Tuesday, 9 October 2012

University Challenge - Round One - Heat 11

]Bath v. Liverpool

Only one more of these first round heats to go after last night’s show. Tonight’s teams represented the Universities of Bath and Liverpool. Bath , the first of last night’s teams, were represented by Joe Kendall, Adam Salvesen , Toby Smith and their captain, Matthew Wise. Their opponents were the University of Liverpool, and their team consisted of Sasha Torregrossa – Jones , Jonathan Tinsley , Agneau Belanyek , and the captain was Andy Jones. No messing about in this show, and let’s get down to business.

The man with the French christian name, Agneau Belanyek knew that Schiller wrote a drama about Joan of Arc. This earned a set of bonuses on Lord Acton, of which they took none. The second starter, on Arundhati Roy, went to Joe Kendall. The set of bonuses that followed were on National theatres. Three rather gettable questions made up the set, but all three went begging. Matthew Wise took a good starter with Lemma – a good shout that – and the bonuses on radiation provided them with the first correctly answered bonus of the night. I was pleased with myself for guessing that the Swahili word for freedom is uhuru. Or maybe I’ve heard it somewhere before. The picture starter showed us the map of a mountain range, and Toby Smith recognized the backbone of Italy, the Apennines. More of the same followed, but they only managed one bonus on the Atlas Mountains. Andy Jones that a noise made in speech, and hope of achieving something are two examples of an aspiration. Bonuses on Seneca were again gettable, although not easy, and again, Liverpool failed to answer any. The scores at the ten minute mark were interesting. Bath led Liverpool by 20 points to 40, and although 5 starters had been answered altogether, only two bonuses had been managed by either team. This, then was a match it looked like the teams were going to have to win, because a repechage slot seemed a long way off for either.

Neither knew that Yuka Sato won the first ever gold medal in the Youth Olympics, and neither did I . Neither team knew balk, and unfortunately Bath lost five for an early buzz. Sasha Torregrossa – Jones knew that King John’s mum was Eleanor of Aquitaine – for despite all the dressings up with a quotation from Shakespeare that was what the question wanted. She was also Richard the Lionheart’s mum – what were the chances of that happening, eh ? Home Secretaries brought them no relief, and they were still to get a bonus right. Matthew Wise knew greengage for the next starter. The next set of bonuses were all about feasts. They knew the first about Epiphany, but that was that. Liverpool’s Andy Jones buzzed in too early on a question about lymphocytes, allowing Adam Salvesen in with T – cells. Human genetics was the subject of the bonuses, and true to form Bath took one. This brought us to the ever popular music starter. Jonathan Tinsley was in after hardly any time at all recognizing the theme music of the film “Slumdog Millionaire” I had a feeling that this set of music bonuses would see Liverpool take their first bonus points, all being from scores of Oscar Winning films in the last few years , and I was right – they took the last on Brokeback Mountain. Joe Kendall knew that the Aleutian Islands stretch from Alaska towards the Kamchatka Peninsula, and a UC special set followed on belated achievements. They took the first bonus, should have taken the second but gave a flat rather than a jump jockey ,and missed the last. Andy Jones knew the addresses of several UK Passport offices. The set of bonuses which came next were all on military and civil honours, and I’m afraid it was the same old story. Toby Smith knew that the SI Unit of magnetic flux is the Tesla. Bonuses on Thomas Young saw them manage two bonuses this time, which took their score into three figures. We weren’t quite at the 20 minute mark, but you had to say that even though Bath only led by 50 points, you just couldn’t see Liverpool getting back on terms – even though it would only need two full sets to bring them back up level.

The second picture starter showed us Mrs. Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit.I’ll be honest, I can’t say I was surprised that neither of the teams managed this one. Nobody knew that the only two number positive integer which is twice the sum of it’s digits is 18, although there was a nice apology from Sasha Torregrossa – Jones “I’m sorry” , giggling, which had JP smiling , even if he did say “So you should be. “ Neither team guessed Alexander Graham Bell – and although I didn’t know I guessed because of 1880 – Scottish born – inventor – Washington . Andy Jones won the buzzer race to answer a question about the Bach family of composers, which brought up the bonus Dickens sketches. Nope, they didn’t. Agneau Belanyek took his second starter of the night with the Arabic word for lawful , halal. Artists born in the 1880s were actually a good set for them, bringin them 2 bonuses. The gap was down to 20 points, but it was the Bath skipper who buzzed in early to say that the State motto of California is Eureka. Do you know why I knew that as well ? Because on the opening credits of CHiPs – about the California Highway Patrol it showed a brief shot of their badge, and that had the word on it. There you go. World currencies yielded their custmary one bonus, but at least it put the gap out there to 35 points again. None of them had heard of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Neither knew that Tehran is the capital about 100 miles south of the Caspian Sea. We saw a fantastic buzzer race for the next, but it was Adam Salvesen who won, to tell us that the French for fat liver is foie gras. The next set of bonuses were on tin , and I knew stannum and pewter, but Bath didn’t. Sasha Torregrossa – Jones had a terrific buzz for the next starter, knowing that slug can also mean an obsolete measurement. Playwrights under the age of 30 yielded neither them nor me any points at all. Poor Andy Jones gave the wrong answer to the next, then corrected himself, but too slowly to get any points. When it ain’t going right for you, it never reigns but it pours. Jonathan Tinsley correctly identified St. Petersburg for the next starter, and bonuses on pain put Liverpool through the 3 figure barrier. In fact this brought up the first full set of the night. Another couple of those and Liverpool would even have won. In fact , they were only 15 points behind, and the gong had not been struck. But when neither team got the next starter, there wasn’t time for JP to complete another. Bath , always just that bit slightly better than Liverpool, won by 125 to 110. AS JP said, an exciting match, although for the wrong reasons really. Look, I take my hat off to anyone taking part in this series, or in any TV quiz, so I don’t mean any disrespect in this, but the fact is that what we saw in this show was not the greatest display of general knowledge we’ve seen from teams in this series. I may well be wrong, for first round form can be deceptive, but I have to say that unless this was an aberration I don’t think that Bath’s all round knowledge is strong enough to take them further this year.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

