Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Only Connect - Champion of Champions of Champions

The Epicureans v. The Crossworders

We’ve been waiting for this one for quite a long time. We’ve seen 5 teams become champions. We’ve seen two of these teams become champion of champions. Now, at last, the match to decide the champion of champion of champions. The Epicureans, our conquerors in the final of series five had won their super championship by beating the Gamblers, winners of series 3. Their opponents ? Who other than the mighty Crossworders, who beat the Lapsed Psychologists in the final of series one, then my friends the Rugby Boys, winners of series 2 , to win their super championship. By the way, I wonder will the Analysts – winners of series 5, have to wait to play the winners of series 6 to contest their own super championship ? Time will tell. Enough of such things. As a point of interest, opposing captains David Stainer of the Crossworders and Katie Bramall Stainer of the Epicureans are husband and wife.
Having met all members of both teams – indeed having played with or against most of them at one time or another, I can vouch for the fact that they are all top quizzers. The Epicureans, then are Katie, David Brewis, and LAM regular Aaron Bell. The Crossworders are David, Mark Grant, and Ian Bayley. Let’s get on with the show.

Round One – What’s the Connection ?

The Crossworders took the first set, with water. I was expecting the clues to be even harder than normal, and I think it’s fair to say that I wasn’t disappointed. Volleyball – Basketball – Toastmasters International – Fathers’ Day – stymied both teams. They knew that they were all created in the USA , but not that they were all created in YMCAs. Behind Two Reeds the Epicureans found music by bands and artistes including the Smiths, Muddy Waters and Queen. They didn’t get the connection, but the Crossworders leapt in for a bonus. Radio Gaga begat Lady Gaga. Papa was a Rolling Stone begat The Rolling Stones. You see ? I didn’t until it was pointed out to me – good shout. The Crossworders’ own set behind Eye of Horus was one of those – can’t see the wood for the trees sets. Q is to B – U is to N – P is to D – Z is to Z. Neither team – nor me at home, could see that if you turn these letters into lower case, then the second letter is what the first letter becomes if you turn it upside down. The Eps chose Twisted Flax, and at last I had a set right. Ingvar Carlsson 1986 and John Vorster 1966 didn’t give it to me, but Lord Liverpool 1812 did, and Lyndon B. Johnson 1963 confirmed it. They all took power following their predecessor’s assassination, and the Eps well knew. I did have the Crossworders’ set as well, but only on a lucky guess based upon the last clue. Transcending Existence – Syntactic Independence – Magnitude of a real number – all three meant nothing to me. Protagonists in the Rivals gave me the name Absolute – and apparently that was enough. Well, I think you know me well enough by now to know that I’m not the sort of chap to look a gift horse in the mouth. The Crossworders were clever enough to get all of the clues. Finally the Eps gave me another point by seeing a picture set including The Cenotaph – The London Eye, and The Eiffel Tower. They knew that all of these were originally intended to be merely temporary constructions.
Tough round, and the teams were level with 2 apiece.

Round Two– What Comes Fourth ?

I’ve often said in the past that I think this one is the hardest round. The Crossworders picked eye of Horus, and after 1792 and 1848 they had the logic of the sequence. Both teams had worked it out that this was the sequence of years of the founding of the first and second republics of France. But which year was the 4th ? The CWs went for 1945 . Wrong. I think that the Eps actually offered the date of the 5th Republic. But it was 1946 rather than 1945. Hard lines with that one. For their pains, the Eps found a mathematical thing to do with sines. They didn’t get it, but Ian did. What’s more, he even explained the answer after wards – and it is no reflection on his ability at all that I wasn’t really any much the wiser afterwards. A good bonus. The CWs chose water, and at last a round two set that I could get. After Qattara and Turfan I shouted “Dead Sea”, going for lowest /deepest depressions on the Earth’s surface. The CWs had worked this out as well, but took Lake Assal as well just to be on the safe side. The Eps found pictures behind two reeds. This was a set of philosophers. Neither team got it. I didn’t either – although if the name “Emmanuel Kant” had been written in words, chances are I would have sung “ was a real etc. etc. “ as the sequence was fro, Monty Python’s Philosopher’s song. Nice set that. The Cws flexed their muscles with their next set. Lion gave them O’Connor and Ginsburg, and they gave back Kagan . These being the list of female justices of the Supreme Court of the USA , and a correct answer off 2. Viper remained for the Eps, giving up Row 1 = blue – Row 2 = Green – Row 3 = Purple. Neither team knew that Row 4 = Turquoise, this being the sequence of colours in the rows of a solved Only Connect Wall. Wonderfully sneaky. Going into the walls, the Eps remained on 2, but the CWs had pulled significantly ahead with 8.

