Friday, 28 February 2014

Mastermind - Semi Final One

For our first semifinal it was interesting to note that these five contenders were all heat winners. A fair old spread as well. We’ll look at that as we go through the specialist rounds.

LAM reader Paul Philpot, he of the mighty Just Quiz blog, had won Heat 7, beating repechage runner up Ron Wood on passing. Back then Paul scored 28, with 14 on the life and career of Seb Coe, and an even 14 on GK. That put him in joint 10th on my unofficial table. Tonight, with a shorter specialist round, Paul showed his class by blasting to a fine 11 points on Factory Records before being just caught out on the last question.

Nick Harrison scored 13 on the films of Wes Anderson back in heat 18. He’d scored a pretty decent 13 on GK to win, but only just, having had to survive a seriously good GK round of 17 by David Dutton. Nick was joint 22nd on my unofficial table. However when you consider that only two points separated his score and Paul’s you can see that this wasn’t necessarily all that significant. Tonight he answered questions on the novels of Carol Shields, or as she is known chez LAM, Carol who? Sorry, but these had never crossed my path before. Nick made a stumble or two at the start, but rallied extremely well to achieve the quality mark of a double figure score with 10, just one off the lead.

Carol Atkinson had posted an identical score to Nick’s back in her heat. She won Heat 15 with the Richard Hannay novels of John Buchan, but it was a good score of 15 on GK which just sneaked her ahead of Adam Kirby, who missed out on a qualification spot. Tonight she offered my best subject of the 5 GKs, Homer’s Odyssey. I managed 7 of these, which admittedly was not as good as Carol’s score of 9. You did feel, with this show likely to be won by small margins, 2 points deficit on specialist could be quite a hurdle to overcome.

James Ludden won heat 12, back in the Autumn, with rounds of fifteen on the Rugby World Cup, and General Knowledge. His was one of only 6 scores of 30 or more in the whole of the first round heats, and so, in joint 4th place in my unofficial table he was one of tonight’s fancied runners. He was answering on Roald Amundsen, which was incidentally one of Nancy’s 2009 subjects. Was there an omen in that, I wondered? Well, time would tell. James’ 10 point round certainly kept him in contention going into the General Knowledge.

This left just Michael McPartland, who won Heat 8 by one pass from Stephen Broomfield, who qualified for a repechage slot in the semis. Michael answered on Father Ted, also a Pat Gibson subject in years gone by. Michael was placed slightly above James on the unofficial table, in 3rd place. Tonight Michael offered us the Life and Career of Michael Jordan, and well that he did, for he slam dunked a perfect round of 11 correct answers to 11 questions. Never easy to do at the best of times, but in the semis, even more of an achievement.

With Michael, James, Paul and Carol all having posted good GK scores in their heats, it looked as if the winner would be one of the last three to go. I felt a little for Carol, especially since all three of her passes were included on the Are You A Pass Master compilation on the website. 8 correct answers in two minutes is perfectly respectable, but it’s not semifinal winning form, I’m afraid, and you rather sensed that she struggled a little to get to grips with the level of the semifinal GK questions. Not that any of tonight’s contenders made it look easy on GK. Nick came next, and he actually equaled Carol’s round. His 8 points put him into the lead, but 18 was never quite going to be a winning score tonight.

James started his GK round very hesitantly, but he started picking up correct answers, and didn’t really stop until the end of his round. 10 is still some way short of a likely winning total, however it is enough to put those who have yet to come into the corridor of uncertainty. Paul started his own chase of the target very well, but the going seemed to become harder for him as the round progressed, and with 30 seconds to go you sensed that he was behind the clock, and that the finishing line was probably going to come a couple of questions too soon. Which is pretty much how it turned out. Paul too added 8 to his GK total. Now, when John announced his score at the end of the round, he first said ‘You haven’t done it.’ then said 19. I don’t know, personally I’d rather work that sort of thing out for myself after I’ve been told my score.

I’ve been in something very similar to Michael’s position. Michael needed 10 and no passes to win, whereas in 2007 I needed 11 and no passes to win my semi. Those are scores where you think you have an excellent chance of making it if you can just keep answering the questions, but while the round is actually progressing, the target is significant enough that you feel like you’re wading through treacle to get to it. Michael kept going then, snapping out the answers he knew, and guessing the answers he didn’t, and reached his target with a couple of questions to spare. It was close, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you win by 1 point, or by 10 points. Well played, and good luck in the final. Hard lines Paul, but well done for getting within a couple of points of the final. Next time . . .

The Details

Paul Philpot Factory Records11 - 08 - 019 - 0
Nick HarrisonThe Novels of Carol Shields10 - 18 - 118 - 2
Carol AtkinsonHomer’s Odyssey in English9 – 0 8 - 317 - 3
James LuddenRoald Amundsen10 - 010 - 120 - 1
Michael McPartlandThe Life and Career of Michael Jordan11 – 0 10 - 121 - 1


Sandra1952 said...

I found last night disappointing, for the first of the semi-finals. And I couldn't stop myself being just a teensy bit bitchy, and thinking 'Why didn't we have them in our semis back in 2007?' Still, the hard road is the most satisfying one, I suppose!

Londinius said...

Hello Sandra!

'Our semis'? Would that mean, by any chance, that you are Sandra Piddock, from the 2007 SOBM final? If so, well yes, you surely did have to take the hard road - I still remember watching your tiebreak, and thinking, there but for the grace of God!

How is life treating you? Did you go on any other shows after? Have you ever thought about having another crack at Mastermind?

Dan said...

Surprised you didn't mention the error in the River Phoenix question ...

Sabrestar said...

Thanks for the write up. Despite somehow accidentally saying Paisley instead of Parsley and mishearing Dickens as Shakespeare. I'm still really delighted with how well it went. When I applied for the show I felt I had a chance of making the final but to actually get there is just an amazing feeling. Could have done without the long winded specialist questions as I felt I could have kept answering specialist questions correctly all day long as I was very confident on my subject, but can't really complain given the final result. Now just one step away from the title.

Will G said...

Interesting show, with Mr McPartland doing a Man Utd and sneaking a win in the closing stages. I'm guessing though that James Ludden may be kicking himself for taking so long on his first general knowledge question. Probably cost him the game.
Michael. Am I allowed to ask what your final SS is?: Football related by any chance?

paulphi said...

Thanks David. I think I ran out of steam at the end. Maybe I was trying too hard,or was nervous,but I seemed to lose concentration towards the end (tuxedo springs to mind).However,Michael was a deserved winner and was consistent and I think he will do well in the final.I'll definitely be back for another go.