Friday, 1 October 2010

Mastermind - First Round Heat 7/24

Tonight’s show offered another enjoyably wide selection of specialist subjects. Being heat 7 as well it meant that for the first time this series we would see a runner up drop out of the running for a semi final slot.

Paul Hardy was the first to make his bid to secure a semi final place by right. He was answering on The Football World Cup 1970 – 2006. Now, if you take a subject where the field has been narrowed down like this you can bet your bottom dollar that the setters are really going to dig deep for some of the questions. Paul passed on the 3rd and 4th questions, and although he did pick up speed in the middle of the round you have to say that there seemed to be clear gaps in his knowledge of his subject. He finished with 8 points, and it looked unlikely that he would be pushing for a semi final slot after this. I did enjoy the question referring to Diana Ross missing the goal , and yet still managing to break it in two in an opening ceremony.

By way of a contrast Robin Seavill, our second contender, answered questions on the TV Plays of Alan Bennett. This is another quality subject. Robin clearly knew his subject, and kept the momentum throughout his round. He wasn’t quite perfect, and picked up a couple of wrong answers and a pass, but 14 was certainly a score to be reckoned with. Good round.

Chris Harrison’s subject was simply Bletchley Park. I think its famous enough by now that it probably needs no extra explanation. This was a difficult round for the casual viewer such as myself. I guessed the answer to the Station X question, but that was about it for me. Not so Chris. This was a round which a veteran would have been proud of. Slow answers were given to the first couple of questions, but after that there was no stopping Chris. An interesting point was that he was only giving surnames when asked for names, an old hand’s tactic that. A score of 15 was an excellent return on this round.

Completing the specialist round was vicar Steve Taylor, answering on U2. I have to say that I found Steve’s performance rather hypnotic. He kept nodding back and forward, almost rocking in his chair as the round progressed. It was a good round too, again, there were things he didn’t know, but these were spaced throughout the round. Careful plugging away brought him a good return of 13 points. So at the halfway mark three of our four contenders were still very much in it.

Paul Hardy was first back into the chair. He made the best start you could hope for in a GK round, by taking the first 5 questions on the bounce, and they certainly weren’t all gimmes, either. He pushed his score up to 15 in good time, but I’m afraid at this point he ran out of both steam and luck. When things don’t run for you, they just won’t run for you. In the end he added another 9 to his first round score to set the target at 17.

Steve Taylor followed, and had the chance to set a score which would put the fear of God into the opposition. Once again I found I was unable to take my eyes off him , his expressive face making it absolutely clear what he thought of each question. Quite often this was frustration, or amused resignation, as the round failed to be kind to him. He took the lead, but only managed to take his score up to 21, which surely would not be good enough.

Robin Seavill needed 8 to take the lead, but needed rather more to set a challenging enough target for Chris Harrison to aim at. This was a pretty good GK round. You’ll have noticed a developing theme in my reviews of this series so far , that of the importance of mental stamina in the GK round. Neither of the previous contenders had shown it, but Robin did. He missed a number of questions, yet, but kept picking off the answers he knew, and in the end added 13 to take his score to 27. Certainly enough to give Chris Harrison pause for thought.

For the first half minute or so it looked like Chris was going to walk it. Like Paul Hardy he picked off the first 5 questions, and was well ahead of the clock. Then the brakes seemed to come on. He was becalmed in the early 20s for a long time, and although he did manage to get going again, he was only clawing his way towards the target of 27. To put it into perspective, 27 would be enough, since he had significantly fewer passes than Robin. 25 . . . 26 . . The buzzer went, but John had started asking the question. If Chris got it, then he was through. Asked in which city Jane Austen had lived for a time, and in which parts of two novels , Persuasion and Northanger Abbey had been set, Chris answered Winchester. Oh, that’s a sensible suggestion, Chris. I think she was actually buried in Winchester cathedral. But the answer required was Bath. John Humphrys had certainly been feeling the tension, and he commiserated with Chris at the same time as congratulating Robin. Well played gents, and thanks for a very exciting finish.

The Details

Paul Hardy Football World Cup 1970 – 2006 8 – 5 9 – 8 17 – 13
Robin Seavill The TV Plays of Alan Bennett 14 – 1 13 – 6 27 – 7
Chris Harrison Bletchley Park 15 – 0 11 – 1 26 – 1
Steve Taylor U2 13 – 0 8 – 2 21 – 2

Current Highest Scoring Runners-Up

Anne Skillen - 30 -7
James Collenette - 29 - 2
Ian Packham - 27 – 7
Chris Harrison - 26 - 1
Laura Humphreys 25 – 4
Simon Martin 25 - 6


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the write-up, it was close ... just not close enough! ...

Londinius said...

Hi Chris

Very hard lines. I was actually willing you to dredge up Bath for that last answer. t.

Still you can be very satisfied with your performance, especially on the specialist subject, which was excellent.

Thanks for leaving a comment,