Weaver's Week 2003-12-20


In another weekly publication, viewers can see Charles Ingram in a chest-baring purple jumpsuit. The phrase "don't you think *we've* suffered enough" now springs to mind.

COUNTDOWN'S FINALS (INCLUDING WHAT NOT TO WEAR) (Yorkshire for C4, 1515 weekdays)

QF1: Brian McKeown (4 wins, 437pts, #8 seed) -v- Chris Cummins (8w, 858p, #1)

Richard has forgotten his letter from the viewer. Carol suggests getting on with the game, but Whiteley insists on choosing his Christmas party dishes on the show. Carol was right. To please the researchers from Het Grauniad, Tim Rice is in Dictionary Corner, he's got on a Rolling Stones tie; to please everyone, Susie Dent looks after the dictionaries. Honours even in the first period, though everyone misses MUSCATEL in the second round. Chris takes the lead with SHIFTIER, and extends it with 7 from an almost impossible numbers game. The undefeated Trinity Cambridge undergrad extends his lead with SCOOTED at the start of the second period, and that 22 point advantage persists through the second period. It's extended by another good 7 points on an impossible numbers game.

Richard tries to convince Susie to accept OUTLAID, as in "My hen has outlaid yours," but that's not a reasonable construction. When the players tie on the first three letters games of the final period, we know the winner. Chris Cummins progresses to the semis, and pulls further ahead in the last two rounds to win 107-58. The maximum is 119, today's par score is 97. (Par is defined to be the second longest available word in common usage, plus this column's score on the numbers, and 5 for the conundrum.)

QF2: Stuart Earl (8w, 807p, #2) -v- Eamonn Timmins (4w, 441p, #7)

Richard's tie clashes badly with that strange pink-purple set they've got at the moment. Both Tim and Susie would also be clashing were they sat elsewhere on the set. Stuart offers DACHAS in the opening round for an early lead. His MENIALS in the following round is fine, as MENIAL has a noun definition in the dictionary. MOBILES is another winner, and Stuart's advantage is 13 after he makes Carol think with this solution, worth 7 points: (((75*25)-5)/(100/50))-4. SURLIEST and SULKIEST net both players eight points, as do SECURITY and SCRUTINY in the following round.

Sadly, Eamonn's PHWOAR doesn't win points - Stuart came up with the longer WARPATH, and Susie insists the word is spelt Phwoah. She hears it more than most. Stuart's lead is 20, but Eamonn halves it through an excellent numbers game. Stuart moves further ahead after Eamonn misses a bagful of sevens, forcing Eamonn to offer BOOTLEGS in the last letters game. That comes through, so Stuart's lead is nine. Game on! The numbers round sees perfection from both players, and the crucial conundrum - ACABWHERE - goes to Eamonn on ten seconds. He can break out his beachware, he's pulled off a surprise victory, 88-87. The maximum was 119, par was 102.

QF3: Stuart Solomons (8w, 796p, #3) -v- Philip Whitnall (5w, 492p, #6)

Over the weekend, the set has garnered some snowflakes. Richard doesn't clash with the set, he's in blue; DC's Richard Digance is in yellow, Susie and Carol are both in brown. There will be daggers at dawn and no mistake. Stuart shows his knowledge in the opening round, with the winner FLINDERS. Philip redresses the balance with OUTLAWED in the third round, and we're tied at 15. Richard W doesn't know about MENHIRS, evidently we need Obelix to drop one on his toe. Both players fail to declare anything on a surprisingly easy numbers game.

POOJAS and DJANGO are offered in one round; the latter isn't accepted (though PONGOS would have been) and Stuart is six ahead from a round that's a bit silly. That's the only change to the scores in the second period until Stuart takes full marks on a moderate numbers game. He stretches his lead to 22 with Word Of The Year ZONULE, and it's all over when Philip offers the invalid SPOKANE in the final letters. Stuart's winning score is 87-69. Maximum today was 117, Par is 109. Stuart declared for 95, Philip for 79.

QF4: Jim Bentley (756p, 8w, #4) -v- Adam Laws (677p, 6w, #5)

On a Gloucestershire hotel menu: Spotted Richard. Whiteley's tie plays an annoying, tinny version of "Jingle Bells." Do wish it would shut up. And the tie, as well. Both players start with HAMMIEST, then a pair of sixes. Adam offers REPAVES, but it's not valid, and Jim's AVERSE gives him a lead.

