Saturday, 10 August 2013

Only Connect Grand Final

After all the fighting here we are with just two undefeated teams surveying the devastation of the battlefield all around them. Or if you don’t want the hyperbole, we’re left with the Francophiles and the Celts, both fresh from their semifinal victories, and one win away from being crowned series champions. If you read my preview last week, then you’ll know that I plumped for the Francophiles. Ian Clark, Sam Goodyear and captain Mark Walton have been very consistent in every show. The reason why I plumped for them is that I believed that they would maintain their standards even with harder questions in the final. The Celts, Beverley Downes, David Pritchard and Huw Pritchard, had played well all series. However I did feel that their semifinal performance was not quite as effective as previous ones, which led me to speculate whether they might struggle to match the Francs with harder Grand Final questions. Time would tell.

Round One – What’s the Connection?

In to bat first, the Francs opted for Horned Viper. This unleashed the music set. The second was from 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, and the third from Snow White and the 7 Dwarves. I plumped for 7 at this stage , the Francs, who had also recognized these took one more to be certain. The theme from the Magnificent Seven confirmed it was the number 7, and strictly speaking, films with the number 7 in their titles. The first which I didn’t know was from “The Seven Year Itch”. Two Reeds began for the Celts with Go:Honinbo Shinaku . Huh? Chess: Paul Morphy didn’t help a great deal. I knew enough to know that Morphy was a great American player from the 19th century, but that was about it. Mathematics: Paul ErdÅ‘s didn’t help me at all. Acting: Kevin Bacon did suggest, clutching at a straw, that this was about connecting, as in Six Degrees of etc. This was the route the Celts went down, and it was right. To give the full explanation, they are all central figures in collaboration networks. Now there really was a set where you really needed to wait to the last clue to get anything from it. Twisted Flax for the Francs began with “Tin Cup”. Now, I wouldn’t have gambled on this one in the studio, but I did think that this was a film about a sporting event – the US Open? US Masters? It was a golf major, anyway – in which the hero lost. A boy named Charlie Brown was next. Well – I thought – he certainly wouldn’t be winning any sporting event he took part in. Cool Runnings certainly fit my original thought. The final clue, Rocky, seemed to confirm it as well. The Francs took all 4 clues, and went for sports films in which real sportspeople make cameos. Well, the Rocky films are quite well known for featuring real boxers in cameos – Roberto Duran was a sparring partner in Rocky 2 for example, but no, this was not it. The Celts gave the correct answer for a bonus, and Mark of the Francs grimaced in what looked like a d’oh moment caught on camera. Early days yet. Lion gave the Celts the chance to increase the lead. Liu Xiaobo I think we all knew as the Chinese man who won the Nobel Peace prize a couple of years ago. Samantha the Scorer you know if you’re a devotee of “I’m Sorry I haven’t A Clue”. Samantha is of course the ‘imaginary’ scorer. The next one, Marius’s solo in “Les Miserables” wasn’t what I was expecting – until I worked it out. The answer was of course about empty chairs. That’s the song, and the other two were represented by empty chairs. Eastwood’s speech to Obama confirmed this – I like the man’s films, but he did make a bit of a plonker of himself making that speech to an empty chair representing Obama for the benefit of the Republican Party. Takes all sorts, I suppose. Eye of Horus gave the Francs a chance to redeem themselves with Nikola Tesla’s nationality. Next was the size of the Death Star. Now, I had a feeling that in different Star Wars films the Death Star was said or shown to be different sizes. ‘Eagles’ or ‘The Eagles’ suggested that maybe we were dealing with things that were disputed –Spelling of sulfur/sulphur didn’t rule this out. The Francs offered that they were things where the spelling is changed when rendered in American English, but this wasn’t it. David of the Celts offered pretty much the same thing that I did, but since it was the final it wasn’t accepted as being specific enough. The fact is that all of these have been the subject of editing wars in Wikipedia. If you’d like to know more about editing wars on Wikipedia . . . then look it up in Wikipedia. Deduction told me that the last set had to be pictures, and so it proved to be. Now, I know my flags well enough to know that the white flag on the pale blue background is Somalia. Yet at the top of the flag it said Mali. So being as I was not in studio I said – it could be each has a flag, and the name of a country whose name is contained within the name of the country to which the flag belongs. Phew – what a mouthful. The flag of the Dominican Republic, with the word Dominica seemed to prove it was right though. Niger for Nigeria followed. David, playing a bit of a blinder in the first round, had it at this stage. Which meant that the Celts, seemingly making a mockery of my prediction, led by 5 to the Francs’ 1.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth

