Monday, 24 September 2012

Only Connect - Round One - Heat 5

The Trenchermen v. The Numerists

Every OC match up offers us something of interest. Tonight it was a Youth v. Experience confrontation. Experience featured in the persons of the Trenchermen, Steve Donnelly, Gareth Williams and captain Bob Hughes.Youth on the other hand was ably represented by the Numerists, Hannah Twitchell, Dorian Lidell and captain James Wilson. In an everyday quiz you’d give experience the nod over youth the majority of time. But then OC is no ordinary quiz. None of the competitors were previously known to me, as far as I know, so I wasn’t making any predictions this time round.

Round One – What’s the Connection ?

Kicking off with the horned viper, the Trenchermen were given music to start. I didn’t recognize an excerpt from The Soldier’s Tale, but I did know Soldier, Soldier, and A Scottish Soldier. The Trenchers also took Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier, before supplying the correct answer. Nice little music set that. The Numerists also took a full set from twisted flax. Shaking a pair of gloves – snapping a carrot in half – Crumpling cellophane and walking in cat litter gave them Foley sound effects. I went with that, but it also occurred to me that maybe all 4 of them also form part of the initiation ceremony of the Masons, but I digress. Now, when the Trenchers went for two reeds, they were given Miss World 1973 as the first clue. I shouted out the correct answer – and so, in a manner of speaking, did they. They went for the full five, and found them, with the correct answer that the connection would be that all of the people in the list were stripped of their titles. Maybe a gentler one that if you were around at the time, but then that’s just the lack of the draw. Kudos to the Trenchers for having the guts to go for it, rather than taking ‘another one to be sure’. Adding insult to injury, the Nums then found pictures behind Lion. They maybe didn’t know that the hyena shown in the first was in fact an aardwolf, and that the third picture showed Ffion Hague. They had the right idea, but zigged with doubled letter Fs, when they should have gone with double letters starting the words. This was a bonus which the Trenchers were happy to accept. Still, the Trenchers then returned the favour. They two were in the ballpark, saying that the set behind the eye of Horus – A heart – The Once and Future King – Post War Berlin were all divided in two. Ah, but a heart has 4 chambers. The last part – This question – proved that the Nums were right in saying that they were all divided in four parts – post war Berlin had 4 sectors. The Nums finished the round, and their own mini fightback , by knowing that Sierpinski’s Triangle – The Blind Assassin and Matryoshka are all examples of recursion – each has a little version of itself inside, which has a little version fo itself inside – you get the point. So did the Nums, which put them up to 4, as against the Trenchers’ 7.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?

I’m afraid that basic quiz knowledge let down the Trenchers for the set behind Lion. They knew that Kauai and Oahu were islands, but didn’t get that they all formed part of Hawaii. The Nums knew that the largest island of the group is Hawaii itself, aka the Big Island. For their own question they impressed Victoria no end by knowing that 2005 – 8 Isthmian Premier / 2008 – 9 Conference South / 2009 – 11 Conference National – would be followed by 2011 League 2. I had it , but I didn’t know why, other than it’s the next league up. However the Nums also knew that this is the sequence of the rise and rise of AFC Wimbledon. Impressive stuff. Stung into action, the Trenchers called for Water, and given 10: The Wheel of Fortune, and 11: Justice, they played the percentages, knowing this would be tarot cards, and plumped for 13: Death. Simple as that, and a good couple of points earned. Still, if the Trenchers could go early successfully, so could the Nums. Given Kitty – Mary – they leapt right in with Jane, the oldest of the Bennett sisters from Pride and Predjudice – knowing that the youngest, Lydia, had been left off. The twisted flax picture clues called for real lateral thinking. Viper gave the Trenchers pictures of a handball, a volleyball, and a basketball. Neither team figured that these were 7 , then 6, then 5 a side games. So any ball from a 4 a side game – like polo – would have done. No, I didn’t get it either, but it’s a great set. Finally the Numerists let points slip by working out that Centre – Down Centre – Apron were all moving forward along a stage, but not figuring out that if you come any further forward then you’re in the orchestra pit. The Trenchers knew this, and so it meant that at the end of the round they still led, but only by 10 to 11.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Numerists were impressing me a little more as the game went on, and they managed to unravel the whole wall before the time was up. They knew that Turin – Calgary – Chamonix – Nagano have all been host cities for the Winter Olympic Games. Haymarket – Criterion – Prince of Wales and Lyric they knew were large London Theatres. Lillehammer – XYZ – Iran-Contra – Profumo provided one of those moments when Victoria allows a little leeway, and in this case I think it was justified. The Nums offered scandals – while the word being sought was – Affairs, but this time I certainly agreed that they were close enough. The set which they couldn’t get was Boateng – Guinness - Oldfield and Wakely. I’ll be honest, only Boateng and Oldfield gave me fashion designers. A good wall though to give them 7 points.