I noticed that JP resurrected an old favourite at the top of the show, with “Rules are as constant as the Northern star. “
When offered, instead of Lord Acton , the name of Julius Casear JP’s eyebrows shot towards the ceiling . “Born in 1834 !!” he scoffed. Then in the very next set of bonuses Bath , when asked for the name of the playwright who wrote “The Playboy of the Western World” they laughingly offered “Paul O’Grady”. I don’t know, it was a moment which reminded me of that bit in Fawlty Towers where Sybil is confronting Basil and O’Reilly, who makes the mistake of smiling through it, then telling her “I like a woman with spirit”. After which she proceeds to whack him with the umbrella, all the while telling him “Come on then, give us a smile. “ Well, JP didn’t exactly pick up an umbrella, but his reply of “ Paul O’Grady. Right.” was unnaturally quiet and all the more menacing because of it. The first metaphorical whack came when they offered the Dolomites for the Pindus Mountains in Greece . “The Dolomites ?!” he answered, wrinkling his nose as if their answer was a bad smell. Then when they offered The Steppe for the Taurus Mountains he replied “No . . . Absolutely NOT ! “ ( Come on then , give us a smile )
What I liked about both teams is that they were both willing to give it a lash tonight, even if some of their answers weren’t in the ball park, but on several occasions JP could be seen to visibly wince tonight.

Interesting Fact Of The Week I Didn’t Already Know

It was a building of the University of Liverpool that supposedly led to the coining of the phrase ‘red brick university'.


Jack said...

There's three more first round matches to go I'm afraid, Dave, not just one. (Sorry to have to correct you)

This was very much another low scoring match made watchable by entertainment value. The Julius Caesar answer was probably another case of the full question not being listened to; I saw a similar incident once, where a team were asked about an astronomer born 1877, and answered Galileo.

The stats: a very evenly balanced game stat-wise. Matthew Wise got three for Bath, which Andy Jones equalled for Liverpool, and the other six players all got two. Liverpool managed 6/27 bonuses with two penalties, Bath an only slightly better 9/27 with one penalty.

Yes, it has been a pretty low scoring series so far, but, to be fair, that's not entirely down to the teams. As James Gratrex said over on OW, there were a lot of rather tricky questions this week, and I could say the same about a lot of other matches this series. Maybe the question-setters should be a bit less ambitious, and tone down the difficulty of the questions.

Lincoln are now safely into the repechage, and, next week, UCL play Exeter.

Londinius said...

Ooops - miscounted. Sorry.

Ooh, that's a controversial idea - tone down the questions. I wouldn't go for that option myself. In any series, you're going to get stronger teams and weaker teams. I think we just have to face facts that so far the average ability of the teams has been perhaps a little bit lower than in recent series. I don't want to be unkind about either of Monday night's teams, but neither of them had the kind of all round knowledge that they'd need to do much damage in this competition. Them's the breaks.

Ewan M said...

I'm not in favour of UC adjusting the level of it's questions downwards. The show's difficulty is it's raison d'etre. Having just got 14 consecutive questions right during one of the GK rounds on this week's Mastermind (and I'm no stellar quizzer) I'd say it's fairly clear which of the two shows is maintaining standards - if anything UC has probably got a little more difficult over recent years. I thought the questions on this particular show were of a similar (admittedly high) standard to the others during the series (scoring along at home I was towards the lower end of my normal range). The contestants just weren't quite up to the usual standard this week, though to be fair there were some good answers to balance out the howlers. Fair play to the teams for giving it a go at least.

I'm almost always impressed by the standard of the participants, there have been some stellar teams and formidable contestants on this show over the last few years. UC is one of the brightest stars in the quizzing firmament, I'd hate to see it dim.

dxdtdemon said...

I've had computer problems this week, and was just wondering if you or Jack knew how many total starters were asked, including the ones that no one got.

jim360 said...

Not sure I've counted correctly, but I make it 18/27 starter questions answered correctly. I was pleased to have got Geoffrey of Monmouth when the two teams didn't - but there were several questions that zipped over my head in this one.

Some vested interest in tomorrow's match - both teams need to pass a score of 145 to keep us waiting, otherwise we're through to the repechages!