Saturday, 21 December 2013

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 17

It was lovely to see Christmas UC used as the lead in to Mastermind last night. A little – and I do mean little - more about Christmas UC later on. For now, though, let’s look at this week’s Mastermind. ris Forse kicked us off with The Presidency of John F. Kennedy. That’s one of those subjects where a lot of us probably think we know a bit or two, and yet it proves trickier than we thought. I had three of them myself, and was probably a bit lucky to get that many. I don’t think there was any luck involved in Chris’ score of 10, though. The questions were as needlessly long as ever, and under these circumstances any double figures score deserves some respect.

Now, I have actually read several of Peter Carey’s novels, the subject offered by Liz McSheehy. Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs I can highly recommend, although I lost a bit of patience with Illywhacker and The True History of the Kelly Gang. I managed three of these questions. Liz obviously knows the books, but she struggled for the first half of the round, and even though she picked up momentum towards the end she still only managed 7. That’s not a bad score under these circumstances, but it is not a competitive one, I’m afraid.

Now, when I heard that Lawrence Cook was answering on The World Heavyweight Boxing Championship 1960 – 2000 I felt like the mother ship was calling me home. Boxing is an interest of mine. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed to me that the questions were mostly about the big names of the 60s and 70s, with a couple of others thrown in. This made it easier than if you’d asked about the other champions of the Holmes years, guys like Coetzee, Page, Tubbs, Witherspoon, Thomas etc. for example. In a way I was reminded of Colin Foster’s round on British Olympic Gold medalist in Heat 2, where the setters had by and large selected pretty soft questions as well. Not that I blame Lawrence for this any more than I blamed Colin – they can only answer the questions that they are asked. This Lawrence did very well, scoring 11. I was delighted with my 12, and it took my specialist aggregate for the show up to a respectable 18.

Now, I do actually know Ramdas Mullath, our fourth contender. Ramdas emailed me some time ago asking for some advice on applying to be a contender in Brain of Britain. We exchanged some emails and phone calls. In the end I believe Ramdas decided to postpone his application to work on his GK. His subject last night was James Clerk Maxwell. This was one of David Edwards’ specialist subjects when he won the 1990 series. Ramdas produced the specialist round of the night when he raced away to 12 points, veritably snapping out his answers. This put him in pole position, with the GK yet to come.

Before that, though, down among the wines and spirits we had Liz, who returned to the chair some way behind 3rd place. She gave it a fair old lash, and had decided, I think, on the tactic of passing on anything she didn’t get straightaway. That’s a valid tactic, and it can pay off. In Liz’ case it brought her 9 more points and 5 more passes. The total of 16 posed quite a few problems for Chris Forse, who was next to return. He only managed to add 7 in two and a half minutes to take his total to 17, which just overhauled Liz.

Lawrence started his own GK round rather brightly, but lost some momentum before halfway. He battled manfully, and did what you must do when the force isn’t with you, namely, he kept picking off what he knew, guessing what he didn’t, and not wasting too much time on each answer, right or wrong. This enabled him to get 12 points for his round. Not an earth-shatteringly brilliant score, but then it looked like it wasn’t going to take a cricket score to win last night.

Ramdas was a picture of concentration. You could actually see that he has been working on his GK with some of his answers – there were some of what I would regard as quizzers’ questions where he snapped out the answer without a second’s thought. However, as with anyone playing in a country other than that they grew up in, he was laboring under the handicap of not having the popular culture grounding that most of us would take for granted. In the end he took his score up to 18. Ramdas looked absolutely gutted when John told him his score, but he didn’t need to feel this way. Ramdasm your SS round was terrific, and those areas in which you were found wanting in the GK will come if you keep working. don’t let it get you down. As for Lawrence, many congratulations, and good luck in the semis.

The Details

Chris Forse The Presidency of John F. Kennedy 1961 - 196310 - 17 - 517 - 6
Liz McSheehyThe Novels of Peter Carey7 - 39 – 5 16 - 8
Lawrence CookWorld Heavyweight Boxing 1960 - 200011 - 012 - 223 - 2
Ramdas MullathJames Clerk Maxwell12 - 06 - 318 - 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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