The Crossworders v. The Masterminders
I’ve been waiting for this one for some time. I was the stand-in for the Masterminders team, mainly because I live relatively close to the Cardiff studios, so had there been a phonecall due to unforeseen circumstances I could have made it to the studio in time. Being as I wasn’t there, though, I honestly didn’t know what happened in the show.
Fans of the show of course know all about the Crossworders. Ian Bayley, Mark Grant and captain David Stainer, they are the Champion of Champions of Champions. Nuff said. The Masterminders are all Mastermind champs – hence the name, and I’m delighted to say that all of them played in the brilliant Champ of Champs tournament last year. Gavin Fuller, youngest ever champ from 1993, contested that fantastic final, won by the great Pat Gibson. Stephen Allen was the 1991 champ, and Nancy Dickmann, my successor from 2009 was skipper. When talking to Victoria at the start of the show, Nancy did mention that she has beaten Ian before – he was runner up in Nancy’s Grand Final – “Oh no !” I said, from my vantage point on the Clark sofa “ Don’t get them angry , Nancy !” Not that Ian has anything to prove – since 2009 he’s added Brain of Britain 2010, Mastermind 2011, and Brain of Brains 2011 to his trophy cabinet. Enough of such digressions. Let’s get on with the show.
Round One – What’s the Connection ?
Crossworders won the toss, but sent the Ms in. Nancy went for twisted flax, earning the music or sound question. I suspected Venice off the first two, and Gavin thought exactly the same thing. 3 points was duly taken – a great start for my guys. The CWs picked Lion. They played cautiously, taking all four, even though it did seem they had worked out the connection a little earlier. It’s a Boy – Bradman Will Be Batting Tomorrow – Over all of Spain the sky is clear – Climb Mount Niitaka – were all military code signals. So far I was feeling happy, having got both connections. Actually I had a great first round – but I stress that this was not to last. Viper gave the Ms Adder – Possum – Squire – Nottingham. Nancy was on the right lines while they were weighing up the options saying it was something about the words. The only thing I could come up with, which was a guess based on the 2nd and 3rd words, was actually the right answer, as supplied for a bonus by the CWs. They were all originally words which were longer – nadder – opossum – esquire – snottingham. Good bonus that. Water bought up Byrne v. Fischer 1956 – Lindbergh baby kidnap 1932 – Warne bols Gatting Old Trafford 1993 – and this was the one that gave it to me. It gave it to David as well – they all earned the epithet – of the Century. Great set. The Ms took eye of Horus and found Quentin Crisp, Mahmoud Ahmedinajad,Parents of Stephen Lawrence and Marge Simpson. I had no idea. The CWs couldn’t take a bonus either – all presented the alternative Christmas message on Channel 4 at one time or another. Finally Two Reeds gave the CWs a set of pictures, which I , like the CWs , got from the last two – Liberia and Nichelle Nicholls playing Lt. Uhura – both of which mean or derive from words for Freedom. The other two were Saoirse Roman and Slobodan Milosevic. That great shout on the music set was looking crucial for the Ms, as the scores at the end of the round were 3 to the Ms and 5 to the CWs.
Round Two – What’s the Connection ?
Well, after a great first round I’m afraid that my brain went bye byes, and I was just as stumped by ?! - !? - ! as the Ms were. The CWS these are used to denote increasingly brilliant moves in Chess, so the next would be !!. An answer which deserves at least ! . CWs picked Eye of Horus – Kairouan – Al Quds ( Jerusalem ) – and feeling the force was with them went on two with Mecca. They knew that these were the fourth and third holiest cities of Islam, with Medina and Mecca to follow. Great shout. They are not champions for nothing, these guys. Two Reeds brought up some numbers – 355/133 – 333/106 – 22/7 – and straight away Nancy was on to it, as approximations of pi. Nancy offered pi itself – 3.14159 – but the CWs knew that a less accurate approximation was needed – which would be 3/1 – or 3 – same thing. Hard lines on my guys – and no – my brain was in meltdown and I was nowhere with it. Water gave the CWs something I thought I could get – Peru 1982 suggested Javier Perez de Cuellar becoming Sec Gen of the United Nations. So I quickly ran through – Boutros Boutros Ghalli – yes – Kofi Annan – yes – So Ban Ki Moon – which would mean South Korea. But which year ? I plumped for 2007, and earned myself something from the round. Yes, of course the CWs had it off 2 ! Given The Hirsel I hadn’t a clue, but the Ms went off one. They offered Grantham. Ah – I thought – were we talking about titles successive PMs had taken ? But if we were, then they were wrong – as I knew that Maggie T. took Kesteven and not Grantham as hers. The CWs offered Grantham and Kesteven, but Victoria refused, as Grantham isn’t part of it. Twisted Flax remained for the CWs – and pictures. A Michaelmas Daisy – Hilary Swank – An Easter Egg – ( which ruled out my guess ) gave them Trinity – which are terms in the legal year. Good enough to give them a lead of 15 – 3.
Round Four – The Connecting Walls
The CWs kicked off with Lion. They untangled the whole thing – finding Wirral – Trafford – Barnsley Kirklees – a set of Metropolitan boroughs , then – Bolland – Dudley – King – Scardino , who are all chief execs of large companies. The third line was Star – Pennant – Diamond – Rosette – which are all used by the AA to grade restaurants. Finally we had types of flag – burgee – swallowtail – square and oriflamme. A superb performance by a team clearly on the top of their game.
The M’s had the water wall, and they kicked off with Masters of the King’s / Queen’s Musick – Bax – Williamson – Bliss – Maxwell Davies. Mizz – Sugar – Jackie and 19 were all teenage girl’s magazines. Time ran out before they untangled – Felix – Jaz – Ping and Elgar – who are all characters in the Radio 4 sitcom Ed Reardon’s week. Fair enough. Finally Kill – Whoami – Cat and Echo were all Unix commands – again – fair enough.
Going into the last round the Ms had 7 , and the CWs – 25.
Round Four – The Missing Vowels
Well, we saw how the CWs nearly came a cropper on the vowels last week, but they were too far ahead for any chance of this to happen now. The first set was types of glass. Fair play, I had to laugh when they started playing the original version of the late Neil Richardson’s “Approaching Menace “ Mastermind theme in the background. This set fell 2 – 0 to the CWs. The next set was occasions when the National Anthem is played. 3 -1 to the Ms this time , and a dropped point for the CWs. Famous signoffs saw two for the CWs and one for the Ms, with a dropped point for them as well, and then the Mastermind buzzer ended the round. So the M’s finished on 10, and the CWs on 29. As Victoria said, absolutely no shame in losing to the Crossworders. They may be defeated one day, but it’ll take a hell of a team to do it !