly increased their lead – now 22 – 10.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
The first set – Presidents of Footlights – fell 2 apiece, and saw a nice name check for Mr. Victoria Coren – David Mitchell. The next set, things a publican might say, saw the Fells take 2 and the Francs lose 1. Still a huge gap to bridge. Former Spanish colonies saw a welcome name check for Federated States of Micronesia – we don’t hear enough about them these days. This category fell 4 – 0 to the Francs. Fashion tropes gave just enough time for the Fells to pick up 2, and take their score to 16, while the Francs walked onwards into the semis with 27. Again, after the very close set of matches in the first tranche this was a little more convincing, and the Francs looked pretty good value for their win. Nil desperandum Fells, though, as there’s still another chance. Good show.