Friday, 28 July 2017

Mastermind 2017/18 Round One Heat One


Mastermind 2017-18 – Round One – Heat One

Welcome back, Mastermind. I’ve missed you.

It was a recidivist who kicked off this latest series, Only Connect finalist and MM semi finalist Chris Cummins. Recognising him instantly I immediately burdened him with the tag of Clark sofa favourite for the night. After all, he did well enough way back in Gary’s series in 2012, and he’s had 5 years to work on it since. His round on Paul Simon was a very good round, which was almost perfect, but saw him earn the Humphrys’ expression of sympathy for getting the last question of the round wrong. Bearing in mind his ability in GK, the Clark 50p looked to be pretty safe.

Still, you never know and there were three contenders still to enter the lists. Next up was Charis Hughes. AFIK Charis is a Mastermind virgin, and she offered us the feature films of Hayao Miyazaki. Gesundheit. Sorry. Now, the thing about a subject like this one is it’s a huge, literally huge body of work to learn. A quick google search reveals that Miyazaki has made more then 20 films. That’s hours and hours of films, not just to watch, but essentially to learn. Tall order, that, and it puts Charis’ score of 10 into perspective as a good score. However it meant that, in order to win outright, she’d need to be 4 points better than Chris on GK. That’s not even thinking about what the final two contenders might achieve.

In Sarah Stewart’s case, that was quite a bit. Her subject was the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna. Now, I’ll admit, the ill-fated Romanovs in the late 19th and 20th centuries are something I became interested in after reading Tom Mangold’s “The File on the Tsar” in the late 70s, and so I did think I might get a couple of these. Well, I was right, I did get precisely a couple, but apart from these two questions I was out with the washing on this set. So I don’t really think there were many gimmes, which again put Sarah’s score of 11 into context. I had yet to change my opinion about Chris’ chances of winning, but I was enjoying seeing contenders who had prepared well for their SS rounds.

I’m not saying that James Hogg had not prepared for his John Donne round. I don’t know whether he had prepared thoroughly and was undone by nerves or whether he hadn’t prepared, went in on a wing and a prayer, and didn’t do as well as he would have liked. I mention this because, although I only managed 4 on this round myself, it seemed to me that there were questions on some of the poems, at least, which you would know unless either your brain had frozen in the chair, or you hadn’t prepared well enough. Whatever the case, James scored 6, and was out of contention going into the GK.

As for me, well I set my bar for this series on specialist on an aggregate total of 10 from all 4 rounds combined. Hopefully I will beat it before the first round is over. 

To GK then. On reflection, I think James’ specialist round may well have been blighted by nerves, because it certainly seemed to me that his GK was. I somehow doubt that it helped that John drew attention to his modest specialist performance by saying that there was a lot to learn about John Donne. John, I know you’re only trying to help, but in my opinion least said, soonest mended in this case. It just didn’t work for James, and although only 5 passes doesn’t suggest a terrible pass spiral, it looked as if the last half minute was agony for him. He finished with 14. 

Charis had looked happy and pretty confident throughout her SS round, and she maintained her composure throughout her GK round. It’s easy for me to sit here and say this, but if you have a decent general knowledge, and you can keep your head clear during a round, then you can pick off enough low hanging fruit to get a perfectly respectable score, which means you only need a couple of punts or guesses to come in to give you a good score. Charis’ 13 isn’t the highest we’ll see all series, I’m sure, but it was still pretty good, and it meant that Sarah and Chris were going to need double figure rounds to beat her. Job done.

Sarah, to be fair to her, did manage a double figure round, but not quite a good enough one to take her past Charis’ target. She scored 10 to finish with 21. A perfectly respectable score, but she had never looked like getting much more after a rather hesitant first minute. 

So to Chris. What were the chances of him failing to make his way through the Corridor of Doubt? Well, fairly slim to be honest. Think about it – Chris has faced the pressure of the chair before, not to mention his exploits on Only Connect – and as I’ve often said, it is my firm belief that it gets easier to handle the pressure of the chair with each time that you do it. So Chris always looked likely to reach his target, and so he did with a little bit of daylight. Having said that, he only matched Charis’ GK score of 13. Didn’t matter. One point is enough – three is a veritable banquet. 

Well played, and best of luck in the semi finals. 

The Details
Chris Cummins
Paul Simon
13
0
13
4
26
4
Charis Hughes
The Feature Films of Hayao Miyazaki
10
3
13
4
23
7
Sarah Stewart
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna
11
0
10
2
21
2
James Hogg
John Donne
6
3
8
5
14
8

No comments: