Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Brain of Britain - Heat Three

Let’s start with a list of the contestants. They were: -

Derek Clough
Daniel Fullard
Rachael Neiman
Gareth Williams

Yes, I knew that this was Dan’s heat, but I didn’t know that our own Rach Cherryade was in the same one! What a dilemma – who to support? Simplest thing to do was to give equal support to both, and so that’s just what I did.

Derek began wiith a couple of gentle lobs, but fell down on the colour Jenny Joseph threatened to wear in her old age. Somehow I knew that Rach would have a bonus on that one. Daniel has already said, in his entertaining account of the show on his blog The Quiz Addict that his first question was the only one he really regretted, being asked who named the Victoria Falls their English name. He zigged with Stanley, when he should have zagged with, well, I’m sure you know. Derek took the bonus. For her first Rachael got asked what the original name of the same falls translates as, and received a little bit of a lenient adjudication when answering Roaring thunder rather than The Smoke that thunders. Rach knows me well enough to know that there is no malice whatsoever in me saying that Roaring Thunder does not contain all the connotations of The Smoke that Thunders. Now, I have no problem with generous adjudications per se, but it is very, very difficult to apply this principle fairly across the board. For example, in a ‘year’ question, they wouldn’t accept it if an answer was only a year out. Although BoB is carried out in a lighthearted manner, this isn’t Pets Win Prizes. It’s a serious quiz, for a highly respected title. If an answer is right then it’s right, but if it’s not quite right, then it should be wrong. I’m sorry about that, and back to the show. Rach didn’t know what is found in a Stevenson Screen, and neither did I. Gareth Williams knew it is for meteorological equipment. For his own set he took the first couple, but fell on the rather chestnutty snow leopard. Rach was in for that one with ounce. On with round two. I wouldn’t have had a full set with Derek’s next questions. I didn’t know the first, the Leeds Piano competition. So even though I knew the next 4 I wouldn’t have had any. Derek knew that, and the next four and so took a useful lead with a 6 pointer. Daniel got a stopper for his next. He didn’t know that Ernest Schumacher wrote “Small is Beautiful”, and tellingly neither did anybody else. Rach was going great guns with 4 in a row, but didn’t know who Leo Amery told “In the name of God, go.” Derek had Neville Chamberlain for the bonus. Gareth took his first, but then we had a daft quote from 1989. Now, if it’s a bit daft, and it’s from 1989, the answer is usually Danforth Quayle. Nobody knew, and so we ended the round with Derek leading with 9 from Rachael’s 7.

I was pleased with myself for recognizing the Abduction from the Seraglio for Derek’s starter. Oh, alright, I only knew it because of the Too many notes comment – Amadeus is still one of my favourite films. Nobody had that. Dan was away with his next starter, but I’ll admit, I didn’t know that pan troglodytes is a chimpanzee any more than anyone else did. Rachael missed Chesil Beach for her starter, which let Gareth in for the bonus. In his own set he had a nasty starter with phylogeny. No, me neither. Gareth, then, was coming up on the rails, but Derek still led by 9 to Rachael’s 7. This was where we broke for the Beat the Brains interval.

The first question was – between 1973 – 77 there 4 US Vice Presidents – name them in the right order. That’s the sort of list question I rather like, and I rattled off Agnew – Ford – Rockefeller and Mondale. The Brains had all but Rockefeller – who let’s be honest was one of the least memorable US vice Presidents of the second half of the 20th century. The second question was rather macabre. It was – on what occasion in the last 20 years has a cannibal stood for the presidency of a major nation. This referred to Dr. Roberto Canessa, a survivor from that Andes plane crash show stood for the presidency of Uruguay in 1994. Nobody had that.

