Wayfarers v. Bookworms
The Wayfarers, the first team to be introduced in this show, certainly had some names to conjure with. Collectively they own a Brain of Britain title, and two Fifteen to One titles, and that’s just off the top of my head. First up we had Barbara Thompson – Brain of Britain Champion , Fifteen to One Champion – Mastermind grand finalist – do you need me to go on? Matt Beatson does, I believe, have quite a bit of experience on the Grand Prix circuit, and their captain, Gerard Mackay won the second series of the revived Fifteen to One. They must rank among the series favourites. Their opposition, the Bookworms, were Katy Bateman, Tristram Cole and Dave Knapp. Katy is a Masterminder who took the blessed subject of Doctor Who in the first round of the last series. Tristram is a LAM reader who was part of a very good Sheffield University team in University Challenge 5 years ago. Dave Knapp played in the next series as one quarter of a very useful team from Worcester , Oxford. So no shortage of experience in the Bookworms either.
Round One – What’s the Connection?
Two Reeds gave the Worms a music set. Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite and Crocodile Shoes gave us reptiles – the Worms took Karma Chameleon to be certain. Well, discretion is the better part of valour, but you felt they were going to need to be a little more headstrong to beat the Ways. They opted for Twisted Flax, and kicked off with Ring of Integers, which I’m afraid enlightened me not at all. Gerard seemed to be onto it with the second – Oskar Kokoschka’s later paintings – suggesting they could all be linked with OK. I didn’t know this, but change-accept button for the third clue made it look right on the money, which indeed it was. Dave of the Worms opted for the nonchalant Lion, and this kicked us off with Gluteus Maximus. Now, I honestly wouldn’t have gambled in the studio – but look, it’s never going to be a set of muscles or body parts is it? So I went for characters’ names from Asterix the Gaul. Personally I think that the translators of Asterix deserved a medal. I’ve read some of them in both French and English, and the way they have kept the word play true to the humour of the French originals is wonderful. Superfluous, the second didn’t prove anything, but the Worms were on to it at this point. Once again discretion won, and they took the third clue. Marcus Ginantonicus proved it. Victoria reminisced how brother Giles took Asterix as his SS in sleb Mastermind. What she didn’t say was that he had a stupendous round of 18, and won the show with 30 points overall. Captain Gerard of the Ways asked for Hornèd Viper – well, he’s a class act and I wouldn’t expect anything less. We started with ‘Song from ‘High Society’’ True Love? Well, did you ever? Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Next clue. Whiskas slogan – well, as we know that’s 8 out of 10 owners said their cats preferred it. TV shows/ panel shows/ quizzes shared their names. The Ways needed Kenneth Wolstonholme Commentary to get it – ah, what a terrific show ‘Some People are on the pitch’ was. The Worms chose3 Water over the seductive charms of the eye, and were given a Snowflake. Hmm – things with 12 sides? Unlikely, and a windsock made it look even unlikelier. Road hazard signs seemed pretty good though. Dave had it, Tristram backed him, and they gambled successfully off two. Good play. This left Eye of Horus for the Ways, and they started with 1877 Arthur Sullivan song. Now, specifically it said Sullivan and not Gilbert, so I discounted any of their collaborations. I came up with the Lost Chord about the same time as Barbara. Man Booker Prize for 1970 Novels confirmed that Lost things was the link, since this was the so-called Lost Booker. So they too came in off 2. This had been a high quality first round, and the Ways led by 7 – 6.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
