Politicos v. Felinophiles
Several questions presented themselves at the start of the new series. I criticized the last series at times for the inscrutable obscurity of some of the sets – just my opinion and feel free to disagree – and it was interesting to speculate whether there would be any noticeable change to the level of questions bearing in mind that the show has been elevated to BBC Two. what a powerhouse double whammy UC and OC make! Well, let’s have a look at this first heat, which pitted the Politicos against the Felinophiles. The Politicos were Ross Goodwin, Joe Kerrigan and Thomas Williams, and according to Victoria they were united by a passion for Parliament. Well, I can’t claim to be that interested in the doings of what Dickens once memorably called “The National Dustheap”, but I am certainly a Felinophile, much like Simon Turmaine, Helen Lippell and Simon Koppel. Which was enough to earn them the dubious accolade of support from the Clark sofa. Enough, already. Let’s get on with the show.
Round One – What’s the Connection?
The Fels opened the new series with Two reeds. First we saw Cruft, and Helen knew what that meant. They took a second clue of NPOV – which I thought meant Neutral Point of View – and captain Simon was certainly smart enough to link them all to Wikipedia. He secured the points by taking the third clue – edit war – which would have been the point at which I would have had it, - to secure 2 good points. The Pols opted for Eye of Horus. We saw Ascot racecourse – Southern hemisphere tropical cyclones - both of which prompted a couple of suggestions, then - decanter of port – which rather muddied the waters. As soon as the Pols decided that these were things which go to the left, though, that made perfect sense. I didn’t have it myself before they came up with the answer. They all go clockwise, but the left works , and they too had two well earned points. The Fels - well, I don’t know if Simon is a reader, but he made me very happy by voicing the second vowel of Horned Viper. This brought them Nigel Lawson – Frank Cradock – which looked to be begging for the answer, fathers of TV chefs /cooks. Which worried me a bit since it looked too obvious. I was mentally willing Simon to take another one to test the hypothesis, but they chanced their collective arm with parents of chefs, and were incorrect. This gave the final two clues – Ramona Blanc and Nigella Slater to the Pols. This made it clear that chefs was definitely the right general topic, but these were chefs whose first names have been switched to that of the opposite gender. A bonus to the Pols. Lion gave the Pols – Theatre on Argyll St., London. This was obviously the London Palladium. Now, as much as the previous one seemed too obvious off two clues, this seemed too obvious off one – surely it didn’t just want elements of the Periodic Table? The Pols sensibly took another clue – golf club. But did that mean golf club – Royal and Ancient – or – golf club – Mashie Niblick? If the latter, then you might have an iron. Certainly the Pols fancied metallic elements here, not without reason. Blimey – it WAS that simple. Well, I’ve complained last series that there were lots of sets where I thought that it was impossible to get a five pointer, so I can’t really complain about this one. Water gave the Fels the music set. I didn’t get the first two any more than the Fels did, but we both connected Stranger in Paradise and Gangsta’s Paradise for a point. Twisted Flax contained the picture set. We saw a child in a rubber ring – a lake – a bird – and I’ll admit I hadn’t a clue up to this point – then a large bookshelf. I recognized the bookshelf – from none other than the set of idents that used to precede the show on BBC four. Neither of the teams managed that one. Still, a good, brisk opening, with both teams showing ability saw the Pols lead by 6 - 3
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
The Fels took twisted flax, and the first clue was a glass of what looked like brandy, and the second like a brand. Working on that principle the fourth picture ought to show a bra – as the Fels also worked out, and indeed that’s what it was. Good. No American Municipal Bankruptcies so far. Now, full marks to Thomas of the Politicos for also pronouncing Horned the way we like to hear it done at LAM. No wonder these two teams were doing well. The viper produced – Suriname – Mexico – and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t seeing much specific here – Costa Rica. Now, all obviously in Latin America – but I doubted it was a Geography question. Looking at it, it clicked – ME ended Suriname but began Mexico – CO ended Mexico but began Costa Rica, which meant that for me Canada would do the job. So it transpired. Very tricky but not unfairly so. Lion gave us Eboracum – which is the Roman name for York. Would it be – Eboracum – Eoforwic – Jorvik – York – I wondered. Sounded a little obvious, and I wouldn’t have buzzed off one in the studio. Well, when the second turned out to indeed be the saxon Eoforwic, it