Welsh Learners v. Software Engineers
The first of this week’s teams, the Welsh Learners, consisted of Margaret Gabica, Chris Hern, and captain Stuart Hern, Right, you might have read in a previous post of the CIU Wales and West of England regional final. Well, twas after the final question, and while we were waiting for the final scores to be read out that Margaret, who played for Maesglas B, the eventual third placed team, came and told me that she was in one of tonight’s teams. Her exact words were ‘Be kind!’ Believe me, I never deliberately try to be anything else. I’ve known Margaret for quite a few years now, playing against her team in Newport, and in fact we both played together on the same team in a pilot for a quiz show which sadly never was picked up. So I know that Margaret is a good quizzer. Chris and Stuart I don’t know, but I thought that if they were at Margaret’s standard, then they were going to be a good outfit. The Learners’ opposition came in the shape of Stephen Macintosh, Anne Harrison and captain Chris Howlett, who made up the Software Engineers. I haven’t, as far as I know, met any of the team, but as we’ve seen so often in the past, that is no barrier to success on this show.
Round One – What’s The Connection?
The Learners won the toss and elected to receive the first set. Eye of Horus revealed firstly Police, Fire and Rescue Services. Hmm – I pondered – 999? Were we dealing with tripled numbers or some such? - When reversing – the second, didn’t offer much in the way of clarification. Licensed taxi drivers came third. The Learners spent some time discussing this, and so didn’t have time to go for the last clue. They offered that all of these things are identified by a coloured light, which was not the answer. The last clue was - Vehicle has never had them. I shan’t lie – I didn’t get it, but the Software Engineers – (that’s a mouthful. What can I call you though? The Softies wouldn’t be very nice. We’ll have to go with the Engs) – the Engs had it with – they are all exempt from having to use seatbelts. That was a good shout. For their own first set the Engs picked Lion and were rewarded – or otherwise – with the picture set. I’ll be honest, I only recognized three pictures –the first being Fernando Alonso - the second being Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” – and the last being Miranda Hart from BBC’s hit sitcom “Large Lady Falling Over A Lot”. The Engs offered that they were all characters known by one name, which in a way wasn’t a million miles away, but the clincher was that they are all characters from The Tempest. I did speculate that the third picture might be a boy band with the unlikely name of The Calibans, but no, they were Franz Ferdinand. The Learners had it for a bonus. They went on to pick Two Reeds, and were given Hyperfine transition of neutral hydrogen (yes, that old favourite!) They had no more idea than I did and so went for the second clue – The Solar System. Nope. Figures of a man and woman – now – that did ring a bell. The words Voyager satellite came to my mind, and Stuart’s as well. And he went for it. Actually it was Pioneer 10 and 11 apparently, but the fact was that Stuart had said they were on spacecraft leaving the solar system which was good enough. Two points. A rather surreal discussion between Victoria and Anne about blind gas aliens followed, but we shall move on.
Now, the Engs showed that they had come with serious intent, for they clearly voiced the second vowel of Horned Viper. Well done! This earned them the music set. First we heard ‘I can’t give you anything but love – then the Man from Laramie – then Paul Young singing ‘Wherever I lay my hat’. It obviously wasn’t the titles that connected. So when we heard Will Young singing the last clue it became obvious that these were all Young musicians – well their surnames were Young, anyway. The Engs were nowhere near, and so the bonus was gratefully accepted by the Learners. For their third set they opted for Twisted Flax. Bach I didn’t get. Arias, though, I did. Barbara Bach (which is Welsh for little Barbara) was Ringo Starr’s second wife, and Olivia Arias(which is Welsh for Olivia Arias) was George Harrison’s second wife. I guessed that Mills might be next and Ono last, or vice versa. Mills indeed came next, but the Learners seemed stumped. Ono gave them Beatle wives at the death, which was accepted even though the precise connection was Beatle second wives. Well, it’s not the semis or the final yet, so a little leeway is only to be expected. Water remained for the Engs, who were given Agatha (breasts) – at which I speculated we were maybe on a Saints’ relics track – then Denis (head) - then Lucy (eyes) which suggested that in fact these were what various saints had removed in all manner of nasty ways – then Bartholemew (skin). The Engs looked blank, but Anne rescued the point at the death. This meant that the score at the end of the round was 5 – 2 to the Learners.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
Stuart of the Learners played with fire at the start of the round by leaving the second vowel of horned viper unstressed. This was actually a really nice set. We saw –choreographer – ballerina – and here inspiration struck, and I offered choreographer/dancer/flamboyant showoff. It looked like Chris who had it at this point for the Learners – saying that they were all the professions of the current judges on Strictly, which meant that they were looking for Bruno’s profession. They offered dancer. They were given the points, correctly, even though the answer as given was choreographer. They correctly alluded to Bruno’s well known performance in Elton John’s ‘I’m still standing ‘ video. Quite true in Bruno’s case – sometimes you wish he was nailed to his chair on the show. The Engs plumped for Lion, and started with George + 5 more – huh? – and Anne looked to have latched onto it straightaway saying ‘Kings of England’. I saw exactly where she was coming from with this – there were indeed 6 Georges. If it was working backwards, then we needed Edward + 7 others next.We didn’t get it. Instead we got Chelsea + no more. However it did give us the connection. These were obviously Bush babies (sorry – couldn’t resist it) – the Clinton’s only child, and working forward that left us with the little Obamas. I knew his daughters were Sasha and Malia – but who was older? At this stage the Engs had it worked out, and offered Malia and 1 more. A very nice set, and a very good shout. Two Reeds gave the Learners The Arrival of Captain James Cook – Centaur throwing a spear of light – 2008 Fou drummers. I’m sorry but this left me without a Scooby doo. Stuart had it – saying that these were all featured in successive summer Olympics opening ceremonies, so all they needed was one of the many things that featured in the opening ceremony of London 2012. The Industrial Revolution did the trick.
