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Mastermind subjects

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Messages: 1 - 42 of 42
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by grammargrub (U1560829) on Friday, 29th November 2013

    Why are the subjects on Mastermind always so boring? Or obscure anyway. Just look at this week's. Hugh Gaitskill, Lester Piggott. yawwn.

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by EggOnAStilt (U7111730) on Friday, 29th November 2013

    Why are the subjects on Mastermind always so boring? Or obscure anyway. Just look at this week's. Hugh Gaitskill, Lester Piggott. yawwn.  Could be worse,

    And now your specialist subject Mr Roux, Jr.

    How to cook an egg..........

    You have two minutes or maybe three depending on how you like them done.

    smiley - friedegg

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by jennyj (U15939066) on Friday, 29th November 2013

    I never bother to watch the first half of MM for that very reason. Bo-ring!

    I'm sure I remember (in the days when I still watched the first half!) some contestant answering questions about, I kid you not, the serial numbers of locomotive engines..... (predictably, he won!)

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Rosemary (U7231409) on Friday, 29th November 2013

    Well, I suppose because they're 'specialist' subjects. What some people deem 'special' others consider 'boring'. Same goes for obscurity, really, though neither Hugh Gaitskill nor Lester Piggott are exactly obscure. I couldn't answer detailed questions on either, but I know who they were and what they did.

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  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Phrasmotic 4 August 2012 (U5509534) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Well, I suppose because they're 'specialist' subjects. What some people deem 'special' others consider 'boring'. Same goes for obscurity, really, though neither Hugh Gaitskill nor Lester Piggott are exactly obscure. I couldn't answer detailed questions on either, but I know who they were and what they did.  What on earth? People can choose whatever they like for specialist subjects and that's boring????? A crass remark like that means either "Why can't they choose things I know something about" or "Why don't they choose esoteric, elistist subjects"? Oh, yes, I well remember the year the winner chose Byzantine Art.

    The only time they got the specialist subjects spectacularly was when they allowed a contestant to pick three subjects based around the same theme. It was football, but I love football, so I'm not being elitist. I would have said the same if the three categories had been, say, the histories, tragedies and comedies of Shakespeare.

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  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Rosemary (U7231409) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Well, I suppose because they're 'specialist' subjects. What some people deem 'special' others consider 'boring'. Same goes for obscurity, really, though neither Hugh Gaitskill nor Lester Piggott are exactly obscure. I couldn't answer detailed questions on either, but I know who they were and what they did.  What on earth? People can choose whatever they like for specialist subjects and that's boring????? A crass remark like that means either "Why can't they choose things I know something about" or "Why don't they choose esoteric, elistist subjects"? Oh, yes, I well remember the year the winner chose Byzantine Art.

    The only time they got the specialist subjects spectacularly was when they allowed a contestant to pick three subjects based around the same theme. It was football, but I love football, so I'm not being elitist. I would have said the same if the three categories had been, say, the histories, tragedies and comedies of Shakespeare. 
    Sorry if you think my remark 'crass', Phrasmotic; I wasn't intending to offend. To be honest, I'm a bit bewildered as to why I apparently have ... smiley - sadface

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by Lemon Sabotage (U9577550) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    I can't think of any reason why Phrasmotic replied to your perfectly reasonable post in this way, and can only conclude that he/she intended to reply to the OP.

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by Rosemary (U7231409) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    I can't think of any reason why Phrasmotic replied to your perfectly reasonable post in this way, and can only conclude that he/she intended to reply to the OP.  Ah. I hadn't thought of that. I feel much better now. Thank you, Lemon Sabotage! smiley - smiley

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by ARENA (U3567614) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Some specialist subjects can a lot less difficult. For example...

    'Brentford FC 1990-2013' is a lot easier than, 'PremiershipClubs'. Especially if you are a Brentford fan in his mid 30s

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by PaulHammond (U5000908) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    I think Brentford over such a short period might be considered too easy to be a specialist subject. Not sure what the rules are, but I imagine they DO rule out subjects they think aren't comparably challenging to the other contestants'

    For myself, I actually did better on the specialist subjects this week than I normally do - one of the questions was about which crisis caused Gaitskill to call for the Prime Minister Eden's resignation, which by an educated guess had to be Suez.

    I always think the easiest subjects are ones like "all the books about x by author y" - I'm sure someone has done Harry Potter on Mastermind, and the winner last night answered on one series of detective books by Susan Hill. I think I'm an expert on Doctor Who, but when someone chose that a few weeks ago I think I only scored about 5 on his round.

