University Challenge – Quarter Final Elimination Match – Girton v. St. Andrews
Last week we saw a great match, in which the winner would go straight through to the semi finals. In tonight’s match no such automatic prize awaited the winners, however, instant elimination from the competition awaited the losing team. On paper it certainly looked as if St. Andrews had performed better in rounds one and two.Both teams had been well beaten , though in their first quarter final matches.
Girton took first blood by identifying various definitions of the word ‘creep’. Good answer. Three starters then went begging before Girton’s captain Cameron correctly identified the Brit awards as having originated in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year of 1977. They took a good couple of bonuses on former world heritage sites. It was Mr. Cameron again who nailed the next starter, correctly guessing that the New Zealand All Black Haka is in fact the Ka Mate Haka. They took only one bonus on a set of famous fathers and sons.
At this stage of the game only Mr. Flaherty of st. Andrews was buzzing in, and he had yet to find his range. Mr. Cameron buzzed in to win a set of bonuses on tri – points, that is, points on the map where three countries meet. They took two out of three bonuses. The next starter foxed both sides, as they were asked for three rhyming words . Miss Cawley of Girton was unlucky not to be allowed Tramp for a seductive woman – vamp was the correct answer needed. At the ten minute mark Girton had a cruching lead of 80 points, as they led by 70 to – 10. As the second third began, though, the dynamic Christopher Flaherty swung into action, and correctly identified the word diaspora to claim back the points lost on earlier buzzes. One correct bonus, and they had a positive score on the board.
Taking his lead from Mr. Flaherty, Mr. Macleod buzzed in for the next starter, to earn a set of bonuses on dyes. After the set of bonuses the lead had been cut to 45. No points for neither side realising that Coleridge’s Kubla Khan was interrupted by a visitor from Porlock. Mr. Flaherty grabbed the next starter though, correctly saying that it was possible to travel from west coast to east coast of England passing through only two counties. After the set of bonuses on the ancient world, the lead was cut to 25 points. St. Andrews were on a roll. A music bonus on classical music followed, and the versatile Mr. Flaherty correctly identified Scarlatti. Another ten points off the lead, and Girton had been shut out for 5 minutes. Unfortunately St. Andrew's failed to identify Vivaldi, which I think is the only classical music starter or bonus I have ever correctly answered.
With the gap significantly narrowed Miss Brown Kerr of Girton correctly identified the title of a well known book by Dr. Olivers Sachs as “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat”. A timely answer at a time when Girton were in danger of being swamped by a tidal wave of Flaherty starters. He wasn’t giving up without a fight, though, as he answered that the picture in the Smithsonian shows George Washington crossing the River Delaware.Both teams were having trouble with some of the sets of bonuses, and so the gap remained. Still, there was a clear star on the buzzer tonight, and this was Christopher Flaherty. Straightaway he answered that it is acetylene that is mixed with oxygen in welding. Still, no points for suggesting that the battle of Culloden was fought on English soil. I think that was a mishear of British for English.
The second third of the contest had clearly been St. Andrews’. By the 20 minute mark all was square at 85 points a piece. If bets had been taken you’d have got short odds on St. Andrews to pull away.It was that man Flaherty who put the next points on the board, identifying Azerbaijan from its neighbours. Well, we know from last week that from this point in bonuses would be crucial. On a set of people buried or commemorated at st. Pauls, only one was taken. However, if our man kept eating up the starters, then Girton were done for, and he took the next one by identifying the Milgram experiment. One bonus was taken.
Miss Brown Kerr put Girton back into the game by identifying Stevie Smith’s “Not Waving But Drowning “ That’s Stevie Smith, the poet, and not Steve Smith, England’s 1980 Grand Slam Winning scrum half. They took 2 bonuses. Then we saw the most fantastic interruption from Mr. Spencer of Girton, who identified Descartes from
“Which French pilosopher and Mathematician – “ woosh ! But that’s what you have to do to take back the initiative. Mind you, he got himself in a pickle with a bonus when he said – w – instead of double e – and expected our Jeremy to accept it ! Now, you and I might have expected JP to say something along the lines of – don’t argue sonny or I’ll smash yer face in – but no, this mild rejoinder – “I’m sorry but you’ve got to give the right answer “ was all that followed. It was still affecting Mr. Spencer at the end of the round, but a steadying hand from Miss Brown Kerr, and a quiet word focussed his mind back on the game – which at this point was anybody’s. Mr. Cameron of Girton took a key starter, identifying the deaths of Bacon and Byrd as having taken place in the 1620s. St. Andrews needed the next starter, but neither team got it. The gong sounded, and Girton took a close match by 140 to 115.
Very well played Girton. On paper you were the underdogs, but you scrapped and fought your way through. Hard lines to St. Andrews – and a special mention to Christopher Flaherty. With all due credit to Mr. Macleod’s starter, you single handedly kept your team in the match, and your performance tonight was outstanding. Yet one individual star can only get you so far, and the better all round team won.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
After Mr. Flaherty’s correct starter, he was able to trot out an old favourite –
“Well done ! You’ve stormed away to zero !” Still, for the most part he was on his best – ie - most boring – behaviour. When Mr.Spencer of Girton suggested that a painting of Christopher Wren was Dr. Johnson he restricted himself to a sharp intake of breath.
Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
Dresden lost its Unesco World Heritage Site status in 2009 after the construction of a four lane bridge over the River Elbe.