Polyglots v. Operational Researchers
Here we are taking our first drink this season in the last chance saloon of an elimination match. Fellow drinkers were the Polyglots and the Operational Researchers. The Polyglots - Dan Shane, Lyndsay Coo and captain Vicki Sunter just narrowly lost out to the Yorkers first time out, while the Ops - Paul Allen, Alex Hill, and captain Clare Lynch, were pretty comfortably beaten by the Cluesmiths. For what it’s worth the Clark 50p was on the Glots to go through.
Round One – What’s the connection?
Eye of Horus gave the Glots SP: 23.12. No, me neither. D:74.08 didn’t shed much light either. H:86.74 was no more helpful than the first and neither was the 4th, J:98.48. Then I looked at the letters again – SP was actually the most helpful – Shot put. So they were all men’s throwing distance records. My goodness that’s not an easy set to start with. Clare delighted me by opting for horned viper for the Ops. First off there was a picture of some opera. OK. Then we saw some geegees cantering around royal Ascot. OK. Then we saw some Tacos. Lightbulb – ascot – tacos – Tosca? – all anagrams. A costa coffee sign sealed the deal. The Ops didn’t have it but neither did the Glots. Twisted flax gave them Omelete – Fritata – well they were both missing double letters as well the Glots knew. Let’s be honest, that was quite a soft set after what we’d had so far, but then that’s the luck of the draw. Water gave the Ops Morocco Mole. Now, he was Secret Squirrel’s sidekick. Surely cartoon sidekicks was too simple. Akbar and Jeff suggested that yes, it was too simple. The other thing about Morocco Mole was that he wore a fez, so that was my answer. No, I don’t know Akbar and Jeff, but I mentally bet myself that Tommy Cooper would be the 4th clue. Last-but-one Doctor was Matt Smith/ 11th Doctor who definitely wore a fez. Then NO! It wasn’t Tommy Cooper, but the shopkeeper in Mr. Benn (whom I think may also have been a Time Lord). The Ops zigged with Smith, the Glots zagged with Bow ties (which are cool) but neither zugged with fezzes. The Glots landed on the music set, and it was nice to hear the classic ‘Don’t you want my baby’ from the Numan League. Fairytale of New York came next. All I could do with it was couples who could have featured on the Jeremy Kyle show – well, bickering couples anyway. The Glots didn’t know it, but the Ops did for a bonus. Now, Lion gave the Ops my answer of the night. The Pirate Planet is of course a Doctor Who serial, starring the brilliant Tom Baker. However, and more importantly, it was written by Douglas Adams. I was pretty sure this would have been the connection, and would have answered off one in the studio. Starship Titanic confirmed it. However, while the computer game was written by Douglas, the accompanying novel wasn’t. That was written by Terry Jones – long story. Last Chance to See was, I think, Douglas’ own favourite book – about his travels with Mark Carwardine to try to see some of the rarest creatures in the world. Stephen Fry did an updated version a few years ago. Douglas Adams was on the table at this point, but rejected, which brought up h2g2. I found it so frustrating when captain Clare offered fan websites. H2g2 is actually the shortened version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – 2 hs and 2 gs, see – but it IS also a website ( or was – haven’t checked it out in ages myself.) That was a giveaway that the Glots couldn’t turn up their collective nose at. So the first round had gone pretty much to form, with the Glots leading 4 -1, but neither team exactly showing championship form yet.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
Two Reeds brought the Glots a picture set. We started with a phot of Freddie Mercury with a big 0 in the top right hand corner. Huh? Then the Venus de Milo, also with a 0 n the same place. Got it Mercury has 0 moons, as does Venus. I bet the next would be some Earth with 1, and so the answer would be a mars bar with 2. The Glots looked confident and buzzed in with Bruno Mars – which earned them nothing because they didn’t put the number on it. At last the Ops showed a little bit of form and gave us the right answer. This narrowed the gap, and they had the chance to obliterate it with their own set on Eye of Horus. ADT didn’t help. Nutrasweet came next – and I wasn’t getting the connection yet. Flora did it though. London Marathon sponsors – but who came next. Clare had it with Virgin – good shout that. Twisted Flax gave the Glots Milton – Hope – New Haven. Right, all I could think of was Hope, Arkansas was where Bill Clinton was born, so Barack Obama was born somewhere in Hawaii. I hit and hoped with Honolulu. Nobody had it. The Ops knew presidents came into it, but didn’t get the birthplaces idea. Honolulu was right. Lion gave the Ops Narnia Chronicler, which would be CS Lewis. So we had a sequence starting with either CS or Lewis. What would that be? Body scan – would that be a CT scan? Which would mean a curriculum vitae would come 4th. Dead right. Alright, that was a rather gentle set, but at least the Ops were now taking them when they were on offer. Water gave the Glots Imprisonment/Death of a Family Member (4/43) – I couldn’t see it. Marital separation (3/43) and Divorce (2/43) – these I guessed were the top items on a list of most stressful experiences. So what would the first be? Something in the back of my mind said death of a husband/wife. The Glots had death but not that of a spouse. Death of a child was the Ops’ offer. Close but no panatella. The viper hid a music sequence for the Ops. This was a definite 5 pointer chance. We began with New Order’s World in Motion – the 1990 world cup song. So working backwards we’d have Back Home from 1970. The Ops needed We’ve got the whole world at our feet from 1986 – and they got the year wrong – but got the right answer. They’d definitely shown a clean pair of heels to the under par Glots in this round, and now led by 10 – 4.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Ops had a chance to compound their lead by making a clean sweep of their wall. I could see a set of Bridge builders there , but also a set of London University Colleges. The cheeky thing was that Brunel was there – which is a Uni but not part of London Uni – one to catch out the unwary there. They were Birkbeck – SOAS – Queen Mary’s and my Alma Mater Goldsmiths. Lovely to see Goldies getting a name check there. Towns in Shropshire followed with Telford – Oswestry – Wern and Ludlow. Tummy tablets/medicine and Bridge Builders/engineers remained. The engineers were Brunel – Bazalgette – Rennie and Smeaton, leaving Tums – Zantac – Gaviscon and Setlers. 10 points, and the Glots were looking down the barrel of a gun.
Water for the Glots then, and they had a set of characters played by Helena Bonham-Carter. There looked to be Hindi loan words as well. These were the first set they solved, being bandana – chutney – pashmina and pyjamas. Neckwear as in Ascot – Fichu – Cravat and Kerchief followed. Three strikes did for them. When the wall was resolved they could see that Titus Andronicus – Mrs. Lovett – Mrs. Miggins and Pukka were all connected with pies. This left the Bonham Carter roles as The Red Queen – Mrs Buckett – Bellatrix Lestrange and Ophelia. 6 points, which gave them 10 to the Ops’ 20.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
The first set, novels by Thomas Pynchon gave a point to the Ops. I only7 knew Gravity’s Rainbow and V. Things a satnav might say fell 2 apiece. Surprisingly, FOR GOD’S SAKE SLOW DOWN ! was not one of them. BBC TV shows that have been running for at least 25 years fell 2 – 1 to the Ops, meaning that the final score was 25 – 13. Polyglots, I apologise for cursing you with the Clark tip – when you get right down to it this wasn’t your night. Congratulations Ops – good luck next time.