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by ARENA (U3567614) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Case in point PH

    How many novels has Susan Hill written?
    How many Dr Who scripts have been written?

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  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by PaulHammond (U5000908) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Well - wikipedia says there are 8 Simon Serrailler novels. So, about the same size as Harry Potter.

    And they allowed her to restrict her answers to those 8 novels rather than Susan Hill's entire work. I wonder what the critera are for accepting a subject for Mastermind?

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by Baldinio (U2012448) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    "anything you like as long as the subject is deep enough" is the criteria.

    The winner in 2004 choose football in each of his rounds, with Champions League finals 1970-2004, followed by England at the European Championship (up to that point we had only qualified six times) and won with FA Cup finals since 1970.

    In 2005 the winning subject was Father Ted

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  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by jennyj (U15939066) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    ". I wonder what the critera are for accepting a subject for Mastermind?"

    Um, that they have to be boring??? ! smiley - smiley

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by DaveA (U14937949) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    ". I wonder what the critera are for accepting a subject for Mastermind?"

    Um, that they have to be boring??? ! smiley - smiley 
    To respond to more than just your post, jennyj, I was interested in Hugh Gaitskell as a subject- took me back to my childhood.

    To address your point, if I should ever end up in the black chair, my specialist subject will be "The Wit and Wisdom of Peter Andre". Let them try and get two minutes out of that.

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by susiesar (U10941938) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    It's not just the specialist subjects that have dumbed down there was a time when I could probably answer about half the questions now I very often beat the contestants and I'm not that clever, do you think they would except The Gruffalo books as a specialist subject I've read them so many times to my granddaughter I know them by heart

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by Phrasmotic 4 August 2012 (U5509534) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    I can't think of any reason why Phrasmotic replied to your perfectly reasonable post in this way, and can only conclude that he/she intended to reply to the OP.  Yes. My response was really aimed at the OP, the author of the crass comment, although I wonder why anyone wouldn't want to watch the first half. Don't you like the chance of beating the contestants on their own subjects, or even just correctly answering questions they couldn't.

    Has the OP disappeared?

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by Phrasmotic 4 August 2012 (U5509534) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    It's not just the specialist subjects that have dumbed down there was a time when I could probably answer about half the questions now I very often beat the contestants and I'm not that clever, do you think they would except The Gruffalo books as a specialist subject I've read them so many times to my granddaughter I know them by heart  "Dumbed down". That was the second thing I was alluding to above: only obscure, highly esoteric subjects beyond the knowledge of plebs should be allowed smiley - doh

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 18.

    Posted by Lemon Sabotage (U9577550) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    In terms of dumbing down, some of the past contestants on Celeb Mastermind spring to mind. One young woman chose one particular series of "Sex and the City". She didn't even do very well in it.

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by Phrasmotic 4 August 2012 (U5509534) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    In terms of dumbing down, some of the past contestants on Celeb Mastermind spring to mind. One young woman chose one particular series of "Sex and the City". She didn't even do very well in it.  Why is there this obsession that if it's popular culture it's not good enough. You're only required to show knowledge, and the only rule is that the specialist subject should be broad. The three football based specialist subjects was wrong, but I also thought the first two Harry Potter films was too narrow.

    But if you think the questions are about things you thumb your nose at, stop watching.

    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by Lemon Sabotage (U9577550) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    I don't think that at all. Sex and the City was one of my favourite programmes ( in fact I think I got more right than she did.)
    My point was that it was a rather narrow subject as she just chose one series, and she didn't seem to know it that well.

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by Bananas are Santas favourite fruit (U15941072) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Why is there this obsession that if it's popular culture it's not good enough. You're only required to show knowledge, and the only rule is that the specialist subject should be broad. The three football based specialist subjects was wrong, but I also thought the first two Harry Potter films was too narrow. 
    This smiley - ok though I have seen people burned by narrow choices, not getting the sort of question that they obviously expected.

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 22.

    Posted by Lemon Sabotage (U9577550) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    That's weird--7 minutes ago is longer ago than 8 minutes ago.
    Are we in an episode of Doctor Who?

    Report message23

  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by Rosemary (U7231409) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Is 'broad' one of the criteria for selection of a specialist subject? That's interesting, I didn't know that. I wonder how they define 'broad'?

