Friday, 17 September 2010

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 5/24

We’re still in the first batch of first round heats, so any score would get tonight’s runner up onto the repechage board. Still, it looks likely that scores in the high 20s at least will be needed to stay there. Tonight’s contenders were all, I would think, in the younger range of contenders for the current series. Whether this would count against them approaching the necessary kind of score to progress any further remained to be seen. Certainly it didn’t do Jesse Honey any harm last season.

We began, then, with Amy Macpherson. Amy’s specialist subject was simply given as sharks. Time was when subjects based on the living world were something of a Mastermind staple. My immediate thought as Amy announced her subject was that this seemed a potentially very wide subject. So I was delighted with myself that I managed to correctly answer 3 out of her first 5 questions, although I should, in the interests of honesty, admit that I only answered another two in the rest of her round. Amy herself did considerably better, and pushed her score to 12 by the end of the round.

Stephen Rooney followed. A number of football clubs have featured as specialist subjects in the past , including my own favourite team, Tottenham Hotspur. Tonight it was the turn of Leeds United, specifically the Don Revie era, the glory years of the club. Poor Stephen had a total mental block about the first question, which required him to name the manager of Leeds immediately before Don Revie took over. Precious seconds ticked away as he cudgelled his recalcitrant memory to yield up a fact which he knew that he knew. It wouldn’t come, and he had to pass. Then to add insult to injury John told him off for coming in with the answer to the second question before he had finished asking it. Under these circumstances, rescuing the round to finish in double figures was a commendable achievement, and Stephen finished with 10.

A good old Historical and Biographical subject followed, in the shape of Louis XIV of France, the specialist subject of Nick Spickernell. Nick actually gave the impression of going rather more quickly than he was, but he seemed headed for a creditable 13 or 14, until a couple of passes rather pulled him up in his tracks towards the end of the round. Again, 12 is a good score, and certainly meant that he was in contention with the two previous contenders.

Still, this did mean that a very good performance on specialist could propel Geoff Weller a long way towards the finishing line. His vehicle for achieving this was The Manic Street Preachers. The first question asked which welsh town the original 4 members all came from. I knew that it was Blackwood – its been asked in a few quizzes I’ve been to. I didn’t know many of the others, though. Geoff began like an express train, until question 7 stopped him in his tracks and he picked up his only pass of this round. Never mind, it was on with the next, and the score climbed steadily. The 10 point mark was passed, and then the 12 point mark, until finally he finished with 15. With long GK rounds a three point lead didn’t guarantee a win, but he looked the most likely winner at this stage.

Stephen returned to the chair first, and to be honest for the first minute or so of his round he still looked shell shocked by what had happened with his first specialist question. Then it suddenly clicked, and he was picking off answers, many of them good answers, left, right and centre. Then he seemed affected by the fatigue which has affected so many of the contenders this season in their last 30 seconds. Still, 11 points is by no means a negligible performance, and he finished on 21, allowing himself a wry smile as he took his seat again.
Amy got off to a decent start in her GK round, but this was something of a false dawn. She fell into a huge pass spiral in the middle of the round, and never really managed to extricate herself from its gravity. She finished with 19 points.
Nick , who had started the round with 12, like Amy, put on some quick points, and then got rather bogged down around the 20 point mark. Unhurried and unflustered he kept picking off a point here and a point there, and managed to push his round score to 13, and his total score to 25. At the very least he was guaranteed a position on the repechage board, at least for a couple of weeks if nothing else.

For Geoff Weller, 10 and less than 6 passes were needed to guarantee a win, and to be honest this is not a huge total to get from a long GK round. However for the first minute and a half it has to be said that he seemed to be making rather heavy weather of it. Stuck around the high teens, he seemed to discover an extra fuel tank moving into the last minute, and moved past the 25, and then added another couple of points for good measure. So well played, Geoff Weller, and congratulations on becoming a Mastermind semi finalist.

The Details

Amy Macpherson Sharks 12 – 1 7- 9 19 – 10
Stephen Rooney Leeds Utd. – The Don Revie Years 10 – 2 11 – 2 21 – 4
Nick Spickernell Louis XIV of France 12 – 2 13 –5 25 – 7
Geoff Weller The Manic Street Preachers 15 – 1 12 – 4 27 – 5

Current Highest Scoring Runners-Up

Anne Skillen - 30 -7
James Collenette - 29 - 2
Ian Packham - 27 – 7
Laura Humphreys 25 – 4
Nick Spickernell 25 – 7


Mark Cooper said...

I was slightly annoyed to see the Manic Street Preachers as a specialist subject as I was thinking of applying next year and was led to believe that was long enough since the Manics were last done (2006?). So to see it done last night was a bit of a blow. I think I've still got a couple of good subjects in mind.

Incidentally, Nick Spickernell is another QLLer, playing for the Mealy Bugs in the 2nd Division.

Londinius said...

Hi Mark

Its a nightmare, isn't it, seeing someone else get there first to the subject you've marked down as a good one for the future. It happened in a totally opposite way for me. In 2006 when I made my first appearence I really wanted to do Tottenham Hotspur FC as a subject, but it was rejected at the audition stage. And then the very next year, in the 2007 season of blessed memory, Susan Sworn won her heat with Tottenham Hotspur FC. No complaints, though, since the three subjects I ended up with that year served me well.

Nice to see some younger guys in the QLL - at the advanced age of 46 I shouldn't be still feeling like a young whippersnapper at lost of the local quizzes I go to, but in terms of age I am !