Chessmen v. The History Boys
A match between two returning teams, in fact, two teams both from the second series where they never actually met. The Chessmen, Henry Pertinez, Nick Mills and captain Stephen Pearson, made life harder for themselves by losing their first round match to the Linguists, but battled back to make their way through to this semi final. The History Boys, Rob Hannah, Craig Element and captain Gareth Kingston, have made rather more serene progress, and were my slight favourites to go through to the final from this match up.
Round One – What’s the Connection?
Gareth, going first, opted for the Lion. PHP: Hypertext preprocessor didn’t help me, neither did GNU’s not Unix! – The TTP Project again didn’t enlighten me, nor did WINE is not an emulator. The Hists had it not, but Henry of the Chessmen worked out that they are recursive acronyms. I get it – I just don’t like it that much. Steven invited down the curse of the viper by saying Horned, and earned a set of picture clues. Now, I have to thank Mr. Rose for four years of latin lessons here, as I got the answer which neither of the teams managed. I didn’t know the band Placebo – however we had a VIDEO cassette – the AUDIO symbol, and a game of LUDO – latin for I see – I hear – I play. Eye of Horus gave the Hists Lanthanides. Well, bearing in mind this is a semi final the answer Elements looked far too simple, so I would definitely have asked for another. Gaelic Football team seemed to make it clearer. There are 15 in a Gaelic Football team, and there are 15 lanthanides. The boys had the connection but weren’t sure of the number. UN Security council came next, and I wondered if Rugby Union team would finish it off. The Boys went off 3 clues, and the last would have been A Scottish jury – ah. The Ches went for water and received Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig. Gesundheit. Look at the first letters, peeps. That’s Spar! Albrecht Diskont is definitely Aldi. So that has to be the full name of (grocer’s) retailers which we normally know by abbreviations or acronyms. Phew. Twisted Flax gave the Hists The Boulevard (Crime and Punishment) – Pamela’s Suitor (Pamela). In Samuel Richardson’s Pamela ( only worth reading because it means you can get the full benefit of Henry Fielding’s Shamela) the suitor is Mr. B. Mr. Wickham’s Regiment (Pride and Predjudice) I couldn’t recall. The last clue The Year (Treasure Island) made me wonder, would these all be things which were left incomplete – as in Twas in the year 17 - - I think my answer would have been accepted too, even though the Ches’ bonus answer, that they are not given wasn’t. Inevitably this left the music waiting behind two reeds for the Ches. The Battle of Aughrim – The Battle of New Orleans – The Battle of Evermore and The Battle of Jericho gave the Ches battles for a point. My Dad always swore that he knew Lonnie Donnegan playing around the pubs in Acton before he got famous. Lonnie Donnegan, that is. My Dad was never famous. Notorious in some circles, but that’s another story. That point saw the Ches take a lead of 5 – 2 into the second round.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
The Hists opted for Lion first, and received – Starting to Develop (- - - - - - - ) – Upward Movement (- - - - - - ) – at this stage Rob hd the principle behind the set, saying words where you take a letter off each time. After he worked that out, I had nascent – ascent – so the last would be American coin. The next clue – odour (- - - - - ) proved this. What a terrific set. Sadly words failed the Hists, but the Ches weren’t going to turn it down. Thus emboldened Steven again spurned the curse of the Viper. The first picture gave what looked like the recycling sign with 4 in the middle and LDPE. Which meant we either needed Recycling 1 or Recycling 7. Didn’t matter since I didn’t know what either of them would be. The CHes helpfully supplied that this was all plastics. The second clue was 3 – PVC. SO which plastic would 1 be? 2 was HDPE. 1 apparently is PET – and the Ches had it. A well deserved point for that. Two Reeds gave the Hists a music sequence. I had no more idea than the Hists did, but Steven well knew that we’d heard a violin concerto, then a Viola Concerto, then a Cello concerto, so what would come next would be a double bass concerto. Hokay, moving swiftly on. Water gave the Ches A shotgun Shack, - another part of the world – obviously the lyrics of Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads, so I plumped for in a beautiful house. The third was behind the wheel of a large automobile - The Ches just couldn’t get the next line, and sadly neither could the Hists to make up some lost ground. For their own next set they plumped for Eye of Horus. This gave them 300: Diocletian and Maximian. Well, in 300 AD Diocletian was certainly Emperor of Rome, and I had no problem with accepting that Maximian may have been co-Emperor. Working backwards, then Augustus was emperor in the year 0. A 5 pointer? Too royal, for the next was 200: Septimius Severus, who incidentally became Emperor in Eboracum, or York, if I recall correctly. This was the point at which the Hists went for it, and we were both correct. Much needed points earned there. The Ches took Twisted Flax, for that’s what was left. This revealed The Avenue – Saint Anne – and I was floundering at this point – then Saint Peter Port. The obvious thing was to go for St. Helier for the last, obviously the Ches thought so too. We were both right for a point. Which mean that the score stood at 11 – 5 to the Ches, and the Hists were in need of a very good wall.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Ches kicked off with the water wall. Steven saw 5 sons of Jacob, and methodically isolated Asher – Benjamin – Gad and Joseph. Now, I thought that the mountains on the wall weren’t just mountains, but also second highest mountains – K2 (the world) – Ojos de Solado (S. America) – Logan (N. America) – Kenya (Africa) Great idea except the set didn’t work when the boys tried it. Dykh Tau had to come in for Logan. That’s the second highest in Europe. They then saw 5 Irish Eurovision Song Contest winners, and took out Logan – Martin – Quinn and Dana. The words left - Simeon – Leo IX – K-9 and Formic are all homophones for words describing creatures. 10 full points meant that the Hists were going to have to make like the Red Queen – run like hell to stay in the same place.
Pretty quickly the boys isolated a set of Brazilian footballers – Leonardo – Cafu – Didi and Socrates. Four fire deities – Pele – Hephaestus – Vulcan and Agni fell in fairly short order. Very quickly they sorted out their painters – Dali – Warhol – Duccio and Tintoretto – from their chickens – Poussin – Capon – Broiler and Pullet. Ten points needed and only 7 gained. Apparently the artists all painted the Last Supper. A bit harsh really, since it cost them 3 points. If you’re going to be that specific, at least include the really famous one – Leonardo – as part of the set. It made a difference too, since the Ches now led by 21 – 12.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
Well, it maybe wasn’t quite Mission Impossible for the Hists, but it was certainly Mission Flippin’ Difficult for them. Twin towns fell 2 – 1 to the Hists. Words you can type using only the top row of a qwerty keyboard. Now, on one of these Craig offered Typer insetad of Toper. Victoria said “No, because that would need a Y” Hello – there is a Y on the top row!!! I( think that must have been just a slip of the tongue, and the word is not in the OED or whatever source they used.) That and another early buzz put them back to 10 points behind, I’m afraid. Vowels fell 3 – 1 to the Ches. Antarctic Geography went 3 – 0 to the Hists, but at the end the score was 27 – 18. Hard lines, boys, but congratulations to the Chessmen! Best of luck in the final.