Sunday, 29 March 2015

Only Connect - Semi Final 2

Orienteers v. Q. I Elves

Yes, dear friends, I’m back to reviewing Only Connect, now that the blessed oasis of the Easter Holidays are here, following the most hectic school term of my almost three decades long career. I will try to catch up with the first semi final as soon as I can. 

 So on Monday night, with a place in the final at stake, the Orienteers, Paul Beecher, Simon Spiro and Sean Blanchflower, took on the Q.I.Elves, Anne Miller, Andrew Hunter-Murray and James Harkin. In a straight General Knowledge quiz, I’m sorry elves, but my money would be on the Orienteers every day of the week, and to my mind they had been the stronger of the two teams throughout the series as a whole. Well, nothing to lose for either team, so here we go.

Round One – What’s The Connection?

The Elves began picking Two Reeds. The first clue was a picture of the cast of George and Mildred, with Yootha Joyce’s face circled. Next we had a photo of Pat Phoenix, Elsie Tanner as was. Third picture, which I didn’t recognize was. The last clue was a photo of the entrance to the Salford Lads’ Club. In the photo there was a street name cut off, which could conceivably have been Coronation Street, so seeing Pat Phoenix as well that was my guess. Completely wrong. As were the Elves. The Teers, though, knew that they had all appeared on Smiths Album Covers. Right, you may recall how I’ve sometimes mentioned a number of parties which I arrived at after everyone else has left? Well, the Smiths are one where I never arrived in the first place – just never really ‘got’ them I suppose. Good bonus shout from the Teers, though. Twisted Flax gave the Teers – Island home of Circe. Now, I love my Greek Mythology, and knew that Circe’s island was known by the unlikely name of Aeaea. So were we going to get a set of words with no consonants? Yes, in a word, since the second, the three toed sloth, is an ai. The Third – Jupiter’s 3rd largest moon – was Io. That was enough for the Teers – and I’ll be greedy enough to claim a five for myself. Wouldn’t have been if I’d been sitting in the studio mind, but I wasn’t, so it was. The Elves took Lion and the bong announced that they had picked the dreaded music set. Nobody had the set, but they were all titled, or nicknamed Pathetique – which is a pretty good description of my attempts to identify any of the pieces being played. The Teers picked Eye of Horus, and received for the first clue a complicated equation – for the second clue Unicode U+2665  - for the third – Less than three. Appparently they all make heart shapes. Nope, me neither, but the Teers did , more to the point. Bloomin good shout. James of the Elves obviously spurns the curse of the viper, since he asked for it Horned rather than Hornèd, and received Henry IV’s humiliation at Canossa. That’s not Henry IV of England, but the Holy Roman Empire. The Pope ordered the door of Canossa to be shut in his face. Indian Soccer Team 1948 Olympics gave it to the Elves, who knew that they played barefoot So obviously Henry had to go barefoot to the Pope to make up for whatever it was he did in the first place. Good shout – and needed too. Left with Water, the Teers started with Birmingham (1976 - ) then Stratford (2009 - ) International Stations occurred to me as well as to the Teers, but I didn’t know where Harwich (1995 -) came in. Unless there was also a Harwich International station – not impossible since it’s a port. Incidentally, my step father used to work in Mount Pleasant sorting offie, and he said his favourite ever letter was one addressed to Arijaba – which turned out to mean Harwich harbor. Waterloo (1994 – 2007) pretty much confirmed it. The point the Teers gained meant that they led by 6 – 3.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth?

Two reeds gave the Elves – 4 of 4: Reed. Nope. The second clue was 3 of 4: bible and the last was 2 of 4: bonnet. Neither I nor the elves had a clue. Amazingly, Simon of the Teers knew them as nicknames of the stomachs of a cow. He got it! Amazing considering that this was of the level of obscurity we saw in the oft criticized 9th series. Lion gave the Teers 1st: water jump in 300m Steeplechase. 2nd was The Chari in the Grand National. Now, the Water jump isn’t jumped on the first lap, the chair not on the second lap. The third clue – ladies singles tie break at Wimbledon – well, it isn’t used on the third set. So you needed something missed out on the 4th part of a competition, for example the vowels in Only Connect. Neither team had it, and I patted myself a bit on the back for doing so. Twisted Flax then showed the Elves an orange dice with the three dot face on show. Then a yellow dice with the six dot face. The Third was the same, but in green. The elves were out with the washing, but the fiendishly good Teers had it. This was colours of the rainbow with the number of dots representing the number of letters in the perceding colour – so the last would be blue with white spots. Eye of Horus gave the Teers 4th Int: Perigny. Nope. 3rd Int: Moscow. That suggested Communist International.I wasn’t put off by  2nd Int: Paris. I had it in my head that the last would be 1st: London. I was right too – Thanks Mr. Wheeler-Robinson (headteacher of my school, taught us 20th century Russian History for A Level in 1981). Sean guessed it, and apologized for doing so. The Elves finished with , in red , #FF0000, then in pink #FF00FF, then yellow #FFFF00. None of us knew the answer is #FFFFFF in white. Fair enough. They are apparently the hex codes for internet colours. Finally the Teers were given 1000=Malta. Nope, then 500 = Germany. Simon came up with a brilliant shout – D is the registration letter for Germany, and also roman numeral for 500. So logically we would be looking for the country symbolized by L which would be Luxembourg. Great shout and the Teers looked awfully good value for their lead of 13 – 3.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

At first the Teers had a go at instruments, and then switched their attentions to a set of fictional abbeys. They didn’t see Thomas Love Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey at the start. Then they did isolate a set of words which are names with one letter removed from the start – Liver – Avid – Ames and Avid.  That makes me an Avid Lark, apparently. Downton, previously thought to be one of the abbeys, was then lumped with Parks, Rhodes and Evans – England wicket keepers, I said, slapping my forehead. One go was all it needed to separate the keyboard instruments – CP-70, Wurlitzer, Clavinet and Baldwin Combo, which left Northanger – Theleme – Nightmare and Redwall. A little surprisingly they didn’t have England wicketkeepers, going for explorers/politicians, and they didn’t have electric keyboard instruments, so a potential 10 became 6. Still good enough, I fancied.

The Elves could see a group of male ballet dancers, but not isolate them, and a group of fictional kingdoms. I could see a group of words which all ended with boy’s names.They did too, but not quickly enough. Time ran out with no lines isolated. When the wall was resolved they saw Camelto – Troy – Nijinsky and Galileo were racehorse, but not that they were Derby winners.
Oceania, Oz, Narnia and Gilead were the fictional lands. Tharp, Nureyev, Guillem and Acosta were the ballet dancers, and Verbatim, Compete, Worsted and Chromophil the ones ending with boys’ names. 4 points not a bad return considering that they didn’t isolate any lines, but not enough. The Teers led 19 – 7. Game over.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

Things that aren’t an orange – eg -  William of Orange (nice one) fell 3 – 1 to the Teers. English Language national anthems fell this way – both teams lost a point, while the Teers took 2 and the Elves 1. Alternative names for fruit went 2 apiece and there was no time for features of the Solar System.

Well, the final score was 25 – 10. Congratulations to the Orienteers, and commiserations to the Elves. They can have no complaints – they had done well to get this far, but in the end, with the difficulty level ramped up they were always second best in this contest. As for the Teers, best of luck in the final. 

1 comment:

Stephen Follows said...

Point of information: of those ballet dancers, Twyla Tharp and Sylvie Guillem are ladies.