Saturday, 4 April 2015

Only Connect : Series 10 Grand Final

Orienteers v. Chessmen

Here it is, ladies and germs, the first Only Connect Grand Final on BBC2. Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on what a successful transition this has been to the terrestrial channel. Those of us fortunate enough to have easy access to BBC4 have been enjoying the powerhouse Monday quiz hour for years, but now it’s been opened to a whole new audience they seem to have lapped it up as well.

Well, enough of such chaff. The Orienteers, Paul Beecher, Simon Spiro and captain Sean Blanchflower have cut a swathe through this series, entering the final undefeated. The Chessmen, on the other hand, Henry Pertinez, Nick Mills and Stephen Pearson, have flirted with disaster during the series, losing once, and needing a tie break to reach the quarter finals.

Round One – What’s the Connection?

Put into bat the Teers opted for Twisted Flax. Greek Bible Writings of St. Ephrem looked confusing – St. Luke’s Gospel A lectionary followed, Archimedes Stomachion A Prayer Book was third, and all I could come up with was works which had been written over by others – or to put it another way, palimpsests.The last – Institutes of Gaius Writings of St. Jerome – illustrated the point that unusually, with this set, I don’t know that the last clue made it any more obvious than the first, but I don’t know – maybe the last is an extremely well known palimpsest and I just haven’t heard of it. Anyway the Teers had it off this last one to earn a very valuable point. Captain Stephen of the Ches again flirted with disaster by not stressing the second vowel of the viper. They received William Henry Harrison. OK – presidents who dies in office? Too obvious. Presidents succeeded by descendants? Even more obvious. Zachary Taylor came next, and that certainly muddied the waters. Generals who became presidents? John Tyler came next, and I was running out of ideas. Millard Fillmore – now, this one, unlike the last set, did actually make it a bit clearer. I had it in my head that Fillmore was an American Whig, and so this was my guess. Bloomin’ good one as it turned out. No points for either of the teams, and so the Teers opted for Lion. Now, a surprisingly obvious set followed. We heard Spike Milligan followed by Joanna Lumley – in full smug mode I shouted – bet the last one is Cliff Richard, since they were both born in India. Actually that was the next clue. In fact the Teers needed the last clue, the sitar stylings of Ravi Shankar, to get it. Never mind, it’s always better to make sure of getting a point and not giving away a bonus, especially at this stage of the competition. The Ches took two reeds and received Heisei 26 – and Henry was right onto it. He knew that this referred to the reign of a Japanese Emperor. Yang Wood Horse came next, which was Chinese, and then 1435 AH. So these then were the year 2014 in different calendars – Japanese, Chinese and Islamic. The Ches made sure of the point by taking the last clue 2014. For the Teers, the name Diarmuid Ua Duibhne kicked off their last set, meaning nothing to me/ White Death, which came second, is a nickname for Tuberculosis. Which didn’t help me, nor did the third clue – Robin Hood. King Charles II, well I could see a connection between him and Robin Hood – in as much as they both used oak trees – Charles hiding in one, and Hood living in one, supposedly. The Teers didn’t get it, but the Ches thought much the same as me and received a bonus for it. White Death was a Finnish sniper. Finnishing off the round, then, the Ches received pictures of a yellow octopus – a sailing ship – Friday 29th February marked on a calendar – huh? – and an oyster. Well, I went for cards as in Oyster card – but I don’t know whether I would have been given it, sine I didn’t specifically link it up to travelcards. The Teers, given a chance for a bonus did something similar, but when given a second bite went specifically with Transport for London, and missed out. So the score at the end of the round was 2 apiece.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth?

