Friday, 29 January 2010

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 16/24

This is turning out to be quite a special Mastermind season. While for me nothing will beat the 2007 SOBM, the fact is that this season continues to surprise, shock, delight and entertain me. Tonight’s show certainly showed a thing or two about the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

What joy ! David Buckle started us off with The Work of Gerry Anderson. According to Mr. Buckle there’s never been anything to match Thunderbirds , and I’m afraid that I have to say that the little part of me that will always be 8 years old agrees with this 100%. Not that the questions were all, or even mostly about Thunderbirds. I mean, you do have to be a really die hard fan to have even heard of Torchy the Battery Boy. Some interesting facts came out in this round too. Did you know that Troy Tempest’s appearance was based on James Garner ? I didn’t, but I can see it now. 13 seemed a good return on this set of questions, and I send a special thank you to David Buckle for picking it.

Well well well. It’s a small world. My friend Untruth did give me the head’s up a while ago that one subject for tonight might be a bit familiar. Andy Crane’s specialist subject tonight was the Olympic Games 1968 - 1988 When I first dipped my toe in the Mastermind waters in 2006 I also offered the Summer Olympic Games. Only I offered all of them – 1896 to 2004, anyway – they never suggested I might like to narrow the field a little. Still, to be fair, I think the narrow timescale did allow them to ask some quite obscure stuff. Actually the round was a real mixture of stinkers, fair ones and gimmes, so I can confidently say that Mr. Crane’s 14 was a very good performance. Ah – did he beat my Olympic score , you ask ? Yes, he did. I scored 14 and 2 passes in 2006.

Sally Wardle followed with The Life and Work of Sir John Everett Millais. Now, this would probably have been a good time for me to forget that I had ever watched – and enjoyed – the TV series “Desperate Romantics”. ‘Life and work’ subjects are always trickier than they sound . After all, what if you’ve concentrated on the Life, and there are more questions about the Work, or vice versa ? Well, Sally Wardle convinced me that she’d done her homework on both, when she scored a commendable 12.

Somebody has to go last in the first round, but it really does put the pressure on the poor devil who has to do it. Tonight the pressure fell on Kajen Thuraaisingham. Mr. Thuraaisingham was answering questions on the Life of Mustafa ‘Ataturk’ Kemal, one of the most remarkable European statesmen of the 1920s, and a key figure in Turkey’s successful defence of the Dardanelles during the first world war. Unfortunately Mr. Thuraasingham seemed to be badly affected by nerves. He scored 4.

Being last to go in the first round, and first to go in the last round meant that Mr. Thuraaisingham really had no time to recover his composure. For once, maybe the inter round chat might actually have been a good idea here – although if it comes to a choice I would vote to keep things the way they are now every time. I am very sorry to have to say that he managed to take his score to five – and there’s no way for me to sweeten the pill here – which is the lowest combined total in Mastermind to date. A word here. Before anyone decides to make any negative comment about this, then they should have to take their own turn in the chair. And anyone who’s ever been in the chair should not dream of making a negative comment.

Sally Wardle followed with a battling 9 to take her score to 21. She got a little annoyed with herself for not being able to recall the Falangists as the party of Franco and Primo de Rivera. Still, she allowed herself a wry smile as John portentously read out a couple of lines for her to identify as belonging to “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go “ by Wham. All together now- anything over 20 is a good score.

David Buckle, I am happy to be able to say, did not live up to his surname, but rather stood firm before the rapid fire barrage that a good GK round should be, and posted a very useful twelve. Just the one pass gave him a total of 25 and 1, which would place him at number 5 on the runner-up board. However, this was only if Andy Crane could manage 12 himself. 11 would bring a tie break, and anything less would mean that he was out. His technique in the first round had been , on a number of questions, to wait for a couple of seconds if the answer didn’t come to him straightaway. This proved to be a good tactic, since he had invariably dredged up the right answer. It didn’t work so well in his GK round. Within the first half minute you began to feel that he was falling behind on the clock, and after the first pass a tie break became out of the question. Oh, this was by no means a bad round, but the points just weren’t coming quickly enough. By the buzzer he had scored 9, to take him to 23.

A compelling and exciting show, and one which means that we are now two thirds of the way through the first round.

The Details

David Buckle The Work of Gerry Anderson 13 – 0 12 – 1 25 – 1
Andy Crane Summer Olympics 1968 – 1988 14 – 1 9 – 2 23 – 3
Sally Wardle The Life and work of sir John Everett Millais 12 – 1 9 – 1 21 – 2
Kajen Thuraaisingham The Life of Mustafa ‘Ataturk’ Kemal 4 – 4 1 – 7 5 – 11

Current Highest Scoring Runners Up

John Cooper29 – 3
Ian Scott Massie26 – 2
Les Morrell26 - 3
Colin Wilson25 - 0
Peter Cowans25 - 2
William de'Ath25 - 4

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