Wandering Minstrels v. Chessmen
The Wandering Minstrels, Vyvyan Almond, Fergus Butler-Gallie and skipper Edward Green, a trio of Gilbert and Sullivan lovers, were fairly comfortably beaten by the Gallifreyans in the first round, although the scoreline probably didn’t quite do them justice. Their drinking partners in the last chance saloon were the Chessmen, Henry Pertinez, Nick Mills and captain Stephen Pearson. The Chessmen were third in the second series, and lost out in a very close contest against the linguists in the first round. They were short priced favourites in this match, certainly, but then any team can beat any other team, given the right set of circumstances.
Round One – What’s the connection?
The Wands kicked off with twisted Flax. Their first clue £7 – 12 per week wages didn’t give me any ideas, and £2 emergency credit for phone calls didn’t help. I’ll be honest, I just wasn’t at the races with this one, and so when 3-4 visits per month appeared I was struggling, until I think it was Vyvyan who suggested prison, which certainly seemed like the right tree to be barking up. This proved to be absolutely right, and the last one would have been no votes – which would probably have given it to me. The first clue off two reeds for the chessmen was Roaming in the Gloaming, which I knew was made famous by Sir Harry Lauder, as Stephen said almost immediately. Singing in the rain, the second clue, was not made famous by Harry Lauder. Neither was Blowing in the wind, the 4th clue. Could it be as simple as all being about doing certain activities in certain weather types? No, it couldn’t, for the last was You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. Now, when I first wrote that last sentence, I actually wrote it Lovin’, which made me feel that maybe this was the answer – that usually the ing is written in’. Neither team had it, but it turned out that this was indeed the answer. Very sneaky that one. Edward of the Wands flirted with disaster by opting for horned rather than horned viper. This was the music set. Now the first I recognised as Waylon Jenning’s theme to the Dukes of Hazzard. I didn’t recognise the second, but the third was Duke of Earl. The Grand Old Duke of York gave Fergus the connection on the fourth clue. Sir Duke was the second one. The Chessmen took Lion. The first was Salem, which could have been a number of things. The second, though, Greymalkin, made it clear. Graymalkin is the name of a cat belonging to the witches in the Scottish play, and Salem was the name of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s cat. The Chessmen needed Crookshanks to get it. For their last set the Wands chose eye of Horus, and picture clues. I didn’t recognise Jay Jay Okocha in the first, but could see Dee Dee Ramone and Yo Yo Ma before Zsa Zsa Gabor came up. (BTW my favourite Zsa Zsa Gabor quote, which I will repeat now, is frankly rather risqué and so you may wish to look away now. When asked about her thoughts on safe sex, and whether she encouraged the use of a condom, she replied “It depends what’s in it for me”. I can only apologise.) The water set remained for the Ches, and they started with Beelzebub (has a devil for a sideboard, according to my son’s misheard lyric, but I digress) then Mephisto. All names for demons so far. However they are also crossword setters, and this was the answer given by the Ches. Good shout that, and it gave them the lead – 5 -3.
Round Two – What comes fourth?
The Wands started with Lion. This gave us Nimble – then – wood-coloured. I was, like the Wands, working on synonyms, so quick – brown suggested fox- jumps for the next two words. The Wands took vulpes for the third, so all they needed was a synonym for jumps. I’d already suggested vaults and amazingly, having done all the hard work, the Wands ignored the words jumped and over, and went for slothful, a synonym of lazy. A rush of blood to the head there, I can only think. This was a bit of a gift for the Ches. They knew it, and vaults was actually the example given. Water gave the Ches a picture set which kicked off with what looked like a very nice old Austin Seven. Next was Stephanie Powers. Austin Powers? Now, the next clue showed a door representing in. Yeah, right. Now working on the fact that Austin International Man of Mystery has too many words, as does The Spy etc. , it could only be Goldmember as the last word. I had it, the teams didn’t. Next twisted flax gave the Wands Parrott/McCoist. Obviously team captains on A Question of Sport. But were we going up or down. It was the sort of set where you needed two clues to be certain. Dettori/McCoist meant we were coming forward. Would it be to Dawson/Tufnell? That was my guess. The Wands were out with the washing until the third – Dawson/McCoist came up as the third clue, when it clicked with Fergus. Trouble was they didn’t know Matt Dawson’s current oppo. Stephen didn’t let that one go begging. For his own set he opted for Two Reeds, and unusually Victoria warned them that they needed to give an exact answer. We saw a very big yellow capital H, then a very big brown capital AL, then a very big green SN. I was thinking elements – Hydrogen, Aluminium, Tin, - but couldn’t see it. Then it clicked. Trivial Pursuit. Yellow – History. Brown – Art and Literature. Green – Science and Nature – which would leave a big orange SL for Sport and Leisure. Go back 25 years and there’s every chance you’d have had it off one, but now though. Neither team quite saw it. Eye of Horus gave the Wands – Pipes of Peace=1. Hmm. Paul McCartney? Ebony and Ivory -2 certainly backed it up. Now, my rationale was that Pipes of Peace was a solo number 1, and ebony and Ivory a duet with Stevie Wonder. So theoretically any Beatles number 1 would be fourth – eg From Me To You=4. I thought that Mull of Kintyre=3 had to be the third clue – and I was right. By this stage the Wands knew that the number referred to the number of performers, but not the McCartney connection. Thus the bonus went to the Ches, who gratefully accepted. The viper gave the Ches - S. her v. – which somehow looked vaguely smutty to me. Then H. and g. Then finally L. to r. over us. I didn’t get it, the Ches didn’t get it, but the wands were happy to take a bonus with G.s. the Q. Send her victorious etc. Good set, great shout from the Wands, but the Ches still led 8 -5.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
Going first this time the Ches chose water, and straightaway saw a set of beetles – whirligig – stag – soldier and Colorado. Next they saw that Mario – 8 – Bowl and Flyweight can all be preceded by Super. They spent a bit of time weighing up various options for the last two lines, but when they did they found a set of pants on their first go – Capri – Hot – Sailor and Parachute. This left Trample – Bustle – Carpet and Vantage. I hadn’t seen it before, but looking more closely I saw car – tram – bus and van. The Ches didn’t see it, and so took seven, leaving just a glimmer of opportunity for the Wands.
Lion saw the Wands spending a moment or two trying to suss out possible links before isolating any of them. First they took out a set of terms for grandmother – Nana – Abuela – Mamgu Welsh – as opposed to Tadcu – granddad) and Babushka. They could see mail order companies and dogs as well, and after a little discussion took out the dogs – Snowy – Timmy – Argos and Blue. I could see that the last set would all come after – out of – but time was passing and the Wands were still working on it. In the end they decided to take out the retailers and hope – and so Grattan – Freemans – La Redoute and Littlewoods fell, leaving Loop – Question – Woods and Frying Pan. By the time this came round they had it figured, and so took a full house of ten. All of which meant that the teams were square at 15 apiece going into the last round.
Round Four – Missing Vowels