Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Only Connect - Round One - Elimination Match 2

The Science Editors v. The Press Gang

The Press Gang, Emily Phillips, Richard Colfer, and Robin Seavill, looked good value for money losing to the Bakers by 24 – 22 in their first round match. In this second show they were fighting for survival against the Science Editors, Andrew Cosgrove, Shreeya Nanda, and captain Kester Jarvis, who lost 28 – 10 to the Oenophiles. Well, that’s a quite heavy defeat, but on the other hand they were playing against a team widely reckoned to be the strongest in this year’s competition. Captain kester announced a change of tactics for the show – picking the right heiroglyphs. Worth a try.

Round One – What’s the Connection?

The Eds won the toss and chose Lion, for the music set. They needed all 4 tunes, but couldn’t get it any more than I could. The Gang went with Dickens characters, but were led up the garden path. The titles were pause – play – rewind and st0op. Now that’s a good set – and I didn’t have a Scooby. The first set for the Gang were the dreaded cookery category. Frozen Mashed potato – Omelette Pans – Vegetable Bouillon Powder and Cranberries foxed them as much as they foxed me and the Eds. The connection is that they have all been boosted by the Delia Effect – yep, if our Delia uses you in a recipe, you’ve cracked it. Two Reeds gave the Eds pictures of Sausages – One Man Mowing ( I had it here ) – a monkey jumping on the bed, and one green bottle. They knew that these were counting songs, even though Victoria made them work for their point. Twisted Flax gave the Gang 1992 – Merry Christmas, 1897 Are You ready ? – and here my guess would have been right – 1944 – What Hath God Wrought and 2oor – just setting up my twittr. This was easy enough to work out, but not to explain, but eventually the Gang had first communications on different media. 1 point. The Eds took water, and I’m sorry but I am sure that I would have had a 5 pointer in the studio. Given P _ _ _ THER – I said – they are all creatures with the words for other creatures missing from the names. I am sure that the Eds had it early too, but they took CRO _ _ _ DILE and WILDE _ _ _ ST to be sure. The Gang finished with the viper, and Winona Ryder – Dame Nellie Melba – Flo Rida – and here I had it – and - Florence Nightingale which confirmed that these people were all named after the place where they were born. So the score then was 3 – 2 to the Eds.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth?

The Eds began with 4th: Chris Chattaway. This time I wasn’t that sure I would have gone for it in the studio – oh, who am I kidding, I would have done. I reckoned these were people who broke the 4 minute mile, and so 1: (Sir) Roger Bannister would be the answer. The Eds took 3rd: Laslo Tabori and 2nd: John Landy before they answered, but it went for a bonus to the Gang. Lion gave pictures to the Gang, and we saw Monica Lweinsky – Erica Roe – and Rita Hayworth. Robin called for a 4th – don’t blame him. They ran out of time. The Eds didn’t know it either. It’s actually a good set – a little bit of Monica – etc. – they were successive girl’s names in Mambo number 5 – and the next would be Tina. Twisted Flax was gettable. Australian Table -= 20 – Table = 15 – Dessert = 10 begged the answer Tea = 5, which is what the Eds supplied, knowing these are spoon sizes. Eye of Horus brought the Gang Millie Bush – Buddy Clinton. Now, I knew these were presidential pets, and I knew that Barack Obama has a Portuguese water dog. But I don’t know it’s name! Well, I didn’t. Neither did the teams. It’s Bo Obama. Two Reeds gave the eds 4th A Feast for Crows – 3rd – A Storm of Swords. Now I didn’t have it, but then I’ve never read the A Game Of Thrones books, but someone on the Eds has, since they had it on two. Only the viper remained for the Gang. They had Galactic Centre – Sun – Earth. I’ll be honest the answer is more clever than it looks. Neither team had the moon – each one orbits the previous. Clever set. At the end of the round the Gang had 3, but the eds had stretched the gap, with 8.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

After a moment or two the Gang resolved a line of types of cricket – T20 – French – Test – Kwik, They followed this with a set of screen horses – Silver – Topper – Trigger – Champion. They wasted little time in sorting out the next two lines. With Havoc – Les Miserables – Bride Wars and One Day – they knew they had a set of Anne Hathaway films. This left First class – A-1 – Copacetic and Boffo, which are all terms for something excellent. 10 points, and well they needed them too.

