Last night’s show pitted the University of Lancaster against last year’s runners up, Pembroke College Cambridge. Pembroke’s team this series were Robert Scanes, Emily Maw, Jemima Hodkinson and their captain Tom Foxall. Their opponents were the University of Lancaster, who were Alan Webster , Anne Kretzschmar , Ian Dickson and the captain, George Pinkerton.
Kicking off, Alan Webster knew after the name Rachael Whiteread was mentioned that the gallery in question was likely to be the Tate Modern, That’s how I guessed it, anyway. This brought up a set on libraries. They took the first and the last. Lawrence du Gard Peach meant nothing to me, but Tom Foxall knew or guessed that his 20 books in the Adventures in history series were published by Ladybird. Pembroke’s first set of bonuses were on critical responses to Hardy, of which they answered 2. Robert Scanes knew about Fluorine for the next starter, earning a set on recreational Mathematics. Hmm – knew one on me. I had magic square, though. And Durer. And Franklin ! I had a full set , and so did Pembroke. Ian Dickson knew that Louis Phillippe created the Foreign Legion. Roman Emperor’s wives and mothers gave them 2 more bonuses. It was starting to look like quite a high quality show, as the picture starter hoved into view. A relatively soft one this, and Tom Foxall identified new Wembley Stadium, and the architect , Sir Norman Foster. Three pictures of more Foster constructions made up the bonuses, and Pembroke managed two. I’ll be honest, I didn’t get the Maclaren building either. I was delighted that Alan Webster buzzed in early on the West London area with the film studios – none other than my home town of Ealing. Financial terms didn’t offer me much for the bonuses, and Lancaster couldn’t do that much with them either, with them only getting the last. Still , at least they led by 65 to 55 at the ten minute mark. This was a good game so far.
For the first time in the contest neither team could take a starter, the one about ‘roué’ – a little more about that later on. Tom Foxall, the ‘lead from the front’ captain of Pembroke, recognized a series of people who were all linked through their surname Fiennes. Bonuses on scholarships proved a little tricky, but they still managed 2. The next starter is one I haven’t heard for some time, needing the answer an annular eclipse. It was Robert Scanes who took that one. I didn’t do brilliantly on the bonuses about the human brain , but again Pembroke managed two of them. There was certainly daylight appearing between the teams now. This moved us on to the music starter, and I surprised myself by guessing Stravinsky correctly, even though it proved to be beyond both teams. Cell and Cello were the answers to the UC special which came next, and it was Anne Kretzschmar who provided them. This gave Lancaster the music bonuses, all pieces of music connected with birds. They only managed the cuckoo for the last, after some deliberation, but at least this set provided us with the best JP moment of the night. George Pinkerton continued the Lancaster fight back with the answer that the word ossuary comes from the latin for bone.Much to the delight of a whooping supporter. A great Geography set on –Stans was worth every point they earned for it. Neither team jumped right in on the next starter, and Robert Scanes seemed almost as if he couldn’t quite believe that it was as simple as the word rasp – but it was. Bonuses on adjectives which share the suffix – acious put the Pembroke express firmly back on the rails. I’ll be honest, on a bad night I couldn’t write hepatic portal vein, let alone say it, but that’s exactly what Jemima Hodkinson managed for her first starter answer in response to the next . The fact that the next set of bonuses were all on chemistry did not fill me with hope, but Pembroke were happy enough to take one.Perhaps a little surprisingly neither team recognized Michael Sheen playing Hamlet in the second picture. He’s Port Talbot’s latest favourite son. Still, it took us nicely up to the 20 minute mark, and Pembroke led now with 150 to 95.
Pembroke would possibly get into the repechage if they didn’t add a point to their score, but Lancaster were going to have to start to motor. Tom Foxall knew that Holbein painted Henry VIII, which earned three more pictures of actors playing Hamlet. They were all from the 19th century. They didn’t get any, although they made JP chuckle. Tom Foxall knew that the heir to the throne of Spain is the Prince of Asturias. The set of bonuses on ‘second coming’ I liked. I knew the Yeats quotation, but then I should, it’s my job. No more points were taken. George Pinkerton knew that districts of Japan are called Prefectures. A great UC set on Shakespearean stage directions followed. These weren’t easy at all. I had a couple, but there was no way I could get the second one. Poor Lancaster didn’t manage any of them. At least Lancaster were now into three figures. I liked the starter where they had to name an element named after an area bigger than a single country. George Pinkerton took my answer of Americium. The bonuses required naming the PM when there were a particular pair of Home and Foreign Secretaries. They didn’t manage a full set. Jemma Hodkinson pulled Pembroke a little further away again by knowing the play Accidental Death of an Anarchist. This brought up letters in Physics. Bad luck to them on the second bonus – can’t explain the question, but they were expected to get it to within 100th of a degree. That they got it within a degree seemed impressive enough to me. Right then. The next one was something about a feedback system – and honestly, you’re lucky to have got that much of the question from me. Whatever it was, Robert Scanes had the correct answer with positive. 1 correct answer on film adaptations took them up to 200 points, which is the mark of real quality in this year’s series. Lancaster couldn’t win, but they could at least give themselves a sniff of a repechage slot, and so it was important that Ian Dickson came up with the Little Ice Age for the next starter. Another 5 points on John Paul Jones brought the contest to a close. The final score was 200 to Pembroke, and 140 to Lancaster. This was a good show, and a good contest, despite the disparity between the scores by the end. Does that make Pembroke a tip to go one better than last year ? Too early to burden anyone with the Clark tip yet – but they played well.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
Physical humour provided us with JP’s first entry to the lists in this show. When Lancaster were deliberating over the second music bonus he held his forehead in one hand in an exaggerated pantomime of frustration and boredom. Is there no end to the man’s virtuousity ? What next – bursting into song with a rousing chorus of ‘Why are we waiting ? ‘ Who knows ?
That was my favourite moment, but there was nice little acidic barb when Lancaster dithered on their answer to the Michael Sheen picture “ No we can’t hang around or else we’ll be here all night !” But would that be such a bad thing Jeremy ? I think not.
Interesting Fact Of The Week That I Didn’t Already Know
The French term ‘roué’ originally meant one whose behaviour meant that he was worthy of torture by being broken on a wheel.