Right, Only Connect time. Thanks to whoever put this series' new rules on Wikipedia: basically, it's UC's format of fourteen first round matches and two play-offs to give sixteen second round teams, but, like last year, with the draw split into two groups of seven, from which the two highest scoring runners-up from each will play off. It's better than last year's format IMO, but still doesn't quite sit right with me.
Anyway, playing on Friday night were the Geocachers, Ward Broughton, Lowri Williams and captain Rhod Thomas (not the same Geocachers team that appeared in Series 4), and the Vikings, Mark Oxley, John Wilson and captain Mick Lee.
Round 1. The Geocachers opened the night's procedings with Lion, and the music set: we heard Craig McLachlan, then Holly Valance, then Natalie Inbruglia; two clues later than most people of Twitter (allegedly!), they spotted them to be actors from Neighbours, and picked up two points. The Vikings opened their account with Water: 'Beautiful Joe', then 'Traveller', then 'Black Beauty', and finally 'Me Cheeta'. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents: they are autobiographies of fictional animals! The Geocachers chose Two Reeds next: 'McMahon', then 'Bjorn', then 'Bern', and finally 'Ursula'. They didn't get it, their opponents did: they are names derived from the word 'bear'. For their own question, the Vikings chose Eye of Horus: 'Exhibit', then 'Salt and Pepper'; they saw them to be the names of rappers spelt properly, and picked up a good three points. The Geocachers chose Twisted Flax next: 'Electronic scoreboard', then 'English all-seater stadium commission', then 'Colour matchday programme', and finally 'Three points for a win'. Again, they didn't get it, but their opponents, and, thanks to Football Daily, I, did: they were all proposed by the late great Jimmy Hill. Left with Horned Viper for their own questions, the Vikings got the picture set, and saw the Karnak ruins, then Stanley Kubrick, then the band Kraftwerk; they saw that their names all starts and end with K. (Reminds me of an old UC question from many years ago!) At the end of the first round, the Vikings led 7-2.
Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Geocachers kicked the round off with Lion again: 'Music', then 'More', and then 'E'; they didn't get it again, their opponents, and I, did: they are spin-off channels of Channel 4 in reverse order of launch, so 'Film' completes the set. For their own question, the Vikings chose Two Reeds: 'The Rio Olympic diving pool', then 'Oxidised paper', and then '17th century carrots'; this time, they didn't get it, their opponents did this time: they are things that turn or have turned ascending colours of the rainbow, so something that would turn red, such as 'An embarrassed person' would be fourth. (I remember someone on Twitter last year likened the Olympic diving pool to the Get Your Own Back gunge tank!) For their own question, the Geocachers chose Water: 'Sint Maarten', then 'Aruba', and then 'Curacao'. Neither team got this: they are the components of the Netherlands in order of size, so the mainland 'Netherlands' would complete the set. The Vikings chose Eye of Horus next: '3128', then '3130'; they saw the sequence to be the numbers of days in months merged together in order, so '3130' again would be third, and '3131' completes the set, for three points. For their final choice, the Geocachers chose Twisted Flax: 'In France', then 'On the seas and oceans'; they saw it to be Churchill's 'We shall fight them' speech, so 'On the beaches' would be fourth. Left with Horned Viper again, the Vikings, again, got the picture set, and saw Aung San Suu Kyi, then Lee Harvey Oswald, and then Abraham Lincoln. They didn't see it, their opponents did: it's a simple decrease in the number of words in their names, so someone known by one name, such as Moses, would complete the set. At the end of the second round, the Vikings led 11-7.
On to the Walls. The Vikings took their turn to go first, and chose the Lion wall. They quickly spotted a link of famous Glorias, and isolated 'Estefan', 'Vanderbilt', 'Hunniford' and 'Steinem'. A second set followed: 'Defile', 'Tarnish', 'Soil' and 'Dirty' are synonyms of each other (ie, stain). Their three gos at solved the Wall failed to do so, so they had to collect bonus points: 'Professor X', 'Lebowski', 'Sully', 'Swanson' are fictional wheelchair users, which they got, while 'Lightbulb', 'Essex Girl', 'Irish' and 'Practical' can all precede 'joke', which they also spotted. Six points there.
The Geocachers thus could make up lost ground if they could solve the Water wall. They too isolated a set reasonably quickly: 'Farage', 'Slater', 'Short' and 'Planer' are famous Nigels. After that, though, they had little luck, spotting some links but not isolating any further groups. They ran out of time, and also had to salvage bonus points: 'Carswell', 'Banks', 'Nuttall' and 'Sked' are past or present UKIP politicians, which they got, 'Castle', 'Storm', 'Wedge' and 'Table' can all follow 'Table', which they didn't see, while 'Settee', 'Chesterfield', 'Canape' and 'Davenport' are types of sofa, which they did get. So four points there, which left them trailing 17-11 going into the final round.
So just about all still to play for going into Missing Vowels. 'Farming idioms', such as 'UNTIL THE COWS COMES HOME', was a clean sweep to the Geocachers 4-0, so already just two points in it. 'Places names after people' was split 2-each. 'People (possibly) named after places' also split 2-each, and also saw my Dad and numerous Twitterers offer 'PETER SHILTON' instead of 'PARIS HILTON'! 'Famous Five books' only had time for one clue, which the Geocachers took. At the end of the show, the Vikings had snuck home, 21-20!
An excellent close match with some good quizzing on both sides. Unlucky Geocachers, but hopefully 20 will be high enough for this half of the draw and bring you back, so hopefully we'll see yous again. Well done Vikings though, and best of luck in the next round!
Next week's match: Snake Charmers vs Extras