Saturday, 5 March 2011

University Challenge - Quarter Final Elimination Match

York v. Bristol

A second quarter final visit to the last chance saloon, then. Nothing for the winners except a chance at a place in the semis, but for the losers , their metaphorical bus ticket home. York lost out to Peterhouse in their first match of the round, while Bristol were beaten by Queens’ .

York were again represented by Chris Caudwell, Ben Keane, Simon Donnelly and captain Andrew Clemo. Their opponents were Ario Brunet, Lucinda Critchley, Georgia Malcolm and skipper James Williams of Bristol.

On with the show. Skipper Andrew Clemo of York, took the first starter. It wouldn’t be his last tonight. He knew that the various homophones being alluded to were queue/cue etc. 2 bonuses were taken on the London Underground. I asked the one about Temple in my own quiz in the Rugby club last week. Small world. Chris Caudwell took the second, knowing that the fruit being described was a pomegranate. One bonus followed on phases of the moon. We’ll get onto Mastermind in one of the next posts, but eagle eyed viewers may well have noticed that the gibbous question in this show was asked in last night’s Mastermind as well. As I said, small world. Lucinda Critchley, who has been consistently effective for Bristol throughout the series, took her first recognising a series of descriptions of clouds. One bonus on quotes was taken. Simon Donnelly took a good maths starter, and a great full set followed on letters used as scientific symbols – a real UC special set that one. Couldn’t answer any myself, but could appreciate a good question when I heard it. On the first picture started nobody recognised Oscar Niemeyer’s remarkable cathedral in Rio de Janeiro. So the set of bonuses on Pritzker Prize winning architects went to James Williams, who made a good early buzz when given a definition of Polemical. 2 were taken. The Bristol skipper followed this up with a starter on unfinished works, and with a full set of bonuses on Roman emperors, Bristol led by 60 to 44 at the ten minute mark. What a good contest so far.

Lucinda Critchley stretched Bristol’s lead slightly with the next starter on Siegfried Sassoon. 3 bonuses on art followed. Then Ben Keane stopped the flow of one way traffic by giving the correct answer of Dew Point. I knew that ! Alas, no bonuses could be taken on Victorian poetry – a little more about that one later on. Andrew Clemo took his second starter on Rome, and then the team took one of a set of bonuses on 3 sisters. A great quick buzz from Simon Donnelly brought them the music starter when he recognised the strains of Chopin from the first couple of notes. 2 bonuses were taken on Russian composers. Lucinda Critchley struck back for Bristol with the literary term negative capability. No bonuses could be taken on rocks. This maybe just rang a couple of alarm bells. Failure to convert bonuses had cost Bristol in the previous match – would History repeat itself here ? Andrew Clemo, warming to his task, took the next bonus on king Louis XIV. 2 bonuses were taken on scientific terms. So then Georgia Malcolm hit back with entropy, and 3 bonuses were taken on operatic couples. So then Andrew Clemo struck again, with a great answer on the ballet dancer Carlos Acosta. Nip and tuck, then ? Well, up to this point, yes, but it was York , in the form of Chris Caudwell who took the next starter as well, with a recognition of the anagrams veto and vote. Three bonuses were taken on a terrific set of words which differed only by the use of accents – pate and paté, for example. I was very pleased with myself for the next starter. When the screen showed a famous Punch cartoon I shouted “That’s Dropping the Pilot by John Tenniel !” True, but that wasn’t the question. Superskipper Andrew Clemo knew that it was about the dismissal of Bismarck by the young Wilhelm II. “ bonuses on Punch cartoons meant that by the 20 minute mark York were firmly in the driving seat with a lead of 170 to 135.

Not that the contest was not finely balanced, since a good burst would bring Bristol right back into it. Fair play to Lucinda Critchley, she had a go, taking a great starter by recognising a description of the Cyrillic spelling of the word sputnik – very much a UC special that one. Crucially no bonuses could be taken on astronomy. That man Clemo took the next starter on the only men to get away with being signatories to the death warrant of Charles I. 1 bonus followed on plants. Trying to haul his team back into contention skipper James Williams miscued with the next starter, allowing Andrew Clemo to take it knowing that the women referred to both had elements named after them. One bonus was taken on the Geography of the United States. I thought that Andrew Clemo’s next starter was a great one, knowing that a series of worthies were all born in Liege. Simon Donnelly knew that the letters FDU stand for Fear, Doubt and Uncertainty , which incidentally is the name of the firm of solicitors I used when I bought my first house, however , I digress. 1 bonus was taken on trout. James Williams missed the next starter, spelling Gandhi incorrectly. Who else but inspirational captain Clemo would get it right ? A close contest had turned into something of a rout, and this was exacerbated when Chris Caudwell took the next starter on the colour yellow. Ario Brunet took the last starter, on a Fibonacci sequences starting at 0, a fact which seemed to delight JP, but it was too little, too late, as York ran out comfortable winners by 280 points to 140.

Hard lines, Bristol. I can only apologise profusely for scuppering your chances by picking you as my dark horses to make it to the semis. Well done York ! Very impressive performance – good luck in your next match !

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Nothing much to report in this match. I was intrigue with the seeming disdain with which JP said “Kinnock “ – as if holding the name in a pair of tongs. Also he rather grunted “you should have said Tennyson” in response to a failure to given an answer to the second of the Victorian poetry bonuses. He was, however, surprisingly consoling to Bristol at the end – a nice touch that.

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

The fruit of the tamarind is a basic ingredient of Worcester sauce.


Jack said...

Great performance from York, showing they're still full of fight. Bristol were just blown away completely in that last stanza, but certainly didn't disgrace themselves. Lucinda Critchley got four starters, though James Williams was best buzzer for the season as a whole, with sixteen starters. The side made 14/24 bonuses with two penalties.

Andrew Clemo was certainly on fine form, with a very impressive nine starters. 24/48 isn't the best bonus rate we've seen this series, but there were no penalties, so that's a plus.

Bristol were unlucky on the Gandhi question; understandably buzzing early to beat York to it didn't pay off. Still, it's a shame to see them leave. One wonders whether their brilliant Round 2 performance was down to being against a weak Newnham team (no offense intended) rather than the quality of themselves.

On Monday, Magdalen vs Queens', then Oxford Brookes vs York the week after. Surely Magdalen have to win on Monday; the week afterwards, I officially haven't a clue, though if York play like they did this time, surely they'll be through. We'll have to see.

Des Elmes said...

I expected this match to be close - but I didn't expect it would only be like that until around the second picture round, after which York (and Clemo in particular) would blow Bristol's challenge out of the water.

It means that, all of a sudden, Oxford Brookes' passage to the semi-finals isn't quite so assured...

I agree with Jack that it's a shame to see the Avonsiders bow out - but I'm afraid I also have to agree with what he says about their performance against Newnham.

As if to muddy the waters further, James Williams got 10 of his 16 starters in that particular match. Lucinda Critchley finished with 14, and outperformed Williams on the buzzers in each of the team's other three matches...

...I'd better stop before I go too far and end up sounding like I'm heavily criticizing them, which wouldn't be fair, as they were good. And, of course, the nearly six months between the broadcasts of their first and second-round matches may well be a record...

Anyway, further to Jack's stats, Clemo's nine starters means that in the race to be the best buzzer for the series, he's roared past Mark Jackson, Will Cudmore and Tris and into second place, on 25 starters, one fewer than Ben Slingo.

So, Magdalen v Queens' tomorrow night. I expect Jackson and co to put up something of a fight - but, without any disrespect to them, if they won it would be about as big a shock as Ireland's cricketers beating England...