Friday, 21 September 2012

Mastermind Round One - Heat 6

Right, let’s recap. I decided earlier in the week that I’d take the wiki challenge on the third and fourth subjects of tonight’s show – The Life and Work of Dave Allen, and General Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn. If you’re a regular you’ll know that I posted my Dave Allen set culled from his wiki page a few days ago. However the Custer questions have been notable by their absence, for the simple reason that I just didn’t find enough time this week to find them. So I only wikied on Dave Allen this week.

That’s not really that important anyway. Let’s look at the show. Michael Bradshaw kicked us off with The Epsom Derby since 1980. Now , I know what you need to know about the Epsom Derby for general quizzes, but I had no idea if it would be enough to bring many points in a Mastermind specialist round. So you can imagine I was quite pleased when it was enough to bring me 7 points. Of course this paled into insignificance alongside Michael Bradshaw’s almost perfect 16 – only one wrong answer in an otherwise flawless display. A really fine performance to begin the show. Game on.

I’ve had to follow a specialist round of that calibre myself in the past, and it’s not easy to put it out of your mind as you’re walking forward for your own round. All the more credit to Les Wallace for not letting it affect his own round. As I mentioned in a previous post one of my earliest career ambitions was to become a palaeontologist, and I suppose that enough residual knowledge from my juvenile obsession with dinosaurs and what came after ( alright, a long time after ) to allow me to cull 6 answers from the round. Which incidentally was exactly half of Les’ score of 12. That was a good performance on this round, but even in a 2 and a half minute round a gap of 4 points is a large one to bridge.

Hazel Humphreys has contested the first round of Mastermind before. In Ian’s 2010/11 series she was in the same first round heat as Mike Foden ( a little bird tells me that Mike will be contesting his own heat a little later on in this series ) , where they were both beaten by Peter Reilly, who went on to be runner up to Ian in the final . Back then Hazel took the life of Richard Pryor. Then she scored 13. Tonight she answered on my wiki choice, Dave Allen, and exceeded her previous score with a fine 15. I found that quite a few of the questions could be answered through familiarity with the wiki page. Add a couple more which I knew anyway, and I was pretty pleased with my own score of 11.

Chris Kirk came to the chair, probably knowing that a good performance was essential if he was to be able to compete, let alone win the show. Not a lot passed him by in this round, either. As we’ve often observed, anything in the teens on specialist is a good score, and Chris’ 13 at least gave him a fighting chance,. even if he was to be playing catch up in the GK round. As for me, despite not having time to wiki, there were thankfully enough old stagers - as predicted Comanche the horse was asked for - in order for me to get 5 points on the round. Adding up all my specialist scores I was quite pleased with the 29 aggregate, considering that I only wikied one of the subjects.

It’s not that often that a score of 12 on specialist will leave you in last place at the turn, but that’s what happened to Les Wallace. Still he returned to the chair, and started the GK round very effectively. What he did well was to keep the round ticking over. He wasn’t getting everything right by any means, but he kept answering, or using strategic passes to keep the questions coming, so that he could pick off what he did know. 10 might not be a huge return for a long GK round, but each of the points was earned. 22 didn’t look like a winning score, though.

Chris Kirk never looked at all comfortable when he returned to the chair, and his round was never quite as effective as that of Les. Yet he too did manage to keep the score moving, and inexorably moved towards the 9 points he needed to match Les’ total. He finished with 9 for the round, which also gave him 22. However Chris had only used 3 passes, which technically put him into first, with two players still to go.

Back in her previous appearance , according to the LAM review of the time, Hazel struggled in her GK round. Lightning does sometimes strike twice in the same place. Although she never lost her smile, or her sense of humour, she never got on terms with the round, and never established a momentum. Last time out she scored 8 for GK, this time she missed that by one. The interesting result was that like Chris, she had finished on 22 and 3 passes. I thought it was highly likely that Matthew would surpass their total, but if he didn’t, then we’d be in for the first tie break of this series.

Matthew needed 7 to win, and he had four of these in the first few questions. Then the round rather slowed down. The fact was, though, that a target of seven really isn’t enough to put a contender into the corridor of uncertainty, and there was a certain inevitability about the way that Matthew steadied the ship, passed the total, and eventually pushed his score for the round out to 10 points. In the end he won comfortably with 26 points.

So what we had tonight, really, was a game of 2 halves. In the specialists all of the contenders had prepared and knew their stuff, and none seemed overawed. In the GK although there was much honest endeavor nobody really managed to take the round by the scruff of the neck, and nobody hugely impressed. For the record I thought that the GK rounds were fair, scoring 18 on Les’, 19 on Chris’, then 16 on both of the last two rounds, where the contenders themselves didn’t really establish a momentum. The Details

Matthew Bradshaw The Epsom Derby since 198016 – 0 10 - 226 – 2
Les WallaceExtinct Fauna of the Ice Age12 - 110 - 422 – 5
Hazel HumphreysThe Life and Work of Dave Allen15 – 07 - 322 - 3
Chris KirkGeneral Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn13 - 09 - 322 – 3

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