turned out that maybe I should have. So should the Fels, come to think of it, for they had it on one too. Mind you, I don’t blame them for a little caution at all. So far the Fels had picked two plums in the round, while the Pols had only managed one crab apple. Water gave the Pols Minimum Speeding Penalty. That’s £100 and 3 points. A rugby conversion is worth two points, and rugby conversion was the next. Which made it clear that we were looking for something with no points. Funnily enough I suggested a broken pencil, immediately before the third was revealed to be a sharpened pencil! The Pols had already worked out the sequence, but taken the third for security, and they offered a particularly bad song in Eurovision. Two Reeds gave us 4th: Tim Henman, then 3rd: Roald Dahl. I won’t lie, I didn’t have it, but Simon spotted it brilliantly. Tim Henman’s initials are TH as in 4TH – Roald Dahl rd as in 3RD. So the answer would be someone like Sue Townsend as in 1ST. They actually used Simon from the team – 1st: Simon Turmaine, which was of course perfectly acceptable. Now that was a good shout. Pnly the Eye of Horus remained. The Pols were given Michael Spindler. Now, funnily enough I knew that he was a past CEO of Apple. I guessed that maybe the last would be whoever took over after the untimely death of Steve Jobs. The name meant nothing to the Pols, so they took the second – Gil Amelio, which wouldn’t have meant anything to me. As I expected, Steve Jobs came third. I dredged up a name – Steve Wozniack – but it wasn’t the right one. The Fels knew it was Tim Cook, and reaped the bonus. The second round, in which I think that the Pols had been a little unlucky with their choices, had seen a change in both teams’ fortunes, with the Fels now ahead by 13 – 8.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Pols got to choose, and they went for Lion. Characters from To Kill A Mockingbird looked to be qa set early doors, as did sharks. The Pols could see both of these, but seemed to concentrate on the sharks without resolving the set. When they switched and made a concerted assault on the characters they soon resolved – Dill – Atticus – Jem – Scout. This left just a little time and they could see some parts of golfer’s names/nicknames. When the time was up and the lines were resolved the golfers were – Boo – Bubba – Tiger – Fuzzy. This left the sharks as – Great White – Nurse – Milk and Bull. The last line was Fishing – Carnival – Stock market – Ice cream. I couldn’t see the connection – but once you knew it was floats it made sense. 4 points, and you sensed that if the Fels could put in a good wall performance, then the job would be almost done for them.
At pretty much the same time as I did the Fels spotted what appeared on the surface to be a set of wrestlers. I also spotted what looked like a set of London Lanes. The complication with the wrestlers was that Big Daddy was also a character from Cat on a hot tin roof – and there was a Maggie there as well. The Fels first untangled the lanes – Park – Drury – Hanger – Chancery. I think that once they couldn’t get a set of wrestlers, being led up the garden path by Big Daddy by the look of things, they were really struggling to make other connections. Finally they untangled The Undertaker – CM Punk – Christian and Triple H – after Simon had decided to reject Big Daddy. That was it before the time went. Gooper – Maggie – Big Daddy and Brick were the Cat On A Hot Tin Roof characters. It suddenly clicked with Simon, but too late for him to dredge up the name of the play. The last set – Lines – Horse – Peg and Brush were obviously preceded by clothes. 5 points altogether meant that they increased their lead slightly – to 18 – 12, a commanding lead, but not necessarily a winning one.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
The first set was balls smaller than a tennis ball. Innuendo overload. These fell 2 – 1 to the polls – and the score was 19 – 14. Animals and their noises. The Pols took one of the first three, but a wrong answer on the fourth saw them lose a point, meaning that the score was now 22 – 14, and the match over, to all intents and purposes. Things which are all represented by the letter C gave two more points to the Felinophiles, meaning that they ended up winning by 24 – 14. A fine performance from a team who look very much to be one to watch as the series develops. The Politicos need not despair though. I think that they showed enough to be rated as a team who could well win their next match anyway, and although I don’t think they’d have won, they could certainly have scored higher with a little more rub of the green in this show.
Well, I know that there was speculation that moving the show to BBC Two might result in it being watered down a little – sort of an Only Connect Lite if you like. I’m happy to say that this didn’t seem to be the case to me, although my first impression is that the sets did on the whole seem a little more accessible than some we were served up last year – and that’s no bad thing at all. Good show.