Tuesday, 9 February 2010

TV Watch - Only Connect

Only Connect – Round One Match 6 – Exeter Alumni v. Gourmands

When I saw the team name Exeter Alumni I did think that maybe we had another generations match again tonight. Still, consisting of Ian Pithouse, Ben Howarth, and captain Sam Charman at least they all looked old enough to shave this week. Alumni should have given it away really . These guys while still young, have all finished their studies. The gourmands too failed to live up to my prematch expectations, as there was not one crusty, old, wine-soaked dodderer among them. To be honest I doubt that there’s much to choose between the combined ages of both teams. The Gourmands consisted of Geoff White, John Anderson, and the splendidly named Tom Paternoster. Without wishing to be mean, the winners of the last couple of weeks have struggled at times. Tonight, though, we were in for rather more of a treat.

Round One – What’s the Connection ?

It was a confident start for Exeter, on the music no less. Madonna’s Angel didn’t do it, but Duffy’s Warwick Avenue gave them the answer, and Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street confirmed it – underground stations. Nero, Kenneth Moore and Brian Clough gave the Gourmands the actor Michael Sheen. Good connections, and a good start by both teams. The picture clues were correctly identified as parts of the body – Paul Foot – the band Elbow etc. The Alumni maintained their positive form. The Gourmands dropped the first points on a gettable set of UNESCO world heritage sites, a bonus gladly accepted by the Alumni. Thus ahead, they returned the favour. A set of tautological acronyms followed – and why didn’t I get this ? It was obvious once you knew. Good connection again. The Gourmands managed to link absinthe etc. with wormwood, and the score at the end of the round was 4 – 4.

Round Two – What comes 4th ?

The Alumni nearly got the full monty on the first set, correctly identifying - being sucked into a pipe - as what happened to Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate factory. They took the next to be safe, and then explained what happened to Mike Teavee. Good shout. Personally I found the Gourmand’s first set harder, but they still managed to identify degrees of cloud cover. That’s a good answer. The Alumni failed on the pictures to get a set of Crosby,( Bing) Stills ( whiskey) and Nash ( Kate) , which should have given them Young ( Jimmy). The Gourmands made no mistake. The Gourmands were unlucky to identify a set of heads of MI6 as heads of MI5 , and plump the wrong way for Stella Rimmington. The Alumni were honest enough to admit they’d have gone the same way.The Alumni correctly guessed that 1 – white would complete a set of police IC codes, after being allowed a quick correction by Victoria. The Gourmands correctly identified a set of distances as belonging to the markings on a rugby union field, but went the wrong way to the centre, when they should have gone for the try line. The Alumni gratefully accepted the bonus to give them a lead of 11 points to 7

Round Three – The Connections Wall ?

Tricky walls have given the teams a very tough time for the last couple of weeks. But both teams solved their walls tonight. The Gourmands found Booker Prize winning authors, flightless birds, words meaning to cheat , but although they had the set of cat – moon – sleep and cake they failed to link them to the word walk. As for the Alumni, they solved terms of endearment, british architects, words followed by metal, and failed to get that Jones, Darling, Slick and Kelly could all be Grace. Easy when you can see it , or have it explained to you, I’m afraid that I didn’t get it myself .Jefferson Airplane had become Jefferson Starship by my time. Alumni led by 18 to 14.

Round Four – The Missing Vowels

At the start of the round Victoria had squeezed the information from the Gourmands that they fancied their chances on the Missing Vowels. They needed to be on their best form, since 4 points is a deficit to overturn on a good team like the Alumni. We began with National Dishes. The Gourmands might have been expected to dominate these. To be fair they narrowed the gap to one point, as the Alumni led by 18 to 17. Next came famous mottoes. A tricky set, and at the end the Alumni still led by 19 to 16, as the Gourmands incorrectly answered one. We moved onto former names of major cities.This stretched the lead , as the score went to 22 – 17 as we moved onto writing systems. The Gourmands answered more correctly, but a wrong answer can undo a lot of good work, as they found. At the end of this set he score was 23 – 19. The last category was They drowned. Neither team drowned, but at the end Alumni ran out winners with 23 to 20.

What a good match. I liked these teams. It was bad luck for the Gourmands, themselves a good outfit, to meet one of the most impressive teams we’ve seen this series. Still, so much depends on the way that the questions pan out for you, that I have no intention of burdening them with the Clark tip at this stage. Cue sighs of collective relief from the Alumni, I imagine. Good show.


davidbod said...

For info - Angel was sung by Madonna, in fact, and the Wonka character was Mike Teavee (or Teevee in the film).

Londinius said...

Yes, of course - one of the team mentioned Belinda Carlisle, and that was what misled me. I've corrected the post.

Unknown said...

I think (from what the Exeter Alumni told us) that their answer to the "Mike Teavee" question was initially disallowed, but the Gourmands said it should be allowed - maybe David can confirm (or correct) this.

davidbod said...

We do list as many alternatives as we can on the questions script, but very occasionally someone mentions something out of the ordinary.

For full disclosure, on the first take they said something like "Evaporated into particles". We had expected alternatives with regards to what happens after Mike appears on TV (he gets stretched on various machines; different ones depending on which book/film version you refer to) but we hadn't considered the alternatives BEFORE.

Thankfully, having seen the clip when researching this question, I remembered the swarm of 'particles' that Mike turns into before he appears on the screen. I called for a retake so that VC gave the points, although it seems the edit has used the contestants' second version of their answer even though there was not really any need to do so.

There is a system whereby teams can challenge decisions during the game, but usually we catch anything like this straight away. For completeness, if the team can come up with a valid and sufficiently 'tight' alternative connection or 4th item they would be awarded the points, but this has not happened to date.

Londinius said...

Thanks for your posts, Adrew and David. I for one have found this very interesting, and I'm sure other viewers and lovers of the series would agree.

LisaH said...

I was, I must admit, surprised at the time that the Mike Teevee answer was accepted - the point was that he was shrunk, not evaporated

davidbod said...

Depends how far you take it, Lisa. Mike's eventual fate is that he becomes stretched and thin. It was clear to me that the team had the right logic and one of the various valid answers and I was happy to give them the points. Given that many of these questions are so open-ended, we take the examiner's approach of giving marks wherever the candidates show relevant knowledge.