Saturday, 28 January 2012

Mastermind - Round One- Heat 10

Well, there were plenty of talking points in last week’s show, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was paying particular attention to the specialist rounds in last night’s show, looking out for the gimmes. Geoffrey Snape was first into the chair, answering on the history of New York. On the surface this shouldn’t necessarily have been a subject to offer too much to me, I wouldn’t have thought. Still, if you’re going to ask things like the name of the last dutch governor – Peter Stuyvesant – then you are going to give me some chances. I took 7 of these, and could maybe on a good day have had eight – I didn’t get LaGuardia as the transport hub named after a former mayor, which was gettable. Geoffrey’s score was a perfectly respectable 11.

Sally Mabey came next. I believe that John said that she was from Cardiff, but our paths haven’t crossed as far as I know. Sally was answering on The Women’s Institute. Now – this is the sort of round which should see me draw a complete blank. And to be fair, I very nearly did. One of the questions supplied the answer I was ready to trot out , that the first in the UK was in Llanfair PG on Anglesey. However , there can’t be many people with anything like a decent general knowledge who don’t know that the W.I. sing Jerusalem, and it certainly brought me my only point. Sally broke into double figures, with a score of 10.

Now, third up was our very own Gareth Kingston – Gruff of this parish. Gareth was a semi finalist back in 2009 I believe. His subject was the life and works of Augustus Pugin. This was almost a perfect round. Gareth’s answer were clear, crisp, concise, and very quick. Now, it was almost a perfect round – I think one question went begging. Gareth scored 14, which meant that he was asked 15, or at most 16 questions. It was Gareth himself who raised the point of the inconsistencies of the potential maximum scores from show to show in his comment on last week’s post.. Last week we saw a perfect round of 18. I don’t think that even if any of last night’s contenders had answered all of their questions correctly as quickly as possible, that they would have got to 18. Now, if you win the show it doesn’t matter, but if you’re in line for a repechage slot, then those couple of points could be crucial. Food for thought, certainly. Gareth was putting himself in pole position for the win, though, with 14.

Last to go was Chris Wills. Now, I thought that I’d seen Chris before in a few places. He’s featured on LAM before, when he came 4th in a heat of BoB last year. However a quick google search reveals that he has won money on A Question of Genius, and the Weakest Link, as well as having been a champion of Countdown. So he was certainly not a contender to be easily dismissed. His subject was Wimbledon tennis singles since 1990 – alright, it’s 21 years, but let’s be honest, it isn’t a huge stretch to have to work on. I wouldn’t describe myself as an expert – my knowledge comes from watching, and from things I need to know for quizzes, but I picked off 9 of these without any preparation. I did actually have one that Chris didn’t – I knew that Amelie Mauresmo was one of the players whose match was the first to see the cover come over the Centre Court. Well, as we’ve said in the last couple of shows, you can’t blame the contender for the questions he is asked – all he can do is answer them , and he managed a good 13 and no passes.

As for the GK rounds, I thought that they were a little more difficult than the last few shows. I scored 16 on Sally’s, and 16 on Geoffrey’s, and it wasn’t just because neither of them were going all that quickly – although they weren’t. Sally showed more composure, and managed another 10 correct answers while limiting herself to another 5 passes, for a total of 20. Geoffrey couldn’t match this showing, and he fell into something of a pass spiral. It’s harder on a two and a half minute round to escape from a pass spiral, because the buzzer is that much further away from you. Geoffrey managed 8, which allowed Sally to leapfrog him into what looked likely to be third place.

