Saturday, 30 November 2013

Mastermind - Round One - Heat Fourteen

Yes, the powers that be graciously allowed Mastermind back on our screens last night. I noticed two former contenders amongst the line up. We’ll come to them in a little while, but the first of last night’s contenders was retired firefighter Tony Marwood. Tony was answering on the Life and Career of Lester Piggott. A few years ago I did read Lester’s autobiography, but as I say, that was a while ago. Nonetheless I thought that I might get a couple, and did eventually end up with 4. Tony himself managed 11 and no passes. In this series anything in double figures in specialist is a mark of respectability, so he could return to his original seat relatively satisfied with his night’s work so far.

Adrian Gorst was the second Mastermind virgin of the show. He was offering us a very traditional Mastermind subject in the shape of Robert the Bruce. I did think that he showed a few gaps in his knowledge with a couple of the first questions, and for a moment or two I feared that he might be struggling through nerves. However the round returned to the rails, as it were, and by the bell he had reached double figure.

The first former contender of this show, Euan McCulloch, last appeared in Jesse’s 2010 series, where he was unlucky to lose by a single point, with a score that did not get him into the repechage slots for the semis. Back then he answered on the Architecture of Aberdeen, scoring a fine 16. Last night he answered every single question correctly, and didn’t seem to dwell on any of them – yet he scored 14. Proof positive of the rather annoying current policy of asking annoyingly long specialist questions, if any were needed. As an indicator of potential, Euan had the highest specialist score, but the lowest GK score in his previous heat.

Our second former contender, Julie Aris, was a contender in Gary’s 2012 series. Back then she won a repechage slot scoring 30, where she answered on the What Katy Did novels of Susan Coolidge ( which consist of, I believe, What Katy Did – What Katy Did Next – Who did what with Katy – and – Son of Katy. Two Ronnies c. 1977) Last night Julie answered on the Simon Serailler novels of Susan Hill. Up to this round I’d answered some questions in each specialist round on this show, but never having read any of Susan Hill's work, that was me done. Julie, on the other hand, managed 13.

With each of the contenders some way away from achieving a repechage qualifying score it looked as if only a win was going to do in this show. First to put down a marker was Adrian Gorst. I’ll be honest, I thought he had a very nice set of GK, and I managed the – for me – rare feat of getting all the questions in a GK round right. Adrian didn’t do quite so well, but his 12 points meant that he was in the 20s, and so it had certainly been worth making the trip. Tony Marwood didn’t manage to measure up quite as well on GK as he had managed on specialist, and he leveled out at 9 points for a total of 20.

In 2012, Julie Aris had scored 12 on GK inn the first round heat, and 4 in the semi final. If she could set anything like her first round score, or even exceed it then she would take the lead, and set a challenging target for Euan. Actually she produced her best GK round yet, scoring 14. It was an admirable display of the technique of answering everything quickly, secure n the knowledge that if you do, then enough of your answers will be correct to push your score along well.

To put this into perspective, then, Euan needed to score 13 and 2 or fewer passes, or better to win. He started brightly enough too. However the wrong answers started creeping in, and I’m afraid that once or twice in the second minute of the round he came to a full stop with a couple of huge pauses. You just felt for him, as you could see that the answers to both were in the back of his mind, but stubbornly refusing to come any further forward. In the end the buzzer came as a blessed relief, and I’m sure that Euan didn’t really need John telling him “You didn’t do it.” at the end there.

So, well done Julie – you join the ranks of two time semi finalists. Good luck.

The Details

Tony Marwood The Life and Career of Lester Piggott11 - 09 - 020 - 0
Adrian GorstRobert the Bruce10 – 112 - 122 - 1
Euan McCullochThe Life and Career of Hugh Gaitskill14 - 010 - 424 - 4
Julie ArisThe Simon Serailler Novels of Susan Hill13 - 014 - 327 – 3

Repechage Places

Steven Broomfield 30 – 1
Beth Webster 28 – 2
Ron Wood 28 – 3
=Carol O’Byrne 27 – 2
=Peter Russell 27 – 2
=Chloe Stone 27 - 2

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