Sunday, 22 February 2015

Brain of Britain 2015 - Heat 8

Sorry about the late arrival of this review. Still, let’s have a look at the runners and riders of this, the 8th heat of 2015 BoB.
Mary Dixon
Kathryn Everett
Andrew Hoyle
Nigel Jones

Mary kicked off with the question on the BoB website about the film “Bonnie and Clyde”. That gave Nigel a bonus. Kathryn maybe could have connected the name Roentgen with X – Rays. Nigel did for a second bonus. He also knew Andrew’s first, that the surface of Venus is hotter than any other planet in the solar system. For his own questions he quickly gobbled up 4 – and then he did the same with his 5th. That made a maximum possible 9 points for the round. Game over? Well, indications in the second round were that, yes, that might very well be the case. Mary didn’t know the Bow Street Runners, which bonus got Kathryn off the mark. I’m sorry, but I have to say that this really is the kind of question that you do need to know the answer to if you’re going to have a realistic go at BoB. Kathryn then added another point, but didn’t know that the Mercers are followed by the Company of Grocers in the order of precedence of the Guilds of the City of London. Nobody had that. Andrew didn’t know that Henry Cooper was the first person to be Sports Personality of the Year twice. Kathryn had that. Nobody knew the original name of the Minotaur, which meant that Nigel didn’t get to add to his score in this second round. He didn’t need to. Kathryn now had 3.

In round 3 Mary heard some folk music from Hungary to get her off the mark. She didn’t know the term parsec, which got Nigel into double figures. Kathryn took two goes at John Paul Jones, then missed out on Dr. Sir Magda Yacoub, which got Andrew moving as well. He didn’t know that Kipling wrote “Captains Courageous” – neither did anyone else, rather surprisingly. Nigel took another one but didn’t know about Ronald Searle, and so Kathryn took that point to take her to 5 against Nigel’s 11. Mary took her first but didn’t know that North and South Utsire are off the coast of Norway. Nigel took that windfall. Kathryn had some talking for her sound question, about the ship The Empire Windrush. She knew it, but failed on the capital city with which the Golem was associated. Nigel had it with Prague. Andrew knew Dr. Crippen was on the Montrose, but should probably have known that She in “She” was more formally called She Who Must Be Obeyed from. Nigel was never going to turn his nose up at that rather gentle lob. In his own set he balked at lych – meaning body or corpse – and nobody had it. So at the halfway stage Mary and Andrew had 2, Kathryn 6, and Nigel 14.

For the Beat the Brains interval the first question asked which Pennyslvania township and river gave its name to the covered wagon popularly said to have won the West? Nobody knew the Conistoga, and neither did I, although it is very possible that I have heard it in the past. The same city gave its name in abbreviated form to which product. I went for a stogie cigar, and so did the Brains, which proved to be the right answer.

Back to the contest. Mary didn’t know that Alexander Pope’s Great Dane was called Bounce. Nobody knew it, neither did I. Kathryn didn’t know that Joe Root shared a record last wicket stand with Anderson. Again, nobody knew it. Andrew had a bout of Puccini (a bit of ointment will clear that up, sir – I’m ‘ere all week, ladies and gents), but didn’t recognize Turandot. Nobody did. Nigel kicked off knowing that Actinium comes first alphabetically amongst the periodic table elements. He didn’t know a book about birdwatching, and neither did anyone else. Didn’t matter – he was surely over the event horizon. Mary took her first, a quote from Newton, but didn’t know that hastate leaves are spear shaped. I didn’t either – it’s not one of the ones which usually gets asked – cordate etc. Kathryn didn’t know something about a product of the sassafrass tree, or summat like that. Andrew probably should have known that Peter O’Toole was Henry II in “The Lion in Winter”. It’s, well, it’s a chestnut, and you have toyou’re your chestnuts in BoB, or you’re not going to build up a great score. Inevitably Nigel snapped up that unconsidered trifle. For his sound starter Nigel didn’t recognize the dulcet tones of the Clash.

Into the last two rounds of the competition, then. Mary didn’t know that the highest point of the Rockies is Mount Elbert. Fair question – didn’t know it. Kathryn didn’t know a women’s garment from Scotland – the arisade or summat like that. Andrew didn’t know that Sir John Jervas became the Earl of St. Vincent. Nobody had that. On to Nigel now, who didn’t know that Jeffrey Archer wrote books called Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. So to the final round. Mary again missed out on a chestnut that a regular quizzer would have known, that the USS Arizona memorial is in Hawaii. Andrew took the bonus. Kathryn didn’t know a trilogy written by Henry Miller. Nigel took that. Andrew didn’t know an instrument that was developed from the dulcimer. Nott surprised, and nobody had it. Which is why you have to get the chestnuts, because lurking round the corner you always have the chance of being given a what the ‘ell like that. Nigel finished the contest by answering his first, but not knowing that the ancient remnant of an impact crater is called an astrobleme.

In all honesty I think Russell was indulging in a bit of hyperbole calling this ‘another very tense heat’. It is difficult to build that much tension when the game is over  as a contest to all intents and purposes after the first round, indeed none of the other contenders managed to equal the score that Nigel achieved in the first round alone. It became clear that Nigel has a good general knowledge and wouldn’t let any chestnuts passed him, and the others just couldn’t match him. For the record, the final scores were: -
Mary Dixon - 3
Kathryn Everett - 6
Andrew Hoyle - 3
Nigel Jones – 18

Well played Nigel – and best of luck in the semis.


Stephen Follows said...

Sir Magda Yacoub? Does she wear a dress during surgery

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