Welsh Learners v. Relatives
The Welsh Learners, are Margaret Gabica, Chris Hern, and captain Stuart Hern. They comfortably beat the Software engineers in the first round, before those same engineers knocked out the Erstwhile Athletes, containing our own Daniel Fullard. In the second match they defeated the Record Collectors, with our own Rachel Neiman to become one of the two teams through to the semis without losing a match. Their opponents, the Relatives, took a third match to get here. Husband and wife Hamish and Davina Galloway together with Davina’s son Nick Latham, lost out in a close contest with the Europhiles in their first match, before hammering the last nail into the coffin of the Exhibitionists in their first sudden death shootout. Almost inevitably this meant that they too could qualify for the semis by beating the Record Collectors, which they did in last week’s show. You’d maybe take a look at the teams’ relative records and say that the Welsh Learners with their 100% record looked the more likely bet, however after that first defeat by the Euros the Rellies have got better and stronger with each match.
Round One – what’’s the Connection?
The Learners kicked off the show with two reeds. The first clue was Netherlands: 1815. The immediate thought of all of us was that the Battle of Waterloo was in 1815, but somehow that didn’t seem to gel with Netherlands so much. 1993: Cambodia didn’t really help me a great deal, nor the Learners. 1975 Spain did help though. This was obviously a restoration f the monarchy set. The Learners agreed, and were right to do so. Twisted Flax gave the Rels Dennis Taylor - (World snooker champion). Hmm – 1985? Big glasses? Beat Steve Davis? None of those particularly appealed to me. The next was Bon Scott (lead singer of AC/DC) . Well – he died in 1980. Didn’t help. Ken Livingstone (Mayor of London). Now, just the germ of an idea began with this one. Livingstone was succeeded by Boris Johnson – and 1986 world snooker champ was Joe Johnson. Come to think of it, didn’t Brian Johnson become lead singer with AC/DC (but only when he wasn’t on Test Match Special)? The Rels didn’t see it, although Lincoln and Kennedy (US Presidents) really should have given it to them – Lyndon and Andrew. Quite rightly the Learners took the point. Eye of Horus gave the Learners some picture clues. First we saw Ryan O’Neal, then David Tennant. I couldn’t yet see it. I could when BBC’s Martin Sixsmith followed. One – Ten – Six. The last one was England Rugby Union star Billy Twelvetrees. The Learners just couldn’t see it, and thus missed their own pretty gettable set. However it was less costly since the Rels couldn’t see it either. Davina spurned the chance to increase her chances of success, when she conventionally voiced horned viper. Now, this was a really nice, fair set. First we had Huddersfield and New York. Well, OK, this wouldn’t have been a five pointer for me. But when Widnes and Minnesota came up I did get it. With Widnes, while there are other things it could have been, your first thought is surely going to be rugby league. So we have both the Widnes Vikings, and the Minnesota Vikings – to go with the Huddersfield Giants, and the New York Giants – rugby league and American football teams sharing the same names. Sheffield and Philadelphia only served to confirm this. Nick came in with the answer, and although he was looking at Blades for Sheffield he had the main idea – sports teams sharing names. Lion didn’t reveal the music set, much to the Learners’ collective relief. Given Jason there were far too many possibilities for a five pointer. My dame looked intriguing rather than enlightening. Brian Whittle though did give the whole thing. Jason lost a shoe. Brian Whittle, the ‘flying scotsman’ lost a shoe when running a leg of the 1986 4x400m relay for the GB gold medal team in the European championship. I didn’t quite get the my dame thing, but it was obviously the correct answer. Cinderella was the last, but the Learners didn’t need it either. This left just the music set for the Rels. Now, I had what I think was my first ever music 5 pointer. With the first one, when I heard a very long drawn out “Oh Rose . . . “ I said – well, if the next lines is ‘thou art sick’, then the connection is poems by William Blake. Well, I wouldn’t have gambled in the studio, and I wouldn’t have got it from the second clue, or the third, but the last , “Jerusalem” made it clear I was right. The Rels didn’t know it, and the Learners did for a bonus. So the first round went pretty much to form. The Learners led by 6 – 2, and looked pretty good value for their lead too.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
