Saturday, 4 October 2014

Only Connect - Match 5

Coders v. Gamesmasters

Yes, good people of quizdom, no time to draw breath, for immediately after heat 11 of UC we had match 5 of OC. In this match the Coders played the Gamesmasters. Richard Bradley, Zoe Cunningham and skipper David Simons made up the Coders. Their opposition  - well, their opposition were not completely unknown in this parish. There’s an honorable tradition of University Challengers coming and having a go at UC, and one of last year’s all conquering Trinity team, Filip Drnovšek Zorko, was the first member of the Gamesmasters. James Robson and skipper Frederic Heath-Renn I didn’t know, but hey, I didn’t know any of the Coders either, so the Gamesmasters were still in credit in the Bank of Support From The Clark Sofa – maybe unluckily for them.

Round One – What’s The Connection?

The Cods began with Two Reeds. Doctor offered too many possibilities. Neighbour made me idly speculate that if you put an s on the end of both of them you get daytime soap operas. If it was, then my money was on Eastender being the 4th. Friend meant that my hypothesis was pretty good, with just TV shows generally rather than soaps. The Cods had been working on the same lines and we were both right. I was wrong that Eastender would be the last, though – it was spook. The Gams took the Rick of Twisted Flax, and were given numbers. Groan. 155 – 300 – 27 up 27 down – meant collectively nothing to me. 501 in 9, though clarified things. 501 in 9 darts is the highest clearance you can have – as is 155 the highest theoretical maximum  in snooker, 300 the highest in bowling. The Gams figured it out at this stage too. 27 up and 27 down is the perfect result in baseball. The Cods opted for Lion, and the music set. I didn’t get the first, but Patience and Under the Bridge gave me card games off three. The fourth, Poker Face, gave it to the Cods. The Gams next opted for Hornéd Viper – thanks for voicing it like that boys – and were given picture clues. The first looked like a Victorian engraving from a novel – my guess was Little Dorrit – I wouldn’t have gambled on little at this stage. It was looking like a very good shout though when the second picture was a still showing Jane Horrocks in Little Voice. Little Mix came third followed by a shot from Little Britain. Lovely set that. The Gams just didn’t see it, and opted for places on the tube map. The Cods, offered a gilt edged chance of a bonus couldn’t see it either, and opted for Florences – Matt Lucas being in the guise of Florence, Emily Howard’s friend. I guess that all of the team members are just too young to have recognised Little Voice. The Cods took Water as their third choice, and started with the Little Yellow God. The Green eye of the Little Yellow God, to the North of Kathmandu etc. etc. But what would be the connection? The Jack of Hearts came next. Bingo – each had one eye. It looked like Zoe was onto it, since she mentioned eyes, but they took Wenlock and Mandeville anyway – the Telly eyed monstrous mascots of London 2012 Paralympics and Olympics. Zoe again pushed for eyes, and Richard leaped on the correct answer, and they took it off three clues. I predicted Polyphemus/Cyclops for the 4th clue, but no – it was darning needle. Left with eye of Horus, the Gams were given We All Stand Together. I would never have gambled in the studio, but I idly wondered whether Frogs might give a five pointer. Mind you, Rupert might as well. Or choruses. Brekekekex Koax Koax meant little, but sounded like a frog. It was enough for the Gams, who like me took the Frog Chorus from the first . That rather rescued the round for them, and meant that they only trailed the Cods by 4 to 5.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth?

The Cods began with Eye of Horus. Galaxy suggested too many possibilities. Universe followed. I clutched at straws and threw Cosmos into the mix. Third was Everything. This sorted it for me. The last answer was Fish – this being the last word of the 4th Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy novel. Great set – I’d never have forgiven myself if the penny hadn’t dropped before I was told the answer. The Gams had it for a bonus. Two Reeds gave the Gams Best – too many possibilities – Caff – huh? – Edgh – and I was sure there was some simple key to it, but just couldn’t see it. I thought that this was a great shout from skipper Frederic to work out that Best is the first and last two letters of Belfast – Caff , Cardiff – Edgh, Edinburgh – so the last would be Loon. Superb shout. Water gave the Cods Mount Rushmore – Eve (1957 Joanne Woodward film) and that was the key. There are four faces on Mount Rushmore – there were Three Faces of Eve, so my watch would be an example of something with one face. The third clue was a chess clock. That gave it to the Cods. The Gams received Twisted Flax, and a set of picture clues. We saw a red ribbon and bow – the red arrows – and an asparagus spear. Altogether – bring me my bow, of burning gold. Bring me my arrows of desire. Bring me my spear, o clouds unfold, bring me my chariot of fire. Lovely, lovely set. The Gams didn’t see it, but the Cods did, and deserved their bonus too. 1947: Norman Hartnell was clearly royal wedding dress designers. Which I thought gave me a cast iron five pointer with 2011: Sarah Burton. 1981: David and Elizabeth Emmanuel reinforced this, and while 2005: Robinson Valentine didn’t, it didn’t blow it out of the water either. The Cods hadn’t a Scooby, no more than had the Gams. My five pointer was in the bank though. The round finished with the viper, which once again was left until last in round two. Hampshire suggested too many. Jersey suggested US States with New. But was it area – which would mean Mexico – or population, which might mean York? I went for area and gave Mexico as my answer. The Gams were smart and took the next , which meant that they knew it would be York, guaranteeing themselves a point. It was alphabetical order, as it happened. That was enough to ensure that the Gams now led 9 – 8.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

