CoLeeds report: Champion of Champions Dylan Taylor continues blistering 2017 form by winning another much-enjoyed event

Co:Leeds 2: This Time It’s Psoralen: Champion of Champions Dylan Taylor continues blistering 2017 form by winning another much-enjoyed event

After a successful maiden event last year, attended by 30 people, Co:Leeds was back for the difficult second album in 2017: with it, we saw the return of its matchday programmes and profanity-adorned numbers cards.

A change of venue from the previous year saw an increased attendance of 35 descend upon the Cardigan Centre in Leeds, which sports a function room reminiscent of venues past used at Lincoln events.


There were four event newcomers at last year’s Co:Leeds and, giving testament to the success of the 2016 event, they all returned in 2017. Winner Innis wasn’t there to defend his title though, so a new champion was to be crowned this day.

Despite suffering severe delays to their train services and missing their first games as a result, latecomers Conrad Teixeira and Co:Manchester champion Stephen Read managed to find time to replay their missed games in Round 1 and catch up with the rest of the contestants. Round 1 also saw Countdown Series 73 champion Jonathan Wynn set the bar for the rest of the day, scoring an incredible 101 by spotting three nine-letter words back to back, known in the community as an ‘ambulance’.


After a break for lunch and some quizzing, we resumed play for a second round of anagramming. A highlight of round 2 was Chris Marshall making a remarkable double-conundrum comeback against his opponent Dinos Sfyris, going into the conundrum ten points behind but solving it and then solving a tie-break conundrum too to take the win. When the dust settled after round 2, with four games played by all, only Jack Worsley, Dylan Taylor, and Tom Chafer-Cook had emerged with their 100% records intact, setting the three of them up for a very strong top table in the third and final round.

On that final top table, Jack Worsley and Dylan Taylor both won their first games to leave them pit against each other in the last heat game of the day to decide who would have the only unbeaten record of the day. After a tight battle, Dylan was five points behind going into the conundrum but correctly unscrambled AGREENBUS to find SUBGENERA and take a 62-57 win.


Before we went into the semi-finals, the last round of quizzing saw a tie at the top with team Soft-Toed Emojis – made up of Thomas Carey, Jamie McNeill, Ian Peek, and Bradley Horrocks – matching the 11 points scored by Them Over There – comprising Dinos Sfyris, James Robinson, Nathan Pace, and Katherine Webb – setting up a quiz final to be played just before the Countdown final.

Back to the anagramming, the semi-finals saw our top seed Dylan face off against Jamie McNeill, who despite having not attended an event for over two years, had put in a very strong performance to make fourth seed. Dylan and Jamie had played once before that day, with Dylan winning on a crucial conundrum. This time the only thing that changed was the margin of the result as Dylan had his victory wrapped up before the conundrum this time, sealing a place in the final.

In the other semi-final, second seed Ben Wilson – Series 46 champion, COLIN host, and all-round hero of the community – faced off against third seed Jack Worsley. Having both amassed five wins over the course of the day, only one point separated these two champions, with Ben’s 383 taking a slight advantage over Jack’s 382. As you might expect after such similar heat scores, the game was close enough to go a crucial conundrum – NOCOATING – which Jack correctly unscrambled to CONTAGION to book a rematch with Dylan in the final.


But before that we had to settle the matter of the quiz contest, as our two teams were inseparable in the heat games. The final was an excruciatingly close contest, going right down to the last question with everything up for grabs, but in the end Them Over There emerged victorious, much to the delight of team member James Robinson, whose James Bond knowledge helped secure the victory.

The quality of the final was evident right from the introductions, with the current Countdown Champion of Champions and COLIN champ Dylan facing up against last year’s FOCAL champion and by far the most decorated player in Co:event history Jack.

Livestreamed and tweeted by a technologically savvy pairing of Jen Steadman and Matty Artell, the final went to a crucial conundrum with Dylan holding a six-point lead. Underscoring his dominance of the event, it was Dylan yet again who unscrambled TWINHOUND to WHODUNNIT and claim the Co:Leeds 2: This Time It’s Psoralen crown.


With a perfect eight wins from eight games, including eight conundrum solves (all very fast as well, I believe) and a max game or two along the way, Dylan truly bossed this event and couldn’t possibly have been a more deserving winner.

He has now attended three FOCAL events in 2017, winning two and coming third in the other, even then missing out on the final only by two points! With such strong form Dylan is sure to be a favourite at any further events he plays in this year.

But most importantly of all, 35 people had a great day in Leeds and hopefully we will see many of them back next year, amongst some newcomers too.

Callum Todd


FOCAL legends The Verbivores in Friday’s Only Connect final – don’t miss it!

There’s quite a big overlap between Countdown and other quiz shows – so you might have seen FOCAL players on anything from 15 to 1, to The Weakest Link, to Pointless.

Former CO:LON organiser Michael Wallace was on the Only Connect winning team in Series 8, back in 2013, and tomorrow night, a trio of keen Countdowners will try to follow in his footsteps and take home the Series 12 title! Phyl Styles, Tom Cappleman and captain Graeme Cole, aka The Verbivores, take on the Cosmopolitans in tomorrow night’s final.

All three team members have been on Countdown and have been to FOCAL events this year: Tom and Graeme are series champions, while Phyl was unlucky not to make the Series 65 finals in 2011 with 6 wins (incidentally, this was the series that Graeme won). Phyl and Tom have also both starred on University Challenge, albeit a few decades apart.

