University Challenge – Play off 2 – St. Andrews v. St. John’s, Cambridge
It was back in July that we saw St. Andrews play out a thriller against Bristol, when the team of Polak, Gardner, Nakornchai and captain Small lost out on the very last question, by 185 to 190. St. John’s on the other hand also lost by 5 points, 180 to 175 against Merton, but this was in the last heat of the first round. They were represented by the team of Bennett – Spragg, Wilson, Tecks and captain Orr who had played so well in their first round match. Game on.
Mr. Small of St. Andrews buzzed in impressively early to identify a tutelary spirit amongst other things as a genius. Touch of genius shown in getting that one so quickly I would have said. St. Andrews signalled that they meant business by getting a full set of three bonuses relating to Everyman. With the sides so evenly matched on first round performance you might have expected St. John’s to come straight back, and you would have been right to do so. Elliott Bennett-Spragg leapt straight in, and secured a set of bonuses on financial abbreviations. Neither team remembered that last year’s anglo saxon hoard was found in Staffordshire, but a superb early buzz began a very good night for Mr. Wilson of St. John’s, as he recognised a definition of an Angstrom from a very few words of explanation. I always thought that was Rabbit’s surname from Rabbit Run et. al. Learn something new every day. 2 bonuses followed on art terms. Bearing in mind the difficulty both teams, especially Cardiff showed in converting bonuses last week, I was keeping a special eye on this feature of the game tonight. Neither team fancied the fifth starter, but that man Wilson buzzed in again with a question asking about different pronunciations of the letters –over. 2 bonuses fell to them on the structure of cells. The picture starter showed a map of London with a highlighted thoroughfare, and Mr. Nakornchai of St. Andrews impressed me mightily by identifying Whitehall. This too was to be a very impressive night for him as well. Three more thoroughfares were highlighted on the map, but identifying them wasn’t enough, for they had to provide the cost of the street in monopoly. Great question, the sort of thing you only get on UC. 1 out of 3 bonuses on this question was pretty impressive. Mr. Nakornchai also took the next starter on Nobel Prizes, and with 2 bonuses this brought the scores level at 55 apiece at the 10 minute mark.
Mr. Gardner took the third starter in a row for St. A’s by identifying the work being described as Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians. Bonuses on choreographers proved elusive for them. Evening things up Mr. Bennett-Spragg identified Dryden’s Annus Mirabilis, and one bonus on craters pushed them a little ahead. Neither team fancied the next starter on Chemistry, but Mr. Wilson knows cold fusion when he hears it described. Well, fusion he said, I think, but JP was happy enough with the answer, and 1 bonus followed on freshwater fish. This led next to the music starter. Hardly surprising that people who weren’t born when John Lennon released (Just like ) Starting Over didn’t recognise it, although it did provide a JP moment on what was otherwise a slack night. The music bonuses went to St. A’s when Mr. Nakornchai identified Robert Devereux as the Earl of Essex. They earned one bonus . Captain James Orr of St. John’s stepped in when he realised the next starter was talking about the Nike logo. Two bonuses on African empires followed, after which Elliott Bennett-Spragg contributed another timely starter with the names of the 2 German generals who virtually took all the Kaiser’s executive power towards the end of WWI as Ludendorff and Hindenburg. 2 bonuses followed on deans. Both teams were managing to make decent headway with whatever sets of bonuses seemed to be thrown at them tonight, and the prospect of a grandstand finish was beginning to loom on the horizon. Mr. Nakornchai maintained his excellent form for St. A’s, taking a starter on the EU, thus earning one successful mathematical theorem bonus. At the 20 minute mark , though St. John’s led by 125 to 95.
Mr. Wilson took the second picture starter to begin the run in towards the home straight, recognising Amelia Earhart, which earned them three successful bonuses on other aviation pioneers. Mr. Gardner kept St. A’s in it with a starter which gave several definitions of the figure 1 slash 4. 2 bonuses followed on acanthus leaves. Mr. Nakornchai followed it with another starter, recognising a set of postcodes all belonging to residences of the Queen. With three successful bonuses on Sartre, this narrowed the gap to a mere 10 points. Cometh the hour, cometh Wilson of St. J’s, and he buzzed like a demon on the next starter which involved an element of the periodic table , and a qwerty keyboard. No, I’m afraid you’ll just have to watch it on the iplayer. Only 1 bonus was correctly answered, but James Orr urged his team on by taking the next starter, on French wine regions. 2 correct bonuses on noodles followed. Seeing the gap wax as the time remaining waned that man Nakornchai redoubled his efforts, and took the next starter on a very early buzz identifying red and yellow as the two colours on a series of national flags. Unfortunately no correct bonuses followed. The next starter fell to Elliott Bennett-Spragg of St. J’s, who took one of a set of bonuses on Edicts. With the gap at 50 points now St. Andrews looked just about finished, and even more so as Mr. Bennett-Spragg took the next starter for good measure, and two bonuses with it. In a fine display of never –say – die spirit Mr. Nakornchai took the next starter , identifying ASEAN as the association of South East Asian Nations. However the very last word went to Mr. Wilson who took the last starter right on the gong. A great contest, but a fine last 10 minutes sealed a clear win for St. John’s by 225 to 165.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
A slack week this. JP seemed really to be enjoying this one, and so was on his best , if most boring, behaviour. I did enjoy his plaintive cry over the John Lennon starter, of,
“Is ANYBODY going to buzz ? “ As with the oysters in the Walrus and the Carpenter, answer came there none.
Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
Joy Adamson, Barbara Hepworth and Simone de Beauvoir all have craters named after them on Venus.