Magdalen v. Queens'
Earlier in this set of quarter finals I called the elimination matches the last chance saloon. I’m not sure what I should call these last two matches then. So lets just content ourselves with saying that this was a true knockout match, with the victors going through to the semis, and the vanquished going home on the bus. Magdalen , with James McComish, Kyle Haddad- Fonda, Captain Matthew Chan, and Will Cudmore were one of the Clark tips for a semi final place, beaten in a titanic tussle with Sheffield, but winners over Christ’s Cambridge in their last match. Queens’ , with Mark Jackson, Simon Wallace, captain William Belfield and David Webster lost to Peterhouse having beaten Bristol. The form guide said a victory for Magdalen, but nothing in this world is certain apart from death and taxes.
Queens’ big hitting Mark Jackson miscued the first question. If its about Glencoe then its likely to be either Macdonalds or Campbells. Mark zigged with Macdonalds, Will Cudmore zagged with Campbells. Three bonuses on Thomas More followed, and the Magdalen express had left the station. Nobody fancied the next starter on Bertrand Russell, but William Belfield took the next on Planck’s constant. Queens’ too took a full set of bonuses, on lost villages. Game on. Will Cudmore took his second on the history of MI5, and the team took one more bonus on the sons of Priam – a tough set that , I thought. James McComish took the next starter – something to do with a Japanese hotel according to my notes. Again , a single bonus followed on insects and bugs. Amazingly neither team could take the picture starter to identify Helmut Kohl’s grinning phizzog. Will Cudmore took another starter on the Roundhouse, to earn the picture bonuses. The team identified two out of three heads of former eastern bloc states. The irrepressible Will Cudmore took the next starter as well , recognizing a definition of the word dividend, and all three bonuses were taken on opera houses. When you’re in the zone, even your speculative guesses come good, as Will Cudmore discovered with his next starter, when he seemed rather disbelieving that JP accepted his offer of ‘cyborgs’ in answer to another definition. Magdalen managed one bonus from a set of first lines of famous science fiction novels. At the ten minute mark it was all going according to the script as far as Magdalen were concerned, since they led by 115 to 20.
Mark Jackson found his range with the first starter after the break on hanukkah. One bonus was taken on words from German. Mark followed this up with a second successive starter on the island of Rockall. Only one bonus followed on people with the surname Levi. James McComish replied for Magdalen with the next two starters, which earned bonuses on physics, and on opera , following the music starter. Only one point came out of the six bonuses, but when you’re that far ahead you can afford a little laxity. Matthew Chan kept the Magdalen score ticking along with the next starter on Crohn’s Disease, and for good measure he answered all three questions which followed on the Aztec empire. Kyle Haddad-Fonda now weighed in with his first starter of the night, correctly identifying a caldera as a specific part of a volcano. 3 bonuses followed on large numbers. Matthew Chan took the next starter on Poyning’s Laws, which earned bonuses on Prussian blue, of which they took a brace. It turned out that Mark Jackson starters would bookend this part of the contest, as Mark took a starter to earn pairs of words which are spelled, but not pronounced the same – a good UC set that. At the 20 minute mark it looked all over bar the shouting, as Magdalen led by 210 to 75.
Yet if the first two phases of the contest had belonged to Magdalen, the last certainly belonged to Queens’. Skipper Belfield picked up the next starter on a set of anagrams – rectal, claret and cartel. 3 bonuses were taken on French Departments. Will Cudmore took the next picture starter on Isaac Newton, earning a lovely set of pictures of scientists after whom SI units are named. 1 of these was taken. James McComish knew that Chipping – as in Norton , Sodbury etc. means market. 2 bonuses were taken on the name Aubrey. From then on though, it was all Queens’. Mark Jackson had a brilliant buzz to identify the sum of the first 200 positive integers as 20100. YEESSSS! Interjected a very impressed JP. One bonus was taken on astronomy. Simon Wallace took the next starter on Mexican states. 2 bonuses were taken on African countries. He also took the next starter, knowing that Lassa, as in fever , is in Nigeria. Alas , no bonuses were taken on writing about food. Mark Jackson weighed in with the next, knowing that the alternative to Edward de Bono’s lateral thinking was vertical thinking. Wasn’t he once married to Cher ? Now there’s lateral thinking for you. Back to the show, and Queens’ took all three bonuses on geological time periods. Simon Wallace, the other half of the Queens’ double whammy took the next with endothermic reactions. 2 bonuses followed. Mark Jackson took the next on the Great Glen – they were only fifty points behind now, but Time is a cruel and unforgiving mistress, and the gong announced that , magnificent fightback that it was, it was all too late. Magdalen ran out winners by 245 to 195.
Many congratulations to Magdalen. No team will relish the prospect of playing you in the semis. Congratulations too to Queens’, who staged a terrific comeback in the latter stages of the contest, and can be very proud of their performances in this year’s series.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
There was little in this show to delight the dedicated Paxman watcher. I enjoyed his wry amusement that nobody in either team could recognize Helmut Kohl. Also I liked his rather grudging note of congratulations to Magdalen –
“Well, you won 2 quarter finals – that’s enough. “
Interesting Fact Of The Week That I Didn’t Already Know
John Constable made a study of clouds.