Twisted Flax gave the learners 36 (4). Ok – next clue please. 40(10)- nope. The third clue was 42(7) Neither team had it, and neither did I. They apparently Harshad numbers. What you do is you add together the two digits – so for the first 3 and 6. You get 9. Divide the original number 36 by 9 you get 4. So the next Harshad number is 45(5). Look, I’m not going to say that this is unfair, since for all I know Harshad numbers are well known – as you are well aware I was away the day they did Maths at school. Eye of Horus gave the Rels Elementary Charge – Faraday’s Constant – Gravitational Constant – and so what I did was search my brain for any other term I knew with the word constant, and came up with Planck’s Constant. Now, could I give you even an inkling what that is or what it means? No, of course not. But it was right! Should you pardon the pun, Hamish was rather more scientific about it, and got the right answer that way. The Learners took lion, and received Algeria =Algiers. Now, when this one came up I said that since Algiers is so obviously the capital of Algeria there’s going to be something a lot more difficult about it. The second Greece = Athens confirmed this. So I started counting the letters. Algeria and Algiers are both 7 letters long. Greece and Athens 6. So the answer would be a 4 letter country with a four letter capital – eg ( and it took a little while to figure one out) Peru and Lima. I did a lap of honour round the living room after that one. The Learners just didn’t see it, neither did the Rels. Two Reeds gave us a set of pictures – someone’s back – a sternum, or breastbone, and a butterfly (not, as Hamish suggested, a red admiral. No, that one wasn’t a British butterfly, sir.) It was Nick who quickly worked out that Back – Breast – Butterfly are all swimming strokes, so the last would be freestyle – Ok – they offered front crawl, but hey, same meat, different gravy. Quite a bit easier than the capitals, that set. Captain Stuart chose not to voice the second vowel of horned viper, and raised my anxiety levels over the Learners’ chances in the process. Still, a decent set of 2nd: Şalāt – 3rd Zakāt gave all of us 5th – Hajj, these being pillars of Islam. Water gave the Rels another relatively kind set (alright, it’s just my opinion, and as always, feel free to disagree) with Enobarbus (Grief) – Ah, said I, Antony and Cleopatra. Eros (Sword) followed. I predicted Antony (Sword) and Cleopatra (Asp) would finish the set – these being successive deaths, and their causes in the play. Nick actually tossed the correct answer onto the table, but too late. The Rels missed, and with an open goal to shoot at, the Learners skyed one into Row Z as well. Which meant that the Learners still led, but the gap had narrowed, and now stood at 9 – 6.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Rels picked the Lion wall, knowing that they needed a good haul of points to give themselves a realistic shout of making it through to the final. Early doors they isolated a set of industrial actions – work to rule – picket – stand-down – overtime ban. Then a long time passed before they isolated another set, Needles – Lizard – Eddystone and Bardsey. They skirted around the exact connection for a while, but did get that we were dealing with lighthouses. With only 20 seconds left, they separated Caparison – Cromer – Irrigate – and Go-slow. This tricky set each contained the name of a European capital city inside each word.This left Dog-ear – Cyclone – Electric – Lattice. None of us had a Scooby doo on this one. Apparently they are all types of fence. Fair enough. Still 7 points from a wall isn’t a bad haul, and the Rels had at least given themselves the chance of a win on the vowels.
The Learners had been perhaps a little unlucky with their choices in the second round – now we were to find out if they were also unlucky in the wall they were left with. First impressions were that they were lucky in as much as they isolated a set of Welsh historic counties very early indeed. They could clearly see that there was a set of actors each of whom had played Philip Marlowe, but they took a while to isolate. Eventually they were revealed as Mitchum – Gould – Powell and Montgomery. Three guesses for the remaining two lines failed, and that was that. The last two lines, when resolved were candle – lavender – loom and Bogart, while the last line was Brow – bones – doily and Afghan. The candle set I couldn’t see, but if you looked at the first few letters you’d see a slang word for toilet. No points to the Learners for that one. They might have had the Brow set – all things you can knit – but they didn’t see it. So this meant that they received 4 points, and even my basic arithmetic was enough to work out that this meant that both teams went into the final round with 13.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
So all bets were off – it was all or nothing on the vowels – to the victor the spoils, and the devil take the hindmost. EU countries in English and one of their own languages didn’t help settle the outcome as it fell 2 apiece. Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories saw one of those horrible outcomes when you know the right answer, but don’t quite give it. Margaret lost a point by giving The Cat WHO walks by himself, rather than the Cat THAT walks by himself. That went to the Rels to give them a two point lead. Margaret pulled one back, but the Rels took the next. Two song titles in one was the last set, and we didn’t have time for all of them. In fact we only had time for one, and it went to the Res, who won by 18 – 15.
Another good show, and a win for the Relatives – well played, and best of luck in the final.