    Anyway, at the risk of being called a snob, elitist or posh, I do think selecting a subject like one series of a show like Sex in the City IS dumbing down. I have no problem with anyone watching Sex in the City - why should I - but I don't really see how it can be described as a 'specialist' subject. Surely 'specialist' is, whether the word is a dirty, politically-incorrect one or not, elitist almost by definition. A specialist ... well, specialises - in one, usually fairly circumscribed subject or subject area. Sex in the City, by virtue of the fact that anyone can learn about it merely by switching on a TV set and watching episodes repeatedly, almost excludes itself from being 'specialist,' doesn't it? I can see popular culture being in the general knowledge category, but it doesn't seem to me that it should be allowed in the 'specialist subject' category.

    Just a thought! smiley - smiley

    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by jennyj (U15939066) on Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Is 'broad' one of the criteria for selection of a specialist subject? That's interesting, I didn't know that. I wonder how they define 'broad'?

    Anyway, at the risk of being called a snob, elitist or posh, I do think selecting a subject like one series of a show like Sex in the City IS dumbing down. I have no problem with anyone watching Sex in the City - why should I - but I don't really see how it can be described as a 'specialist' subject. Surely 'specialist' is, whether the word is a dirty, politically-incorrect one or not, elitist almost by definition. A specialist ... well, specialises - in one, usually fairly circumscribed subject or subject area. Sex in the City, by virtue of the fact that anyone can learn about it merely by switching on a TV set and watching episodes repeatedly, almost excludes itself from being 'specialist,' doesn't it? I can see popular culture being in the general knowledge category, but it doesn't seem to me that it should be allowed in the 'specialist subject' category.

    Just a thought! smiley - smiley 
    Rosemary - be warned - maybe we'll soon see 'Fifty Shades of Grey' as a specialist subject!!!

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

    Report message25

  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 25.

    Posted by ARENA (U3567614) on Monday, 2nd December 2013

    Wouldn't it be rejected on the grounds of being porn? I ask ,as one who hasn't read it,far less studied it...

    Report message26

  • Message 27

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by Owen Herring (U2135393) on Monday, 2nd December 2013

    Sex in the City, by virtue of the fact that anyone can learn about it merely by switching on a TV set and watching episodes repeatedly, almost excludes itself from being 'specialist,' doesn't it? 

    You can read the works of Jane Austen repeatedly - does that exclude them from being 'specialist'?

    A series like The West Wing offers far more question opportunities than some literary subjects - though I think selecting one season would be too 'small' for a specialist subject.

    Report message27

  • Message 28

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Phrasmotic 4 August 2012 (U5509534) on Monday, 2nd December 2013

    Yes, elitism is alive and well. If someone knows who was the key grip or best boy for Sex and the City AND they also have good general knowledge, why should they be told they can't take part in Mastermind just because some people think it's not a "real" specialist subject?

    How far do people want to go with this? Jane Austen books acceptable, but you can't answer questions about Colin Firth going for a swim, or Bride and Prejudice or Lost in Austen.

    The more people complain about "specialist" subjects and dumbing down, the more foolish they end up looking, when the definition is just that a person has above average knowledge about a particular subject.

    Report message28

  • Message 29

    , in reply to message 28.

    Posted by AmosBurke (U8229185) on Monday, 2nd December 2013

    At least one subject has been rejected as being "a bit broad" and Christopher Hughes had a subject rejected. www.ukgameshows.com/...

    Report message29

  • Message 30

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by DaveA (U14937949) on Monday, 2nd December 2013

    One young woman chose one particular series of "Sex and the City". She didn't even do very well in it. 
    I assume you mean that she didn't even do well at answering questions in it. Forgive me, couldn't resist my juvenile sense of humour.

    I seem to remember Magnus once explaining that the narrower the specialism chosen, the more in depth the questions. It worked the other was as well so a broad subject attracted "easier" questions.

    Report message30

  • Message 31

    , in reply to message 28.

    Posted by Rosemary (U7231409) on Monday, 2nd December 2013

    Yes, elitism is alive and well. 

    Oh well. That makes me elitist AND a fool, then. I think I'll just agree to disagree ... that usually seems to be MY specialist subject.

    Report message31

  • Message 32

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by goodhelenstar (U13943062) on Tuesday, 3rd December 2013

    In terms of dumbing down, some of the past contestants on Celeb Mastermind spring to mind. One young woman chose one particular series of "Sex and the City". She didn't even do very well in it.  Celebrity Mastermind is considerably easier than the main series - the celebs are not there to show off their knowledge and gain their 15 minutes of fame, but to raise money for their charities by donating their fee. But they don't want to be humiliated (as some of them are - Michel Roux comes to mind, bless him - he went completely blank). The general knowledge rounds are very easy indeed.

