Saturday, 9 February 2013

Brain of Britain - Round One - Heat 11

Right, well, now we’ve tackled that debate head on, as it were, let’s get on with the main event – the show itself. First up was David Love. Rings a bell with you? It did with me. A quick check on the database, and voila! He took part in the first round of Mastermind in Pat’s 2005 series, and then again in the 2007 SOBM. The second contestant was Richard Moss, who comes up blank on my database. Third, of course, was our Barry Simmons, clear favourite for the show and then some, and finally John Snedden. That was another one which rang a bell for me as well, and I didn’t need to check the database to remember that John was in Gary’s 2012 Mastermind series, where he lost in the semis to our own Nick Reed and Gareth Kingston. So certainly some experience was on show during this contest.

David kicked off with 2 correct answers, but didn’t know that the most densely populated Scandinavian country was Sweden. Barry knew that. Richard opened his account with 2, but really probably should have known that the missing Leatherstocking Tale from the list was the Last of The Mohicans. John made no mistake with that one. Now to Barry. He took his first, but didn’t get the phrase for being in the nude popularized by Danny Kay. Nobody had it – in the Altogether. John took two, but nobody knew that a sign in Milan would lead you to the Last Supper. Fair enough. John led with three and the others had two. David probably should have known the fair Maid of Perth – as did Barry. Richard didn’t know the literal meaning of KGB – Barry did – committee of state security. Barry then switched into a higher gear, and reeled off a set of five, to sprint into a lead. No gimmes there either! 8 points in a row – very impressive. John didn’t know, and neither did anyone else that Orta Benga was the star exhibit in a 1906 zoo exhibition, and he was a human being. Barry now led with 10 to John’s 3. Game over? Maybe.

David missed his first, an excerpt from Rigoletto. Altogether now – Barry had that. Now, this was my moment of the show. I knew the Immelman Roll, and nobody else, including Barry did. I also knew Ahenobarbus made the quote he was given from “Antony and Cleopatra”, but then that’s my job. Right , controversial moment of the show. John didn’t have a clue where the Moho discontinuity can be found. Barry clearly said “between the Core and the Mantle. I thought it was the crust and the mantle, and when Russell said yes, he then went on to say between the crust and the mantle. Okay, now it’s a small thing and made no difference to the outcome, but it’s not the same, is it? Or was it just because all they wanted was in the centre of the Earth? It was difficult to tell. Barry’s lead was now 9.

The Listener’s questions went on to beat the Brains. when asked for the only pair of brothers to both be nominated for acting Oscars they went for the Fabulous Bridges Boys ( alright, not hilarious, I know, but not that bad ), when the Phoenix Bros – River and Joaquin – were required. The second asked for the two currently married couples who have both won an award in an acting category. I knew that the ‘currently’ ruled out Woodward and Newman, but I had Douglas and Zeta-Spartacus-Jones straightaway, but I didn’t get Bardem and Cruz. A well-earned book token there. Now back to the show.

David ran out of time on his first, but Richard knew a set of diseases all transmitted by ticks. For his own set, amazingly nobody knew that “I’m Just a Girl who Can’t say No” comes from Oklahoma! (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s exclamation mark, and not mine). Barry took his first, but each of the contenders floundered on the spelling of Merckx, as in Eddie. John, perhaps with his eyes fixed on a runner up slot in the semis, took two. Some chemistry thing about elements followed. I didn’t really get it, but Barry knew it. 14 points now gained, and John up to 5. David didn’t know his first about Yeats – Barry did. Richard didn’t know his about an island in Washington State, and gave away a bonus on Seattle. Barry didn’t know that Ewan McCall wrote “The first Time Ever I saw your face.” Richard had a bonus there. John really should have known a lava lamp when he heard it described. David took that. David didn’t know that Two Faced Woman was the last film to star Garbo . John knew that. Nobody knew that the three words at the base of memorial stones for unidentified soldiers is ‘known unto God’. Barry , and let’s be honest, he didn’t actually need to answer another question in this show, didn’t know the philosopher Otto Weininger. Not surprised. never heard of him myself. John had as his first a musical question, about hardy perennial Peter and the Wolf. He didn’t know that what we had heard represented the Cat, but David did. That was enough to give him 7 to John’s 6. Barry, mind you, was on 15.

