Saturday, 26 November 2011

University Challenge - Round 2 Match 5

Christ Church Oxford v. University of Manchester

Well, we’ve had some good matches in the last couple of weeks, and every indication was that last Monday would make this a treble. Christ Church Oxford had comfortably beaten Bath in round one, and were represented by Thomas Hine, Will Peveler , Nimish Telang and skipper George Scratcherd. Manchester had scored lower by only the equivalent of a starter and one bonus in their own first round match, where they beat Selwyn. So they were obviously not daunted by the prospect of facing Oxbridge opposition. The Manchester team consisted of Luke Kelly, Michael McKenna, Paul Joyce, and captain Tristan Burke.

Well, it seems that the word definitions are very much out of vogue in UC now, as the first question required the answer Garibaldi, an answer Paul Joyce was happy to supply. A full set of bonuses on theatre followed. Will Peveler took the next on the letters UFF. One bonus followed on football clubs. Neither team could take a starter on the astronomical unit for how far light travels in a day. Will Peveler knew a description of Pride and Prejudice, and pushed his team into the lead. 2 good bonuses were taken on auto da fe. Nimish Telang took a good starter on Ca – which links California ( state abbreviation) and Canada ( internet suffix) . 1 bonus followed on blood. Still, just as it was looking like Christ Church had the edge in the buzzer race, Paul Joyce took his second recognizing the name of Kazakhstan in its own Cyrillic script. 2 more bonuses were taken on more of the same. Nimish Telang, effective on the buzzer, knew that it was H.R.Giger who created the alien in Alien. 1 bonus was taken on things linked by the word victorious. Paul Joyce knew the term Vendetta, and the team took a full bonus set on sisters in literature. At the ten minute mark it was all square with 70 points, and Manchester owed a debt of gratitude to Paul Joyce’s buzzer work, and their own fine work on bonuses.

Neither team could dredge up the term dysphonia. Tristan Burke took his first starter on Albert Camus. A UC special bonus set on pairs of words followed, of which they took 2. I didn’t note who took the next starter, apologies, but it was on diamonds. Nimish Telang took another starter on Orwell’s Newspeak, and this time Christ Church managed 2 bonuses, on divided islands. Nobody could take the next starter, a music one, on the coronation anthem of King George Vi. Michael McKenna earned the music bonuses by taking the next starter on myxamatosis. 2 of the bonuses on composers were taken. Nimish Telang knew the solidus – what a debt of gratitude his team owed him at this stage , as he was the only one of his team winning the buzzer race. A full set of bonuses on place name elements all helped as well. Neither team could take a starter on Julius Caesar. However it was that man Telang who knew that a tesseract is a 4d representation of a cube – well , its something like that, anyway – and this brought up one bonus on prime ministers’ personal details. So from looking as if they were going to go into the last ten minutes or so behind, Christ Church actually led by 130 to 120.

Whose nerve would hold ? Who would draw on the mental reserves to prevail ? Both captains chanced their arm on the next starter. George Scratcherd buzzed too early, which allowed Tristan Burke in to identify a group of queens who were all married to kings called Henry. Only 1 bonus followed on capitals in the Indian Ocean. Neither team recognized the grave of Johann Strauss II for the next picture starter. However Tristan Burke recognized a quote from The Wind in the Willows to earn the bonuses.1 was taken on a set of photographs of other composers’ graves. George Scratcherd supplied Sweden for the next starter, but crucially the team couldn’t take any bonuses on words denoting great size. The Christ Church skipper was a little unlucky with his next buzz. He correctly knew that Cremona was famed for the production of violins, but when prompted by JP he did not supply the crucial word ‘Stradivarius’ . A little harsh that, especially since Paul Joyce then did just that. 2 bonuses followed on illusions. Michael McKenna, who played his part in closing out the win in the last few minutes, knew that white has 20 available opening moves in chess. 2 bonuses followed on deficiencies. Thomas Hine knew that Suetonius wrote “The Twelve Caesars” , and this brought a useful couple of bonuses on pilgrimages. But really the damage had been done, and when the next two starters went begging it was nearly all over. Paul Joyce took a starter on trigonometry, and Michael McKenna just had time to take the last starter on the Black Sea. At the end, Manchester had won by 215 to Christ Church who had 155. Well played Manchester. Hard lines Christ Church. For me the biggest difference between the teams was that Manchester had three members who were able to buzz in for starters, while Christ Church in this match were very reliant on the excellent Nimish Telang.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

When asked about astronomical units in a day , Tristan Burke offered 25. JP’s eyebrows shot towards the ceiling, and in his best Monty Python Life of Brian impression he replied “You’re making it up !”
There was a nice little aside as well, when Carmina Burana was correctly identified. “ Yes, ( grumpily ) Carl Orff. It’s the only piece of Carmina Burana anyone knows “

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

The Torino Scale measures the risk of Near Earth Objects


Jack said...

I enjoyed this match; both sides put in a good performance, and, again, neither deserved to go out this early. One can't help but wonder if the producers deliberately put the strong teams together to make sure some of the weaker teams made the quarters.

The first starter, about Garibaldi, is actually a repeat from an Oxford Brookes match last year, so I got it right this time! I can't help but laugh at how Mr Joyce got the answer from the mention of a red shirt, like you suggested the viewers might have done last year!

Mr Joyce managed a further four starters, taking his total to five, a feat equally by Mr Telang for Christ Church. The Oxonians scored 14/27 bonuses, while Manchester made 20/36, and there was one penalty each.

On Monday, UCL play Warwick; week after, a second Oxford derby between Merton and Balliol.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

The Garibaldi thing is just one of those old quizzers things. There are some questions where you just know what the answer is going to be from one part of the question - red shirts and Garibaldi being a case in point.

Thanks for the stats as always. I think we can look forward to a set of very competitive quarters. After all there's no noticeably weaker team through yet.


Des Elmes said...

As always, I agree with Jack - another great match, with neither side really deserving to lose.

(Just one little correction, though - Manchester's bonus conversion rate was actually 18/36.)

Last week, I said that Manchester would be out for revenge, as Christ Church beat them 220-170 in the 2007/8 semi-finals.

Well, they got just that - and thus they remain on course to make it seven SFs in seven appearances...

TBH, I thought Paxo's performance was rather mixed. I liked what he had to say about Mr Hine's and Mr Scratcherd's suits (apparently the "smartest attire since television went into colour"), his response to the guesses on that starter about astronomical units in a day, and what he said about Carmina Burana.

However, I was surprised that he didn't pour any scorn on Christ Church's suggestion that Antwerp is in Holland - and I thought he got a bit too ratty with them on the starter about the first Erskine Childers.

(There were three of them - the second, his son, becoming Irish President in 1973, and the third, his grandson and the second's son, working for the BBC in the 1960s before becoming a UN civil servant.)

Anyway, this series has really kicked into life now, thanks to this match and the two before.

Expectations are lower for UCL v Warwick tonight, though, since both teams won their first-round matches without being spectacular.

But then, you just never know what will happen...