Friday, 23 May 2014

Only Connect - Elimination Match 2

Erstwhile Athletes v. Software Engineers

Last time out the Erstwhile Athletes, our own Daniel Fullard, Brendan Curtis, and captain Chris Curtis lost an exciting contest with the team of our own Rach Cherryade, the Record Collectors. In this week’s show they were drinking in the last chance saloon with the Software Engineers, Stephen Macintosh, Anne Harrison and captain Chris Howlett. They were well beaten in their first round by the Welsh Learners, and my friend Margaret. Yes, of course I was rooting for the Athletes. Would that prove to be help or hindrance, though?

Round One – What’s the Connection?

The Engs kicked off with Lion, and received the music set for their pains. Well, most unusually I recognized both of the first two songs – Around Midnight and Midnight at the Oasis. So that was nice. The Engs took the third clue, In the Midnight Hour – and offered a speculative ‘times of the day’. Given another bite of the cherry they made no mistake. Two Reeds gave the Aths Vidkun Quisling – hmm, Norwegian Nazi collaborator – move on – Naseem Hamed – annoying but admittedly brilliant former world boxing champion – move on – Lester Piggott – ah lightbulb. Did they, I wondered, all have honours taken away? Fred (the Shred) Goodwin confirmed it for the last clue. Captain Chris punted that they had all been detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure. No. The Engs managed the key point – that they have all been stripped of honours, for the bonus. The Engs tempted fate by not voicing Horned Viper in the time honoured fashion. We had Marquez the Explorer – and I wanted another clue on this one – Fireman Peyton-Jones, and I had a punt with animated characters, with their surnames substituted for their christian names. Peyton-Jones is the surname of Sam Tân, or for non-Welsh fans, well, you can work it out, I’m sure. Mouseling Ballerina seemed to confirm it. I was sure that the Engs had the answer when they buzzed in after the third clue, yet all they offered was animated characters, and when pushed for more, rhyming ones. Not Fireman Sam/Sam Tân. This let in the Aths for an unexpected bonus, and they were also given the last clue, Postman Clifton. For their own question they opted for Twisted Flax. Now, I think it was Dan who was onto this one pretty quickly. US: Citizen, then Australian: Rolex was enough for him to suggest that these were all the makers of the timing equipment used in the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. Off two clues this earned a very useful 3 points. Water for the Engs revealed a set of pictures. I didn’t recognize either of the first two, but I did know that the third, the Pope’s ring, is called the Fisherman’s ring. A Fisherman’s Friend lozenge was enough to confirm my suspicions, and it was enough for the Engs as well. Finishing the round off the Aths were left with Eye of Horus. Now, this was a really nice, horribly sneaky set. Elvis – Valyria left me scratching my head. Lapin didn’t help hugely, although there was something in the back of my mind. Klingo, though just about did it. Add the right letter to each, then you get made up languages. Oh the poor old Aths saw the Klingon, but went for Star Trek alien races. This let the Engs in and they were happy to take the bonus. This meant that at the end of round one the Engs had a lead of 5 – 4.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth?

The Engs opted for Lion. The – Prince didn’t offer a great deal to any of us, and II – Lord didn’t do much to help matters. However, the third clue – The Third – Esquire – irresistibly called the words “The sound of hoofbeats in the glade/ Good folk, lock up your son and daughter” to mind. I offered Goes Forth – Captain, being the next Title of a Blackadder series, and the next incarnation of Edmund Blackadder. Neither team could see it – cue groans all round as they realized it. Two Reeds gave the Aths i – 0 – 1. Me, I didn’t have the faintest inkling about this set. I don’t think the Aths did either. It fell nicely for the Engs, though, as they knew it. The sequence was square roots of numbers up to 2 – look, don’t ask me, I was away the day they did Maths at school. The answer was 1.41 something, anyway, it was a bonus to the Engs. Eye of Horus gave the Engs a picture set. We saw what I thought was a Picnic Bar, and I took the gamble that I would never take in the studio, and offered Rock for a five pointer. The @ sign for the second clue looked highly promising, and when the third picture showed people hanging a painting I knew I was home and dry. Mind you, I predicted Blackpool rather than Brighton Rock, so you can’t win ‘em all. With three seconds left to go Stephen worked it out, and saved a point for his team. Twusted Flax was Chris’ choice for the Aths, for which he received (e.g.) Delta -. Ok, I though, that’s a greek letter possibly. The next was Mad Cows author. That meant nothing to me, I’m afraid. Native of Latvia is a Lett. Now that really did help. Presuming that the author was called Lette, then Let would be last , and I , as did the Aths, went for a let in tennis. Good shout, and a nice set. Now, at last Captain Chris of the Engs got his act together, and pronounced Horned Viper the way we like it at LAM. Now I really feared for the Aths. The Engs meant business. Now, with the next sequence, I think that both teams, and I, had the connection, but none of us could complete the sequence. – Use Your Eyes and Ears!– certainly looked like the Green Cross Code, which indeed it was. The next clues was Wait Until It’s Safe to Cross! – The Engs guessed incorrectly, so the Aths got to see – Look and Listen!. Their guess was incorrect. The actual answer was – Arrive Alive! – Yuh huh?! Very, very tricky, I mean, the Green Cross Code Man hadn’t even metamorphosised into Darth Vader when that was about. Water gave the Aths Edward VIII (77). – Now, it looked as if we were looking at a list of longest lived UK monarchs. In which case Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II tops the list. She was born in 1926, which makes her 88 at time of writing, although I guessed it would be 87 when the show was recorded. The Aths took George III (81) and Victoria (81) but really didn’t have it, and were unable to give a considered answer. The Engs offered Elizabeth II Still Alive, but were told that it had to look like the other three in the sequence. In other words, they had to give an age. They were close with 88, but no cigar for that. Still, they had increased their lead in the round from one point to 2, with 8 to the Ath’s 6. Nothing in it.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Aths got to choose which wall, and opted for Lion. They could see several lines early doors, and the first one they isolated was – Kremlin – Fed – Hopman – Davis – all cups or trophies in tennis. Ecclesiastical offices – Pope – Canon – Deacon and Priest all fell into line next. They could see that there was a group of Rat Packers there too, and they played with fire while isolating them, losing two lives, but resolving the wall on their last go. The third line when it resolved was - Child – Knight – Neighbour and Sister. The Aths could guess that this was a word set, but offered that they were all followed by – act – rather than – hood, which was the correct answer. This left Lawford – Bishop – Sinatra – Martin for the Rat Packers. 7 points, and if the Engs had a mare, then the Aths could well be in the driving seat.

