Saturday, 27 April 2013

University Challenge - Semi Final 2

University of Manchester v. University of Bangor

The penultimate show of the series, this, and an interesting match up. Both teams, Manchester and Bangor, were beaten in the quarter finals by UCL, who have already booked their place in next week’s Grand Final. I’ll be honest , I couldn’t pick a winner with any confidence. The team of David Brice, Adam Barr, Debbie Brown and skipper Richard Gilbert have had a lot to live up to this year, since Manchester are the reigning champions, at least for another few days. However they would have to overcome a very tough test, since the battle hardened Bangor team of Adam Pearce, Mark Stevens, Simon Tomlinson and Nina Grant are the team who gave UCL what has probably been their hardest match of the series so far. Enough of the preliminaries – let’s get cracking.

First blood went to Manchester on the King James Bible. David Brice took that one. The first set of bonuses were on Bowring, and they took one of them. Debbie Brown knew that Oscar Wilde’s tombstone has recently been placed behind glass to prevent lipstick erosion. H.L.Mencken brought them two more correct answers. Something about heating gases came next, but nobody was able to take it. David Brice had it at 273 degrees. So Manchester’s third set of bonuses were on thermometers. One was taken. Wilkie Collins’ “The Woman In White” saw Nina Grant open Bangor’s account. Bonuses on quotes from Henry James about other works of Literature and writers brought one bonus. Richard Gilbert buzzed in well to take the picture starter, identifying the flag of the Central African Republic. Other African five colour flags were given as bonuses, and they missed out on Zimbabwe. Nobody took the next starter, asking for EU member state Estonia. Stevens knew that a capella is the term that means in the chapel style. Bonuses on artists of album covers brought them another 5 points. It had been a brisk opening to the show, and Manchester had certainly had the best of the first ten minutes, leading by 65 to 30. Still, the main thing for Bangor was that they had managed two starters, and were less than two full sets behind.

Autonomic system gave Debbie Brown the next starter. Paradoxes were the subject of the next set of bonuses. I had one while Manchester missed them all. Simon Tomlinson took his first when he supplied the name of two former dictators of Haiti, Duvalier. Organic chemistry promised me little, and delivered less, ie. nothing. Bangor couldn’t answer on reagents either. A lovely UC special followed, where the teams were asked for the chemical element, denoted by the symbol which was used as the two letters at the start of a number of words. The letters were – au – and Simon Tomlinson won the buzzer race to say that this would be gold. Meso-American pre-Columbian civilisations gave another ten points, and they were now only 15 points behind. Our own Adam Pearce took ten of these points out of the lead by identifying a bar or two of Mozart for the music starter. They were given three more composers to identify, and the two they did gave them the lead. Game on! Richard Gilbert took the next starter, and the lead, with the answer Charles I from a quote about an English king. Computer languages gave them the chance to build a little buffer, but only one fell to them. Something about pi ( or was it pie? ) came next, but passed both teams by. Not surprised. Adulterine Castles under King Stephen saw Simon Tomlinson buzz in too early, allowing Richard Gilbert in to earn bonuses on French Magazines. One was taken. A great question followed – what number do you arrive at if you multiply the titles of Adele’s two albums? 19 x 21 =399. Amazingly I had it, but neither of the teams did. Mind you I wasn’t under pressure in a hot studio at the time. Nobody knew the German philosopher who had a fake Twitter feed set up in his name. Which brought us to the 20 minute mark. Despite the way that the lead had changed hands twice in the last few minutes, Manchester’s 35 point lead remained the same at this stage, as they had scored 105 to Bangor’s 70. Honours even for the mid section then, and all still to play for.

Simon Tomlinson buzzed too early on the next starter, and Adam Barr knew that elephant’s tusks are really overgrown incisors. Some Maths things followed. I didn’t get it, but they managed 2, the first of which seemed to impress our Jez. Nobody recognized a painting of Hercules for the second picture starter. Richard Gilbert buzzed too early on the next starter, allowing Simon Tomlinson to supply the correct answer of the Martin Luther King monument in Washington DC. Hercules paintings carried over from the previous starter were offered, but Bangor couldn’t name any of the creatures that Hercules faced in any of them. Alas, this was very much the story of the game. Bangor were getting starters, but just couldn’t convert the bonuses into points in this game. Mind you I doubt that Manchester’s conversion rate was that much better in this particular game, but they were ahead, and the gap was slowly widening. Adam Barr knew that Florence was the world heritage site being described for the next starter. This one brought up a set of bonuses on artists and ballet. They took the first, but that was it. Another Maths starter fell to Adam Barr, and that, as they say, was that. A lovely set on British monarchs, and the position in the succession they held at their births was delightfully tricky. Manchester failed to convert. Nina Grant knew that Francis Walsingham became Elizabeth Ist’s Secretary of State in 1573, which gave them a set of bonuses on wit. A full set would put them into triple figures, but Alexander Pope caught them out in the first. Richard Gilbert knew that if the librettist of the opera King Arthur was John Dryden, then chances were that the composer would be Purcell. Bonuses on Africa raised a laugh when the Manchester skipper asked ‘anyone know any Congolese dictator types?’. It didn’t matter, since the gong sounded, to herald a win for Manchester by 160 – 95. Very hard lines, Bangor. You made a good contest of it, but it just wasn’t your day. Many congratulations on a terrific series, though.You’ve done Wales proud. As for Manchester, many congratulations. The better team on the day, and worthy finalists.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

It’s getting serious now, and as the competition becomes more serious, so does our Jeremy. Very, very little of note in this show, although there was this comment ,”It’s giving me a headache just watching you!”, as Adam Barr struggled with a complex Maths bonus – which he answered correctly, for the record.

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

L’Express – Modelled on Time – was France’s first weekly news magazine.


Jack said...

Well, I'm afraid to say this match rather slowed down somewhat towards the end, as it became apparent that Manchester would win. The final minutes seemed to be rather slow moving.

Still, it was a deserved victory for Manchester, and they do still have the potential to win on Monday. It's fair to say, though, that most will be rooting for U.C.L., due to Manchester's always doing so well in recent times.

But very well done once again to Adam P. and co for doing so well, and reaching so far into the contest. A great series of performances that you should all be pleased with.

The stats for the show: Richard Gilbert was Manchester's best buzzer, with four starters, and Simon Tomlinson was, again, Bangor's best, with three. Bangor managed 8/21 bonuses (with three penalties); but Manchester only managed 12/32 bonuses (with two penalties), and that'll need to improve on Monday if they're to equal Magdalen's record series win haul.

So, if you want me to guess who'll win on Monday, I'd go for U.C.L., but I would not be surprised at all by a Manchester win either. Once again, best of luck to all involved, and lets hope for a good match to end the series.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Everything seems to point towards a UCL win - they have already beaten Manchester - Manchester didn't convert many bonuses on Monday - UCL have been more impressive throughout the whole series. However either team can win in a two horse race. Manchester will ALWAYS be in with a shout - success does breed success. I'm looking forward to it.