Monday, 6 December 2010

Brain of Britain

Brain Of Britain – First Round – Heat 7

We’re back in London this week for the latest heat of Brain of Britain. What could be better to warm the cockles of your heart on a bitter Monday lunchtime ? Kicking off was Richard Hedges. Asked which political movement started in 1811 largely as a result of unemployment he zigged with Chartists, when Andy Tucker correctly zagged with Luddites. Tony Marcovecchio took one, but didn’t know that Lotta Lenya was Bertold Brecht’s wife. Andy did. Chloe Stone – incidentally a Mastermind semi finalist last year - took one of her own, and then Andy Tucker took one of his own, but just failed to get the name of the sweetener Aspartane out. That gave him 3 to everyone else’s one.

All the contenders were caught out by phosphorescence in the next question. Tony then took his first , but ramiform shapes caught all of the contenders again. It means branchlike. Chloe didn’t know the old chestnut about Croesus – well , none of them did. He was king of Lydia – which incidentally was also the name of the tattooed lady that Groucho Marx, and my friend Neville, used to sing about.( Lydia, o Lydia, that Encyclopiddia etc. ) However, I digress. Andy Tucker got a nice slow ball about Methuselah, which enabled him to increase his lead. At the end of round two he led by 5 to Tony’s 3. In round 3 Richard failed on his second , not knowing dysphagia meant trouble in swallowing. Tony failed on his first, then Chloe did the same, giving Andy another bonus. Andy himself got another nice starter with the Battle of Jutland, which was followed by another, and then the third, a music question with the theme of Going for a Song. Three in a row. He failed on the fourth, but the fact is that this gave him a lead of 11 to Tony’s 4.

Today’s listener’s questions were these. In which well known band was Billy Shears the singer ? – and that was despatched to the boundaries fairly swiftly – then this old trick question followed - what is Paul McCartney’s Middle name ? Its Paul ! His first name is James. The contenders had obviously heard of this, but thought that James was in fact the middle name rather than the first.

Back to the game. Richard finally kickstarted his game, and took a well deserved couple. Tony Marcovecchio couldn’t answer who coined the term radical chic – it was Tom Wolfe. Chloe, considering her Mastermind exploits last year, seemed rather off form today. Last year she scored a good 12 in a 2 minute GK round. Today, though, she struggled for answers, and in this round she didn’t know that a shark’s skeleton is made of cartilage. Andy took only one of his own. Still with 12 points he had double that of Richard, who had moved into second. Richard got another nasty old first question about Interferon ( – didn’t he have a hit with Dancing Tight in 1983 ? ) Tony couldn’t answer his first either about Invercargill. Chloe couldn’t dredge up the name of Hannibal’s brother – Hasdrubal. So back to Andy – and he took his first. However it was Richard who knew Andy’s second, that Fittipaldi won the F1 championship in 72 and 74.

Richard must have thought - here we go again - as he got another nasty first question asking him the celtic for long stone applied to a standing stone. Nobody knew it was menhir. Tony and Chloe couldn’t make much of their sets again, and that left Andy. Inevitably he took his first , which was followed by a music question . We listened to John Lennon singing a song from Double Fantasy, which title was required for the answer, and supplied as a bonus by Tony. Andy led by 14 to 7, and looked good for the win at this stage. Richard didn’t know Enke’s Comet – and yet again what he got wrong, so did everyone else. When they don’t run for you they really don’t run for you. In fact the same could be said for Tony and Chloe. Still, Andy sailed on, always picking up one or two from each set. It was the same story pretty much in the next round too, as Richard’s and Tony’s first questions both stopped them . Chloe possibly should have known manatees or dugongs as sea cows, but didn’t. Andy Tucker showed a little class by knowing the French for pigeon racing.

Going into the last round, Andy had a 7 point lead. He could be caught, but it would take something special. He didn’t get his first question, and that was that. Tony failed his first, Chloe failed hers, not knowing the gingko tree, and this left Andy to finish the contest. He took his first , as always, and failed the second. Aqua fortis , as Richard knew, was nitric. A good win then for Andy Tucker, and a win he deserved. However I did feel a little for Richard Hedges considering that he didn’t really get one gimme to start off any of his sets. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, I suppose.

The Details
Richard Hedges 11
Tony Marcovecchio 5
Chloe Stone 2
Andy Tucker 17

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