Monday, 25 October 2010

Mastermind - First Round Heat 10/24

Well, here we are, I’m back, and normal service is resumed. I was interested to finally catch up on Friday night’s show. My first thoughts were that I didn’t recognise any of the contenders, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but I felt that the chances of getting real fireworks three weeks in a row must be pretty slim. We certainly didn’t see another record-breaking score, but what we did get was an absorbing, closely matched contest.

Mark Hopes kicked things off with the Life and Films of Marlon Brando. I knew Brando replied “Whaddyou got ? “ in The Wild One. However Mark had already answered all of the previous questions correctly, and I hadn’t. This was a really wide ranging round, and you had to know your Brando to get a decent score. Mark did. He picked off the first 10 without an error. The only other error was giving Kal El – which is Superman’s Krypton name, instead of Jor-El, which is the part that Brando played in the film. A great round, and a well deserved fifteen points. Gauntlet duly laid down.

Now, the subject offered by Duncan Byrne, The Tour de France, was my first choice for the final of Champion of Champions when the series was mooted. Because Duncan was doing it, I changed my choice to the Daughters of Queen Victoria. As it was I didn’t get to the final anyway. Still, you can imagine that I really sat up and took notice while the round was progressing. Again, this was a wide ranging round, and again the contender was well up to its demands. Duncan managed the first 9 in a row, before being given a nasty bouncer. This was the only one he dropped, mind you, and he too finished with 15. Me ? 9 as I played along.

Ralph Reader is one of those names I’ve heard of, but my mental filing system only supplied one reference for. Ralph Reader = Gang show. That’s it. Thankfully for Phil Smith he knew considerably more about the man and his work. These seemed like rather long questions, but it didn’t upset Phil Smith at all. His answers were precise and instant, until question 11, which saw him hesitate a bit. He still got it right, though. In fact he got all of the first 12 right, and stumbled slightly just on the run in to the finish, answering King Faisal when Farouk was required for the last. 14 is a good score though.

So with no rabbits amongst the opposition in this show, Bill Cawley had his work cut out for him just to stay up with the peloton. 20th century American presidents is one of those subjects that sounds fairly mainstream, and yet when you go into it has all sorts of nasty little intricacies to catch you out. The start of the round was relatively benign as I managed 6 of the first 7. Bill managed all of those, but was tripped up on the charge faced by Spiro Agnew.This was actually my most successful specialist round tonight, as I managed 10. Bill though did a lot better, though, scoring 14. So at the halfway stage it was absolutely anybody’s game, with one point separating all 4 contenders. Could we be about to see what would happen on the show if they had to squeeze in a tie break ?

Phil Smith was first back into the chair. As with many contenders we’ve seen this series he started the round in very good form, answering quickly, concisely and correctly. 4 questions fell quickly, but then 3 came and went begging. Poor Phil. Lots of the answers which followed made sense, but were just wrong guesses, and he never really got back enough momentum to set anything like a big enough target to challenge the opposition. He finished with 23. So that meant that Bill Cawley needed 10 to take the outright lead.He started like a train, taking the first 5 in short order, but was pulled up by the old chestnut about Daktari meaning Doctor in Swahili. It was to be another 4 questions before he got another point. Still he got into a really good run for the next minute or so, and looked pretty good for 30 points, until a run of wrong answers in the last 30 seconds pulled him up short. Still 28 was a good target, and at the very least would put him onto the runners up board.

Mark Hopes needed 14 to take the outright lead, which is equivalent to about 10 in old money. Not impossible at all, but a target that needs concentration, and a little bit of luck if you’re not a really serious quizzer. I’m afraid that it became clear before we were halfway through the round that Mark wasn’t going to get there. Too many questions saw him pausing, and having to hit and hope. Still 24 points is nothing to be ashamed of. Only Duncan Byrne could stop Bill Cawley now. He needed to get off to good start, and unfortunately after answering the first 2, another half dozen or so questions passed before he could add to the score. This meant that time was going to be very tight. Duncan certainly did pick up speed, but there were just too many he didn’t know, and although he got mighty close he finished with 27.

A really enjoyable show. It’s not that often that we see all 4 contenders having prepared their specialist subjects so well, and I congratulate all 4 contenders for this. But especially congratulations to Bill Cawley, and good luck in the semis.

The Details

Mark Hopes The Life and Films of Marlon Brando 15 - 09 - 424 – 4
Duncan ByrneHistory of the Tour de France15 - 012 - 227 - 2
Phil SmithThe Life and Work of Ralph Reader14 - 19-123 - 2
Bill Cawley20th Century American Presidents14 - 014 - 128 – 1

Current Highest Scoring Runners Up

Hamish Cameron – 30 – 2
Anne Skillen - 30 -7
James Collenette - 29 – 2
Duncan Byrne – 27 - 2
Ian Packham - 27 – 7
Chris Harrison - 26 – 1


Mark Cooper said...

I always enjoy your reviews, David. And I always enjoy seeing QLL players in the chair, even if this week Phil Smith was a little unlucky (especially with seeming to have the most lengthy questions).

Paul Steeples said...

Phil Smith is a stalwart of the Quiz League of London. I know he was disappointed with his performance on the GK. I hope he has another go, because he's an excellent quizzer - not to take anything away from a great performance by the winner.

Londinius said...

Hi Mark - Hi Paul

Thanks for your kind words, Mark. The comments you both make about Phil don't come as a surprise. He was answering with an economy of time and words which is the hallmark of an old hand, and as I said, the answers he gave which weren't right still made sense - they obviously weren't being plucked out of thin air in a panic. I hope he'll have another go sometime, and get a score he'll be proud of.