Wordsmith Glen’s in with a chance!

11:20am Saturday 14th December 2013

By Freya Leng

A WORD wizard who – despite dithering – has ‘sabotaged’ and ‘sambaed’ his way through to the quarter-finals of Channel 4 show Countdown.

Glen Webb, a financial planner for English Mutual in Worcester, is set to compete in Monday’s edition of the word-based gameshow and is now down to the last eight after winning his heats in the summer.

The show, hosted by Nick Hewer and Rachel Riley, follows two contestants who engage in a battle of wits, competing against the clock in games of lexical dexterity and numerical agility.

Mr Webb, who hails from Cradley Heath, scored 945 points over eight games which were filmed in the summer, the fifth highest ever score in the show’s 30-year history.

And in one of the individual games, he scored 141 points, the third highest ever score in an individual game.

The 39-year-old said he was really pleased to be on the show, after previously appearing as a teenager in 1992, when it was hosted by Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “I’ve watched it since I was a kid. I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around.

“The games are now 15 rounds rather than nine. I found if you had one bad round you could be playing catch up.”

Mr Webb said he thought his chance had gone when his first appearance came to an end. “They used to have a policy where they wouldn’t let people on who had been on before,” he said.

“Over the last three years they’ve relaxed that rule.

“I just re-applied back in January. Word games date back to my dad teaching me scrabble when I was six or seven. When Countdown came on TV I liked it and always fancied having a go.”

During the heats, Mr Webb was joined by Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton, historian Dan Snow and Breakfast Show presenter Penny Smith, who featured in Dictionary Corner.

He said he is particularly proud of the nine-letter word ‘loniceras’, a species of honeysuckle, which he came up with in the heats after learning it during practice sessions. “I practised for a good few months before I went on,” he said.

“There’s a massive online Countdown community where all the former players and champions play against each other. That’s what I was using to practise.”

However, he said that sometimes, the words threw up an unexpected twist. “My rudest word was ‘botties’,” he said.

“I was really hoping something ruder would come up but it didn’t happen.”

The wordsmith also managed to pass Channel 4’s strict dress code on one of the episodes, by wearing his beloved West Bromwich Albion jumper.

He added that although he scored quite highly on the numbers rounds, he preferred the word games.

To find out how Mr Webb gets on in the quarter-finals, tune in to Channel 4 on Monday at 3.10pm.

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