Bangor v. Aberystwyth
Well, an all Welsh affair brought this year’s first round to a conclusion. Not Swansea, sadly, but you can’t have everything. Aberystwyth were represented by Simon Thomas, Matthew Campbell, Daniel Guy and their captain, Ned Bishop-Harper. I’m sure that many of us remember Bangor’s heroics from the last series, and so I had half a feeling that they might go well again this year. They were Owain Jones ( from Swansea, do guaranteed support from the Clark sofa) Daisy Le Helloco, Anna Johnson, and their skipper, Catriona Coutts. On with the show.
The first starter concerned different people who had made portraits of the Queen – whether or not any of them were the one in the pocket of the fireman with an hourglass we will never know. Daisy Le Helloco was in for that one. Nice to see South Sudan rearing its head again in the United Nations bonuses, which Bangor took, missing out on the others. Daisy Le Helloco was in for her second starter in a row, knowing the term nuclear family ( Homer Simpson – “It’s nucular” ) This brought up a nice set on Kit Marlowe, and Bangor were perfectly happy to take the full set. Anna Johnson knew ( and I guessed ) that the brain burns a fifth of all the glucose in the human body, thus earning the first Paxman well done of the evening. This brought Bangor’s third consecutive bonus set, on chemical bonds. Now, you’ll know that my track record on Science questions is frankly appalling, so you can imagine my joy when I threw out the term ‘covalent bonds’ in answer to the first bonus, and I was right! Alright, I was nowhere near with the other two, but at least Bangor also had the second. The next question offered a presidential quote about irresponsible bankers. Now, I really enjoyed Matthew Campbell’s offer of Herbie, rather than Herbert Hoover. I defy anyone to show anyone looking much less like a Herbie than Herbert Hoover. Sadly this was not correct. Neither team knew that it was really FDR. As soon as you hear the title “A Vindication Of The Rights of Women” your finger has to fly for the buzzer, and this time the race was won by Ned Bishop-Harper, who wiped out his team’s deficit and put them into the black. Bonuses on trees provided another 10 points. The picture starter focused on jerseys for the different competitions in the Tour de France. Inevitably we began with the polka dot jersey. D’you know, I think I once red that in France it’s called the red peas jersey, but I may be mistaken on that. Catriona Coutts supplied Bangor with the correct answer of King of the Mountains. Now, if you follow the Tour de France, then you’d have had all three bonuses. I’s dare say that Bangor’s team don’t, because they only managed the maillot jaune of the leader on the GC. Not to worry though, the lead was a comfortable one for Bangor at the 10 minute mark, 75 to Aber’s 15.
Owain Jones took his first starter of the contest, knowing that several churches, including that of Santa Maria Assunta in Pisa have leaning towers. A UC special set on pairs of names – the surname of the first person being the given name of the second. These sets are usually gettable with a little thought and consideration, and Bangor duly took a full house. Aber were issued with the dreaded words of encouragement from JP, yet for once it seemed to work, as Daniel Guy buzzed in with a great answer of Nicomachean Ethics for the next starter. Nope, me neither. Words of indian origin provided two more correct answers for the team. Daniel Guy took the next starter, knowing that Santorio Santorio ( there was a name shortage going on in 1561 apparently) studied metabolism. 2 bonuses on Saturn certainly put a healthier complexion on Bangor’s score giving them 55 to Bangor’s 100. A piece of music from a genre that shares its name with a type of dance was the subject of the music starter. Matthew Campbell chanced his arm with polka, unsuccessfully. Catirona Coutts supplied the correct answer with Tango. You know when you’ve been . . . Mambo brought them points, samba and jive, not so much. Daisy Le Helloco buzzed in with the correct answer that The French Lieutenant’s Woman is connected with Dorset. Bonuses on Art brought them nothing, though. A list of Queen Victoria’s sons in law brought back memories of a Mastermind specialist subject I didn’t get to use, with her daughters. Neither team could get the right relationship. Simon Thomas identified a piece of writing by John Locke ( one of England’s vaunted International Philosophy team’s midfield trio of Bentham , Locke and Hobbes ) in support of the Glorious Revolution. A good UC special set followed on words that can be made using any of the letters in the word marzipan. These, too, are often gettable, and Aber made no mistake taking a full set. The gap was now down to 45 points, and an idle thought that just maybe we were going to see a team who had suffered the indignity of being given Paxman encouragement come right back and maybe even win. This looked even more plausible when Daniel Guy made a very good early buzz, recognizing the scientific name of potato blight. After rejecting the correct answer of macaque for the first bonus on primates they took the next two. This meant that at the 20 minute mark the score stood at 125 to 100 in Bangor’s favour, and it was looking like anybody’s game.
A portrait of Victoria Woolf (the great Clive James, who once worked for Penguin books, said that jacket photos of her and others of the Bloomsbury Group reminded him of a horse breeder’s catalogue. Cruel but accurate. ) gave Daisy Le Helloco the second picture starter. Bangor didn’t get any of the three pictures of female writers that followed. A question of Thomases followed, for the Chancellor executed in 1540. One offered Wolsey, the other More, but it was actually Cromwell. Owain Jones knew the work of Albrecht Durer for the next starter, and the Bangor wagon was rolling again towards the second round. English place names suffixed with Wick followed, of which Bangor took two. Simon Thomas struck back for Bangor with Calcium Carbide. No bonuses on Henry VIII were taken, and Aber were still lagging, with not a lot of time remaining. Owain Jones knew that Ontario is the second largest of the provinces of Canada. Bonuses on regular polyhedra followed. I have to say that I thought the first was a bit simple. It was dressed up with guff about faces of a dice, but basically it just wanted to know how many faces a dodecahedron has. Actually I had a full house on these, while Bangor managed two. Nobody guessed that George Gallup founded the American Institute of Public Opinion – well, something like that. Nobody knew that the unit of energy sharing its name with a desert formation is an erg. Good questions. Catriona Coutts knew that the perennial favourite, the Vicar of Wakefield, was written by Oliver Goldsmith. 3 well earned bonuses on Spanish cities put them, by my reckoning, over the event horizon and into the second round. Catriona Coutts identified a Tolstoy quotation about Nietzsche to earn bonuses on members of parliament and the counties containing their constituencies. Two pushed the score even higher. Nobody knew that the smallest country in South America is Suriname. Catriona Coutts, very much warmed up now, won the buzzer race to identify William IV as the last Hanoverian King. There was only time for one bonus on oxides , which neither Bangor nor I could manage, and the gong put an end to the contest. You have to say that Bangor were pretty good value for their win, although the final score of 230 to 110 doesn’t really show the strength of the Aberystwyth fight back up to the 20 minute mark.Well played Bangor – good luck in the next round.
It just fell to JP to announce the four teams that have made it through to the repechage – they are : -
Durham – 170
Loughborough – 155
Southampton – 155
Christ Church, Oxford
Plenty to look forward to.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
It was only about 11 minutes into the show when JP issued his dreaded “Still plenty of time to get going “ to Aber. Thus was the kiss of death applied to their chances.
I think our hero must have realized that he’d doled out famine rations to his fans in this show, and so he added to his congratulations to Bangor “Nicely democratically arrived at too.” Huh ?
Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
Switzerland is the only European country ( with the exception of states from the former Yugoslavia) to join the United Nations since 2000