Friday, 26 March 2010

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 23/24

You know me well enough by now. I do like a closely fought contest, but if I can’t have that, then I’ll gladly settle for a virtuoso performance from one of the contenders. I’ll leave it to you to decide which of these we got tonight.

Our first contender tonight was the first one who has previous form for quite some time. Kathryn Johnson has competed twice before. However its not just in Mastermind that she has previous form. Kathryn Johnson is currently ranked within the top 20 quizzers – of either gender – in the whole country. As such, I expected fireworks. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Kathryn offered us Victorian and Edwardian Poisoners , an interesting subject indeed, for her specialist round. I was interested to hear her say in her filmed insert that in the 19th century, if you poisoned someone you actually had a 70% chance of getting away with it. This was a fine round, with Kathryn confidently batting back some quite involved and complicated questions, setting the target at 15 and 1 pass.

Daniel Tudor was the first of three Mastermind newcomers to follow Kathryn to the chair. His specialist subject was the Life and Music of Lead Belly. Huddie William Leadbetter was an American folk and blues musician . According to Mr. Tudor , in his filmed insert he heavily influenced American folk and blues music from the 1950s onwards, and pointed out that the White Stripes use one of his songs in their stage performances. I’ve no doubt that Mr. Tudor know his subject, but a couple of early questions floored him, and this , allied to what seemed quite a bad attack of nerves, meant that he was never really able to build up a head of steam. He finished the round with 8.

Bishop John Robinson – no – he wasn’t the next contender, but the next specialist subject, and he was offered to us by Andy Lie. Mr. Lie explained that Robinson, at one time the bishop of Woolwich, and the Dean of Trinity College Cambridge, was an influential cleric who was open to inspiration from other traditions of faith encountered on his international travels. Mr. Lie made quite heavy weather of this round. He seemed rather overcome by the speed required, and did struggle his way to 7 points.

Youngest contender of the week was Gavin Fraser, a student whose specialist subject was The Football World Cup from 1930 – 58 , in what passed for the most obviously populist specialist round of this week. Mr. Fraser certainly knew his stuff. There were a few old stagers to begin with – Fontaine and Belo Horizonte for example, but plenty of far more obscure stuff too. For example, I didn’t know that it was Stan Mortensen who scored England’s first ever goal in the world cup finals. A good round saw Mr. Fraser take his score to 13.

Andy Lie was first to return for the General Knowledge round. I’m afraid that his general round made his specialist round look positively relaxed by comparison. He knew , obviously knew, more than the three questions he managed to answer, but he just couldn’t drag many of the answers past the tip of his tongue. He finished with 10 points. Daniel Tudor at least managed to match his first round score in his general round. Its all relative, I know, but I found his set of questions to be a bit more difficult than the other three sets of GK questions. Its just the luck of the draw. Still, at least his final score of 16 was enough to give him the lead, albeit only for a couple of minutes inevitably.

Gavin Fraser followed. While it never looked likely that he was going to post a target that would prevent any real problems to Kathryn, I he did have at least an outside chance of pushing his way onto the runner up board. He’d need 12 to do it , though, and after the first minute this looked unlikely. Younger contenders are often at a disadvantage in the GK rounds I feel, and viewed in this light his 9 was a decent battling performance. He finished with 22.

Right, time for a little bragging. Before tonight’s show, the last two people to score 30 in proper Mastermind were Nancy in last year’s final , and myself in the previous final. Yes, there were quite a few other scores of 30 or better in my series too, but certainly since then 30 point scores have become pretty rare. Kathryn’s round looked like a winner right from the start. I’ve seen people answer more quickly, but when you are getting so many of them right as Kathryn did, then you do build up an almost irresistible momentum. The target was easily reached, and then she pushed on, and hit 30 with a question to spare. 15 is a terrific score on GK, and this was the first 30 we’ve seen this series. I think John Humphrys called it a ‘stonking’ score, and he’s right. Congratulations, Kathryn. Who is to say we won’t have a second female champion in 2 years ?

The Details

Kathryn Johnson Victorian and Edwardian Poisoners 15 – 1 15 – 2 30 – 3
Daniel Tudor The Life and Music of Lead Belly 8 –3 8 – 6 16 – 9
Andy Lie Bishop John Robinson 7 – 2 3 – 3 10 – 5
Gavin Fraser The Football World Cup – 1930 – 58 13 – 2 9 – 6 22 – 8

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


Unknown said...

I have to declare a vested interest as an occasional player on the same QLL team as Kathryn. However,

I first saw Kathryn on the UC The Professionals when she was the mainstay of the British Library's winning team and was hugely impressed with her breadth of knowledge particular those things at the outer edges of the regular quizzing topics. Since I started quizzing with her, I've always thoroughly enjoyed her company and a sense of humour that you would not expect to find in a grey haired, middle-aged lady librarian!!
Having had a particularly trying day yesterday, it was with great anticipation that I sat up in bed to watch Mastermind and was delighted that I wasn't disappointed. It was a splendidly authoritative performance and there was only ever going to be one winner.

Many congratulations and good luck for your semi!!

Londinius said...

Hello Chris

AFIK I haven't actually met Kathryn personally, but her fine repuation certainly precedes her, and also I remember her from Are You An Egghead 1 in 2008.

Funny things can happen in semis, but you'd be a brave person to bet against her getting to the final, and it would not be at all surprising if she even went on to win the whole series

Dave C.

The Librarian said...

Hello David. Many thanks for your kind comments. Am surprised you remembered my inglorious showing on Are You An Egghead? one of the only quiz things I ever regret doing.

Were you not at the Quizzing GP event at Rhiwbina last year - I thought I had spoken to you there?

I've been enjoying your blog for some time now on the quiet - I so agree with what you've had to say about "cheating" at quiz nights and less than satisfactory quizmasters. And I'm very grateful for the MM listings and statistics !

Londinius said...

Hello Kathryn !

I'm so sorry ! I WAS at Rhwbina - fancy us speaking and me not remembering. I can only offer a red faced apology. Its a terrible thing, this losing your memory as you get older. And I'll tell you another terrible thing about getting older - you lose your memory.

I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy Are You An Egghead 1, and apologise for any undue dismay my mentioning it may have caused . I think I remembered your performance for 1 reason - with no disrespect intended to James, it was a big upset.

Thanks for your kind words about the blog. I have actually annoyed some local quizmasters with comments I've written in the last 12 months. I don't do it deliberately to upset them, but I can't help it. If you volunteer to set a quiz, you've got some reponsibility to at least to try to give people a decent evening's entertainment. Well, that's the way I look on it. As you know, it really isn't rocket science.

Once again, congratulations on your wonderful performance. I look forward with great anticipation to your semi.

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to comment - I really appreciate it.

Best regards

Dave C.