    As to Sex and the City being a suitable subject or not - why is it any less suitable than, say, a particular football team over a given period, which the contestant will know well but I would know nothing about at all? I doubt if one series only would have been acceptable in the main series, but I don't see why the programme itself, which ran for a number of years and was very influential, should not. It's no more populist than, say, the works of Ian Fleming (and some of the content is quite similar!).

    Report message32

  • Message 33

    , in reply to message 32.

    Posted by Phrasmotic 4 August 2012 (U5509534) on Tuesday, 3rd December 2013

    In terms of dumbing down, some of the past contestants on Celeb Mastermind spring to mind. One young woman chose one particular series of "Sex and the City". She didn't even do very well in it.  Celebrity Mastermind is considerably easier than the main series - the celebs are not there to show off their knowledge and gain their 15 minutes of fame, but to raise money for their charities by donating their fee. But they don't want to be humiliated (as some of them are - Michel Roux comes to mind, bless him - he went completely blank). The general knowledge rounds are very easy indeed.

    As to Sex and the City being a suitable subject or not - why is it any less suitable than, say, a particular football team over a given period, which the contestant will know well but I would know nothing about at all? I doubt if one series only would have been acceptable in the main series, but I don't see why the programme itself, which ran for a number of years and was very influential, should not. It's no more populist than, say, the works of Ian Fleming (and some of the content is quite similar!). 
    A few years ago the winner was allowed three football based specialist subjects. Some would say that is dumbing down, but the truth is that nobody should be allowed three specialist subjects on the same theme.

    Report message33

  • Message 34

    , in reply to message 29.

    Posted by PaulHammond (U5000908) on Tuesday, 3rd December 2013

    Nice link, Amos!

    I think "world history AD" is rather broad. But I do wonder why "The Banana Industry" was rejected as a subject, that seems like a good one to me - you can ask about banana exporting countries, the big fruit importing companies, the history of the trade - lots of scope there.

    Report message34

  • Message 35

    , in reply to message 34.

    Posted by MAY-DAY (U14316705) on Tuesday, 3rd December 2013

    If I remember right...
    Wasn't the footie fella the runner-up, later on, in one of the off-shoot programmes to find a new Egghead?

    Talking of too narrowly focused specialist subjects...

    Clive James's first volume of autobiography is called "Unreliable Memoirs"; which is also the subtitle of the four later books in the sequence of memoirs.

    When I saw that a contestant had chosen "Unreliable Memoirs", I assumed it was the whole series.
    But - if I remember this right as well - they allowed him to restrict himself to the first book only; which hardly demanded much homework.

    Report message35

  • Message 36

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by germinator (U13411914) on Tuesday, 3rd December 2013

    In terms of dumbing down, some of the past contestants on Celeb Mastermind spring to mind. One young woman chose one particular series of "Sex and the City". She didn't even do very well in it.  She may have been confused by the interchangeability of the characters, plots and dialogue.

    Report message36

  • Message 37

    , in reply to message 35.

    Posted by PaulHammond (U5000908) on Wednesday, 4th December 2013

    If I remember right...
    Wasn't the footie fella the runner-up, later on, in one of the off-shoot programmes to find a new Egghead? 


    If that's who we are talking about, then he has since turned up as one of the Chasers. Could well be him, because it's always being mentioned that he's a Mastermind Champion, and he's an expert on football. He's called Sean something, and he lost out to Barry in the Eggheads competition, but I wanted him to win.

    Report message37

  • Message 38

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by Dee (U15846799) on Wednesday, 4th December 2013

    there was a time when I could probably answer about half the questions now I very often beat the contestants 

    I've noticed this too, but just congratulated myself on how much cleverer I was getting. smiley - biggrin

    Don't take that away from me!

  • Message 39

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Phil (U15846827) on Wednesday, 4th December 2013

    You could actually apply to go on the show yourself

    Report message39

  • Message 40

    , in reply to message 39.

    Posted by Annie-Lou (U4502268) on Monday, 9th December 2013

    Shhhh...........don't tell the mods I mentioned a radio programme, but for those looking for the real cranial workout no longer offered by Mastermind, a new series of Brain of Britain has just started and it is TOUGH!!

    Report message40

  • Message 41

    , in reply to message 40.

    Posted by germinator (U13411914) on Monday, 9th December 2013

    OK Annie-Lou, I enjoyed the Saturday night drama 'Double Indemnity' at the weekend; by the way what would be your Mastermind specialist subject(s)? Back on track smiley - ok.

    Report message41

  • Message 42

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Roberttrebor (U2337319) on Tuesday, 10th December 2013

    Not sure what the specialist subjects, say about the contestants, do they show intelligence, or does it just show an obsession ?

    Report message42

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