Friday, 17 February 2012

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 16

I expect that the chairs were all still warm in the studio since the second show followed on with almost indecent haste after the first. Alison Rawlinson offered us Children’s Fiction by Rudyard Kipling, some of which is certainly exceedingly good. By way of comparison I thought that these questions seemed pretty much of a level with the set on Agatha Christie in the previous show, which was nice to see. The first two – what was Baloo, and who was ‘the friend of all the world’ were pretty much gimmes, but they were the only ones that I managed in the whole round. Now – if they’d asked about the lyrics of “The Bare Necessities “, then I’m your man. But apparently Kipling left the songs out of his novelization of the film. All of which chaff is just delaying me from coming to the point and telling you that Alison scored 8 points.

Euan McCulloch was answering on Passenger Liners 1939 – 79. Apart from being an interesting contrast to Ancient and Primitive boats in the previous show, this was one of the two subjects in this show which I selected for the wiki challenge, so I’ll tell you how I got on in the next post. As for Euan, well, he got on very well indeed. My goodness, but he had to know his subject in order to do well in this one – well, that’s how it seemed to me, anyway. 14 points and no passes was a finer performance on those questions, and mid teens in SS will always give you a fighting chance in the GK round.

Motorhead provided the popular culture option in this second show. I once met Lemmy at a gig . He said those immortal words to me “Who are you and get out of me way. “ No, he didn’t really. He said “Cheers mate. “ Which wasn’t actually the answer to any of the questions in Martin Smith’s round. I knew enough anyway to bag 4 points. Martin, on the other hand, knew enough to bag 14 . I suppose that the closest comparable round in the previous show would have been the Kate Bush round, and as far as I could see these two rounds were pitched pretty much at the same level. Martin’s performance gave him an excellent chance going into the GK round.

Finally to George Ferzoco. I’m not the world’s finest at pinpointing a person’s country of origin from their accent, but I’d be fairly confident that George is originally from the States. He was answering on the Life and Films of Frederico Fellini. This was the last of the 4 subjects I selected for the wiki challenge tonight. George seemed to be one of the more tactical players we’ve seen in quite a while. His answers were crisp, concise and quick. Moreover, if he didn’t know an answer at once, out came the stock answer – Smith. That’s good technique – no time wasted and no passes conceded, but believe me, it needs a considerable amount of concentration to be able to do it. Right at the end of the round George was asked for the name of a particular medical condition suffered from by Fellini. He almost, but not quite got the very long name of it right – but John announced that he would be given it anyway. I agreed, but I couldn’t help wondering whether it was really fair to give a question which had to be answered with such a long , tongue twisting answer anyway. Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Only Alison seemed out of the contest at the halfway stage, so bearing that in mind you have to say that she did a pretty good job with her GK round. It certainly wasn’t the quickest GK round we’ve seen, but then her priority was getting the answers right, and as such 12 was a pretty good round . I only managed 14 on that round myself. George maintained his form from the SS round for the first 90 seconds or so, but started to lose momentum in the second half of his round. He kept going though, and gritted out 14 points, which looked pretty handy to me at the time. What it meant was that either Euan or Martin were going to have to match his GK round to beat him outright without having to refer back to passes. For the record I had my highest score of this show on George’s round, but I think it’s probably because he was going that bit faster than anyone else did, certainly for the first and last parts of his round.

Euan McCulloch fell behind the clock within the first minute of his round, and it was pretty clear that he wasn’t going to be able to really challenge George’s score. He too gritted his teeth, and pulled out 8 points, which gave him a final score of 22. Not a winning score, no, but perfectly respectable. Which just left Martin to challenge George. Martin kept his composure, and was probably just about neck and neck with George for the first part of the round. With 15 seconds to go you fancied he’d do it by one, but those seconds just kept ticking away, and in the end he’d scored one less than George, with 13. All of which meant that both of them finished with 27. Who had the fewer passes ? George - all of those Smiths paid off, you see. Well played both, though. That was a good show.

The Details

Alison RawlinsonChildren’s Fiction by Rudyard Kipling8 - 312 - 220 – 5
Euan McCullochPassenger Liners – 1939 - 197914 - 08 - 422 – 4
Martin SmithMotorhead14 - 113 - 427 – 5
George FerzocoThe Life and Films of Frederico Fellini13 - 014 - 127 – 1


bj said...

I was surprised the production team accepted Schwarzberg for Schwarzmann "because it was very close" when in the past they have ruled incorrect answers where the surname is spot on, but the forename wrong. And surely there have been loads of other occasions where the name is slightly off and it hasn't been given.

drgaryegrant said...

