Friday, 21 May 2010

Mastermind Semi Final 6/6

This set of semi finals came to an end last night, and I have to say that I have found them lean, mean, and thoroughly absorbing, despite the fact that the specialist rounds have been cut to 90 seconds.

Before we start, I think it worth saying that on Jenny Turner’s excellent Quizzlestick website it mentioned that there was an article in this week’s Radio Times that seemed to suggest that the good people of 21st Century Quiz are asked to produce GK rounds tailored to some extent to each competitor –the quote from one of the setters was -
“But if someone’s got a career in science they might have a slightly harder one in their general knowledge than someone who was a musician.”
Very interesting, that.

Tonight then saw the last five semi finalists take to the chair. They were : -
Jesse Honey
Chloe Stone
Peter Cowan
Ian Scott Massie
Ian Orris

LAM reader and one-time resident of Ealing, Jesse Honey won heat 13 back in January, answering questions on the London Borough of Wandsworth. Much fancied to do well tonight, Jesse this time was answering on the Life and Work of Antoni Gaudi. I have to admit that I’m a lover of Gaudi’s work myself, ever since a visit to the Sagrada Familia during a rainstorm several years ago. This didn’t mean that I could answer many of these questions. Jesse, however, made a mockery of the curse of the Clark sofa by having a perfect round of 14 from 14. Superb round.

In Heat 6, way back in October last year, we saw Chloe Stone clinch her place in the semis , answering on the Cazalet Novels of Elizabeth Jane Howard. Tonight she offered us British History from 1815 to 1914. Hello – I thought – chance of getting a few answers here, my boy. You know how it is. You want to answer at least one question right on every subject, although it doesn’t always happen. However there are some subjects where you fancy you could give it a good old lash. Without doubt some of these questions could have been asked in a GK round. Still I was pleased with my 9. Not as good as Chloe Stone’s 13 and 1 pass, though. Good performance.

Peter Cowan was runner up to Andrew Maclagan in Heat 14 in January, when he answered on Caesar’s Gallic Wars. Tonight he gave us The Pliocene and Galactic Milieu Novels of Julian May. I think they probably had to give the person who makes the captions overtime for that one. I will confess that I did once try to read “The Many Coloured Land “ many years ago, but found that it was not for me. Each to their own. Peter looked a little nervous in the chair, and passed on his first question, but then he was away. 11 is a good score in a 2 minute round, and in a 90 second round its even better. Well done, sir.

In October Ian Scott Massie was a close runner up to Andrew Warmington in Heat 7. Then he offered us the Life of Paul Nash. Tonight his subject was the films of Powell and Pressburger, another fine subject. Mr. Scott Massie started very confidently, snapping out his answers very quickly. However the fact is that this was a very wide subject, and although there were no passes and no pauses worth speaking about, a number of questions slipped through the net, and he ended with 8 points.

Finally came Ian Orris, conqueror of my friend Les Morrell back in Heat 3 in September. Well, Les has already claimed his spot in the Final, but Ian was going to have to go some to give himself a chance of joining him. In the first round, Ian answered on the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Tonight he went for King Henry IV. Cards on the table, I’ve always thought that Kings and Queens make good specialist subjects – I took George IV in my own semi final. This was a very good and confident performance. No unneccessary amplification of answers offered, and answers snapped out as quickly as possible. No surprise , then , that Ian managed a superb 14 .

So on to the General Knowledge. Down among the wines and spirits Ian Scott Massie returned to the chair first. 6 points behind in real terms, it looked a tall order. It was nice to see a nod to Brain of Britain in one of the questions. A fighting 11 took his score to 19. Peter Cowan may feel himself rather unlucky to have been in 4th after scoring 11, but these semis have shown some extremely well prepared contenders in the GK rounds. You can tell the World Cup is on its way since he was asked a question about the Jules Rimet Trophy. I’m afraid that nerves seemed to make him hesitate a couple of times in this round, but he still managed to take his score to 21.