Round Four began with Derek Clough missing his starter, not knowing that My Country Tis Of Thee has the same tune as God Save The Queen/King. Gareth had a bonus. I thought that the speaker for the speech on Daniel’s first was Hugh Gaitskill, and fight and fight and fight again confirmed it. Dan missed it, but Gareth took the bonus. Rachael didn’t know that Vectis was the Roman name for the Isle of Wight, and so Dan took the bonus. Gareth now made his move. Despite Russell’s rather unnecessarily long winded explanation of the dealings between Roy Brown and Manfred von Richthofen Gareth kept his nerve, and finished off a set of five. This catapulted him into the lead. Now he had 14 to Derek’s 9, and looked good for a place in the semi whatever happened. Derek didn’t know the rather chestnutty - what is the only Borough of New York on the mainland, the answer being the Bronx. Daniel missed his first, not knowing that Capetown is nicknamed South Africa’s Mother City. Gareth had that. Now, Rachael’s second question in this round illustrated my point about accepting near misses. Asked about an address in Anaheim California, Rach offered Walt Disney World. This wasn’t accepted, and indeed the answer was Disneyland. Now, the adjudication was correct. Walt Disney World is in Orlando, Florida. However, world – land – there’s not a lot of difference in the answer. You might argue that Walt Disney World is as close to Disneyland as roaring thunder is to the smoke that thunders, especially if Rach meant Disneyland, which I am sure she did. This is the sort of problem that gets thrown up once you start accepting SOME near misses. Yes, I know I’m banging on again, but this sort of thing does matter. Thomas Gradgrind was maybe right after all. For Gareth’s first I think every famous 20th century British sculptor other than Jacob Epstein was offered. It was Jacob Epstein, though. It didn’t matter to Gareth, for he was a further point ahead with 15.

So to the last round. Mathematically Gareth could be overhauled, but it would have to be a hell of a round from one of the other contenders. Derek didn’t know that Max Tyler invented the yellow fever vaccine. Neither did anyone else, and neither did I. Dan took his first, but didn’t know Sir John Taverner’s The Whale. That was a bonus for Rachael. For her own set she took one, but missed out on the names JRR as in Tolkein stood for – John Ronald Reuel. I’m a little surprised nobody had that, mind you it is a few years since that one did the rounds. To finish the round, and the contest, Gareth took his first two, but it fell to Derek to tell us that Gaspard Ullrich were two of the many names of Dirk Bogarde. All of which meant that Gareth won comfortably in the end. Well played sir, some very good answers. Hard lines Rach, but well played, and I hope that you enjoyed the experience. Of the bog four – UC – Mastermind – BoB and OC it’s only Only Connect that I think Rach hasn’t tried yet. Any chance in the future, Rachael? AS for Dan, well, having read his own account I know that he enjoyed the experience, and he’s young yet. To paraphrase Arnold Schwarzenegger – he’ll be back.

The Details

Derek Clough -10
Daniel Fullard – 3
Rachael Neiman - 10
Gareth Williams – 17


Andrew B. said...

Heat 3, surely?

Londinius said...

Oops - yes. Changed now

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

I haven't heard the heat in question but, if I've understood correctly, I think there's an important difference between the Disney World and 'smoke that thunders' questions. This difference being that one is a translation. Languages don't map onto to each other in precise ways. Clearly, Mosi-oa-Tunya can be translated from Tokaleya Tonga as 'the smoke that thunders' but to say that it *does* translate that way is to misunderstand how languages work. Someone somewhere must have translated it this way and it has become the popular translation but a quick check of the Tokaleya Tonga language suggests that 'cloud' is probably a more accurate translation than 'smoke' (in reality, the word almost certainly has no exact equivalent in English). I can't find any discussion of Tokaleya Tonga grammar but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the language doesn't allow for a construction identical to the popular English translation. As a result, all questions taking the form 'How does X translate into Y?' must always err on the side of generosity. Just because a certain translation is popular it doesn't follow that it's an exclusively correct one. It seems perfectly possible to me that the answer given by the contestant might be just as accurate a translation, albeit not as 'conventional'.

George Millman said...

Being blind, wouldn't it be quite difficult for Rachael Neiman to do Only Connect? Of course, I'm all in favour of blind and partially-sighted people being able to do everything that people with sight can do, but I imagine it would be difficult to translate the Only Connect questions into auditory form. The Connecting Walls and the Missing Vowels conundrums are very much sight-based. All respect to her if she wanted to give it a go though, I'd hope to be proved wrong.

davidbod said...

One of the last series' OC contestants has impaired vision and we provided a separate screen in their desk so that they could read the clues.

Given that RN was OK with text-based picture rounds on her UC appearance, I imagine it would be possible to arrange something similiar on OC.

Even if someone had no vision, there would be ways of providing an earpiece which had an audio feed of the clues.

In short, there are usually ways of compensating for common physical handicaps.

George Millman said...

Okay, fair enough. I didn't see all of the last series, I still have to catch up on YouTube. Very best of luck to her if she does decide to give it a shot. I like Rachael Neiman, I thought she was really strong on Mastermind.