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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 – http://paypal.me/MattyArtell – 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 Apterous.org!

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 Apterous.org!

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:

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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!

Missed CoBris? Read our event report here!

Couldn’t make CoBris yesterday? You can read all about it thanks to Jeff Clayton’s comprehensive report…

28 people signed up for Mark Murray’s third annual FOCAL tournament at the Sportsmans Social Club in central Bristol. Along with a handful of new contenders this year, the event was well represented by regulars from the southwest as well as further afield – some even coming from Ireland!

The format was changed this year from six games to seven, all based on the traditional 9-rounder. And, with thanks to Matt Hamer, the event benefited from a new five-line display for the numbers games, where contenders could individually agree which selection to play in advance of the tiles being shown, from six small through to four large.

Fixtures for the first three games were drawn at random at the start. This returned six players on three wins, including Tim Down, a recent series quarter-finalist who made Bristol his fourth Co-event in twelve months.

During the lunch break, we were able to enjoy second-time attendee Paul Talmey‘s appearance on Fifteen-to-One, which aired on the Friday. Despite being knocked out in Round 1, he appears on our screens again on Monday. Good luck, Paul!

Onto the afternoon session, and the groups were redrawn based on wins and points from the first three games. And so after six games, only Series 65 champ Graeme Cole was unbeaten, notching up 350 points.

Game 7 was the de facto semi-final, locking the top four into their own group, whilst everybody else played their last match. As #1 seed, Graeme Cole was to face #4 Tom Cappleman (5 wins, 363 points) whilst #2 Zarte Siempre (5 wins, 391 points) was paired with #3 Giles Hutchings (5 wins, 388 points). After 11 years, Jon O’Neill‘s welcome return to CoBris ultimately fell just short of the top four on points difference, but he secured 5th place over 2015 champion David Barnard. In the top flight, Zarte defeated Giles (61-58) and Tom defeated Graeme (57-43) to set up the last fixture of the day, the exhibition Grand Final over 15 rounds. The 3rd place play-off also played out concurrently.

As the higher ranking seed, Zarte called the coin toss for the Grand Final but lost, and Tom opted to be Player 2. An early numbers solve put Tom 23-13 ahead after three rounds. But Zarte fought back with a solo eight-letter word ANNOYERS to close the gap, before pulling away in Round 12 with the fruity nine-letter word MINNEOLAS (surpassing Tom’s SEMOLINA). A minneola is a reddish tangelo, itself a favourite Countdown word, a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit.

With a 16-point deficit, Tom took advantage of the pick of the last numbers but his six small was met with a low target. Zarte made his century at this point, before going on to correctly unscramble the conundrum IBIGOCEAN as ABIOGENIC. And so a giant finishing score for Zarte – 118 points to Tom’s commendable 92. Well done to both!

In the third-place play-off, Giles Hutchings overturned a 78-94 deficit with three rounds to go, to emerge the winner 104-94 over Graeme Cole.

Many thanks to everybody who took part — we hope you enjoyed it! The total points scored across the board was 9,545 up until the Grand Final – an average of 341 per player, or 49 per match – and then the points from those exhibition matches took the overall total for the day to 9,953.

Full final standings and stats are available to view here, including the run-down of how many FOCAL points everybody takes from this event onto the 2017 circuit. 

A reminder that the next FOCAL events are in Manchester in three weeks’ time on Saturday 11th March, then in Leeds three weeks after that on Saturday 1st April. You can also sign up for a non-FOCAL tournament in Reading on Easter Saturday, 15 April.

Plenty to choose from. See you at another event!”

Less than a week until Countdown in Bristol – sign up NOW confirm your place and buffet lunch!

It’s only been a fortnight since the annual Countdown in Lincoln weekend kicked off what promises to be a fantastic 2017 for FOCAL – but our minds are already set on the next event: next weekend’s Countdown in Bristol.

Just £15 will get you 7 games of Countdown, a mouthwatering buffet lunch and the chance to win prizes! Conundrums and prizes will have an original nautical theme to reflect Bristol’s maritime heritage, most notably as the home of legendary pirate Blackbeard.

CoBris was originally set up and run by Jerry Humphreys all the way back in 2005, and was just the second ever Countdown event, held 6 months after the inaugural Countdown in Lincoln. Although he ceased to run any after 2007, Series 70 champ and 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown star Mark Murray resurrected it with Co-event organising stalwart Jeff Clayton in 2015 – and they’ve been running it ever since.

So if you’re based in the south-west (or indeed anywhere else!), love word games and socialising, and fancy seeing what all the fuss is about, come along – but hurry! Buffet places can’t be guaranteed after tomorrow [Monday 13th February], so book your spot now by sending £15 to markmurray97@hotmail.com via PayPal! Don’t forget to send the money to ‘friends & family’…

And if you don’t want the party to stop after the event, why not spend more time with your new friends by signing up to the optional group meal afterwards at world cuisine buffet Za Za Bazaar, on the Bristol waterfront? If you’re planning to do that, send an extra £16.99 to Mark and note on your entry that you’d like to come along!

We hope to see loads of you there next weekend!