Right – I’m sorry that I’m so late with my review of the first show of the new series. There is an explanation, but let’s get on with the show for the moment. Episode One then, pitted the Corpuscles – Paul Taylor – Seb Page and captain Sam Kay against the Cat Lovers – Roger Johnson – Jean Upton and Captain Jim Crozier. Now, a word about Sam Kay. he is none other than the Sam Kay who was the unwitting cause of all the controversy in the 2008-9 series of University Challenge. Sam was a team mate of Gail Trimble in the magnificent Corpus Christi team who were disqualified after the grand final because Sam had in fact finished his studies and moved on ( I think ) by the time that the Final was played. Well, I said my views about this at the time. Why I bring it up is to say that Sam at least had quiz show pedigree going into the show.
Right, so what’s new? Well, carrying on with the UC theme, our Jeremy often mentions the labyrinthine, if it were not to say Byzantine complexity of the rules of qualification for the semi finals. Actually they really aren’t that complicated. Well, the good people at OC have taken a leaf out of their book. Basically a loss in round one does not mean automatic elimination. As I understand it you have to win twice in order to qualify for the semis. Lose twice, and you’re out of there. Or something like that. Anyway, it means that all of the teams in the first round will get to play again. Let’s get on with the show.
Round One – What’s the Connection?
The Corpuscles were put into bat by the Cat Lovers, and they chose to kick off, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor – or to take strike if you won’t – with or from water. Cyrus the Younger’s Mercenaries meant little to me – Eyes watching Casey at the Bat ( a popular American narrative poem ) little more – but Mo Farah’s first Olympic Gold strongly suggested 10,000. Alas, the Corpuscles zigged with 5000 when they should have zagged with 10000. I predicted the Grand Old Duke of York would be the last clue, but no, it was myriad. That was enough for the Cat Lovers. For their own first set they chose Lion and the Music set. The first was Monsoon singing Ever So Lonely. I didn’t remember the second. The third was All Saints with Never Ever and the last was Oasis with Wonderwall. Hmm. Monsoon – Lush – All Saints and Oasis all share their names with High Street Retailers. Which just goes to show how much I know about High Street Retailers. Neither team managed that one. The Corpuscles picked Twisted Flax. I didn’t know On St. Geoffrey’s Day. However On The Greek Calends, if you’ve read “I,Claudius” was a favourite saying of the Emperor Augustus, and it means never, for there was no Greek Calends. In The Reign of Queen Dick and When Dover and Calais meet confirmed it. Respect to Jim the Cat Lover Captain for voicing the second vowel in Horned Viper as he asked for it. Pictures were revealed of a position in American Football, and the Humphrey Davy Miners Lamp. Great thinking from the Cat Lovers saw them answer that the connection was Safety. Soon as they said it I could see it, but my mind certainly hadn’t been running along those lines up till then. Eye of Horus gave the Corps The Green Knight – Electric Toothbrush – Kryten – ( at which I was thinking they all had removable heads – Kryten and the Green Knight did ) Worzel Gummidge confirmed it. The Cat Lovers earned the bonus. They said that they can all change their heads – not strictly true since although the Green Knight was equally happy whether his head was on his shoulders or not, he didn’t actually swpa it for another – but it was close enough. Two Reeds finished the round for the Cats. Now, Harry Bailey was the landlord of the Tabard Inn in the Canterbury Tales. Mistress Quickly was an innkeeper in The Merry Wives of Windsor. I would probably have gambled on the Canterbury Tales and gone wrong for the first, but when she came up it became pretty clear. Neither Monseiur and Madame Thenardier nor Barliman Butterbar from the Lord of the Rings brought an instant response, but Roger Johnson saw it first, and thus a point was saved. This completed a profitable first round for the Cats, who led the Corps by 6 – 1.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
