Saturday, 21 June 2014

Only Connect - Sudden Death Match

Relatives v. Record Collectors

To the victor the spoils, to the vanquished the bus fare home. Last Monday saw two more teams who have both tasted the champagne of victory and the bitter dregs of defeat already in the series. The Relatives, 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 last sudden death shootout. Old hands at the survival game, then. The Record Collectors, Rachel Neiman, Adam Barr and Richard Gilbert, byt way of contrast, started the series at 100 miles an hour, beating the Erstwhile Athletes and our own Dan Fullard in the first match, before going down to the Welsh Learners in their qualification match. Picking a winner, Dave? No chance. This has been such a series of surprises that it’s difficult to predict anything with certainty.

Round One – What’s the Connection?

Skipper Rach opted to receive Twisted flax first. This gave the RCs Scent – sCent – Knight – reign. Now, I’ll be honest, I was working with the RCs here. Certainly the last three words all had their silent letter capitalized. Although that first word worried me. Victoria asked for more, and Rach explained that if you removed the letter in capitals, then you were left with a homophone which had a completely different meaning. Ah yes! Good set, and good shout. The Rels opted for eye of Horus, and began with a photograph of Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon in Wuthering Heights, with an arrow pointing at dear old Larry. So either Laurence – or – Olivier – or – Heathcliff. Next was Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel. Hmm – no idea yet. The third looked like Albert Finney in Tom Jones. Well, it’s not unusual. Finally a stained glass window representation of Moses holding the tablets with the Ten Commandments. The Rels went for Moses as the connection. Nope. The RCs went for people who have all had awards named after them. Nope. Actually I had this because I once asked a similar connection in the club. They were all adopted after being abandoned by their parents. Rachel tempted fate by not voicing the second vowel of Horned viper. The first clue was Robert Langdon. Well, I think everyone knew that Robert Langdon is the hero of four of Dan Brown’s novels, and was played on film by Tom Hanks. The second was Lisbeth Salander – Steig Larsson’s The Girl with etc. – Sheldon Cooper is the exceptionally irritating main protagonist of the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The last clue was Will Hunting. The RCs suggested that they might each have been mentored by professors. Incorrect. The Rels took a good bonus by suggesting that they each have eidetic – or photographic – memories. Two Reeds gave the Rels CBS – and my first thought was that there was no way it was going to be the obvious connection of US TV networks – AT&T came next. KFC took us right away from the communications and media connection and BP completed it. Now, I had a feeling that BP, which had started out meaning British Petroleum, made it clear during the oil spillage scandal a couple of years ago that the initials now mean nothing, so I guessed that the name of the company was now officially just the initials. The Rels clearly thought the same, and rightfully so. The RCs selected the audio clues, and the first was the far from immortal Doctorin’ The Tardis by the Timelords. Hmm. Songs based on other songs? The second was Prince’s Little Red Corvette. The Third was My Best Friend’s Girl by the Cars. Vehicles?, I wondered? The RCs at this point went for cars. Correct. Huh? I wondered. According to Victoria the first was performed by a car. OK, moving swiftly on. So the Rels finished the round with Lion. Football League one since 2004. Well, since 2004 it has been the division below the Championship, I thought.So did Nick. 5ive’s Big Reunion meant nothing to me, I’m afraid. Millipede didn’t immediately clear the waters. I did think that a millipede doesn’t have 1000 legs, and the first division is not actually the top division, since there are another two league – the Premier League above it. I think that it was Nick who working in the same direction with this one as well. He explained that not all 5 of 5ive came back for the reunion. Correct. All of which meant that at the end of the round the Rels actually led by 4 – 3.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth?

