Saturday, 18 July 2015

Only Connect Series Eleven - Match One

Cluesmiths v. Operational Researchers

Last year OC made a triumphant transfer to BBC2. I wasn’t the only one to believe that the show had hit the right level of difficulty again, following the obscurity of some of the sets of questions in series 9. So I’ve been looking forward to this series. First up, then, we had the Cluesmiths – Mick Hodgkin, John Tozer, and Richard Heald, the skipper. Opposing them were the Occupational Researchers, Paul Allen, Alex Hill, and captain Clare Lynch. Let’s get on with the show.

Round One – What’s the Connection?

I give captain Richard of the Cluesmiths credited for taking on the Viper first, although feared for him when he did not use our favoured pronunciation of Horned. The first clue was quintuple – troth. Huh? The second, though – distress single helped a lot. SOS is a distress single. It’s also the title of an Abba singl;e – as is I do I do I do I do I do. The 3rd clue – 1963 Lincoln memorial speech confirmed it, being the Martin Luther King – I have a dream – speech. The Smiths actually ruled out I have a dream, and went for a last clue – 1815 Belgian Battle. Even then they couldn’t see it, and I’m sorry guys, but that was a bit of a red face moment, especially since the Ops snapped up that unconsidered trifle for a bonus. For their own first set they opted for Lion and received Derbyshire=Nottingham. Nope, me neither. Nottinghamshire=Wantage came next, and at this stage I just didn’t have a handle on the set. Worcestershire = New gave it to me though, since I knew that Wrocs Country Cricket Club play at New Road. I even predicted the 4th would be Leicestershire=Grace. The Ops didn’t have a Scooby, and the Smiths at least had cricket, but went for captains. OK. Now this is why, if you want to really do well on OC you have to have at least one regular general knowledge quizzer/pub quizzer. I can almost guarantee that anyone who is even slightly serious about their quizzing, if you said to them the words – Leicester – and – Grace – would come up with the idea of Grace Road, and work on from there. Ok – lecture over. The Smiths chose water, and earned the music set for their trouble. I didn’t recognize the first two, but the second was going on about the skies. Kelly Watch the Stars by Air came next, and you never know, I might, like the Smiths, have chanced my arm with stars at this point. They earned their first points, and we moved on to Eye of Horus. This gave the Ops –(eg) Dairy Milk (chocolate). For me this certainly wasn’t enough to go on. Pringles (potato crisps) though gave me the answer – that these are all products which have been disputed – that is – for w while the EU ruled that British chocolate such as Cadbury’s could not actually be called chocolate – and Mr. Pringle actually took issue with the idea that his most excellent snacks are in fact potato crisps. The next two were ketchup (vegetable) and Jaffa Cakes (cakes). The Ops pretty much had it on the 4th. Now, according to QI the whole issue over Jaffa Cakes – which I believe ARE actually classed as cakes and not biscuits – led to the definition of the difference between biscuits and cakes. It goes like this – when they go stale, biscuits go soft, while cakes go hard. Therefore Jaffa Cakes are cakes, QED. Two reeds gave the Smiths Iago. Now, I would NEVER have gone for it in the studio, but I did actually have a five pointer here. The obvious thing is Shakespearean villains, so I didn’t go there. However, Iago is also the Spanish equivalent of James. Who is the patron Saint of Spain – the Santiago of Santiago de Compostela. So – parton saints of countries in that country’s native language. Francesco e Caterina looked Italian, and Dewi, as in Dewi Sant, is St. David of Wales. John worked it out, and after their first set the Smiths seemed to have rallied well. The Ops finished with pictures. Now, the key to this set was recognizing picture two – Earl Grey. Get this, and you have it off two. As for the others, though, a full ENGLISH BREAKFAST, a RED BUSH, and a golfing GREEN, were not by any means easy. Get Earl Grey, and you know it’s tea. Without it, though it escaped both teams. The Ops had 2, while the Smiths led with 4.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth?