Chloe Stone answered her first three GK questions very confidently, with no hint of the pass spiral she was to fall into. 4 passes later she managed to pull herself out, but the round was a desperate struggle for her. Having said that, you might think that 7 passes in a round indicates something of a train wreck, but it wasn’t. For all that she still added 9 to her score, and even took the lead with 22. So , with the full weight of the Clark tip hardly seeming a burden to him Jesse Honey returned, and zoomed through the questions for one of the finest GK rounds we’ve seen for a few years now. 16 points gave him 30 – as a matter of interest that’s higher than he scored in the first round, when he had 30 seconds longer on specialist. All of which didn’t just give Ian Orris a mountain to climb, it gave him Mount Everest. With K2 on top. Still he can be pretty pleased with the way that he went about it. Crisp and sharp answering brought him 11 points for 25.

Congratulations Jesse ! A stunning performance , which puts him right up among the favourites for the title. Since this completes the semis, we’ll be taking a look at all of the finalists, and seeing who gets burdened with the curse of the Clark sofa , in my preview which will appear within the next couple of days. Watch this space !

The Details

Jesse Honey The Life and Work of Antoni Gaudi14 – 016 - 030 – 0
Chloe StoneBritish History 1815 - 191413 - 19 - 722 -8
Peter CowanThe Pliocene and Galactic Milieu Novels of Julian May 11 - 110 – 221 - 3
Ian Scott MassieThe Films of Powell and Pressburger8 - 011 - 119 – 1
Ian OrrisKing Henry IV14 - 011 - 325 – 3


LisaH said...

“But if someone’s got a career in science they might have a slightly harder one in their general knowledge than someone who was a musician.”
Very interesting, that.

Huh, wasn't aware of a single GK question, interesting or otherwise, relating to anything I'd put on my application form.

I had one 'local' knowledge question about Liverpool (I'm from South Manchester) and right at the end I got asked about Baden Powell (I was a Guider for years but didn't mention it on the form.) Think they confused me with someone whose career was in the media and gave me lots of hard popular culture ones!!!!!

Londinius said...

Hi Lisa

In my final I got asked about the latin name for a leek - I guess because I live in Wales ! I got it wrong too. !

They did used to make a point of asking a local question to all of the contenders in Magnus' day, but I didn't know if that still went on .

Rach Cherryade said...

Hi David, finally managed to get back into my blogger account so just thought I'd say how much I enjoyed last nights match, Jessie's performance was brilliant, it should be a exciting final!

I do have one question though. Since the rounds are done against the clock do the researchers attempt to make all the questions as close in length as possible? Otherwise it might be a bit unfair. It's just that, as you pointed out, Jessie had a perfect round last night and his score was 14. Other contestants definitely had more than 14 questions and I know that the speed of answering can slow a round down but Jessie seemed to be answering promptly so it must have been the length of his questions, what do you think about this? I suppose the solution would be to ask each contestant the same number of questions and remove the time limit but I think that would make it a bit less exciting.

Still really enjoyed it anyway!

Best wishes,

Londinius said...

Hi Rach !

Good luck on Tuesday ! All I can tell you is what I've been told whenever I've been on the show, which is that the questions are strictly timed, so that if you all answer your questions immediately, then you should all get the same number of questions asked. However , there is this thing John Humphrys sometimes does about repeating a correct answer, or amplifying it. This only takes a second or two, but it can mean the difference between getting in another question or not.

Personally I think getting hrough 15 questions in a round of 90 seconds is probably about as much as you could do.

I think the tickets are all sold out for Thursday, but if you could blag your way in through talking sweetly to the production team it would be lovely to meet you , but you'll know how you're fixed for that. Anyway, as always lovely to hear from you !


LisaH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LisaH said...

I can't really complain though - one of the people who beat me (Les Morrell) made the final and the other (Ian Orris) came second in his semi)!!!! (PS - can you edit posts? I noticed I'd given Ian an extra S 2 seconds too late - and since I get very very very cross at being referred to as Liza Herman I thought I'd better change it.

Dave, the word verification is 'kingod' - shouldn't that be reserved for the blogmaster?