Only Connect – First Round Match 8 – Alesmen v. Pool Sharks
They don’t tell you the average age of teams in Only Connect, which is probably just as well when you consider the poor teams which have old codgers such as myself among their members. However if they did at least we’d be able to check whether the average age of teams this year has been somewhat older than last year, which is what it seems to me. I say this only because one of tonight’s teams, the Pool Sharks, ( 7 on the nameo-meter) did seem to fit within the younger demographic. Not so my friends the Alesmen ( ooh – a pun ! That’s an 8 ). You may well have recognised Chris Quinn, Graham Barker, and captain Mark Kerr. They’re all very fine quizzers, and among the team there’s a wealth of quiz experience, broadcast and otherwise. So the Pool Sharks certainly had their work cut out for them. Michael Howes, Tim Jordan and captain Andrew Smithies would never have got on the show in the first place if they hadn’t been people of knowledge and character, though. On with the game.
Round One – What’s the Connection ?
Eye of Horus was much to the Alesmen’s liking, and they posted their serious intentions by getting the connection on just three clues – Profession=Gardening, Needle=Yucca and Ale=Water. They knew that Adam’s Ale is water, and Adam fitted the bill nicely for the others. 2 points in the bag. Horned viper seemed to speak to the Sharks with forked tongue, as pictures of a Guinea Pig, Chinese Chequers and a Panama Hat led them to say they are all named after countries. Ooh, close, but not quite. The Alesmen knew that a Guinea pig isn’t from Guinea, Chinese chequers aren’t from China, and , well, you get the picture, I’m sure. Now, prepare to be amazed. The Alesmen took one look at their first clue – Pugachev’s Cobra, and Chris had the answer. He’d been randomly looking through wikipedia the day before, and read all about this aerobatic manoeuvre. He insisted, they took it, and bagged a full 5 points. Stupendous, amazing, and probably completely demoralising for the poor Sharks. Twisted Flax concealed Tux – Sam Sawnoff ( no idea at this stage ) – Chilly Willy ( knew it now ) and Feathers McGraw. They didn’t know that they were all fictional penguins. The Alesmen did though. By the next clue it seems that the Alesmen were slipping, only scoring 3 points this time. Two reeds gave them Millie Small, by which time they were all ready leaning towards the correct answer, lollipops, and then operator of a brake on sign which confirmed it. The shell shocked sharks took the music bonus, where one I didn’t know, teddy bears picnic, Land of Hope and Glory and Anyone Can Fall in Love stumped both teams. I think I might have had this , since I had an inkling they were all existing pieces of music to which words were added at a later date. Oh dear, cover your eyes, Pool Sharks fans. The Alesmen led at the end of the round by 12 – 0
Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?
Don’t worry , Sharks fans, they DID fight back . However lets start with the Alesmen. They went for two reeds, and began with Jerk, and Acceleration. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get the explanation, but all that matters is that their answer – Distance, was correct for 3 points. The Sharks put points on the board when they plumped for Lion. They knew that £1 – 20 p and 1p were British coins in shrinking order of diameter, and they also knew that 5p would be next. 2 points. The Alesmen showed a very rare hint of vulnerability when given Skull – scapulae – Patellae they failed. The Sharks though gave the right answer, falanges, for the wrong reason. Its anatomical name for Heads, Shoulders Knees and Toes ! Doesn’t matter, that’s a bonus earned. Alas, they missed their own set of Cole – Oakley – Marr, mistakenly guessing that these were other members of the Smiths. Mark , a confirmed Smiths fan, knew these were BBC political editors, and Nick Robinson completes the set. However they struggled with a picture set behind horned viper. Sylvester the Cat, Paul McCartney and St. Christopher had them thinking popes or saints. It was neither. The Sharks had it at once, knowing it was Dr. Who factors first names – David, as in Tennant, being next. Just as a last flourish to the round they took Water, where Rutlish Grammar, and Fettes gave them three points for identifying Eton , the set being schools attended by successive Prime Minister of the UK. So a great fightback had seen them score 7 points in the round to 5 for the Alesmen, who led by 16 to 7.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
Both teams delivered virtuoso displays on the wall, solving the whole thing in extra quick time. The Sharks going for water unpicked
Electric – Moray – Conger and Sand, as set of Eels,
Campion – Hillary – Rutherford and Finn, famous New Zealanders
Murray – Prior – Engineer and Gilchrist – all test wicketkeepers
Fife – Argyll – Angus – Sutherland – all Scottish counties.
The Alesmen, not to be outdone, showed great calm and poise unravelling these sets,
Lewis – Hall – Garcia and Springer – all Jerrys
Yell, Jersey, Hoy and Mull – all islands off the coast of Britain
Cocker, Field , King Charles and Sussex – all breeds of Spaniel
Ink – North – Flux - - Storm – all make a term when combined with – magnetic.
So the gap remained the same, as the scores were 26 – 17 to the Alesmen
Round Four – The Missing Vowels
One thing the two teams accomplished by conquering their walls so quickly was to provide lots and lots of lovely time for the missing vowels. But whose advantage would this prove to be ?
First set, Kitchen gadgets , went 2 – 1 to the Sharks. The teams both shared types of Drama 2 apiece. Supernatural creatures saw a 4 – 0 shut out to the Sharks, just about raising up the possibility of them making the greatest comeback since Lazarus. Occupations of Mr. Benn fell evenly, ah, but there was a wrong buzz by the Sharks. Ancient languages and Parts of an aircraft fell 1 apiece to both teams. So in the end the Alesmen won by 33 to 28, but my goodness the Sharks, what a fightback they made. However the Alesmen were just formidable throughout. Very well played to both teams, a pleasure to watch.