Saturday, 1 November 2014

University Challenge - Repechage Round Match 1

Open University v. LSE

Yes, it’s the first of the 2 repechage matches, pitting the Open University, who lost to an impressive Leicester team, despite scoring 190 themselves, against the London School of Economics, whose 140 against The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was just enough to let them live to fight another day, that day being last Monday. The OU were Danielle Gibney, Stuart Taylor, Kate Law, and their captain Lynne Jones. Last time out we did think that they were a little slow to get into their stride. If they could reverse this, then they were going to be formidable opposition for the LSE team of Peter Sims, Jeffrey Mo, Pedro Franco de Campo Pinto, and their skipper Jimmy Chen.

Pedro Franco de Campo Pinto took the first starter, buzzing to answer Bismarck as soon as the words ‘some damn silly thing in the Balkans’ passed JP’s lips. Now, as impressive as this quick buzz was, the LSE’s failure to answer any bonuses on Peter O’Toole’s films was far less impressive. They went with Thomas Becket rather than ‘Becket’, didn’t know Goodbye Mr. Chips, and rejected Venus, even though Rokeby was the clue in the question and they knew the Rokeby Venus. Ah well, such is life. Stuart Taylor opened the OU account, knowing that Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Dali’s The Persistence of Memory can both be found in the New York Museum of Modern Art. Good interruption, that. 2 bonuses on Pascal were enough to give the OU the lead. A very good buzz from Danielle Gibney saw her give the correct answer for the name Fourier which linked a mathematician and another man whose claim to fame escapes me now. Two more bonuses on 1914 extended the lead. I’m sure that the term ‘multiverse’ came into a question earlier on during this series, or I wouldn’t have known it for the next starter, but I did, and so did Peter Sim of LSE. A couple of bonuses on musical instruments made their score look considerably more healthy. For the picture starter I was delighted to see a map with what was obviously the town of Hay on Wye highlighted. For one reason or another I haven’t managed to make my usual half termly pilgrimage this week, but Hay, don’t panic, I haven’t forgotten you. This was taken by skipper Jimmy Chen, and it earned bonuses on locations of three international Hay Festivals. Dhaka and Nairobi they managed, but Segovia they didn’t. Not surprised. Now, when the words 1701 – and – satire – are paired in a question you can forgive Kate Law for an incorrect interruption of Jonathan Swift. Even when the works ‘Roxana’ and ‘A Diary of the Plague Year’ were added LSE really didn’t fancy it, and so the correct answer of Daniel Defoe went begging. All of which meant that at the 10 minute mark LSE led by 50 – 35.

Now I surprised myself by correctly guessing deuterium as the radioactive isotope of Hydrogen, as did Danielle Gibney. The explorer John Rae brought them the bonus that they needed to draw level with LSE. Stuart Taylor produced one of those reflex buzzes you need to win the buzzer race sometimes. Having heard the words ‘Sir Peter Blake’ and ‘cover’ he instantly buzzed to give the answer ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ which earned 3 bonuses on the internet to give the OU their first full set of the competition. The impressive Danielle Gibney gave her team their third starter in a row when she correctly identified lavender as the essential oil being defined in the question. A UC special set on pairs of words that differ only in the substitution of a final x for a final y or vice versa – eg fax and fay – promised a lot, and that’s what it delivered, a second full house. In the space of four minutes OU had turned a 15 point deficit into a 50 point lead. It was Kate Law who buzzed in to identify the music starter, and unusually I had already managed that myself. Vivaldi’s Tempesta di Mare is one of my favourite pieces, and that’s what we heard. Three more pieces pertaining to inclement weather followed. I managed one, as did OU. A lovely special starter followed, asking for the combined total of internal angles of a triangle (180) a rectangle (360) and a pentagon (540). The answer 1080 caught both teams out, and so we moved on to Taos, the artistic community of Georgia O’Keefe. Jeffrey Mo knew that this was in New Mexico. On the surface, bonuses on the Subterraneo, the underground railway of Buenos Aires (I love Underground Railways!) promised but little. However they could have done better with Belgrano, and took both Callao and Pasteur. Jimmy Chen knew that William Lenthall was the Speaker of the House of Commons who defied Charles I when he came to arrest the five members. Bonuses on Klaproth, a chemistry chappie, gave them their first full house, and significantly reduced the deficit to 20 points. Kate Law knew that the famous Thomas Hobbes quote about the life of man included the words ‘nasty, brutish and short’ – which come to think of it was a description which could well have been applied to my old PE teacher at school, Mr. Jasper. No bonuses on the 1390s meant that at the 20 minute mark the OU led by 125 – 95. All to play for.

Stuart Taylor played with fire by buzzing to identify a photograph of Michael Phelps, then taking a moment to collect his thoughts, but he got away with it. A lovely set of much bemedalled Olympians followed. Larisa Latynina eluded them, but the other two, messrs Lewis and Spitz were taken. Kate Law took a good early buzz for the term referred pain. Nobel prizes in physiology and medicine brought two more bonuses, and edged OU closer to the event horizon. It took a while, but it was Jeffrey Mo who worked out that the Oscar for Best Picture went to the Hurt Locker immediately before the King’s Speech. Ornithology provided them with one bonus – too little too late you couldn’t help thinking. Maybe not, though, since Jimmy Chen knew that Bob Dole was defeated in the 1996 US presidential election. 2 bonuses on Scottish authors reduced the gap to 35, and just maybe we could be in for a grandstand finish. Not if Danielle Gibney had anything to do with it. She knew that silicates make up more than 90% of the earth’s crust, and thus earned bonuses on former capital cities. The one correct answer increased the gap back to 50 points, and once again OU were firm favourites. Nobody knew a quote from Aristotle, and so it fell to LSE to take the next starter on works all linked by the word ‘quiet’. Bonuses on astronomy didn’t help, although it was a nicee set – the largest moon of the largest planet, the second largest moon of the second largest planet, and the third largest moon of the third largest planet. That was that. The gong went halfway through the next starter, and the OU had won by 180 – 140. Hard lines to LSE, but the OU looked decent value for their place in the second round.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

We know how JP hates it when the teams get English Lit questions wrong. Well this week he extended his repertoire to Maths. When the OU offered 15 for the combined total of all the numbers in the top row of a Pascal’s Triangle (no, me neither) his reaction was “Good Lord! No, it’s 4”. Was that really worthy of a Good Lord?
After that there was nothing worthy of mention before Stuart Taylor hesitated before giving the answer of Michael Phelps which earned a minor telling off.
JP even maintained his record of ignoring the opportunity to rub salt into the wounds, telling the LSE that they can leave with their heads held high.

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

Along with France, Bulgaria is one of the world’s largest producers of lavender. 

1 comment:

Jack said...

Not a bad match; both teams played well and pleasantly, both performing in line with their first round showings. Overall, Open deserved to win, but LSE deserved to give them a fair fight as well. A fair result.

On the bonuses, Open converted 17/30 (with one penalty) and LSE 12/24.

So, on Monday, Manchester play Sussex in the second play-off, before we move on to the second round the week after.