Friday, 16 March 2012

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 22

Wow. I haven’t seen a Mastermind show like that for a long time. All will be revealed. The first of our contenders into the chair was Ged Meheran. Ged was answering on the life and times of Harold Wilson, one of the most interesting and colourful British politicians of the post war era. As he walked to the chair I though that Ged looked particularly nervous. This might have explained the very slow start he made to his round. Maybe I imagined it, but he seemed far more assured on the questions about the later period of Wilson’s career, from the 60s onwards, and less with the earlier years. Whatever the case, Ged only managed 7 , although he didn’t pass on any questions either. “Well, “ I observed to no one in particular “ He’s not going to win. “ Hmmm.

Geraldine Walters came into the chair with a good old traditional Mastermind SS in the shape of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Wife of two kings, and mother of two others, to name just a couple of facts about her. That and the fact that she was played by Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter. Geraldine, needless to say, showed knowledge that went far between my meager offerings. In fact she added to Ged’s agony by posting a score that was precisely double that of his . 14 looked very competitive to me.

Mike Clark is , as it happens, the name of my son, although I believe the gentleman of the same name who came next into the chair is probably no relation. This Mike was answering on the sitcom Seinfeld. I did watch a few of these, but I don’t know that I ever ‘got’ it as such. Certainly I never really understood what the fans raved about. The target was 14, and Mike placed himself handily on the leader’s shoulder by scoring 13. Like Ged, he too avoided any passes. That’s good technique. Hmmm.

Our second traditional Mastermind SS was offered by Michael O’Callaghan, who was answering questions on Ludwig van Beethoven. I was interested to see that the chestnut quotient on this round was pretty low. There’s lots of oft asked quiz questions about Beethoven which have done the rounds in quizzes, and this round seemed to avoid asking them. Put it another way, Michael had to know his stuff – which he did to the tune of 12 points. Plenty enough to give him a decent shout.

You could have been forgiven at half time for saying – as I did – that’s one contender out of the running, and it’s between the remaining three. Now, I do wonder whether Ged thought so as well, because when he returned to the chair there was a noticeably different air about him. He didn’t look anything like as nervous as he had just over 10 minutes earlier. It certainly showed in his answers. This was a very fine GK round by anyone’s standards. The answers kept on coming, and believe me there were plenty of answers to difficult questions in there too. The score continued to climb, so much so that when he squeezed in a last answer to take his score up to 24 and no passes I just did begin to wonder whether we were actually going to witness the finest comeback since Lazarus.

Michael O’Callaghan couldn’t match Ged’s GK performance. Not that he needed to. He needed to find 13 points to over haul Ged, but you got the feeling by the half minute mark that he wasn’t going to. More hesitant than Ged had been, he was picking up a few wrong answers as well, and by th4e two minute mark he was behind the clock. In the end he came close, but 11 points was only enough to give him 23. Ged still led.

Mike Clark must have been given food for thought by Ged’s round. Maybe he knew that he wasn’t going to match Ged’s general knowledge. What he did have going for him, though, was a smart game plan. He had decided beforehand, so it seems. to answer everything, and let the correct answers pile up among the wrong ones. My goodness it was close. Mike was on 23, and John had only just said the first word or two of the last question as the buzzer went. Mike made no mistake of his answer, and the scores were tied on 24.

Not that everything was over yet. Geraldine Walters was the leader at the halfway stage, and a further 11 correct answers would see her carry the day. She didn’t start too badly, but after the first minute or so the going got harder, and I’m sorry to say that she found herself trapped in a horrible pass spiral. By the end of the round she had raised her score to 19. Well, if you’ve been following Mastermind for any length of time you’ll know how such a situation is settled. In cases of a tie, the number of passes is taken into account. On the majority of occasions this is enough to settle matters. However, what we had here was a pair of very canny contenders, neither of whom had given any passes away at all. So what we were faced with now was a tie break.

Very few Masterminders have ever taken part in a tie break. I believe the last person to win a tie break was LAM reader Gillian Taylor who won a heat in the 2009 series. It was a remarkable heat that – 2 contenders scored 27 and 0 passes, and a further 1 scored 27 and 1 pass. Then , going back to the 2008 SOBM, lovely Sandra Piddock won a semi final tie break . The way that it works, of course, is that both contenders are given the same five questions to answer. The one who scores most is the winner. Tonight’s five questions were :-

1. Mahe Island is the largest of which island group ?
2. Spencer Gore was the first winner of which sporting title ?
3. Which river is nicknamed China’s Sorrow ?
4. Karl Langsteiner was awarded the Nobel Prize for identifying the four main groups of what ?
5. Which poet accompanied the poet Dante on his journey through the Inferno in The Divine Comedy ?

Following my earlier prognostications I again told nobody in particular that Ged was sure to do it now, because he seemed a lot stronger on GK. Well, I don’t know – maybe he just tried to snap out the answers too quickly – maybe he was nervous again, having the opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. He managed to answer the first , and the last . Mike returned to the chair, and he missed out on the Seychelles. One nil to Ged. However he knew that Spencer Gore won the Wimbledon singles. One all. Like Ged before him, Mike wrongly identified the Yangtse as China’s sorrow – it is in fact the Yellow river. Mike, though, knew that Karl Langsteiner identified the four main blood groups. 2 – 1. Ged had known that Vergil accompanied Dante. If Mike knew it as well, then it was all over. To cut a long story slightly shorter, he did, and it was.

