Tuesday, 23 October 2012

University Challenge - Round One - Heat 13

New College, Oxford v. Homerton, Cambridge

Well, since I reviewed OC first last week, I thought it was only fair to kick off with UC this week. Who did we have, then? As JP said, one of the oldest of the colleges of Oxford University played one of the newest of the colleges of Cambridge University. Representing the older college were Remi Beecroft, India Lenon, Tom Cappleman, and skippering the side was Andy Hood. The Homerton outfit, being one of the youngest teams in the whole competition with an average age of 19, were Jack Hooper, Michael Angland, Drew Miley, and their captain Luke Fitzgerald.

Andy Hood was first in to take the first starter, a relatively gentle slow ball on Hansard. The first bonus set focused on 18th century history, and New College were happy enough to take two of them. Tom Cappleman, who, like his skipper, was to go on to have a very good night indeed, took his first of the evening, knowing that there are 150 psalms in the Old testament. It certainly wouldn’t be his last starter. One bonus was taken out of a tricky set on obituaries of American writers which appeared in the New York Times. Leonhard Euler followed – not literally, but in the form of the answer to the next starter, and it was Andy Hood who supplied it. 2 bonuses on a former winner of False Nose Wearer of the Year, Tycho Brahe, were correctly answered. The Homerton captain, Luke Fitzgerald, now stepped, or rather buzzed, in to stop the rot, recognizing the member of De Stijl who was being described as Piet Mondrian. I thought they coped splendidly on a UC special bonus set, with questions on capital cities and their scrabble values – taking a well-earned full set. Rather surprisingly, neither team managed to identify a diagram of a reef knot. Another starter on the term Flip flop passed as well, and it was only when Andy Hood answered on The Multiplier Effect that the rest of the knots, which were the picture bonuses, could be unveiled. I was pleased with myself for getting two of them, which was one more than New College mentioned, but it didn’t matter. They were pushing ahead. Neither team knew the Trojan asteroids – neither did I , but I knew, as did Michael Angland, that Samarkand was the capital of Timur the Lame, or Tamburlaine as Kit Marlowe called him. Bonuses on effects proved elusive. Still, it narrowed the gap, and at the 10 minute mark New College led by a bridgeable 70 points to 40.

Andy Hood maintained his team’s momentum by being the first to buzz in to say that David Rudisha had beaten the venerable world 800m record at the Olympics in 2012. Neologisms provided the bonus set, of which they managed a brace. Jack Hooper came in for the next starter, on the term muscovite – a metal as well as a native of Moscow. Good shout that. 2 maths bonuses closed the gap to manageable proportions again. Neither the teams, nor I had heard of Georg Cantor, so let’s move on to the next starter after that. Luke Fitzgerald was first to buzz in to say that the Kellogg – Briand Pact was engineered by representatives of the USA and France. This brought Homerton a full set of bonuses on name changes, and narrowed the gap even further. My favourite starter of the night followed. The question was – the chemical symbol of which element when reversed becomes an article – “Na – that’s sodium !” I shouted, a full millisecond before Tom Cappleman buzzed in with the answer. Great little buzzer question that. New College didn’t fancy any of the bonuses on Ken Russell. The music starters followed, and Remi Beecroft took it for New College, recognizing the theme of the film “Halloween”. The bonuses were on other films of the horror genre, but only Nightmare on elm Street was correctly identified. Michael Angland took his second starter, knowing that in 1983 the US had landed troops on Grenada. 2 fungal bonuses were gratefully accepted. Tom Cappleman, who had now assumed the role of strike buzzer from his captain, knew that the new Nobel prize in 1969 was for Economics – a good old pub quiz chestnut, that one. 2 Turner Prize bonuses were taken. Tom Cappleman took the next starter – which was a mathematicky thingummy (stop me if I get too technical.) This introduced a lovely little set of bonuses where the team was asked to give the title of a children’s book, based on the titles of some of its chapters. 2 were well taken. Tom Cappleman took his hat trick with the next starter, recognizing a painting of the city of Bath. More paintings of English cities followed, and they identified the first. That Cappleman spurt had done a lot of damage to Homerton, and at the 20 minute mark New College led by 170 to 105.

