Mastermind of history

Sarah Waller didn’t just settle for the usual categories; no, she decided to broaden her options by taking it upon herself to learn more about Caymanian history. She is one of the lucky contestants to participate on a TV Quiz show called Masterminds in Britain.

Ms Waller won the first round on the TV series and made it to the semifinals.

“I did a writer for the first round, and now … I said the Cayman Islands, and they said sure. They’ve never done this before,” she said.

She’s been getting most of her information from the book Founded Upon the Seas: A History of the Cayman Islands by Michael Craton. She’s all right with the first 300 years of Caymanian history, but “the 200 or so I’m still struggling with a bit at the moment, but I have a few more weeks so will see how it goes,” she said.

She chose to learn more about the history of the Cayman Islands because she wanted to do something a little different. “Some people [in the UK] I know, when I go on holiday … ask me where did you go and I would say the Cayman Islands and they don’t know where it is,” she said.

Enjoying the island

She is staying on Island for a week, and so far some of the material she has learned is that Cayman was discovered in 1503 by Christopher Columbus and that Cayman was the first place in the Caribbean to conquer slavery.

One of her favourite places to go in Grand Cayman is Pedro St. James. “It’s really quiet and peaceful and it’s close by where my cousin lives and we would walk along the iron shore, which is quite nice,” she said.

She has also visited George Town, Rum Point and the Botanic Park. Though she hasn’t been to the Sister Islands yet, she’s hoping to get the chance to go to Cayman Brac for 
the day.

Meanwhile, she enjoys Grand Cayman – “This is my sixth or seventh time visiting the Island and I always have a great time here.”

She admires her cousin, Bill Mervyn, who helps her learn more about the Island and she looks forward to doing some hands-on things she hasn’t had the opportunity to do yet, such as fishing or making a hat out of thatch. “I have a few more days so maybe I can,” she said.


Masterminds, which will be shown on national television on BBC2, filmed the first round in May and will film again in September.

The show is set up where each contestant usually has two minutes per round. First, each contestant answers questions on a specialised subject.

The contestant may pass if he doesn’t know the answer, rather than guessing. If a question is answered incorrectly, the questioner will give the answer, using valuable time.

However if ‘pass’ is given, then the answer is read at the end of the round. After two minutes, a buzzer is sounded, which is made up of four beeps; if a question is being read (or has just been read), then the contestant is given a short period of time to answer, leading to the show’s famous catchphrase, “I’ve started so I’ll finish.”

After this, answers to any passes are given.The winner is the contestant with the most points, according to Wikipedia site.

Ms Waller said about 3,000 or 4,000 apply to be on the show and that number gets culled to about six for the finals.

A graduate of Oxford University, Ms Waller is from Ascot, Berkshire, in the UK. She studied French and German at university and later became a teacher. This year she is training to teach in 
primary school.

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