Saturday, 5 November 2011

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 1/24

If you’ve been a regular for any great length of time you’ll know just how important this series is to me, so it’s always a cause for a mini celebration in LAM Towers when Mastermind returns. Over the last couple of series it has really evolved into a tight, gripping quiz half hour, with no fat or wasted time at all. I love it.
On with the show. Kicking off the 2011/2012 series, and first to begin his bid to succeed the great Ian Bayley was Andy Tucker. Mr. Tucker was answering on the Memoirs of Robert Bruce Lockhart. Bruce Lockhart was a fascinating man – I read his memoirs as background reading for the 20th century Russian history element of my A level. Well, when I did my A level there wasn’t so much 20th century Russian history, but I digress. By crikey, but Andy knew his subject ! 18 questions, 18 correct answers and no hesitation. How appropriate to start the series with a bang the night before Bonfire night. After that display you’d have forgiven any of the other contenders if they had been overawed, and its to their credit that they weren’t. Postgraduate student Simon Spiro took a very impressive 15 on human parasites. In fact he was unlucky that he gave a scientific name as the answer to an early question, and poor John Humphrys was forced to ask him for the more common name. A little fault in either the way the question was phrased, or the answer given on the card ? Doesn’t happen often, but it might have cost Simon another question. Rebecca Wickens gave us 12 correct answers on the poet Algernon Swinburne. A good solid round, and you wouldn’t necessarily have thought that this would have left her in 4th at half time. Yet it did, since John Snedden supplied our second perfect round of the night, seventeen out of seventeen on the 16th century siege of Malta.

Rebecca returned to the chair, and supplied another 11 correct answers. Maybe its me, but last year I thought you could see a difference between the old 2 minute rounds, and these 2 and a half minute rounds in the way that fatigue seemed to set in after the first 90 seconds or so now. I thought that we saw this in both Rebecca’s and Simon’s rounds. Having said that Simon raised the bar to 27 with his 14, no mean score at all.

John Snedden returned to the chair , and made a pretty good start. However the 90 second jinx seemed to set in, and he did stutter to the end of the round, with 4 passes. His 13 wasn’t the very best GK round we’ll see all series, but it was good enough to push his score up to 30, and that’s good quizzing. Last year a score of 28 and 1 pass was good enough to gain a runner up spot in the semis, so whatever Andy managed he was really giving himself every chance of progressing.

This was all presuming that Andy managed to get the 12 points he needed to win outright. Which he did. By some distance. He had a very good technique I thought. He didn’t always leap straight in with an answer – some of the questions required a little more thought than others, and he duly gave them this. In a way he was like a batsman treating each ball on its own merits. He didn’t get every question right as he had done in his first round, but he got no less than 18 of them – a very good round indeed. To put that into perspective, his massive total of 36 was only one point less than Iwan Thomas’ highest first round score from last series.

So very well done, Andy Tucker. A fantastic performance which marks you out as a serious contender for the semis. Well played too to John Snedden – I fancy he’ll be on the runners up board for some time to come.

The Details

Andy Tucker Robert Bruce Lockhart18 - 018 -236 – 2
Simon SpiroHuman Parasites15 - 112 - 427 – 5
Rebecca WickensA.C.Swinburne12 - 311 - 223 -5
John SneddenThe 16th Century Siege of Malta17 - 013 - 430 -4


HughTube said...

Excellent episode I thought. A great deal of quiz pedigree on show given it featured finalists from Only Connect and Brain of Britain.

I felt Simon Spiro was very unlucky to have lost so much time giving Diphyllobothrium latum, even though the question only asked for the common name, I think he may have possibly given additional information elsewhere. Strong performance though.

As for Andy Tucker, is it too early to be picking potential series champions?

Londinius said...

Hi Hugh

Well, I'm not scuppering anyone's chances by tipping them. But you have to say - Andy was very impressive.