Friday, 14 March 2014

Mastermind - Semi Final 2

Right – as I was saying . . .
Yes, I’m back. Lovely time, thank you. The children were a credit to themselves and to us, and a pleasure to be with. Now, it is going to take me a bit of time to catch up, and I’m afraid I may well end up on missing out on a couple of things, for which I apologise. It shouldn’t happen again – well, not until this time next year, at least.

Well, let’s have a look at tonight’s line up. Placing them in the order in which they appear in my unofficial table we have: -

Emma Laslett29 - 0
Tim Allison27 - 4
Brian Chesney27 - 4
Chris Kilbride26 - 1
Andrew Craig25 – 0

Not a huge amount to choose between any of them, but maybe an indicator was the fact that Brian Chesney had managed a 16 on GK in the first round.

Chris Kilbride kicked off. Back in heat 3, answering on the Life and Music of Paul Robeson, Chris took the considerable scalp of Darren Martin. Now, Chris is a teacher and, yeah, well, while I admit that I take a certain amount of pride from the fact that, at the time of writing, I am the last schoolteacher to win Mastermind, the fact is that I always want to see a colleague do well. So I was sorry that Chris’ 6 on the Life and Work of Vincent Van Gogh put him virtually out of contention. To my eye it looked as if there was a little bit of a gap between Chris’ perception of the parameters of the subject, and the setters’.

Tim Allison answered on the fiction of CS Lewis in heat 11, and he romped home to win by a clear 4 points, a significant margin in Mastermind terms. Tonight he was answering on The Black Death, and I’ll be honest, I thought his round was worth a double figure score. There wasn’t a lot wrong there at all, and I thought that he was maybe a little unfortunate to be given what seemed to be some longer questions than some of the other rounds.

Brian Chesney offered us Catherine the Great in heat 19, which he won with a little to spare, thanks mainly to a fine round of 16 in the GK. The musketeer novels of Alexandre Dumas gave him a terrific ride in his specialist round tonight, and he virtually romped through to score 11 points. Bearing in mind the GK form he showed in his heat, this certainly made him look like a good each way bet for the win, if not by any means a racing certainty.

Andrew Craig, answering on the military aircraft of world war one, won his heat thirteen through good technique. Or to put it another way, although he scored the same as the second placed contender in the heat, he didn’t pass at all, and that display of level headedness under fire bought him his ticket to the semis. He certainly maintained his form in his specialist round tonight, as the life of Field Marshal Slim brought him 9 and no passes.

It’s rather ironic that the only first round runner up in this semi final, Emma Laslett, actually produced the best first round performance of any of tonight’s contenders. Answering on the Plays of Samuel Beckett Emma was runner up in the remarkable Heat 23, no less than three of whose contenders qualified for the semis. No runner up places on offer tonight – only the win would do. Emma began her bid for it with a round of 9 and no passes answering on the Eurovision Song Contest – 1981 – present day. I bet that Daniel Fullard, of The Quiz Addict, was watching with interest, and would have fancied his chances on that one.

Going into GK then it looked as if Chris was out of it, Brian was in the driving seat, but a barnstorming round from Tim, Andrew or Emma could make the difference. First, though, Chris returned to set a marker for the others to aim at. While the round was hard going for the first minute or so, he settled to his task, and posted a double figure score of 10 to take his total to 16. Tim Allison exceeded that by some distance. He had an interesting technique did Tim. He only passed on the one, and that one he passed extremely quickly. For the rest, though, it often seemed that there was a moment’s hesitation while he mentally checked his answer. It seemed to work though, for he posted 13, and as I think I may have mentioned once or twice before, off a two minute GK round, a score in the teens is a mark of some quality. That would certainly be enough to at least place most contenders within the corridor of uncertainty.

Andrew didn’t ever look quite at ease with his round, and was behind the clock from about the one minute mark. There was an interesting incident at the end of his round. Asked which king of England united the Houses of Lancaster and York by marrying Elizabeth of York, he answered “Henry VII – NO – Henry V!” John Humphrys laughed a little, informing himt hat the answer was Henry VII – but the rules state that he has to take a first answer, and so the point stood. That helped a little, but not enough, as it merely took his score for the round to 10.

The last time that Emma Laslett was in a TV semi final , in Only Connect, with her dad and brother, things didn’t go quite as planned, and the curse of the Clark sofa struck as they were beaten. The 14 points required for an outright lead were certainly within her capabilities, and she started off answering correctly, and faster than any of the other contenders had so far. A run of questions that she didn’t know the answers to pulled her back in the second half of the round, and in the end she was some way short of the total as the buzzer went.

Only Brian Chesney remained. He needed 11 to win. Bearing in mind that he scored 16 in two and a half minutes last time out, he was certainly capable of achieving that. As it happened he produced a very good round, and never looked in any danger of falling short. With a score that equaled Tim’s 13 on GK Brian ended up winning by the extra two points he had score on specialist. Well done, sir, a good performance.

The Details

Chris Kilbride The Life and Works of Vincent Van Gogh 6 - 110 - 116 - 2
Tim AllisonThe Black Death9 – 0 13 - 122 - 1
Brian ChesneyMusketeer Novels of Alexandre Dumas11 - 013 - 124 - 1
Andrew CraigField Marshal William Slim9 - 010 - 019 - 0
Emma LaslettThe Eurovision Song Contest 1981 - Present9 – 0 9 - 218 – 2

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