Nørdiphiles v. Night Watchmen
The Nørdiphiles, Will Day, James Keeling and captain Joanna Murray are, I believe, brand new to Only Connect, and united by their love of all things Scandinavian. Skål! Their opposition, Jonathan Wilson, Robert Winder and skipper Daniel Norcross were the Nightwatchmen, brought together by a shared love of what Kipling called ‘flannelled fools at the wicket’. It was fascinating to hear captain Daniel say that he had taken part in the original pilots for the series, in which they even tried three teams of two.
Round One – What’s the Connection?
Put in first by the Nords, Daniel of the Nights blotted his copybook for me by failing to voice the second vowel of Horned when he opted for the viper. First off was Best Picture Oscar Nominees (2010). This didn’t help. UEFA Euro Championship teams (1996) didn’t either. Jonathan had a good idea at this point, suggesting that this was when the number of participants increased. When prompted for a little more, they offered this was when the number of participants doubled. Good shout. The Eye of Horus gave the Nords – Ruddigore – to start. Gilbert and Sullivan was far too obvious. It’s subtitled The Witches’ curse – so I guessed maybe we were going down this route. Straw Dogs seemed to put the kibosh on that idea. Jamaica Inn came third, and I still hadn’t come up with an answer, so plumped for the hopeful – all set in Cornwall. Doc Martin certainly fit the pattern. They tried – complaints about the sound quality, but the Nights took the bonus with set in Cornwall. You can’t afford to throw sets like that away – they probably should have had it from Jamaica Inn and Doc Martin. Two Reeds gave us Doctor Evil’s Number Two – Snake Plissken. That was enough to give me eyepatches – Snake Plissken being Kurt Russell’s character from Escape from New York and its sequel. Number Two is Robert Wagner’s character, and not mini me as I heard the Nights suggest. Rooster Cogburn came next, and this set Jonathan on eyepatch. That was enough for captain Daniel, and they didn’t need to see the fourth clue, Danger Mouse. Not Nelson, I’m glad to say. There’s no eye patch on the statue on Nelson’s Column, you know. The Nords picked Lion and the music. This allowed them to redeem themselves by seeing Streets after two clues. Good shout. Twisted Flax, then, gave the Nights Miedinger and Hoffman. I did actually know that these two were something to do with Helvetica font. When Hoefler and Frere-Jones came next one of them did actually mention fonts, but captain Daniel wasn’t convinced. John Baskerville looked to have sealed the deal as the third clue, which indeed it did. Fair play to the Nights, this is a show where discretion is more often the better part of valour. Left with water the Nords saw pictures of a mountain and Rosamund Pike. Taking the mountain as Scafell Pike, they buzzed in off 2 to take the points. So barring the Nord’s first, this had been a quality opening round, and the Nights led with 8 -6.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
The round that separates the men from the boys saw the Nights take water to start. Seine was the first clue. That gave too many possibilities. The second clue, setter – offered but little. Ottoman came third, but I’m afraid that I was out with the washing on this one. Both teams were sidelined by ottoman. Actually its to do with Italian numbers. Sei – sette – otto – so a word beginning with nove – eg novel – would follow. Hard set. Three cheers to the Nords for asking for Hornèd Viper for the next. We saw a picture showing the numeral 1 made out of 4 matchsticks. Next we saw 2 made out of 5 matchsticks. Surely 4 made out of 7 was too obvious? Yes, since the third was 6 made out of 6 matches. So the question was, which would you need to add another matchstick to make, and the answer looked like 8. I was right, so were the Nords, and that was a textbook example of why it is sometimes necessary to take all of the clues. Lion gave the Nights Johnson: The Vantage Point. Now, I read a biography of LBJ a few weeks ago, so I knew that Johnson was LBJ, and the book was about his years as president. So, from the comfort of my sofa I thought that there have been three democrat presidents since LBJ. Obama hasn’t written presidential memoirs yet, but he wrote Dreams from my father – and – The Audacity of Hope. So I went for Obama: Dreams From My Father. Given the other two clues, the Nights tried Obama : Dreams About My Father, which Victoria decided was close enough. Eye of Horus showed the Nords – 2004: Beckham and Vassell – and I had a strange flashback. The euro championships 1996, mentioned in the previous round, saw England lose a penalty shoot out. In 2004, England lost in a penalty shoot out, and both Beckham and Darius Vassell missed. Working backwards, I thought we might well end up with 1990, Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle. We had Ince and Batty in the 1998 world cup, then Gareth Southgate in the 1996 semi shoot out against Germany in between if I was right. The Nords could see football, but not what. Ince and Batty gave them missed penalties, and after almost arguing themselves out of it they went the right way. Great – if painful to an England supporter – set. For their last choice the Nights opted for Two Reeds. Haffaz suggested Sacha Baron Cohen characters – that was the name of The Dictator from that movie. In which case Ali G. would be a good bet. Brüno certainly seemed to confirm the prediction It was enough for the Nights, who supplied Ali G at this point. Twisted Flax remained for the Nords with 3 elves, which made the Nords think the same as me – Tolkein’s rings of power. 3 for the elven kings – 7 for the dwarf lords in their halls of stone – nine for the mortal men - oh flip, that’s it. 7 dwarves came next, as it should do. But the sequence ends with the nine rings. Unless – I thought – it’s in the rhyme that it ends with one ring to rule them all etc. So I went for 1 Sauron. The answer the Nords gave was One ring to rule them all. Which was ignoring the form of the set. How many and who for, that was what was needed. The answer, which the Nights didn’t see either, was 1 Dark Lord. Hoepfully I might have been given it for Sauron. A good round with some nice sets , and the score was now 13 – 11 to the Nights.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Nords chose the Lion Wall. Italian musical instructions was the first set they saw, along with sporting implements. Actually though the first set they isolated – Presto – Bat – Bristo – Well – were all towns with a letter missing. Mallet – Cue – Club and Hurley, the sporting implements followed hard on their heels. They waited a while before completing the last two lines on their first go. Grave – adagio – vivace and lento were the musical terms. This left Largo – Big Pine – Sands and Plantation. Now, they knew Key Largo, having mentioned it more than once, but crucially did not offer Florida Keys as the answer. This limited them to 7 points.
The Nights were left with water. Figaro – Bild – Pais and Stampa fell early as European newspapers. Parts of a shoe looked to be there, but when they didn’t fall into place they went for a set of things you can hold – tongue – breath – horses – nerve. They knew that the connections were between the last two lines – synonyms for vamp, and parts of a shoe. The shoe parts were Heel – Welt – vamp and sole, which left as the flirtatious females – siren – circe – minx and coquette. 10 points earned, which gave them a 5 point lead of 23 – 18, and made them favourites to take the match.
Round Four – The Missing Vowels
The first set, famous last lines from films, went 2 – 1 to the Nords. Gap thus down to 4. Dragons wiped out that gap completely, 4 – 0 to the Nords. The next set, fictional boarding schools, went 2 – 1 to the Nights. So sad that nobody got Linbury Court Preparatory School – I LOVED Anthony Buckeridge’s Jennings books when I was a lad. Flight Instruments brought 3 crucial points to the Nords, and against the run of play in the first three rounds they had won a narrow victory by 28 – 26. The Nights will definitely bounce back after this performance though. I was impressed with both teams in this show. Well played both.