Sunday, 15 February 2015

Brain Of Britain - Heat 7

Another week, and another four first round contenders. Last Monday saw
Julian Ashton
Diane Hardman
Graham McNeilly
Peter Whitehead
having a crack at radio’s premier quiz. So let’s see how they did.

OK – round one. Julian took two, but didn’t know that the brightest asteroid as seen from Earth, named after the Roman goddess of the Hearth, which got Diane off the mark. She took her first but didn’t know that 2016 will be the Chinese year of the Monkey. Nobody had that. Graham also took his first, but didn’t know about a zig zag line named after Anthony Van Dyke. This left just Peter to get off the mark. His first was certainly gettable but he didn’t know that Chadwick discovered the neutron. So a decent opening, which saw all the others get two. Julian didn’t know that Peter Greenaway directed the Draughtsman’s Contract amongst other films. Surprised that nobody knew that one. Diane didn’t know the precise 8 words that Bambi’s father tells him his mum’s been shot. Apparently it was ‘Your mother can’t be with you any more’. Frankly it was a bit mean asking for an exact answer on that one while allowing ‘Exit, followed by a bear’ instead of ‘Exit, pursued by a bear.’ – which is a very famous stage direction,  for an earlier question. Not that it made any difference because nobody knew the Bambi quote anyway. Graham McNeilly didn’t know the first director of the New York Museum of Modern Art. That bonus got Peter off the mark. For his own question Peter got his rhombus mixed up with his trapezium, and that windfall went to Graham as a bonus. That round had done a little damage as Graham now led with 3.

Round 3 saw the first music question, which went to Julian. He was asked for a ballet and its composer after listening to a minute or so. I didn’t know it, neither did he. Peter knew it was from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Diane knew her first two, but didn’t know the relatively chestnutty fact that the word for a stone tomb which means flesh eating is sarcophagus. Julian took that windfall. Graham didn’t know the lovely little fact that Horatio Nelson was buried – well, put in the crypt of St. Paul’s – in a sarcophagus originally made for Cardinal Wolsey. Nobody had that, although they suggested several people Wolsey knew. Peter didn’t know that Meteor crater is in Arizona – Graham took that one. Now Diane and Graham were tied on 4. Round 4 saw Julian fail on his first – I didn’t get it down, I’m afraid. Diane had a blast from the past with her music question, when we heard Popcorn from the early 70s (da da dee dumm da da dum). Peter took the bonus for that. Graham didn’t know that the perineus muscle group are in the lower leg. Nobody knew it. Peter had a nasty astonomy question which nobody knew – the Roche limit or Roche radius. Unsurprisingly that added nothing to anybody’s score. So the upshot was that going into the Beat the Brains interval, Peter and Julian had 3, Diane and Graham had 4.

For the Beat the Brains questions, the first asked which word, coined by Sylvia Wright, is now widely used for any misheard lyric in a poem or song? They didn’t know the word mondegreen. The second question asked about the nonsense verse – You Are Old Father William. It parodied a verse by which poet laureate? They went for Wordsworth, but it was Southey, the one before. Such is life.

Back to the close quiz. Julian didn’t recognize a list of alternative names for Rumplestiltskin. Peter had that bonus. Diane didn’t know the creator God in voodoo. I was pleased with myself for answering that one. I didn’t know it. The clue gave the name and said the French word it was supposed to be derived from. Now, thinking in terms of religion – former French colony – all I could come up with was Haitian Voodoo. Which proved to be the correct answer. None of the contenders’ answers were linked into French at all – in which case why did they think it was in the question, I rather churlishly asked myself. Back to the quiz, and a music question for Graham.  I didn’t know All Tomorrow’s Parties by the Velvet Underground, and didn’t know it was Nico singing. Graham didn’t either. Peter answered his first, and his second, and his third, but really should have known that in Moby Dick Ahab’s false leg is made from whalebone. He had ivory – so I think it was a little careless. Nonetheless, he now led with 8, and was suddenly looking like a winner. In round 5 Julian knew his first, but didn’t recognize chapters of the book version of The Ascent of Man. Nobody had a gettable bonus. Diane didn’t know that a group of films all had directors called Anderson. Graham didn’t know that Libra the Scales also represent the equinox. Diane had that. No music for Peter, but a very recognizable recording of the late, great Willie Rushton. His second saw him unable to identify one of the 4 largest cities in Germany up to 1815. Diane had it with Hamburg.

Julian didn’t know Karl Marx’s middle name was Heinrich. Nor did anyone else – and hey, for all I knew it might have been Groucho. It was Heinrich. Diane was asked about the Euston Railway Arch and didn’t know. Graham had that and so did I. He was asked about Ash dieback and didn’t know it – he probably should have, and Julian had a bonus. Peter only needed a couple to put the stamp on a win, and he took his first, but didn’t know about Robert Downey Jr. getting nominated for best actor playing someone who was also nominated for best Actor in 1940. Right then, final round, and Peter led by 4. It would need the best round of the contest from anyone else in order for them to pass him, and frankly, it didn’t look to be on the cards. Julian kicked off not knowing the three countries bordering Lake Victoria. Nobody had it – Tanzania Kenya and Uganda. Chestnut, and I’m sorry guys, but you probably should have known what is a fairly standard Geography question. It’s the sort of thing you ought to know if you want to have a decent chance, anyway. Diane didn’t know Jessica Mitford. Graham didn’t know the Tamandua are anteaters. Peter finished off the contest, not knowing that the lundehund was bred to hunt puffins. That was that. In the end Peter won fairly comfortably by 5 points with 12. Well done, sir.

The Details

Julian Ashton   - 6
Diane Hardman - 7
Graham McNeilly - 6
Peter Whitehead - 12

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