The Trenchers didn’t fare so wwell with the Lion. They unraveled Shut up – Michael Caine – House of Fun and Lovestruck as Madness songs. That was it though. When the wall was resolved, they could see that Insurance – benefit – Advance Fee and Carousel are all forms of financial fraud. They also knew that Teacup – Octopus – Waltzer and Pirate Ship are all forms of fairground ride.However they didn’t recognize Jel - Mayja – Reem and Vajazzle. It was Vajazzle that gave this one to me . They are all slang terms from The Only way Is Essex – which I believe is a television programme which is popular with a certain stratum of the viewing public. The 4 points they earned were not enough to keep the lead. This now belonged to the Numerists, who led by 17 to 15.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

The Nums had the air of a team that could do very well in the last round, and this impression was confirmed as they leapt into the fray with a 3 -1 score on Air travel terms. This score they repeated on major geographical features of Africa. They only managed two of the Misers, but since the Trenchers only managed 1 it didn’t matter. There was just time for the Nums to pick up one of the Undergarments before the end of the contest.

At the end it looked a very comfortable win for the Numerists by 26 to 18. It was just the way that things worked out. The Trenchermen have nothing to reproach themselves about, it just didn’t work out for them on the wall, and they were beaten by a very good ‘vowels team’. Well done Numerists – good luck in the next round.


Andrew B. said...

I thought James and Dorian looked familiar; checking online, they've been on Pointless (together, successfully), University Challenge and Countdown (so perhaps it's not surprising that they were strong in Round 4).

The Trenchermen were unlucky (and careless) with the fairground rides on their wall, as they tried every set of 4 from the obvious 5 (some of them twice) except the right one...

Correction: The score was 7-4 after Round One, not 11-4.

Jack said...

Yes, James and Dorian both represented Bath on University Challenge in separate years. Both unluckily drew strong teams in the first round: James' team lost to the LSE 220-85 in 2008-09, and Dorian's to Christ Church Oxford 270-105 last year.

That, and the fact they'd been on Pointless, ensured them my instant support. So, naturally, I was pleased when they got the upper hand late on.

But the Trenchermen were a good team, and it's a shame we won't see them again. Against another team, they could well have gone through.

Unknown said...

My usual tactic of choosing the most "old fartish" (apologies) looking team to win backfired. After getting the 5 pointer I think the Trenchermen got over-confident, and a couple of over aggressive guesses (better to get the one point than let the other team get it) let the Nums in. The failure to get the fairground rides really was a rookie error. It was clear who was going to do best on the Missing Vowels.

Pleased to say there were four of mine on display, including the 5 pointer. Not sure how I feel about someone getting it after 1 clue. For the record the others were the double letter pics, the four parts and the Hawaiian islands. Nothing too tricky there. I loved the sport balls set - wish I'd thought of that.

HughTube said...

About 8 o'clock on Monday evening I thought of an 'Only Connect' style question where 'The Blind Assassin' was going to be one of four things named for the same sort of thing that occurs within it. I was a little surprised when such a similar question came up, but at least I got it.

Londinius said...

Hi Everyone

Andrew thanks - I was a bit cream crackered when I wrote it, and never noticed the mistake. I've corrected it since, thanks.

Jack - I think that the Trenchermen were a decent, middling team. Not lacking in general knowledge at all, but you wouldn't have fancied them as potential champions, in all honesty. As Watergrass Jon says, I agree that I think they got a little too headstrong after taking the 5 pointer. They dropped points they could have had on the first 2 rounds - whereas by careful , good play the Numerists got every point they could have had.

Watergrass Jon - I would never have put it quite in those terms, but your category for picking a winner is something that does come to mind with me when I don't know any of the contestants personally. In many ways this went pretty much the way you might predict. I don't know if reality would bear out this assumption, but I always tend to think that the OFs are more likely to have a lead after the first two rounds, but if the nippers are on level terms, or close to being so on the last round, then they will win. I too just knew that the Numerists were going to be much better on the vowels round - which I suppose is the one round where the experienced quizzer doesn't necessarily have that much of an advantage - and indeed the cruciverbalist is probably a lot better off.

