Southampton v. Manchester
Southampton, in the shape of the unchanged team of David Bishop, our own Richard Evans, Matt Loxham, and skipper Bob De Caux had a very comfortable win over Queens, Belfast in their first aurter final. They were outbuzzed and derailed by a rampant Somerville team, though, and needed to recover their momentum to make headway against a resurgent Manchester. Ed Woudhuysen, Joe Day, Jonathan Collings and their captain Elizabeth Mitchell, knocked out Brasenose in the first round, then comfortably defeated Queens, Cambridge in the second, breaking the 300 point barrier to do so. In their first quarter final match they fought a titanic contest against Trinity, Cambridge, losing out to Trinity’s turbo charged finish, but they dealt with Cardiff fairly comfortably in their second. On with the show.
First blood went to Jonathan Collings, who had proved so influential in their previous match. Early manuscripts provided another 10 points. Something Maths like about vectors proved ungettable to anyone. A number of places and names linked by the word castle fell to our own Richard. Bonuses on philosophy and religion provided 10 points to bring the teams level. Matt Loxham was very close on the next starter – offering the British Film Council, but Jonathan Collings knew that the official title is the BBFC. 5 points lost from Southampton’s total, and Manchester forged on with a bonus about my ancestral hometown of Dundee. The picture starter showed us the city of Munich, and Ed Woudhuysen knew that and the fact that the Treaty to which it gave its name happened in the 30s. This freed up a gettable series of bonuses asking for more locations and treaties and decades, and Manchester duly took two with Locarno and Potsdam. Elizabeth Mitchell identified a group of chemical thingies whose names were all derived from characters in La Boheme. The Sciences was the catch-all category for the next set of bonuses, and Manchester took the first two. I had been a good first ten minutes for Manchester. They weren’t away and clear, but were well ahead with 75 to 15. Southampton maybe at this stage were sitting on their buzzers a little, perhaps subconsciously subdued by the loss of five for an early buzz.
If you hear the name “John Polidori” you really have to answer ‘The Vampyr’, and after a while Jonathan Collings did just that for the next starter. Operas based on Greek Mythology brought Manchester another 10 points. For once the impressive Mr. Collings was in too early with the next starter. English and Welsh according to the 2011 census are the commonly spoken first languages in the UK, and he suggested that Urdu was next. Matt Loxham gave the correct answer of Polish. 19th century American presidents held out the promise of points, and they managed two on a set that were by no means gimmes. Joe Day opened his own account, knowing that the welsh poet of Yr Gododdin, and the architect of the NHS shared the name Aneurin. A set of bonuses on the Rossettis brought Manchester their first full set, and took them through the 100 point barrier. A long and complicated set of instructions from JP prefaced the music starter. Basically they had to add up all the numbers sung in a snatch of Manfred Mann’s 5-4-3-2-1. Nobody managed that. The bonuses rolled over, and Matt Loxham earned them for Southampton for knowing that the Dam on the Colorado River is named after Herbert Hoover. More adding up number totals in songs followed. 2 – 4 – 6- 8- Motorway , and Driving Away From Home escaped them, but they did manage to get the right total with 74 – 75. JP was impressed with that. Now, for all that, Southampton were trailing by some margin. At such a stage you have to make a decision. Do you sit back and let it happen, or do you go for it? Southampton, to their credit, seemed to have decided to go for it. Bob de Caux flew in for the next starter, asking about the end of a Dickens novel. He zigged with Barnaby Rudge, losing 5, and when the rest of the question was asked, and the name ‘Squeers’ given, Jonathan Collings knew it could only be Nicholas Nickleby. The psychology of emotion promised little, but Manchester managed to add another 5 points to their total. It was Richard who buzzed early on the next starter, which was a cryptic little devil, all pointing to the names of bridges over the Thames. It was like the mother ship calling me home, that question. Matt Loxham knew that E508 is potassium chloride, an alternative to salt in a low sodium diet. Good shout that. A full set of bonuses on landlocked countries took Southampton back up to 65 on the 20 minute mark. Manchester already had 125. Southampton could do it – they had proved that they could equal Manchester on the buzzer, but it was going to take correct answers, and a run of them at that.
They tried, there’s no doubt about that. For the next starter, asked which painter Ruskin championed Bob de Caux flew in, then hesitated before answering ‘Holman Hunt’. Not a daft answer by any means, for Ruskin certainly had complicated dealings with the PRB, Millais especially, but it was Turner, and all too easy for Jonathan Collings to sweep up the crumbs from that particular table. Space exploration gave them nothing. The next starter showed a caricature of Andrew Carnegie, and Ed Woudhuysen was first in for that. More caricatures of 19th and early 20th century figures in the USA brought 10 more points. Neither team knew that the 1880s saw the death of Gordon of Khartoum. Bob de Caux again went for it with the next, but it fell to Alison Mitchell to identify various meanings of the word contract. Two letter ‘scrabble words’ made an interesting, if somewhat inscrutable set. Gave nothing away. Jonathan Collings knew that the standard latin version of the Bible translated by St. Jerome is the Vulgate. Eastern Europe only provided 5 points, but it was more than enough. The lead was now 120, and there was nowhere near time enough left on the clock. Ed Woudhuysen knew that the British army surrendered at Yorktown in the War of Independence. Plants’ common names brought a full set that tok Manchester to 200. David Bishop knew Hephaestos moulded the first woman in Greek mythology. A UC special set on subjunctives in other languages allowed a full set to take Southampton to 80, and that was where it ended. Manchester won clearly by 200 to 80, and stepped over the threshold into the semi. As I’ve said before, nobody gets rich by betting against Manchester in UC. As for Southampton, very hard lines boys, but well done on your achievements this series. As for tonight, it didn’t quite work out, but you went down buzzing, and I’ve a lot of time for a team that can do that.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
In playful mood was JP in this show. Manchester skipper Alison Mitchell tentatively identified Brest Litovsk – scene of the eponymous world war one treaty signing – as Minks. “Miinnsskkk.” replied out hero, almost savouring the word for some rare or delicate flavor.
Mind you there was at least a flash of irritation as Bob de Caux buzzed early on the Turner question then hesitated before answering. JP hates that! It wasn’t quite a ‘do that again and I’ll smash yer teeth in’ moment, but it was certainly a warning.
Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
In the 2011 census, Polish was the third most commonly spoken first language in the UK.