Friday, 14 August 2015

Mastermind Round One - Heat 2

Yes, this is the one which replaced the one we should have been seeing, had the allegations not been made about former Prime Minister Edward Heath. On a personal note, a quick perusal of the specialists showed me there were three of the four subjects I might get some unwikied points on.

The first of these was offered by Barbara Flaherty, who was answering on the Harry Potter novels. Well, I’ve read all of them and watched all the films. Barbara knows these books inside out though. She scored 15 points on fifteen questions, and watching her round you got the feeling that John Humphrys could have kept asking her questions for the full half hour and she wouldn’t have missed any. On the whole the round offered a lot for the casual Harry Potter fan – I scored 10 from the Clark armchair, but that’s not Barbara’s fault – she could only answer the questions that she was actually asked, and this she did admirably to set the bar extremely high.

LAM reader Jeremy Renals was making a very quick return to Mastermind. He played last year and was very very unlucky not to be given a repechage slot. Back then the Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe gave him 14 off 2 minutes, and he needed something of that ilk to give him a shot of qualifying by right as a winner. His subject was Modern Jazz, and that was the one of the specialists that I predicted would provide me with zero unwikied points. I was not disappointed on that score. I would imagine that Jeremy wasn’t disappointed with his 13 either. 2 points is a bridgeable gap on GK if you’re good enough, and Jeremy had scored 11 last year, so knew he was in with a shout.

Reverend Colin Williams offered us an appropriate subject in the shape of the English Reformation. Now, here’s a point. So far we had yet to see any of the contenders pass. Colin though passed 3 times – and that’s fine, passing is a viable tactic, but only if it makes you go faster. Colin obviously knew his stuff, but he wasn’t going quite as fast as either of the previous two contenders, and just managed to take his round into double figures by the end. You had the feeling that at 5 points behind he was out of the game by half time. As for his subject, this provided 6 for me.

Bringing the round to a close was scientist Chris Yates. He was answering on the Musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. This one I fancied would be worth a decent few unwikieds for me, and indeed I was perfectly happy with the 9 I achieved. That sets my unwikied specialist aggregate score to beat at 26. Chris needed a score in the teens to give him a shout of winning the show, and that’s what he managed, 13, and once again no passes. I do like it when all four contenders have given the show respect by learning their specialists very well, and any double figure score is now highly respectable.

Colin’s general knowledge round brought me that rarity – a perfect round. I managed to answer all of his questions correctly. Colin didn’t, but again he produced a perfectly respectable double figure round, adding 12 points to his score to take him to 22. That was unlikely to win, but at least it meant that the opposition had something to think about, and sometimes that’s the best that you can hope to do. Jeremy Renals was next to return to the chair. He had looked calm, collected and in control throughout his specialist round, and this GK round saw him maintain this admirable composure. Usually, anything in the teens will give you a shout, and Jeremy managed a fine 16. His total of 29, in the context of the last couple of series, wouldn’t just put the last two contenders in the corridor of doubt, it would leave them in the carpark outside.

Which is not to say that it wasn’t worth giving it a go at this point. Chris Yates gave a wry smile as he took his place in the chair, but for the first minute and a half he was answering extremely well, and if anything maybe a little up on the clock. It couldn’t last, though. The first round GKs are marathons, not sprints, and in the last minute the wrong answers and passes began stacking up. In the end a round of 12 is a good one, but it left him some way behind. Still, in the context of repechage slots – 25 and 1 would have earned a repechage slot last series, so you never know – it’s just possible that we might be seeing Chris again.

Barbara, as she sat down for her GK round, was a complete contrast to Jeremy. Sadly, it seemed as if she was suddenly overwhelmed by the chair, and it is much to her credit that she pulled herself back from the brink after the first 4 or 5 questions. In retrospect, this wobble may well have cost her the chance of getting into double figures, and she finished with 23. That’s a decent Mastermind performance, and there’s no need to be unhappy with it. It wasn’t a winning performance on this occasion, though. Jeremy Renals made absolutely certain of his place in the semis this time round. That was an emphatic declaration of intent Jeremy. Very well played indeed!

The Details

Barbara Flaherty
The Harry Potter Novels of JK Rowling
Jeremy Renals
Modern Jazz 1945 - 1965
Colin Williams
The English Reformation 1532 - 1559
Chris Yates
The Musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber


Dan said...

I agree that Jeremy is one to watch. I maintain that getting decent GK scores is the most important factor in doing well in Mastermind (after luck, that is). I managed to fluff all my specialist rounds, and it wasn't a problem until the final.

I was pleased to get a decent score for the Jazz round, and slightly less pleased to do as well on Lloyd Webber - both subjects I recently swotted up for Counterpoint, although I spent more time (and got more pleasure) from Sondheim.

Londinius said...

Hi Dan

My maxim back in my Masterminding days was that you can lose it on specialist, but you win it on GK. That's not always true, although as a rule it served me pretty well. The funny thing was that in all of my 4 Mastermind shows, I was never outright leader on specialist, but I always had the highest or joint highest score in GK. That's not true of Champion of Champions, mind you. I had an outright lead after specialist, but the great Pat Gibson outscored me on GK. Well, if you're gonna be beaten, be beaten by the best.

Yes, Jeremy looks the real deal. If he can get close to this level of performance again in the semi, then he'll need to be taken extremely seriously.

Jeremy Renals said...

I'm very flattered by your comments. I'll admit I'm throughly surprised by both of my GK scores so far. Very chuffed, mind. Jeremy

Unknown said...

I have to echo the previous comments - excellent work from Jeremy on the GK left me with a little too much to do. Well deserved, and best of luck in the next round!

Londinius said...

Hi Both

Congratulations Jeremy, and commiserations Chris - both very good performances. Best of luck to you Jeremy, and I shall keep my fingers crossed for you, Chris that you make a repechage slot.