If you looked at Twitter last night you'd have thought Mr Ferzoco had decapitated a kitten live on air, such was the oppobrium. It seems people considered his use of 'Smith' cheating and reckoned that in a close contest he shouldn't have been given either the disease or 'lady with a weasel' (because it's not really called that, is it?) because by the strict letter of the law he got both wrong. I'm not sure where I stand on this. I think saying 'Smith' more than once is clever but not really in the spirit of things, (what if next year everybody said it instead of 'pass' - how daft is the show going to look?), and secondly, if I was Martin Smith (how ironic) I'm not sure I'd have been terribly happy.....

bj said...

Having done the specialist subjects (see separate post), I have now had a go at the GK sets as well and my experience mirrored yours, Dave, with my lowest score on the first set and my highest on the second...
But what a difference in scores!

I got a disastrous 8 on Set No 1, which is possibly my worst score ever for a two-and-a-half minute round. Alison did better, but she wasn't really in the running to win after her first round.

On the other hand I got 20 on the second set (which is the same as I got on my own set in the heats on MM a year or two back).

Twelve points is a huge difference between two sets. Game-deciding. It just underlines how big a factor luck can be in all this.

I got 14 on each of the last two sets, which is pretty much my par.

This was a rather odd show anyway, in that the producers accepted one wrong answer which they felt was close enough in the first round. I suspect some might reckon that accepting Lady with a Weasel for Leonardo's Lady with an Ermine was also generous, though I have found references to the painting with both titles on line, so fair enough.

It was the same contestant both times and it proved absolutely vital as the acceptance of those dodgy answers put him level on points at the top, it went to passes and he won.

It is vital to minimise passes, but saying Smith in answer to questions such as the name of a Japanese arts prize might seem a little blatant. Personally I would guess Smith where there was a chance it might just be right, but is it unsporting to say Smith when asked for a Florentine landmark? I'm not sure.

Pretty controversial show all in all. I really feel for Martin Smith and hope he makes it through as a highest-scoring "loser".

bj said...

Hey Gary, I see you got in there, raising the exact same points, while I was doing the GK and then writing up my comments.
The only thing I would add is that there might be a slight advantage in saying Pass rather than SMith, because you move right on to the next question without John giving an answer. That half second saved might just be enough for him to start one additional question, which of course could make all the difference in a tight game.

Astaroth said...

Wrong is wrong, and the words 'close enough' should never be used in a programme of this kind. I've never liked the idea of different sets of GK questions for each contestant, as others have stated it makes the contest pretty much a lottery, but at least they could adhere to their own rules and allow the contestant who actually got most questions right to be the winner. Pretty cretinous, in my opinion.

Londinius said...

Hi All

I forgot about the lady with the weasel one - I'm glad to hear that this is an acceptable alternative answer. As regards the syndrome one, I don't think they should have asked it at all in the first place. The answer which had to be given was too long and complicated - by accepting an 'almost' they are pretty much admitting that they shouldn't have asked it. Controversial show, certainly.

Rob said...

I've just watched this on the iPlayer after reading a friend's post about it on Facebook.

I agree about the syndrome question - too long to be a suitable answer.

George Ferzoco played by the rules in the way I would. It is about winning after all.

Ewan M said...

Have to concur with Brian that there seemed to be a huge disparity between the relative difficulty of some of the GK sets. I also got an underwhelming 8 on the first set and followed it with 17 on the 2nd set. This is pretty much the series in microcosm for me, my scores on GK have ranged from 7-19. Not being a regular quizzer my knowledge is patchy, but I can generally predict when I'm going to score low - it's invariably on female contestants' sets, particularly middle-aged or older. Questions on fabrics, plants, food and drink and the royal family are weak areas for me and seem to crop up more frequently on their sets, confirming my view that the GK sets are, at least to some extent, tailored to the constestants' real or perceived interests. I'd prefer it if the GK sets were more random tbh, but I can see why they do weight them slightly - it lessens the chances of a complete car crash round, of which we have seen comparatively few of late.

Horsey_Heroes11 said...

In response to Eugene, I’m fairly sure that I remember once reading an interview with a Mastermind question setter who admitted that they do indeed tailor the questions to the interests of the contender.

Interestingly, one of my future SS, should I have gotten through, would have been on a popular rock band. And in my GK round in my heat, I was asked 2 questions on modern music (one about Duran Duran, the other about the lead singer of Nine Inch Nails) plus another question on a film about modern music (High Fidelity)

To get 3 questions on a similar area to a future SS struck me as somewhat too much of a coincidence, unless the questions were indeed specific to the individual contenders.

Although, having said all that, I would have scored more GK points on 2 of my competitors GK questions than I managed on my own set!