Friday, 8 September 2017

Mastermind 2018 - Round One - Heat 6

I will confess. I checked out what tonight’s specialist subjects were going to be on the BBC Mastermind website a couple of hours before the show was broadcast, and I have to say that they offered me no chance whatsoever of beating my best aggregate of 24 for this season so far. Of Australian Test Cricket since 1945 – James Ellroy’s L.A.Quartet – Kirsty MacColl and Henry VI, only the last held out any real promise of any points at all. 

Mind you, that’s immaterial to the outcome of the show. So, first up was Denis Irvine, who was answering on Australian Test cricket since 1945, Now, I’ve told you before about my feelings about cricket. I have nothing against it as a sport, but find it’s one my brain just refuses to engage with in terms of quiz knowledge. So I was rather surprised when I managed to score 5, not all of which were complete guesses. Denis answered every question, but sadly there were quite a few wrong answers among the 8 correct ones. 

Now, and this is something I make no apologies for going on about, the last time that a school teacher won a series of Mastermind was 10 years ago in 2007. Alright, the final wasn’t actually broadcast until 2008. Still, I’ve held the honour of being the last schoolteacher to win the series for long enough now. So I was rooting for David Bishop who was offering us James Ellroy’s L.A.Quartet. Frankly, I was surprised to even get the single point that I did. As for David, well, it didn’t start badly, but it looked to me that he got one or two wrong in the middle of the round, and they were playing on his mind right until the end of the round. Not a pass spiral, but just as destructive. He scored 5.

I liked the late Kirsty MacColl. Probably nothing like as much as Nicola Nuttall did, though. Nicola provided, frankly, a fantastic round. Barely any hesitations at all saw her rattle off 15 correct answers on the bounce. No passes. No wrong answers. Speaking as someone who never managed a perfect round himself, this was very impressive. The outcome was that, at this point, with the best will in the world, neither Denis nor David could expect to challenge in the second round, So could our last contender, Chris Ward, at least post a challenging score and make a contest of it?

For the second heat in a row the most traditional Mastermind subject was the one that was last to go. Chris Ward offered us the life of King Henry VI. Acclaimed King of England and King of France before his first birthday, it’s probably not that unfair to say that it was all downhill from there for him. Not for Chris Ward, though. After a bit of a false start he powered on to 12 points. So even if Nicola was still favourite, at least there was now an element of doubt about the proceedings.

So let’s refresh our memories about one of my observations last week. Basically, whatever the final positions, if, as a contender, you can score a total of 20, and get into double figures in the GK, then you’ve come up to scratch, as it were. On David Bishop’s return to the chair a final total of 20 looked unlikely, but at least he did manage the double figure score of 10 to finish with 15. Hard lines, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Denis Irvine himself had quite a challenge in order to reach 20, and in his GK round he never really built up a huge head of steam. For all that, though, he kept ploughing on, and by the end of the round he’d added a useful 12 points to finish with 20. Job done, sir. 

With the best will in the world, though, the contest had not been about the two previous gentlemen since before half time. The winner was going to be either Nicola, or Chris. For Chris to have a chance, though, I fancied he’d need a score in the teens. He gave it a decent lash as well, but when the buzzer went he had added 11. His score of 23 meant that Nicola would need 9 to win avoiding a countback. Would this target at least put her into the corridor of doubt? Well, it might have done, but to me she seemed remarkably relaxed on her return to the chair, and what she produced was the best GK round of the night. OK, judging by her reaction a couple of her correct answers were guesses, but do you know what? That doesn’t matter. You score points for correct guesses, while you don’t score points for almost but not quite recalling the answer correctly. 28 is a terrific overall performance, and if she can repeat a similar level of performance in the semi, then you never know just how well she might do. Congratulations, and best of luck!

The Details

Denis Irvine
Australian Test Cricket Since 1945
David Bishop
James Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet
Nicola Nuttall
Kirsty MacColl
Chris Ward
The Life of King Henry VI


Unknown said...

How brilliant to read this! Thank you so much for the attention you paid to the outcomes, it all passed in such a blur I could hardly remember what I had and hadn't answered. Loved reading your report, best wishes Nicola x

Londinius said...

Hello Nicola, and thanks for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment. Congratulations on your fine performance in the first round. I hope you'll visit us again after the semi final.