Classic Game - Series 16 Grand Final

Broadcast 2nd September 1988

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Another Grand Final this week - this time from Series 16. Number 5 seed Roger Wales had already seen off number 4 seed Andrew Loheide and number 1 seed Steve Williams to reach the final, while number 7 seed Tony Vick had defeated number 2 seed Jenny Haldane and number 6 seed John Widdowson. Bill Tidy and Carol Thatcher were in Dictionary Corner, alongside Oxford lexicographer Della Thompson.

The first two letters games saw Tony get two eight-letter words, which Roger could not match, so it was 16-0 after Round 2. A very easy first numbers game allowed Roger to break his duck. The 16 point gap was then maintained until the first conundrum, which Tony got after just five seconds, leaving Roger with a bit of a mountain to climb in the second half.

Part Two started brightly with an eight for both contestants - the impressive SPORADIC, although they could also have had the anagram PICADORS. In Round 9, Tony got the points for the five-letter offering GAFFE, although he could have had six for FAZING. Of note is Roger's four-letter AGIN, meaning against. Another relatively easy numbers game meant Roger was still 31 points adrift with four rounds to go. Interesting sevens for both players in Round 11 - Roger offered GILLIES (Scottish lads) and Tony offered BILLIES (goats or cans). With three rounds to go, Roger needed a nine-letter word to keep in the game, and when the selection was put up, it looked certain that it was all over. After thirty seconds had passed, the best either contestant could offer was five (I challenge you to do better) and there could now only be one winner, although strangely Tony appeared to be getting increasingly nervous - maybe he was concerned about reaching 100 points! The last numbers game saw Tony's only blob of the match, while Roger got the full ten. Richard made note at this point of his failure to get 'O' level Maths while at Giggleswick School (Roger Wales attended the same school several years later, and passed!). Tony regained his nerve for the final conundrum, unravelling TEDSTRYIN in just under 10 seconds. A very respectable 100 points for Tony then, which remains one of the highest scores in a Grand Final.

Tony went on to appear in the fourth Championship of Champions, both Countdown Masters series and the Supreme Championship, where he lost in the Group G Final to Tim Morrissey. Roger made two more visits to the Countdown studio - both for Countdown Masters.

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This review was originally published as Game of the Week - 12 Feb 2001.

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