Right, let me begin with my sincere apologies to contenders in the 9th heat of BoB. I am really sorry that I never found time to review it before now. If you’re a teacher who has ever been through an ESTYN/OFSTED inspection, then you don’t need me to tell you how stressful and time consuming it is, and if you’re not a teacher, then I’m afraid that there is not point me trying to tell you, because it is impossible to put it into words. But I am sorry, nevertheless.
OK, then, heat 9. Going head to head were : -
Yes, you are right. That’s Neil Wright, LAM reader and Mastermind 1978 finalist and 2014 semi finalist. Obviously playing under the handicap of support from the Clark sofa, on this show. Look at his opposition, though. Nick Reed – also a LAM reader - was a grand finalist in Mastermind in Gary’s 2012 series. Bad luck for both of these very good players to have to face each other in the same heat – 2 Mastermind finalists going at it hammer and tongs – and this was only a first round match. Well, there isn’t seeding, , and so it’s the luck of the draw.
We kicked off with Joanne Hancox, who took two relatively easy points but didn’t remember Lance Percival of the Topical Calypso. That was a bonus for Richard, who didn’t know that Weyland’s Smithy is in Oxfordshire. Neil took that bonus. Nick scored two points but didn’t know that two cathedrals with the Magna Carta – Neil knew it was Salisbury and Lincoln. For his own go Neil took his first but the name Colin Pillinger escaped him. Richard took a bonus there. So Neil led with three. Back to Joanne, and she again got off to a start but didn’t know that it was Gene Vincent’s black leather look that was based on Laurence Olivier’s Richard III. That was another one for Neil. Richard didn’t know the house that John Ruskin lived in for the last few years of his life in the Lake District, but Joanne did. I was a little surprised that nobody even guessed Nick’s first question, asking what was unique about one of the five pictures of George Harrison on A Hard Day’s Night. I mean, I am a bit of a Beatles nerd, I admit, but I would have thought that the fact that it showed the back of his head was guessable. Oh well. Neil again took his first, but again faltered on his second, the term bisque in tennis and golf. Never heard of it.
The music questions began with Joanne’s first of the third round. I didn’t recognize the dulcet tones of Primal Scream, but Joanne did, fair play. She took her second, but didn’t know that the term fraction comes from the latin for broken. Richard took one of his own now, but should have known that the Earth is the planet surrounded by the Van Allen radiation belts. I’m not trying to be mean, but that really is the sort of gettable question you have to snap up if you’re going to have a chance in BoB. Neil did. Nick took one, he took a second, a third but then didn’t know about the Hammer of the Witches. Neil had that one. For his own set he didn’t know Leo Durocher, one time manager of the baseball team the Brooklyn Dodgers. Nick had now improved to 6, but Neil still led with 7.
On to the Beat the Brains interval, then. The first question asked them what bird’s name is given to a 4 under par. I knew it was a condor, and so did the Brains. The second question asked why a cue used by Alec Brown caused controversy during a match in 1938? Huh? I had no clue. It was a tiny cue about five inches long apparently. Fair enough.
Back to the contest. Absolutely nothing in it between Joanne, Nick and Neil at this stage. Well, alright, one point. Joanne was, frankly, lucky to be allowed ‘the launch of the first nuclear missile’ as an answer to what happened for the first time at Alamogordo in 1945. You know me – I’m not a great one for leeway, and the answer as given was close . . . but crucially, it was wrong. In a tight contest . . . well, anyway. For her next question Joanne couldn’t produce the term endothermic, which gave Richard a bonus. So we moved onto Richard’s music question saw him recognize Hank Williams, but he didn’t know that Harry S. Truman was the president associated with the Fair Deal. Nick had that. He took 3 – and did well to do that for they weren’t all gimmes, but nobody knew that the hereditary baronetcy of Scotney in Kent was created for the Thatchers. Neil didn’t know that the W in WK – as in Kayaking, stands for Women’s. That changed the contest. Nick led by 3 points with 10 – 7.
Joanne faltered on her first. I didn’t know that St. Paul’s Shipwreck Day is celebrated in Malta, but I knew he was shipwrecked off Malta, so it wasn’t too much of a mental leap. Neil took advantage of that windfall. Richard had a quote from Montaigne referring to scratching. A bit of a pointless question since nobody was likely to get it, and blooming bad luck to get it as a first question. Nick had my sympathy, having to endure Ken Dodd’s Tears for his first question. He took another question too, but possibly could have guessed that Dennis derives from a follower of Dionysus. Richard gratefully accepted that one. On to Neil. I thought that he might have known that Archibald Primrose was Lord Roseberry, since that’s one of the Prime Minister questions that has done the rounds over the years, as it were, but he couldn’t dredge it up, and neither could the others. Nick now had a 4 point lead, and the situation was looking drastic.
Joanne began the last round not knowing that Endymion was the shepherd who had kids with Selene. Hard question. Richard didn’t know that the Cesarewitch was named after the Tsarevitch who became Alexander II. Nick didn’t know that Thomas Payne was born in Theford. Neil, then, needing a really good set, kicked off with some opera. I have a tin ear, and they all sound the same to me. He recognized Orpheus. Top man. The second asked the state in which the colt 45 and the Winchester rifle were made. Nobody knew it was Connecticut. Game over. Congratulations to Nick, who took his opportunities when they came, and had some fine answers – and hard lines and commiserations to the other contenders, especially Neil, who looked pretty good value for the win until the kayak question.
The Details –
JOANNE HANCOX - 7
RICHARD KNOWLES - 6
NICK REED - 12
NEIL WRIGHT - 9