So to the last round. David took his first , but didn’t know that the Puddings of Pudding Lane were originally disposed offal. Nobody had that. Richard didn’t know about the recently knighted Quentin Blake, and that was another one for David. By the way, I was delighted to hear Russell using one of my favourite phrases – a good egg – to describe Sir Quentin as well. Onto Barry. He juggled with the acronym LED, but had it right, although I was a little surprised to see him go for County Down as the County where Malin Head lies. Russell did say in the question that it wasn’t in Northern Ireland. Still, the job was done, so you can’t blame him for taking his foot off the gas by this time. John took a bonus. Only his questions remained to take us to the end of the contest. Alas, nobody could remember that the writers who created Outnumbered are Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin. The final scores then were: -

David Love – 9
Richard Moss – 3
Barry Simmons – 17
John Snedden – 7

Well played all. I’ve made my feelings about the whole subject of Barry playing in BoB clear in my previous post, but it still can’t have been easy for the other three when they saw who they were up against, and they did well to keep their heads, and pick off what they could. But well done to Barry, who I think I detected just easing off a bit in the last couple of rounds once the job was done. There’s a lot more to come from him this series, I dare say. Good luck in the semis!


Andrew B. said...

Barry was twice lucky on science answers: as well as the Moho discontinuity, he referred to "Newlands' law of octets", rather than of "octaves". I can't help wondering if they'd allow "Henry IV Part I" when the expected answer was "Henry IV Part II"...

Londinius said...

Hi Andrew

I know where you're coming from, but as I said, certainly with the Moho Discontinuity one it all depends what they wanted. If they wanted a more general - beneath the surface of the Earth - sort of answer, then Barry's was perfectly acceptable. If on the other hand they wanted - between the crust and the mantle - which is the answer that Russell read out, then Barry was awarded a point for an incorrect answer. Which seems like carelessness on the part of Russell and adjudicator as well. SO I'm guessing that they only wanted beneath the surface of the Earth, because other than mishearing, there is no other explanation.

I have no problem with leeway or leniency, as long as it is applied consistently - and that is where you can get problems. Maybe they wouldn't allow Henry IV pt 1 for Henry VI pt 2, but would they, should they allow Henry VI pt 2 for Henry VI pt 3 ?

Consistency is a talking point for me with BoB. Don't misunderstand me, I think that it is a terrific show - often terrific because of its quirks rather than in spite of them - but sometimes you do wonder if the people who assemble the sets have any idea of the difference in difficulty between a lot of the questions they ask. Several occasions this series I have been struck by the way that some of the contestants have had stopper after stopper as their first question. Witness the poor lady who got 0 earlier this series. Had she had a couple of the easier starters which her fellow contestants had I'd like to think she would have put some points on the board.

HughTube said...

For what it's worth, I wouldn't have accepted that answer for Moho, but then I think I've seen quiz bowl questions with prompts on 'Moho', demanding 'Mohorovičić' (a degree of pedantry too far).

I had a slight issue with the wording of the question on the population of Scandinavian countries. I took it to mean which was the most densely populated - and judging by your report, so did you. Denmark is the most densely populated, but as they wanted Sweden they must have been asking for the most highly populated. Although I can't remember the wording exactly, I do remember being unsure of what they wanted when I listened to it.

Of course none of this mattered as Barry was clearly the best competitor.

dxdtdemon said...

I think that in most quizbowl packets, or at least NAQT/official ACF ones as opposed to mACF ones, the Moho part of the word would be underlined and the rest of the word wouldn't be required. But yeah, it did seem like Russell Davies has been more lenient in some subject areas than in others.

About consistency within the sets, you run into the problem about whether or not they designate specific questions to be first, second, etc. questions to each contestant or not. If you do do that, there will be a bunch of unused questions, and given my experience of having written for TV quiz shows, the producers usually don't want to pay for unused questions and the writers don't want to write them.

For the answer to the trivia question I asked last week, the viewing platform on Lookout Mountain claims that you can see Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama as well as being able to look down at your feet (or just around the general area) and see Tennessee.

HughTube said...

I know 'Moho' is normally accepted, but I'm sure I've seen it as a prompt. I just did an archive search for it and there are a couple of PACE packets with prompts on 'Moho', but I wouldn't have ever read them. Maybe I was just thinking of one of the many times you get something along the lines 'begrudgingly accept'.

tuckeraj said...

David was a finalist in MM 2011, the series Wikipedia forgot, and John Snedden got a perfect round in the opening programme of the same series, before being passed out in a three way tie in the semis. Both worthy opponents for Barry.