Friday, 4 October 2013

Mastermind Round One - Heat 8

I always enjoy regular Mastermind anyway, but I’m enjoying this series. We saw a very good high quality contest last week, and we saw another one last night, overly long specialist questions notwithstanding.

Bel Freedman started off with the spy and sometime criminal Eddie Chapman. I would say that your enjoyment of this round depended a lot on whether or not you’ve either read or seen ‘Agent Zigzag’. I haven’t, so I answered which company manufactured the Mosquito aircraft – general knowledge question that one – and that was it for me. Bel managed double figures which is the mark of a good specialist round in this series, but her score of 10 would surely leave her with some work to do in the GK.

The History of Portsmouth FC is one of those subjects which is probably a lot harder than you might think. It seemed to me that more than the first half minute seemed to be almost exclusively about the 1920s, for instance. For the most part Peter Russell was more than equal to this, and steadily amassed a score of 11. I managed 2, by pure lucky guesses – in all honesty at the moment there is little chance of me taking the wiki challenge until the half term break.

Steven Broomfield offered us the most traditional MM specialist subject of the evening with the Battle of Balaklava. Now, as good as the previous two rounds had been, this was of another level entirely. 14 questions, and 14 correct answers. As someone who answered 5 specialist MM rounds in my time, and never managed a perfect one despite hours and hours of preparation for each, I can vouch for just how difficult a feat to achieve that is. This was surely the round of the night. Wasn’t it?

Michael McPartland has been this way before. A former competitor on Brian of Britain, he was also a member of the Footballers, who were 4th in the last but one series of Only Connect. Michael was also a semi-finalist in Mastermind 2010. So he certainly had plenty of experience to draw upon. Even so his specialist round, on Father Ted was outstanding. A terrific subject, one used by the great Pat Gibson during his victorious 2005 series, this saw Michael saw a perfect 15 from 15. I don’t think it would be possible to score any more highly on that round, with those questions, because Michael was answering extremely quickly.

With a five point deficit before her round started you have to say that Bel was probably just playing for pride with her GK round. In which case she actually made a pretty good job of it. She never panicked, and kept picking off the answers that she knew, and managed to get herself into the teens for the round. 23 was never going to win this particular heat, but it’s a respectable score, and showed that she competed. Peter Russell’s round I found rather more difficult than Bel’s, and than the two rounds which were to follow. Even despite this Peter managed to push his score on well. It required a good score to put the remaining contenders into the corridor of uncertainty, and his 16 for a total of 27 was just that. You fancied that it wouldn’t quite be enough, but even so it would certainly put him onto the repechage board. I am of course presuming that last year’s rules apply – the top 6 runner up scores regardless of whether 2nd , 3rd or 4th place in the heat all being eligible for the places.

Now to the business end of the show. If Stephen Broomfield was within the corridor of uncertainty he certainly didn’t show it. It was a second 16 point GK round for the show, and a cracking performance. Kudos to the question setter who set the one about John Lennon’s Instant Karma. Stephen got into a rhythm very quickly, and I think that it was in order to retain his momentum that he passed on one of his questions. You had to fancy his chances of winning the heat, though, for 30 and 1 pass was the second best score of the whole series so far.

Well, for the second time in the show Michael McPartland had to respond to an excellent round, and for the second time in a row he did just that. There were two ways he could win the show. The first was to post his own score of 16 or better. Well, he didn’t quite manage that. The other way of winning was to score 15 without passing once. This was exactly what he did. His round always looked as if it would be there or thereabouts, but as the finishing line approached it did look as if it was going to be extremely close, as indeed it was.

Congratulations, Michael, and also well done to Stephen, since surely 30 will be good enough to put him through. The repechage table is starting to get very interesting though. The banker only pays 27s and over at the moment, and there’s still lots of shows to go.

The Details

Bel Freedman Eddie Chapman10 - 313 - 123 - 4
Peter RussellThe History of Portsmouth FC11 - 016 - 227 - 2
Steven BroomfieldBattle of Balaklava14 - 016 - 130 - 1
Michael McPartlandFather Ted15 - 015 - 030 - 1

Repechage Table

Steven Broomfield 30 – 1
Beth Webster 28 – 2
Ron Wood 28 – 3
=Carol O’Byrne 27 – 2
=Peter Russell 27 – 2
Andrew Teale – 27 – 5

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