Early doors the Engs saw that there was a set of words which are all used to mean – to complain. Whine – Beef – Grouse and Gripe were the ones they wanted and found. Almost immediately cache – stock – reserve and hoard followed suit for fairly obvious reasons. They were onto a set of words which can all follow the word – chain. Now, I liked their technique here. They had three clues which couldn’t possibly be part of the chain set, and they highlighted them. They looked and looked until I heard Stephen working out that the words highlighted were all anagrams of countries – Rain – Iran, Moan – Oman, and Pure – Peru. This meant that they needed to click mail from the chain set, which was Mali. Beautiful logic. The chain set left was Letter – Smoke – Store and Gang. I’m sorry, but they deserved the 10 points they got for doing that, All of which meant that their lead going into the last round was 18 – 13.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

The first set was Reasons you may hear a bell, and with the set falling 3 – 1 to the Aths, maybe the bell wouldn’t be tolling for them just yet. The frankly horrible sounding words that contain all five vowels only once fell 2 apiece. I was nowhere near sequoia or abstemious – kudos to both skippers for getting them. Feminist works fell 2 – 1 to the Engs, and that looked like it would be enough. There was time for Victoria to announce National Lottery Game Shows, but only enough time for the Engs to identify Who Dares Wins. That was enough to seal a win by 24 to 19.

Well done to the Engs – I’ll be honest, I thought that this performance was quite a bit more impressive than their first game. As for the Aths, well, hard lines boys. Some you win, some you lose. I hope that you enjoyed your time on the show, though.


Stephen Follows said...

Hi Dave,

A quick emendation, if I may - a native of Latvia is a Lett with two t's. Otherwise that sequence question doesn't work.

Best wishes,


Chris Curtis said...

Hi Dave,
After hardly covering ourselves in glory, I would like to claim credit for the tennis answer although Dan was all over the cartoon surnames! Probably the best description of our time on OC was the one I gave at the beginning of the show - it felt like getting to the Olympic final in the relay and dropping the baton. I know it is easy to say we did not get the rub of the green with the questions but, on any given day, I think we would have won 6 or 7 games out of 10 against either team we played (only my opinion - other opinions are available!) I felt that we didn't really do ourselves justice. That said, we had a great time, the crew were brilliant and we just were did not answer enough questions on the day. Very best wishes to the Engineers and especially the Record Collectors for the rest of the series.

Londinius said...

Hi Stephen
Oops - that is just the sort of typo that'll get me a bad name. I did actually know a Lett has 2 ts - thought I'd included them.

Hi Chris

It doesn't matter who you are, you need a bit of the rub of the green in a knockout competition. In my opinion the Software Engineers put in a much better performance against you than they did in their previous match. As I said - some you win , and unfortunately, some you lose. Glad that you enjoyed your time on the show.

DanielFullard said...


I will second what Chris said firstly. A great day filming the two episodes, apart from the result, and the team treated us far better than my previous TV experience.

I think the first game was the one where we felt our win could have came. We were against a great team of Ex-Uni Challenge players and I sincerely hope they go all the way....but there were a few times in that match we picked upon answer for 5 points only to watch it be taken at the last minute. (The two hands in the air one being one I know Chris had pretty much from the off).But then again they might have said the same about our sets!

This weeks game was a little tougher, we did both episodes in one day and were a little tired. Brendan and Chris shone in the buzzer round first time round but we had less time on this occasion (1 minute instead of 90 seconds I think...).

The surnames question has been given a lot of discussion on facebook with some suggesting it should have been given but I was pleased it wasn't and we got the shout.

But all in all fair play to the Opponents. On the day they were the better team and again I would like to see them do well.

Only Connect was great fun

Chris Howlett said...

Hi, Chris Howlett of the Software Engineers here.

Just want to say that rub of the green does have quite a lot to do with it - I think we'd have done worse on the Athletes' wall. But then again, we'd probably have managed a 3-pointer on the square roots (it's a very computer-science / maths-y question), so it's probably swings and roundabouts.

I'll hold my hands up to the animated characters question; we'd spotted the link, but couldn't quite get to the fact they were the canonical names of those characters, but with surnames swapped in. The one we felt a bit upset with was the monarchs. It's hard to define the longevity of someone who hasn't died. We felt our link of "Longest lived monarchs and their age at death" was at least as good. In fact, while we sat waiting for our turn at the wall, we thought we should perhaps have taken our right to challenge the answer; but of course it was by then too late.

I'll echo Chris and Daniel's comments about the crew and general friendliness though. We had a thoroughly good time too! Bad luck to you guys, glad you enjoyed it.

Londinius said...

Hi Chris, and welcome to LAM.
Oh dear, you do realise that leaving a comment now renders you eligible for support from the Clark sofa, for which there is no known antidote! Seriously, well done for the last match, and good luck in your next. Thanks for taking time and trouble to leave a comment, guys.