Monday, 17 September 2012

University Challenge - Round One - Heat 8

Imperial v. Jesus, Cambridge

Watching UC tonight was a frustrating experience. By tacit agreement I don’t watch UC, OC or Mastermind downstairs on the big TV ( trust me, it’s the best way of doing it for all concerned ) and so I try to watch it on the iplayer live. Try being the operative word. My far from perfect Virgin internet connection was being even further from perfect tonight. It took forever to watch the whole show. Never mind.

You might remember a very good Imperial team losing out in the semi finals of 2010 to losing finalists St. John’s Oxford. Starting Imperial’s 2012 campaign tonight were Pietro Aronica, Dominic Cottrell, Henry Guille and captain Martin Evans. Only 3 weeks ago we saw another Jesus, that of Oxford, beating Queen Mary College of London. An omen ? Perhaps. Certainly Alistair Bolger, Thomas Wood, Nina Fetherston and captain Alex Kite would be doing their best to join their Oxford counterparts.

Dominic Cottrell struck first for Imperial, recognizing some titles of works by Christopher Hitchens. Two bonuses followed on a gettable set of Queens and their (alleged ) lovers.Pietro Aronica, who was to go on to have a very productive evening, took his first starter on Lisbon. It wouldn’t be his last. A single bonus followed on non violence. A science starter, again taken by Imperial , brought up bonuses on Scientific laws, of which Imperial were happy to take a couple. A lovely UC starter followed, with various meanings of the word Twitter. Nina Fetherston jumped in too early for Jesus, and this left it to Henry Guille to supply the correct answer. A full set of three bonuses on Arthur Miller’s plays followed, and the gap was looking ominous. Still, with the memory of last week’s miraculous Manchester fightback still fresh in the memory, even JP refrained from issuing the doom laden ‘Plenty of Time to come back’ comments. And rightly so, for Alastair Bolger took the next, the picture starter which showed a map of Australia with the confluence of two rivers. He quite rightly knew that if you’re talking about two conjoined Australian rivers it’s going to be the Murray Darling. JP was impressed, and Jesus were away. 2 points on more maps of more river confluences brought a further 10 points, and now Jesus were a mere 70 points behind Imperial.

This was a gap that narrowed further when Alistair Bolger recognized a description of Camomile. 2 bonuses on the internet followed. Pietro Aronica took his second starter with Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. Bonuses on cross symbols brought another couple of correct answers to Imperial. The impressive Mr. Aronica buzzed in for his second in a row with porphyrins. Nope, me neither. Another couple of bonuses were taken on ballistics. I got the one about the word ballistics, but it was goodnight Vienna for me on that set after that one. A lovely starter on the late Anita Roddick followed. Bonuses on words made from the letters of Absolutely proved tricky for Jesus.Neither team recognized the subtitle of King Henry VI part 2, although Imperial were only 1 out.Neither team got a Maths one about volume. It was left to Nina Fetherston to recognize the titles of some songs by Bo Burnham , or as he was known in LAM Towers before tonight, Bo Whom ? A bonus on hop varieties was taken. On the music starter we were offered an overture to an opera, and asked to name the composer. Alex Kite took a flyer with Mozart after something like half a bar, but to no avail. Given a little more Dominic Cottrell recognized it was by Wagner – Tannhauser to be precise. This it transpired was the piece of music that has been played most times at the Proms – lovely bit of Triv that – and more very popular Prom pieces followed. Only one of these was taken.

Either Jesus found another gear now, or they were going to run out of time to make any impression on the lead, but once again it was Pietro Aronica who won the buzzer race. He knew that Mongolia has the lowest population density. A bonus on chemical solvents followed. Henry Guille lost five on the next starter, but Jesus couldn’t capitalize, not knowing the plant horsetail. Never heard of it myself. Pietro Aronica knew that the Louis Phillipe Monarchy was nicknamed the July Monarchy – sadly Alex Kite lost five with another slightly too early buzz. Don’t blame him for that. he was doing a captain’s job in trying to get something happening for his team. 2 bonuses on novels followed. The second picture starter followed, but neither team could identify the Athens 2004 Olympic Stadium. I thought JP was a little quick to conclude that neither team knew that Los Angeles is the biggest county in the USA for the next starter. Pietro Aronica again won the buzzer race for the next starter to say that Gaius Octavius – Octavian – was named as Julius Caesar’s heir in his will. One bonus on the Olympic stadium pictures meant that Imperial were already into the next round, with a lead of 180 to 60 and minutes to go. Neither team knew the next starter on density. Sadly Jesus lost five with another early buzz on works created by people surnamed Brown – and Imperial picked up the scraps from that one. Alastair Bolger took the next starter on Turkey, but no bonuses on zoology followed. He went on to make it a double, knowing that several flags all contained red and yellow – good shout that one. 1 bonus followed on a UC special set about public figures who have a separate Wikipedia page devoted to their deaths. Dominic Cottrell picked up the next starter with I love you in three languages. A bonus on John Milton followed, and that in its turn was followed by a starter on John Milton. It was Dominic Cottrell who was first in with Pandemonium.There just remained time for Imperial to pick up a couple of bonuses on molecular biology.

80 isn’t a great score, but Jesus didn’t seem that bad a team. It just didn’t go their way, and they were clearly second best on the buzzer. That’s life. But Imperial’s 225 was not a bad performance at all, and you never know, they could go further. This is an interesting seriesm and I’m finding it difficult to call.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Really not a lot to report. JP never broke into his stride on this show. There was just “ Well – why should you be gardeners ? “ when neither team managed to answer horsetail, and very little else. It happens.

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

The words of the late Dame Anita Roddick appeared on the edge of a commemorative £5 coin.


Jack said...

Well, it was always going to be tough, having to follow on last week's show. This week's show was certainly not as thrilling, but not bad at all.

Imperial put up a good performance, getting 21/39 bonuses; they could do well this year, if the draw is fair to them. Peitro Aronica's six starters were the side's best tally, and they incurred two penalties.

Alistair Bolger's five starters were Jesus College's best, and they got 7/18 bonuses with three penalties. They were simply unlucky on the buzzers, and, when the other team is on such good form, there ain't much you can do except keep going for it, and hope for the best.

Next week, Scotland play Wales, as St Andrews play Bangor. I believe one of next week's players has posted on here, and on Online Writings as well. So, we'd better look out for him.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack
Thanks for the heads up. 21/39 is not bad for the bonuses. Of course, we won't really know how good potentially this Imperial outfit are until they play another team. Maybe Jesus , Cambridge were slow on the buzzers ? I have to say though that they looked stronger than some of the other heat winners so far.