Gams kicked off by sorting out a set of definite articles from different languages at double quick speed  - Y (Welsh) – Die (German) – Il (Italian) – El (Spanish). We could all see bands, but they wouldn’t resolve at once. Didn’t matter. The Gams looked to have very good technique, bashing away at a line until it resolved itself into submission, leaving us Soup Dragon – La – Pastel – Smith – all you have to do is pluralise them for bands. Now – wear – watt – wen and hoo all looked like sound alikes for interrogatives, and caterpillar – Mock Turtle – Dodo are all in Alice in Wonderland. But Pat? Well, what else could it be. The Gams obviously felt so since they clotted the two lines into place. Victoria was so good as to tell us that Pat is actually the White Rabbit’s gardener. Great wall performance for a maximum of 10.

The Water wall immediately stuck me as having a set of things connected with the Watergate Scandal. The first line the Cods took out was Bell du Jour – The Stig – Banksy and The Banker – all people whose identity is or was unknown. After that though they really struggled to find the next line – eventually settling on scud- buff – altogether and raw. I’ve never heard of in the scud – but they were all ‘in the’ terms for nudity. Three guesses were tried for the last two lines, but none quite right. Karma Police – There there – Nude and No Surprises was the third line. I knew No Surprises by Radiohead, and that was enough to give the link. The Cods went for Coldplay unfortunately. The Watergate line was made of Creep – Plumbers – Deep Throat and Expletive Deleted. The Cods just didn’t know. So just 4 points, and with the Gams now leading by 19 – 12 they certainly had a hard ask ahead of them.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

With the first set, prosthetics, falling 3 – 1 to the Gams it looked pretty much to be game over. I liked the next category – titles of TV shows that ask questions – and this set also fell 3 – 1 to the Gams. Glaswegians provided no difficulty for the Gams’ skipper Frederic, who took the set 4 – 0. Non news items found in a newspaper saw the Gams get another point, and the Cods unluckily lose 1. This made the score 30 – 13, and while the gap was probably a little larger than was a really accurate reflection of the gap between the two teams, you have to say that it was a fair result, and the Gams were certainly decent value for their win. Good show. 


Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

That was a clinical performance from the Gamesmasters. It was a fantastic show filled with brilliant sets - difficult but gettable at the same time. You certainly don't declare "lovely set" as many times as you did there with every episode!

If a textbook were to be written on how to do the Connecting Wall, I wager a description of the Gams' performance on it would be in it. That took them seemingly no time at all, as they moved effortlessly from one line to the next. Okay, we've seen harder walls (and harder questions in general, as has been noted elsewhere), but there was a lot of skill in it and they had to use educated guesses - they didn't actually know that Y was Welsh in the first line for example if memory serves, or what Pat was, but thought it likely anyway. With the former, they avoided falling into the trap of obssessing over what turns out to have been the decoy (La in this case) as other teams have done before.

I have to admit I too was rooting for them on seeing Filip Drnovšek Zorko, a LAM reader (so hello if you're reading this!) and on this form, they could be a team doing very well this year.

Andrew B. said...

Zoe Cunningham was runner-up on "Britain's Brightest" last year.

Londinius said...

Hi Adam,

Yes, I really think they could be. Mind you, first round form is often an unreliable guide, but you're right to point to their wall performance too, that was impressive. I'm glad it wasn't just me, I thought that the sets were pretty much spot on this week. I'd have been kicking myself if I hadn't got the fish one right at the death.

Yes, Filip, if you're reading this, we're rooting for you here at LAM.

Londinius said...

Hi Andrew - I didn't see the final, so I didn't know that - thanks for filling me in. That was a funny old show, Britain's Brightest - it had the makings of a decent show, but desperately needed tweaking.