Wednesday, 23 February 2011

University Challenge - Quarter Final - Qualification Match

Peterhouse v. Queens'

Yes, here we have the second automatic qualification match, pitting two teams, neither of whom I tipped to make it through to the semis. Living proof that the Clark crystal ball is back to its 2009 form, after my 2010 aberration.Peterhouse looked slightly the better bet going into the game, with a team of Edward Tait, Ben Slingo, Christopher Stanton and captain Louise Howes.Queens’ also fielded an unchanged team of Mark Jackson, Simon Wallace, David Webster and captain William Belfield.

Contrary to my expectations, it was Queens’ that made a lot of the early running. David Webster took the first starter, recognising that JP was referring to détente far quicker than anybody else did. 2 bonuses followed on Ancient History. Christopher Stanton took Peterhouse’s first starter with Little Lord Fauntleroy, but the team only managed a single bonus on plants. Mark Jackson, very much the star of Queens’ last outing, weighed in with his first starter of the night when he knew that the prefix required for all the examples given in the question was – anti - . 3 bonuses on a physicist followed. Ben Slingo – who you’ll remember had 18 correct starter answers before the start of the quarter finals - buzzed in for the next starter but was unable to supply an answer. Nobody on either team knew that it was Tobias Smollett who wrote Roderick Random amongst other things. I tried reading it once – failed miserably. Peterhouse took the net knowing that Portugal was one of the European countries whose name is actually the same in English as it is in their own language – believe me there are precious few of these. A bonus was taken on ceramics. Simon Wallace recognised that the picture starter showed a very young Bill Clinton, This earned Queens’ 3 more pictures of US presidents in their younger years, and they managed two of them. Ben Slingo weighed in with his first correct starter of the night with the term Stalking Horse, and this enabled Peterhouse to take two bonuses on wives of Henry VIII. After a lively first ten minutes Queens’ held a slender lead by 65 pointd to 50.

Mark Jackson took the next starter, with a theorem whose name was so long and cumbersome I didn’t even attempt to write it down. 2 bonuses on particle physics followed. Ben Slingo took a fast buzz to identify John Fisher, and the team earned the first of the show’s UC specials with a set of 3 bonuses on works of literature with 1 word titles. 1 was taken. Edward Tait nipped in for the next starter on soap, and Queens’ managed a bonus on artists’ works. Louise Howes took her first bonus on the musical Fiddler on The Roof. I took part in a school production of this once. After hearing me sing the director said “Don’t call us . . . Ever “ However , I digress. 2 bonuses followed on musicals and the works that had inspired them, and for the first time in the competition Peterhouse had taken the lead. Queens’ were in no mood to just roll over, though. Captain William Belfield knew that the convoluted way of working out a winner in a rain affected limited overs cricket match is the Duckworth Lewis method. Then the second UC special set of bonuses of the night followed. The team were asked to work out which monarchs acceded to the throne in the years represented by specific prime numbers. Unsurprisingly they didn’t manage any. Christopher Stanton knew that the Skylon was the iconic needle like structure built for the Festival of Britain . 2 points were taken on Jeremy Bentham – though sadly his continued attendance at University of London Senate Meetings in mummified form was not one of them. A brilliant starter was taken by Louise Howes, which went something like this. If you type the letter immediately to the left of the one you mean, which European capital city would be spelt IAKY ? Before you could say qwertyuiop she had buzzed in with Oslo. Great work. One bonus was taken on the Duke of Wellington. Ben Slingo – who’d had a very good ten minutes – knew that Rwanda joined the Commonwealth in 2009. Peterhouse also took the next starter, on paintings of Adam and eve, although none of the bonuses. By the 20 minute mark Peterhouse had pulled out to a healthy lead, with 170 to 95.

Heaven knows, Queens’ certainly gave it a lash at this point. William Belfield took the next starter on the writer Philip K. Dick . No bonus could be taken on art collectors and collections. Then Simon Wallace took the next on tuna, and 3 good bonuses were taken on alternative names for elements of the periodic table. Ben Slingo steadied the ship for Peterhouse with a terrific answer which involved adding up all the minimum ages in the UK for marriages with parental consent, driving a motor vehicle, and voting in a general election. I would have worked out 51, but nowhere near as quickly as he did. The next two starters went begging, and you got the feeling that the finish line was probably just going to come a little too quickly for Queens’ Simon Wallace won the buzzer race to explain that the flags of Australia et al have the Union Jack in the corner. 2 music bonuses were taken. Christopher Stanton took a vital starter for Peterhouse, identifying Halicarnassus as the ancient site near Bodrum in Turkey. Then Louise Howes wrapped up the competition by getting Hubble, in a question about astronomy. At the gong the final score was 215 to Peterhouse, and 160 to Queens’. Well played Peterhouse – you’ve earned your place in the semis. As for Queens’ all is not lost – good luck in the next match.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

A veritable smorgasbord of Paxman treats in this show. I’ve picked out just three for the connoisseur to enjoy. Firstly, when the team failed to identify a photo of a very, very young Richard Nixon, he explained,
“Its Richard Nixon – that awful mouth gives it away every time !”
Then when he was offered Picasso as one of the Adam and Eve artists he spluttered “It doesn’t look a BIT like Picasso !” ( Mind you, it didn’t. )
Finally, when searching for some words of consolation for the Queens’ team he managed this –
“Well, bad luck – you were on pretty good terms for most of the match , but . . . you lost ! “

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

The Kiel Canal claims to be the busiest man made waterway in the world.


HughTube said...

Some really good questions in this episode I thought.

I think the theorem you didn't write down was Gödels incompleteness theorem which was also an answer on that new show in the BoB slot 'The Third Degree' earlier in the day. Also Oslo one key to the left would be Iaki.

It would have been strange if Cambridge didn't have at least one semi finalist after managing to get six teams in to the second round and three in the last eight.

Jack said...

This was one of the funniest UCs I've seen for a long time. Everyone just seemed really cheerful. And there were lots of laughs; my favourite bit was the monarchs and prime numbers bit, made much funnier by Mark Jackson's mouthing of 'What?!'.

Maybe it was the fact most of the starters were answered: Ben Slingo got five, Simon Wallace and William Belfield got three each. 'Twas an average week on the bonuses: Peterhouse made 17/37, Queens' made 14/27, and there were no penalties.

Next week, York vs Bristol. Should be a good match; too close for me to call. Then, week after that, Magdalen vs Queens'. Surely, if Magdalen are on the same form as last time, they'll win easily.

But then again, I thought Merton and Bristol would both beat Queens', so who am I to call matches?!

Londinius said...

Hi Hugh and Jack

Hugh, thanks for pointing me in the direction of the Third Degree. Hmm - quite liked it, but will reserve final judgement.


doublemm said...

Hi Londinius, thanks for the great analysis.

I can't seem to warm to Queens' or Peterhouse - they both seem to take things very seriously and I'm always urging the others to give a "well done" to any member of the team who gets a starter, but we rarely get even a smile. Nonetheless, it was a great match and it was nice to see another close one.

Bristol and York were two of my early favourites, so I find it hard to choose. It all depends on Bristol really - when they're good they're really good, but they haven't been as consistent as some of the other teams this year.

I look forward to it!

Des Elmes said...

I expected Peterhouse to make it two out of two against fellow Cambridge colleges - though Queens' put up a very good fight, even if Mark Jackson wasn't at his very best.

It was only really decided when Chris Stanton got that Halicarnassus question right.

And I too thought there was no shortage of entertainment - I loved the bonuses on US presidents during their childhood and on monarchs and prime numbers, and Paxo's reaction to "Picasso".

Further to Jack's stats, Ben Slingo retakes the lead in the race to be the series' best buzzer, advancing to 26 starters. Jackson, despite a disappointing match by his standards, remains in touch with 21.

So, York v Bristol next, with the winners taking on Oxford Brookes. I have to agree with doublemm about Bristol - they certainly can be really good, but consistency is something they rather lack, as demonstrated when they led Queens' 160-80 before losing 190-160.

Londinius said...

Hi doublemm and Des

I'm saying nothing about Bristol, since I tipped them for the semis, and I don't want to knacker their chances any more than I've already done !