Friday, 26 October 2012

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 13

After last week I thought it was probably wise not to expect quite such a high scoring show tonight. Besides, it’s nearly always better to judge each show on its own merits, and so I settled back in anticipation as the first of tonight’s contenders, Kathy Richards, approached the chair. Apparently Kathy is from Swansea. To the best of my knowledge we haven’t met, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Still , it did lead me to wonder how regular a quizzer she might be. Yes, it’s true that you don’t have to be a regular quizzer to get a good score in GK, but there is no doubt in mind that it helps. Not that such considerations were relevant right at this moment since this was the Specialist round. Kathy was answering on the TV series The Waltons. I thought that Kathy’s 12 points and 1 pass looked pretty good. I was a lot younger at the time, but to my memory it seemed that the Waltons was on forever, and there must have been a ton of episodes. I’m a little ashamed to say that a few good guesses, and a couple of half remembered facts like the name Earl Hamner – a name too evocative to be quickly forgotten – brought me five points, my highest specialist score of this unwikied show.

I did think that I would have scored more highly on the second of tonight’s specialists, Sir Nigel Gresley. As a former child trainspotter the name of the great LNER chief engineer certainly lit my candle. Brian O’Donnell obviously knew more correct answers than the 6 he registered, but a few of them just wouldn’t make it past the tip of his tongue. Maybe I’m being unfair to Brian, but he seemed to be a little affected by nerves. I managed 4 of this set.

Alas, that was 4 more points than I managed on The Bernard Sampson novels of Len Deighton. Sometimes you can have a round on books you’ve never read, and general knowledge will still enable you to make a correct guess on one or two questions. Well, not on this round for me. Nick Masonowicz struggled manfully through the set. Like Bernard he too never seemed totally at ease in the chair, but he managed 9 in the end to at least put him within sight of Kathy .

Mark Roberts’ specialist subject offered the possibility of at least a couple of points. He was answering questions on Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, the old ‘painted pantaloon ‘ himself. Did you know that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert called him Pilgerstein in private ? It comes from the German – Pilger , which means a pilgrim ( palmer being an old fashioned alternative to pilgrim ) Stein which means stone. All of which digression can no longer delay my telling you that I only managed 3 of these despite having read a biography of him 4 or 5 years ago – and 2 of them were guesses. Mark Roberts wasn’t guessing, he knew 9 of them. He certainly seemed a little more at ease than the previous two contenders.

My total of 12 for the first round wasn’t a high one, but it wasn’t my worst of the series. At the halfway stage, then, Brian O’Donnell looked out of it, but any of the other three could possibly win. It looked highly unlikely that any of the four contenders would get that close to Chris Quinn’s 27 from last week. Brian still looked a little nervous as he came back to the chair. While his round didn’t exactly flow, it was a good demonstration of grit and determination, as he kept plugging away through the round to get himself into the teens, with 13 points.

This looked even better when Nick Masonowicz fell into a pass spiral midway through his own round. He hadn’t answered badly up to about a minute in, but after that it was a struggle for him, and in the end he finished with 10 points. His 19 tied with Brian, but the 7 passes in the round ruled him out of any chance of a place in the semis. Mark Roberts didn’t answer quickly in his own set, but he did maintain enough composure to keep picking off the questions he knew. On a lower scoring show, that can be enough. His 11 points put him in the outright lead with 20. Let’s be honest, it’s not a high total for 4 and a half minutes of questions, but it had become a rather tight and nervous show. It certainly looked as if it would be a good enough total to put Kathy into the corridor of uncertainty.

Kathy Richards needed 9 to be certain , or 8 and no passes to win. Not a huge total, certainly , but by no means a given, especially when the weight of pressure of expectation of a win is taken into consideration. Kathy’s round was hesitant, and although she kept plugging away, answering those she knew, the finishing line was coming too quickly. John commiserated with her for not answering the last question, but the fact was that it wouldn’t have made a difference, since she scored 7 and 4 passes. So it turned out to be another close, tight show, although in a completely different way from last week’s heat. Spare a thought for Bart Smith, 4th in last week’s show. His 25 from last week would have won this show at a canter. Having said that , though, I still wouldn’t like to see the show changed so that heat winners aren’t guaranteed an automatic semi final slot. That’s just my opinion, though, and as always . . .

The Details

Kathy Richards The Waltons12 - 17 - 419 – 5
Brian O’DonnellSir Nigel Gresley6 - 313 - 119 – 4
Nick MasonowiczThe Bernard Sampson Novels of Len Deighton9 - 310 - 719 – 10
Mark RobertsHenry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston9 - 111 - 120 – 1

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