The Verbivores broke the ‘biggest comeback’ record in their second game, coming back from 7 points down to snatch victory in the Missing Vowels round. They’ve also had the longest possible path to the final, as the show features a number of possible repechage games for high-scoring losing teams. No other team has played this many games in the show’s history. Having taken the long way round, can they emerge as victors? Tune into BBC2 at 8.30pm tomorrow night to find out!

Good luck, Verbivores – we’re rooting for you!

Join us in Yorkshire next Saturday for the second Countdown in Leeds!

Just a week and a half to go until our second Countdown in Leeds tournament!

There’s still time to sign up – join the 30 players who have already put their names down by sending £10 via this PayPal link! All the event details are in the link in the first line of this post.

Organiser Callum suggests you brush up on your local lingo beforehand by using this helpful resource to educate you:

You can also read a report from last year’s event and see pictures from it in our ever-helpful photo gallery.

Countdown in Leeds… it’ll be reyt.

The first Countdown in Manchester was hopefully the first of many…

Given that it’s generally regarded as England’s second city and that Countdown films next door in Salford, it’s a bit weird that this was only the first Countdown in Manchester tournament.

But somehow it was – and what a success it was, getting a stonking 33 people in, including 6 first-time players!

After three rounds, there was only one unbeaten player: soon-to-be-televised-on-Countdown Stephen Read, on 6 out of 6 wins. He was to face off in the final against event stalwart and former Nottingham and King’s Lynn champion Rob Foster. (Videos from the game are available on our Twitter page, HERE.)

It was all square until the 11th round, when Stephen spotted UPBRAID – and then extended his lead a few rounds later by spotting TELOMERE and solving the final 6 small numbers round perfectly! Neither player could solve final conundrum LANCENOVA – that fell to audience member, 3rd placed player and Champion of Champions XIV champ Dylan Taylor, who unscrambled it as VOLCANEAN. Final score: 122-97 to Stephen!

In just 10 1/2 months since his first event, Stephen has won a gobsmacking 3 out of 5 events, and made the final of another event. Proof that newbies can smash FOCAL events! 😀

Cheers for organising, Matty and Jack! The final standings and scores from the day are all available HERE, so have a look at those, and don’t forget to check the UPDATED FOCAL STANDINGS and the GALLERY, which has been updated with plenty of beautiful pictures from the day, including Michelle Nevitt with her fist in her mouth at the pub afterwards.

See you in Leeds on April 1st?*

*still not an April Fool

Countdown in Manchester is next Saturday – you’ve got 3 days left to sign up…

Next Saturday (11th March) sees the first ever Countdown in Manchester tournament!

If you want to join the 27 players currently signed up to play in the current home of Countdown, pay £12 via this link – – and write your name in the notes section! But be sure to do it by this weekend…

Want more details on the event? Click the link HERE for all the tournament details.

If you can’t make Manchester, maybe you can make one of our other tournaments this year? Our forthcoming tournaments in Leeds (1st April), London (6th May), King’s Lynn (27th May), Waterford (17th June), Bournemouth (29th July), Milton Keynes (12th August) and Glasgow (4th/5th November) are all open for entries – so pay up now to confirm your place at any of them!

We hope to see you in Manchester next weekend!

Want to play Countdown online? Try!

Love Channel 4’s Countdown? Want one of their legendary teapots? Always wanted to apply for the show, but didn’t feel confident enough to do so? Sign up to!

Since it was launched in 2008, every Countdown series winner (that’s 17 of them) has had an Apterous account and improved dramatically as a result of it.

You’ll get 30 free trial games, after which you’ll need to subscribe. Subscription costs £20 a year – for which you’ll get UNLIMITED games against humans or computer ‘bots’, whether you want to play 15 rounders, 9 rounders, all-letters games, all-numbers games, all-conundrum games or anything else you can think of!

Additionally, you can play in 15 different languages, some crazy new ways to play the English game, and get access to ‘Lexplorer’, the most comprehensive source there is for checking which words are Countdown-valid. (Even more than the official Countdown phone app.)

Not to mention you’ll probably end up befriending some of the weirdos you play on there:


It’s worked for those 17 series champs – and it will probably work for you too!

New event confirmed: the return of Countdown in King’s Lynn on May 27th!

If you’re in East Anglia and were wondering when our 2017 events bonanza would reach you, wonder no more – Countdown in King’s Lynn returns for its third year, held as ever on the May Bank Holiday weekend!

If you’re not acquainted with the Norfolk market town, the organiser and long-time community legend Mike Brown has provided an irreverent yet informative description of it: “For those of you who are still not aware (even after last year), King’s Lynn is a town on the Wash in the west of Norfolk and is the birthplace of Captain Vancouver, who gave his name to the rather larger metropolis of Vancouver in the west of Canada. It used to be called Bishop’s Lynn (or Lynn Episcopi if you’re a Latin speaker) until 1204, when King John decided he’d name it after himself. Since last year’s Co:KL, King’s Lynn has decided to put up a statue in his honour, which is a slightly controversial choice, given his track record. Anyway, it’s a very nice statue and well worth a look.”

Held at the historic Great Hall at Thoresby College, entry is just £12 for 6 games – find out more about the event HERE, including comprehensive info on travel, accommodation and the event set-up.

It’s just over 3 months away – so get signing up now for a Bank Holiday weekend with a difference!