Mastermind is a British TV quiz show where members of the public are subjected to two rounds of questions against the clock. The first round is one and a half minutes long on a specialist subject of their choice. The second, general knowledge round is two minutes long. There's no monetary prize, just a trophy for the series winner.
There is also a Celebrity version of the quiz, where the contestants compete to win a financial reward for a charity of their choice. In a recent edition of Celebrity Mastermind, the contestants and their specialist subjects were:
- Andrea McLean (author and broadcaster) - "The Sound of Music"
- Colin Hoult (actor and comedian) - The history of DC Comics
- Rhys Stevenson (TV presenter) - The heart
- Hannah Cockcroft (Paralympic champion) - The "Shopaholic" novels of Sophie Kinsella
As is normally the case with "Celebrity" shows, I've never heard of any of these people. However, I was naturally interested in Colin Hoult's chosen subject. Here are the questions he was asked.
- Detective Comics Incorporated was formed in 1937 by Harry Donenfield, Jack Liebowitz and which former military officer?
- The Batman, created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, first appeared in a 1939 issue of Detective Comics in a six page story entitled "The Case of the..." what?
- The 12-part "Watchmen" saga, first published in 1986, was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by which artist?
- Issue 73 of More Fun Comics introduced the Green Arrow and which other long-running superhero character, described as the king of the seven seas?
- The cover of a 1943 issue of Action Comics depicts the Terrible Toyman using what device to escape the clutches of Superman?
- In 1940, the psychologist William Moulton Marston created which female superhero, claiming that he was "responding to comics' blood-curdling masculinity"?
- In the epic story "Crisis on Infinite Earths", multiple DC heroes from various parallel worlds team up to fight which immensely powerful arch-villain?
- The Olympic athlete Jefferson Pierce became DC's first African-American character to star in his own comic book in 1977, when he created what alter ego for himself?
- The humourous adventures of The Inferior Five featured a team of lacklustre superheroes comprising White Feather, Merryman, The Blimp, The Dumb Bunny and which other character?
If you think that some of these questions are easy, imagine trying to answer them on TV, sitting under a spotlight, and working against the clock. On the show, the buzzer for the end of the 90-second time limit went off during question 9. Colin was allowed to answer - a catchphrase of the show is "I've started, so I'll finish". Unfortunately, he got it wrong!
I'll post the answers in a few days time.