Tuesday, 23 February 2010

TV Watch - Only Connect

Only Connect – Round One Match 8 – Booksellers v. Bowlers

After all the excitement of another University Challenge tie break match the pace hardly lets up at all with the latest OC match up. The Booksellers consisted of Neil Best, Greg Eden, and Captain David Kohn.All three of them work at the head office of a major bookstore. So they are certainly entitled to their team name. They courted disaster by saying that they’ve seen Victoria’s latest book in the slush pile at their work. The Bowlers consisted of Michelle O’Callaghan, David Bowers and captain Stuart Lightfoot. They are united by their love of London’s retro bowling alleys.

One – What’s The Connection ?

The Booksellers opted to go first. They couldn’t connect Sir William Blair with the creator of Beavis and Butthead. Still, Joseph Dredd gave them judges – since Mike Judge created the cartoon series. Very good connection. If that was a good connection, the next one was absolutely vintage. Charles Conrad and Fielder behind the slips gave me Third Man – Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad coming after Armstrong and Aldrin as 3rd onto the moon. Kim Philby followed and the Bowlers had it to level the scores. The dreaded music connection caused the Booksellers no trouble.Jimi Hendirx ‘ Voodoo Chile and John Lennon’s Woman were enough to give them posthumous number ones. So the Bowlers needed to solve the next one . They needed three to do it – but it was another terrific connection . Racehorse :18 – Internet Domain : 63 – Tweet : 140 gave them the maximum number of characters allowed. Great shout. The Booksellers were given pictures, the flag of Pakistan, Abba, and the TARDIS, and correctly guessed that they were all acronyms. I would have guessed it too, but I never knew the name Pakistan was made up in the way that it is. Thanks so much ! I promise you I won’t forget that in a hurry now. In a Class Reunion and In a Newspaper Advert gave me the connection at home that it was Hitchcock appearances in his own films, but although the next two clues gave the Bowlers Hitchcock films, they didn’t get the key thing, which was it was how he made his own cameos. The Booksellers got it, unsurprisingly. So they had ridden their luck a little, by getting the connections even when misjudging some of their constituent parts, but then luck does tend to even iself out through the whole course of a show. They led by 8 to 4.

Two – What comes fourth?

Victoria seemed to think they’d been riding their luck in the first round too.When they incorrectly guessed that 1 – Begbie and 2 – Diane would be completed by 4 – Renton she informed the Booksellers that their luck had just run out. Their reasoning that they were characters from the film /book Trainspotting was correct, but the Bowlers correctly answered that number 4 would be Spud. The poor Bowlers were unlucky to be able to see that valet – dame – roi are the French terms for the jack, queen king in a pack of cards, but not to know that the French for ace is – as. The Booksellers knew though, and took the bonus. For their own question luck deserted them again when faced with a series of times on a clock. They couldn’t see where it was leading. The Bowlers couldn’t either, but correctly guessed 06:00:00. They were all times when the hands on a clock face are in a straight line across the face. To be fair Victoria herself admitted that it was extremely hard. On a picture set the Bowlers wasted no time in identifying the Green man, and a piece of amber as relating to traffic signal sequences, and they correctly predicted that fourth would be red and amber together. The Booksellers worked out that RCN and GMB would be the 4th and 3rd biggest trade unions by size, but plumped for Unison as the biggest. That’s only second on the list, and the Bowlers picked up the bonus for Unite. Neither team had the right answer to a sequence of netball positions going back from center, which would end in Goalkeeper. Still, it had been a good round for the Bowlers, and they now led with 10 to 9.

Three – The Connecting Walls

The Bowlers continued their impressive form , pretty quickly picking out all four sets, of Public Schools, words connected with Westminster, parts of the Silverstone racing circuit, and livery companies of the City of London. So the Booksellers were going to have to go some not to lose any ground. The Booksellers dithered a bit, but then got into gear, and uncovered London Lanes, and terms in Bowls. They could see there was a set of Laws named after people, but Sturgeon’s Law defeated them. Still they earned points for knowing what the connection was, and for also identifying a set of writers of Hymns. Well played, but they had conceded more ground to the Bowlers, who now led by 20 to 15

Four – Missing Vowels

Five points is by no means an insurmountable lead to overcome in the final round. Still, the first category – Noel Cowerd plays, went to the Bowlers by 2 points to 1. Then followed women in political scandals. This was the Booksellers finest hour as they managed a shutout, scoring 4 unanswered points. The match was a close match again now. African countries followed, and 2 answers and a miscue from the Bowlers saw the Booksellers take the lead again. Which they gave up through a miscue, and the round ended with both teams on 22. We followed with Goon Show characters. The Bowlers looked the younger team, which was possibly a disadvantage.Neither team shone, and the only point scored did actually go to the Bowlers. The end couldn’t be far away as Victoria announced the next category , Festivals around the world. Bastille Day came up, but so did the end of the show before anyone could answer. Eccles of the Goon Show had been enough to give the Bowlers a one point win.

What a great show. Hard lines to the Booksellers, who were a very good team I thought. Congratulations to the Bowlers. Another very good team who could go further, I think.

That completes the first round. If I get time a little later in the week I’ll review the first round, and look at how the teams performed relative to each other.


Unknown said...

I don't know if it is that the questions have got easier or just that I am getting better at answering them!!

I would have got the maximum characters on Racehorse:18 and the netball postions on 2 clues.

From my History (Tudors) and Economics A level studies, I was familiar with Greshams Law. At this time, currency was being debased by adding lead into it. People kept hold of the coins with no lead in them effectively removing them from circulation and used only the debased coins. Hence, bad money drives out good.

Should there be another series, I must get my finger out and apply!!

Londinius said...

Who knows, Chris, maybe we'll both get on and meet in the series !

Yes, I would say that I personally found the questions easier in the last two or three matches, although that may just be pure coincidence. Also I think that there are times when you're just feeling a little more switched on. I know that they take great care to ensure that the level of questions is fair for both teams. So while it might seem that one program is easier than another, within the show you wouldn't say that one team get easier connections than another. Its just a matter of whether they coincide with your particular fields of knowledge or not, and that's down to luck.

Last night I think I would have solved either wall. I haven't previously heard of Sturgeon's Law, but I would have guessed Sturgeon belonged in that group rather than another.

I was particularly pleased with getting all 4 Goons characters in the mssng vwls rnd. No I'm not old enough to have heard the series either !

Thanks for leaving a comment.

davidbod said...

Just to clarify... the grids are as balanced as we can make them, but no 'balancing' as such goes on for rounds 1 and 2.

Instead, what happens is that we ensure that six questions from various topics and in various what I call 'formats' (i.e. one might be numbers, one might be names, one might be phrases or quotations) are put on the board for the sake of variety. So if the first question is a list of scientists, the second question will not be science-based nor a list of people.

With all these constraints, the questions can never be uniformly even but the 'spread' of difficulty rises for each round. The questions are rated from 1 to 5 (where 1 might be 'you ought to get this early' to 5 being 'only an above-average team would get this after seeing all the clues'). The heats use mainly levels 2 and 3 with the occasional 1, whereas the final uses levels 4 and 5 only.

The questions really are fixed behind the letters board, so what you get is in the lap of the gods. This is so much easier and fairer than me trying to decide triplets of questions to feed each team.

Londinius said...

Hi David

Yes, I wasn't trying to say that tailoring of connections went on in rounds one and two, only that in my opinion within each round the connections are pretty fairly balanced. Likewise I'd say that the walls have been well balanced in each show- although the walls in this week's show, for example, seemed easier to me than the walls in a show four or five weeks ago.