Friday, 30 November 2012

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 15

Another week, another 4 Mastermind virgins, and another 4 very different subjects. Hang on, I’m starting to sound like a BBC continuity announcer here – well, apart from the virgins bit, anyway. Let’s get on with the show, then.

Alcuin Edwards was answering on the first of tonight’s two popular culture specialist subjects, namely Alice Cooper. Now, John didn’t ask him Alice Cooper’s real name, which I thought would have been my best shot at a point for this round. I shouldn’t have worried too much though. I was happy to pick up three –for example I didn’t know that Donovan sang backing vocals on one of his records, but if you’re asked a question “Which British folk singer of the 1960s . . . “ Donovan is always going to be a decent punt. Alcuin scored 11, which looked a decent score on this set. Still, he did seem to be taking his time a little with his answers, and you fancied that if he was trailing at half time he might need to pick up the pace of his answers a little.

My specialist pick of the night was taken by Charlotte Mason. If you read my previous post you’ll know that I’ve just been reading NASA flight director Eugene Krantz’ memoirs, and there were quite a few answers to this round that I was able to get just from this. In fact, my score of 8 matched Charlotte’s , albeit that I didn’t have all the same ones that she had. They weren’t gimmes by any stretch of the imagination, and a couple of long questions seemed to rob her of momentum at crucial moments. Being 3 behind at half time isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, but it does leave you with a lot of work to do in the GK.

Paul Sharp started very well on his round on West Ham since 1970. Inexplicably he seemed to fall into a mid round pass spiral. In particular a question about the time Bobby Moore replaced Bobby Ferguson in goal got an interesting reaction from Paul. I don’t know if it was a case of – damn, I thought they wouldn’t ask that - , but it certainly looked like it. In the end Paul too scored 8. As I say, when the lead score is 11 it’s certainly not a disaster, but Paul looked as if he knew more than that, but just couldn’t get the answers beyond the tip of his tongue.

If it wasn’t for our last specialist subject, then perhaps we wouldn’t have been watching Mastermind, or anything, in the first place. Alright, the churlish pedant could point out that the modern television owes rather more to the work of Philo T. Farnsworth than John Logie Baird, but let’s not dwell on that, and instead, let’s concentrate on David Gow’s round.David had the benefit of having seen all three of his fellow contenders go, and none of them had set a score which was absolutely out of sight. If he could put in a very good round, then he’d certainly be in the box seat going into the GK. Well, he couldn’t quite do that, but his 11 guaranteed him the last slot in the next round, so whatever happened he would know exactly what the target was.

Paul was the first to return to the chair. Well, if he had seemed a little hesitant and uncertain in the first round, his second was a revelation. I would dare to say that Paul is a quizzer, because 16 is a good showing on a 2 and a half minute round, and there were quite a few of what I would call quizzer’s questions in his round – the sort of thing that wouldn’t slow a serious quizzer down, but would be guaranteed to stop the average civilians in their tracks. I do like to bang on about the corridor of uncertainty, I know, but this certainly put the other three contenders into that particular area of the building.

Charlotte Mason started her GK round brightly enough, and was up with the clock for the first half dozen questions. After that , though, the sort of questions which I mentioned in the previous paragraph started impeding her progress. It became clear before the 90 second mark that she wasn’t going to get there, but nonetheless her 9, for a total of 17 is nothing to be ashamed of.

Knowing that 13 would probably be enough bearing in mind Paul’s relatively high number of passes, Alcuin returned for his GK round. Mind you, knowing the target and achieving it can be two different things. Again, Alcuin didn’t seem to answering particularly quickly, but, and this is a crucial but, he had a three point cushion. what he did particularly well was not get too flustered over wrong answers, and he kept on giving correct ones when he knew them. Alright, 14 is not the highest score on GK that we’ve seen, but it was exactly what was required. Provided that David couldn’t match him, of course, and that was by no means a given.

There really wasn’t a huge amount in it. I thought that David was anwering more quickly than Alcuin, but on the other hand Alcuin had answered more accurately than David was . As the seconds ticked away you couldn’t help feeling that it was going to be close, but David wouldn’t quite get there, and that, truth to say, is pretty much the way that it turned out. 24 is a perfectly good score, but it wasn’t enough to win this show, and it won’t be enough to earn a repechage slot either. Well played, though, and especially congratulations to Alcuin.

The Details

Alcuin Edwards Alice Cooper11 - 114 - 025 – 0
Charlotte MasonThe Gemini Space Programme8 - 29 - 717 – 9
Paul SharpWest Ham United – 1970 to the Present Day8 - 416 - 324 – 7
David GowThe Life and works of John Logie Baird11 - 213 - 124 – 3


DanielFullard said...

Good show. I met David back at an event I was at in Edinburgh (either the WQC or the Brunton Shield) so I was rooting for him!

I don't think we will see anymore highest scoring runners up in the remaining heats so its all on winners now

Ewan M said...

Hard luck to my Dude Abides team-mate David. IMO he had the most difficult GK set by a distance!

Petersbrooking said...

Plutarch, Frank Lloyd Wright, Madame Butterfly? I thought my questions were pretty tough. David slipped up on his pretty easy last question otherwise he would have won. It was an amazing experience though. Poor Alcuin was gutted to have won - he really didn't want to do the semi. I hope he did well though. Great blog, Mr Mastermind fan.

Londinius said...

Hi Guys,
I guessed the same, Dan, based on the whole Chris Quinn for the semis debate.

Hi Ewan

It's all in the eye of the beholder - I can't say that I saw any huge difference in level between any of the four rounds.

Hi Paul - and welcome to LAM.

Thanks for your kind comments, and congratulations on a fine GK round last night. As regards the other GK rounds I certainly didn't think that any set was noticeably easier than the others. For the record, my scores were : - 18 on yours, 15 on Charlotte's ( she was answering much more slowly and didn't get through as many questions ) 18 on Alcuin's and 19 on David's. It's different when you're doing it in the comfort of your front room, mind.

I'm interested to see you say that about Alcuin. I have always thought that a fair number of contenders only go on for the experience of going on the show, wanting to do as well as they can, obviously, but with no thought of winning and going any further. The thing is,though, if you sign on the dotted line you are aware that you could be signing up for as many as three shows. I hope that he'll come to look back on it and say - I'm a Mastermind semi finalist, and that's quite something.

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment.

Andrew B. said...

FWIW, I scored about 3 more on either of Paul's and David's GK sets than on either of the other two. (As you say, it's all subjective). said...

"Gutted" is a slight exaggerration but I was definitely not looking forward to the semi-final but more importantly, the day after the first round was filmed, I had an audition for The Voice (I had prepared an accapela version of "We're In This Together" by Nine Inch Nails and a backed version of "Mack The Knife" by practically everybody although I don't think Alice Cooper ever did a version) and for a moment, I imagined using up my whole year's leave allowance to be on TV.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I didn't get through to The Voice.

LisaH said...

Now I'm confused - who are the current top 4 runners up please?