The Heath Family v. The Exhibitionists
Welcome back Only Connect. It’s good to see you, helping us avoid University Challenge withdrawal symptoms. So let’s have a look at last night’s teams. In the blue corner we had the Heath Family – daughter Kip, mother Heather and father and skipper Alan. Family teams have featured in OC for several series now, and while none of them have yet gone on to win, we’ve seen some impressive performances in recent years. The Heaths would need an impressive performance in this show, since they were up against a very powerful team in the shape of the Exhibitionists. Keith Andrew, skipper Tim Westcott and Eric Kilby are all extremely good quizzers, who have played in and won many tournaments and competitions. In a straight, no holds barred general knowledge quiz it would take a hell of a good team to beat them. However, this was no ordinary general knowledge quiz. This is Only Connect.
Round one – What’s the connection?
The Heaths, having won the toss, elected to take the first question of the series, and behind the eye of Horus they found – Jennifer Melfi – Roderick Glossop – Hannibal Lecter – and here several possibilities occurred, but none definite – and Frasier Crane. That gave it to both the Heaths and me at the same time – fictional psychiatrists. Only one point, but at this early stage it’s probably better to wait, make sure of the point, and not give away a bonus. Lion brought the Exhibitionists a set of pictures. This was one of those sets that is a lot easier written down than it was on screen. Firstly we saw William Golding, then Tracey Austin, then Sarah Silverman, and finally US magician David Copperfield. Now, write them down like that and it looks easy. Except that it wasn’t. I confess that I didn’t see it, even though I knew William Golding, while I don’t think either team did, and neither team got the metals in surnames connection. Good set – I can’t really explain why that should have been as hard as it was. Two Reeds produced a set which might have proved tricky, but the Heaths were onto it after –sex – set and folk, and gave the correct answer of suffixes of county names. Water brought the music set to the Exhibitionists. Duelling Banjos, and The Devil Went Down to Georgia gave me a rare quick answer to a music set, that these were all connected by musical duels or competitions. A real rush of blood to the head saw the Exhibitionists offer banjos. Had they taken the third they would have known that couldn’t be the answer. The Heaths given the last two were happy to take the bonus. For their own third set they chose horned viper, and captain Alan showed his serious intentions by stressing the second vowel of horned. Well done sir! For the second set in a row, I had it off two. I like my flags, see. The first was Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and the second was Cornwall. Black and white flags – I announced. Well, I wasn’t sure, but I thought that the Taliban at least used to have a black and white one. Pirate ship confirmed it, and gave the Heaths the answer. Left with Twisted Flax, the Exhibitionists were given a rather odd set of – Has Been Dumped – Visits sex worker – Witnessed miracles – and – American lavatory. Well, that last one is a John, and John was one of the gospel writers, so that was the connection, which the Exhibitionists also had off four. But I gotta be honest, that’s not the most satisfying set that I’ve ever seen on the show. Still, at least it got the Exes moving, although the Heaths led by 6 to 1.
Round two – What comes fourth?
This is often the round that sorts out the nearly good from the really good. Once again the Heaths kicked off, and for the first time they couldn’t impose themselves on a set. Lion showed us pictures of Gladstone, Conan Doyle, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. OK, I had them, but not the sequence. Neither did the Heaths, or the Exhibitionists. You had to take the Christian names – William – Arthur – Philip – and then add Louis for Prince William’s names. Fiendish but fair – just what we expect. Eye of Horus offered the chance for the Exes to make up some points. Boron started, and carbon followed. Hmm, I thought, surely it’s not as simple as Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen. The Exes seemed to think so. Take another clue! I shouted at the screen, but amazingly they couldn’t hear me, and went for oxygen. Nope. Given Fluorine the Heaths couldn’t take the bonus, and to be fair, neither could I. Boron is – B, Carbon is – C, Fluorine is – F, and the next one in the alphabet with a single letter symbol is H- Hydrogen. Gettable? Certainly was, but not by me. Thus reprieved, the Heaths chose water, and received Millennium Dome, and O2 for their pains. After conferring briefly they opted, correctly for the O2, which is the Dome’s current designation, after a brief incarnation as the North Greenwich Arena during the Olympics of 2012. Nice set and a good shout. Left with some work of their own to do, the Exes plumped for Horned Viper, with Tim conspicuously stressing the second vowel. Now their luck is bound to change – I thought. Oh, they had the link alright – Major General (two stars) – Orion’s Belt (three stars) – New Zealand Flag (4 stars), but crucially they had the number of stars wrong. They thought we’d already had three, four and five, so plumped for the Australian flag, which they knew has 6 stars. This allowed the Heaths to get a bonus with five star general. When things don’t run for you, they really don’t run for you. The Heaths, then, knowing that they were in all likelihood going to still have a good lead after the round, chose Two Reeds. Sacramento and Phoenix they quickly latched onto as capitals of states that border Mexico, running West to East, and were quite happy that Austin of Texas would be the 4th. As indeed it was. Good shout that on a nice set. This left the Exes with a set which started with IV: Country of the Houyhnhnms. This was an out and out chance for a five pointer, and the Exes knew it as well, but after the way their luck had been running understandably decided to take the second clue to be sure. It’s Lilliput – I shouted before - III: Laputa put it beyond any doubt. That was enough to raise the Exes’ score to 4, but the Heaths had already amassed 13.
