St. Anne’s Oxford v. Pembroke, Cambridge
Yes, it’s another Oxbridge match – and that often provides us with some good entertainment, doesn’t it. Last night St. Anne’s Oxford and Pembroke, Cambridge entered the lists. I may be wrong, but I think that I read that Clive James once lost Pembroke a UC match on a tie break – he certainly played in the series in the mid-60s. Still, enough of such things. St. Anne’s, which was a single sex establishment until the late 70s, was represented by Eve Phillips, Rachel Duffy, Oliver Moody and captain Robin McGhee. The Pembroke team consisted of Edward Bankes, Ben Pugh, Imogen Gold and their captain Bibek Mukherjee. On with the show.
Oliver Moody struck first for St. Anne’s. He knew his minor counties when he heard them. They didn’t manage to capitalize by taking any of a set of bonuses on Van Gogh – regular quizzers may have noted the old chestnut about the Red Vineyard rearing its hoary head among them. Not for the last time in the show Ben Pugh struck the buzzer quickly for the next starter, knowing that the Queen Mother ( Gawd Bless ‘ Er ) amongst others achieved the feat of becoming centenarians. 2 bonuses were taken on a set labeled ‘multi-tasking’. Imogen Gold buzzed in quickly on a starter about the Ministry of Defence and UFO sightings, and for the second time in a row Pembroke took 2 out of 3 bonuses, this time on deaths in the novels of E.M. Forster.St. Anne’s were a little unlucky with the next. Asked what is combined with Keiselghur to make dynamite, they buzzed in with ‘glycerin’ in a classic – close but not cigar moment, and thereby lost 5. Given the full question Ben Pugh supplied the correct answer – nitroglycerine. 1 bonus followed on William Henry Bragg. Ben Pugh followed this up with the picture starter. This showed us the makeup of a cabinet table with only the PMs name missing. Seeing the name William Whitelaw St. Anne’s twitched first and went with Margaret Thatcher. Ben Pugh knew it was Edward Heath. More of the same followed in the bonuses. Oliver Moody – for whom things were going to start looking up very shortly buzzed in too early with the name Nicodemus, when really he meant Nostradamus. Edward Bankes had it, although Pembroke failed to capitalize on this with any of the bonuses on islands and archipelagos. At the ten minute mark Pembroke had established a very significant lead, of 90 to 5.
Had St. Anne’s shrunk into their shells at this stage it would have been understandable. However Oliver Moody buzzed straight back, knowing that Carol Anne Duffy combined the name of Achilles with David Beckham. A full set of 3 impressive bonuses on anachronisms in Shakespeare helped as well. Pembroke, perhaps momentarily rattled, didn’t know that “The Moon and Sixpence” is based on the life of Gauguin. Oliver Moody did. Again, a full set of 3 bonuses on silver anniversaries followed. It was time for someone to steady the ship on the Pembroke bench, and captain Bibek Mukherjee stepped in. He knew that the caribou was the north American member of the reindeer family, and this brought up a bonus on magnesium. The music starter caused some amusement when a stunningly quick buzz from Ben Pugh identified the timeless classic “Sound of the Underground “ by Girls Aloud. This brought up 3 songs which mention London Underground stations. Which is another little irony when you think of what I said about last Thursday’s handout at the rugby club. They had to give both station and line. I identified Warwick Avenue and Bakerloo line. That was the only station any of us knew, but Pembroke didn’t have the line. Tough set. Still. Ben Pugh was back in the groove, and took the next starter correctly identifying Florence Nightingale’s sister. A single bonus was managed on Holyrood House. A rarely seen starter treble was completed by the impressive Mr. Pugh when he identified that if Mercury was Hydrogen, then Mars would be Beryllium. Alright – not the most tricky, but try beating the other team to the buzzer to get it, because that , my friends, is the name of the game in UC. A set on Booker prize winning novels showed the team a clean pair of heels. Neither team knew that Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. Ben Pugh got close with the Stars and Stripes, but no cigar, I’m afraid. A nice starter followed, literally, with an African river and a French city with only one letter’s difference in their names required, Nile and Nice. See what I did there ? Alright, please yourselves. Oliver Moody took it, and this brought up one bonus on environmental agencies. So St. Anne’s had actually outscored Pembroke during this second stage of the contest, but still trailed by 75 to 145.
I’d almost have said that JP had been down the bookies to put a few bob on both of these teams getting through, such was the mighty gallop he stirred himself to for this last part of the contest. He was going like the clappers ! The second picture starter showed a Mayan stele, and Oliver Moody knew what it was. St. Anne’s took two bonuses on other stelae. Ben Pugh struck again , on Louis Pasteur, and for once Pembroke managed a full set of bonuses on mononyms – e.g. – Voltaire and Collette. Skipper Robin McGhee played a captain’s innings by taking the next starter for St. Anne’s, knowing that Queen Victoria’s daughter Victoria was crown princess of the German empire. The team couldn’t take a bonus on shrouds. Bibek Mukherjee showed that anything his opposing skipper could do, so could he, by buzzing in to say that the Cretaceous period comes after the Jurassic. Quite so. One bonus was taken on the King James bonus. Game effectively over, but St. Anne’s still looked just about capable of making a run at a repechage place. Oliver Moody stepped up, he knew that Grayson Perry has an alter ego called Claire. 1 bonus on terms which are a bit like ebullience but have something to do with Science stuff followed. Imogen Gold buzzed in for Pembroke for the next starter on electricity, and the team was happy to take 2 bonuses on philosophical movements. Not giving up yet eve Phillips took the next s=for St. Anne’s , a good question, knowing that two and owt are anagrams of each other. 2 bonuses followed on Hot Spots. Robin McGhee knew what the lowest point on the surface of Mars is, but there was no time for a bonus. At the gong, Pembroke had won with 205, and St. Anne’s had finished with 140.
As JP said, they are really on the cusp, and you wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be good enough. However , that score was almost totally achieved in the last 17 minutes or so. Oliver Moody was particularly impressive. Even more impressive, though was Ben Pugh, whose buzzer work was terrific. Well played Pembroke.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
Really only one thing of note at all. JP couldn’t help laughing at the speed of Ben Pugh’s response to the first half note of the Girls Aloud song, and when he’d recovered himself he added,
“It’s a little undignified to be so keen to show that sort of knowledge !” Well, maybe. Now – I like dignity. I like winning too. But which is better ? There’s only one way to find out . . .
Interesting Fact Of The Week That I Didn’t Already Know
The decision to go ahead with the Channel Tunnel project was authorized through the Treaty Of Canterbury.