Twisted Flax brought the Francs a picture of a piece of sliced cheese. A photo still from a historical film followed. Finally we saw Andi Peters with Edd the Duck highlighted. Now, lightbulb moment. If the second was Hedda Gabler, then it looked like we were removing the first and last letters each time, which would leave us with a letter D to finish. The Francs were in the ballpark, but didn’t get it. The Celts had no answer. I was amused to see the iplayer subtitles render the play as Hedda Garbler too. Lion gave the Celts Dardanelles. Then we had the Sea of Marmara. I took a flier on Black Sea at this point, working upwards. Bosporus for the last clue made this seem like a pretty good answer. The Celts thought so, as they gave the same answer for a point. Now, the next set suited the Francs very well. 4th : manus, manus was a potential 5 pointer, if you’d maybe learned manus manus as the example of your 4th declension noun when you learned latin at school. You didn’t learn latin? I’m sorry for you – I did and never regretted it. So my immediate answer was 1st: puella puellae – this being the 1st declension example that dear old Mr. Rose taught us. ( For the record the example for the 2nd I think was servus –servi,) This was exactly the same answer that the Francs gave and it was right. A five pointer, and right back in the game. Them’s the breaks. Two Reeds gave the Celts something to think about with 6x6=111.Nope, no good for me. 5x5=65 didn’t help at all. 4x4=34 didn’t either. It did help David of the Celts, though. He knew it was 3x3=15. Victoria explained that this was the constant sum of a magic square. Clever stuff – beyond me, I’m afraid. Eye of Horus gave the Francs South-East. Too wide – needed another clue. Question seemed to rule out anything Geographical – the trouble for me was that it wasn’t necessarily ruling anything else in. My moment of the week- and possibly the whole series - came with the next clue. Enrolled Nurse made me think – well, SE is the abbreviation for South East – QU for question – so if State Enrolled Nurse is SEN, would Enrolled Nurse be EN? If so then we had SEQUEN – which meant that Church of England would complete the SEQUENCE. Isn’t that a fiendishly brilliant set? Neither team had it. Now, if that wasn’t my answer of the show, my answer for the water set was. Diptera I knew were the class of insects including true flies. I also knew that Coleoptera, the beetles, are the class of insects with the greatest number of species. So I went for that. Would I have done in the studio? No, I’d have wimped out and taken another clue to test the theory. Hymenoptera – bees and wasps was second. I predicted Lepidoptera as 3rd – butterflies and moths. The Celts were working on the number of legs, which really wasn’t the way to go. The Francs tried an optera, but not the right one. So this brought the end of the round, and the Clets were still making a nonsense of my prediction, leading 9 – 6.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Celts began, and singlemindedly focused on a set of exams. They pursued this until they had isolated Higher – SAT – Tripos and Viva. The Celts were really struggling for inspiration now, and I’m not surprised. I noticed Finland and Henry Kissinger, and from the back of my mind dredged up that they were both songs on Monty Python’s rather dismal and aptly named “Contractual Obligation Album”. I guessed that Decomposing Composers might well fit with the two of them. When the wall was resolved the Celts began with two points for solving the exam set. Then Oliver Cromwell joined the other three Python songs. I’m not surprised that they didn’t see the connection, because, let’s be honest, these are not the best known Python songs. I suppose that it would be frowned on to have Sit On My Face up there, but the lumberjack and philosophers songs would have helped. Adolf Hitler – The Protestor – Elizabeth II and You meant no more to me than it did to the Celts. The answer was that all have been Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. The Knowledge – Luxx – ES and Fabulous are all past and present magazine supplements. That’s a perfectly fair set – I just didn’t know it, and neither did the Celts. Tough, tough wall, and the Celts managed 2 points.

On the Francs’ wall I think it was Ian who noticed the methods of teaching about the same time I did. I’ll be honest, I know it’s the luck of the draw, but this wall was much more to my liking. I could also see Japanese brands and types of needle from pretty early on. Suzuki – Socratic – Montessori and Pimsleur were untangled quickly. Tapestry – Bodkin – Sharp and Darning followed hot on its heels. They knew the Japanese companies, but hung back before entering Canon – Nomura – Bridgestone and Nintendo to give themselves time to work out the last connection. Twemlow – Wellbeloved – Beach and Voules meant nowt to me, nor the Francs. They are all on the staff at Blandings Castle. Shame though it is for me to admit it, I’ve never read any PG Wodehouse. 7 points changed the complexion of the match, as the Francs now led 13 – 11.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

I thought that the Celts had been unlucky in their choice of wall, but they were still only 2 points behind. Anything could happen in this last round. Supposed hangover cures fell 2 – 1 to the Francs. 3 point lead to them. The next category was tow things together make another thing – for example x and y make z. This fell 2 – 1 to the Francs, who now led by 4. Incidentally the only one of those I could get was John and Edward make Jedward. Quality. Works by Scandinavian authors went 3 – 0 to the Francs, whose 7 point lead at this late stage looked unassailable. U terms and their non U equivalents fell 2 -1 to the Francs. Which meant that the Francs finished the series with 22, and the Celts with 14. In a way I’m glad that the final round was a decisive one. It would have been very bad luck for the Celts if they’d only lost through one of the toughest walls that I can remember. Well played both, but many congratulations to Ian, Sam and Mark – Only Connect champions.


HughTube said...

I was a bit surprised by two of the questions:

-I've never seen "question" abbreviated to "Qu".

-And although it made no difference to the sequence, those were insect orders, not genera. There will be several thousand beetle genera, so it's quite a big difference.

Anyway, well done to the winners, I felt they were the best team of the series. A good performance by the runners up, as well.

Andrew B. said...

I was more surprised by the Latin declensions question, which seemed a very easy 5 points for a team which knew any Latin - the theme of the sequence couldn't really be anything else after one clue.

FWIW, I'd have got the "collaboration networks" from 3 clues, and I know someone who got the "sequence" sequence from 2!

Londinius said...

Hi Hugh - Hi Andrew

I have seen Question abbreviated to Qu - which is one reason why I 'got' the sequence.

I do agree that the Francophiles were worthy winners, although my heart went out to the Celts. They did actually play very well in the first two rounds. I know that it's all subjective, but I personally found their wall to be a lot trickier than any other I've seen this series - including the one the Francs had in this show.

Andrew, I concur with your point on the latin declension. South East - by way of comparison - doesn't really offer much chance of a five pointer - there's too many possible directions it could be going in, should you pardon the pun.