Dave showed scant respect for tradition by asking for Horned rather than Hornèd Viper, and received a clock with question marks instead of numbers with the famous 10 to 2 ‘smiley face’ on it. Yes, I love Dave Gorman myself. Next was a photograph of Harry Houdini. I’ll be honest, I didn’t see it until the last picture of the rotating sign outside New Scotland Yard. By a circuitous process I got Metropolitan Police – colloquially the Met. The clock was the When – the Houdini was Harry – so the last would be a Sally of some description. Groan inducingly wonderful, although neither team had it. Lion gave the Ways T:Tunis. Having nothing to lose I gambled for a five pointer with Z: Harare – Z being Zimbabwe – the last African country alphabetically, and Harare being its capital. Having plenty to lose the Ways took U:Uganda – which brought me a sigh of relief if truth be told – then Z: Lusaka. I have to be honest, I felt they missed out on points they might have had when the time ran out. The Worms just didn’t get it either, and a chance to close the gap went begging. For their own next set they kicked off with the word green in green letters. Then we had the word Blue in Yellow letters. I didn’t see it at this point but Indigo in orange was the clincher. This was colours of the ranbow working outwards from the centre. And the two colours at either end are red and violet, so the word violet in red I went for. It looked like Tristram who had, although Dave was onto it as well. Two Reeds gave the Ways 4th: Lucky. No, not a Scooby. 3rd: Pozzo was one which gave you the sequence – characters in Waiting for Godot – but would the last be Vladimir or Estragon? I had to wait for the third clue which made it clear that the answer was 1st: Estragon. Barbara had it, and we moved to the last picks of the round. Water gave the Worms the cryptic T.! T.! b.b. Now funnily enough I had an inkling about this. This was William Blake’s Tyger Tyger etc. But what would the abbreviation be for the end of it Could Frame thy Fearful Symmetry is the last line of that set- so CF thy FS? -. Katy had the right idea before the second clue was revealed, but rather than gamble they went for the second clue – In the f. of the n. Now, games can be won and lost on small margins. The Worms had done all of the hard work, but were foiled by one word. Could. They went for a version of just Frame thy Fearful Symmetry. The Ways were not going to make any mistake, and punished the Worms by taking the bonus. For their own last set they could and possibly should have compounded it. They started with General Post Office. I wouldn’t have gambled at this point, but did wonder if this was changing names, in which case Royal Mail was where we were heading. The Post Office which came second seemed to confirm this, and yes, the Ways had the right idea, but opted for it going back to the Post Office. Given Consignia third they had a gilt edged chance to take back that bonus they had just conceded, but they were barking up the Post Office tree as well. Which meant that going into the third round the Ways had eked out another point’s lead, with the scores at 10 – 8.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
With their very first shot at the board the Ways hit bullseye with Mort – Wyrd Sisters – Going Postal and Soul Music – all Terry Pratchett Discworld novels. Lifestyle/ Home stores fell in one go as well – Harveys – DFS – Magnet and Habitat. I could see posh restaurants, and song titles where the word ‘sweet’ had been missed out. So could the Ways. In just three visits to the board they isolated four lines. Perfect performance. The songs were – Dreams – Georgia Brown – Talking Woman – Little Sixteen – which left restaurants Sketch – The Fat Duck – Hibiscus – Le Gavroche. 10 from 10.
The Worms saw quickly that they had song titles missing Mr -. One go, then they left them to try coffee types. Back to the missing Mr and Bojangles – Vain – Sandman and Brightside fell. Types of thinking – Blue Sky – Wishful – Negative and Lateral fell in short order. They knew there were coffees and terms in photography left, and they did it first time. The coffees were espresso – Flat White – Lungo and Irish – leaving Filter – DSLR – Focus and Exposure. Again, 10 out of 10. This meant that the score was 22 – 20 going into the vowels.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
On Italian cheeses the Worms went for the first one and dropped a point with a wrong answer. The Ways took the next two, but a mispronunciation of Dolcelatte by Gerard earned him a lost point, and a hit on the arm from Barbara. American words and their British equivalents fell 2 apiece, and this kept the gap at 3. A score of 2 – 1 on one of my favourite things – bridges – to the Worms meant that the gap at the end was the same as it had been at the start of the round, and the Ways won by 24 – 22.
Well played Ways, but well played Bookworms as well – I have a feeling that both of these teams are going to do some damage in this competition before all of the dust is settled.