Sunday, 4 December 2011

Mastermind - Round 1 - Heat 4

Have you missed me ? Don’t answer that . All back from early Santa duty, and raring to go. So lets start with Friday’s Mastermind. I didn’t know or recognize any of the contenders, so each of them suffered from equal amounts of support from the Clark sofa. First up was Susan Holmes. Susan was answering on the Richard Hannay Novels of John Buchan. Yes, the 39 Steps is just the first. We nearly saw a perfect round here. Susan was not the quickest you’ve ever seen answering the questions, but she was getting them all right, and that’s as valid a tactic as you’ll get. I made it 13 from 13 questions, when the 14th just knocked her off balance a little , and she had to pass. She recovered to get the next, and last question right though, setting the bar at 14.

Peter Royle followed with The Peak District. One of those tricky portmanteau subjects, I suspected, as he settled into the chair. Peter went through his first 8 like an absolute dose of salts. However the 9th stopped him, and this was followed by a pass. Still, he mentally dusted himself down, and supplied another 6, with just one more pass to break them up. Another good round. Paul Smith , who followed, would have been forgiven for being daunted , but he obviously wasn’t. His subject – aircraft of WWII – was my favourite of tonight’s. I know just enough about the subject to be able to tell you just how difficult some of Paul’s questions were – very is the answer. Number 8 , where he supplied the Vickers Wellington rather than the Wellesley ( As did I ) tripped him up, but other than that it was another good, confident round. Amazingly his 13 left him in 3rd place.

Steve Watson offered us the other specialist where I knew a few of the answers – American Number 1 singles 1954 - 1994. This sort of subject is one where people tend to either really know their stuff and produce stellar rounds – I’m thinking of Howard Pizzey for example – or they crash and burn. This was a stellar round. 17 asked, 17 answered correctly. In a tight contest like this, it was the equivalent of being a pit stop ahead of all the other cars on the circuit. Still, as we know, anything can happen in a GK round. Paul returned to the chair, and delivered a very fine 15. I scored more highly on Paul’s round than the other three, but this was probably just because Paul answered quite a bit more quickly than the other three contenders managed to. His was the GK performance of the night. 28, then, was the score to beat.
Susan tried. She was battling against the fact that she had only answered one more correctly than Paul had in the first round, and he had answered very quickly . So it wasn’t a huge shock that she leveled out at 25, a good score, but a little way below Paul’s. Peter returned to the chair, and it never quite looked like he was going to build up the same head of steam that Paul had. When the 2 and a half minutes had expired he had added enough to take his own score to 25. Again, a good score, and nothing to be ashamed of, but Paul was still at the top of the leaderboard. It doesn’t often happen that the player in 4th at the halfway stage goes on to take the win, but it looked a distinct possibility in this show. After all, Paul had only scored 4 fewer than Steve had in the first round. Steve, it had to be said, didn’t manage his GK round with quite the same assurance that he managed his specialist round. Hardly surprising really. Still, what he did do was manage to keep his head, despite incurring 4 passes. The ones he knew for certain, he answered, and sometimes that’s enough. The buzzer went with Steve on 28 and 4 passes. That’s not enough. Paul only had 2. Still, John had started the last question. It all hinged on this one, and Steve made no mistake. His correct answer just put him across the finishing line, and he goes forward to the semis. Well played ! Is it over for Paul ? Not necessarily. 28 just might be enough to get him a place in the semis. Time will tell.

The Details

Susan Holmes The Richard Hannay Novels 14 – 1 11 – 1 25 – 1
Peter Royle The Peak District 14 – 2 11 – 3 25 – 5
Paul Smith Aircraft of World War II 13 – 0 15 – 2 28 – 2
Steve Watson American No. 1 Singles – 1954 – 1994 17 – 0 12 – 4 29 – 4

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