Tuesday, 23 March 2010

TV Watch - Only Connect

Only Connect – Quarter Final 4/4 – Gamblers v. Bowlers

OC is a week behind UC. So while the latter gave us the first semi final last night, OC gives us the last of the quarters. An interesting lineup it is too, albeit that Victoria is less than complimentary about the teams, inviting us, as she does, to ‘gawp at the freaks. “ I bet Jeremy Paxman wishes he’d come up with that one himself.

The Gamblers, so impressive in their first round performance , are Jenny Ryan, Alan Gibbs, and LAM reader Dave Bill. You might remember that they beat the Insurers in the first round by a whopping 33 points to 14. As very good, very experienced quiz hands you’d expect to get a good run for your money from this team of thoroughbreds. Opposing them tonight were the Bowlers. Michelle O’Callaghan, David Bowers, and captain Stuart Lightfoot won a superbly close match against the Booksellers in the first round, whom they beat by 23 – 22. In my form guide at the end of the first round I put them just into the lower half of the draw at number 5, to the Gamblers’ ranking at number 2. Were they going to beat the odds ? Dave Bill, playing the wily punter, rated the chances as 50/50 straight down the middle.

Round One – what’s the connection ?

Gamblers began with the Music Connection. They identified , Why don’t you get a job, Hey Jude, and Daniel, but didn’t get the theme music from Exodus. So they failed to see they were books from the Bible. The Bowlers also missed what has to be seen as a gilt edged chance for a bonus. Bowlers picked epsilon, which gave them a set of pictures. A tin of Quality Street, a hat and a neon sign for the play the Mousetrap sent them down the wrong way , and they offered longest running things. Incorrect. The Gamblers went close, getting that plays were the connection, but they weren’t precise enough that they were all named after plays . They got their chance again, though, with Yulia Tymoshenko, and then Violetta Chamorro. It looked like Alan who solved this one, as they correctly explained that these were all the first – in some cases only – female leaders of their countries. 3 points well earned. Delta gave the Bowlers Helios – Artemis – then Khufu.At this point I did see the connection, but the Bowlers took the 4th, Mausollos to be sure. All of them were connected with the 7 wonders of the world . Damn fine connection, if I might say so. So the Gamblers took their third set with beta. I think in this case I might have gone for the full five – as allied d-day aircraft said only one thing to me – the black and white invasion stripes on their wings. I think dolichohippus and greyhound number 6 made it pretty clear, and the Gamblers were happy to take their 2 points. Another lovely connection. I struggled a bit with the next one – birdsong – breakout – shotgun, only just figuring out as the Bowlers did, that each word is made of two, and you can swap the order around to make a brand new word. So, after this the Gamblers led by 5 – 3.

Round Two – what comes fourth ?

Full credit to the Gamblers for unravelling this one on just two clues . EAT =+3, CAT=+2. They could see it referred to abbreviations for time zones, and how many hours ahead of GMT they are. Which of course gave them GMT =0. For good measure they could have identified the third one as well. Good play. Bowlers were given Triton, Titania, Titan. They knew it was moons, but offered Earth’s moon. As the Gamblers knew full well, Triton is Neptune’s largest, Titania , Uranus’ and Titan, Saturn’s. Which of course meant all they had to do was identify Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, which they did. So with the Gamblers comfortably into their running, and finding the going beginning to suit, they were given gopiyantra, ehru, balalaika. Alan could see it was all about strings on instruments. They guessed violin, not knowing whether the number was right. It was, though, and as such they got the point. Bowlers needed points now, and they got one, for identifying a picture of an S- Bend, then a T – Junction, then a U-Boat, and correctly predicting a v-something would follow. The Gamblers’ last of the round gave them a terrific set of King Eric – then divisions of Switzerland. Jenny pounced on King Eric as being Cantona, they all knew about swiss cantons, and so if you followed the logic, then the 4th would be cant – as in children’s TV legend Brian Cant. Lovely sequence again . The poor old Bowlers had a sequence which foxed me too. 6 = line, 4=corner, 3 = street meant nothing to either of us. The Gamblers, living up to their name, correctly predicted2=split, which is a term in roulette. That’s the luck of the draw. So the Gamblers led by 15 to 5, and at this stage were winning at an easy canter.

Round Three – the connecting walls

Victoria reassured them that which ever wall they chose it would be horrible. This is the quarter final. The Bowlers messed around a bit trying to find the right set of British record labels. A while later they unravelled a set of words which could be followed by monkey. They then understood that whales, grease, Columbia etc. were all countries’ names that can be spelt differently to make different words. This also gave them a set of terms for cold conditions. Great performance, and one which kept them in the game.A full 10 points.
Both teams completed the whole wall in their first match, but it has to be said that the Gamblers struggled on their wall tonight. They quickly found a set of Montys, but just couldn’t get to grips with any of the other groups. Once the wall was resolved they could see that two of the others were sets of computer languages and types of coffee but missed a group of words that could be followed by the word – monitor. So this brought them 4 points, and narrowed the lead so that the score going into the last round was 19 to 15.

Round Four – missing vowels

With only 4 points in it either team could win. The Gamblers, and Jenny in particular had looked pretty strong in the first game in this round. The first group, literary lovers, went to the Gamblers 3 – 1. The next set was quotations from famous speeches. The Bowlers answered two to one by the Gamblers, but the Bowlers lost a point for an incorrect answer too. The third set was playing cards. 2 – all. Fourth set was red wine grapes, a tough set IMHO. 2 –1 to the Gamblers. Next category Legal Occupations bought one point for the Bowlers, but that was it. The Gamblers, proven stayers, won with 27 to 21.

My first thought was that the Gamblers weren’t quite as impressive as they had been in their first round match. Yet they still scored 27 ! That’s impressive.

Andrew B has told me that the Hitchhikers meet the Strategists in the second semi, so it must be that the Gamblers will meet the Archers Admirers in the first. What a match up that will be. Worthy of a final, to be honest with you, and I can’t wait to see it.


DaveBill said...

Given that we were 10 clear after the first two rounds, it was closer than it should have been!! IMHO, our wall was a stinker compared to theirs. Fair play to the Bowlers, they gave a great account of themselves. People have commented about the number of gambling references that appeared on the show (Greyhound, Roulette etc.) - I assure you, the questions are all random, because we asked!

With reference to the Semi, you'll see next week (no spoilers), that Victoria comments that the 2 highest scoring teams have met in the semi. Tad frustrating that really.


Londinius said...

Hello Dave

Congratulations on another fine performance. I tend to agree about the wall - put it this way, I'd rather have had theirs than yours, but that's the way it goes, and it made no real difference in the end.

Its just one of those things as regards the draw for the semi. On paper one of the teams - sorry , Hitchhikers, but its you - are noticeably weaker than the others, so there was always going to be one easier looking semi than the other. I'm not a betting man, but I won't be at all surprised if the winners of the final, and the winners of the 3rd place play off both come from your semi. But of course, I could be wrong . . .

isambardcat said...

There isn't a third-place playoff this series; apparently BBC4 had a spare week when they bought series 2, but series 3 is a straight knock-out.

Londinius said...

Hi isambardcat

Thats a shame. I enjoyed the play off last year, and thought that it was a good idea. Oh well.