The RCs took the Eye of Horus for the first set. It kicked off with War Crimes Tried in the UK. Nope, no idea from me. The second was European Voting System. Again, I didn’t see it. The RCs saw something and came in with AV, which was not the right answer. The third clue was equalizing the gay age of consent. Thinking referendums, the Rels offered Scottish Independence. No, these were all things brought into law by the Parliament Act. If, like me, you just thought – the what act? – well according to Victoria’s explanation when the Lords and Commons disagree then in extreme circumstances the Commons can invoke the Parliament Act and get the law through anyway. Tricky, tricky set. Two Reeds brought the Rels a picture set. The first looked like the former Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, who I think is now Sarah Chatto. The second was a shoe with a stiletto heel, and the third Beth Ditto of Gossip. I think I had this a microsecond before the Rels themselves explained it. We had chATTO – StilETTO – dITTO – so the next would be something ending in OTTO – the Rels offered Motto. Nice set – above all else fair and gettable. Again Rach conventionally voiced Horned Viper, and this brought up 4th: Stockton 2012; 3rd: Orange County 1994: - and at this point I had no idea – 2nd: Jefferson County 2011. I wondered whether this was set by the same person who set the strangely named US towns set a couple of shows ago. It meant absolutely nothing to me, nor the RCs, nor the Rels. The answer – 1st: Detroit 2013. The connection is municipal bankruptcies. Right, now as you know, I love Only Connect. I don’t deliberately criticise for no reason, and I don’t automatically think that just because I can’t make anything out of a set, then it’s not a fair set. But, per-lease! American municipal bankruptices! Yes, Detroit I do actually remember hearing about. But the others, which were actually part of the clues, no. I’m sorry, but that set had no-pointer written all over it, and it’s all very well having Victoria to say it’s a fiendish little connection, but there’s fair and fiendish, and then there’s something else. This was something else. What’s next? Successive prime ministers of Kyrgyzstan? Alright, I know it isn’t meant to be easy, but come on – American municipal bankruptcies! Twisted flax gave the Rels the word Normal in green, then Meriting Attention by Astronomers in Yellow, then Threatening in what looked amber. Hamish looked to have a handle on it and offered Red: Impact Imminent. The actual answer was red : certain collision – good enough. This is the Torino Impact Hazard Scale. Not easy, but at least even if you didn’t know, a guess would have a chance of getting you close enough to the answer. American Municipal Bankruptcies! Sorry – I’m struggling to get over that set. The RCs, bloodied but not bowed chose Lion. The first was R1:10. The second was R1.QF:13. The third was SF: 17. Now I agreed with the RCs that R1 seemed to denote Round one – R2/QF – quarter final , and SF – semi final. By a process of deduction , if the numbers meant the cumulative total of matches in the competition by that stage, then it could only be F:18. I really don’t know why the RCs offered F:19, but it let the Rels in for a bonus with F:18. Which for me was the right answer for the wrong reason, as it happened. I’ve explained where I got it from. It’s actually the number of frames in world championship snooker matches you need to win to win that match. At least, though, at least you could work out some logic behind it, and come up with a guess. American municipal bankruptcies! The last remaining sequence was Water, and it kicked off with Barleywood. It meant now to me, so Berryfields came next. Greenacre was the third clue, and it didn’t help me. The Rels didn’t have it, neither did the RCs. They are all Gardener’s World Gardens, and the next is Longmeadow. Is that a fair set? Well, yes it is, in my opinion. Gardener’s World has a large and very loyal audience – it’s not unreasonable even though nobody knew it. American Municipal Bankruptcies! OK, enough of that. The score at the end of the round was 9 – 3 to the Rels.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Rels kicked off knowing that a really good wall round would see them with one collective foot in the semis. In good time they isolated a set of wrestling holds and moves – gogoplata – crucifix – Boston crab and sharpshooter – good shout with that lot, I thought. Double Act Halves were the next to fall with Hinge – Hale – Cannon and French. They were barking up the Stanley tree with Accrington, where I could see Lancashire towns, but they persisted correctly, isolating Falkland Islands – Accrington – Livingstone and Laurel as the Stanley set, which left Preston – Nelson – Morecambe and Bacup for the towns. They saw it , announced it, and took the points. A full house on the wall, and it’s been a few shows since we’ve seen one of those.

All of which meant that the RCs desperately needed a full house of their own. My first thought on seeing the wall was that I could see a set of tyre manufacturers. They started working on that set, but a sudden diversion to US State capitals with the word –City – in their name – Jefferson – Carson – Salt Lake and Oklahoma brought dividends. Now, THAT’S a fair set on US cities. After a fair bit of trial and persistence the tyres fell with Pirelli – Bridgestone – Yokohama – Michelin. Now, with three goes left I think we could all see that there were at least two Scottish cheeses there. The others though, they couldn’t, and with only seconds left three goes at hitting and hoping brought no joy. When the lines were resolved and I could see the third line Goodyear – Speed – Phoenix and Dawn the penny dropped. They are the surnames of actresses from Coronation Street – Julie, Doris, Pat and Liz. The Scottish cheeses were Dunlop – Lanark Blue – Caboc and Crowdie. Victoria gave Rach permission to thump her team mates for persuading her out of cheese and into cats. I’m afraid it was just that kind of show for the RCs. They scored 4, which meant that the Rels led by 19 – 7.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

If I’m honest, I thought that the gap was so big that the RCs were playing for pride in the last round. The first set was Cheesy chat up lines. These fell 4 – 0 to the Rels, and to add insult to injury the RCs miscued and lost a point. Titles of Prince Charles fell 3 – 1 to the RCs. Left Handed sportspeople fell 2 apiece. I must admit that when we ended with Eric Morecambe catchphrases nobody could see the great man’s – what do you think of it so far? That was that then. An emphatic 26 – 11 win for the Relatives. Very well done guys – good luck in the semis. Bad luck Record Collectors. In my opinion the Relatives deserved to win this show, but you certainly didn’t have the rub of the green. Well, that’s that then, and I think there’s only one thing left to be said about the show. American Municipal Bankruptcies!


dxdtdemon said...

I would just like to say that I've been a US citizen my entire life, have almost two full decades of quizzing experience, and would've been more likely to name Djoomart Otorbaev correctly than Detroit, because I had no idea that the places in the sequence that weren't Detroit had gone bankrupt, either.

Londinius said...

Hi dxdtdemon

Thanks for that. I mean - it isn't just me is it? That set wasn't fair. Alright, that's just my opinion, and as always people should feel free to disagree with me. But I can't see me changing my own opinion about that set any time soon.

StuHern said...

Can you imagine if they'd come up with Detroit but got the year wrong? I can only hope that some leniency would've been given there!

But I agree - an absolute stinker of a question.