Friday, 21 March 2014

Mastermind Semi Final 3

Another semi-final, then, as the Grand Final looms larger on the horizon. The run down of the contenders in tonight’s show, then, was as follows,
Ron Wood28 - 3
Richard Chaney28 - 4
Chloe Stone27 - 2
Rae Donaldson27 - 4
Roderick Cromar24 – 3

Pick the bones out of that! Very close on paper, and a look at the scores on GK doesn’t help that much, with Richard leading with 16, from Roderick and Ron on 15. Of course, I was rooting for LAM reader Roderick Cromar. Following his first round win, Roderick informed me that he is a former UC contestant, and is actually on the cover of the first UC quiz book of the Paxman era. So I had my hopes.

First though clergyman Ron Wood kicked off the show with Tutankhamun. There is a precedent for a clergyman winning a series before, since the Reverend Richard Sturch won the 1996 series. Ron’s subject was very much to my liking. As an impressionable nipper at the time of the 1972(?) British Museum Tutankhamun exhibition I’ve always been interested, and I managed 8 of these. Ron did better – 10 points off 90 seconds is really not to be sniffed at. He’d be in the shakeup in the second round.

Roderick answered on possibly the most underrated Prime Minister of the 20th century, Clement Atlee. Now, back in heat 20, answering on Sam Phillips and Sun Records, Roderick was 5 points behind at the halfway stage. I’m sure he didn’t want to have to come from so far back again this time. Still, while by no means having a poor round, he was unable to set the kind of score he would have been hoping for, and levelled out at 6.For the record I had 4 of these.

Charles M. Schultz gave Richard Chaney a comfortable ride into the semis back in Heat 6. Well, actually it was Richard’s GK round that did that, and enabled him to win with quite a bit to spare. Now, it’s been a long time, but I really liked James Herriot’s books when I first read them a long time ago, and they seem to have stuck. So much so that I had my joint highest score of the SS rounds with 8. Richard – well, I don’t know if it was nerves, or what, but the round seemed to go a bit Pete Tong, and he managed 5 on what were pretty fair questions. It can happen to the best of us.

Chloe Stone is an old hand at this game now. Back in 2010 she played in her first semi-final, the same semi, incidentally, which saw Jesse qualify for his final. Back then she scored 13 points on specialist. Well, I’m not being funny, but it would take a hell of a round for anyone to score that in a semi specialist round in this series. Tonight she answered on British History 1399 – 1485, and scored 9. Previous performances suggested that she might struggle to beat all of the others on GK.

Rae Donaldson won Heat 22 by the proverbial street, with a fine 13 on specialist, and 14 on GK. His specialist subject of the Life and works of Joseph Cornell brought an end to my specialist round scoring spree, which had seen me accumulate 25 points so far. Rae, on the other hand, showed all the opposition a clean pair of heels by scoring a faultless 11 points from 11 questions. OK, it only meant that he had a lead of a single point going into the GK, but in a tight semi-final every point can count.

Richard would have been hoping for redemption in his GK round. It didn’t happen for the first half minute at least, as he dropped points he could have had, judging by his expression. He did recover to start accumulating points quickly in the second half of the round, and in the end posted 9. It set the bar at 14, which unfortunately for him was not enough to pace the contenders yet to come within the corridor of uncertainty. Roderick came next. Now, you might remember how Roderick had to overhaul a significant lead to win his heat. Well, he began his GK round at top speed as if he was intending to do exactly the same thing in his semi. Then he continued his round at top speed as if he was intending on doing exactly the same thing. Then he finished his round at top speed as if he was intending on doing exactly the same thing. I’m not exaggerating. This was a terrific GK round. 14 was a quality score from this set of questions, and I had just a little feeling of déjà vu. OK, there was room for one of the other three to come in ahead, but each one of them, I felt sure, would have to negotiate the corridor of uncertainty first.

Chloe couldn’t do it. Last time she was in the semis she managed a score of 9, and that would not be enough tonight. She never seemed quite up with the clock after the first 20 seconds or so, and a couple of answers that refused to launch themselves from the tip of her tongue restricted her to 8 points Roderick would be no worse than third. Ron looked calm and collected as he returned for his own round. For half a minute you couldn’t pick a winner – it really looked neck and neck. The answers dried up a little though, and with the score on 19 time ran out. It was close, but now Roderick was guaranteed at least second place.

All that was standing between Roderick and a place in the Grand Final, then, was Rae Donaldson’s GK round. 9 would be enough for Rae, and that was doable, but no picnic. He began the round comfortably enough, answering what he knew, guessing and passing quickly what he didn’t. However with 20 seconds to go he was still some way short of the total, and had incurred enough passes that equaling Roderick’s 20 wouldn’t be enough. With the score on 19, the buzzer went as John asked the last question. Rae didn’t know the answer, and that was that.

Roderick – many congratulations! You are the king of the come back! Best of luck in the final, and I hope that you enjoy(ed) it as much as I enjoyed mine.

The Details

Ron Wood Tutankhamun10 - 09 - 319 - 3
Roderick CromarLife and Career of Clement Atlee6 - 114 - 020 - 1
Richard ChaneyJames Herriot5 - 49 - 114 - 5
Chloe StoneEnglish History 1399 - 14859 - 28 - 217 - 4
Rae DonaldsonThe Life and Works of Joseph Cornell11 – 0 8 - 419 – 4

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