Those of us who managed to tear ourselves away from Children in Need last night were rewarded with another heat with four Mastermind virgins, to the best of my knowledge. Kicking off the show was John Abernethy. John offered us last night’s popular culture specialist subject, the Pogues. I’m afraid that I’m not enough of a fan to have been able to judge the relative difficulty of these questions, but John certainly didn’t make a bad job of them at all. His 12 meant that he was going to be in contention at the halfway stage, and that’s pretty much what you’re looking for from a specialist round. In this series it’s been made extremely difficult for anyone to blow away the opposition with their specialist set.
My favourite subject of the round was Military Aircraft of World War Two, and it was offered to us by Andrew Craig. When I was a lad I was quite interested in aviation, and although I could probably do a better round on the military aircraft of World War Two I still managed 6 of these. Andrew took 11, leaving him handily on John’s shoulder.
James Lockwood answered questions on Sir Edward Carson. If that sounds familiar, then you have a good memory. This was a specialist subject back in Nancy’s 2009 series, and if you’re looking for an omen, it took Hugh Brady into the semi finals. I’ll admit that my memory isn’t good enough to be able to tell you whether any of the same questions were recycled. As with the two previous contenders James Lockwood certainly knew his subject, answering every question, and most of them correctly to post a score of 12.
Finally Russell Clements completed the round by answering questions on the Novels of Jonathan Coe, or Jonathan Who? as we call him at LAM Towers. Apparently his novels have a preoccupation with political issues often expressed comedically in the form of satire. Well done. If you do sets of novels, then you have to know them inside out, as you can guarantee that some questions are going to be about obscure plot details. Some of these tripped Russell up, although his 9 was nothing to be ashamed about.
Returning to the chair first Russell faced the necessity of needing four points to put himself in profit, and take the lead. He managed that, but sadly points were not easy for him to come by in this round. Maybe it was nerves, and maybe he’s just not a quizzer, but he only managed 7 to take him to 16.
Andrew Craig came next. The task facing him was somewhat different from Russell’s. Andrew only trailed the two leaders by a point, and that’s nothing in the context of a 2 and a half minute round. So the task was to set the highest score possible and then let the other two worry about beating it. As much as I said that Russell didn’t answer like a quizzer, Andrew certainly did. His answers were quick and crisp, and he observed the essentials of making a good GK score in Mastermind – answer what you know, quickly guess what you don’t and don’t pass, and above all else, don’t panic when you get some wrong. His 14 wasn’t the best GK round we’ve seen this series, but it was pretty good, and certainly more than enough to put the remaining contenders at the wrong end of the corridor of uncertainty.
John gave it a lash, but I’m afraid that it was fairly obvious by halfway that he was behind the clock, and wasn’t going to get there. He leveled out at 9 for a score of 21. Anything in the 20s is a perfectly good Mastermind score, even if this wasn’t a winning one. This left just James Lockwood to try to match Andrew’s round. He gave it a good try, although a couple of popular culture questions did trip him up. The line was approaching, and James was close, but you felt not quite close enough. By the end he had scored 13, which too gave him 25. However he hadn’t managed to avoid any passes, incurring 4 of them. Well, one of them would have been enough anyway, as Andrew hadn’t passed at all. Very hard lines, but well done for making such a good contest. Congratulations to Andrew.
|John Abernethy||The Pogues||12 - 0||9 - 5||21 - 5|
|Andrew Craig||Military Aircraft of World War One||11 – 0||14 - 0||25 - 0|
|James Lockwood||Sir Edward Carson||12 - 0||13 - 4||25 - 4|
|Russell Clements||Novels of Jonathan Coe||9 - 3||7 - 5||16 - 8|
Steven Broomfield 30 – 1
Beth Webster 28 – 2
Ron Wood 28 – 3
=Carol O’Byrne 27 – 2
=Peter Russell 27 – 2
=Chloe Stone 27 - 2