Friday, 15 February 2013

Mastermind - Round One - heat 24

I wouldn’t say that I’ve been exactly overdosing on Mastermind this week, but this is the 4th I’ve watched. Yes, Classic Mastermind, and I’ll say more about that in another post. Still, the current series has now reached the last heat of the first round unless I am very much mistaken. I checked out tonight’s contenders on the database, and three of them came up clean, as you might say. Tony Wheeler, though, the first of them, last featured in Ian’s 2011 series, when he came second in his heat to our own Peter Reilly. Peter was himself the runner up in the final. Back then Tony was taking the Louie Knight novels of Malcolm Pryce. Tonight he was answering on the Life and Music of Ian Dury. I thought there might be three or four for me here. As it turned out there were just three, but at least I did know that the last top 10 hit with the Blockheads was Reasons to Be Cheerful. All together now – Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet, jump back in the alley and nanny goats - ah, they don’t make them like that any more, sadly. Tony managed 9, and I thought that with this start he was more likely to end up the bridesmaid again.

Mature student Rob Hymer never looked quite comfortable as he settled in to answer his round on the Red Army in World War II. The only one I could answer was the gimme about the T34 tank, but Rob certainly did better than that. His 9 correct answers matched Tony’s, but he had made sure not to pass. Sometimes that is the difference between a win and a second place.

Our third contender, Ann Yourston, answered on the Life and Work of Gerald Durrell. It’s a very, very long time since I tried to read “My Family and Other Animals” with a class at school, and I’ve never read any of his others, so I did predictably badly with just a point. Ann, though, took us into double figures, which was uncharted territory for the show so far this week. Her 12 didn’t necessarily look as if it had given her a winning advantage, but a lead of three is never to be sniffed at in the show.

John Savage took to the chair last of all, to be tested on his knowledge of Celtic FC. This surprised me by providing me with my best score of the night, with 4, of which 1 was a guess. At one stage I thought John was on for a very good score, but he must have been flattering to deceive just a little since he finished with 11. Mind you, being only a point behind the leader is not a bad place to be at the turn around, especially if you feel that you can trust your general knowledge not to let you down.

Returning first to the chair Tony had the admirable presence of mind to not become too bothered by what he didn’t know, to use his passes to keep the round moving, and to pick up the 11 questions that he did know. You can’t really do a lot more than that, and so he could be pretty satisfied with reaching 20 and respectability. Rob, now, actually did not look quite as relaxed in the chair as Tony had been, and yet he set a better score, a good example of what can be achieved by concentrating hard, gritting your teeth, and just getting on with it. Alright, 13 is not one of the highest rounds we’ve seen this series, but it’s not bad at all, and it took him up to 22. Maybe it was a bit of a long shot to think that this might win it, but on the other hand the target it gave the others was at least enough to put them into the corridor of uncertainty.

Faced with the challenge of finding 12 more correct answers to take the outright lead John Savage provided us with the best GK round of the night. In fact for about 2/3 of the round it looked like being a very good round indeed. Just a couple of questions slowed him down coming up to the 2 minute mark, and what had looked like a potential 17 pointer or more remained a 14 pointer. Still good, and potentially game winning. Now, I don’t take any great pleasure in recounting when a contender hasn’t done as well as they would have liked. So let’s just say that it seemed as if Ann was struck by a combination of nerves, and maybe being phased by a couple of questions early on, which sent her into a bit of a pass spiral. It can happen, and it’s just one of those things. Until you’re actually in the chair you can’t know how you’re going to react. By the end of the round she’d raised her score to 17. So a good win for John in the end. Well played.

The Details

Tony Wheeler The Life and Music of Ian Dury9 - 211 - 420 – 6
Rob HymerThe Red Army in World War II9 - 013 - 422 – 4
Ann YourstonGerald Durrell12 - 35 - 817 – 11
John SavageThe History of Celtic FC11 - 014 - 025 – 0

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