Tuesday, 11 December 2012

University Challenge - Round 2 - Match 4

St. George’s, London, v. Lancaster

Last week we watched our own James Gratrex and his King’s College team claim their deserved place in the quarter finals. It seems like a long time ago, but King’s were actually beaten in their first round match by the first of tonight’s teams, St. George’s London. That was in the second heat, way back in July, so the St. George’s team of Shashank Sivaji, Alexander Suebsaeng, Sam Mindel, and captain Rebecca Smoker have had a long wait for their return . Their opponents in this second round match were certainly more battle hardened. The Lancaster team of Alan Webster , Anne Kretzschmar , Ian Dickson and the captain, George Pinkerton were beaten 200 to 140 in their heat by Pembroke, Cambridge, but then came storming back to defeat the highly fancied team from Lincoln, Oxford in the play off. Back then their victory was built on great buzzer work. Would they be able to withstand the might of St. George’s, though ? That remained to be seen.

First blood fell to George Pinkerton. He seemed unsure of his answer of nepotism, but it was right. Bonuses on Infinity yielded nothing. Alexander Suebsang knew that Baroque succeeded Mannerism. St. George’s first bonus set proved similarly elusive, although they were unlucky to say Thomas Seymour rather than Jane Seymour – they obviously knew the answer. Nobody knew that a baby’s sense of touch is the first to develop.George Pinkerton answered correctly that Viracocha was the creator god of the Incas. A great UC bonus special on abbreviations for currencies came next. I knew the answers, but not the currencies they were short for. Lancaster managed the first and last of the three. Neither team knew a quote about the 1930s. Then we got onto something about physics, and St. George’s lost their last remaining points for an early buzz. Never mind – Shashank Sivaji knew all about Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus to earn them back. Chemistry bonuses took St. George’s to 20 points, just 10 behind Lancaster at the ten minute mark.

For the picture starter Alan Webster identified Lake Baikal on a map. More lakes on maps followed, and Lancaster managed two of them. A superb early buzz from Lancaster’s impressive skipper saw him answer that in Japan, Beethoven’s 9th is played – well, the answer was so quick we never found out when it’s played. The bonuses on archaic terms used in works of literature saw their score rise to 75. Sam Mindel knew that the language Jesus was supposed to have spoken was Aramaic. Textiles proved difficult for St. George’s, and they managed one. A physics thing about the Doppler effect followed, but nobody had it. Molecular Gastronomy provided Sam Mindel with a second starter. The next set was about meteor showers and again only one was taken. Being about halfway through the game we had the music starter. We heard Placido Domingo singing Annie’s Song – and I had it right ! Don’t know how I knew it, but I did. Neither team knew it, and so the bonuses rolled over. George Pinkerton knew the definition of a palimpsest when he heard it, and this earned more classical singers , singing more modern songs. Only Pavarotti yielded points. Fair Isle foxed Alan Webster, but Sam Mindel was in for the points. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was a turning point in the fortunes of both teams, even if St. George’s could only take two bonuses on Hong Kong. George Pinkerton lost five on an early buzz, but Alexander Suebsang knew that the Decameron and other works appeared in the 14th century. National sports of the Americas brought the charging St. George’s team a full set. Sam Mindel took the next on Avogadro. Scientific stuff ( stop me if I’m too technical ) brought one bonus. So this eventful couple of minutes put St. George’s ahead by 115 to 180 at the 20 minute mark.

