Friday, 18 January 2013

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 20

According to my database we had 4 brand new contenders in tonight’s show. I mean, there was a Tim Parry in Leslie’s 1981 series, but I doubt it’s the same chap. Unless of course, you know different. He was to come in a minute. Meanwhile, Phil Bennion kicked us off with the life and films of Marilyn Monroe. I kind of thought that Joe di Maggio would be one of the free gifts in this round, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact there were either a few easier ones, or I knew more about Marilyn Monroe than I thought. It was probably a bit of both, and I scored 7. Phil seemed pretty secure, and it was only the more obscure stuff about which seemed to give him any problem at all. 11 wasn’t the sort of total to scare the pants off the rest, but it was enough to at least give Phil the chance of a win.

Tim parry had a good, old, traditional Mastermind subject in the shape of David Lloyd George. Prior to the start of the show I felt that this was the subject which offered me the best opportunity of points, and I scored another 7. I was quite amused by John’s answer of ‘close enough’ to Tim’s pronunciation of the name of the Carmarthenshire village where Lloyd George grew up. It didn’t put him off too much, and he too reached double figures with 10. Even show so far.

When I saw the subject being offered by Nell Whiteway, Swallows and Amazons, I did wonder whether she was being allowed to answer questions on just one book. I needn’t have worried. The subject encompassed all of the Swallows and Amazons books of Arthur Ransome. Unfortunately I can’t possibly comment on the difficulty or otherwise of the round, because I have never read any. This probably explains why I scored a big fat zero. Nell, on the other hand showed excellent composure, and for most of the round looked very likely to set a perfect score. She missed out on just one question in the end, but a round of 15 gave her what looked likely to be a very useful lead – all depending on what Peter Gibbs could manage.

It’s relatively rare to see a specialist round where it all goes rather pear shaped these days, and sadly for Peter, his was one. I don’t know if it was chair nerves – quite possibly it was – but the round just never really got going for him, and it looked like a struggle for points all the way through. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does you can only feel sorry for the contender, and hope that the GK round gives them a decent chance to put matter to rights.

Well, I’m happy to say that this was exactly the case with Peter’s round. He managed to put the troubles of the specialist round behind him , finding correct answers to the first 5 on the bounce. He scored 12, to take his score to 17, but the round was actually a little better than that, but suffered simply because Peter wasn’t quite snapping the answers out. Had he gone a little more quickly I reckon he would have had at least another point, and possibly two. Still, at least he can say that he was in the lead at one point of the show now. Tim, unlike Peter before him, really did have a chance of posting a challenging total. Well, as we always say, if you get into double figures then you certainly haven’t done badly. Still, 11 points was only enough to take the total to 21. This wasn’t going to be enough to put pressure on Nell.

Phil did better. His task was quite clear, actually. In order to get a good chance of a highest runner up slot he would need a monster of a score, and it became obvious from early doors that he wasn’t quite going to do that. So the next thing was to try to get the win, by applying pressure. The best – in fact only – way of doing this is by posting as high a target as you can manage. Phil’s score of 14 wasn’t a whopper, but it wasn’t bad. It set the target for Nell at 10 and 2 passes or less. She was still the favourite, but she would have to negotiate the corridor of uncertainty at least. After 30 seconds it looked dodgy. After a minute it looked as if she would be close, but maybe fall short. She could have collapsed at this point, but she didn’t. Nell picked up pace in the last 40 seconds or so, and was through the tape with a couple of questions to spare. In the end her score of 12 for a total of 27 meant that her victory was clear. Well done and good luck in the semis . The Details

Phil Bennion The Life and Films of Marilyn Monroe 11 – 114 – 2 25 – 3
Tim Parry Life and Career of David Lloyd George 10 – 1 11 – 3 21 – 4
Nell Whiteway Swallows and Amazons 15 – 0 12 – 0 27 – 0
Peter Gibbs Life and Career of the 1st Duke of Wellington 5 – 4 12 – 3 17 – 7

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