Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Round Up 3 - University Challenge - Round One - Heat 5

Queen Mary College, London v.Jesus College, Oxford

I confess that I did watch this one last night from the comfort of the in laws air conditioned front room in San Isidro. I was pleased to see a college of London University in the mix tonight. QMC has many distinctions, but close to home, the fact is that my Mum worked for several years in their Accomodation service. So they were of course doomed before the start, being cursed with support from the Clark sofa. Benefitting from this windfall were Jesus College, Oxford. The only college founded during the reign of Elizabeth the 1st was one of the interesting facts which JP gave us, which slightly mitigated my disappointment that once again their was no team member named Jones for them. Speaking of which ,the Queen Mary team consisted of Patrick Woodburn, Alastair Haigh, Michael Hammond, and their captain , Luca Cavalli, while Jesus were represented by Matt Hitchings, Frankie Goodway, Johnny Woodward and skipper Guy Brindley. Let’s go.

’A Scandal in Belgravia’ which was the second story title to pass JP’s lips gave me , and I suspect thousands of fans the name Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately Matt Hitchings just offered Sherlock, which lost him 5, and let in Alastair Haigh to supply the surname and take the first starter. We had a UC special set of bonuses early doors tonight, with clues to male names in places – eg Fort William etc. The first two fell, but they missed out on St. PETERsburg- PETERborough. Never mind. Guy Brindley knew that the Lion of the North was otherwise known as King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. This brought up Jesus’ first set of bonuses on flowers in Shakespeare. I didn’t know eglantine, but had the other two. Jesus missed out on a tricky set. Matt Hitchings atoned for his earlier error with the term tension for the next starter. Bonuses on British Islands and their wildlife brought them two bonuses, and a lot of forward momentum. Again, it was Matt Hitichings who buzzed in to take the next starter. Given a quotation from a playwright referring to his own work, he correctly judged that the work must be ‘Waiting for Godot’, and gave us the correct answer of Samuel Beckett.For his pains this brought up a set on fluvial geography. You pays yer money . . . Neither QMC, nor DGC ( me ) had a Scooby Doo, and didn’t bother to trouble the scorer. Traditionally it’s usually at this time that the first picture starter is revealed, and last night was no exception. We were given a map of western Europe with some red dots. ‘Cities of Culture’ shouted my Mother in Law, niftily beating me, and Patrick Woodburn to it. More maps with just two dots of two cities were revealed, both of which had been capitals of culture. I had Rotterdam and Porto, Jenny had none, but QMC had the first . A chemistry thing came next. Johnny Woodward gave the answer redox, which was certainly in the ball park so it seemed, but wasn’t acceptable, and QMC were unable to take it. So right on the 10 minute mark QMC had the narrowest possible lead, with 35 points to 30.

My mother in law, to my chagrin, also took the next starter, which described an artichoke. Nobody on either team got it. The impressive Matt Hitchings knew that if you put the latin word qua with rk you get a quark. Believe me, the question was a lot more difficult than it sounds from my description. The following set of bonuses on writer’s block proved difficult , and I don’t blame them for not getting any. In fact generally I found last night’s a little more difficult than any of the shows so far. Mind you, both teams missed out a gettable starter on Thomas Cromwell. One said More, the other Wolsey. Ah, all those Thomases belonging to Henry VIII. Poor man had a thing about Thomases. And Katherines. As an interesting aside, It was all Francises by Elizabeth Ist’s time, but I digress. Johnny Woodward knew that Christine Lagarde headed up the IMF in 2011. This brought up a good set on monarchs and their relationship. The second bonus – Henry II and Edward I was a wee bit tricky , and I was glad to get great grandfather. They managed one. It was Matt Hitichings who buzzed in to know that the Cenozoic, given as an example, is an Era, and in what had seemed a close contest earlier it seemed as if Jesus were beginning to exert a stranglehold upon the starters. Maths bonuses followed, of which Jesus managed to answer 2. We were treated to a music starter next . At first I thought it was Frank Sinatra, but I could see my mother in law getting ready to leap in, so I blurted out Tony Bennett. Good guess, which eluded both teams. Matt Hitchings jumped in too early on the next starter, which gave a list of place names – eg the Aboriginal name for Ayers Rock, and the capital of Uzbekistan, and asked for the connection. He went for ending in A, and knew it was wrong as soon as he said it. This let in Alastair Haigh, who knew that they started and ended with the same letter – Uluru , Tashkent eg. It had been a while since QMC had been offered a tilt at some bonuses. They were given the Tony Bennett set, with three duets from his recent album, and asked to name the other singer. Knowing that she had sung on the album, I answered the late Amy Winehouse to all of them, thus gaining correct answer to the last of them. QMC also had Andrea Bocelli for the second. A good set for them which narrowed the gap to less than a starter and full set. Well, Michael Hammond took the starter, correctly interrupting with the answer of Vivaldi to the composer ordained in Venice etc. I wonder if their hearts sank, as did mine, when they were told that the bonuses were about the artist Maggie Hambling. No disrespect to the lady, but I would never take her as a specialist subject on Mastermind. Funnily enough I did actually see her portraits of Max Wall in that exhibition ( which actually was surely in the National Portrait Gallery rather than the National Gallery itself – small point, but still, come on ) QMC took the two that they needed to draw level with Jesus. Alright, it wasn’t a very high scoring show, but it was an absorbing contest. It seemed as if Jesus got the message at this point. As soon as JP had said ‘Pacific . . . giant sculptures’ Johnny Woodward interrupted correctly with Easter Island. A UC special set followed. What were required were shorter words that could be made with any of the nine letters of epeolatry. What ? No idea. I’ll come back to that a little later. Didn’t matter . Opal – Pelota and Rote followed, two of which were managed by Jesus. I knew that John Bunyan wrote ‘Grace Abounding’ and also that a bunion is not a thing you want to have on your foot. So did Frankie Goodway. Thi8s pushed Jesus a little further away, and introduced a set of bonuses on geology.I didn’t know them, they didn’t either, and so on the 20 minute mark Jesus had a lead of 30 points, with 100 to 70. It didn’t look a lot, but this wasn’t a high scoring match, and they certainly had the momentum.

