Saturday, 25 February 2012

Brain of Britain - Semi Final 3

Last but not least of this week’s round ups we have Brain of Britain. Third semi final time, and the line up was Michael Frankel – Alan Hay – Rob Milnes – Richard Peterson. Michael was runner up to Hamish in heat 5, where he scored 12. Alan won heat 11 with 10. Rob won Heat 8 with 18, and Richard the following heat with 19. A Rob v. Richard battle then ? Time would tell.

Michael kicked off well with 2 answers, but probably should have got that both Judge Jeffreys and Roy Bean were Hanging Judges. Richard opened his account with that bonus. Alan didn’t know that the treaty of Paris ended the Crimean War – Michael was happy to take that one off his hands. Rob took his own first two, but missed out on the German mastiff – the Great Dane to you and me. Michael took that too. Richard took his own first, but missed out on the fact that it was Sam Pepys who called Nell Gwyn pretty and witty.

It had been a good round for Michael, but that was as far as his luck went for the rest of the show. None of his questions were exactly gimmes. Mind you, he might have guessed that Elisha Gray launched a long and ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit against Alexander Graham Bell. Alan was glad for that one. He also managed his own first, but missed out on T.H.Huxley, which kept Richard ticking along. Rob, yet to really show his class, took one, but could have done better with Billy Batson, alter ego of Captain Marvel. That was another one for Alan.Richard didn’t know the rather chestnutty buteo buteo – Rob buzzed with buzzard. So at the end of round 2, Rob had pulled up to equal Michael on 5. Michael took his own first starter in round three, but nobody could answer which plant has seeds called crossbills – well, it was something like that anyway. Geraniums. Fair enough. Alan didn’t know that former presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day. Rob did, and then he took three of his own on the bounce. He might have gone on for a full set, but couldn’t bring to mind that it was Earl Stanley Gardner who created Perry Mason. Alan had that. Richard got one of those horrible questions that nobody can answer about the study of algae. So that meant that Rob now had a three point lead of 9 to Michael’s 6, as we entered the Beat the Brains Interval.

For those of us interested in Olympic History – and the Brains seemed certainly to fit into this category – the two questions were relatively gentle. Which was the first Scandinavian city to host an Olympic Games – being Stockholm in 1912. Which city was scheduled to hold the 1940 Olympics ? The answer being Tokyo. No book token there, I’m afraid.

Michael got a rather tricky one on a survey of the London poor. Well done to Rob for getting Charles Booth for that. Alan didn’t know that the name of Carthage was a Phoenician word – Michael took that. Rob took two, but didn’t know the Hebrew name of the Song of Solomon – and once again, full marks to Richard for knowing that one. Richard took one, but quoted the first line of the Move’s Flowers in the Rain leapt in with Blackberry Way. To be fair he did sound as if he was kicking himself. Rob had the bonus. That three point lead had now doubled, and it was looking like Rob’s win. Still a few rounds to go though.

Michael took one, but might have known that Count Vronsky was Anna Karenina’s lover in the novel. Rob accepted that one. Alan didn’t know that Douglas Hurd preceded David Cameron as MP for Witney. Almost inevitably Rob knew it. Rob took two, but then was stopped by a pig of a question about Golliards. As in golli – that’s ‘ard, I suppose. Richard took one, but didn’t know that the original Star Wars film is now called A New Hope. Popular culture – it’s funny how often it trips up some very good quizzers when it comes to BoB. Michael was tripped up by a question about artist G.F.Watts. Nobody knew it, nor did I. Alan made a brief spurt with two answers to take his score to 6, but the world conkers championship did for him, and the six he had now scored was to be his final total. Nobody knew Rob’s starter, a quote from Dickens’ Captain Cuttle in “Dombey and Son”. Finally Richard took one, but nobody knew that the world’s most reproductive marsupial is a bandicoot. Fancy that.

Two rounds to go, and Rob led by 9. It looked pretty cut and dried to be honest, and you had to say that Rob had shown the best all round knowledge in the contest so far. Michael didn’t know the old quiz chestnut that Shakespeare has Casca strike the first blow against Caesar. Richard took that. Nobody knew Alan’s question – that A Kiss For Corliss was the last film to star Shirley Temple – she quit the movies at the age of 21 . Or the movies quit her. Anyway Rob missed his own first, giving Richard a bonus with the Ram headed Egyptian God Amun. Richard, only one to increase his score during this round, added two more until he was stopped in his tracks by William Smellie. Well, quite. Going into the last round Rob led by 18, from Richard with 11. Theoretically, Richard could win. If Rob didn’t answer any, and Richard got bonuses on the other three, and a full set on his own he’d score 9. Well, that was ruled out when nobody could answer Michael’s first, about invar metal , an alloy used in clock manufacture. Alan’s first fell to Rob, who knew the german for late picked wine. He answered his first, but didn’t know that the aboriginal throwing device alluded to is the woomera. Richard finished off the contest with the Black War Leader. The brains suggested many Central American peoples, but not the Mayans, who were required.

A good win for Rob, then, who thus becomes a very credible finalist. It could be a close one. A small note too to say best of luck to my mate Rob Merrill, who goes for South Wales in the final semi on Monday .

The Details

Michael Frankel – 9
Alan Hay – 6
Rob Milnes – 20
Richard Peterson - 11

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