Sunday, 15 December 2013

Mastermind Round One - Heat 16

Thanks for being so patient. Yes thanks, a very nice time. Enough of that. I did actually catch up with Mastermind yesterday evening, but it’s only now that I’m back safely in LAM Towers that I can write it up. So where shall we begin?

Philadelphia Soul 1970 – 1980, as it happened. Now, I’m more of a 1960s Motown man myself, but nonetheless I was hopeful that it might net me a couple of points. I did slightly better than that with 4, which was certainly as much as I could have hoped for. Gordon Stone, who had kicked the show off did well with the now-obligatory rambling, long questions to net 11 of his own correct answers. Not a perfect round, but certainly not a bad one, and one which would give him a decent shot in the GK.

The Life and Works of Elizabeth Gaskell was our second specialist subject, brought to us courtesy of Pamela Culley. Right, let’s get my excuses in first. I never studied Mrs. Gaskell as part of my degree, and although I did develop an interest in the Victorian Social Problem novel as a genre, I only ever read Cranford and North and South, and couldn’t get on with Mary Barton. So I should say that my 3 was just about what I deserved. Pamela did a lot more with the round, and indeed, had there not been one question where she became a little tongue tied halfway through giving the correct answer she might have had at least another point. Still, double figures with these questions is always a useful performance.

On paper the third specialist subject, German Expressionist Art, was always going to be my worst, and so it proved. Jeffry Kaplow showed a sure touch while extending his score to 11 and no passes, and I was grateful to take the money and run with my one correct answer. All of which meant that my unwikied aggregate for the specialist rounds on the show so far was 8. Not a disaster, but unspectacular. That was about to change.

Clive Dunning, the final contender to go in the specialist round, is not unknown in these parts. Clive took part in last year’s “Brain of Britain”, comfortably winning his first round heat, and coming runner up to Darren Martin in his semifinal. So he was very much the favourite from the viewpoint of – well, it wasn’t the Clark sofa, but you know what I mean. His specialist subject was “Blackadder”. Yum yum – thought I, mentally rubbing my hands together. I’ve watched every episode on many occasions – with the exception of “Back and Forth” and “The Cavalier Years”. Still, unless my memory is paying tricks on me, there were no questions from either of these, or “Blackadder’s Christmas Carol”. I made it that there were 14 questions asked, and the only one I missed was the amount of the ransom demanded for Blackadder and Melchett. I didn’t even remember that it was asked for in krone. Still, that 13 pushed the aggregate up to 21, which is one of the highest non-wikied I’ve ever managed. Clive himself managed 11 and no passes, for a share of the lead. It guaranteed that he would go last in the GK round.

Pamela was only one point off the lead, but she was in 4th place at the halfway stage, and so she was the first to return to the chair. What happened was quite an unusual two and half minutes. Pamela actually managed to supply 13 correct answers. However at the same time she found herself in a horrible pass spiral, and ended up passing on 8 questions. 21 questions in a round is quite a clip. She looked rather unhappy as she rose to return to her seat when John finished going through the passes, yet she had no need to feel downhearted. 23 wouldn’t be a repechage score, but it is perfectly respectable, and would give the others something to think about.

Case in point, Gordon Stone. He racked up six of his own passes, but never built up a head of steam with his answers either. In the end he managed 8 to take him to 19. Jeffry Kaplow fared better, but not much. His face was a picture of concentration, as he wrestled with himself to drag up answers to every question. He certainly managed that, but only 11 of them were correct answers. This took him to 22, but left him behind Pamela. That score was looking less cause for being unhappy each with each round that went by.

Clive’s round was of a totally different order from anything we saw in this show, and, if I am totally honest, from anything we’ve seen since John Jacob’s round in Heat 5. Clive rattled off 18 correct answers to push his score up to 29, and mark himself out as a serious contender. Clive is a teacher, and the last schoolteacher to win a series was, well, me. If Clive can replicate this kind of performance in the semifinal, then he’ll have every chance of becoming the next, without wishing to tempt fate in any way, and if he can do that then I shall be the first to congratulate him. Good luck in the semis, Clive.

The Details

Gordon Stone Philadephia Soul, 1970 to 198011 - 28 - 619 - 8
Pamela CulleyThe Life and Novels of Elizabeth Gaskell10 - 2 13 -8 23 - 10
Jeffry KaplowGerman Expressionist Art11 - 011 - 022 - 0
Clive DunningBlackadder11 - 018 - 029 -0

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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