Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Brain Of Britain - Heat Four

You may remember how last week I was spoilt for choice over who to support. Well, they say lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but ‘they’ were proven wrong as once again there were two people I knew in yesterday’s heat. First up was my erstwhile OC skipper, Dr. Gary Grant, Mastermind Champion 2012. Sandwiching my two faves were Al McClymans and Iain Mathieson. Fourth to go was another former OC skipper, Sunderland’s finest, Dave Taylor. I felt it was quite hard lines on two such established quizzers as Gary and Dave getting drawn against each other in what is already turning out to be a fascinating series.

Gary kicked off a point, but left Dave to take a point with Rab Butler who was associated especially with the 1944 Education Act. Al took his first two but missed out on the chestnutty quetzal as Guatemala’s currency Dave took that. Iain also took a couple but nobody knew that C.P.Scott had complained about TV. Dave already had a couple of bonuses, but a little surprisingly nobody knew his first, that the Pleiades were the daughters of Atlas. So everyone was off and running. Gary trailed by a point, but his set saw him add two. He was undone by a medical question about the Coolidge tube, much to the schadenfreude of the audience, and Russell, who asked ‘Didn’t you do that one?’ Cheeky monkey. Iain knew that it is used in the process of taking X-Rays. Fair enough. AL took his own first, but nobody knew that an attercop is a spider. I only knew it because it’s a word that Bilbo uses in “The Hobbit” when encountering the spiders of Mirkwood, IIRC. Iain didn’t know the chestnutty Journal of the Plague Year, which Gary took. Then Dave got a nasty starter, which asked about an Ad Hominem argument. Gary took a great bonus on that, which meant that he now had 5 and a lead of 2.

To start round three Gary was given the waltz from Carousel to identify. He couldn’t, and so the bonus went to Dave. Al couldn’t quite get Electro Motive Force from EMF which Iain was happy to accept. Salmagundi did for him in his own starter, and nobody else managed it. Dave was very unlucky to give Voyager II as the first man-made object to enter interstellar space. I wonder whether he would have been given it had he just said Voyager. Whatever the case Gary was happy to take the windfall with Voyager I. The fourth round saw Gary unable to ascribe the last lines to a Shakespeare play. Alright, you could say that it’s my bread butter, being an English teacher and all that, but I was still pleased to pick out Richard III, especially since the only person in the show who did was Russell, and he had it written down in front of him. Al added another point to his score, but nobody knew that the guinard inhabits Llyn Tegid, or Lake Bala. Iain stumbled on his first starter. I was delighted to guess that Amiens is the largest gothic cathedral in France. I visited it in 1983, and it is massive, having the most incredibly ornate fa├žade that you could wish for. No bonus for that. Dave didn’t put 2 and 2 together with his starter, knowing that 2013 detective novel is likely to refer to JK Rowling’s “The Cuckoo’s Calling”, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. So, going into the Beat the Brains Interval Dave had 3, Iain 4, Al had 5 and Gary led with 6.All to play for.

The first Beat the Brains question was the old chestnut, which two countries share the island of Hispaniola? Is it just me who feels an urge to go ‘Arrrrrr, Jim laaaaddd!’ every time I hear that word? I digress. The brains knocked that one over the boundary rope without wasting any time. The second question asked for three of the largest islands of the Greater Antilles, and by jingo, they had that as well with Jamaica, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Not easy, and I wouldn’t have had Puerto Rico.

Back to the contest, which was nicely poised. Gary took three to begin his run for home, but didn’t know about Scott Fitzgerald’s article Handle With Care. That went as a bonus to Iain. Al didn’t know that Terry Scott played the definitive Cardinal Wolsey in Carry On Henry. Dave had that. Iain was given a snatch of Benjamin Britten, but didn’t recognize Gloriana. Dave did. Now, for his own set he took his first 4, and these weren’t all easy at all, but then in the last question was asked for an American novel of 1884. Obviously Twain, but Tom or Huck? I knew it was Huck since I have actually taught that novel once, but Dave zigged with Tom. Gary had the bonus there. Still, it did change the complexion of the competition, as Dave now trailed Gary by a single point – 10 -9. Gary kept his head, and kept the score ticking over with another point. He didn’t know that The Reason Why was an analysis into the Charge of the Light Brigade. Iain had that. Nobody knew Al’s first, that a crepinette is a sausage. Iain didn’t know that The Rivals is set in Bath, and so Al took his back. I was pleased to get Dave’s first. We both knew the theme music of Some Like It Hot – one of the most joyously wonderful films ever made. Dave went on to add another point, but a little surprisingly nobody knew that Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City are about San Francisco. That meant that Dave and Gary were now 11 apiece.

Into the last round and Gary fell at the first, the rather chestnutty pogonophobia. Al was given it for facial hair, fair enough really since it is the fear of beards. For his own he didn’t know that the UK driving test became compulsory in the 30s. Iain had that. He didn’t have Goya for his own, though. Dave took a terrific first answer with the Rankin scale. However he didn’t know that Danny Baker wrote “Going to Sea in a Sieve”. Now, if Gary took the bonus on this, then he would win by a point. He didn’t, which meant that my boys finished level with 12 points. As with University Challenge you cannot have a tie in BoB. So Gary and Dave faced off with another question – what was the official name given to the 1916 Act of Parliament which brought in the use of British Summer Time. Dave was first to answer with Daylight Saving, and that was it. Well played both, an absorbing contest. Gary may well be back with 4 highest scoring runners up getting a place in the semis – but with 12 the coin is in the air on that one. It was just enough last year.

The Details

Gary Grant -12
Al McClymans - 7
Iain Mathieson – 7
Dave Taylor – 13 *AET

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