The second picture starter showed a picture from a well known novel, and asked for the name of the illustrator. I knew it was John Tenniel, but I got into a pointless argument with my mother in law about whether it was from Alice in Wonderland or Alice Through The Looking Glass . ( Rough rule of thumb – cards – Wonderland, chess – Looking Glass ). Neither knew it. Then neither team knew about the number of positive cubes needed to make 23. Not surprised. Then we had the hattrick when neither team knew that the word omelette takes its name from the shape of the dish. Johnny Woodward stopped the rot, taking the next on something to do with time, distance and acceleration. The picture bonuses then followed, with more illustrations inspired by the Alice books. 1 was taken. Reliable Matt Hitchings knew that the last male player to complete the set of career grand slam tennis singles titles was Rafael Nadal. A set of bonuses on alloys proved interesting, and I had 2, as did Jesus. Neither team knew about making surgical incisions in the eardrum. Johnny Woodward applied another nail to QMC’s coffin, knowing that the probe named after a greek goddess, sent to Jupiter must be Juno. A nice set on authors whose names began with Eu followed, and they took 2. I didn’t know Bishop Eusebius myself, although I did think that he was the top scorer in the 1966 World Cup finals. With a lead of 85 points Jesus looked home and dry. Which regular viewers will know is often the point at which the trailing team start to find their range with the buzzer. Asked for a double U word, Matt Hitchings buzzed too early with vacuum, which allowed in Alastair Haigh with continuum. Chemistry bonuses yielded nothing, but they were on the march. Patrick Woodburn knew the spirit Ariel linked Shelley and Plath. The set on US presidents wasn’t a gimme set, but they needed to have them all instead of just the first two. Luca Cavalli took QMC’s 3rd starter on the bounce, knowing that Elvis sang about moons, shoes and Christmases which were all blue. I bet they were cursing their luck at landing a series of bonuses on dressmaking terms. They’d probably have been better just quickly saying pass to each one. No more points. Neither team knew that the word cataclysm comes from the greek for deluge. Michael Hammond continued the charge by knowing the term mixed economy. But that was it. The gong ended the contest before a single bonus could be asked. Jesus won by 150 to 120. A close game.

Well played both teams – congratulations Jesus, and good luck in the next round. In all honesty I find it difficult to gauge their strength as a team. As I say I found this a little harder than the other shows, and although their score isn’t huge, I still didn’t feel that they were as profligate with the bonuses as some of the teams already through in this series. Well, time will tell.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

I had a little chuckle about JP’s pronunciation of the River Teifi. Look – I’ve lived here for 26 years, and I don’t get it right, but when he said ‘The River Teethy’ ! my welsh Mother in Law shouted words to the effect of ,’It’s Tie – V you wally !’ Those are her words, JP, if you’re reading, and not mine.

I liked the respectful use of the more formal ‘Mr. Bennett’ when referring to the singer. Almost Robert Robinsonesque, that.

Finally, just a tiny baring of teeth from JP came when QMC answered ‘pizza’ to the omelette question. JP chuckled and then replied ‘ No, not pizza. . . I know it features largely in your life. “ Miaow.

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

Epeolatry is the correct term for the worship of words.


Jack said...

Not a bad match by either means. Both sides produced reasonable performances without truly being spectacular.

I do agree that it is hard to tell how far Jesus College will progress on the evidence of last night's show. They'll need to do better on the bonuses (just 12/33 with four penalties). Matt Hitchings scored five starters for them. Alistair Haigh's three were best for the Londoners, who answered 9/21 bonuses correctly with one penalty.

True to say, it's a slow start to this series; things will hopefully pick up next week, with Magdalen College Oxford, and Sidney Sussex College Cambridge, both multiple former champs.

I wonder if you heard the Radio 4 show about UC on Saturday evening.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Thanks. I've been saving up the Radio 4 show for when I returned home, so I will probably listen to it tomorrow. Watch this space.