Saturday, 20 October 2018

Mastermind 2019 - Heat 3


I have to thank everyone involved in this particular edition of the show. It had been a hard week at work, and I thoroughly enjoyed this heat. It was exactly what I needed at the end of a hard week.

So, then, the first contender through the portal of portent was Kenny Alexander. Kenny was offering us the Alien film franchise. Now, I’ve seen the first 4 Alien films, and Prometheus, but that’s about the length of it, and I couldn’t remember much more than the first of them. So I was surprised and delighted to achieve my best specialist score of the series so far with 6. Basically these came from a couple of guesses, and from knowledge of the first film. Kenny showed no difficulty whatsoever dealing with the demands of this round, and indeed managed 13. As we know, a score in the teens on specialist is the sign of a round of quality.

When I saw that Tim Fowler was answering on Peter Gabriel I fancied that I might well have another decent specialist round. This proved to be the case, and in fact I raised the bar for my best specialist round of the series to 8. This meant that I was already on 14 for the show, with 2 rounds still to come. Tim’s round looked to me to be of a similar level to Kenny’s, and he was maybe a little unlucky that he didn’t quite get that extra question to take him up to the teens. Nonetheless, 12 is a highly competitive specialist score, and he would have every chance in the GK.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I do enjoy a Mastermind where all of the contenders have really got to grips with preparing for their specialist subjects, and this show was shaping up to be one of these. The next contender, Helen O’Connell, had certainly done so. Now, when I heard that she was answering on the History of Prague, again I was mentally rubbing my hands together in anticipation, since I had a wonderful stay in Prague 18 months ago or so. Indeed, the 5 points I picked up took me to 19, just shy of the 20 point mark, with one round still to come. As had Tim just before her, she came up just one point shy of Kenny’s leading mark, with an impressive 12 and 2 passes.

So, would our final contender maintain the excellent form being shown by this clutch of contenders? Well, when I saw that it was 2015 semi finalist Brian Davis, I felt pretty sure that he would. His subject? The Life of Henry VII. Well, I didn’t quite jump out of my chair in excitement, but I knew that I’d have a decent chance of getting another decent score here. In fact it was my joint highest round of the night, with another 8 points taking my aggregate to 27, the highest I’ve managed for a long time. As for Brian, well, he too fell just that one point short of Kenny, but as a seasoned Masterminder he was certainly going to be in the shakeup in the GK round.

So, obviously it helped that each subject was something I knew a little bit about, but that was a really enjoyable specialist round. I don’t want to see people having a ‘mare. I like to see people doing excellently, like this.

So to the GK. First back was Tim, and what followed was a round from the top drawer. In the last series or two, I’d say that in a 2 ½ minute GK round, 12 or 13 is a decent score, 14 to 16 is a good score, and 17+ is a great score. I’d say that to get 17 you have to show the breadth of knowledge of a good quizzer – AND – you have to have the composure to keep it going throughout the whole round. Trust me, it ain’t easy. So when Tim pushed his score to 29, I have to admit that I felt a small pang of regret that the game was over so early into the second round. Little did I know. . .

So, Helen returned to the chair. John reminded her of the massive score that she needed to take the lead, and her reaction suggested that she believed that there was little chance of this happening. Two and a half minutes later, and she had produced a round that was even better than Tim’s. Not by much, but the one point difference between 17 and 18 was enough to give her the magical 30 points, and the lead. What a good round this was. Now, it’s not every show that we get even one round of the quality of Tim’s and Helen’s. Shows where we get two are much rarer. What were the chances, then, that Brian would make it three?

Well, at first it seemed perhaps not. I felt Brian made rather a hesitant start. However he soon clicked into top gear, and with about a minute left on the clock it seemed as if it was anybody’s game. However, as the blue line of doom started circumnavigating the score it seemed as if Brian was just going to fall a wee bit short. It was desperately close, but Brian finished with his own 17 pointer for 29. After such a great round, learning that he’d fallen short, you might have expected Brian to show disappointment, but instead he laughed, smiled, and I felt, showed joy in what he’d managed to do rather than disappointment in what he’d not managed. An example to us all, sir.

After the pyrotechnics we’d seen from the others, John told Kenny that he was ruling nothing out in his round. However expecting all four contenders to deliver such fantastic rounds in what was, after all, a first round heat, is probably too much to ask. Kenny gave it a good old lash, but he was too far behind the clock by the one minute mark. In the end he added 8 to take his total to 21. As John remarked, this is a perfectly respectable score, but it was put into shadow by the three rounds we’d seen before.

What a great show! I tell you what, though, I’m glad we have repechage slots now. There was one show in my series in which I think 3 contenders all scored 29. Only winners went through to the semis back then, and so two contenders had these fantastic scores, yet were out of the competition. Brutal. I shouldn’t be surprised to see both Tim and Brian in the semis after this.

So well done Helen, a fantastic performance which promises much for the semis. Best of luck. But well done to everyone. Note to prospective producers of the next series – now THAT’s how you do Mastermind!

The Details

Kenny Alexander
The Alien films
13
1
8
5
21
6
Tim Fowler
Peter Gabriel
12
1
17
0
29
1
Helen O’Connell
The History of Prague
12
2
18
2
30
2
Brian Davis
The Life of Henry VII
12
0
17
0
29
0


7 comments:

Mycool said...

Congratulations to both Kenny Alexander and Brian Davis in improving their scores over their last attempts. However, Kenny's improvement came from an increased score on his specialist subject; he still has to work at improving his GK, as evidenced by those five passes. By contrast, Brian did slightly worse on his specialist subject (longer questions?) but more than made up for that with a greatly-increased GK score. It is a big temptation, when preparing Mastermind, to concentrate on your specialist subject and let the GK look after itself, but this shows that you have to work hard on both.

Mycool said...

Last year the repechage qualifiers all scored between 25 and 27 in their heats. This year, after three episodes out of 24, we already have four potential qualifiers with scores of 26-29. Looks like it could be a very high-scoring season!

Brian Davis said...

Thanks very much for your wonderful write up. Kenny Helen and Tim were great people to spend time with and Helen was a well deserved winner. All the best Brian Davis

Londinius said...

Hello Brian, and thanks for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment. I sincerely hope that we see you again in the semis.

trevelyanlibrary said...

Hi- thank you so much for doing this. As Brian has said, it was a wonderful experience to be part of such an incredible show and meet such lovely people.

Sadly I had to pull out of the semis due to family illness but I’ve already applied for next year and I WILL be back :-)

Stephen Follows said...

Is it just me, or was the fourth set of GK questions much harder than the other three?

Londinius said...

Hi Tim, - thanks for taking the time and trouble to pop by and leave a comment. I'm sorry that we won't be seeing you in the semis, especially for the reasons you said, and I hope that all is fine with your family now. Congratulations on a splendid performance.

Hi Stephen. I do occasionally feel that a 'rogue' round slips in which seems noticeably harder than the others. I can't say that I felt this about Kenny's, but then Kenny was going a wee bit slower than the others.