Round One – Sudden Death play off – Festival Fans v. The Cat Lovers
The Festival Fans - Ed Dovey, Stewart McCartney and captain Marianne Fairthorne, lost to the Francophiles in the last round of their first match. In their elimination match they beat the GPs by 30 – 28, although they had seemed the better of the two teams right up until the vowels round. In their first match the Cat Lovers, Roger Johnson, Jean Upton and captain Jim Crozier squeezed past the Corpuscles by a single point, 18-17, but were well beaten by the Celts – 23 – 13 in their first chance at qualification for the semis. Based on my reading of the two matches so far I thought that the Fans might have just too much firepower for the Cat Lovers. Time would tell.
Round One – What’s the Connection?
Marion didn’t voice the second syllable of Horned Viper, and immediately I feared that the Fans could be in for a difficult evening. The pictures revealed, firstly, Oscar de la Hoya – not sure yet – then A map of the USA with California highlighted. I had a lightbulb moment, and said – Golden State – Golden Boy – Golden. I am not familiar with the golden spiral that came up next, but I am familiar with jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear. Mario was working on the state nickname theme, but unfortunately plumped for Sunshine rather than Golden. The Cats were thus given a golden opportunity for a bonus, and couldn’t take it, offering spirals. Water for the Cats revealed sin(x) and cos(x) – nope – Two male Norwegian forenames. Now, working on the numbers theme I did know that Odd is a relatively common Norwegian name. Fellow lovers of the Eurovision may well remember former contestant Odd Bore ( honestly). I have never heard of Even as a Norwegian name, but what the hell, I went for it. Two roulette outside bets certainly didn’t rule it out as a guess, but x and x+1 (x=integer) might just as well have been written in Egyptian hieroglyphs for all it meant to me. And the Cats, as it happened, who plumped for the letter B. The fans didn’t have it either. Yet rather surprisingly my Odd and Even guess was right. The Fans opted for Lion and the bong informed us that this was a music set. I’ll be honest, I had nothing until Wipeout, but guessed game/quiz shows at the same time that Marion came up with it for the Fans. 2 points in the bank, and the Fans were away. The Cats opted for Eye of Horus. Air Stewardess gave me little to go on, then Hughes H-4 aircraft did. That’s the Spruce Goose – an air hostess can be called a Trolley Dolly, and so here we had rhyming nicknames. I think the Cats had it at this point, but Roger advised caution, and so they took the third clue – Alexandra Palace – Ally Pally. Two points in the bag for the Cats, thank you very much. The Fans took Two Reeds. The first clue – Chagos Archipelago was not familiar to me I’m afraid. The second – Antarctica 20 degrees west – 80 degrees west didn’t immediately suggest anything – Gibraltar though suggest that the Antarctic one might be the British Antarctic territory, and these might be disputed British possessions/territories/dependencies ( delete where accurate) The Falklands confirmed it, although the Fans needed a second bite to get beyond just British overseas Territories. Cat Lovers were left with Twisted Flax. Now, I took a flyer on this – the first clue – Welsh =RH – NG. I did know that these count as single letters in Welsh, and so gambled that this would be the equivalent to Q and Z in English language scrabble, making them 10 point letters. The other three clues were French = K,W,X,Y,Z – German=Q,Y – and of course English = Q,Z.The Cats came in for a point here. This meant that the Fans and Cats were tied on 3.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
Lion to begin gave the Fans Lazio. This gave me two options. Firstly, that it was where Paul Gascogine went after leaving Spurs. Secondly, it was the team Sevn Goran Ericson managed before England. The second was Midelesborough – which was the club managed by Steve Maclaren before England. Working forwards, Roy Hodgson managed West Brom before England, so that was my answer. The Fans never had the connection, and so failed to score. The Cats didn’t either. The Cats took Two Reeds, and received Gingerbread – Honeycomb – Ice cream sandwich. Sorry, but I really didn’t have a clue on this one at all. They are actually successive versions of the Android Operating System. The next would be Jelly Bean. Fair enough. None of us knew that, neither me nor the teams. Twisted flax gave the Fans 10: US Treasury Building, 5: Lincoln Memorial – and here I was thinking banknotes - 2:Signing the Declaration of Independence – did they really have a $2 bill? Must have. I didn’t have a clue what would be on the $1 bill anyway. Neither did the Fans of the Cats, the answer being the Great Seal of the USA. This time it was Jim who gave is the foreshortened version of Horned Viper, and for his trouble he received some pictures. What none of us knew was that the pictures represented various districts in the Hunger Games books – and 13: Nuclear was missing. Seen the film, never read any of the books. Eye of Horus gave us (3,5) – (5,7) – and just to prove I’m not totally innumerate at this stage I could see that they were pairs of consecutive prime numbers, the difference between which was 2. Which suggested that the next would be (11,13) and the last (17,19). The Fans were wise to take the third clue, which guaranteed they got the correct answer. Right, five point answer coming up for me. I’m not saying I would have gambled in the studio, but when Nasser came up for the Cats, I said straight away Morsi. How ironic this coming just days after he was deposed. Recorded well before it happened, though, I’ve no doubt. Sadat confirmed it, and I have to say I was surprised that the Cats took the third clue of Mubarak. Every point can count in OC. So going into the walls the teams were locked at 5 apiece.
The Connecting Walls
The Cats opted for Water, and used about a third of their time before untangling their first line – Festoon – Nosegay – Buttonhole – Garland – all festive arrangements of flowers .Soon after they also untangled a list of synonyms for gather together – corral – assemble – muster – convene. They worked out that the last two sets were words which ended with the name of a herb – Bombay – Organise – Corsage and Archives – which left a set of capital cities – past and present – that had changed names – Salisbury – Rangoon – Tananarive – Port Natal – respectively Harare – Yangon – Antananarivo – Durban. That full house of 10 really put the pressure on the Fans.
The Lion Wall yielded jamb – panel – threshold – frame – which were all parts of a door pretty quickly. Extinguisher – Watch – Escape and Alarm can all follow the word – Fire. They could see songs by the Cure – Lullaby – The Lovecats – Catch and Friday I’m in Love. However they just didn’t know that The Castle – Whistle – The Hanging Garden and Billy Budd were all unfinished last novels. I knew the Castle and so guessed correctly. So 7 points meant that the Fans trailed by 12 to 15.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
The first set – food additives – saw a 4 – 0 shut out for the Fans which overturned the Cats’ lead. 16 – 15 to the Fans. They lived to be a hundred saw the Cats take back the lead with the first two, then lose it when the Fans took the second 2. 18 – 17 to the Fans. Alternative Medicine Treatments fell 3 – 0 to the Cats. Cats led by 20 – 18. Films with Courtroom Scenes saw the Fans level the show with the first two. Neither team knew Inherit the Wind, and the end music confirmed we had a draw on our hands. Well, the rules are pretty clear. In case of a tie, the two captains alone face a last clue. The first to answer correctly wins the show. However an incorrect answer would mean that the other team automatically win. A test of nerve, then, and it was captain Marion of the Fans who buzzed in first to say “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” Correct. Very hard lines, Cats. Very much underdogs to my mind, they pushed the Fans all the way. Well played Festival Fans – good luck in the semi finals.