Given Eye of Horus the Engs received - Pepys ceased writing his diary – hmm, I wondered , were these all things caused by blindness or something of that sort? No, because the next was Napoleon I born. Suez Canal opened was the last of the set. I guessed dates, and knew that Pepys' diary finished in 1669. So guessing Napoleon was born in 1769 – you see where I’m going here – then we needed something which happened in 1969. I couldn’t do much better than the Beatles played together on the roof of the Apple Building. The Engs really weren’t close. The Learners didn’t have it. Twisted flax gave the Learners Rumantsch. I plumped for German for a five pointer attempt. Working on first language speakers in Switzerland, I guessed fewest first language speakers would be romansch, therefore most would be German. Stuart did the same, and Victoria gave him – and me – another go. Deutsch! I shouted. They had it as well. Clever – not only the right language, but in the right language as well. The Engs saw a picture of the Who to start (good West London boys) . The next showed us a picture frame. Rabbit! – I shouted, buoyed by the previous five pointer. Indeed the next showed us actor Roger Rees. The Engs weren’t onto it, neither were the Learners. The Learners had extended their lead, and now had 15 to the Engs’ 5.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Engs, given the choice, plumped for Lion. They quickly saw a set of chocolate companies and actors from “Are You Being Served” A spree of hitting and hoping didn’t untangle either line, then they also noticed a set of words which could follow King’s/Queen’s. Finally they resolved Leonidas – Hershey – Mars and Godiva, all chocolate companies. Didn’t know Leonidas and Godiva myself. That was the only one they got before time was up. When the wall was resolved they knew that Richard – Divorced – Every – Thirty each feature in different well known mnemonics. Now that was a good shout. Sugden – Inman – English – Thornton were all the actors from Are You Being Served. This left Speech – Bench – Scout and Counsel – which were the set of words to follow King’s or Queen’s. Had they been a little more methodical on isolating each set they just might have had a full house on that wall. Still, 5 points scored.
On the water wall almost immediately Stuart saw Brian Boitano, and knew he was a world champion figure skater. They also quickly saw a set of sauces. Offices in the church was one of the first lines they tried to isolate and with chaplain – friar – oblate and dean they were successful. They worked out that the other connection would be printers, so all that remained was to isolate each line. Brother – Canon – Epson and HP fell into place next. This worked out nicely, because none of the sauces could possibly be a figure skater apart from Curry, so isolating the last two line was fairly simple. The skaters were Boitano – Cousins – Curry and Hamilton which left Breton – Tartare – Tare and Tabasco. They did fight shy of putting Curry in for a skater for a while though, wasting two lives before going for it. 10 points, thank you very much, and a lead of 25 to 10.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
Well, OK, the Engs weren’t going to come back from so far behind, but nonetheless this last round would give us clues to just how good the Learners were, and just how likely the Engs were to come back and win their second show. The first set were attributes in the poem ‘Monday’s Child’. These come up on a fairly regular basis in quizzes. They fell 3 – 0 to the Engs. The Engs, though, lost a point, because Chris said Is Bonny and Blithe, good and gay – leaving out an 'and' in the middle. Bad luck. The next set were all things considered ironic according to Alanis Morissette (remember – it’s like raaaaiiiiiiinnnnn on your wedding day?) Actually that one was the first and it went to the Learners after the Engs hesitated too long. The next three fell 2 – 1 to the Learners. Mexican states saw tabasco rear its fiery head for the second time in the same show. That one went to Margaret for the Learners. The set was split 2 apiece. That was it. The Engs ended with 14 and the Learners with 30.
Hard lines Software Engineers. They were rather caught out in the second round, and also in the wall they knew that the lines were, but just needed to have been a bit more methodical in sorting them out to score more points. As for the Learners, well, Margaret, I have no idea why you felt you needed to ask me to be kind for I thought you all played very well, and without wanting to scupper your chances, you looked as if you could go a long way. Good luck.