Lion gave the Smiths a picture of a red horse. “Buzz in and chance your arm with Red Lion!” I shouted. They played more cautiously, taking the second picture of a White Hart. That was enough for the Smiths, and as sets go, it was a little bit of a gift. Clare of the Ops too went conventional with her pronunciation of Horned Viper, and earned Madonna – and there are too many possibilities there, then Chris Cornell. That gave it away, and so I yelled ‘Adele!’, this being a sequence of artists who recorded James Bond film themes. They could see what the sequence was, but took the third clue before giving the correct answer. The Smiths took water, and their first clue was the intriguing Teeth. This was followed by Eyes. At about the same time we all worked out that this was Shakespeare’s seven ages of Man – sans teeth, sans eyes, and so the sequence would end with everything. Good shout. Eye of Horus gave the Ops excel – then – el. Now, a few years ago I would have had no chance at this one, but I’ve seen them do this sort of thing on the connecting wall enough now to  see XL – L – Which would mean we’d go EM , then ESS. The Ops had it, but they Opted to play cautious and took the last clue before giving the correct answer. Phonetic rendition of clothing sizes. Twisted Flax brought the Smiths Versus then Kiss. I was struggling at this point. I think it was Richard who had an excellent shout here. Versus is V , while a kiss is an X. V then X are roman numerals, so working on L then C, something like Celsius would do the trick. The Ops finished off with Reeds and 4: Abu Dhabi – which wasn’t enough for me – then 3: Bilbao. Now, the Guggenheim Museum is a thing which most quizzers link with Bilbao, so I went for 1: new York, location of the original Guggenheim. Yes, the Ops had it at this point, and yes, they once again opted to go cautious, and took the last clue 2: Venice. Their caution was understandable, but meant that they were 5 points behind the Smiths, who led with 13.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Ops went for the Lion Wall. Early doors they could see a linked set of sort of crown type headgear denoting rank, but left these go for a bit in order to find Goosen – Crown – Dover and Tito. Take the last letter of each off and hey presto, you’ve caught a bird. Pschent – Diadem – Tiara and Coronet were the headgear, and they fell quickly. They could see a set which would all follow American in film titles – Beauty – Sniper – Pie and Hustle, but hung fire a minute to try to work out what linked Sabbatini – Locke – Player and Frost. Well, Player and Locke were both South African golfers so that was my guess. They went with philosophers – John Locke – but he never won the Open so no. 7 points.

The Smiths, faced with Water, tried a group of words denoting something false. These wouldn’t resolve. They saw Ascorbic Acid and initially thought food additives. Not a million miles away, but a serious quizzer would know that it’s Vitamin C, which would have given away a line of vitamins. I could also see a list of words which, when combined with a specific number, would give the name of a group – eg Sham (Sham 69) – and this was the first group they resolved with Sham – Shed – East – Haircut. Then the vitamins fell with Retinol – Ascorbic Acid – Thiamin and Riboflavin. They could see that there was a group of things also symbolized by E, so they knew the connections of the last two sets, it was just a matter of resolving them. They didn’t manage to do so, but when they were resolved they were MDMA (Ecstasy = E) – Earth – Tocopherol (vitamin E) and Spain were the Es, while Ersatz – Faux – Mock and Shanzhai the fakes/false items. 6 points meant they led by 19 – 15.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

Category one was excuses given by train companies. I like this sort of category because you know what is likely to come up, and so you just have to spot them first. These fell 3 – 1 to the Smiths. Nicknames for newspapers went 2 apiece. All known by the initials AA (surely that should be the initials _ _ ?) fell 2 apiece. There was only time for one of the Works of Handel, which fell to the Smiths. They won comfortably in the end, by 27 – 20.

I hadn’t been impressed by the Smiths in the first couple of sets, but they went on to show their true mettle, and came up with some pretty good shouts during the contest. I don’t think that they will necessarily be the strongest team of this series, but they’ll be in there with a chance. Hard lines to the Ops, but they have another chance to prolong their involvement in the series. 


Jack said...

Excellent match to start the series, and looking at the line-ups for the coming weeks on the BBC website, we could be in for some more cracking quizzing.

BTW, did anyone notice VCM trying to conceal her pregnancy by using a podium during the Walls?

tabstop said...

Maybe it was trying to conceal (especially since the show wasn't going to go out for a while), but she did do make the no-alcohol-for-seven-months crack at the beginning, so I thought it was just there for her to lean on.

Dan said...

This series was recorded in April, so not that long ago (I know this because I was asked to keep the dates free, but ended up not being cast)

Unknown said...

Glad to see your blog back, Dave! I've been reading for a few seasons here, though this may be my first time commenting--I can't remember. Good starts this week to University Challenge and Only Connect, and also to the new (as far as I know) Hive Minds. Some familiar faces in the first episode including Rob Hannah of the History Boys as well as Marianne Fairthorne. Anyone else watching that show as well?