Unknown said...

Fascinating to read all your analysis and comments. Intrigued that the team who'd done lots of quizzing should get Jack's support, and that we got the support of Jon on the basis of our advanced years!

I know it's a cliche, but actually being on the show does tend to lead you to behave differently to being at home - witness the mess up on the fairground rides; we even had a strategy for exactly that eventuality (which we failed to deploy....)

We very deliberately went for the more aggressive strategy, and it almost paid of. We're kicking ourselves over a couple we just got wrong in the heat of the moment (our debates were edited out, but we know we knew them!).

On the final round, what doesn't come over on the TV is that we did actually hit the buzzer on pretty much every question - but the speed of the other team got us every time. We're convinced that's an age and a reflex thing, but hey, we would say that! Overall, a great show and a fun experience.

And I still think someone should invent a fairground ride called the Vajazzle.....

Londinius said...

Hi Bob

Thanks a lot for taking the time and trouble to drop us a line. Bad luck about what happened on the show, but I'm glad that you enjoyed the experience. I always thought that OC was probably the most enjoyable experience I had on TV ( with the exception of the 2007 final of Mastermind ) .

The Vajazzle ? Well, you'd certainly pull in a certain type of punter at Alton Towers for a ride like that !

The thing with the vowels round is that there is a slight time delay in the braodcast, I believe, to allow the good folks at home to have a go at the words. I agree with what you say about being on the show makes you Behave differently from the way you would playing at home - but still all credit to you for going for the first five pointer - as I said in the review it ws a good shout anyway, but it must have taken real nerve not to have gone for just one more clue to confirm it.

Once again, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Unknown said...

Apologies again to Bob and team for calling them "old fartish" (from a recognised OF). And well done for getting what I think is the series' first 5 pointer (even if it means that I wasted my time crafting the other 3 clues!) I hated teams getting 10/10 in a round when I used to set pub quizzes, but with this type of question there's always the chance that someone just happens to have that vital piece of trivia revealed in the first clue - so well done on that, although it sounded like any of the four clues would have given you the answer.

bj said...

Dave is right that there is a slight delay on the broadcast of answers to missing vowels to allow the viewers the chance to answer, on the basis that most viewers are not going to be as quick as the contestants. And Bob is right in that it can look like a team is simply not getting the answers on the show, just because they are a fraction of a second slower to the buzzers. Experience clearly shows that the younger contestants do consistently get there a fraction ahead of older competitors.

Hannah said...

Hello all. This is Hannah from the Numerists. Apologies for the delay in commenting - I always read the blog for the OC posts and was waiting to hear the verdict! Thanks for all the comments.

While the boys are fairly experienced, I'd never been quizzing outside of a pub or my own home, so it was nice to contribute a few points along the way. I know I have a very different knowledge base to the boys, and was a tad over-cautious on a couple of occasions (foley methods being a case in point).

We were really surprised by how well sequences went in comparison to the first round, but they were all dream questions for James, who I think lived in Hawaii for a bit and really does like his football.

We were fairly happy with the wall, but had we had the Trenchers' wall, we might have got the full 10. Oh well. I feel I should point out I don't watch TOWIE, but I have good friends that do...

We also had a feeling missing vowels would go our way, given how they went in rehearsals. I agree that it's the youthful reaction times that gave us an edge. I guess that's part of the balance of different abilities/skills across the game that makes OC so interesting.

I'm still not sure whether I'm going to put myself on the spot again TV-wise, but we'll see. OC was so friendly and welcoming, even if quiz-wise you're chucking yourself in the deep end!

Londinius said...

Hi Hannah

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to drop by and fill us in about your experiences on the show. I'm so glad to hear you say that you had a good time and found everyone warm and welcoming. This was my experience of the show - indeed, Jenny the Producer only emailed me earlier this week to say that she's enjoying the reviews. Believe me, there's not that many producers who would think of taking the time and trouble to do that.

I think we've all had experiences on TV of wishing we'd had the other guy/team's questions, but in my experience it all tends to balance itself out in the end.

Congratulations on a fine performance, and I wish you the best of retrospective luck in the next round.