I'm watching Mastermind at the moment and never cease to be amazed at the knowledge these people have on the quiz.
For two minutes they have a number of questions fired at them by John Humphries, a man who turns seasoned politicians into quivering blancmange, on a specialist subject of their own choosing. As if that wasn't bad enough they then have to answer general knowledge questions for a further 3 minutes, with the person having the lowest score from the specialist rpound having to go first. The ignominy of it!
At least the specialist subject is a personal selection, but the trick is obviously to make the subject as precise as is allowed, rather than nominate something like "the history of the world". Even then there have been the odd times when contestants froze and scored 1 point where the average would be 10 and the best would be 17. The last placed person usually gets 8 odd points. Being asked to take the famous Black Seat under the pot light and being told you only have 1 point "and now let's see if you can double that score with your general knowledge" would make me want to pass and someone else have a go.
That's the ordinary Mastermind, but in round 2 and all subsequent ones up to the final the remaining contestants have to nominate a different specialist subject and that's where it gets really interesting. Would you choose your best subject for the 1st round, or save it for later in the hope that you'll win with your second best topic and need your best against the other bright sparks who make it through to the latest stages?
It's not like Eggheads, or University Challenge where teams can rely on their colleagues to take the blame, or supply a spontaneously correct answer and make you look clever by reflecting in the glory of their intelligence. In Mastermind each contestant is absolutely on their own.
Then there's the dreaded PASS. If a contestant answers a question wrongly John Humphries then tells them the correct answer. All that takes time and they only have 2 or 3 minutes in total, so they are allowed to say PASS and Humphries then goes straight on to the next question. However, at the end of the quiz the number of passes is tallied up and if there's a draw then the person with the fewest passes wins. Seeing the look of Homer Simpson "DOH!" on someone's face because they said PASS once too often and blew the quiz is a picture.
I've got great respect for anyone who goes on Mastermind and puts their knowledge or lack of it to the intense scrutiny of the nation. I really feel for them, but it doesn't stop me shouting at the TV if know the answer and they don't quicker than me.
Blog on, Dudes!