History Boys v. Oxonians
What’s that I hear you say – haven’t we had a team called the History Boys before? Well, yes, in the second series. Rob Hannah, Gareth Kingston and Craig Element lost in the first round to the Rugby Boys, eventual series winners, and back then if you lost your first round heat, then that’s it, you were out. Well, this series’ History Boys team consisted of Rob Hannah, Gareth Kingston and Craig Element. That’s right! It’s the same team. So the policy seems to have changed to allow teams to make a comeback in another series. (Hmm – what do you think about it, Gary and Neil?)Rob, Gareth and Craig are all friends of mine, and all very good quizzers, and so The History boys instantly marked themselves out as among the favourites for the series. Their opposition the Oxonians (work it out for yourselves) faced a tough ask indeed. They were John Jenkins, Ian Hughson, and captain Justin Floyd.
Round One – What’s the Connection?
The Boys picked Lion, and immediately received the music set. We heard what sounded like Mack the Knife in German. This was followed by Comme d’Habitude – or My Way as we know it. As did the Boys, I said that it had to be original versions of songs later translated into English to become hits. Nice gentle opener that. The Oxons (hmm –sounds like an early 70s Dr. Who monster, does that) earned my admiration for picking Horned Viper and voicing the second vowel for their very first pick. Pope John XX rang a vague bell in my memory, but the Travelling Wilbury’s vol 2 took the biscuit. You see, one of the questions we had in the CIU quiz the day before actually mentioned that there was no Travelling Wilburys vol2 , although there was a vol 3. They never existed – I said, even though they did have follow ons – John XXI etc. Australian Open 1986 was next, and the real clincher for any good quizzer was 3 – 13 September 1752. Only 1 point, but it’s better safe than sorry. Eye of Horus gave the Oxons The Biography of Great Men (Carlyle) – A race between education and catastrophy (Wells) – and immediately I thought that these were quotations,rather than titles of works, and that they were referring to History. The boys weren’t there at this stage, and took A set of lies agreed upon (Napoleon). At this point the proverbial penny dropped, and they took it for 2. The Oxons took Twisted Flax and started with Henry Pym. Now, they correctly identified Henry – or Hank – Pym as the real identity of Giant Man (despite Victoria’s explanation of the answer saying that he wasn’t). He was also, when he took the shrink option – Ant Man. Trouble is, he also had another identity. Emberiza Citrinella didn’t mean a great deal, although Flavivirus Febricis rang a bell. Yellow fever would give lemon tree for the second – lemon yellow – and fit with Hank Pym’s later identity – Yellowjacket. This was confirmed by Musical subaqueous craft. (Actually the Cavern Beatles were really, really good the other night). The Oxons couldn’t see it and so it moved back to the Boys. They won’t look a gift horse like that in the mouth. Two Reeds gave the boys – Guernsey – Jersey – (cattle and channel islands being far too obvious) –Balaclava. Clothing named after places looked a good shout, and when they took the 4th clue and bikini came up it looked to be a very good shout indeed, and so it was. A Guernsey is the sweater worn by Aussie Rules players. The Oxons finished with Water and the pictures. Ken Dodd’s Teeth, and Merv Hughes moustache made me go for insured parts of famous people. That was what the Oxons rightly thought, and it gave a timely boost to the score. At the end of the round the Boys led by 7 – 4.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
The Boys started with lion. Now – as soon as I saw Moore: Dr. Kananga I thought – allo, five pointer here. Dr. Kananga was the first villain to Roger Moore’s 007. So working forwards, Le Chiffre would be first villain to Daniel Craig. The Boys thought so, and they duly received their 5 points for having the confidence to go for it without taking Dalton: Gen. Georgis Koskov. Once again Justin voiced the vipe in the way we like it at LAM Towers, and received 1st: The Aqueduct. Funnily enough this was not greeted by the words – five pointer here. Ian looked to have the rationale – being part of the famous – what have the Roman’s ever done for us bit of Life of Brian. But what came fourth? They knew sanitation was in there, and it was second. They knew the roads would be there and they were third. Healthcare they had fancied from the start but sadly it wasn’t. Nor was it education, which was the Boys’ punt. It was irrigation. Bad luck on picking that one. The Boys went for Eye of Horus and had 6th: Heresy. One of them immediately said parts of Hell – and I was sure they were right – circles of Hell in Dante’s Inferno. – 7th: Violence – 8th: Fraud suggested we were looking for the ninth circle, which, being a lover of Dante’s work, I knew to be Betrayal . The Boys had sins, but not the Dante connection, and opted for drunkenness. The Oxons offered treason, which was close enough for me, and I’m glad that Victoria accepted it. Two Reeds gave them the chance to capitalize on the bonus with some pictures. Now – We had Pep Guardiola in the first. A man in a 70s singing group came next, whom I guessed was one of Gladys Knight’s Pips. The third was definitely Iggy Pop. The next vowel being U, I predicted a picture of a pup. The Oxons couldn’t see it – ah, I thought – bonus back for the Boys here. I was right. Twisted Flax gave the Boys Savannah – Isla – George . I had no idea, but it looked like Craig who not only worked out that these were the Queen’s great grandchildren in order of birth, but that Mia Grace – Zara and Mike Tindall’s daughter – is the latest ( though not for much longer). Water again remained for the Oxons. A rather straightforward one with Mortimer 1961 – gave them a chance of a five pointer. Angela Mortimer won her Wimbledon singles title in 1961 – and working forward this would mean Andy Murray 2013 was the 4th. They took Haydon-Jones 1969- and the real clincher, Wade 1977. This salvaged a point for them. Going into the walls, the Boys led by 15 – 7.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
The Oxons led off with Water. Straight off they could see that there was a set of penguins there, but the first line they isolated – Bolt – Holding – Jones and Marley were all famous Jamaicans. It looked like Justin who first saw a set of words which can be preceded by elbow – and suggested the tactical move that they first isolate the penguins. They proceeded to do just that with Rockhoopper – Emperor – Fairy and King. They took out three of the Elbow words, and then tried to work out what would remain. The tactic looked flawed when they put in the 4th elbow word – and it was wrong. Not to panic, though. Another go isolated Macaroni – spin – joint and room. This left Carrie – Basic – Hairspray and Grease. They went for musicals rather than John Travolta Films, but still, gentlemen, it was a pleasure to watch you go about dismantling that wall. Well done.
Lion gave the Boys a wall which looked overloaded with possibilities. So much so that it was a little while before they isolated their first set, towns in SHropshire with Shrewsbury – Ludlow – Madeley and Wellington. Very cleverly they isolated a set of words the first component of which was an animal; - cathode – doge – boarding – bath. Trouble is that it left hardly any time to unravel the last two. They’re probably kicking themselves that they thought of boots earlier and never came back to it, since when the wall was resolved – Chelsea – Gum – Snow and Cowboy made one line, while the other – Bolt – Bond – Churchill and Coward they didn’t see were English playwrights. Such is life. The walls then allowed the Oxons to eat a little into the lead, but the Boys were still ahead by 20 – 14.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
Things that come in twelves fell two apiece. TV talent shows went 3 – 1 to the Boys, and that, I felt, would do the trick, and secure the win. They include or contain cabbages was the third category and went two apiece. I was pleased to see music hall songs next, although not sadly – Whoops Mrs. Miggins, You’re Sitting On My Artichoke (Blackadder c. 1989) The one we had time for went to the Boys. So the final score was 28 – 19. A convincing win, but the Oxons look to have plenty of fight left in them. Well played all.