Round Three

The Eps knew that their lightning speed on the last round would give them a good chance if they could at least make sure that the gap didn’t widen, and so it was vital to grab as many points as possible in the wall. They untangled Blue – A1 – 911 – East 17 , the boy band set, very quickly. They also untangled Love Bug – Code Red – Melissa – Anna Kournikova – which are all computer viruses. I’ve heard of Melissa, of course, but I’d have been out with the washing with the rest of them. When the wall was resolved they could see that NC – Channel 16 – Orange Smoke and 112 are all means of sending a distress signal. But Suicide – Flare – 1990 and Windmill they didn’t know. Me neither. They are all Acrobatic Dance Moves. 5 points scored.

This gave the CWs the chance to establish a winning lead , although they wouldn’t have known this at the time. They unraveled the whole wall in the time. Group – Field – Ring and Monoid they knew as terms in structural algebra. Red face time. I remember the Monoids as creatures in a William Hartnell Doctor Who series called the Ark, and went barking right up the wrong tree with that. Johnson – Webster – Grove and Partridge they knew as lexicographers. Lime – Wormold – Pulling and Fowler they recognized as characters from the novels of Graham Greene. Ideal – Funland – Massive and Bodies they didn’t get. Apparently they are all series on BBC3. Still, 7 points increased the lead, to 15 – 7.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

Captain David admitted that the CWs were concerned over the renowned buzzing ability of their opponents, and the fact that they were right to be concerned was aptly demonstrated by what happened next.
The first set was words which begin with 3 vowels. As it happened, the first clue was the only one that the CWs managed for the whole round. The Eps took two and one went begging. Score – 16 – 9. A wonderful OC speciality set followed. Two film titles combined into one – for example There’s Something About Mary Poppins. David buzzed in too early and the answer wouldn’t come, thus losing a point. This let the Eps in for a shutout, and full four points. Score – 15 – 13. There wasn’t a lot of time left, and the next set was Major Football Venues. Ah yes, but not necessarily Association Football Venues. The Eps had time to get The Gabba, but that was it. The gap had been decimated, reduced from 8 to 1, but one point is enough, and it was a win for the Crossworders.

Well done – a match which only does credit to both teams.


DanielFullard said...

I really enjoyed this too....do you know who is on the Mastermind vs Only Connect show next week on the MM team?

Londinius said...

Hi Daniel

I did know - I was the stand in. I live in Port Talbot, which is only half an hour's drive from where they film the show in Cardiff. I'd have loved to have been in the team, but they didn't want to use Masterminders who'd already been on the show in the Masterminders team. I'm not sure about who all three are, but I know for a fact that my friend , the excellent Nancy Dickmann is on the team.

Jack said...

Both teams played spectacularly well, and either would have been worthy winners.

And Victoria's reaction to neither side getting the Round 2 question about the Connecting Wall was priceless!

drgaryegrant said...

First, Happy New Year to you too, Dave.

Though I tried to remain neutral, by the MV round I was screaming at the telly, encouraging the Epicureans to catch up. It would have been nice to say we lost to the best team in the show, but they did damn well, nonetheless. And as someone once said: good game, good game.

Remarkably (and perhaps proof the world will soon tilt off its axis), I got 3 of the Round 1 connections after the second clue (Talking Heads' Radio Head was the give away for one of them), the first time that I think I have ever done that in the history of my watching or participating, as, as you will recall, I was historically never much use until the wall and MV rounds. Shame it was 2 years too late, eh?!

Pity you didn't get on the Masterminders team, too. Sorry that we kyboshed that a bit for you.

HughTube said...

Excellent show. Apparently it's Gavin Fuller and Stephen Allen.

Quentin Vole said...

The maths 'What comes fourth?' - I'll give it a try:
Cosine 15° = sqrt(1/2 + sqrt3/4)
cos 30° = sqrt3/2
cos 45° = 1/sqrt2

so the fourth one must be:
cos 60° = 1/2

I doubt that many people would spot the first one on its own, but the values of cos 30° and 45° are reasonably familiar to those who've done some trigonometry (like Mr Bayley!) He explained it in terms of sines rather than cosines, which simply go in the opposite direction: 75, 60,45 and then 30 degrees.


Londinius said...

Hi Gary, Hugh and Quentin

Thanks for your good wishes Gary. I have no regrets at all. I thoroughly enjoyed our time on OC, and as always you are being far too hard on yourself. I will never forget you solving that wall in the last second !

Thanks Hugh for reminding me of that. Jenny H. did tell me that when I was asked to be a stand in, but I'm afraid Gavin and Stephen had slipped my mind - sorry guys.

Thanks for that Quentin

I did some trigonometry in school, but that was a hell of a long time ago !

Jackwc said...

I understand from David Stainer that had the Epicureans been victorious then they would have been lined up against the Mastermind team instead.

I wonder whether any clever editing has been possible to allow a mention of the fact that Ian is the reigning Mastermind champion (but wasn't at the time next week's episode was recorded)

Londinius said...

Hi Jackwc

Good point. I don't know. Would they mention that Ian came second to Nancy in 2009 Mastermind as well ? We'll find out on Monday.