Friday, 2 March 2012

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 19

Heat 19 saw what I believe was a first for Mastermind. More about that shortly. I guess that I’d better state for the record that I couldn’t find time to take the Wiki challenge again this week, and so once again my SS scores were purely raw scores without prep. OK, with the bit of housekeeping taken care of, then let’s look at the show.

Andy Bowman kicked off with the TV series Porridge. I’ve loved a huge amount of the work of Clement and LaFrenais, and can watch these shows again and again. In fact I have done just that, and so I won’t lie, I fancied my chances. Not that this was an easy, easy set, but Andy did very well with 14 correct answers. As for me, I was extremely pleased with my own 11 points.

As Mary Bucknall, the second contender tonight, made her way to the chair, John H. explained that she is profoundly deaf, and will therefore be shown each question to read it off the monitor as the same time as he read the question out. I may be wrong, but I believe that this may be the first time that this has happened on Mastermind. Mary’s subject again promised a decent haul of points for me. Allow me to explain. Back in 2010, I was the stand in for the final of Champion of Champions, and my specialist subject actually was The Daughters of Queen Victoria. The course of my preparation naturally enough involved picking up a fair amount of information about the sons. Mary's subject was The Family of Queen Victoria, and the questions were exclusively about her sons and daughters. If you’d researched this subject, then the questions were very fair. Mary Bucknall certainly felt so – she scored a perfect 13 from 13. A fine performance. As for me – I so nearly had a perfect round myself. I took 12, but couldn’t remember in which country an attempted assassination of Prince Alfred took place.

If you thought that you’ve seen third contender before, well, you’re right. David Buckle last appeared in the 2010 series, and contested the final which was won by Jesse Honey. Clearly the favourite to win this heat. David answered on the first of this heat’s two specialist subjects on which I failed to score a single point. Not so David. He whacked in a seemingly effortless 14, to join Andy at the top of the leaderboard. Not only that, but David had managed to do so without passing. Job done.

Last contender of this heat was Rebecca Ridolfo. Her subject was the Life and Times of Eliza Lynch , or Eliza Who , as she was hailed from the Clark sofa. Purely my own ignorance – Eliza Lynch was obviously a very interesting character, the partner of the first president of Paraguay. So I didn’t get any points there anyway. Rebecca, though scored 12, a good return on two minutes’ investment, and she could be forgiven for being a little disappointed with the fact that a decent score like this was only good enough for 4th place at the halfway stage. Mind you, only 2 points separated all 4 contenders, so it really was anybody’s game.

I had a bit of mixed fortunes myself on tonight’s sets of GK. There wasn’t a huge amount in it, but my average score for the next heat on GK was slightly higher than my average for this first one. That doesn’t mean anything. I do believe that to an extent your score at home in a GK round is dictated by how quickly the contender can actually answer themselves. Rebecca’s round was the one in this show in which I gained my highest score of 19. Rebecca didn’t manage this, but she did manage double figures, with 10. She picked off what she knew throughout the round, and by no means disgraced herself. 22 isn’t a massive score, but it’s a perfectly respectable one.

In pretty much the same way that Rebecca had gone about her business, so did Mary. Nice and steady , not really rushing, and making sure that she answered the ones she knew correctly. I did slightly less well with Mary’s round than with Rebecca’s, scoring 17. Still, she earned a useful 11 for 23. At this stage I have to say that I felt it was unlikely that this lead would see her through to the end of the show.

Andy Bowman started like an express train. He picked off the first four or five, and looked set to reach the total with a lot of time to spare. Then he got one wrong, and the wind went completely out of his sails. If you start off very quickly, and can maintain your momentum, then you can post an amazing score. The trouble is that if you lose that momentum , maybe by starting to dwell on a question you answered wrongly, then you can find yourself being sucked beyond the event horizon of a pass spiral. Andy leveled out at 7 points, which took his total to 21. I took 16 myself.

Only David remained, then. 10 and no passes would see him safely there. By way of comparison, in David’s first round heat in 2010 he scored 12 points off a 2 minute GK round. He started really well. However his misfortune was to draw what I felt was a more difficult round than the others of the show- although I’m not saying that the round was massively more difficult than the others, only that the question combination suited me less than the others. David was getting closer to the total needed, but the end of the round was approaching. In the end he needed the last question to bring it to a pass countback, and sadly didn’t get it. Very hard lines. But well done to Mary Bucknall. Certainly an exciting show.

The Details

Andy Barrow Porridge14 - 17 - 521 – 6
Mary BucknallQueen Victoria’s Family13 - 011 - 324 – 4
David BuckleThe Golfing Stories of P.G.Wodehouse14 - 09 - 123 – 1
Rebecca RidolfoThe Life and Times of Eliza Lynch12 - 210 - 522 – 7

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