I don’t blame Luke Fitzgerald for buzzing early on the next starter, but he lost five on the game Go, and let that man Cappleman in again for his fourth starter in a row. 2 river bonuses just added to the agony. At last Michael Angland broke the Cappleman stranglehold, recognizing types of Arabic calligraphy for the next starter. Sadly the Homerton team failed to convert any of the bonuses on graduates of the University of Manchester into points. Neither team knew that the winner of the ‘Lost Booker Prize’ was J.G. Farrell. Likewise the Small Magellanic Cloud proved equally elusive. Still, Luke Fitzgerald knew that the Earl of Beaconsfield was Benjamin Disraeli, but again points proved hard to come by on a set on Royal jubilees. Andy Hood knew that Samuel Butler’s Erewhon is an anagram of Nowhere. (Which incidentally is the derivation of the word Utopia, as well.) A great set of 3 bonuses was taken by India Lenon. The match was over, but Homerton were into triple figures, and had been since before the 20 minute mark, and were in with a chance of getting a high enough score for a repechage place. So much was still to play for. Tom Cappleman was in the way though, and he answered the next starter about the Korean calendar. Astronomy bonuses were too difficult for them to answer or me to follow. Drew Miley took a starter on a Fibonacci sequence number, but they couldn’t convert this to bonuses on Amsterdam. Andy Hood lost 5 on a flugelhorn, but Homerton couldn’t capitalize on it. The gong was on standby as Tom Cappleman answered the last question, that the adjective Pontic refers to the Black Sea, and that was that. A very good win for New College with 230 to 145. Well played New College, but then well played Homerton too. A good match.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP pickings don’t come much slimmer than they came in this show. The most memorable comment that he made – “Obviously none of you were in the scouts” when they failed to identify the reef knot – frankly wasn’t memorable at all, and wouldn’t have even merited a mention in a normal week.

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

If you count the Mississippi – Missouri as separate rivers, then the longest river in the world to flow through a single sovereign state if the Yangtse.


Jack said...

I wouldn't exactly call this an exciting match, but both teams gave an impressive account of themselves and both deserve to return in some form.

The problem for me, as you say, was the lack of any real entertainment, which even the low scoring shows of recent weeks have been enlivened by. I did notice a brief smile from Paxo after Michael Angland answered a question about Arabic, which he is studying!

Mr Angland got three starters for Homerton, joint best tally with Luke Fitzgerald; the side answered 14/24 bonuses. Tom Cappleman answered an impressive eight starters correct for New College, which led to 19/39 bonuses. Both sides incurred one penalty.

So, Homerton join Lincoln and King's in the repechage. Next week's runners-up need to equal or better their score to join them. Next week, UC regulars Warwick play my local uni, Aberdeen.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Thanks as always for the stats.It's funny that JP didn't seem that into this one. There we go.

jim360 said...

I don't think it's ever mattered, but what would happen I wonder if you have five high-scoring losers? Probably would depend on the score of the other team.

Good luck to Aberdeen!

jim360 said...

A hearty sarcastic congratulations to the RadioTimes website for revealing who the fourth high-scoring team is, since the first match features Lincoln College, Oxford and that fourth team (which isn't Homerton or King's). Oops!

That kind of kills the suspense on Monday...

Londinius said...

Hi Jim

I'm afraid that it's not the first time that the Radio Times have been guilty of this. I'm fairly sure that they printed the details of who was in the final of my series of Only Connect before our semi final had been broadcast.

jim360 said...

No indeed not the first time, nor for uni challenge. I think last year they published the finalists before the semi-finals in the same way as for your Only Connect match. Such a shame that they don't notice things like that. "The first of two high-scoring loser matches" would have done just as well.

Anyway, I'll be featuring in the second of the repechages. So see you then, huh?

Watergrass Jon said...

As a point of pedantry, David Rushida didn't break a venerable world record at the Olympics - it had already broken the record twice in 2010, and now holds 6 of the 8 fastest times ever.