Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Only Connect - Qualification Match

The Heath Family v. The Europhiles

The Heath Family – daughter Kip, mother Heather and father and skipper Alan – defeated the Exhibitionists in their first match. Well, the Exhibitionists have already left the building, and so last night they took on Douglas Thomson, Khuram Rashid and captain Mark Seager of the Europhiles. Now, the Euros defeated the Relatives in their first match, who also beat the Exhibitionists. Ah, it’s a small world in Only Connect. Ah well, let’s see how things went.

Round One – What’s the Connection?

The Euros kicked off the match and they opted for the eye of Horus. Spain: Pillars of Hercules didn’t immediately give me any ideas however the second clue – Mauritius – Sambur Deer and Dodo did make me speculate about Coats of Arms. This was confirmed by the third clue – Australia – Emu and Kangaroo. After this third clue they offered crests on flags, and given another go they had it correctly. These are all supporters on these countries’ coats of arms. The Heaths chose Lion, and were rewarded with Normal – no, far too many possibilities for me – Boring – and that didn’t help any more than the first one – Intercourse – interesting, but no help – and Hell. The Heaths had no more clue than I did, although Alan did very amusingly offer the answer of four stages of marriage, a gift of a comment for Victoria who suggest that they were in the wrong order if it was right. The Euros had no more idea either. They all have American towns named after them. Right then, I do have an observation about this as a set. Often with any set the fourth clue, for example, tends to be a lot easier/more obvious than the first, for the sake of argument. Maybe it’s just me, but there isn’t one of those names that shouts American Town at me, and for this reason it was a less satisfying set than usual. Just my opinion, and as always . . . Twisted Flax gave the Euros a picture set. We saw what I was very pleased to identify as an Aeolian harp, then a red dot in the middle of a country which wasn’t named in a map, but judging from the surrounding countries was Burkina Faso. Could the dot, then be Ouagadougou? (all together now - too shy shy, hush hush, eye to eye)In which case, words that started with three vowels was a distinct possibility. Eau de Cologne pretty much confirmed that one, and a Ouija board completed the set. My Auntie Jessie (she wasn’t really my auntie) had one – she called it her Luigi board if I remember right. The Euros went for endings rather than beginnings of the words, and the Heaths didn’t quite have it. Water gave the Heaths a set I was really pleased with myself for getting. Oct 31 and Dec 25 looked like dates. However Hex 19 gave it to me. I reckoned these were all ways of writing 25 in a particular base. The Heaths had it at this point too, but took the last clue Bin 11001 to be sure. Two Reeds unleashed the music set for the Euros.I didn’t recognized the first. Voodoo Chile by Jimi Hendrix came next. Janis Joplin came third, and an idea was starting to form, which was confirmed when Amy Winehouse came fourth. I plumped for the 27 club of performers who died at the age of 27. Neither side could quite see it, and so we moved on to the last set for the Heaths behind a conventionally voiced horned viper. Kissing a Girl didn’t spark any ideas, neither did Massage Cream. Drinking shampoo only served to muddy the waters further, and the last, eating contaminated meat didn’t make them any clearer. Neither team had it, and I’ll be honest, I was nowhere near the right answer that they have all been used by competitors as excuses for producing positive drug tests. Fair enough, and not at all easy. This frankly rather tricky round ended with the Euros leading 2 – 1.

Round Two - What Comes Fourth?

Twisted Flax began the round and it gave the Euros – Like – which surely had quite a number of possibilities – then Movember. Now, the Euros were very impressive with the way that they dealt with this one. Let’s take Like – if you replace the first letter – L – with the next letter of the alphabet – M – you get Mike, which is the NATO phonetic alphabet word for M. Do the same with Movember and you get November – N. Working on that you get Oapa for the 4th. Good shout and three points well earned. The Heaths began with Dynamo – and I’ll admit that the possibility of world war II operational codenames occurred to me. Sea Duty scotched that idea, not to replace it with anything plausible, I’m afraid. Ended Ways came third. Now, I just wasn’t thinking anagrams, and neither were either of the teams. We none of us saw anagrams of days of the week. So Hut Yards would have done, for example. Now, at last I had my five pointer for the show. 2011: Passage du Gois France saw me offer 2014 : Leeds, UK. Given 2012: Liege, Belgium the Euros knew we were talking about venues for the Tour de France Prologue, bu heartbreakingly went for Bradford rather than Leeds. So close. Given 2013:Porto Vecchio, Corsica the Heaths tried Glasgow. Given their own set they opted for a very clever set behind horned viper – conventionally voiced once again. We saw Jimmy Carr and Jonathan Ross playing tennis – a logo for the Radio 4 series Making History – and a Hippopotamus. Now, I am not familiar with Stephen Fry’s Making History, or I might well have had it. I knew his first novel was The Liar, and others included the Hippopotamus, and The Star’s Tennis Balls. But I didn’t see it, and neither did either team. For their last set the Euros picked Lion. We saw Campbell – Chrétien – and at the same time we both opted for Harper – Canadian Prime Ministers you see. Good shout on a straightforward set for once for 3 points. A second unexpected 5 pointer arrived next. Given E = Funafuti – I knew that this is the capital of Tuvalu, and guessed that E means it is the world’s most easterly capital. Working clockwise around the compass this would give us N= Reykjavik. The Heaths took S=Wellington, discussed it a bit, then took three points for the right answer. It was needed too, since the Euros already had 8, and this at least took the Heaths to 4.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Heaths took the Lion wall, and early doors they could see a group of paralympians. They couldn’t isolate them, though. I’m sorry to say that this was that relatively rarity, a wall in which none of the lines are resolved. When the lines were untangled they were left with Peacock – Storey – Stone and Simmonds, the Paralympians. The second line – weir – lock – dam and staunch they knew were all ways of halting the flow of a liquid. Cant – Marks – Rustle and Air was one of those which is much easier once its been separated from the others – they are misspellings of names of philosophers. This left – Tilt – List – Heel and Careen, which are all verbs for leaning over. They missed the last two connections, which meant they took 2 points from their wall.