The Corps kicked off, and sadly Sam Kay opted not to voice the second vowel in Horned Viper. We saw a picture of a green rosette with a number 4 in the middle, then a yellow one with 3. The Corps came out with an ingenious answer related to the 2010 General Election, which would logically end with a blue rosette with a 1 in it. Not correct. In fact the next was a blue rosette with 2. The Cats guessed it would be red rosette with 1. Apparently the Corps had it with the first clue, but didn’t pursue it. The connection was rosettes in horse show competitions. Eye of Horus gave the Cats 17: 3 and 2 – 18: 1 and 4 – 19: 7 and 3 -. Me? No idea. I don’t think the Cats knew either, as their guess failed to hit the mark. So did the Corps. I’ll be honest, this was egg on face moment 1 of the series, since I once played darts for the long demolished Duke of Cambridge in Lewisham. So of course it would be 20: 5 and 1. I think Jim, who slapped his forehead, felt like I did. The Corps found pictures in Lion. We saw a pair of glasses – would looked like a cutaway drawing of the human male reproductive system, paying particular attention to the testes – and that was it! The Coprs buzzed immediately with watch – spectacles – testicles – wallet and watch. What a great set! Kudos to the setter who came up with that one. Two reeds gave the Cats Staff – Clef – and I knew we were probably in the realm of musical notation here. The Cats gambled with key Signature, but that was next, not fourth. The Corps offered Time Signature, and that was enough for the bonus. It was rapidly becoming a good round for the Corps. They took Twisted Flax for their last set in the round. Delta: Secondary Electrons – oh dear, Science, thought I – Gamma : Short Electromagnetic Waves came next. I toyed with making something up for Alpha radiation, but decided that discretion was the better part of valour and sat this one out. The Corps knew it – Alpha : Helium Nucleii – which Victoria hailed as a perfect answer. I’ll be honest, the last set, which awaited the Cats behind Water, was much more my level. Orville and Abraham led me to confidently predict Bart , as in successive generations of the Simpson family. Homer in third clinched it for the Cats. SO that point was enough to ensure that they finished the round 1 point ahead with 9 to the Corps’ 8.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Cats picked the Lion Wall. By a great and logical process of elimination they found the set of Toy Story Characters – Etch – Hamm – Rex and Woody.They knew that there was a set of detectives there, but time ran out, and they didn’t unravel another set. When it was resolved they saw Viral – Buzz – Live In and Guerilla and Jim offered types of campaign. I don’t know if he meant marketing, but that was accepted by Victoria. Corbis, Getty, Magnum and Alamy I didn’t get, and neither did the Cats. They are picture agencies. This left our Detectives – Marlowe – Spade – Queen and Poirot. So a total lf 4 then for the Cats.
The Corps took water. Quickly they found Clegg – Eden – Butler and Atlee – all Deputy PMs at one time or another. Babylon – Kew – Versailles and Monet they could see all had famous gardens. They could see a set of things you can pass, and I could see that this left Nobel Prize winners for Literature. They fancied Buck for something to pass, though, when it would only work with her in the Nobel group. This they seemed to work out for themselves, and resolved the wall with time to spare. They didn’t get the Deputy PMs, opting for party leaders. They had the gardens and the things to pass, but despairingly plumped for members of the Doors for the Nobel laureates. 6 points were gained from a wall which had promised more, but nonetheless this gave them a 1 point lead of 14 to 13 going into round four.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
The Corps took first blood in the vowels round. The category of sausages though fell to the Cats by 3 – 1. Cats led by one. Films with colours in the title was the next category. The Cats took the first two. Then the Corps were unlucky because they didn’t say the A at the start of A Clockwork Orange. Harsh but correct adjudication. Soylent Green gave the Corps a point back, but with the score at 19 – 15 it was looking good for the Cats. Countries that have gained Independence since 1990 promised most for the team with the better general knowledge. Now, the Corps took the first two. Then the Cats lost a point for buzzing and hesitating. If the Corps could get it, then I reckoned it would be all square. But they couldn’t, and that was it. The Cats won by 18 – 17. A good show.
Well, as Victoria said at the start, we’ll see the Cats again – but we’ll also see the Corps.Good stuff.