Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Catching Up : Mastermind Heat 5

Episode 5

Yes, the summer is winding its weary way to an end, and my travels prior to returning to work tomorrow are now over. So let’s try to clear the decks a little, and where better place to start than with catching up on the latest few heats of Mastermind?

IN heat 5, then, we began with Phil Ryder answering on the TV series “Mad Men”. Cards on the table, I’ve never watched it myself. So that pretty much scuppered the chance of getting at least one answer right in each of the specialist subjects. Phil knew his stuff, but at this stage of the game it is really important to put yourself in with a good chance at the turnaround – if you can’t be in the lead, you really don’t want to be any more than a point or two behind I fancied that Phil’s 10 was going to leave him too much to do.

I do know a little but about the poetry of Wilfred Owen. So does Angela Bell. Considering how – well, for want of a better word, gentle some of the questions on the poems themselves were, I’m sorry to be harsh, but I do think that she might have scored a bit more highly with this round. It’s a bit of an object lesson that if you are going to do a specialist subject on Mastermind you really must prepare thoroughly. However much you know one area of your subject if you leave gaps or weak areas you’re bound to get questions which will find them out. Angela scored 7, by no means a disgrace, but a relatively low score which gave her no chance of a win.

Owen Dawson gave us the group Faith No More, about whom I think I know precisely as much as I know about Mad Men. Owen’s round felt a little bit better than it actually was. His score of 11 was a couple short of what I thought he was going to get. Still, with only one contender to go, he was in the lead.

Adrian Staton is one of the more senior contenders I’ve seen so far this series, and I have to say that for those of us of advancing years ourselves, his performance on Sir Michael Caine was extremely encouraging. He scored 13, not the highest we’ve seen all season, but enough to give him a two point cushion at half time. With the best will in the world it really looked like a two horse race to me at this stage.

Firstly though Angela Bell returned to the chair. I have to pay tribute to her, it can’t really be fun returning to the chair after your specialist round has not gone as well as you hoped, yet the smile never left her face, and she still seemed to be enjoying the experience. Well done. The round, well, it was either slightly better, since she scored 8, or slightly worse, since this was in 2 and a half minutes.

This was quite a contrast to Phil Ryder’s round. OK, these GK rounds int his series have struck me as rather easier than has been the norm in recent years, but you still have to answer the questions and you still have to keep your concentration, so anything in the teens is still a good score. Phil’s 13 put him into the mid 20s overall, and that’s absolutely fine. 23 looked a little on the low side to have a chance of winning, though.

So, the first of the two horses in the two horse race, Owen, returned. In his first round he scored the highest round up to that point, and he did the same in this second. 14 is a good return in a two and a half minute round. However I did think that while it could certainly put Adrian into the corridor of doubt, it was probably a couple of points short of representing a really tough challenge.

Adrian’s round of 15 was a textbook example of how to negotiate your way through a GK round and accumulate points steadily. He didn’t panic at anything, answered as soon as he knew the answer, and when he didn’t he didn’t panic, just guessed where he could, and passed where he couldn’t. When you realise that the GK round is a marathon and not a sprint, then you understand how effective this approach can be. In the end he added the highest GK score to his highest SS score, and increased the daylight between himself and Owen to 3 points. A very good performance – good luck in the semis.

The Details

Phil Ryder
Mad Men
Angela Bell
Life and Works of Wilfred Owen
Owen Dawson
Faith No More
Adrian Staton
Sir Michael Caine

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