Tuesday, 2 August 2011

University Challenge - Round One - Match 5

Homerton College, Cambridge v. Balliol College, Oxford

Another Oxbridge match up, and so potentially an exciting one. Homerton apparently only gained full college status last year, while Balliol dates back to the 13th century. Not that this has any real bearing on the contest, but there we are. Homerton’s team were Jack Euesden, Frances Conner, Thomas Grinyer and captain David Murray.Homerton were represented by Liam Shaw, Andrew Whitby, James Kirby and captain Simon Wood.

Asked for an adjective which linked several clues, as soon as James Kirby heard the mention of the Blue Nile, and Khartoum, he buzzed in correctly with white. Two bonuses were taken on secrets. Captain David Murray opened the account for Homerton, knowing that it was none other than A.E.Houseman who wrote “A Shropshire Lad”. 3 bonuses followed on Geneva, and they confidently took all of them. Thomas Grinyer extended the lead recognising that it was King John who was nicknamed Softsword and Lackland. Speaking as a teacher, I can vouch for the fact that there are worse nicknames to have, however I digress. Homerton maintained their impressive bonus form by taking all three on 20th century history. Simon Wood struck back immediately for his team, knowing that the word flame fitted several definitions given. 2 bonuses were accepted on the platinum group of metals. The first picture starter escaped both teams. I’m not surprised. It turned out to be the flag of the east India Company. Good question, and would certainly be my interesting fact of the week if it quite fitted the format. As it doesn’t quite, we’d best just carry on. Andrew Whitby earned the bonuses which followed on other colonial flags when he took a great UC special cryptic starter on the word apostrophe. Only one colonial flag was identified – that of Ceylon, although they did see South Africa, but talked themselves out of it. A second UC Special followed , this one on rhyming words – sherry – merry and Derry. David Murray was quickest, and this enabled Homerton to take 2 bonuses on the welsh alphabet , narrowly missing a 3rd by talking themselves out of – ch – in favour of cw. So a very good, competitive opening 10 minutes saw Homerton leading by 70 to 55.

Simon Wood cut the deficit immediately when he knew that the novel of the 1890’s described as ‘obscene’ was Hardy’s “Jude the Obscure”. True to form, Balliol took 2 of the 3 bonuses on Secret Police forces, just confusing their Cheka with their Okrana. Easily done. A very good early buzz from Whitby on the term ‘norms’ followed, which brought up an amusing set of descriptions of places from the CIA. A full set followed. If that was a good buzz from Andrew Whitby, Frances Connor’s buzz for the next, to identify a piece of theme music written for Matt Smith’s Dr. Who was an excellent one. They only added one bonus on more of the same, but nevertheless, it was a timely intervention at a time when Balliol had forged ahead. Liam Shaw played the percentages well, when he knew that any list of top 10 tracks which contains Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen is most likely to come from Canada. A full set of 3 bonuses were taken on Lollards. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the overall bonus conversion rate was for both teams last night, but I should think it was pretty high. These were good teams. A lovely starter which involved quickly identifying Essen and Essex fell to Thomas Grinyer, and this gave them 2 bonuses on animals. Liam Shaw then took his second starter with a very good shout on Emmy Noether. No, me neither. 3 bonuses were taken on 3 dimensional shapes. Andrew Whitby was the first in with the old chestnut that alphabetically the first country of the UN is Afghanistan – which does contain three consecutive consonants as well into the bargain. With 2 bonuses on the deaths of roman emperors in the words of Suetonius, this gave Balliol a healthy lead at the 20 minute mark, of 170 to 105.

Healthy, but not insurmountable. The way that Homerton had shown they could pick off the bonuses meant that they just needed to be a little sharper with the buzzer, and that gap could be whittled down quickly. Not if Simon Wood had anything to do with it. He recognised a painting of Venice as being by Renoir – which was a good shout. For bonuses they took the paintings of Venice by both Monet and Turner, but missed the painter possibly more associated with Venice than almost any other, Canaletto. Which is what happens when you’re under pressure. Jack Euesden nipped in with the Name Daphne for the next starter, and the fightback was on. 2 bonuses were taken on people surnamed Larson. Neither team knew the family name of the Earls of Orrery, but for the next Jack Euesden knew that Class comes between Phylum and Order. A full set of 3 was taken on abbreviations. Homerton, realizing that the gap was now negotiable seemed to visibly sit a little taller in their chairs, and skipper David Murray took the next starter, with Britten’s opera “Gloriana”. 2 bonuses on state capitals of the USA narrowed the gap to 20 points. A gap which was destroyed with Thomas Grinyer’s next starter, knowing a set of Hills on the Isle of Skye, and a couple of bonuses on names of metals.
All square.
No more than a couple of minutes to go at most.
A great answer from James Kirby , on the roman garment called the stola, put Balliol slightly ahead, but only one bonus was taken. The next starter asked for a greek mythological monster from Dante’s Inferno. The question mentioned Crete, and so the first person to go for it was Jack Euesden. He was right , too, with the Minotaur. One bonus, and all would be square. But there was no time ! The gong went, and that was that !
Another great game, and I hope, and in fact am sure that JP was right when he said that Homerton will surely be back having scored 200 to Balliol’s 205. Well played to everyone. I made it that 5 of the 8 players each took at least 3 starters .

Jeremy Paxman Watch

My good ness, but JP seems to have softened somewhat in this series. When offered “Burnett” for the author of the Secret Garden, he gave them the points anyway before asking for the other names. He did a similar thing later. The only other thing really worthy of note was on the Dr. who Theme bonuses. “Is it Rose Tyler ? “ suggested Homerton. The eyebrow arched upwards. “No, that’s the Master !” he explained, in tones usually reserved for those who get a Shakespeare question wrong. JP a secret Whovian ? Who would have guessed ?

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

The family names of the Earls of Orrery is Boyle. Robert Boyle was a member of the extended family.


Jack said...

Great match; definitely best of the series so far.

Both teams look potentially dangerous later in the contest; not only did five of the eight get three starters (like you said), but both teams got roughly two-thirds of their bonuses as well.

Naturally, the Dr Who community on YouTube are already upset/cross about only one Dr Who bonus being answered right. But, of course, not everyone is as big a fan of Dr Who as they are.

Interesting match next week: Christ Church Oxford take on Bath.

DanielFullard said...

Really enjoyed it last night as usual with a very close finish. Murray played well but too much conferring when they knew the answers! Will need to cut that down if they fancy winning!

Harsh Doctor Who questions!

k said...

Interesting to note that while Homerton won the Cambridge Colleges' quiz tournament this year, the Balliol team playing yesterday didn't make it out of the groups in the Oxford version.

Michael said...

"Interesting to note that while Homerton won the Cambridge Colleges' quiz tournament this year, the Balliol team playing yesterday didn't make it out of the groups in the Oxford version."

Actually, Balliol made the quarter finals.


It's also possibly worth pointing out that the quiz scene is a little better organised at Oxford- Oxford has won all 13 Varsity Matches held so far.

joe said...

Silly set of questions on the Doctor Who tunes. Almost impossible to guess for the non-obsessive and of no general interest. Pleased to see them faling flat. That'll learn the questionmaster!

k said...

Different Balliol team, Michael. The ones on the telly were Balliol B. (!)

Quentin Vole said...

Unless my ears deceived me, JP claimed Sandi Toksvig as an alumna of Homerton. I thought she went to Girton?