Saturday, 1 December 2012

Brain of Britain - Round 1 - Heat 1

I have an inkling that this is going to be a hell of a series of BoB, knowing just some of the illustrious names who are taking part in the series. Still, we’ll come to that in the fullness of time. A slight gripe to start with. The continuity announcer claimed that BoB is the ‘longest running general knowledge quiz of them all '. Well, hang on a second. What about Radio 4’s own Round Britain Quiz ? OK, it’s not a ‘straight ‘ quiz, and it’s not open to members of the general public, but you just have got to have a huge store of general knowledge in order to be able to play. Alright, never mind. let’s get on with the show.

The regional heats of yesteryear – from which I benefited in 2009/10 – are long gone. In each show contenders are from all over the place. In this, the first of the series, we had : -
Carol Atkinson from the Isle of Wight
Douglas Dickie from Aberdeen
Anthony Fish from Torfaen ( not that close to LAM Towers, but close enough to receive my support ) and Philip Isaac from Cornwall. Carol Atkinson kicked off with 2, but she didn’t know the NASA Curiosity probe. Anthony Fish took the bonus. Douglas Dickie didn’t know Strigidae are owls, but Philip Isaac did, and he opened his score with this bonus. Now, Anthony Fish took all five of his set. OK, they were all gettable, but none of them gimmes, and this was a great way to open the show. Philip Isaac missed his first on the latin name for the blackberry. So, with a whopping 7 points in the first round alone, Anthony looked well on his way to potentially a massive score, and the others were playing catch up . Carol Atkinson set about her business by taking the first three of her set, but Mount Parnassus defeated her, and gave Philip another bonus. Douglas probably should have known that Stanley met Livingstone on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, and this gave Anthony another point to add to his already burgeoning hoard. No full set for him now though, for he answered that Cavendish isolated the element oxygen, rather than the correct answer, Hydrogen, which Philip Isaac knew. For his own set his first question did for him, when nobody knew a gyro compass. Carol at least had cut back Anthony’s lead somewhat, and she now had 5 to his 8.

Carol again weighed in with a good couple of answers, but sport did for her. Anthony knew that Mary Rand won the first women’s track and field gold medal for GB in the 1964 Olympics. Douglas again missed his first , giving Philip a bonus for knowing that Ernesto was Che Guevara’s original christian name. Anthony didn’t know his first, that anthrax is nicknamed wool sorters’ disease. Philip took a bonus, but didn’t know his first , about Y Fronts. That round narrowed things up even further. Carol now had 7 to Anthony’s 9.Carol missed her first, and that gave Douglas his start, knowing that Lord Moran who wrote biographies of Churchill, was his doctor. He took his own first, but didn’t know about the discovery of nerve gases or nerve agents. Anthony again struggled with his own set, missing the chestnut about the original name of Yahoo – Philip took a bonus on this one. A good cricket questions followed and gave Douglas a bonus. He was the net gainer for the round, as neither Carol nor Anthony had scored.

The listener’s questions were these. In which year did women first compete in the modern Olympics. I knew that it was 1900, but the brains went for 1924. The second was which was the last year that gold medals in the Olympics were made of solid gold. I knew it was 1912, but the brains went for 1964. A book token well earned.

Carol didn’t know the pineapple shaped folly , and Anthony did what he had to, and snapped up the bonus. Douglas missed his own first , and gave Anthony another bonus on Florence. He didn’t know that ‘That Old Devil Moon’ was originally written for the musical Finian’s Rainbow. Neither did I . Philip Isaac didn’t know that Helen of Troy’s old mum was queen of Sparta, but Carol did, which was enough to take her score to 8. Anthony, though, had taken his own score to 11. At this stage of the game Douglas looked unlikely to win, but either Philip or Carol could, given the right set of 5, overtake Anthony. Carol took her first, but nobody knew about the channel connecting the duodenum and the pancreas. Douglas didn’t know that the William Herschel telescope is on the La Palma, and neither did anyone else. Anthony didn’t know that it is the Lord Steward of the Household issues invitations to royal garden parties. Philip missed a bit of a sitter, saying that ‘gangnam style ‘ Psy is from North Korea. Anthony knew he is from South Korea. That was enough to give him a lead of 12 to Carol’s 9. She missed her first question, a gettable one about the teaching of evolution. That gave Douglas a bonus. He took his own first, but rather surprisingly missed one of the oldest chectnuts in the quiz book, by not knowing that a pink triangle is a youth hostel on an ordnance survey map. Anthony was happy to take the bonus on that. He couldn’t identify the work of Tom Stoppard, which gave Carol a bonus. I’m sorry to say that Philip also missed a real quiz chestnut, misidentifying the world’s largest species of rodent as the coypu. Anthony was in quickly for that one. Those couple of bonuses took his score to 14 – precisely double his first round score, and with carol back on 10 it was going to take something a little bit special to prevent Anthony from breaking the tape in first place. C’rol's challenge was ended by terms from Hindu thought for the 4 ages of the world. Douglas didn’t know that Sturgess was the maiden name of Margot Leadbetter, and nor did anyone else – expect for me ! Anthony Fish didn’t know one of the poems of Elizabeth Ist, but Philip did. He was unlucky to be given an equation where he knew what the terms stood for, but not the name, Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion, which was required. Unlucky, that. So the final scores were : -

Douglas Dickie – 5
Philip Isaac – 7
Carol Atkinson – 10
Anthony Fish – 14

A good show which demonstrated the importance of getting that full set when you’re in with a shout. Welcome back, BoB – I’ve missed you.

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