Friday, 30 January 2015

Mastermind - First Round - Heat 23

The penultimate first round heat last night pitted 4 MM newcomers against each other. The target for a guaranteed semi final place was 26 points and as many passes as you like. Mind you, all four were doubtless hoping to qualify the best way, namely by winning the show.

First up was Tom Parker. Tom’s subject was “Game of Thrones”. I have to admit that I have neither read George R R Martin’s books, not watched the TV series, son I can’t make any comment about the relative difficulty of the round. What I can say is that Tom put on a very good performance. In this series it really isn’t easy to get a score in the teens in the specialist round, which put Tom’s performance into perspective. If his GK round was up to snuff, then he would certainly be in with a good chance of getting through.

Providing us with last night’s music round was David Kisilevsky. David had opted to answer questions on Neil Young. He was very good on most of the details about bands, records and the like, and only missed out on stuff like details of specific gigs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Anyone who thinks a popular culture specialist round as a soft option should really think again. 11 and 1 pass was a good score – 2 points adrift really isn’t that much of a gap on a 2 and a half minute round, provided that you have the general knowledge.

Julie Lloyd picked one of the more unusual specialist subjects of this series, in the shape of Bournville Village. Bournville, which is just south of Birmingham, is best known for its connection with the Cadburys, and this connection understandably provided a significant number of the questions. Questions which Julie was equal too for the most part. Like David before her, Julie ended with 11, although she also incurred 2 passes. Another good round.

Bob Monger brought the round to a close. I’ll lay my cards on the table here. In 5 shows including Champ of Champs I only ever went last in the first round once. It’s not a position I can say that I really enjoyed. I’d always rather be setting a score than chasing it. Bob had the life and career of famous barrister Edward Marshall Hall. The 9 he scored was perfectly respectable in the context of this series, but at 4 points behind the leader Tom you had to say that he looked out of the contest by the turn around.

Coming back to my own experience as well, I’ve never had to come straight back to the chair for my GK round, which I cannot imagine would be a very pleasant experience. Bob kicked off the GK round, and he gave it a lash. Unfortunately the questions never fell in enough numbers for him to enable him to build up any momentum at all. He added 6 to his total, and finished with 15. Actually, momentum was also in short supply in David’s round too. This turned out to be slightly better than Bob’s, and he managed 7 to take the total to 18. This wasn’t going to be enough.

Now the task facing Julie was this. She needed 8 points to take the lead. 15 points – which is doable but very difficult – would see her qualify regardless of how well Tom did. Alternatively, she needed to score as many points as possible to at least put Tom into the corridor or uncertainty. As a rough rule of thumb, a double figure lead at least gives you a chance. Well, Julie didn’t manage that, but at least she scored 9 points, to put her in the lead with 20.

8 in 2 and a half minutes for a win is not a huge total, when all is said and done, and Tom was the favourite to win. In fact the bookies stopped taking bets altogether as soon as he started answering his GK questions. Last week I mentioned how you sometimes get a feeling from watching the way that a contender deals with a GK round that the contender is a quizzer, and I felt the same about Tom this week. He powered through the round, yes, missing a few, but getting a lot as well, and his 13 was quite a lot better than anything else we’d seen in this heat. So very well played, and good luck in the semis.

The Details

Tom Parker Game of Thrones13 - 113 - 126 - 2
David KisilevskyNeil Young11 - 17 - 318 - 4
Julie LloydBournville Village11 - 29 - - 620 - 8
Bob MongerThe Life and Career of Edward Marshall Hall9 - 16 - 315 - 4

Highest scoring Runners Up

Gareth Kingston – 28 – 0 (qualified)
Diane Hallagan – 28 – 3(qualified)
Marianne Fairthorne – 27 – 2 (qualified)
Alice Meynell – 26 – 0
John Beynon – 25 – 1
Julia Hobbs / Jeremy Renals/ Susan Sworn – 25 - 3


Gavin Tillman said...

At the moment there is a 3 way tie for the 6th best losers' spot. Do you know how this gets resolved if this is still the case after the last heat?

Londinius said...

Hi Gavin

The honest answer is no, I don't. Maybe they use another statistic such as the number of wrong answers given - but this is pure speculation on my part.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

Hi Dave,

As a massive Game of Thrones fan who might fancy taking this subject were my skills ever to improve to the point I could reasonably attempt to be on the show, I was intrigued by this round, and it was a bit of a mixed bag to be honest.

There were several questions which were basically "What is the name of this really important supporting character?", and several more that you couldn't in all conscience call yourself a fan without getting. The other quarter of the questions were very obscure details that even committed fans could be forgiven for not knowing (this includes the one he didn't get). That said, there's only one, perhaps two, a non-fan could reasonably expect to get, which isn't true of all TV based rounds certainly.

As you say, pop culture rounds are not a soft option, and unless you truly know every aspect of your subject, you will be punished for it. The Devil is in the details, and even two or three misses on specialist can greatly hinder you on GK.

Will G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will G said...

Couldn't Alice Meynell and John Beynon be overtaken if all three runners up in next week's heat score more than 26?

Londinius said...

Hi Will

Yes, actually - thinking about it - they could. . . I think. Sorry - I'll rectify that.