Another week, and another three recidivists. Three? Yes, that’s right. Of tonight’s contenders only Jack Young was making his first ever appearance on the show. We’ll come to Jack shortly. First up was my friend Andy Crane. Andy made his first appearance on 2010 in a remarkable episode in which everything else was overshadowed by Kajen Thuraaisingham setting the lowest ever total. In the event, Andy was second. He answered on the Summer Olympics 1968 – 1988. Tonight, well, tonight he was answering on what you might well think of as the next installment – Summer Olympics 1992 – 2012. Last time out Andy was a calm and assured performer on specialist. This time out he started well, but one question in particular provided him with one of those awful moments when the answer just clings doggedly to the tip of your tongue, in this case the name of Kath Grainger. 8 is nothing to be ashamed of, but looking at Andy’s face you could see that he knew that this was not going to be good enough in this show.
So, our lone Mastermind virgin tonight was Jack Young. Now, as much as the Summer Olympic Games is one of my preferred subjects, Duke Ellington is very much not. Under the circumstances, three answers, including the giveaway first question was plenty enough for me to want to take the money and run. Jack put on a good performance, getting himself through the psychologically important double figure barrier, and then adding another for good measure. I honestly don’t know enough about the subject to comment on the level of difficulty, but it certainly looked like a good round to me.
In Ian’s 2011 series Louise Broadbent played a significant part in a high scoring heat, where she answered questions on Tennessee Williams, and was unlucky to only come third. Tonight saw a change of pace for her as she answered on Hammer horror films from 1958 – 1974. I’ll level with you, I have something of a soft spot for the oeuvre of that particular studio, and I managed a 7 on this round myself – albeit from the comfort of the Clark sofa. Louise clearly knew her stuff, but a couple of obscure details held her up on a couple of the questions, and what had looked as if it was going to be a double figures round became stuck on 9.
Andrew Teale was making his third appearance on the show. Let’s make no bones about it, with two good first round performances, both with 27, Andrew has been very unlucky to miss out twice on a repechage slot, the last being in last year’s series. So he knows better than most the value of making sure that you win your heat, whatever the score. He certainly went about his Specialist round, on General James Wolfe, as if he meant business. After a hiccup or two on the first questions Andrew hit his stride and powered through the rest of the round to take a 3 point lead with 14.
Well, you could have named your own odds on any of the other three contenders by the halfway stage, but nothing was decided yet. Yes, a three point lead is a hell of a lead to overturn, but you have to make it as hard as you can for those who are going to come after you. Andy was the first to return to the chair, and I’m afraid that the round just really didn’t suit him. Andy just wasn’t on song for this show, and that’s just the way it goes. Don’t let it get you down, Andy. He finished with 17. Louise, then, returned to the chair, 5 points down on Andrew’s first round score. Now, as I mentioned before, your job in such a situation is to set a score which the leader at least has to chase. Louise gave it a good old lash, and certainly 12 points wasn’t a bad return on the round. In all honesty I thought that her score of 21 was a good three or four points short of putting Andrew within the corridor of uncertainty, but nonetheless she gave it a go, and nobody can ask more of you than that.
Jack, our newcomer, commenced his GK round 3 points adrift of Andrew. Now, if he could match Louise’s GK score, then he could at least make the final round a bit more of a challenge for Andrew. As it worked out though, not only did Jack not manage to match Louise’s GK score, he failed to match her score overall, since his 9 points only took him up to 20. Well, nobody should begrudge Andrew the fact that he only needed 8 correct answers to put him through regardless of passes, and at the start he looked as if he would achieve it before the round was half over. Well, it didn’t quite continue that way, and Andrew had to extricate himself from a rather nasty mini pass spiral, mid round. That’s exactly what he did, though, and his 10 points was enough to get him there with daylight between himself and Louise in second place. Well done Andrew, good luck in your semi final.
|Andy Crane||Modern Summer Olympic Games 1992 – 2012||8 – 2||9 - 1||17 - 3|
|Jack Young||Life and Music of Duke Ellington||11 - 2||9 - 3||20 - 5|
|Louise Broadbent||Hammer Films 1958 - 1974||9 - 4||12 - 1||21 - 5|
|Andrew Teale||General James Wolfe||14 – 0||10 - 4||24 – 4|