Friday, 14 February 2014

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 23

Well, was there ever a better example of two consecutive heats of Mastermind being chalk and cheese than last Friday’s, and tonight’s shows? Possibly not. Last week we saw three contenders giving it their best, but sadly falling victims to the chair. Tonight, well, tonight we saw something different.

Duncan Mitchell was answering on Punk Music. Punk, like so many things in my life, was a party at which I arrived after everybody else had left. I think I have told the story of our ill-fated band “Fred Foetus and the Embryos” (I can only apologise) before. Our most memorable, indeed, only song – Breech Birth (once again, I apologise) thankfully only survives in the memory of a few very unfortunate individuals. However, I digress. By the end of the round I had 4, thanks to 4 easy ones. Ah, that Bill Grundy interview. I had the mortifying experience of watching it with my grandmother, who turned to me after the torrent of 4 letter abuse and asked, all; innocence, “Do people still use the word ‘rotter’ then?”. Getting back to the round, Duncan scored an excellent 13.

A difference in tone for the next round, as Andries Van Tonder offered us Rhodesia 1965 - 1980 . I did one better on this round, taking 5 points. Andries ended with 13 and no passes, just as Duncan had. However, Andries’ round was a perfect one, though. 13 questions, 13 correct answers.

Now, regular viewers of the best quizzes will surely have recognized Emma Laslett as one of the Lasletts, who were one of the surprise packages in the most recent series of OC. The Lasletts actually beat series winners the Board Gamers earlier in the competition, but tripped up in the semis against the Bakers. For her part in the Lasletts’ exploits in OC Emma was the recipient of the dubious benefit of support from the Clark sofa in this show. Maybe it helped, maybe it didn’t – answering on the plays of Samuel Beckett Emma stumbled on an early question about the Royal Court theatre. But after that she powered her way through the rest of the round to set the bar at 14 and no passes. Good score.

Well, we’d been through three specialist rounds without the merest sniff of a bad ‘un. The round Neil Wright served up lacked nothing in quality either. Neil was answering on French Wines of the Rhone Valley. Now, what I know about any French wines, let alone those of the Rhone Valley you could write on the back of a timbre – and still have room left over to comment on the awful weather we’ve been having. I guessed Gerard Depardieu for my one point. Neil scored 13, although his 1 pass ironically meant that he was nominally in 4th on countback. Mind you, they don’t take passes into account when they’re working out the order for the GK round.

Right, I have the habit of observing to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity while I’m watching a GK round that either – so and so is a regular quizzer – or so and so isn’t a regular quizzer. When asked how I know, I tend to say that it’s a question of the answers they give – and not just the right answers either. Someone who is not a regular quizzer, but has a good general knowledge, can still set a good score, in fact, a winning score. But they tend to get things wrong that a regular, serious quizzer wouldn’t. Also, while a regular, serious quizzer won’t always get everything right, there will often be a certain logic about the wrong answers – they will sound like quizzers’ answers. Of course, by the time I’ve tried to explain it, my nearest and dearest will all have switched off, or wandered off to pastures new, and who shall blame them? Still, it did occur to me as I was watching Duncan’s GK round. It was a perfectly serviceable double figures round, and took him to 24, but it wasn’t – well it wasn’t a quizzer’s round. Not quite. Now, the round which Andries served up – well, that was a different kettle of fish entirely. I thought he was a little unlucky to be pinged for his answer of Bach, to which he was asked which one? He got it right, but it wasted maybe time for another question. Still, 16 and 3 passes gave him 29, and surely a place in the semis via repechage at the very least. Now, that was a quizzer’s round.

Mind you, if that was a quizzer’s round, then what was Neil’s round? Dare I say it, an even better quizzer’s round. Neil scored 18 on his round, and if he wasn’t quite at express speed throughout the round he was in an admirably steady rhythm, and more important, he kept getting them right. 31 is one of the finest scores of the whole series, and alright, maybe this was a flash in the pan, but then maybe it wasn’t, which makes Neil a contender whose credentials and prospects have to be taken most seriously. Not that the show was by any means over. Emma’s credentials had to be taken seriously following a number of sterling performances on OC. She was answering more quickly than Neil, but then she was getting a couple more wrong as well. For the record, Emma answered every question, and her round was very much a quizzer’s round as well, and a good one, but the finishing line came too soon, and she too ended with 29. Very well done Neil!

Well done Emma and Andires too. By my reckoning they are both into the semi-finals. However the situation underneath is far from clear. I said a couple of weeks ago that I thought some places had already been settled. Thinking about it, though, theoretically , with 1 show still to go, it is possible for 3 places to change. If no runner up does better than 27 and 2 passes next show, Heaven alone knows how they are going to separate the log jam for the last place. Watch this space.

The Details
Duncan Mitchell Punk Music 1976 - 197913 - 011 - 224 - 2
Andries Van TonderThe History of Rhodesia 1965 - 198013 - 016 - 329 - 3
Emma Laslett The Plays of Samuel Beckett14 - 015 – 029 – 0
Neil WrightFrench Wines of the Rhone Valley13 – 1 18 - 231 – 3

Repechage Places

Steven Broomfield 30 – 1
Emma Laslett 29 – 0
Andries Van Tonder 29 – 3
Beth Webster 28 – 2
Ron Wood 28 – 3
=Carol O’Byrne 27 – 2 =Peter Russell 27 – 2=Chloe Stone 27 – 2

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