Alexander Suebsaeng knew that “Weave a circle round him thrice “ is a line written by Coleridge. Julian Barnes brought them a single bonus.George Pinkerton doing what a good skipper should tried to seize back the initiative with an early buzz on the picture starter, but sadly it only earned a 5 point deduction. JP seemed highly impressed when Alexander Suebsaeng identified it as the work of Casper David Friedrich. More landscapes followed as bonuses.One bonus was taken. George Pinkerton wasn’t yet finished, and he buzzed in early with the answer of Karl Popper to take the next starter. Educational acronyms ( YAWN ! ) brought Lancaster two bonuses. Alexander Suebsaeng knew that Tacitus wrote the Annals and the Argicola amongst others. A good UC set of bonuses on words ending in – ora followed, and St. george’s took 2. Sam Mindel knew that there is a Stalingrad station on the Paris Metro. Bonuses on politicians brought another two bonuses, and you have to say that St. George’s looked to be passing beyond the event horizon. I take my hat off to George Pinkerton , though. The Lancaster skipper, often ploughing what looked like a lonely furrow for his team last night, kept plugging away, and took the next starter on the words censor and censer. Letters of the alphabet and vitamins brought Lancaster a handy full set. The impressive Alexander Suebsaeng knew that the given name of the author of the Magic Mountain was Thomas. Hotels were worth two more bonuses to his team. Ian Dickson finally muscled his way into the show with a starter which correctly identified Angola as an anagram of a type of clock – analog, see. Poet’s known by their initials and their full names followed. A nice old chestnut set this. It only brought them 5 more points though. Sam Mindel knew a set of stars, and this brought St. George a set of Maths questions I could actually answer on Bases.Neither team knew telluric current . Nope, me neither. Shashank Sivaji knew that if a University is named after Erasmus, then it’s most likely in Rotterdam, his home town. The bonuses on Irish food festivals didn’t promise much, but as the gong went anyway it really didn’t matter. A win for St. George’s by 230 to 140. Well played St. George’s – you could easily have been forgiven for losing heart when Lancaster took a healthy lead after the first ten minutes. Hard lines Lancaster, but well played in the series anyway.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

George Pinkerton earned an early telling off. St. George’s had already answered wrongly, and so he buzzed in, hesistated, and gave an answer. JP wagged a finger and said “Next time you buzz in you must answer straightaway. “ He didn’t add – or I’ll smash yer face in – but I ‘d like to feel that he was thinking it. We have occasionally noted in the past that JP can sometimes be susceptible to the ladies. In this show he seemed very much to fall under the charms of the St. George’s captain , Rebecca Smoker. In the last ten minutes of the contest, she offered the answer “Rimbaud” as in the French author, and JP started giggling, saying “ I misheard you. I thought you meant the Sylvester Stallone character . “ Then when the St. George’s skipper offered “Lowry” for the painter Joseph Wright of Derby, you could sense the sarky answer being forced back down his throat as he merely chuckled “As in LS Lowry ? No, not at all.” and smiled winsomely at her.

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

The national sport of Argentina is Pato


jim360 said...

The second highest-scoring match of the series so far, I believe! St. George's looking fairly strong. In fact so far all the teams through to the quarters so far, dare I say it, have earned their places.

I think one of the best parts of the episode was seeing Mindel's scandalised face when he got those two early interruptions wrong. "How?! No way!" his expression said. Came good in the end, though.

There's a pause in transmission while we're treated to another series of Christmas University challenge featuring some alumni of various universities. It will be interesting to see how many are former Uni Challenge contestants again - if so I think their teams will be safe bets to dig into the competition.

Jack said...

This was a match well played by both sides. I agree with James that all four teams currently in the quarters have earned their places there.

For St George's, it now comes down to two things: the luck of the draw, and the buzzer strength of Messrs Suebsaeng and Mindel. Both answered six starters for tonight, as did Mr Pinkerton for Lancaster. St George's managed 20/39 bonuses, Lancaster made 14/24, and both sides incurred two penalties.

So, now we break for the festive season. Christmas University Challenge begins Monday, and continues all week. Then it resumes on New Year's Eve, and, again, continues all week. This year, we appear to have seven first round matches instead of five. I presume the four highest scoring winners will go through, as per last year.

joe said...

Funny how some strong teams seem to have a player (or players) who seem to answer no questions at all. Lancaster's Anne Kretzschmar didn't answer a single question in this episode.

dxdtdemon said...

You may have known that Placido Domingo had sung that song because he did duets with John Denver, who is more known for that song.

Londinius said...

Hi All

Jim - re: Christmas University Challenge - I think that we may well see a LAM regular playing in one of the teams.

Jack - wise words as always.

Joe - Yes, she didn't have a very productive evening, but that is the way it goes sometimes. Just one of those quizzes where the questions don't fall for you.

Hi dxdtdemon - maybe so, though I don't recall it.