Friday, 11 October 2013

Mastermind - Round One - Heat Nine

Well, what a surprise I had in this week’s show. Not only Brian Pendreigh, 2011 semi-finalist and also an Only Connect semi-finalist and LAM regular, but also David Stainer, 2013 Brain of Britain runner up, and captain of the unbeatable Crossworders, the eternal champs of Only Connect. Add to the mix the 2010 Mastermind semi-finalist Andrew Warmington, and you have a hell of a line up. Poor Bruce Lawson, the other member of our quartet of contenders in this heat!

Brian kicked off with Dad’s Army. Now considering that I really don’t have time to wiki – hmm – too busy to wiki – sounds like a good title for something to me – anyway, seeing that, I reckon that I didn’t have a bad specialist set this week. Brian was answering on Dad’s Army. Granted there was a lot about small details of specific shows, but enough that I remembered to give me a decent 6. Brian doubled that, and with the length of questions in this series there was no way that he was going to be more than 2, or at a pinch three behind at halfway, and the others were going to have to go some to put that much of a lead on him.

Bruce Lawson, who frankly had drawn the short straw by being put into this Mastermind equivalent of the Group of Death, was answering questions on the Faraday and Winter Novels of Graham Hurley. Never read ‘em, so didn’t get any points in my only failure of the night. Bruce put on a pretty decent showing, but 9 points on specialist was never going to be enough. Not tonight, not in this kind of company.

This brings us to Andrew Warmington. Now, to some extent Andrew was the dark horse, or the joker in this particular pack. I think I’ve only ever seen him on Mastermind, but he did well enough on his last appearance to earn a semi-final slot, and he had a pretty good general knowledge round in his heat then, even if he didn’t do so well in the semis. So if he could put on a good specialist round, then he could have some say in the outcome of the show. Well, he did just about as well as you could do – 14 questions, and 14 correct answers. I was quite pleased with my own performance of 7 on this round on the French Revolution. Now, alright, Brian showed in his first round GK round in 2011 that if the questions fall right for him he can produce a round that can blow the opposition out of the water, and David is just as capable of that, but if neither of them did, then Andrew could well be up there with them.

David Stainer has nothing to prove to anyone, following his exploits in BoB this year, and in Olnly Connect. Still, the black chair does hold an attraction, to which I can readily vouch, and I have to say that David went at his GK round on the European Football championships like he meant business. He shot the answers right back at John as soon as he’d finished the question, wasting no time on fripperies such as Christian names. However I would say that he had a couple of pretty obscure ones asking from details from way back, and so he missed on a perfect round. Nonetheless with 12 and no passes, and 2 and a half minutes of GK questions to come he was handily placed at the halfway mark.

I thought that there was a pretty decent chance of fireworks to come, but first of all Bruce Lawson returned to the chair for his GK round. He made a pretty good start too, but the fatigue set in around mid round, and correct answers proved to be harder to come by as the time ticked away. By the end he had raised his score to 17. Brian Pendreigh returned next to the chair. Now, you might recall that in the first round in Ian’s 2011 series, Brian set a hall of fame score of 20 in GK in two and a half minutes. As you knew he would, he gave it a pretty good lash, but this round seemed something of a struggle – hardly surprising considering the pressure to set a very big score, bearing in mind the players yet to come. As it was, a score of 13 for a total of 25 was a good one, and enough to put the opposition into the corridor of uncertainty. However I fancied it might well be a couple of points short of winning.

David came next. When you watch people in the chair it’s easy to start reading things into it which aren’t there, but I thought that David looked and sounded a little nervous. David is a quizzer ranked very highly in the world, and I hope I’m not doing him a disservice in saying that I think he probably knew a couple of the things he missed. I speak from experience when I say that you can’t know what the pressure of trying to perform in that chair is like until you’ve done it. Again, maybe I’m reading things into it that weren’t there for which I apologise, but David looked a little disappointed at the end of his round. He had nothing to be disappointed about – 14 is a good score, and it wouldn’t be beaten that night. But it wasn’t the kind of score he’ll make in the chair when he’s on song, and it wasn’t a score which looked certain to be too much for Andrew Warmington to overhaul.

Andrew himself seemed quite calm and relaxed in the chair. I’ve said it before, the more times you sit in the chair, the more relaxed you become, and so to that extent it does become easier. Andrew set to his work with a will, accumulating points steadily by answering everything he knew quickly, by guessing what he didn’t know, and not worrying about guesses which proved to be wrong. The total required was 13, and he made it with a little bit to spare, which enabled him to get another correct answer, and finish with a total of 28, the win, and a place in the semi-final. Congratulations to him on that, and the taking of quite a pair of scalps, and commiserations to David and Brian.

I found it interesting that John said that David may make the semis with his score. It raises the question – are repechage slots open to 3rd ( and 4th place finishers ) as happened in last year’s series? Or are we reverting to 2nd place only rule of the previous few series? Assuming that the rules are the same as last year, then I’m afraid we’ve already reached the banker pays 27’s and over stage. Well, time will tell.

The Details

Brian PendreighDad’s Army 12 - 013 - 225 - 2
Bruce LawsonFaraday and Winter Novels by Graham Hurley9 -18 - 317 - 4
Andrew WarmingtonThe French Revolution14-014 – 0 28 - 0
David StainerThe European Football Championship 1980 to date12 – 0 14 - 026 - 0

Repechage Table ( if 3rd or 4th place players are eligible as they were last year)

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


Anonymous said...

Ha! And then Slovenia makes an appearance here as well. Slowly but surely, people will stop confusing it with Slovakia.

Horsey_Heroes11 said...

Hi David,

I seem to recall Humphrys saying in one of the early heats of this series (maybe the 1st one?) that it would be the 6 highest scoring runners-up that went through.

I definitely took from that comment that it was only the contestants who finished in 2nd place that were eligible.

The comment about David Stainer seems to back this up, although the episodes aren't always shown in the order that they are filmed, so maybe this was one of the first ones to be filmed this year?

Londinius said...

Hi Jeff,

The most honest answer is that I don't know. I do know that David does not make it to the semis, sadly. You are right about the order in which the shows are broadcast.

My best guess is that the rules for qualification will be the same as last year - the top 6 non winning scorers go through. But I could be wrong.

George Millman said...

I think that it was probably just a mistake that Humphrys said that. I can't remember which episode it was, but there was an episode a few weeks ago where he didn't make any comment about the 2nd place, suggesting that they couldn't make the semis. It was early on in the competition and the second-place person wasn't particularly bad, so they certainly wouldn't have been out of the finals for definite at that stage.

I think it's fairer to have the six people with the highest score, regardless of place - it means that their score counts more than the people they're playing against. Incidentally, what happens with the highest-scoring runners up if the two lowest-scorers are tied (on passes as well)?