Where else should I begin this week’s round up, than with Brain of Britain ? Monday saw the appearance of our own Brian Pendreigh. Brian was also a member of The Tramlines, who defeated the Eggheads on Monday evening. Yes, you wait months for another Brian Pendreigh show to come along, and then two come along at once. On a much more serious note, I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Max Thomson, of The Tramlines, who passed away this week. I never met Max myself, but everyone who did has commented on his skill and enthusiasm as a quizzer, and made a point of saying what a nice person he was.
Moving back to BoB then, Brian was alphabetically third on the list for the show. Roman Dubowski kicked off. He whacked in his first two, and then missed out on the margay – a type of wildcat. Tricky one that, and nobody took a bonus. Brendan O’Connor took his first, but didn’t know that peg and baulk line are terms in croquet. Brian took his own first, but then got a nasty one on trees. I didn’t know that the genus franginus are ash trees, but Roman did. Bringing the round to a close Stever Terry took his first , but didn’t know that Fig Sunday was Palm Sunday. I guess that there was a buzzer race for the bonus, and it was won by Roman – who led with 4 from Brian’s 2. So from the first round we lear5ned that Brian had some serious opposition, and all four of the contestants had answered at least one good question – which is something we haven’t been able to say in every heat this year. Roman again whacked in two answers, but failed on the Sabin vaccine. Again, nobody could take a bonus on the one he dropped. Brendan took his own first, then Brian got caught out with one which he later told me he knew he should have had. Which is the only substance which has a different name for each of it’s forms – solid – liquid – gas. The answer is water, and it gave a bonus to Roman – who looked sharpest on the buzzer at this stage. Steve took a good couple, but missed out on finnock. Brian nearly had a bonus, identifying it as a fish, but not being able to supply sea trout he was denied. Round three saw Roman, who had been eating up the bonuses up to this point, miss out on his own first. He gave Brian a bonus, when Brian knew that Nude Descending a Staircase was by Marcel Duchamp. Brendan took his own first, but gave a music bonus to Roman. Brian took his first, but missed out on martyr John Fisher, and this one was a bonus for Brendan. Finally Steve Terry couldn’t get the Klein Bottle – another bonus to Roman. It was the end of Round Three, and already Roman looked good for the semis having made 10 points before the Beat The Brains interval.
Well, if Roman looked good for the win before round four, he looked a cast iron certainty after it. Five in a row , and a huge lead. Brendan didn’t know that the welsh rider who took a bronze medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics was David Broome – Steve Terry had that one. Brian missed out on Gulliver being the famous passenger on the Antelope- and this one was taken by Roman. Steve Terry didn’t know that Mary Queen of Scots was born in Linlithgow Palace, and this went to Brian. So at this point Brian led the other 2 by 5 to 4 each, but Roman was gone, with 17.
The questions for the Beat the Brains Interval were supplied by former champion Leslie Duncalf . The first – Planet Earth is sometime described as an oblate spheroid – what is the corresponding term for a reverse planet was ungettable for the brains, and also for me at home. It is a prolate spheroid. Whatever you say. For the second - In George Orwell’s 1984 three slogans are written on the Ministry of Truth – 2 were given – what was the third ? Ignorance is strength was the answer, and no, I didn’t know it either.
As for the contest, Roman missed on his own first question, which allowed Brendan in. Brendan took a couple of his own, but inevitably it was Roman who took a bonus on the Bruce clan. Brain missed out on a question on goitre, which gave Steve a bonus. Steve hadn’t had the benefit of seeing last week’s Crossworder’s v. Masterminders Only Connect when the show was recorded, otherwise he’d probably have known that the people of Snotta gave their name to Nottingham. As it was Brendan nipped in for the bonus. Which put him clearly into second with 8, and maybe just gave him the hint of a chance of a run for a repechage place. Roman, possibly in cruise control at this stage, didn’t know the singer Noel Harrison. Steve snapped that one up, thank you very much. Brendan took his first, but Roman nipped in for a bonus. Brian took his first, but his second was the only question I answered which none of the Brains could answer in the show – knowing that another name for a halo in art is a nimbus. Steve Terry missed out on Gorky, and the indefatigable Roman nipped in for it.
Only two rounds remained. Roman took his first, but didn’t know that Willie John McBride was actually christened William James McBride. Steve Terry had that bonus. Brendan took a good three, but I was a bit surprised that he missed out on the chestnutty zygomatic bone – the cheek bone. Roman made no mistake. Brian got an absolutely horrible question about the highest mountain on the border between Macedonia and Albania – unsurprisingly nobody had it. Steve missed out on his own first , and going into the last round, Roman had 24, Brendan had a chance at a repechage place with 12, Steve had 7, and Brian 6. It wasn’t a very high scoring round. Roman , his job well and truly done, took one, but missed out on Richard Rieti. Brendan didn’t know that the cuckoo pint is also called Lords and Ladies. Brian didn’t get that the vacuum cleaner was invented by Mr. Booth – he again knew the answer, but it just didn’t come on the day. Steve took that to cement third place. He missed his own, not knowing that Procyon is the brightest star in Canis Minor. Inevitably it was Roman who took the bonus.
So very well done, Roman Dubowski. He impressed me a s a competitor who certainly has a good chance of contesting the final. If nothing else his buzzer speed will always give him a good chance – Brian himself told me that he felt on several occasions that he must have buzzed more quickly than anyone else, only to find that Roman had beaten him to it.
As for Brian – well, Brian has nothing to prove to anyone. He is an Eggheads winner, a Postcode Challenge winner, and a Mastermind semi finalist who set a massive score in the first round last series. Sometimes on a quiz show things just run against you. It happens to most of us at one time or another. Don’t let it get you down.
Roman Dubowski – 24
Brendan O’Connor – 12
Brian Pendreigh – 6
Steve Terry - 8