Friday, 17 February 2017

Mastermind: Semi Final 5

Good evening, and how has your Friday been? Mine has been all the better for seeing the start of the half term holiday, thanks very much for asking. What better way of celebrating a week away from the littls shavers, than a Mastermind semi final? Here’s our trusty form book: -

Frances Slack
The Musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein
12
0
17
0
29
0
Richard Aubrey
Alan Turing
10
0
16
1
26
1
Emma McAllister
Hernan Cortes and the Conquest of Mexico
12
1
13
2
25
3
Adam Barr
Naval Battles of World War One
10
1
13
3
23
4
Lee Holmes
Emperor Hadrian
11
1
12
2
23
3

Now, look, you and I both know that there’s only so much you can judge from the first round GK scores, since they do ramp up the difficulty of the GK a notch in the semis, and that can make a hell of a difference. Even so, you have to say that Frances Slack’s 17 really caught the eye, as did Richard Aubrey’s 16, albeit that this was only enough to secure a repechage runner-up slot.

First up tonight was Emma McAllister. She was one of the good, rather than the outstanding performers of the first round heats. Last time out she offered us Hernan Cortes and the Conquest of Mexico, tonight it was Creation Records. I like it when contenders go for a complete change of topic type between rounds. Looking at the two rounds, you’d have to say that 9 off 90 seconds was pretty comparable to 12 off 120. So she at least matched her performance in specialist from the heats. Whether this would give her a realistic chance in the second round remained to be seen.

Next to the chair was Adam Barr. Adam, to remind you, was bidding to become only the second person to do the Mastermind/UC double. In my opinion he was playing with fire a little with his specialist round in the heats – a score of 10 off 120 seconds is likely to leave you some way behind at half time. His 9 tonight on Kepler was somewhat better, and judging by what we’ve seen in the other semis would give him a fair chance of clinching a final spot with a good GK round.

Lee Holmes offered us a comparable change of pace to Emma’s, but switching from previous subject the Emperor Hadrian to tonight’s The Hunger Games novels. I’ve never read any of them myself, so it’s difficult for me to comment on the fairness or otherwise of the questions, but Lee looked for much of the round as if he was ahad of the clock, and it was in someways a little bit urprising that he only surpassed the target by a single point. One point can be enough, though.

You do tend to find that the repechage runners-up do, by and large, have better first round records than some of their fellow contenders in the same semi. Richard Aubrey, as I mentioned earlier, had put in a terrific GK round of 16 in his heat, but was undone by his merely moderate specialist round of 10. 8 off 90 is probably a wee bit better proportionately than 10 off 120, but we’ve seen in this run of semis that small margins of even a point can be very significant.

So to our last contender of the specialist round, Frances Slack. Last time out it was the musicals of Rodgers and Hammersmith Hammerstein (sorry – old habits die hard) this time the films of William Goldman. I’ve mentioned his wonderful book “Adventures in the Screen Trade” before – if you are the leats bit interedted in cinema and haven’t read it – do. This was my best round of the night, and I picked up half a dozen. Frances equalled the best round of the night so far, with a rousing 10 and no passes.

Richard kicked us off with the GK rounds. Going on what we’ve already seen in this year’s semis, a round of 9 is a perfectly good performance. However, it is not likely to be a winning performance, expecially when the leaders are already 2 points ahead of you. His final score of 17 was equalled by Emma McAllister. Again, a score of 17 in the semi final is a perfectly respectable one, but as you watched I don’t think you could help thinking that the real contest was only going to be played out in the next three rounds.

The first of which came from Adam Barr. Adam’s delivery of his answers was calm, assured and effective, for the first 40 seconds of so of his round, and at the 30 second mark it looked as if he was going to set a total that would be very difficult to beat. But it’s often when everything in the graden is looking rosiest that the wind starts to blow. Adam was becalmed mid-round with a run of questions which pulled him up, and robbed him of all momentum. He showed grit in not falling into a pass spiral, and in getting his round back on track. Time was against him though, and he could only add another 10 points. 19 meant that Lee and Frances both required the same 10 to beat him. Could they? Indications were that this was going to be close.