Now to the two horse race at the top. Chris raced through his set, and there were well over 20 of these. This is all down to the individual, but I struggled more with his set than any of the others. I managed 16 again, but had a run of 4 incorrect answers in a row on my way there. So his 14, in the chair, under pressure in the studio I thought was a pretty good round. I still thought that Gareth would do it. Gareth, being the good guy that he is, did leave me a message this week, asking me to not worry about the fact that we’re friends, and be honest in my review. – Hello – I thought – does this mean something went wrong ? Well, I guessed from looking at Gareth’s face a couple of times during the round that he dropped questions he knew the answer to, and I’d certainly say that it looked like a nervous performance. However, even when things don’t go quite to plan, technique and sticking to the right game plan can bring you through. Gareth knows how to play this game – answer quickly – a wrong answer given quickly is miles better than a pass. I found his set only slightly easier than Chris’ – to the tune of one point, since I managed 17, but as I say, it’s all subjective. I thought from looking at Gareth’s face before John told him the score that he didn’t know that he’d done it. It was close. His 13 gave him 27, the same score as Chris. However Gareth hadn’t passed, and Chris had. He’d only done it once, in the GK round, but that was the small margin between entry to the semis by right, and an anxious wait on the repechage board. Still, it made for an exciting and enjoyable match, albeit I could forgive Gareth for thinking that it was a little close for comfort. Well played Gareth ! Good luck in the semis.

The Details

Geoffrey Snape The History of New York11 - 18 - 619 – 7
Sally MabeyThe Women’s Institute10 - 310 - 520 - 8
Gareth KingstonThe Life and Works of Augustus Pugin14 - 013 - 027 – 0
Chris WillsWimbledon Tennis Singles Finals since 199013 - 014 - 127 -1


drgaryegrant said...

As I too know Gareth, I knew the result of last night's show beforehand, but it was still an exciting watch - and a great game.

As you have pointed out again this week, lots of gettable SS questions once more (are you beginning to come round to thinking they've been made easier? If you have any old MM episodes on DVD or Sky+ it's instructive to compare - there is a PRONOUNCED difference IMO), though I'd agree the GK was definitely a step up on the last few shows - particularly the double bill of shows 7 and 8.

Speaking of which, there is a MM double bill next week, AND the week after. And you can probably guess why I know there are two shows on the 10th Feb ;-) Please be scrupulously honest then too - I am virtually unoffendable as far as that goes...

WD Gareth though, a good win in a great show for a great guy.

Londinius said...

In all honesty Gary, I don't really know. As I said last week maybe it's always been there and only now that I'm looking for it I'm noticing. I mean if we take the Wimbledon set, I guess I'd expect to do quite well in that one. Whether allowing someone to use such a relatively short timescale is a good thing - well that's another issue. This is Mastermind, and I don't think it would be unreasonable to expect someone to do Wimbledon Singles in the Open era for a specialist.

As for New York, though, well , I don't know but that set seemed a little easier than it might have been.


drgaryegrant said...

Yes, it's interesting to compare this with Gareth's last go on MM in 2009. I gather his semi-final topic was originally 'Northampton Town FC from 1980' or something similar, but he was asked by the production team to broaden it to the club's entire history. The way that subjects are deemed permissible or not often seems to be quite arbitrary.

In one of the shows coming up someone has apparently chosen just 'Astronomy' as their SS. Now that is what I would class as a proper SS for the way I would run the show - nice and broad, and requiring a good background knowledge - and not just an ability to mug up on a narrow topic for a few weeks. It's also a brave choice in an era where you can instead do things like 21 years of Wimbledon, and I'll be keen to see how he or she gets on.

Jack said...

The way I play Mastermind with my parents is to only answer one of the specialist rounds, i.e. the one we think we'd do best at. For example, on Friday, we focussed on the Pugin round, and the week before, it was the Archers round.

Not every specialist subject will be to the viewer's liking. But watching people display vast amounts of knowledge on their subject is certainly good to watch, even if you can't answer any of the questions yourself.

Gruff said...

That was a fair review David. I should have got a couple more in the GK. I was a bit thrown by my first question where I didn't hear the first few words and then had to extrapolate the question from what I did hear. That cost me some time. I over-thought the 'on the rocks' question, and should have got Leander/Hellespont but it wouldn't come to mind. That is what the chair can do to you!

I remain annoyed that despite answering quickly I was only asked 15 SS questions. That was what I alluded to when I posted about a previous show. At that point I didn't realise mine was the next show to be broadcast (I got 1 week's notice).It makes a mockery of the repechage to have such a difference between sets and JH's reading speed.

And as for the Northants question...I should have challenged it at the time. Northants is East Midlands not South Midlands, and I was born there. Hence the facial expression when the answer was given.

There was not much to choose between Chris and I. He is a lovely guy and if he has another go at MM he will do well.

Onwards and upwards!