Saturday, 15 March 2014

Brain of Britain - Semi Final One

Semi Final 1

This first semi pitted

Azeez Feshitan
Elizabeth Gore
Fiona Somerville
Dave Taylor

Looking at our unofficial table none of the highest scoring contenders from the first round were in this one. My money was on Dave Taylor, who’d had to contend with our own Gary Grant in his first round.

Azeez kicked offwith two on the bounce, but Wolfson college did for him and everyone else. Please with myself for getting that one. Liz Gore had two entertainment questions in a row for her first set, which she dispatched over the boundary rope. However the phrase voodoo economics escaped everyone. Fiona Somerville took one, but John Dalton gave Dave a bonus. For his own set Dave couldn’t remember the name of the first space station launched in 1971, going for Mir. Liz fell into the trap of answering Skylab – which was the first, indeed only American space station – but Salyut One preceded it. A brisk opening, then, which saw all the contenders off the mark. On with the second round, and Azeez again answered two fair question before falling on the third. I was pleased with myself for deconstructing the word ‘pantocrator’ to mean ruler of all. Dave was allowed ‘creator of all’ for a bonus. Liz took one, but didn’t know that Mt. Whitney, highest in the contiguous United States, is in California. I was a little surprised that the others seemed reluctant to come for a bonus on that, but Azeez had it. Fiona, asked for the poet who wrote the line ‘The Kraken Wakes’ , borrowed by John Wyndham for the title of a novel, couldn’t dredge up Tennyson, and I was rather surprised that nobody else did, given the amount of information in the question. This brought us back to Dave, who took his first, but fell into the trap of thinking that body canals will be in the ear. We had this one in the Bridgend league a few weeks ago, so I knew that the Haveresian canals are in your bones. So did Azeez. This had been a distinctly useful round for him, as he’d picked up 4 points to lead with 6 to 3.

Round three gave him the chance to extend this further. Mind you the first question on the instrument called an 808 gave him little chance. Nobody knew it is a drum machine. Liz was caught out by the lovely old chestnut that Gatwick Airport (well, the area that became the airport) hosted the Grand National in 1918. Azeez wasn’t going to let that one get away. Fiona probably should have known of the Apprentice Boys March for her starter. Azeez, whose ‘eye’ was certainly in at this stage of the contests again snapped up that unconsidered trifle. Dave, you have to say, let a gettable one get away when he missed out on Updike’s Eastwick for his first. Liz Gore had that one. Azeez now had a 4 point lead. He had the chance to increase it further, but couldn’t identify a series of streets in Nice. Fiona took that bonus. Liz took the opportunity to close the gap to Azeez with three good answers, but didn’t know that Lindow man was found in Cheshire. Azeez had that. Fiona added one, but Dave took a bonus on Jack Woolley from the Archers. For his own set Dave took his first, and for his second he knew that Catherine Morland was a Jane Austen character. Sadly he zigged with Mansfield Park, allowing Azeez in with Northanger Abbey. So even though he missed his own questions, bonuses meant that Azeez went into the Beat the Brains interval leading with 10 to Liz’s 7.

In the afore mentioned interval the brains were asked firstly – to name 4 British PMs who fought duels. Wellington was the first to spring to mind, as did George Canning. I was struggling after that as were the brains. The answers were Pitt the Younger and the Earl of Shelburne. Fair enough. The second question asked what the Godless College was. The brains had no idea. I knew, simply through the fact that JP nearly always mentions it when they are on UC, that the godless institution of Gower Street is University College, because when it was founded no specific religious affiliation was required of students or staff. So there.

Back to the contest and Azeez took his first, but the 2013 FA Cup final did for him and all others. Nobody knew that Ben Watson scored Wigan’s winning goal. Liz Gore didn’t know that Marshal Ney was shot in Switzerland, and Azeez had that little gem. Fiona didn’t know a German conductor, which gave Dave a bonus. With his own set he took a tricky first, but didn’t know some paintings by Hals. Azeez did, and his lead of 6 was already looking decisive. Especially since the next round was the last. To make absolutely certain he took his first three question on the bounce – nobody knew what a couple of german words meant for the fourth. Liz Gore missed her first, and then Fiona, who had a bonus on a question about a prism, took her first two. She gave Dave a bonus with Gerard Manley Hopkins. On his own set he took his first, but his second was a nasty little sod on the Manhattan Project, and that was that. Congratulations to Azeez Feshitan. He was a class act in this semi, and was fully deserving of his place in the final. Hard lines to the others, but well played all. For the record, the final scores were: -

Azeez Feshitan - 16
Elizabeth Gore - 7
Fiona Somerville - 5
Dave Taylor - 9

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