Very well done Mike , you held your nerve well, and certainly earned a place in the semis. Special commiserations to Ged. It didn’t quite work out tonight, but if you come back another day with the right specialist subject, then you, sir, will be a force to be reckoned with. Good show.

The Details

Ged Meheran Harold Wilson 7 - 0 17 - 0 24 – 0 (26 after tie break )
Geraldine Walters Eleanor of Aquitaine 14 - 15 – 9 19 - 10
Mike Clark Seinfeld 13 - 0 11 – 0 24 - 0(27 after tie break )
Michael O’Callaghan Ludwig van Beethoven 12 - 2 11 - 6 23 – 8


Frank Sentinella said...

Geraldine Walters, you lost in the contest but you won my heart and admiration. You are a truly lovely looking lady, whose portrait I'd love to paint. Thank you for presenting yourself so beautifully.
Frank Sentinella

Londinius said...

Hello Frank, and welcome to LAM.
I have to say that I tend to agree about Geraldine Walters - she was rather lovely , if an old married man can be forgiven for saying so. said...

Last night's show were a great one. Ged Meheran made a terrific comeback after his unfortunate SS round.
Every time John Humphrys explains the tie-break rule at the beginning, I wonder if we'll see one. I don't remember one since my first show, and it's a nice distinction, somehow, to have taken part in one, let alone won a tie-break.
I was the second one to go, and of course had no idea how my opponent had done. His GK was better than mine so I wasn't confident but I was really keen for the challenge and enjoying the spotlight. Of the five questions, I got two. I knew which French king was nicknamed the Sun King. The other one I knew was about common name of the larval form of some insect (inset latin name here) that was eaten as a delicacy by Australian Aborigines. Those past evenings watching 'I'm A Celebrity - Get Me Out Of Here' paid off, and I correctly answered Witchetty grub. As I walked back to my chair, I could see my rival mouthing what looked like 'You've won' at me, but I had to wait for John Humphys to make the announcement before I knew for sure.
There can't be many people who've won Mastermind with something they learned from 'I'm A Celebrity...'. I'm nearly as proud of that as I am of my two perfect 18 scores.

Londinius said...

Hi Gillian

I wondered if you'd notice the name check. I can only imagine the pressure of taking part in a tie break. At my grand final lovely Sandra tried to explain to me what it had been like, but I'm sure it's something you'd have to experience yourself to really appreciate it.

Horsey_Heroes11 said...

I was looking into the repecharge board and there’s a potentially interesting situation developing.

With 2 heats to go, 4 runners-up are already through to the semis:

John Marshall (31-5)
John Snedden (30-4)
Paul Smith (28-2)
Eliot Wilson (28-5)

Then it gets interesting with 2 contenders in equal 5th place on 27-1 (I think that’s right…)

Chris Wills
Ian Jones

So, what happens if one of the remaing runners-up scores better than 27-1?

How would they separate Chris & Ian? Would there have to be a play-off? Do they toss a coin? Would one of the semis have 7 contenders?

Has this happened before?

LisaH said...

In the notes for contestants for the series I was in (the first one of the Humphrys era with repechages) we were told that if a tie couldn't be split the place would go to the contestant with the better audition score.

(Just noticed that I now have to type 2 words in to 'Please prove you're not a robot'. I assure you I'm not!)

Angela said...

The result of this Mastermind was scandalous. Go onto BBC iPlayer and listen to the end of Mike Clark's general knowledge round. The buzzer to end the round went BEFORE Jon Humphrys started the final question - indeed it went while Clark was still giving his answer to the previous question. It's there, plain to hear. But Clark was allowed to give the answer which tied him with Meheran and gave him the chance then to win on the tie-break. So one of the great Mastermind comebacks was scuppered by Mr Humphrys. I feel very sorry for Ged Meheran.

Ray Hamel said...

Hey - just fixing a typo for you. "Karl Langsteiner" should be Karl Landsteiner.

drgaryegrant said...

Angela is absolutely right. You hadn't started John, so you shouldn't have finished.....

Londinius said...

Hi Angela - Hi Gary

I watched this show on the telly, not on the iplayer , so I didn't replay the incident in question. I did think at the time that it looked a little close, but thought no more of it. I'll go and have a look at the replay now.


Londinius said...

Well - blow me down - or words to that effect.

It's certainly a close call. The buzzer, as I heard it just now, goes off before Mike Clark has finished giving the answer- and John Humphreys starts speaking a fraction of an instant after the buzzer has started. A marginal call, but with the benefit of hindsight I think that the video referee would have ruled that the ball was incorrectly grounded. Or to put it another way, Angela and Gary are right as far as I can see.

I hope that Ged Meheran is offered a place in the next series to make up for it to some extent - or even an extra place in the semi finals.