Working on the water wall it took the Eds a while to find Wallace and Gromit characters – Feathers McGraw – Wendolene – Gromit and Shaun. They quickly worked out a set of words which can be preceded by dead – bolt – reckoning – shot and heat. The three strikes and you’re out rule froze them out after three more attempts. When the lines were resolved they saw that Burrell – Wallace – Peggy Guggenheim and Frick were all galleries. This left Powell – Lewis – Greene and Bailey. Lenient Victoria allowed sprinters, but strictly speaking they were all 100m world record holders. Asafa Powell never won the Olympics. 6 points then meant that they still led, but by 1 point, 14 to 13.

Round Four – The Missing Vowels

Either team could win. The first set – cleaning products went 3 – 1 to the Eds. The gap was 3 points. Sight impediments fell 2 – 1 to the Eds, but they lost a point on hypermetropia. The gap remained at 3. US Sitcoms and their settings saw the jittery Eds lose 2 points and pick up one, while the Gang picked up 2. Which the mathematically gifted among us will work out to jmean that we had that rara avis, a tie. You know the rules for this. One more phrase, no clues as to the category. Only captains can answer. Get it right on the buzz and you win the show. Get it wrong on the buzz and you lose the show. Simple. Captain Kester was first to buzz in with slow and steady wins the race, and that’s exactly what he did for the Eds. Well played. Bad luck Press Gang – another good team who have nothing to be ashamed about.


Watergrass Jon said...

Bad luck to the Press Gang, who if they'd picked the right questions would probably have won easily. There is a lot of talk on forums/twitter that the questions are getting easier, and with the imminent move to BBC2 there will be the inevitable cries of "dumbing down" everytime a question involves a pop culture reference. Opinions?

Michael said...

I don't really buy the 'getting easier' claims. I think a lot of it is down to perceptual salience; on a show that is supposed to be super hard, you're more likely to notice (and comment on) getting a question right than all the ones you get wrong, and the stats go some way to backing this up.

When I blogged about the strength of missing vowels ( I also made a series-by-series scoring breakdown ( The only real trend is that scoring in round 1 has steadily gone up, but not by much - on average the two teams scored 3 points more per show in round 1 in series 7 then they did in series 1, which is nothing much. Scoring in the other three rounds has remained fairly static (or decreased).

Of course, it's possible that (e.g.) teams are getting worse, and so similar scoring rates means the questions are getting easier, but that strikes me as pretty unlikely. If anything, I'd expect teams to get better, having had several series to learn about how the questions work.

I also think questions with pop culture references are great, because they're a part of what makes Only Connect awesome; they will ask *anything* and don't make the same implicit judgements about what knowledge is more valuable than others (as Paxo regularly does on UC, cf. the music round a couple of weeks ago for a particularly egregious example).

Watergrass Jon said...

Yes, I find Paxman's occasional sneering irritating.
Maybe the OC teams aren't *quite* as strong as the early series. Do they get many serious quizzers (Masterminders, BoB'ers etc.) any more? If so, it's probably a good thing that the Qs are *slightly* easier. I set Qs and I haven't made any conscious effort to dumb it down, although the editor ultimately selects the Qs he wants.

Michael said...

It's possible, certainly, although I'm not really au fait enough with the quizzing community (such that it is) to know who are and aren't 'serious' quizzers. I know that last series had a lot of players from the quiz league of London (and in my book if you're a quiz leaguer you're at least moderately serious, although obviously that covers quite a range), which I understand is actually fairly typical for the show, but beyond that I can't really comment.

Londinius said...

The Oenophiles look to me to be the team of the most serious and accomplished quizzers in this particular series. I don't know Scott so well, although I have little doubt that he's a fine quizzer in his own right. Jamie Dodding is a well known and nationally respected quizzer, and as for Didier, well, you might remember him from last year's Mastermind final.

Personally, I've been impressed by some of the teams whom I wouldn't know from the proverbial Adam in this series.

If people think the show is getting easier, then I have a piece of advice for them. Have a go for yourself.

tabstop said...

I think Producer Man has said that they've re-vamped the difficulty in that the easier questions are in the losers' bracket games rather than in round 1; if we still think they're getting easier when we get to the semis, we can be concerned then.