Jim's MITHERED gives him a 14 point advantage early in the second period, and it's sevens all the way to the numbers round, when both players fail to score. Adam halves the lead through JOUSTER at the start of the third period, and levels thanks to a 7 on a very tricky numbers game. Adam turns NIPPERAID into his favoured trousers on 11 seconds to win the game, 88-78. Maximum was 114, Par for the day was 105, Adam declared for 95, Jim for 91.

SF1: Adam Laws (#5) -v- Chris Cummins (#1)

Today's Man In A Grey Suit And Santa Tie is TV's Richard Whiteley. Richard Digence will be the half time orange (shirt). Honours are shared until the fourth round, when Chris moves ahead with ANCESTOR. He extends his lead thanks to an 11x4x8 numbers game, and starts spouting on about his colleagues at Trinity Cambridge. Well, that's more interesting than the half time orange.

One of Richard D's jokes comes back to haunt him - he mentioned The Sound of MUSELI in the first period, only for Adam to offer GOATHERD at the start of the second. The next set of letters begins XMSADO, which is quite clearly what we're watching. Chris moves further ahead with BRUISED at the end of the period - another word in that selection is PERIODS. Lummy, this show is a bit self- referential today, especially when the numbers game proves impossible, and Digance claims to have done it, but "it's not my job to do numbers."

Twenty five points is the gap in Chris's favour going into the final period, and he bucks BRONCO in the penultimate letters game. Goatherd, Bronco, Xmasdo, even Digance is spotting that this is turning into Monty Python. Adam reckons this show has become quite silly enough, and throws in the towel, allowing Chris to extend with PERUSAL, which Digance reckons is a washing powder. Even Carol's marker pen adds to the air of bonkersness, deciding not to work in the final numbers game. Chris had been one point off perfection, but fails to spot the conundrum, and finishes the 97-59 winner. 108 was the maximum, 101 was par. Chris declared for 97, Adam for 90.

SF2: Stuart Solomons (#3) -v- Eamonn Timmins (#7)

Today's Whiteley Waffle is some errors from church notices. His tie is a strange red colour. Digance is in white, Dent in black. It's honours even in the first three rounds; about five seconds into the fourth, Stuart looks around as if he has a nine. He only has an 8, so does Eamonn, and the period ends tied at 38. Even so, Richard W gets confused "It says 134 there - oh, that's the target."

The deadlock is broken at the start of the second, when Eamonn wins with DUSTMAN. Somehow, the conversation turns to Whiteley's holiday home in Portugal. This really is the new Python, isn't it. An error from Eamonn allows Stuart to close the gap to 1 point, and he looks to be moving ahead thanks to a perfect numbers game, but he's actually 100 out, and Eamonn's one away gives him a lead of 8. Stuart's PONGIEST is disallowed, and the lead is 16 with three to play. It gets worse - FUNDER is disallowed, REFUND would have been fine, and victory is Eamonn's, by 96 to 85. Today's maximum is 117, Par is 109. Eamonn declared 96, Stuart 91.

F: Chris Cummins (#1) -v- Eamonn Timmins (#7)

Richard welcomes us to the final. For the 50th time. Original winner Joyce Cansfield is in the audience, looking not a day older than she was in 1982; the man she vanquished, Michael Nyman, is up in the producer's box. Richard's golden anniversary tie has a Christmas tree. Eamonn's shirt is just too pale pink to clash with the set, but it's a close-run thing. Digance has brought in some cards.

Are we meant to be playing a game here, or just sitting around being silly? He said PANTOS, Whiteley, not "Pantyhose." Sheesh. Chris takes the lead with HOMAGES in the fourth round, and a six small numbers game extends his lead to 17. CENSORED takes Chris's lead to 25, and it's turning into a bit of a one-way street, especially after he gets TADPOLES in the next round. Eamonn responds with the superb MANITOU, but is still 26 adrift. The first nine of the finals series - REGIMENTS - boosts both players' scores, but the result isn't in doubt. Maximum is 130, Par doesn't include the nine letter word and is 108, Chris declared for 128, Eamonn for 106, and Chris Cummins is the Unbeaten Series 50 Champion, by 122-86.


