Friday, 6 December 2013

Mastermind - Round One - Heat Fifteen

Heat Fifteen

The schedulers must be losing their touch, since that’s two uninterrupted weeks of Mastermind in a row now. Our first contender was Andy Bacon, and he was answering questions on Janis Joplin. Now, I’ve never really been a great fan, so I didn’t expect to be able to answer a great many questions in this round, and so I was actually rather pleased to get two to kick off my evening. Andy missed a couple, but in this series 12 is a distinctly useful score to achieve in a specialist round. I’ll say a little more about this shortly.

So that was popular culture done, and now we were offered sport. James Robinson had elected to take the history of Huddersfield Town FC as his specialist subject. Herbert Chapman – Herbert Chapman – Herbert Chapman – I chanted, hoping that my one piece of Huddersfield trivia would bring me at least one point. It did. James is a big fan, no doubt about that, and he knows his stuff. These football club rounds are always a lot harder than they might look to the casual observer, some of the questions asking for very specific details about single matches. So James’ 11 was very useful, and meant that he would be in the shake up at half time.

Literature next, and retired teacher Carol Atkinson answered questions on the Richard Hannay novels of John Buchan. Carol is a retired schoolteacher, and I always have mixed feelings when I see a teacher having a go on Mastermind. Being one myself I always hope that they’ll do well. Only . . . well, and this is entirely selfish, I do like being the last schoolteacher to win a series. Still, as I said, I want to see teachers do well, and so I was pleased when Carol managed to score 11 as well. I managed one on a rather simple question about “The Thirty Nine Steps”.

So to recap, that’s popular culture, sport , and literature. What would complete this set? Well, last night it was History, in the shape of the Russian Revolution. Adam Kirby had opted for this subject, and I’m very glad that he did. Memories of A level History lessons with Mr. Wheeler-Robinson, the Headteacher from more than 30 years ago were enough to bring me 9 points on this round. Not as good as Adam, since he answered 12 correctly, with 1 pass. That made my first round aggregate up to 13, which isn’t my highest non-wiki total, but it’s better than recent weeks.

Now, I did say that I was going to come back to specialist round totals. I received my copy of “Pass” yesterday – that’s the quarterly magazine of the Mastermind Club. There was an interesting article from one of last year’s contenders, Tim Jarvis, who took part in the first round on the Novels of Jasper Fforde. He wasn’t moaning at all, but he did observe that he felt his own specialist questions were significantly longer winded than anyone else’s on that show. I’ve read my own comments, and I didn’t mention it. What I will say about this year’s series is that I don’t like the longer question format, but at least it does seem pretty consistent from show to show.

John began the second round by making the point that all of the contenders had high scores and so anyone might reach the semi in a runner up slot. Well, actually that would have been asking a lot. To take an outright slot on the repechage board required a score of 28, and that would have required a fantastic GK round from any of last night’s contenders. Again, we’ll come back to that afterwards.

James Robinson came back first to the chair. I mentioned consistency a little while ago. Usually I find the GK rounds are all of pretty much the same level of difficulty on each show. I did think that James’s were noticeably harder than the other three sets. Yes, I know that it’s all very personal, and what I find more difficult, others may find more easy. Still, James himself struggled with them, and only managed to add 7 to take his score to 18.

Carol, on the other hand, had I thought marginally the most easy of the GK sets. Which is not to decry her achievement at all. She can only answer the questions that she has been asked, and answer them very well she did. For a moment it looked as if she might even post a score which would get her a definite repechage slot if either of the two contenders yet to come were to do better, but the line came a little too quickly for that. Still 15 correct answers for 26 points was a fine performance, and well and truly laid down the gauntlet.

Andy Bacon had the proverbial round of two halves. He didn’t start it brilliantly at all, and was way behind the clock at the one minute mark. Then he gathered momentum, started finding a run of correct answers, and finished the round at top speed. It wasn’t quite enough for the lead, as he finished on 24, and when he showed that he had known the answer to his passed question John said, quite unnecessarily, “I’ll bet you wish you answered that when I tell you your score.” Apart from anything else, John, it wouldn’t have made any difference. The lead was 26 anyway.

Finally Adam Kirby. 15 points were needed for the outright win, or 14 and no passes to force a tie break. Despite John’s prediction, none of these contenders were going to force their way onto the repechage board. Adam had a very quick, crisp and concise way of answering, and he was picking up points throughout the round. Was he picking up enough points, though? Well, almost. He did indeed manage 14 points by the end of the round. However there was also a single rogue pass in there, and that was enough to hand the win, and the place in the semis to Claire. Gypsy Rose Humphrys completed the show by saying that Adam could well be back with that score. Maybe the show was recorded as one of the earlier heats. Well done Claire – good luck in the semis.

The Details

Andy Bacon Janis Joplin12 - 112 - 124 - 2
James RobinsonThe History of Huddersfield FC11 - 07 - 118 - 1
Carol AtkinsonThe Richard Hannay Novels of John Buchan11 - 115 - 026 - 1
Adam KirbyThe Russian Revolution12 - 114 - 126 - 2

Repechage Places
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

No comments: