Tuesday, 2 November 2010

TVWatch - University Challenge

University Challenge - Round Two - Heat 1

Well, in the repechage matches we saw it amply demonstrated that first round form doesn’t count for anything. Would it prove to be so again in round two proper? Christ’s College Cambridge probably hoped that it would. In the first round they comfortably beat Liverpool, but the team of Jack Belloli, Joe Walmswell, Alexander Greaves and Captain Natasha Simonova didn’t break the magic 300 barrier. Opponents Edinburgh did just that, in a first round demolition of Jesus, Oxford. Ben Grey, Jack Binns, Andrew Gray and skipper Ben Sherry doubtless would settle for more of the same.

The first starter fell to Jack Belloli, after Ben Skerry failed to identify a set of words and definitions relating to the word big. Christ’s certainly signaled their intent with a fine 3 correct bonuses on latin poets. Natasha Simonova impressed with some very nifty buzzer work by coming in early to recognize a quotation from Milton on the subject of divorce. I thought it was Tammy Wynette, myself, but I digress. An early entrant for the most weird and wonderful bonus category was then revealed, in the shape of hi-tech swimsuits. Christ’s impressed me by managing to get one of these. Natasha Simonova continued the good work with a correct buzz to recognize that the area being talked of in the next starter was Bloomsbury. Another enjoyable set of bonuses followed, with pairs of rhyming words, as in Ralph Roister Doister. Not familiar with it ? Never mind, Christ’s were, and they took two bonuses.

All the while poor Edinburgh were languishing with a minus score. Not for much longer though, as Gray of Edinburgh buzzed in to recognize a definition of the condition Porphyria. For bonuses they were given a set of scientific terms beginning with Az -. I was going to offer azimuth for each of them, but as it was the answer to the first bonus that was that. It was the only one Edinburgh got too, hardly surprising really since the rest were all what-the-‘ells. There was a great UC starter for the fifth set. If you transpose numbers on a dartboard, with the corresponding letter, a being 1, reading anticlockwise, which 3 letter word is spelled by three consecutive numbers ? The answer was rat, brilliantly worked out by Jack Belloli, who was to continue having a very good night. Bonuses followed on people with similar names – Ben Jonson and Ben Johnson, Richard Rogers and Richard Rodgers, Kate Moss and Kate Mosse. 2 bonuses were taken. Natasha Simonova didn’t quite manage the picture starter correctly . She knew it showed the route of the pilgrimage to Santiago da Compostela, but didn’t give the correct name of the route, which is what JP wanted. So the bonuses belonging to the picture actually fell on the next starter, where Jack Belloli correctly identified that the neologism being described was downsizing. They identified two of the three cities pictured on the earlier map. We were hurtling towards the 15 minute mark, and it was very much advantage to Christ’s. This state of affairs continued as they took the next two starters. I was particularly impressed with a full set of bonuses they managed on countries in which various so-called revolutions had happened. Ben grey stopped the rot then by buzzing early to identify an address as belonging to the prime minister of Canada, Alas, they managed none of the bonuses on poetry. So after a break neck first half, Christ’s led comfortably by 145 to 15.

Andrew Gray began the task of hauling Edinburgh back into contention with the next starter, about sand. A set of bonuses on symbols fell by the wayside. Jack Binns continued the good buzzer work by identifying the music starter exceptionally quickly. Edinburgh earned two great bonuses by identifying tracks, and the original song by the Clash which they sampled. A lot of work asked for in order to get the points, I though. Edinburgh’s hat trick of starters came when Ben Grey identified the river being described as the Rio Grande. One bonus on EU cities followed. Edinburgh were still some distance in arrears, but now making the fight of it which I think we had all expected. All the contestants were far too young to know anything about Stanley Holloway’s Monologue Albert and the Lion, but Edinburgh were a little harshly treated with the next. Asked to provide the names of 3 EU capital cities whose English names have 6 letters, Ben Grey produced two very quickly, but was hardly allowed any hesitation at all before it was passed over, for Alexander Greaves to give the same two and one other for the points. When things don’t run for you, they just don’t run for you. A costly call for Edinburgh, since Christ’s took a full set of bonuses on latin expressions.

Neither team recognized a self portrait of Claude Monet, but Edinburgh took the bonuses when the impressive Andrew Gray recognized a definition of adenoids. Only one other self-portrait, that of Gauguin was recognized for a bonus. The superfast Jack Belloli of Christ’s came in like an express train to take the next starter on works which were based on King Lear – Kurosawa’s Ran being one of them. Only one bonus fell to them on Prime Ministers born the same year as other famous people. Joe Walmswell had been having a quiet evening starter-wise so far, but he took the next recognizing a tango when he heard about one. Not quite so hot on their greek as their latin, Christ’s took 2 bonuses on –epi – words. Ben gray hadn’t given up yet though, and his next starter earned a good set of bonuses on the NATO alphabet, which brought them a full set of three. Tempus, as Christ’s doubtless could have told us, was fugitting madly away. The gap was narrowing, but still too wide as the next starter went begging. Andrew Gray took another starter on the skull, and then they achieved two of the bonuses on cities and Museums. Joe Walmswell took another starter with an early buzz on King Midas. No bonuses were taken. Edinburgh were clearly in the ascendancy, but the finishing post was growing larger all the time as Ben Grey took the final starter, supplying the French word commune. Alas, only one bonus was possible before the gong. Christ’s won by 220 to 160.

A real game of two halves , this one. Christ’s carried all before them for almost 20 minutes, but wilted slightly under the pressure of a superb come back. But they go through, and very well done for that. Great match.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

It seems that even JP was impressed with Christ’s prowess on their latin bonuses. Still, even that he couldn’t allow to pass without a backhanded compliment –
“ No need to look disdainful because its easy !” They are only easy if you have the answers written on the card in front of you, Jezza !

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

Not actually a fact necessarily, more of a query. Was I right in thinking that they said that the Tower Armoury is the oldest museum in England ? I thought it was the Ashmolean


Quentin Vole said...

I think the Ashmolean claims to be the world's first museum to occupy a dedicated building, what is now the Oxford Museum of the History of Science on the Broad. The Royal Armoury apparently accepted a paying customer in 1545 (thanks, Google) but it was more a collection of curios than what we would recognise as a museum today.

HughTube said...

Bad luck to Edinburgh, two strong teams.

I've realised why these two played each other at this stage. All the contestants were sent a schedule after the golf stopped play and I can see that the second round is being broadcast in the order it was filmed. Oxford Brookes coach Ian Bayley said on his video blog that they recorded their second round match immediately after the first, they play next week, so I'd imagine this was also filmed in the first round block therefore it would have been decided before they had got such great first round scores.

Re the Fact of the Week query, The Royal Armouries' website claims it is the oldest museum in the UK.

Londinius said...

Hi Quentin and Hugh

Ah, your comments have enlightened me. The first does not necessarily have to be the oldest , yes , I get that now.

Do you have a URL for Ian's video blog , Hugh ?



Des Elmes said...

It certainly wasn't a bad match, and Christ's definitely put in another impressive performance - for the second game running, all of their interruptions to starters were correct, and they got precisely two out of every three bonuses (28 out of 42 last time out, 22 out of 33 here).

But I hope you don't mind too much, Dave, when I say that it failed to live up to expectations for me.

If it had, then Edinburgh wouldn't have fallen 145-5 behind, and the outcome would have pretty much been in doubt until the gong.

But then, of course, not every match that's expected to be a battle throughout turns out to be just that. Last year's final is a perfect example of this - while Alex Guttenplan's Team were favourites, who would have seriously expected that he'd single-handedly wipe the floor with St John's?!

I do agree, meanwhile, that Edinburgh were treated a bit harshly on that EU capital cities starter - Paxo has allowed other hesitators more time before taking play away from them.

HughTube said...

He's posting on YouTube on the Oxford Brookes Channel. I don't know if they're available elsewhere. Maybe video blog is a misleading term, he's doing a series of videos about Oxford Brookes' experience on UC.

He's done three so far. This is the most recent with what I quoted on it, but as he can't give much away the others are a bit more substantial.


Londinius said...

Hi Des,

Feel free to express your opinion, and never feel you need to apologise to me about it! Impressive stats on the bonus conversion rate - thanks for that.

Hi Hugh

Thanks - I'll have a look now.


Jack said...

Edinburgh perhaps didn't have the questions this time, but they certainly didn't disgrace themselves. 160 is a very good score to get when your opponents are on such fine form. Well played Edinburgh!

Very well done to Christ's though; they thoroughly deserve their place in the quarters, and should definitely be taken seriously. Does anyone know if the quarters are on the same format as last year? The BBC repeatedly say there will be 26 shows this year, but this is probably an error.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

I'll be honest with you, I assumed that it would be the same as last year, but I don't know. I think I'll check out Sean Blanchflower's site. If anyone will know, he will.


HughTube said...

I think 26 shows will take us to new year, it wouldn't even be enough for a season in the old format.