Friday, 12 January 2018

Mastermind 2018 - Heat 22

Heat 22

Just a couple of weeks to go, dearly beloved, and then we’ll definitely have seen this year’s winner, because we’ll have seen all of the contenders. 

The first to attempt to book a place in the semis by right of winning was Claire Slater. Claire offered us a good, old traditional MM specialist in the shape of the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci. I didn’t think that this would be a great subject for me, but I’d scraped together enough knowledge of the great man from here and there to get 5. In a show which wouldn’t see me get anywhere near my aggregate achievements of last week. Claire’s 12 and 1 pass was a good performance, and experience suggested that she would be in contention by half time.

Now, if the word ‘Jaws’ comes into your mind when you hear the words ‘Dreyfus’ and ‘Affair’, then you’re probably of a similar vintage to myself. However, Jim Mason was not answering on the career of the youngest winner of a Best Actor Oscar prior to Adrien Brody, but on the shocking and scandalous framing and punishment of the Jewish captain Alfred Dreyfus in France in the late 19th century. I bagged only the 1 on this round, but Jim did I though very well on one of those subjects which I would imagine needs copious amounts of revision if you’re not going to let the round get away from you.

Burdened with support from the Clark sofa was schoolteacher Craig Thomson, who offered us another traditional MM specialist subject in the life and works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Again, that’s another subject where I know just enough about the subject to know how complex a round it could provide, without knowing enough to actually score many points on it myself. I did think Craig answered just a little slowly, and it seemed to me that this was the main reason why he didn’t quite make it across the line into double figures. A perfectly respectable score, but with 9 he was three points behind and facing a bit of a mountain to climb in the GK.

It was a mountain which became somewhat steeper after John Stitcher’s round on the TV series The Inbetweeners. I can’t swear to it, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if John is the first professional poker player to be a contender on Mastermind. That may be significant too, since I would imagine a good memory must be pretty useful if you are. John made mincemeat of his round, hardly breaking metaphorical sweat as he provided, dare I say it, a full house ( see what I did there?) of 15 correct answers to 15 questions. Leading by three, he seemed to be holding all the aces going into the GK. 

Craig was the first to return to the chair, and he took his overall total to 16, so at leat it meant that he did hold the lead for a couple of minutes. Now, with regards to Jim’s round, this is all in the eye of the beholder and the ear of the behearer, but I found Jim’s round a little tougher than most of the GK rounds this series. Playing along at home I usually score between 16 – 18, depending on how quickly the contender answers and how many questions are actually asked. On Jim’s round I limped home with 13. That’s just an observation, and I’m not trying to make any particular point. Jim himself scored 10, and raised the bar to 21.

As you know, I can’t help making an assessment of whether I think contenders are quizzers or not based on their responses to their GK rounds. Well, for much of Claire Slater’s round I was impressed, and pretty sure that she must be a quizzer. She had taken her aggregate to 24 with about 7 questions still to be asked. However, she only managed one of these, and so what had all the makings of a great round had to be satisfied with being a good round. 25 didn’t necessarily look like a winning total, but it was certainly enough to put John into the corridor of doubt. 

John started his GK round confidently. He was picking off what he did know, and guessing what he didn’t. However, he’d maybe get a couple right, but then be pulled up by a wrong answer, and when you get a couple wrong in a row it makes it extremely difficult to get any momentum going. John never panicked, and he never passed. However, with about thirty seconds to go it looked in doubt as to whether he might even get the ten he needed to win on pass countback. Agonisingly, he didn’t, falling just one short. As John announced his score he looked absolutely gutted, and I don’t blame him for that. I think it was Vince Lombardi who once said – if winning isn’t important, why do they bother keeping the score? – but he rallied quickly and offered Claire fulsome congratulations on her win. 

So well played Claire, a good all round performance, and best of luck in the semis. 

The Details

Claire Slater
The Life and Works of Leonardo da Vinci
Jim Mason
The Dreyfus Affair
Craig Thomson
The Life and Works of J.S.Bach
John Stitcher
The Inbetweeners


Dan said...

John is definitely a quizzer - I suspect MQL. The surname only answers are a dead give-away.

Incidentally, I had his Gung Ho question on my first ever appearance, nearly five years ago. It’s the only question I have ever passed on.

Claire Slater said...

I'm not a quizzer but someone who has watched mastermind for years and has accumulated lots of bits of information /trivia /knowledge over the years. Various people have told me over the years that I should apply.
I did so last March (straight after the final was televised) as applying on a TV quiz was on my bucket list.
My ambition was to get on the programme and not come last. Winning my heat was a huge bonus and boost to me

Londinius said...

Hi Both
Yes, Dan there was a question that John was asked which I was asked in one of my appearances.

Hi Claire, and many congratulations. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment, and the best of retrospective luck in the semis.