Saturday, 19 October 2019

Mastermind 2020 - First Round Heat 9

Another Friday, another Mastermind heat. Well, not if you live in Wales, obviously, but then that is what the iplayer is for.

So, how did it all go? First up in the SS round was Magda Biran-Taylor. You may recall Magda either from her UC appearances with SOAS, or from her appearance in the first round of the 2018 series. She actually posted a pretty decent score of 25 then, even though she was some way behind the heat winner. From what we’ve seen so far this series, a score of 25 now would give you a very good chance indeed of winning your heat. Offering us Emily Temple, Viscountess Palmerston, it looked unlikely she would get close to that score, posting 8 and no passes. However, it is worth noting that while in previous series any score in the teens was a good performance, in this series we’ve seen that any score in double figures is a good score, so I somehow doubted that Magda would be completely out of contention come the half time interval.

The same could be said for Simon Dennis. Now, speaking of Simon Dennis, he has previous UC form himself. He skippered the godless institution of Gower Street, as Jeremy Paxman insists on calling UCL, to the grand final in 2013. Now, you don’t get to a UC grand final without having some serious general knowledge chops, and so I was interested to see whether Simon would post the kind of score to give him a realistic shot in the GK round. That he did, scoring 8 and 2 passes.

Last night’s schoolteacher was Luke Clement. He was answering on the Mabinogion, and I have to thank him for demonstrating that I know a lot less about the Mabinogion than I thought I did. In all honesty I thought I was in serious danger of posting a single figure aggregate for the specialists last night, but the three I scraped in this round, together with the 6 from the previous two rounds meant I needed just the one in the last. Luke managed the double figure score we had been looking for, with 10 and 2 passes.

All of which left Molly Ahmed to bring the specialists to a close with her round on The Life of Jaqueline du Pré. Two correct guesses left me with an aggregate of 11 for last night’s specialists, and I was quite happy to take the points and run. Molly, coincidentally, also posted 11 – although hers was only on this one round and therefore a lot more impressive than mine.

So at least in this show we had all 4 contenders still in contention by the time the half time oranges were being passed around. My gut feeling was that with Simon’s GK pedigree, and the two contenders ahead of him being unknown quantities, he would be the one to beat.

Magda was first back into the chair, though. Her round actually started really well, with her taking four out of the first 5 questions. However the breaks really came on after that, and half a dozen questions passed by without her troubling the scorer further.

So to Simon. Now, one of the disappointing things about the relatively modest average GK scores of this series so far is that the GK rounds themselves really haven’t been that difficult. Yes, I'm bragging again, but I only had 2 of the GK questions wrong all night, and that only ever used to happen during Celebrity Mastermind. So it was a real pleasure to see Simon demolishing his round. In fact, he only missed 2 questions in order to score 15. Now, okay, Luke was two points ahead of him at half time, and Molly three, but both of them were going to have to have great rounds in order to overhaul his total of 23.

Luke didn’t manage it. In fact, he rather struggled his way to 5. I don’t wish to add any more to a fellow teacher’s misfortune, and so I will move on to Molly. By my reckoning, Molly could have 4 wrong answers, and even one pass, and just about squeeze her way past Simon. She didn’t give it a bad go either, but the wrong answers started to mount up, and with a minute to go she was too far away from the target. In the end she finished with a respectable 20.

Well done Simon! I have no wish to curse you with the Clark tip, but it’s been weeks since I’ve seen anyone on the show whom I think could be a good finalist, so thank you for putting that to rights.

The Details

Magda Biran-Taylor
Emily Temple, Viscountess Palmerston
Simon Dennis
The Life and Works of William Gibson
Luke Clement
The Mabinogion
Molly Ahmed
The Life of Jaqueline du Pré

As a footnote - it was on the semi finals of the 2006 series of MM that I first met Jenny Ryan - The Vixen from The Chase. If you haven't yet seen Jenny singing in last week's Celebrity X Factor, can I suggest you check it out? A. Maze. Zing.


Mycool said...

Yes, I agree that the GK qs this week were mostly pretty easy, absolute sitters for experienced quizzers. But that has not been the case in every episode, and some contenders have faced a series of absolute stinkers. Words like "level playing field" spring to mind.

Londinius said...

Hi Mycool. Of course, it's all in the eye of the beholder and the ear of the behearer. If you know the answers, then they're easy. Certainly I was struck by the relative gentleness of the questions this week. If there are no repechage slots this series, then the consistency between shows isn't of quite such paramount importance - although it's still something that I'm sure the setters would aim for. Consistency within the same show, now that's essential.

Triviaquestions said...

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