In this round it was Sean who spurned the curse of the viper. The set the Teers received as 4th: Watt (W) – SI Units, ok, but what sequence – 3rd: Celsius (C ) – suggested that we were dealing with them in order of which the people they were named after were born. I wondered whether it might be Newton, but no, for that was the next clue. The Ches went for 1st: Joule (J). Incorrect. Henry of the Ches supplied 1st: Pascal (PA) and that was correct. Good shout. The Ches had the chance to capitalize on that bonus when they picked Water, to find that they had found the music sequence. Now, this was one of those that you were going to slap your head about if you didn’t get it. Well, that’s wehat I did anyway when I didn’t get it. We began with Elton john’s Your Song, and finished with Franke Goes To Hollywood’s The Power of Love. They were the songs, if not the artists, to accompany successive John lewis Christmas Adverts. So as the Teers knew for a bonus, the next would be Somewhere only we know – originally by Keane, but sung in the ad by Lily Allen. So now the Teers had the chance to establish a lead. They opted for twisted flax, and we saw a picture of jack Wilde as the Artful dodger in Oliver! With 8th in the top right hand corner. Next we had Tiger Woods, and 7th. I wondered if  Dodger and Tiger might be a reference to US baseball teams – maybe the number of World Series wins for them or something. The 6th looked for all world like a picture of someone being Sweeny Todd, which blew the baseball theory out of the water. The connection, which nobody had, was that each of them had broken commandments. So the 5th commandment – respect thy parents – was represented by Harry Enfield’s Kevin the Teenager. For all the fact that none of us were anywhere near getting it, that was a good set. Two Reeds for the Ches kicked off with I am Archaeopteryx. Hmm – a word thing by the look of it. I am a prillarhorn. Now, crossword fans would have had it at this point. The two contained March and April in between the words. So anything like I am Cajun English. The Ches had it on the last clue. Unfortunately for me numbers reared their ugly heads in the next set for the Teers. Lion gave them 34.1 – 13.6 – 2.1 – Sean gave the answer 0.1, which was the correct answer, and then admitted he only picked it because it felt right mathematically. The sequence was standard deviations in a normal distribution. You don’t say. Eye of Horus gave the Ches 5th: AltaVista. Well, that was an old search engine, wasn’t it? 4th: wa s Ask Jeeves – again, old search engine – 3rd: McDonalds. Now, that upset the apple cart. Failing all else, I looked at the words, and correctly predicted 2nd – iPad. The number refers to the letter of the word which is in capitals you see. Clever that. So the scores remained locked , now at 5 apiece.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Ches picked the water wall. Quickly they isolated a set of cable/satellite channels – History – 4seven – Alibi and Discovery. There was clearly also a set of revolutions there as well. Orange – French – Velvet and October, and these fell next. They could see that there was a set of Nobel Prize categories too, so spent some time working out what the last set left would be. Once Stephen worked out that Biology could be a Girls Aloud song, they isolated the Nobels – Peace – Physics – Chemistry – Economics – Leaving Biology – Jump – Sexy! No No No – the Show as the Girls Aloud works. 10/10 – great work.

The Teers then needed something spectacular of their own. I could see both a set of cigarettes and a set of London Streets, which overlapped. The Teers themselves quickly saw that there was a set of words and phrases that can precede ‘runner’ . The there was also a set of collars. So it just meant that they needed to separate them all. Road – Blade – Bow Street and Long Distance were the runners. The wall was so cleverly constructed that the London Streets fed into each of the other categories rather than forming a category of their own. Next to fall were the cigarettes – Camel – Strand – Mayfair and Pall Mall. London – Whitehall – Daniel and Black are all famous Jacks, which left Picadilly – Whitehall –Buster Brown and Mandarin as the collars. For a long time it looked as if they weren’t going to get there, but the Teers pulled it out of the bag at the end. 10/10, which meant that the score was 15 all going into the vowels.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

A whole series came down to one round of missing vowels. Well, a close match is always more exciting than a walk over. We started with things usually found in threes – and these went 2 – 1 to the Teers. Impressionist Painters and their Paintings went 3 – 0 to the Teers. That was all we had time for. Very well played to both teams, but the Orienteers are series champions, having won by 20 – 16.Hard lines Chessmen, but well played.

Here’s an interesting fact. Whichever team had won would have provided us with the first dual University Challenge and Only Connect champ – for Henry won with Manchester a couple of years ago, and Sean a while before that. Many congratulations. 


Stephen Follows said...

You seem to have got Whitehall in twice - it should be a Jack, not a collar.

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