Well, we knew that the Euros were still going to be in the lead after their wall, even if they didn’t. They saw a set of photographers early doors, but couldn’t separate them. They also saw a set of Afrikaans loan words, which took a long time to separate – eventually revealed as apartheid – springbok – trek and meerkat. That was all they managed in the time, but then that and the definition brought them the 2 points they needed to break even on the round. Aardvark – Minderbinder – Snowden and Yossarian they correctly identified as characters from Catch 22. Jaguar – Three Feathers – Silver Fern and Wallaby they could see were all emblems of international rugby teams. This left the photographers – Lichfield – Bailey – Rankin and Spender. All in all 5 points. This gave the Euros and increased lead of 13 to 6.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

Well, a comeback wasn’t totally impossible, but it looked unlikely, especially after the first set – things that rhyme with missing vowel – fell 3 – 0 to the Euros. One Man and His Dog went 2 – 1 to the Euros – and so far all of the Euros answers had come from captain Mark. He helped himself to three more of things which are gold, while the Heaths managed the other. Victoria had time to announce National Parks in Africa, but not to play any of the clues. She singled out Mark to be mentioned in despatches, and quite right too. IN the end the final score was an emphatic 21 – 8. Well played. The Euros are now in the semis, while the Heaths have to fight another day.


Skiffle.cat said...

I quickly identified Burkina Faso and recalled the name of the capital at once (though it didn't help me get the connection).

Our geography teacher set us a quiz to do over Christmas, back when I was about 13, and one of the questions asked for the capital of Upper Volta. I got the answer right, and for some reason, that scrap of knowledge has stuck indelibly in my head ever since. Even when they cheated, and changed the name of the country, it stayed with me like it was superglued into my brain.

And I have a very vintage VHS recording of Kajagoogoo performing that song on TOTP.

tabstop said...

If you've never gotten forwarded (via email or facebook or whatever) the picture of the Hell city limits sign with massive amounts of icicles coming off it, then you have chosen your friends extremely wisely, so congratulations.

dxdtdemon said...

The same with people pretending to do you know what in the Amish community of Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Btw, Hell, Michigan pretty much freezes over every year.

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

The most frustrating thing about that first question is that I have a postcard from Hell (Cayman Islands) on my wall. And we'd heard of Boring. It was just Intercourse that threw us off as being too ridiculous. Apparently not.

The Wall? I'd always said we'd go all or nothing. Something I wish I'd been wrong on!

Mark was on fire during the missing vowels. Not entirely sure he was beatable - they were a brilliant team.

Thanks for not being harsh on us in your review. :)


Ben Dutton said...

I'd asked a question about Boring just a few weeks before, and though US towns came to mind, the others seemed improbable.

You can really sense the loss of David B as chief question writer. The new QW is finding his feet, I feel, and hasn't always gotten the level right. Most of the time he does, though.

Londinius said...

Hi Everyone

Hi Gillian - ah, those were the days in Geography. I was great when it was all capitals. Gross Domestic Product did for me in the end.

Hi tabstop and welcome to LAM
thanks for the congrats - and to evryone else commenting on the same set, well, maybe it was just me, and I'm willing to accept that. But I have to be honest when I say that it never entered my head until Victoria gave the answer.

Hi Kip, and welcome to LAM.
Hard lines on Monday night - but congratulations on beating the Exhibitionists. I don't think that OC as a competition really suited them, but they are a hell of a good quiz team, and it's a real feather in your collective cap having beaten them. No thanks are necessary either - I just call it as I see it. Good luck in your next show - in which you will now at least share the dubious honour of the Clark support.

Hi Ben

I think that there has been a subtle difference between the sort of question sets being asked this series, which is not meant as a criticism. David B. is a giant, and as such a huge asset to any show he is involved in. However I don't know that I could possibly criticise the question sets in this series - not necessarily worse or better than years gone by, but different.

Anonymous said...

Thanks David! Mum is a longtime LAM reader (I think she even delurked for your review of our last episode).

The Exhibitionists were great guys. We had lunch with them after the episode and chatted, compared TV quiz history and whatnot.

I think with Only Connect it's a combination of the luck of the questions and the lateral thinking. The big brains in our team come from Dad (who I don't think was shown at his best on Brain of Britain) but we have a wide breadth of knowledge. Which didn't help on Monday, but there we go!

Well, thank you all the same. We were all a little worried how it would come across.


Londinius said...

Hi Kip
D'Oh - I never realised your Dad's BoB connection. Of all the heats to be involved in as well! I read back over my comments at the time, and I think it's fair to say that the review was written in some indignation at what happened to LAM contributor Paul. I think that BoB can be very very unforgiving, and if you don't get a little bit of the rub of the green with the run of the questions then you it can be impossible to show your real ability. (I still love BoB despite all of this though)

dxdtdemon said...

But given how there are 3,100 or so counties or county-equivalents in the US, and probably somewhere on the order of 12 cities, towns, or CDPs per county, I think the idea of having the connection be "American Towns" is a bad one. Perhaps using one of them, and then more famous places in the same state would've been a much better group. For example, wouldn't Intercourse, Erie, Allentown, Philadelphia be much better?

Londinius said...

Yeah, I agree with that. I might have got it if they had included the much toted Truth Or Consequences New Mexico as the last one.