Zarte Siempre

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Zarte Siempre in Series 69...
...and five years later in Series 78!
Zarte Siempre holding the Richard Whiteley Memorial Trophy after winning Series 78.

Zarte Siempre was a contestant in Series 69 and an octochamp in and the champion of Series 78, with the highest cumulative score over a single series: 1,331. He is a member of Apterous and c4countdown, and is the innovator and former chair of FOCAL. His contributions to the game, wicked sense of humour, dapper attire and consistently high-scoring gameplay make him one of the most popular members of the Countdown community. He is also head of the Meringue Defence League and is directly descended from Genghis Khan and Dann 'Bi Clog' Camiltoes. As of 2016, Siempre holds three Michelin stars - one more than Marcus Wareing.

On-screen

Siempre made his televised debut on 24 July 2013, delivering a convincing 118 – 76 defeat to Rory Coleman. Four more victories followed, including a top score of 137 (at the time, the eighth highest score ever) before losing at the hands of Dylan Taylor both in the Countdown contest and the personality stakes, although Siempre's win in their backstage beauty contest offered some consolation as he triumphantly maxed the swimwear round. In his heats, Siempre averaged 109.33 points per game - the highest ever average for a non-octochamp. He didn't make the finals despite scoring 656 points (48 points higher than the number 8 seed Gemma Church) but he only amassed 5 wins compared to Church's 6.

Siempre eventually returned to the programme nearly five years later for another chance to make the finals. In his first return appearance, on 1 March 2018, he powered past fellow Apterite Philip Aston to end Aston's run in his seventh game. This time, Siempre's octorun was not halted as he racked up seven further victories, all with scores well over a century, including - for the first time ever - a run of three consecutive totals over 125. Siempre's octototal of 967 points made him the standout provisional #1 seed, as well as the second highest scoring octochamp of all time behind only Dylan Taylor himself.

Three months later, in his quarter-final match against Jan Pask, he amassed 124 points and won by 105, the biggest winning margin ever recorded in any finals match. Siempre thus advanced to the semi-finals to take on #4-ranked Phil Davies. This match was extremely close, with Siempre's first-round disallowal of disagreer ☓ meant that Davies maintained the lead through the second commercial break. Ultimately, however, Siempre recovered with two further letters spots to confirm his victory after the final numbers round. He then zoomed off to the green room to change his trousers and enter the grand final dressed as a snooker player, hysterically laughing at Philip Aston dramatically declaring GAYNESS in his semi-final.

In the ultimate show of the series, Zarte took an early 8-point lead with REPUSHED, but then lost it after having superking x disallowed. The scoreline was 118 - 118 (the highest ever in a grand final) going into the crucial conundrum USEDLOGIC. Zarte answered with GLUCOSIDE in 10 seconds to seal victory and setting a new record for the highest score ever achieved in a Grand Final in the process. His “xicount” total is a record 1,331 points, breaking Dylan Taylor’s record by 12 points.

Siempre will return for the upcoming Championship of Champions XV in January 2019, where he will face Paul Erdunast in the first round for a highly-anticipated match between the two highest-scoring “xicounts” of the tournament. Owing to his run in Series 69, Siempre will go into the tournament with the possibility of equalling Conor Travers' record for most wins on Countdown, 20.

Off-screen

His Co-event career began when he attended CobliviLon in 2012, actually winning 7 games out of 6. However, history has unfortunately and cruelly been amended so that it officially says that he came in 18th place, which is still respectable, especially as he was crouching for the entirety of the tournament.

This was followed up by an appearance at Lincoln in 2013, where he finished in a solid 15th place with 4 wins out of 6. He later went to CO:REA 2013, finishing on 3 wins and 463 points to ensure another top-15 finish. Siempre was also the overall victor in Group B at Countdown in Leamington Spa, winning a magical unicycle and a leprechaun in the process. In the same year, he co-hosted CobliviLon with Amie Bateen.

2014 saw him come runner-up to Series 63 champion Jack Hurst at COLIN X, while in August he won CoMultiLon after the final against James Robinson was cancelled - with Siempre having the most points throughout the day, he was declared the winner. Later that evening, he won the inaugural Apterous Ring Of Fire tournament, having seen off Jamie 'Laverty' McNeill with a reference to Stiliyan Petrov's scrotum. He has since won Countdown in St Albans 2016.

In 2015, he launched his own Co-event in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. In his fourth edition, he introduced 10-letter conundrums for fhe first time.

His contributions to Apterous have included organising the long-running Aptotude League series and, until 2017, an Apterous version of the Belgian reality television gameshow The Mole, famed for irritating anyone who wanted to play a spot on Saturday Night Apterous.

In 2018, he won the Apterous 10th Birthday Championship.

Siempre has qualified for the 2018 FOCAL Finals as the provisional #5 seed, subject to attending.

It is widely believed that Siempre hosted most of the Countdown Marathon between Innis Carson and Mark Deeks, but in reality it was actually just a very convincing holographic image of him.

Preceded by
Tom Chafer-Cook
Series winner
Series 78

Episodes

# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
5739 24/07/2013 P Rory Coleman 76 – 118 Zarte Siempre Jon Culshaw Susie Dent 130
5740 25/07/2013 P Zarte Siempre 114 – 34 Ian Talbot Jon Culshaw Susie Dent 127
5741 26/07/2013 P Zarte Siempre 103 – 49 Brenda Widger Jon Culshaw Susie Dent 123
5742 29/07/2013 P Zarte Siempre 137 – 41 Michelle Furnell Dan Walker Susie Dent 143
5743 5/08/2013 P Zarte Siempre 103 – 26 Sam Wheeler Dan Walker Susie Dent 124
5744 6/08/2013 P Zarte Siempre 81 – 120 Dylan Taylor Dan Walker Susie Dent 121
6774 1/03/2018 P Philip Aston 97 – 121 Zarte Siempre Myleene Klass Susie Dent 135
6775 2/03/2018 P Zarte Siempre 111 – 64 Keith Howkins Myleene Klass Susie Dent 124
6776 5/03/2018 P Zarte Siempre 118 – 70 Donal Casey Myleene Klass Susie Dent 124
6777 6/03/2018 P Zarte Siempre 128 – 23 Jonathan Stoneman Liz Bonnin Susie Dent 132
6778 7/03/2018 P Zarte Siempre 130 – 62 Patrick Gray Liz Bonnin Susie Dent 144
6779 8/03/2018 P Zarte Siempre 130 – 39 Dave Burch Liz Bonnin Susie Dent 145
6780 9/03/2018 P Zarte Siempre 118 – 29 Steve Shingleton Liz Bonnin Susie Dent 123
6781 12/03/2018 P Zarte Siempre 111 – 65 Anthony Jenkin Liz Bonnin Susie Dent 125
6847 14/06/2018 QF Zarte Siempre 124 – 19 Jan Pask Helen Fospero Susie Dent 133
6851 20/06/2018 SF Zarte Siempre 112 – 88 Phil Davies Helen Fospero Susie Dent 123
6853 22/06/2018 GF Zarte Siempre 128 – 118 Philip Aston Paul Zenon Susie Dent 136
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