Opening round, match 14: Queen's Belfast -v- Bradford

To no-one's surprise, Bradford fails to get any of a set of bonuses on Franz Joseph of Austria. It's a very difficult subject, and no one knows about it. By the first picture round, we know that Queen's will progress, they lead 60-5. By the music round, Queen's has progressed, at least to the repechage, with a 145- 5 lead.

A Little Knowledge of the week: Which publication began in the late 1990s as a comparatively serious-minded entertainment magazine before the editor Mark Frith..?

Good starter of the week: The Sussex seaside town of Bognor had "Regis" added to its name after which king went there to recuperate? This column still likes short starters.

Bradford gets its first starter in about ten years when Caroline Moody says "Stalin." David Aaronovitch, the best known of the Manchester team who gave that response to every question in the late 70s, must be kicking himself. This column isn't - four weeks ago, we proposed "Josef Stalin" as an answer that would appear on UC. At this point, Ms Moody has scored 20 of Bradford's 15 points. Queen's has already passed 200.

What records can remain? The lowest score ever is New Hall's 35, and after Thumper is kind to give Queen's "Lowry, James Lowry" when he meant LS, it's under threat. The game is going to be above average, the 280 point median for the first round is passed with three minutes to play.

Bradford finally ties New Hall with less than 30 seconds to play. That, though, is as far as the side gets. Queen's has won, just, 280-35.

The full box score, for posterity:


Owen Davies 12.3 (2MS) Caroline Moody 20.9 Joe Quinn 0.9 Ashley Myrrh 0.9
BRA 5 0 10 20 35 (Bonus: 1/11)
QUB 60 85 80 55 280 (Bonus 26/45)
Thom Kerr 133 Caroline Magennis 60.4 Alan McBride 37.6 Ciaran McGee 49 QUEEN'S BELFAST

This column claims 220 points.

These sides make the repechage. The top three appeared in the first four shows. 175 St John's Oxford 160 Hull 150 St Hugh's Oxford 140 Reading

First round stats: the average team scored 152, the median total was 290. Queen's 280 pips Jesus Cambridge's 270 as the highest team score; Jesus's match with Oriel Oxford aggregated 360. The lowest aggregate of the series (and ever) was the Royal Northern College of Music beating Corpus Christi Cambridge 150- 80.

Do note! Next Monday's show airs at the earlier time of 2000. The BBC2 continuity announcer should have said this, but wittered on about something completely irrelevant.


John Harrison from Folkestone won a tense Fifteen To One final; he also walked away with the Top Of The Finals Board trophy.

"A level crossing is where a railway meets a what?" asked Anne Robinson on Celeb Weakest Link at 6:12 Saturday. "A level crossing is where a railway meets a what?" asked Chris Tarrant on Millionaire at 8:23 Saturday. This question has been as overplayed as the Blockbusters "Organism" answer, which was trotted out again on Dumb Britain last week.

Channel 4 / Endemol has confirmed details of its first hit reality show of the new year, SHATTERED. 12 contestants will enter the compound on January 4, with a potential prize fund of £100,000. However, every time one of the contestants takes a sleep, the prize falls. One person will leave each day of the contest. Dermot O'Leary will live with the contestants in his own room. He will be allowed to sleep. E4 will have the usual round-the-clock coverage, replacing the tedious SALON. The obvious joke will appear in the Week on January 11.

Before then, highlights include three Celebrity Masterminds, three Celebrity Millionaires, some Celebrity Links, UC's repechage, the climax to the second series of the BAFTA-award winning Raven, Questions pour un Champion, the return of Jet Set, the Scrapheap Challenge Christmas Special, TTN 2003 (including Matt Dawson, Michael Buerk, Lesley Garrett, Colin Jackson, Linda Smith, Michael Portillo, and Mark Frith (the UC answer who isn't George V, but is responsible for inflicting the spandex-clad Ingram on us)) and much much more. Lowlights include the final scenes on Pop Idle 2, the final begins at 6pm this evening, and (if we're lucky) it'll finish before Christmas.

Speaking of which, do have a thoroughly fabulous festive season. This column will be back for one final spin round the year that was at some point next weekend.

A Labyrinth Games site.
Design by Thomas.
Printable version
Editors: Log in