Tuesday, 2 February 2010

TV Watch - Only Connect

Only Connect – Round One Match 5 – Neuroscientists v. Rugby Fans

After being put through the emotional wringer with tonight’s University Challenge I feel in need of a brisk walk around the block and then a rub down with a copy of the Sporting Life, but there’s no time for rest. The Balanescu ( or is the Brodsky ? One is UC amd one is OC . I can never remember which ) Quartet are already bowing away.

Comment of the week comes from Victoria at the very start. “The Radio Times describes this as a game of patience and lateral thinking . . . but then they describe Trisha as a “debate” – so lets see who'll be clawing at each other and sobbing in this episode. “
I bet her dad, the late , great Alan Coren would have been proud of that one himself.
Tonight we had a generations match. Youth entered stage right in the form of the Neuroscientists – Joseph Raimundo, a south African Rhodes scholar, Blake Richard, a Canadian, and captain Jonathan Webb from Australia. Guess what – they are all following postgraduate studies in neuroscience. Experience entered stage left in the shape of the Rugby Fans. I thought this team name was tempting fate a little , since the last series was actually won by my friends The Rugby Boys. Still, at least the name meant that Victoria paid them a compliment, saying they were all far too unscarred to be serious players. They were, Nigel Austin, Seen Nicholson and captain Jim Nugent.

Well, before tonight there have been 4 matches. One of the 4 was contested by 2 more experienced teams, and one, last week's, by two younger teams. In the 2 Youth v. Experience matches so far the score is actually 2 – 0 to the whippersnappers. Was tonight going to stop the rot ?

Round One – What’s the connection ?

It was a case of so near but so far as the Neuroscientists – whose name is far too long, so I shall call them the Neuros – almost linked cream, quotation marks, tennis matches and yellow lines, but only came up with doubles. The Rugby Fans missed it as well. They can all be single or double. The ‘Fans couldn’t link Mr. Micawber, Peter Whimsey, The Penguin and Patrick Moore. Neither could the Neuros, and neither could I. They actually all wear a monocle. Easy when you know it. TheNeuros may be young, but they know a thing or two. Extremely quickly they picked up on the fact that estimated and there exists can be represented by versions of the letter e, although they took a third clue to be sure. First blood to the Neuros. The Fans failed on the dreaded music round. They correctly identified the 3rd clue as REMs Man on the Moon, but tried to work with REM rather than Moon. The Neuros got it. Neither team got the picture question. An Ak47 Kalashnikov was difficult enough. When it was followed by Angkor Wat I had it. But the Fans failed, ever when given the outline of Cyprus and a Maple Leaf. Sorry , boys, but you should have guessed from the leaf that they all feature on National Flags.Good connection. The Fans made up for it though with unlucky numbers – good connection, and good answer. So the Neuros led by 3 to 1.

Round Two – what comes Fourth ?

The Neuros began well by predicting that Park was the first in a sequence of gears on an automatic car, and getting Drive from 2 clue. That’s good playing, and another fine connection. The Fans had a really hard connection. They did actually figure out what the connection was – Dewey Decimal classifications, but failed to predict that Social Sciences would be 4th. The Neuros were definitely on the right lines with the picture question – a radio and a microwave oven saw them correctly identify types of wave radiation, but neither team correctly predicted that visible light would be 4th.Hard lines. Now, my claim to fame from tonight’s show. I correctly predicted that if 1 was Johanssen, then 4th would be Clay – consecutive world heavyweight champions. The Fans took a little longer, but they had it from 2. Given Coral , Arabian and south China, the Neuros thought that they were seas progressively getting larger. They were actually decreasing in size – but since they said the Med they had the right answer anyway. If you can’t be good, then lucky will do. But the Neuros are pretty good as well as lucky. On a fiendish geometry question neither side scored and so the round ended with the Neuros leading by 8 points to 3.

The Connections Wall

Both teams floundered badly last week. I’m afraid that the Fans didn’t get any set tonight. They knew that there was a set of implements used in ball sports, but never quite got the right combination. Egyptian deities escaped them, although they could see a set of words linked by crack, a set of jumper necks, and the afore mentioned sporting implements. Then the Neuros found a set of things that come in links, but that was it for them. Hardly surprising that they didn’t find characters from Punch and Judy. Nor did they see a set of jugs – no innuendoes please – or terms for grand pianos. So for once it was the Fans that won the round, just. So the Neuros led by 10 to 6.

The Missing Vowels Round

In the battle between youth and experience in this particular series, whenever there’s been a head to head between the two in this round, the youthful ones have always won. We began with Biblical films. Neuros won by 3 to 1. Next came shipwrecked characters. They continue the good work, winning the next category, shipwrecked characters by 2 to 0. The next category, a distinctly tricky one, was headings on a profit and loss account. Again, the Neuros won by 2 to 0.

So overall the Neuros won by 17 to 7. Then an interesting announcement by Victoria. Apparently a welsh obscenity appeared during the vowels round. Blast ! I wish I knew more welsh ! Another young team take a rightful place in the next round. At the moment, Logan’s Run has nothing on Only Connect !


Andrew said...

Apparently the Welsh obscenity comment was a joke - being filmed as it is in Cardiff, I think that would have been noticed quickly :-)

Can I protest about your calling the geometry question "fiendish"? To a mathematician, it was actually pretty easy (I got it from two clues)... it's a nice feature of OC that it has a broad spectrum of questions.

LisaH said...

Agree about the geometry:-watching from home, I got my first ever five-pointer on it!
I spotted three jugs on the wall - but what's a puzzle jug?

Rach Cherryade said...

For the second week in a row Adam Cherryade and I beat both teams on the wall and missing vowels rounds which made us very happy, we're still utterly useless on the first 2 rounds though! LisaH, a puzzle jug is a jug with various openings that seem like you could drink from them but only one is actually genuine, I've watched far too many antiques programmes!

davidbod said...
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davidbod said...

I wouldn't personally call the Platonic question easy but I was surprised neither team got it (though the Neuros were very close). I'm glad the range of questions has been noticed - as a maths alumnus myself, I often despair at how poorly anything scientific comes across on quiz shows - especially on UC. So I was determined to ensure the science got its fair share of questions and that they came across as warmly as the subject will allow.

I would define a puzzle jug as a jug with various holes and you would have to use your fingers in the right holes to be able to drink from the jug successfully. If you didn't, you'd get covered in wine to much hilarity.

Londinius said...

Hi All

Andrew, protest away by all means ! Everything I say in my reviews is purely my opinion. I know so little about Maths and Science that relatively imple things to people who have even a reasonable grounding in such things are fiendish to me. As the saying goes, they are all easy if you know the answer, and difficult if you don't.

I am indebted to David and Rach for explaining what a puzzle jug is. I guessed correctly that it belonged to the jugs set, but hadn't heard of it before.

Thanks for comments all.

davidbod said...

Just for history's sake, the third clue in the picture connection was the Lebanese cedar, although the other one you mention was clearly one of our alternative clues!

Londinius said...

Yes of course, David, it was the third clue and the maple leaf was the 4th.

Forgive me if I make some factual errors - I am trying to jot down my thoughts about each show as I watch it, and so sometimes the inaccuracies do creep in. This is no reflection on the show itself, which you know I love.