Well, since we’re on the subject of Only Connect, let’s talk about Monday Night’s Champions match , which pitted Series 3 champions The Gamblers against our conquerors from Series 4, the Epicureans. On paper a fascinating match. Both teams showed great skills in all four rounds throughout their victorious runs. Who would win ? Well I didn’t know the outcome before I watched the show, and I was making no predictions either, bearing in mind that Gypsy Rose Clark had predicted a semi final defeat for the Gamblers in series 3. I hope that I’ve learned my lesson there.
Round One – What’s the Connection ?
The Gamblers weren’t phased by the adoption of the hieroglyphs it seemed, and they kicked off with reeds. Like them I was foxed with B=33920 – FF 8282 – C.3.3. Like them I saw it as soon as the last - 46664 - came up. That was Nelson Mandela’s number as a prisoner on Robben Island. The Eps took Flax, and when given Nero – Mary Portas – Alan Cumming and Elton John I think it was Katie who spotted that all of them had married partners of the opposite sex, and then later partners of the same sex. I could see it when she said it, but I’ll come clean, I wouldn’t have had it had I been asked it. Behind Viper the Gamblers found a set of pictures of unfinished buildings. The first chink in either team’s armour was revealed with the music set behind Water. The Eps so nearly had it, but offered songs with titles of bands other than the ones performing. As the Gamblers knew, they were actually songs with the same title as the band performing them, a small but significant difference. The Gamblers buzzed early and incorrectly , giving the Eps a bonus , knowing that the Chicago Transit Authority and the others all had to change their names through legal disputes. In the first case this was the band who became Chicago. Finally a set of Marathon – Hamburger – Alcoholic – Watergate escaped the Eps, but a brilliant answer from Jenny of the Gamblers saw that all of them provided the origins of generic suffixes. So the Gamblers had a well earned lead of 4 to 2 at the end of the round.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?
The Gamblers kicked off with a real pig of a set. Neither team knew what followed Opera – Matinee – Princess. They are all lengths of necklaces, with choker being the next. Neither team got a rather lovely picture set. We saw Water – The Sun – A Stone . Which gives you the origins of the words hydrogen – helium – lithium ! So Beryl – beryllium would come next, A fantastic set that. Alright, no, I didn’t see it myself either. Satisfied ? The next set behind Horus fell unkindly for the Gamblers. They knew there was a set of nerves, but went for size with sciatic, which was not the answer. Dr. Katie knew that they were cranial nerves, and the next would be the olfactory. That’s the luck of the draw. They capitalised on this knowing that Hunting – Pasturage – Farming would be followed by the next stage of human development – Commerce. Now, you can believe this or not, but I knew the next from the first clue. Montgomery came up . “Little Rock !” I shouted, that being the state capital of the 4th US state alphabetically, while Montgomery , capital of Alabama is first. I felt the Gamblers were a little cautious with this one, but made sure of points. Alan took a great bonus on the next. Given 1 of 4:f3 – 2 of 4:e5 – 3 of 4 : g4 – the Eps knew it was chess notation, but Alan knew how to complete Fools Mate with it – sorry , but I didn’t get the correct answer down in my notes. That nifty piece of brainwork kept the lead to two points, with the Gamblers on 7 and the Eps on 5.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
Both teams were outstanding on their walls tonight, and both earned a full set of ten. Going first the Eps found that 7 – Chimney sweep - ladybird and rabbits foot are all thought to be lucky. Norman – pointed – ogee and lancet are arches. Imagine – Omnibus – Everyman and Horizon are all documentaries ( BBC documentaries , stressed Victoria ) , and Thrust , Black Box, Proscenium and Arena are all stages . Great work.
The Gambles proved equally adept, sorting out mushrooms – oyster – button – magic and Portobello, London Markets – Borough – Greenwich – Covent Garden – Smithfield, places which can follow New – Scotland Yard – South Wales – York and Brunswick, and finally Hill, Hunt, Stewart and Mansell, who were all British world formula 1 drivers champs. If you didn’t know why these two teams are champions by now, you knew it after watching these wall rounds.
Round Four – Missing Vowels.
With a two point lead I feared for the Gamblers, simply because I have sat where they were sitting and I know how fearsomely quick the Eps are in this round. The first set on old board games saw the Gamblers actually increase their lead. Both teams answered two, but the Eps put in a rare miscue. Exactly the same happened in the second set - the wonderful 'comedians merged with artists' . Don’t get it ? Think Larry Grayson Perry and you’ll get the point ! Wonderful. On the next three categories – figures of speech, Parts of the heart and bottles, the Eps took an amazing 11 of the 12 points on offer. Despite a miscue on the last category, musical instruments, they took another point on that as well. In the end, they won by a comfortable 28 to 22, a hell of a performance against a team as good as the Gamblers . Brilliant work.
Which all begs the question – will we see a winner takes all champion of champions v. champion of champions tussle between Crossworders and Epicureans ? ( and just as importantly between husband and wife captains David Stainer and Katie Bramall-Stainer ) I think we should be told . Aaron – any chance ?