Friday, 10 October 2014

Mastermind Round One - Heat Nine

OK, let’s get the recidivist question out of the way. Only one that I knew of this week, and that was David Love. We’ll come to him later since he was actually the fourth to go in the first round.

So first up was Ciaran Ward. His subject was the films of Sergio Leone. Like a lot of people I’ve seen the three Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, but that was a very long time ago, and I only managed about 4 points on this set. Ciaran did a hell of a lot better than that, and with the specialist questions as time consuming as they are these days, 11 points is not a bad score at all. Nonetheless Ciaran missed a couple of what sounded like relatively straightforward details from the films, and you couldn’t help thinking that 11 left a little bit of room for someone to establish a lead over him by half time.

You can never be 100% certain how a contender is going to do in their round just by their body language. Brian Davies perched on the edge of the chair, and seemed to be on tenterhooks waiting for the round on Robert Peel to begin. Yet when it started he produced a very good performance indeed, and could actually have had a perfect round. In only one question he came in a little early, and gave the wrong Christian name – had he just said the surname, I’m sure he’d have been given it. That’s an old quizzer’s trick. Still 14 looked a very good score. Incidentally I’m always delighted to hear any question about my distant cousin Richard Cobden. Yes, bragging again.

Sarah Lake offered us Leonard Cohen. (Oh no, we’ll be bitten by a vampire and be dead but still alive, like Leonard Cohen – The Young Ones, 1984)Sarah knew her stuff on Cohen himself, and his records, but a couple of the questions strayed a little more off the beaten track than this, and this pulled her back from getting closer to Brian’s score. Again, double figures in a specialist round is something you can be quite pleased with, but it looked like she was going to have to come from some way back to make a real challenge for the win.

So to David Love. In Gary’s 2012 series, he won his heat with Vaughan Williams, his semi final with British Birds of Prey, and finished in third place on the podium in the Grand Final. Each performance was categorised by good performances on both GK and SS. Answering on the Life and work of Anton Bruckner, it seemed as if the second or third question knocked him for six, and he took quite a long time before giving a wrong answer.  I wouldn’t want to give you the idea that the round was a disaster – far from it – but his composure seemed to have been severely dented, and he missed a couple more on his way to picking up 9 and no passes. Now, the game wasn’t necessarily over for him, but five points is a huge gap to have to bridge on GK.

He gave it a lash, though, to be fair to him. I did think that David answered somewhat more slowly than he had done on previous GK rounds this time – which was a shame. He was actually getting a significant proportion of his answers right, but time was a luxury he just didn’t have. His 12 was the least that he desired, but bearing in mind that Brian was 5 points ahead of him at half time it looked unlikely that this would be quite enough to place him within the corridor of uncertainty.

Sarah Lake’s GK round was unusual in the way that it ended. Sarah kept her head well throughout the first minute and a half or so, and picked up points steadily. It never looked like she was going to set a massive total for Ciaran and Brian to chase, but it did look like she should overhaul David’s total. She got up to 20 with enough time for another three or four questions, yet that was where her round just ground to a halt. As it was one more correct answer wouldn’t have helped as she would have had passes, but at least she had the satisfaction of reaching 20.

Ciaran Ward needed 11 to take the outright lead, but more than that, he needed as many as possible to set a total that would make Brian have to really go for it. Brian had a lead of 3 points, so realistically he needed to get into the teens at the very least to make it as difficult as possible for Brian. He gave it a go, but it was one of those rounds which gets going, then a wrong answer just robs it of half of its momentum, which has to start building all over again. Ciaran kept batting away the questions he knew the answers to, though, and passed David, who will not be making another semi final appearance this year, and adding another couple for good measure.

At 23 the target lay 9 points ahead of Brian. I feared for him after the first couple of questions, where a very gentle lob or too had beaten the bat, as it were. Yet again, Brian despite sitting on the edge of his chair, held his nerve well, answering what he knew, guessing what he didn’t, and calmly edged his way past the total at just after the 2 minute mark. In the end he too added 12 to his SS total, and won by a clear 3 points with 26. Well done sir, good luck for the semi final.

The Details

Ciaran Ward The films of Sergio Leone11- 0 12 - 023- 0
Brian DaviesThe Life and Career of Robert Peel14 - 012 - 026 - 0
Sarah LakeLeonard Cohen10 - 0 10 - 420- 4
David LoveThe Life and Work of Anton Bruckner9 - 012- 021 - 0

1 comment:

Stephen Follows said...

I sat at the edge of the Mastermind chair in all three of my appearances in 2000. It didn't do me any harm.