Friday, 5 August 2016

Mastermind 2017 Round One Heat 4

In tonight’s show the first into the chair was a returning contender, Colin Daffern. I make it that Colin was bidding for his third semi final spot in three attempts, although he has yet to make it to the final. His 2016/17 campaign began with a great round on Benny Hill. It’s probably fair to say that opinion is divided on Benny Hill nowadays, but nobody could deny his huge popularity with TV audiences throughout the 70s, and the first half of the 80s. What you want to do when you’re coming out of trap 1 is to set a high score, and Colin couldn’t have done much better than the 14 he posted. That was an old hand’s round, sir.

Grace Carley was making what I believe to be her first Mastermind appearance, and she was answering on the Mitford sisters. A remarkable family, but I have to say I doubt that all of them together brought pleasure to a fraction of the amount of people that Benny Hill did. Their version of Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in the West was probably awful. Grace obviously knew her subject, but I reckoned that a couple too many escaped her to give her a realistic chance of beating Colin in the GK round, as she finished the round with 10.

Marcus Tullius Cicero was another of those traditional Mastermind subjects, and it was offered by Lee Simpson. Now, as a small point, the first time I watched the round I thought he was unfairly denied a point. When he was asked the title given to the first member of a family to hold public office he answered ‘New man”, to which John replied “No, it was novus homo.” Now, even my schoolboy latin is enough to tell me that that translates as new man. Watching the playback, though, it became clear that John did ask for the latin term. It was hard lines on Lee, but it was fair. As it was he scored 12, which I felt put him in with a chance.

Michael Page offered another traditional Mastermind History subject in the shape of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Now, maybe it was nerves, but Michael never really got any momentum going in his round. Maybe he had a narrower interpretation of the subject than the question setter – that can happen. Only a concerted effort in the last 20 seconds pulled out a score of 8.

This meant that he was first to return to the chair, and sadly the first half of his GK round was beset by passes. This made it all the more creditable the way that once he managed a correct answer he rallied well for the last minute or so, and pushed on to a total of 17. Sometimes it’s just not quite your night, and there’s nothing you can do except smile and mark it all down to experience.

Grace put in quite a confident performance in her GK round. If we’re looking at how easy/difficult tonight’s GK rounds were, I felt that it was a little more difficult to gauge these – my scores on a couple of rounds were a couple down on what I’ve been getting so far this series, but then this may just be because a couple of the contenders were answering quite slowly. I felt that they were pretty much of a level with what we’ve seen so far. This put Grace’s 13 in the category of a good but not outstanding score. Would it be enough to put Colin within the corridor of doubt? I doubted it, but time would tell.

Of course, Lee Simpson had to go first. Lee had a very calm and measured delivery, which worked on his specialist subject, but isn’t the best tactic when you’re trying to amass a high score on GK. It did mean that once he hit a couple of questions in succession that he didn’t know the round became rather bogged down, and by the time the blue line of doom started snaking its way around the score it was clear that he wasn’t going to beat Grace’s score. He finished with 22.

During the 2007 SOBM in 3 shows the only one in which I went last in the GK round was the semi final. Set a gettable total to win, I said to myself as I walked to the chair – you know you can do this. Just keep answering the damn questions, don’t worry about what you get wrong, and don’t pass – That’s a pretty good description of the way that Colin went about knocking off the 10 points he needed for an outright win. He added another 3 for good measure, and although he missed a couple he might have had on another day, this was a confident performance to put him through to his 3rd semi final. Very well done, sir!

The Details

Colin Daffern
Benny Hill
Grace Carley
The Mitford Sister
Lee Simpson
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Michael Page
The Jacobite Rebellion 1745

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