Tuesday, 10 November 2009

TV Watch - University Challenge

University Challenge – Round 2 – heat 2/8 – Newnham , Cambridge v. St. Andrews

Newnham , second highest scorers in the first round, played St. Andrews, the third highest scorers in the first round. So that proves they don’t use seeding in UC. Or if they do, they have a pretty odd way of going about it. Or if you look on it another way, an all male team, which is not unusual, against an all female team, which is a little more unusual, but hardly surprising , being a women only college.

Newnham took an early lead, correctly converting a series of bonuses on Shakespeare. St. Andrews began to force their way through , but even ten minutes into the show the lead was no more than one correct starter, partly due to Newnham keeping their heads, and partly due to St. Andrews being a little profligate with bonuses. So for the first ten minutes a close match, as it should be, when you consider that both teams had shown such good form in their first round shows. In the second third of the show the smart buzzing of Christopher Flaherty.

I was surprised that none of the teams recognised that the can can music – the Infernal Gallop – was penned by Offenbach. Still, these are very impressive young quizzers, and you don’t necessarily expect young quizzers to know old chestnuts. The gap between the teams at the 20 minute mark was still relatively small – St. Andrews led by 110 to 80. Two correct consecutive starters and bonuses, and it would be gone. They didn’t get them, though. St. Andrews’ superior work throughout the contest, in particular the excellent work of Christopher Flaherty, saw them win by 185 to 110.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Not only did our Jeremy seem to have been taking his happy pills before this match, you would have sworn our hero had been slipped a Harry Potter style love potion , so gallant was he towards the Newnham team. “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day ? “offered Megan Williams, through captain Lizzie Cole. “Thank you.” He replied, obviously taking the compliment to heart.
Five and a half minutes into the show a virtually impenetrable starter about a gas that has been found in traces on Mars brought a miscue from St. Andrews. Immediately the Newnham team began to confer, bringing a stern “You may not confer !” Then , wonder of wonders, he realised who he was speaking to, and apologised, “I’m sorry to shout at you . “ Good Lord ! still , he made up a little for it when the picture starter came up. It showed a Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane, and when St. Andrews correctly identified it he sniffed, “Yes , we’re more in your territory now, I think, aren’t we !” After being shut out for five minutes or so, Lizzie Cole correctly identified the first line of Wordsworth’s “Lines Written Upon Westminster Bridge”. “Yess!!! “ he shouted, as if last week’s winning Euromillions ticket had suddenly materialised in his top pocket .

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week

The pizza theorem states that if a circular pizza is divided into 4 N slices, where N is an integer greater than one, by making cuts at an arbitrary angle, then the sums of the areas of alternate slices are equal !


Rach Cherryade said...

This was a great match indeed, I did think Jeremy had taken quite a shine to Newnham though, never heard him apologise for telling a team off for conferring before! Two very good teams though and a shame only one could go through. I must say that Christopher Flaherty is magnificent on the busser, he got some really tricky starters and Adam Cherryade and I were both very very impressed, we always watch UC religiously and disect the game during and after but it's been a while since we were as bowled over as we were by Mr. Flaherty's performance tonight, think his team owe him a drink! Though after Alex Guttenplan's virtuoso performance for Emmanuel a few weeks ago it looks like there are some real stars in this series! It's funny being on UC because you don't think you'll be able to watch any of the games neutrally again but I must admit to really enjoying everyone's matches and appreciating the quality of teams we're up against (and being terrified obviously!)

Londinius said...

Hi Rachel

Everyone I've spoken to who actually saw the show reckons that our jeremy fancied at least one of the Newnham team - scurrilous gossip, I know - although everyone also has a different theory about which one of them it was !I agree with you about Christopher Flaherty - it wasn't just the number of starters he answered, it was the range of subjects that he answered on which was impressive. I think that there are individual stars, without star teams so much this year. Last year, Gail Trimble was incredibly good, but she was backed up by a very good team, who really kept them in the game in the final until she 'woke up '. Your compatriots of Manchester last year were a great team, albeit that Pertinez and Yeo also stood out as stars too.

Good show.