Lee had scored 12 off 2 and a half minutes in the first round. Even my rudimentary maths is good enough to suggest to me that he would have to score more quickly to get 10 off 2 minutes, and sadly it just didn’t quite work out. 18 in a Mastermind semi final – perfectly respectable score. It was not, however, going to be a winning score in this semi.  This only left Frances Slack. Using the same rudimentary maths, I could see that anything comparable to her 17 in the first round would be enough to give her the win. You know, it’s funny, but Frances’ round reminded me of the way that Lynn Edwards went about her GK round last week. She picked off what she knew and kept her cool when she didn’t know an answer. Which is not to say that it wasn’t a close run thing, for it was. As we said earlier, though, one point is enough, and it was the last point that gave her the lead over Adam, and placed her in the Grand Final. Well played Frances – best of luck in the final.



The Details



Emma McAllister
Creation Records
9
2
8
2
17
4
Adam Barr
Johannes Kepler
9
0
10
3
19
3
Lee Holmes
The Hunger Games Novels
10
0
8
1
18
1
Richard Aubrey
Sir Isaac Newton
8
0
9
0
17
0
Frances Slack
The Films of William Goldman
10
0
10
3
20
3

11 comments:

Stephen Follows said...

Phew...

Londinius said...

However many may eventually achieve it, there will only ever be one first!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this write up. I worried about an apparent poor showing, a genuine case of a bad day at the office combined with four sterling performances from the people around me. (Though I have since vowed to treat anyone who eats an apple in front of Mr by stabbing them with a bodkin). This is positively gracious.

Hattip to Adam, who I believe only film his heat in a one-off 24th Round 1 match, the night before this semi, effectively having to revise Kepler overnight.

But can you answer a query?
I came third in my heat, and fourth place was good enough for first reserve of the six repechages. Do you know the precedent on a first round match producing three, let alone four (almost) qualifiers.

Unknown said...

Oh. And huge well done to Frances, obviously.

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Londinius said...

Hi Richard, and thank you for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment. In answer to your query I don't think that it has happened before in the revived series - in fact after they brought back the repechage slots I think there was a policy of only second place being good enough regardless of the score for several series. However I have it in my head that I read in "I've start so I'll finish" that a heat in the 'classic' Magnus series - possibly the one featuring the great David Edwards - saw all three runners up from one show qualify. This could be my memory playing tricks upon me, mind you.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

Am I wrong in thinking that there were 3 qualifiers from a first round match last year? Or am I confusing that with Richard's own excellent heat from this year's competition?

Paul Gilbert said...

A few occasions when 3 players from the same heat qualified for the semis:

2003 (the first Humphrys series): Hamish Cameron and Peter Spyrides both finished behind 2017 finalist Isabelle Heward in their heat - both appeared in the same SF along with the other 2 highest-scoring first-round losers (there were only 12 heats that series).

2012-13: Helen Marshall and Chris Quinn both got through despite both finishing behind Jonathan Gordon in their heat.

2013-14: Emma Laslett and Andries van Tonder both got through despite finishing behind Neil Wright in their heat.

2014-15: Alice Meynell and Gareth Kingston both got through despite finishing behind Mark Eves in their heat.

2015-16: Margaret Brown and David Shah both got through despite finishing behind Ewan Paton in their heat.

However, in 2010-11, Pamela Woods finished 3rd in her heat (behind Iwan Thomas and Hamish Cameron) with 30 points, but did not get through to the semi-finals yet James Collenette did get through with 29 points, so there must have been a rule change.

There was no highest-scoring runners up rule from 2004 to 2008-09.

Andrew B. said...

According to "I've Started So I'll Finish", there was a heat in 1993 from which all four contestants (Barrie Douce (the winner on 36), David Tombs (34), Paul Overall (30) and Maurice Roberts (30)) reached the semi-finals (with Barrie and David both reaching the final).