Big Deal

One of the disadvantages of being one of the Unwaged Masses is daytime TV game shows. I don’t watch them on purpose – other than SudoQ, which is quite fun, if only for the opportunity to shout abuse at the contestants. You’d think that if you were going to be on a general-knowledge-quiz-based Sudoku game, you’d try to be good at either general knowledge or Sudoku, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with most of them. Anyway, my point was that I usually find myself in the gym on one of the machines in front of one of the TVs which IS showing one of the game shows, so even without the sound I get some exposure to them.

This afternoon I was on one of the exercise bikes in front of Deal or No Deal. Now bear in mind that I’ve never seen this with the sound turned up – you have to wear headphones to get TV sound – so I’m no expert, but it seems to consist of someone having a big red box with an amount of money written inside. They open the box and see how much they’ve won, and this takes about 45 minutes – although it seems much longer. Along the way they get phone calls from someone called the Banker (I think I got the first letter right there), offering to trade the mystery amount in the box for a guaranteed amount which he offers them.

Anyway, this afternoon the contestant lady agreed to a Banker’s offer of £29000. Remember that she knows from this point that it’s guaranteed that she’s won that amount. It soon transpired that had she held out, she could have won much more, and in fact it would have been the top prize. She was devastated. In floods of tears. Maybe it’s just me, but I hope that if I’d won £29000 I’d be a bit happy about it.

Rather more genteel in the world of afternoon TV is Countdown, a programme which DOES make sense without sound – in fact back in Richard Whitely’s days as presenter it was quite a bit better without sound. The programme always ends with the conundrum – the contestants are presented with a nine-letter anagram which they have thirty seconds to solve, and the first one to get it (assuming either of them do) gets the points. One afternoon last week – I think it was Wednesday – the anagram was GINGERBAG. One of the contestants buzzed in after a few seconds with the answer I’d already spotted – “rebagging???. In spite of it being a perfectly good English word, and a correct solution to the anagram, it wasn’t allowed because it wasn’t the answer they were looking for. Now that contestant would have been justified in getting annoyed, but because this was Countdown, she just smiled gently and let her opponent get the points for the “correct??? answer, “beggaring???. Luckily it didn’t make any difference to the end result, she won anyway, but it might have done.

Don’t worry, normal service returns soon – I’m hoping you’ll get a blog with geocaching in on Wednesday.

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