Eadward Mubridge – why did that name ring a bell? – I asked myself. Then I remembered that he was the guy who took a sequence of photos of a horse galloping to prove that all 4 hooves did leave the ground at the same time. Well, he also did a lot more than that, as Andrew Spooner’s round went on to prove. In a week of relatively high scores, poor Andrew’s stuck out a little, as he hesitated on some, had a couple wrong, and just couldn’t bring others past the tip of his tongue. So he finished on nine, although he obviously knew his subject. Still, he did seem to be enjoying himself tremendously, with the smile never leaving his face. I like that.
Ron Wood – no, not that one – was the third up. His subject was The Byrds. I was first encouraged to listen to their music by my History Teacher, Mr. Leveson, who was an all round good egg, with a wonderfully self-deprecating line of humour, but I digress. I’d managed 7 on Seb Coe, having only recently read his autobiography, and though I might get a few on this round. Few was the operative word – 3 to be precise. Ron on the other hand managed 13 with only one incorrect answer denying him a perfect round. It was shaping up to be a good contest.
Carol O’Byrne offered what I would say was the most traditional Mastermind specialist subject of the evening, Violette Szabo GC. Violette Szabo’s activities in the SOE during World War Two, which led to her capture and death rightly won her the George Cross, and were celebrated in the book and film “Carve Her Name With Pride”. Carol O’Bryne served us up that relative rarity, a perfect round. Now, I know that I’ve been banging on about the length of the specialist questions in this series, but come on – this was a perfect round, with hardly any hesitation at all, and it still only scored 14. Is it really necessary to overload the questions with needless details? Anyway, a great round from Carol, which put her in with a decent chance of going through to the semis.
In fact three of the four contenders were all in with a good chance of getting to the semis one way or another. First of all we had the contender who really wasn’t in contention, so to speak, and that was Andrew. Actually he wasn’t doing that badly on his GK round, and once again seemed to enjoy it, but he really wasn’t answering very quickly, and a little run of passes in the middle of the round put paid to his chances of posting anything which might place the others into the corridor of uncertainty. He reached double figures and respectability with a total of 19.Now, in this series 13 would usually place you higher than third by the halfway stage, so Ron Wood could think himself a little unlucky to be the second one back for the GK round. He performed really well, though, picking off the answers, and if it wasn’t the fastest GK round we’ve ever seen it was still pretty good, and maintained its momentum from start to finish. 15 put him up to 28, a good bet for a repechage slot even if it could be overhauled by either Paul or Carol.
Paul had certainly answered more quickly in his specialist round than any of the other three contenders, and he used the same tactic in his GK round. Showing great presence of mind he also made sure to provide an answer to every question. As the round drew to a close this began to look like a very wise tactic indeed. With the finishing line inside it looked as if he wouldn’t equal Ron’s 15, but then he didn’t have to – he needed 14 , since Ron had passed 3 times. The last question gave Paul the point he needed, and he too finished with 28.
I wonder if any other viewers thought there was a controversial moment in Carol’s round as well. When asked about the hotel, whose ‘round table’ included writers such as Dorothy parker, Carol offered the ‘Alonquin’. John corrected her to the Algonquin, and the point was awarded. Now, it was obvious that she knew the right answer, I’ve no doubt about that. But I wonder what other people’s views about allowing ‘close enough’ answers are. Not that it made a huge amo0unt of difference. Carol impressed with the range of her answers, but they just weren’t coming quickly enough, and by the end of the round she had fallen just one point heartbreakingly short.
So well done Paul! I’m made up for you reaching the semis, and I wish you the best of luck. All is not lost for Ron and Carol, though, both of whom scored highly enough to feature on the repechage board, although there’s still quite a way to go until we ‘ll know whether they will stay there or not.
|Paul Philpot||Life and Career of Sebastian Coe||14 – 0||14 - 0||28 - 0|
|Andrew Spooner||Life and Work of Eadward Muybridge||9 - 3||10 - 3||19 - 6|
|Ron Wood||The Byrds||13 - 0||15 - 3||28 - 3|
|Carol O’Byrne||Violette Szabo GC||14 - 0||13 - 2||27 - 2|
Beth Webster 28 – 2
Ron Wood 28 – 3
Carol O’Byrne 27 – 2
Andrew Teale – 27 – 5
Barry Nolan 26 – 3
Howard Davies – 26 – 5