Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Round Up 1 - Mastermind Round 1 - Heat 3

Yes, I’m back. I know that I have a bit of catching up to do, so let’s start with last Friday’s Mastermind. First to go was Roland McFall. Now, I thought that this name rang a bell, and a quick search through my records reveals that Roland competed in the 2010/11 series of University Challenge as a member of the St. Edmund’s Hall team. They were knocked out by a good team from Downing, Cambridge in the first round. I’m always glad to see a UC old boy taking on the quite different challenge that is posed by the black chair. Roland’s subject was the band Radiohead. I confess that I didn’t take the wiki challenge for this show, so I had to be satisfied with my 2 points. At several points during his round Roland seemed to have the answer on the tip of his tongue without being able to cajole it any further, and he finished with a respectable 10, which nonetheless seemed to guarantee that he would be playing catch up in the second half.

There was one specialist subject I fancied going into the show, and one I half fancied. The one I half fancied was offered to us by Graeme Marley. The Sherlock Holmes stories are favourites of mine, but, and this needs to be stressed to anyone who has ever considered going in for this subject – there are an awful lot of them. I crave your indulgence for a moment. One of my earliest experiences of quiz success was in the Elthorne High School six form Mastermind competition in 1981. I was in the lower sixth, and amongst my rivals was an exceptionally bright upper sixth former called Emma Rushton – who certainly went on to either Oxford or Cambridge. If I recall correctly, Emma opted for the Sherlock Holmes stories. By which she meant the 4 novels. However the question setter had also included the 56 short stories. A salutary lesson for anyone thinking of going into the show proper, there. As for Graeme, he had some nastily long questions, and by crikey you needed to really know the details of the stories to get into double figures. I managed just two. Graeme managed his double figures, with 10, but I couldn’t help wondering if he might come to regret that 5 passes he had incurred.

AS for the subject that I fancied, well, that was The Goodies, and it was the specialist subject of Sarah Lefevre. As it turned out, my round was pretty much the opposite of Sarah’s. I scored 8 points, by getting a few of the programme details right, and pretty much all of the peripherals, about shows that had appeared on before etc. Sarah did a lot better getting pretty much all of the programme details right, and only missing out on a couple of the peripherals. 13 and no passes gave her a handy cushion over the two previous contenders, and for my money at least would give her a shout in the GK round. All depending on the last contender.

This was Aidan McQuade. Aidan’s subject of Michael Collins didn’t offer me many possibilities, and I was delighted, and surprised, to get a couple of them – which gave me no pointless rounds. Aidan’s was clearly the pick of the specialist rounds in this show. He picked up one pass, but 15 correct answers in what sounded a difficult round to my untutored ears put him into pole position. Still, with two and a half minutes on GK, all things are possible.

Roland McFall was the first to put this old axiom to the test. As a TV competitor with ‘previous’ he put on a good performance I thought. The main thing with these rounds is cracking on, and answering what you can. You just can’t dwell on previous wrong answers or passes, for that way lays the road to pass hell. Alright, 13 isn’t going to be the highest GK round we see this series, but it was enough to put even Aidan into the corridor of uncertainty. Graeme Marley seemed more obviously ill at ease than Roland, but the main thing was that he kept answering. It didn’t, if I’m honest, look a great round, and yet the score kept mounting, and he reached a perfectly respectable 12 by the buzzer. It put him a point behind Roland.

Occasionally the order for the second round works out exactly as that of the first round, and this was just such a show. Sarah Lefevre had a three point cushion over Roland at the halfway stage, and required a score of 11 to go into the outright lead. I’m afraid that she didn’t have a great round. She fell into a pass spiral at an early point in the round, and it is actually to her credit that she managed to pull herself out of this. At one stage she mouthed – I do know this -. Sarah, if it’s any consolation at all we have all been in that position, and there’s nothing you can do with it when the recall just won’t work for you. Don’t beat yourself up over it. At the end of the round Sarah’s total had risen to 19. Aidan’s task was pretty straightforward. He had to go for the win, for it was now pretty clear that the second place in this show is highly unlikely to be in the running for a runner up slot. 8 correct answers and fewer than 4 passes would be enough. 9 correct answers and as many passes as he pleased would also do the job. Again, I don’t know if it was nerves – I can understand this. I always preferred setting a score to chasing one, myself – still, Aiden struggled to impose himself on this round. I felt that all of the four GK rounds were much of a muchness in terms of difficulty, and my scores for each were , in order, 20,19,16 and 19. To cut a long story short, Aidan struggled, but he didn’t panic, he didn’t fall into pass hell, and he answered 9 questions correctly, to give him the win. Well played, and an exciting show. As a rather pointless footnote, my unwiki-ed aggregate on the specialists in this show was 14.

The Details

Roland McFallRadiohead10 - 313 - 223 – 5
Graeme MarleyThe Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle10 - 512 - 322 - 7
Sarah Lefevre The Goodies13 - 06 - 619 - 6
Aidan McQuadeMichael Collins15 - 19 - 524 – 6


dxdtdemon said...

Even though it was a different Michael Collins, didn't you think it was strange for that to be a Mastermind topic on the weekend of the death of Neil Armstrong? I realize it was a coincidence, but still strange. While the group whose episode was last week suffered from John Humphrys asking significantly fewer questions, this weeks group had much fewer correct answers per 40 than the first two groups. In week 1, two people were around 30, and week 2, two people were around 29, but I think that the winner this week was right around 27.

Londinius said...

Hi demon
Synchronicity ! Well, yes, this show's winner doesn't really look like a potential finalist, but then you can sometimes get surprises.