Saturday, 24 April 2010

Mastermind Semi Final - 23/4/10

After the confusion of last week, I thought that I’d better watch the show as and when it was actually broadcast, rather than catching it later on the iplayer. I have checked on the iplayer since, though, and I think we’re alright, since it’s the same one that I saw last night.

So lets have a look at the runners . They were : -
John Iball
David Buckle
Mike Court
Keith Pottage
Tom Hutchings

Not that first round scores are a totally reliable form guide, but for what its worth the top scoring first round contender was Mike Court, who scored two 14s for an excellent 28. Oustiders looked to be Tom Hutchings and John Iball, who had scored 23 and 21 respectively.

John Iball won heat 19 at the end of February answering on Charles Darwin. Tonight he offered us The Life and Career of Ayrton Senna. An interesting subject this one. I’ve loved watching formula 1 since I was a kid back in the 70s , although funnily enough I’m not in the least bit bothered about any other form of motor racing. So I was pleased to be able to get a couple of these right. Its mind boggling to think that Senna took pole position in more than a third of all the grand prix races he drove in. A wide ranging round, which saw Mr. Iball answer just as confidently on the life as well as the career questions, and he posted a good 11.

Gerry Anderson was the specialist subject with which David Buckle won heat 16 in January. Tonight he gave us something with a little more of a traditional Mastermind flavour in the shape of the Jeeves and Wooster novels. Confession time – I’ve never read any, so I can’t judge the questions. I can judge the answers, though, and David Buckle provided these at absolute top speed. So even though there were a couple of pauses , he still managed to find 12 points and no passes. Now that’s a very good performance.

A deep intake of breath from Mike Court just before he walked to the chair suggested that maybe he was not in the most confident frame of mind. In heat 9 he had won well answering on transatlantic ocean liners. In a change of pace tonight, his specialist subject was Broadway musicals from 1927. The moment he announced it to John I couldn’t help thinking that this was one of those subjects which could turn out to be so ridiculously wide that it was going to be a tall order to match the first two contenders. So it proved. Mike’s 7 was actually a lot better than you might think, since it was achieved in only 90 seconds.

Keith Pottage answered on the History of the NFL last time out, when he won heat 12 in November. Tonight he answered on the Life and Work of Alan Moore. Alan Moore is a legend in the field of comic books and graphic novels, having written the wonderful Watchmen, to name but one. No points for not knowing what brought enlightenment to Ozymandias in Watchmen, then, but as far as I could see Keith Pottage got almost everything else right. He scored 11 and no passes, and this was looking like a very close contest indeed.

Tom Hutchings , who gave us the Life and Work of Thomas Arnold in heat 5 answered on another traditional Mastermind subject tonight, in the Life and Reign of King James VI and I. Sometimes with these rounds the reign can prove more problematic than the life can, but this was not the case tonight. Tom Hutchings fairly raced through his answers to score 12, and once again gave away no passes either.

So the form book had to be thrown out of the window at half time, as the only contender out of contention by this stage was the pre game favourite, Mike Court. He started off like an express train, but although he didn’t start getting hardly any wrong he did slow down at the end when a couple of passes seemed to take the wind out of his sails.All of which points out just how good the first part of the round was considering he still managed to score 12. Good round .

John Iball had rather struggled with General Knowledge in his first round heat, and he made rather heavy weather of his GK round again here. What he did manage to do was to come up with guesses for what he didn’t know, and pick off the ones he did know without making simple errors. He took his score up to 17 – nothing to be ashamed of with the current semi – final format, albeit not a winning score.

Keith Pottage scored 11 on GK in his heat, and so there was certainly everything to play for in his case. He began confidently and quickly, picking off the first 5 points without error. He suffered a little from John giving him a point for “The Arabian Nights”, and then wasting time by correcting it to “1001 Nights “. Keith maintained his composure, and kept picking off the answers, but a couple tripped him up toward the end of the round. Nevertheless, 12 was an improvement on his heat, and 23 was not by any means any easy target for the last two contenders to aim at.

The first of the remaining two contenders to have a go was David Buckle. He managed 12 in his heat on GK, and that would be enough to give him the lead tonight. As in his specialist round he started to deliver his answers at absolute top speed. He too was held back by John deciding to amplify on one of his answers. This knocked a little bit of the wind out of his sails, but again he had the sense to make sure that he took half a second longer to answer correctly when he needed to. His 12 was duly scored, and the bar was now set at 24.

So only Tom Hutchings stood between David and a place in the final. It looked a bit of a tall order based on Tom’s first round GK performance, when he scored 8. Still, nothing ventured and nothing gained. Tom rather struggled with this round, and it was fairly clear by the halfway stage that he wasn’t going to get there. He ended with 20. So congratulations, David. A good win in a close and exciting contest, and the very best of luck in the Final ( I know its already been filmed, but you know what I mean ! )

The Details

John IballThe Life and Career of Ayrton Senna11 – 06 - 317 - 3
David BuckleThe Jeeves and Wooster novels of PG Wodehouse12 – 012 - 024 - 0
Mike CourtBroadway Musicals 1927 – Present Day7 - 012 - 419 – 4
Keith PottageThe Life and Work of Alan Moore11 – 0 12 - 123 - 1
Tom HutchingsThe Life and Reign of King James VI and I12 – 08 - 420 - 4

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