Round three – The connecting walls
Needing a very good wall round to make up some lost ground, the Exes proceeded to pick the Water wall, which I felt was the harder of the two. As always, please feel free to disagree. They saw a set of Santa’s reindeer pretty quickly, although they wouldn’t fall into place straight away. Changing tack, a series of jet airliners was the first line they solved – comprising of Trident – Comet – Tristar and 777. This took away one of the potential reindeer, and allowed them to isolate Blitzen – Dancer – Cupid and Vixen. Eric had already worked out that Donner was most likely to be part of a set of words which, if spelled in other ways, made girls’ names. They had three very quickly, but the last just wouldn’t fall into place, and after three incorrect goes the wall was frozen with the last two lines unsolved. When resolved, the names were Donner – Carry – Stellar, and the one they just couldn’t see – IV. To be fair, when I read that, I read it as 4, and I think they did the same. This left a line of Emmer – Red Fife – Norin 10, and Spelt. None of us could see it. To be fair I have heard of spelt, but that’s the only one. They are all varieties of wheat. Fair enough. 5 points to the Exes, and whatever the Heaths managed they were looking at a hard slog in the last round.
Left with the Lion wall, the first set I noticed was titles of songs by the Pet Shop Boys. The Heaths rather fancied a set of Capes – sadly Geoff was not among them – and tried for them first. That didn’t work, so they took out the songs – Go West – Suburbia – Jealousy – It’s A Sin. Speaking of which, several of the 7 Deadlies were there as well, and Lust , Gluttony, Greed and Pride were the ones they isolated. Suddenly it struck me that the last line could well be made up of sound alikes of numbers in German – dry – sex ( twice in one show? Ooh, matron) fear and elf. This left the capes of Wrath, Cod, York and Horn. The Heaths managed to disentangle these last two lines. They gave the links of all but the numbers to secure 7 points. All of which meant that they had 20 going into the vowels, and the Exes were looking down the barrel of a gun with 9.
Round four – Missing vowels
Well, yes, you can make up that much of a deficit in the last round, but it’s very hard to do so. The first set was the charming rhyming phrases meaning chaotic – eg higgledy piggledy. This set fell 3 – 1 to the Exes. The next category was – all from Birmingham. Now, none of us knew that Britain’s first Odeon Cinema was in Birmingham. So that category fell 2 – 1 to the Heaths. Definitions of the word ‘miss’ was the final category, and it saw the Exes get one, and the Heaths miss one. It made no difference. In the end the score was 22 – 14 to the Heaths. Very well played. This Heath family I don’t know at all, but I said that they would need an impressive performance, and that’s exactly what they had. They will be worth keeping an eye on. As for the Exes, well, nothing really went right for them on this show. It happens. Thankfully everyone gets at least 2 matches in the first round now, and I’d be surprised if things didn’t work out differently for them in their next match.
So welcome back Only Connect – great to see you. Oh, and here’s a point. As the credits rolled, I noticed that David Bodycombe, LAM reader and all round good egg, was no longer on the roster – Alan Connor is the new question editor. Alan, we wish you every success. As for David – well, if you’re reading this, we hope that everything is fine with you.