Friday, 14 November 2014

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 13

What, no recidivists? Apparently not, well, not according to my records any way. So with no previous Mastermind form to guide us, I did what I sometimes do and searched each of the names within this very blog. Which revealed that Will Howells, 3rd to go of tonight contenders, is actually an Only Connect Grand Final captain, having reached the series 5 final as skipper of the Analysts. Did this make him favourite for this show? Well, it was good enough for me.

Before we got to see what Will was made of, though, the show kicked off with David Gregson. David’s subject was the TV series Peep Show. Now, I’ve seen some of these, but by no means all of them, and while they were amusing enough, I can’t say that they made enough of an impression on me for me to remember many of the arcane details of individual shows. Needless to say, David did quite a bit better than that. In the end he just nosed over the line into double figures, finishing with 10.

Graham Howarth was answering on one of those good old fashioned Mastermind subjects in the shape of The Battle of the Atlantic. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed to me that Graham took a while to warm up and get into his stride, and in that black chair time is a luxury that you just don’t have. There were a couple of old chestnuts in the round, but also enough questions requiring knowledge in depth that Graham reached respectability, but not a total that would keep him in contention, as he scored 8.

Which brings us to Will. Will was answering on Suede  - that’s the 1990s band, rather than the variety of leather. The Holy Grail of specialist rounds, if you like, is the perfect round, the one where you get every single question right. I say that myself never quite having managed it myself. We see lots of people come close, but actually doing it is something else. And it’s exactly what Will did – 15 question, 15 correct answers and 15 points. That’s impressive, and as his round ended he was 5 points ahead of the next highest scoring contender.

There was, however, one contender still to go. Sarah Millard offered us the second of tonight’s traditional subjects in the Life and Works of Charlotte Bronte. Now, I am really sorry if this upsets people, but I’m afraid that I have a hate-hate relationship with ‘Jane Eyre’. I have a pet theory that the world is divided between Jane Eyre people and Wuthering Heights people, and I’m one of the latter. Still, I did read “Shirley” and managed to enjoy it far more than its author’s most famous novel. Enough of such digressions. I managed an even half dozen of these, and Sarah precisely doubled that score. This put her three behind, but at least meant that the result of the show was not a foregone conclusion now.

Graham returned to the chair, and battled manfully with his round without making great headway . 8 points doubled his score, and did give him the outright lead at least for the next two and a half minutes or so. It wasn’t going to last much longer than that. David’s round wasn’t in all honesty that much better than Graham’s – well, one point to be precise. Both rounds were honest attempts, but neither managed to build up the head of speed that comes from a string of correct answers.

Sarah started producing some very good answers in her round, and although I still had Will as the favourite to go through I was certainly starting to sit up and take notice. I don’t know about you, but when I’m watching a GK round I can’t help assessing from the answers whether the contender is likely to be a regular quizzer, and going on Sarah’s answers I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if she does quiz regularly. Her final score of 13 left Will needing to find 10 correct answers, and she had done all she could do by putting him into the corridor of doubt.

At first Will didn’t make spectacular headway in his round, but the main thing was that he kept his head, let his nerves steady, and began picking off the correct answers. Here we certainly did see a round that found momentum and picked up speed as it progressed. It wasn’t necessarily any better than Sarah’s, in fact the total of correct answers supplied was exactly the same, but he was already three points ahead in real terms. This meant that he finished with 28, comfortably one of the higher totals scored in this series. Well played Will, and good luck in the semis.

The Details

David Gregson Peep Show10 - 09 - 219 - 2
Graham HowarthThe Battle of the Atlantic8 – 0 8 - 516 - 0
Will HowellsSuede15 – 0 13 - 128 - 1
Sarah MillardThe Life and Novels of Charlotte Bronte12 - 213 - 225 - 4


dxdtdemon said...

Was it just me, or did the general knowledge rounds seem to be even less balanced than usual?

Londinius said...

I didn't think so, to be honest with you. what can skew your perception of this is that a round might seem harder because -
a contender goes much slower and struggles over the answers
- which means you have less questions to answer at home because they get asked fewer questions
- which means that you end up with a lower score on their set than on others.

However its all in the eye of the beholder. They're all easy questions if you know the answer, and all hard ones if you don't.

Paul Steeples said...

Alas, Will wasn't captain of the Analysts on OC because that was David Lea (I know, because I was one of the other Analysts). Can't remember the name of Will's team. Anyway, he's a pillar of the Quiz League of London and a very nice chap...

dxdtdemon said...

Will was the captain of the Antiquarians, and sang the Only Connect dolphins song. When will there be a Mastermind dolphin song?

Stephen Follows said...

Have you read David Lodge's essay on 'Jane Eyre' (in 'Language of Fiction'). That might make it more interesting for you - it certainly worked for me and my last A level class.

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