We come a little more up to date with this Game of the Week, taken from Series 37. Kate Surtees, the series' number one seed had already beaten 3-time winner Janet Nelson in the preliminary heats 63-49, so this was a classic Countdown "grudge match". That game was decided on the conundrum, with both players spotting FRUMPIEST at almost the same time - would it be as close this time?
Round 1's selection looked like a promising start, with the -ING going begging, along with some very common other letters - Dictionary Corner offered four (count 'em) eight-letter words, although both contestants only offered 7 with DASHING. Although the next selection looked less inspiring, it yielded a similar result - Barry Cryer and Mark Nyman offering an eight with the unusual WRONGERS, while both contestants settled for seven. A dull third round with sixes all round did however leave the scores in an interesting position at 20 apiece. Despite Janet's interesting selection (one from the top, and five from the ends of the other three rows), the numbers game was the prove straightforward, with several ways of reaching 903, although both contestants plumped for the most conventional (6 x 2 x 75) + 3. So, four rounds down, the score at 30-30, and it was all to play for!
A few adverts for Stannah Starlifts later, and we were back to the battle. Round 5 did nothing to break the deadlock, as Kate and Janet both offered IMPLORE for 7. Mark offered the excellent amino acid PROLINE, though it was no longer. Round 6 plumbed new depths, with Kate struggling to a 5, while Janet could only manage a 4. This was to prove crucial in the outcome of the game. FAUNAE, the plural of FAUNA, was there for six, although Mr Nyman inexplicably said it was not allowed! Round 7 saw them both scoring 5 with DOTTY, while Dictionary Corner offered the equally comical TOOTED for six. The gap of five points remained after the second numbers game too, and it was 57-52 to Kate as we reached the conundrum - another crucial one, just like their last meeting!
The clock only reached three seconds on their last meeting, but this time, the conundrum had them (and probably most of
us) stumped, and LUPUSGERE remained unsolved for the full thirty seconds. And so it ended 57-52 to Kate, who went on to
lose to Christine White in the semi-finals and to Harshan L'Suriya in the 9th Championship of Champions.
This review was originally published as Game of the Week - 10 Mar 2001.