Friday, 3 April 2009

Mastermind - First Round heat 23/24

So here we are, with the penultimate heat of the first round. I've noticed that we have not yet seen a 30 pointer this year, but with 9 shows still to go including this one, there's still plenty of time. Would any of the 4 newcomers making up tonight's contenders manage to oblige ? Time would tell.

First up was Andrew Weston, answering questions on the Novels of George Orwell. According to wikipedia 6 of Orwell’s works are considered to be novels, so the contender had a considerable body of work to swot up. He achieved an even dozen, which left him well in contention at the halfway stage.

Second to go was Tony Black. In a noticeably highbrow heat, Mr. Black provided a little light relief by answering on Gram Parsons. For readers who know as little about Gram Parsons as I do, he was a member of The International Sunshine Band – sorry , never heard of them – The Byrds – definitely heard of them – and the Flying Burrito Brothers – figure it out for yourself. Thankfully Mr. Banks knew considerably more than I did about Gram Parsons, and scored 15. That’s good quizzing.

Possibly the widest subject of the week was that offered by Frank Minns – Italian politics from 1944 to 1994. That’s fifty turbulent years. Questions about Aldo Moro, Roberto Calvi and the Masonic P2 lodge were the only questions in the round to be attempted from the Clark sofa. Still Mr. Minns was good value for his 13 points.

Richard Griffiths brought the first round to a close with a round on the music of Shostakovitch. This had been a high scoring contest so far, with all of the contenders getting into double figures on their specialist rounds. So Mr. Griffiths can count himself a little unlucky to find himself in fourth place having scored 11.

On with the General Knowledge. Mr. Griffiths returned to the chair, to find out that John Humphrys was not the least bit interested in Shostakovitch, and instead concentrated on Mr. Griffiths’ work in Manchester Royal Infirmary. When the round started he managed to add 6 to his score to finish with 17. George Orwell was no more tempting apparently, as John spent all of his chat with Mr. Weston discussing the latter’s admittedly splendid moustache – a style known as an ‘english moustache ‘ in the moustache championships, you’ll be delighted to learn. He took the lead by pushing his score up to 19.

Italian politics, not surprisingly, must have lit John’s candle, and for the first time tonight he stuck to the contender's subject for the inter round chat. Mr. Minns set off at a cracking pace, and was well into his round before he dropped his first point. He didn’t drop many of these, either. 14 is the highest score in a general knowledge round of this series so far, and this was equalled in an impressive display.

Poor Tony Black must have felt that he was in with a good chance at the halfway stage, but as it was he needed at least 12 to win. After a bad start he never looked as if he was going to make it, and he didn’t, despite a good recovery after a slow start. He finished on 24.

So congratulations to Frank Minns. I felt that his general knowledge round was very impressive. He showed a real width of knowledge, and while its possible that this may just be a flash in the pan, I doubt it. So if he picks the right subject for the semi finals, then he demands to be taken seriously.

The Details

Andrew WestonThe Novels of George Orwell12 - 17 - 419 – 5
Tony BlackLife and Music of Gram Parsons15 - 19 - 524 – 6
Frank MinnsItalian Politics 1944 - 199413 - 314 - 427 – 7
Richard GriffithsThe Music of Shostakovitch11 - 26 - 517 – 7

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