Saturday, 7 June 2014

RBQ - Wales v. Midlands

Midlands v. Wales

In the last show we heard Stephen Maddock and Rosalind Miles comfortably defeat the North of England. In Last Monday’s show they took on the combined might of reigning champions David Edwards and Myfanwy Alexander of Wales. Myfanwy Alexander is a writer and broadcaster, and although I doubt that my friend David needs any introduction to readers of this blog, he’s going to get one anyway. David was the 1990 Mastermind champion, won the jackpot on Millionaire, and runner up to Pat in Are You An Egghead 2. On with the show.

Wales kicked off with this first questions: -
Psychological bullying before a cricket match, creative use of hairdresser’s tongs, and the dance of death. Which one of these activities would not have been welcomed in Sochi?
Well, my first thought was sledging – as in psychological bullying in cricket, would actually not have been welcome in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Bobsleigh – yes – luge – yes, but no actual sledge. Creative use of hairdressers’ tongs – ‘surely curling. I struggled with the Dance of Death, David brought out Danse Macabre which Tom suggested was relevant. We were looking for the name of a sport which would not be at the winter Olympics. With Tom’s help they arrived at skeletons doing the dance of death, meaning skeleton bobsleigh. Tom awarded 4 to the team, and I think that’s about what I would have got.

The first question for the Midlands was : -
2010 was in 1982; 2061 was in 1987; and 3001 came in 1997. What is this about, and which year started it all off?
Now, I was pretty sure I had a full house on this. Immediately I heard the question I thought – Space Odyssey sequels – 2010 Odyssey 2 being first published in 1982 etc. So the one that started it off - well – you could actually say that the one that started it off was Arthur C. Clarke’s short story ‘The Sentinel’ which was the basis for “2001 A Space Odyssey”. I stopped feeling quite so smug when Midlands dealt with it almost as fully and quickly as I did – they didn’t mention The Sentinel, but then they didn’t need to. 6 points for both of us.

As usual the second questions for both teams were music questions. Wales were asked,
Why, and in what circumstances, a monied man of the 18th century might have expected to come across all of them?
I didn’t recognize any of the pieces, which was no surprise. Myfanwy started by outlining the concept of the Grand Tour. That made sense, because I’d heard the word Vienna as well as they had in the first piece. It was by Beethoven, apparently, the Vienna Chorus. They eventually arrived at April in Paris for the second, and guessed Rome for the second piece. If it’s Rome, you go for Respighi, and I came in with this just before David chanced his arm, with Fountains of Rome. So overall Wales earned 3, and the best I would have had was 2, and maybe even just the one.

The Midlands are usually very secure on music – Stephen being in the business as it were. They were asked
To which late, great musician is this sequence a (rather unlikely) tribute?
I knew the second – Abba’s Money Money Money. The other pieces – not so much. Rosalind recognized Claudio’s speech from Much Ado. Claudio and Abba, as they explained, meant you just needed – do – for Claudio Abbado. Bu tthey didn’t know what it was, until given a clue , when they recognized it was Grainger, but not the title – The Immovable Doh. This gave them 5. And me 1.

Back to Wales, who were asked this little teaser: -
If London buses times Jumbo jets equal Wales, why would Wales times Eiffel Towers offer a field of contest to Phelps and Spitz?
Well, the field of contest for these two record breaking Olympic swimmers seemed like an Olympic swimming pool. Like David, I was thinking of the number 747 for jumbo jets, but this was apparently barking up the wrong tree. Apparently we were not looking for specific numbers. Let’s be honest, none of us had a Scooby doo. Tom said that we should be looking at units of measurement. Lightbulb. These are often used as comparisons – eg such and such is so many times the length of a London bus. Area – Wales – time height – Eiffel Tower = volume – Olympic swimming pool. Tom himself said it was a tough question. It didn’t stop him restricting them to only 2 points, which is about what I would have had too.

Looking good for the win already, the Midlands faced this set: -
What connects a King who became a President after a scandal, the creator of Ashburnham and Tietjens, and a director best known for his love of the great outdoors – and why might they not be as shallow as they first appear?
Well, I started barking up the Ford tree here. Gerald Ford was the president – whose original name as Leslie Lynch King. Fords certainly aren’t as deep as they seem. I didn’t know about Ashburnham and Tietjens. However Stephen put me right on that – Ford Maddox Ford being the creator of those. John Ford had already sprung to mind as the director. None of us knew that the director and writer were not born Fords either. Midlands had 5 points – they knew Ford Maddox Ford which I didn’t, but on the other hand I did know Gerald Ford’s original name. So I would have been either 4 or 5.

Already we had reached Wales’ last question: -
Why might a toccata for organ, Father Mulcahy and the north wing of the Capitol all sound as if they have no sound?I knew that Father Francis Mulcahy was the chaplain in the film and TV series MASH. David had that. He knew the toccata they were looking for which I didn’t, which is Vidor’s the one much favoured by brides when they leave the church. This made sense of the Senate being the part of the Capitol. I didn’t have it before David gave us Vidor, but Charlie Chaplin, Mack Sennett and King Vidor all directed silent movies. Chaplin and Sennett both acted in them as well, though I didn’t know if King Vidor ever did. So Wales finished with a flourish of 6, with 4 or 5 for me.

The last question Midlands were asked was: -
How would the addition of the gas constant transform: The composer of ‘The Protecting Veil’ into the composer of the ‘Western Wynde Mass’; A Benedictine monk and historian into a journalist and former MP; But a double dose be required to transform a ‘fifth Beatle’ into the creator of Westeros and Essos?
For the second week running Midlands got a question apart from their own music question where a very detailed knowledge of classical music was a real help. Right, well the last part was pretty straightforward as far as I could see. To turn fifth Beatles George Martin into creator of Game of Thrones George R.R.Martin – in which Westeros and Essos are continents, I think, you add a double R. So these were all add R questions. As it was, because it is not that long ago that he passed, I also knew that John Tavener composed The Protecting Veil. So I guessed that John Taverner would have composed the Western Wynde Mass – which was right. Never heard of him. Matthew Paris and Matthew Parris was an irresistible conclusion to which I leapt for the second pair – correctly as it happened. A nice set. 6 points for all of us.

Midlands played extremely well, and deserved to win, which they did, by 22 to 15. Very well played Midlands. A word of consolation for Wales, though. It’s all in the ear of the behearer, but I thought at least 2 of the Midlands’ sets were considerably easier than anything served up to Wales. That’s just my opinion, though, and as always . . .


Andrew B. said...

For a contrary view, I thought the easy questions (i.e. 6 pointers for me) were both of the first pair plus Wales's 3rd question, and struggled with most of the others.

Londinius said...

Hi Andrew,
Well, I did say it was just my opinion, and then I am probably biased.

Stephen Follows said...

Well, I thought the silent movies question was much harder than Wales made it seem - and I wrote it! Just shows that you can never tell.

Andrew B. said...

FWIW on that one I had Widor and MASH, and was thus wondering if Widor was a way of preparing potatoes...

opaltiger said...

I thought the Arthur C. Clarke question was really spectacularly easy. I suppose you had to know that 2001 had sequels - but if you did know that, that's essentially all it's asking for. I was also mildly annoyed that they perpetuated the idea that 2001 was an adaptation of the novel, or conversely the book a novelisation of the film. Neither are true.