Saturday, 22 March 2014

Brain of Britain - Semi Final 3

Monday’s line up pitted

Marcus Cavalier
Robert Charlesworth
David Hesp
Ian Orriss

Some names to conjure with there. A quick glance at our unofficial table shows Robert and David, on 24 and 23 respectively, as two of the very highest scoring qualifiers – 2 and 3 on the table. Ian had a highly respectable 17, and Marcus was a repechage slot winner. All of which gave this semi something of the look of a ‘group of death’.

Marcus began the contest with a correct answer, but didn’t know that Delius, Hockney and Priestley were all born in Bradford. That’s the kind of chestnut you need to be able to get in BoB, and indeed it was David who got it. Robert despatched his first two to the boundary without a second glance. His third was a tricky quote from an African-American entertainer. Paul Robeson was a good shout, but Sammy Davies Jr. from David Hesp was a better one. David didn’t know that Dumbo is also the name of an area of New York. Me neither. Robert had that one. It’s from Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Good one, though a nasty little bugger to get for a starter. Ian didn’t guess that since Indira Gandhi was assassinated in the mid 80s, it was a reasonable guess that she would be the Indian PM after whom a canal was named at that time. Robert had that bonus, to ensure a lead of two points with 4.

Marcus had his first three, a good show that, but maybe could have got the word Mockingbird for mimus polyglottus, given the clue that it featured in the title of the 1960 pulitzer prize winning novel. That bonus fell to Robert. In his own set he got a yorker for his starter, and indeed nobody knew the legend that Julius Caesar built the Tower of London. He didn’t. Given a chance to make an inroad into Robert’s lead, David answered 5 in a row for a bonus. These weren’t all gimmes either by any stretch of the imagination. Ian didn’t know that the Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge belongs to St. John’s College. A good round for David, who turned a 2 point deficit to a 3 point lead, and all the indications were that the 2 biggest guns, Robert and David, were going to be contesting the win in this one.

Marcus didn’t know that Show Me Heaven was sung by Maria McKee. Ian had a bonus there. MIPS did for Robert in his starter, and nobody had million instructions per second. David didn’t know the major port of Caracas. Neither did any of us. Ian saw his chance to narrow the gap, and took a couple, being stopped in his tracks by the diet of the marabou stork. It’s carrion, apparently. This meant that the scores of the two leaders had remained static.

All of which led us into the beat the brains interval. The first of these questions asked which regular member of the Carry Ons was nominated for an Academy Award. Great question – it was Jim Dale, who wrote the lyrics for the song Georgie Girl. They missed that, and so did I. Asked which of the actors cast as the Doctor in Doctor Who has won an Academy Award, they knew that the present incumbent Peter Capaldi has a directing Oscar.

Back to the contest then. Marcus couldn’t do anything with hipsometers. Nobody knew that they measure altitude. Robert got his score moving again with his first, but missed a chance with the Invergordon Mutiny, which David took. His own set saw him take one, but he didn’t know that 4 Stuart monarchs were born in St. James’ Palace. Tricky, that. Ian took one, but didn’t know Chichen Itza, which was another David bonus. His lead had stretched further, and was looking ominous. Marcus didn’t know that Sherlock Holmes was an amateur beekeeper. David snapped that one up. Robert needed a good set to get back onto David’s tail, but his starter, on wireworms did for him. Nasty question. David sailed blithely on with a good three, but didn’t know about a munsel tree. Me neither. It’s used to classify colours. Fair enough. Ian was given a quotation from one of my favourite writers, the great Bill Bryson – we used to build civilisations, now we build – what? Nobody ( but me) knew it was shopping malls. This meant that David now led with 15 to Robert’s 6, and with all due respect to the other fine contestants, the match was as good as over.

So to the last round. Marcus probably should have known that Pomfret (or Pontefract) Cakes are made from licorice root. Robert took the bonus. He didn’t know that Fort Sumter protected the city of Charleston, and David did, which summed up the contest really. For his own set he didn’t know that the state of Prussia was abolished in 1947. To finish the contest, then, Ian should have known probably that K denotes radio stations west of the Mississippi in the USA. David had that, to cap a fine and convincing win. Good luck in the Grand Final. For the record the final scores were : -

Marcus Cavalier - 4
Robert Charlesworth - 7
David Hesp - 18
Ian Orriss - 4

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