This week's game comes from Series 13, a particularly good series in the history of the programme, with lots of high (and low!) scores and nail-biting matches. The second quarter-final of the series turned out to be a re-match between number seven seed Peter Tatlow and number two seed Mike Whiteoak, who has already graced the pages of the Game of the Week section with his victory over Derek Edwards. On their previous encounter, Mike beat Peter 79-59 to take over the champion's chair - would he be victorious again?
The game started with both players spotting a seven (VENISON) from the selection NSNOIVETH, which eagle-eyed viewers might have spotted was the same selection as that in Round 6 of the game two days previously - coincidence? read on... Round two saw another reasonable selection of letters, but Peter and Mike could only manage six, getting PLAINS and EASILY respectively. The Dictionary Duo of Derek Nimmo and Catherine Clarke offered SPANIEL and LIFESPAN. And I can hardly bring myself to report that the letters were exactly the same selection as that in Round 3 of the aforementioned game! And so to Round 3, and - would you believe it? - we had a repeat of Wednesday's Round 1 this time! On that occasion, Mark Preston had spotted RECASTING for nine. I don't know whether the contestants realised what was going on, but they both spotted RECASTING, and they duly had 31 points each after only three rounds! A relatively easy numbers game saw both Peter and Mike getting another ten points and it was 41-41 as we reached the half-way point - one of the highest scores ever after four rounds (please don't ask if it is the record!).
Part Two dawned, and with it, thankfully, the letters seemed to have been shuffled, although it did look like the first few of Round 5's selection would have been rather familiar to Wednesday viewers! Anyway, the scores remained level at the end of the round, with Peter offering HOMING and Mike offering MOVING. The following round saw the deadlock broken, as Mike risked a seven - STOUTEN. Unfortunately for him, it wasn't in the dictionary, and Peter moved five points into the lead having declared TENTS. One letters game to go, and both contestants managed to extract NOODLES from LSDRNOEOL. Peter chose to take two numbers from each of the second, third and fourth rows in Round 8, but thankfully the '10' appeared along with a low target figure from CECIL. Both players declared 177, and both their methods were duly endorsed by Carol. So, with only the conundrum to go, Peter was leading 69-64 and had a real chance of scoring an excellent 79 points, and winning a place in the semi-finals of the series. Alas, it was not to be, and Mike spotted SPRAWLING after four seconds.
Mike went on to lose narrowly to number 3 seed Kevin Nelson in the semi-final, but returned in the first series
of Countdown Masters, losing 96-49 to Series 15 semi-finalist Gavin Rogers. Peter also appeared in the same series of
Countdown Masters, and beat Series 11 quarter-finalist Marianne Croll 79-69 in a very closely-fought contest.
This review was originally published as Game of the Week - 8 July 2001.