University Challenge – Quarter Final Match 1 – St. John’s College Oxford v. Girton College Cambridge
At last the quarter finals begin. In my last post I did try to explain the rather complicated system being used this year. I’m not going o try to explain it all over again, as I’m sure it will all become clear over the next few weeks. Whatever happens I’m sure the principle of it being generally a good idea to score more points than the opposition will still hold good.
St. John’s College Oxford have been one of the blue chip teams of this series so far. Not including Emmanuel, a special case since they lost their first round match, St. Johns have scored more points than any other team, and have scored an impressive 65% of all the points in their two matches so far. Girton on the other hand have won through some quite close matches, winning 53% of the points in their two matches. So they at least know how to grit it out when the going is tight.
Miss Cawley of Girton claimed the first starter, recognising that a huge number of different items on a list had all been tried as cures for scurvy. Only one bonus was taken. St. John’s hit back immediately, and impressed with the way they understood two out of three bonuses on definitions from Johnson’s Dictionary. 10 minutes into the show and both teams were finding it difficult to answer a full set of bonuses. St. John’s had a lead of 55 to Girton’s 25.
During the second third of the show I found myself becoming increasingly distracted by Mr. Townsend of St. John’s magnificent set of what appeared to be mutton chop whiskers. Maybe this was because they were shutting Girton out during this mid period of the match. On just over the halfway mark they passed the 100 point barrier, with some good buzzing from Captain Woodhuysen. St. John’s dominance was not quite as impressive as Corpus Christi’s last year,since a number of starters did go unclaimed by either team. Nonetheless, St. John's had so completely shut out Girton for much of the contest that Girton were still stuck on 25 by the 20 minute mark, as we moved into the last third of the contest. Then Miss Cawley recognised the painting Impression Soleil Levant as being by Monet. Their 40 points looked a lot more healthy than 25. Another starter and a bonus took them to 55. However it should be said that St. John’s had already passed the 200 point mark, and the game was long finished as a serious contest. Lets not underestimate the relentless nature of St. John’s performance tonight. They won by 280 points to Girton’s 55.That means that St. John's scored a little over 83% of all the points won by either team in the contest, a measure of their dominance over Girton tonight. Of course that doesn’t mean that Girton are out of the semis. It doesn’t mean that St. John’s are in the semis either, but you’d be a brave person to bet against them after this.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
Ah, the return of the fearless Paxman who doesn't care who he upsets with what he says. This is what we have been waiting for ! On the subject of the format changes he suggested that any team who can understand the Byzantine complications of qualification for the semis is over qualified for next year’s series. Couldn’t have put it better myself !
Our Jeremy also impressed with a triple whammy on a set of bonuses about instrumental hits of the 1960s - before any of the contestants, and possibly any of their parents, were born. When St. John’s made a speculative guess that the song Apache was by the Eagles he sighed
“Where Are Your Grandparents when you need them ? “
The very next saw them fail to identify Albatross by Fleetwood Mac, which prompted our man to say what a shame it is that this piece of music is only known for an M and S advert nowadays. Who said the Beeb don’t advertise? Finally, he completed his hattrick, when st. John’s apologised for not knowing “Telstar” by the Tornados, to which he replied
“No need to apologise for not knowing that rubbish !”
Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
Jack Nicklaus is ( or was ) on the back of a Scottish £5 note.