Saturday, 11 January 2014

Brain of Britain - first round - heat 5

No time to take a breather, good people, for there’s an episode of BoB to catch up on. Last Monday’s four hopefuls were : -

Rod Chamberlain
Robert Charlesworth
Elizabeth Gore
Chris Jones

My thanks to the BBC for printing the names on the BoB website this time. Makes life easier. Rod Chamberlain missed his first. He was asked who was the father of Icarus, and rather inexplicably mused – oh, I know his horse. I do wonder who he was thinking of – Bellerophon, perhaps. It fell to Robert Charlesworth to supply the correct answer of Daedalus. Robert took three more answers on the bounce, but a little surprisingly didn’t know the old chestnut that Harold Wilson (and some other Prime Ministers) was actually christened James. That one went to Liz Gore. She didn’t know that Emmanuel Kant ( was a real pissant?) wrote “A Critique of Pure Reason”, which went to Robert. Chris Jones didn’t know about the mnemonic – Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, and Robert did. So Rod, Liz and Chris had each missed out on their first questions, all of which were what I would have called rather standard GK questions. OK, the one Robert missed fell into this category as well, but he had answered three of his own before that, and all of the others’ questions. All of which suggested this was going to be a happy hunting ground for Robert, and a long old evening for the rest.

Rod didn’t know that there’s a Tripoli in Lebanon as well as Libya. Robert did. He had a nasty starter about Meissner’s Corpuscles (didn’t they have a 1989 number one with Baby, I want Your Love Thing?) which gave a bonus to Liz. She missed out on Harrison’s H4 marine chronometer, and Robert stumbled his way to the answer with timepiece. Chris Jones was asked about a bestselling book where the author was told – each equation you include will halve the readership. Good quote that. He got close with A History of Everything, but the answer was A Brief History of Time which got Rod off the mark at least.

Poor old Rod Chamberlain got a hell of a nasty starter for his next round. It started so well, too. We were played “Golden Slumbers” from “Abbey Road”. Although Revolveer is my favourite Beatles’ Album as a whole, side 2 of Abbey Road is my favourite single side of a Beatles Album. Then we were asked which Elizabethan dramatist and poet wrote the words of Golden Slumbers. Nasty. The answer which nobody, me included got, was Thomas Dekker. I preferred his “The Israelites”. Robert again took three on the bounce, but didn’t know the largest big cat in the new world. He zigged with puma, Liz zagged with jaguar and took the point. Her first question got Chris Jones on his way when he recognized a description of The Harrying of the North. For his own starter he got a nasty one about James Athenian Stewart. Nope, me neither. Robert led by 11 to Liz’s 3, and to be honest, if it had been a boxing match the referee would have been thinking about stopping the contest at this point. Rod didn’t know that the graves of Pound, and Diaghilev are in Venice. Liz did, and that was a good shout. Robert took his first two, but didn’t know the men who confirmed the link between smoking and lung cancer. Me neither. Liz Gore took her first two, but nobody knew the chestnutty Joint Photographic Experts Group – or JPEG. Chris took two, but didn’t know about greyhound racing in Wimbledon, which gave Rod a bonus. The scores were slightly more respectable now. Rod had 2, and Chris 3, while Liz had gone up to 6. Robert, though, was over the event horizon with 13.

The Beat the Brains interval tripped up the Brains with the first question – whose autobiography was entitled “A Cellarful of Noise” . They worked out the Beatles connection, but went with Ringo rather than Brian Epstein. With Epstein in their minds, though, they worked out that Jacob Epstein sculpted Oscar Wilde’s tomb. On with the show.

Rod didn’t know that HG Wells’ dad was a cricketer, neither did anyone else. Robert knew his first, but didn’t know the Lincoln Highway in the USA. Liz took her first, but nobody knew that vitamin K is involved in blood clotting. Not easy, but gettable. Nobody knew Chris’ starter, the Nobel Prize for Literature winner Tagore. In the next round Rod got a nasty one to start, but Robert knew that a spat is a young oyster for a bonus. For his own set he had five which, while none of them were exceptionally difficult weren’t at all easy, and he took the lot. A fine set, to put the lid on a very good performance. Liz Gore took one, but missed out on major prophets of the Bible. Chris Jones didn’t know that Eddie Van Halen performed the famous guitar solo in Michael Jackson’s Beat it. Nobody knew that.

So Robert was already at 22 as we went into the final round. Rod had one, but didn’t know that glossitis affects the tongue. Robert had two relatively gentle lobs to start, but didn’t know that Robert Southey was Victoria’s first poet laureate. Liz knew that, and went on to take her own first. Nobody knew that Bowling Green University is in Ohio. Not surprised. Chris didn’t know the first person to attempt to measure the speed of sound in air, and neither did anyone else. So Robert finished with a resounding 24, and he, I think it’s fair to say, is a contender. Liz actually did rather well in the face of this onslaught to reach 11, but chances are that she won’t be back with that. Hard lines.

Rod Chamberlain –3
Robert Charlesworth – 24
Liz Gore – 11
Chris Jones - 3

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