Saturday, 31 January 2015

University Challenge - Quarter Final Round - Match 2

Oxford Brookes v. St. Peter’s , Oxford

Oxford Brookes, in the shape of Simon Joyce, Paula Ayres, Stephen Mayes, and skipper David Ballard have already done some damage in this competition. They knocked out Jesus, Oxford in their first round match, and UCL in their second. Their opposition, John Armitage, Ed Roberts, Spike Smith and their skipper, Gabriel Trueblood, of St. Peter’s, Oxford, had defeated Sussex in their first round, and Selwyn, Cambridge in the second. Now, you probably shouldn’t single out individuals for their performances, but a number of commentators were particularly intrigued to see how well the St. Peter’s skipper would do this week, after a couple of stellar buzzer performances thus far.

The first starter was very long and involved, as first starters often are, and you hadn’t to lose sight of the fact that eventually the key to the question would appear. In this case it was ‘1793’ and ‘famous Historical Work’. Stephen Mayes won the buzzer race to give the correct answer of Edward Gibbon. Areas which feature in BBC coastal weather forecasts provided them with one bonus. Gabriel Trueblood opened his account, recognising a potted history of the city of Strasbourg. This earned a set on large numbers on which we both scored a full house. A rare incorrect early buzz from the St. Peter’s skipper gave Oxford Brookes the chance to answer on the baobab tree, but they couldn’t. I was a bit surprised neither team knew the term ‘romanesque’, but not as much as JP. Both teams are experienced enough at this game that they knew enough to wait for the clinching clue in the next question, before going for the buzzer. Asked for a specific method of transport rendered obsolete by Dunlop’s pneumatic tyre it was Simon Joyce who won the buzzer race to answer penny farthing. A set of bonuses on the island of Java proved unforgiving. This took us to the first picture starter, and it was Simon Joyce who recognised the logo of Plaid Cymru with any helpful lettering removed. So far the team hadn’t exactly been lucky in the bonuses that had fallen to them, and they weren’t exactly lucky with the picture set. This featured logos of other European political parties which, like Plaid, operate under the European Free Alliance umbrella. They managed 1 with the Viking Party. Do they send out a lot of spam, I wonder? JP offered us a quotation about a composer. It sounded like Beethoven – Gabriel Trueblood offered Beethoven, and it was Beethoven. A UC special set of bonuses followed. The team had to identify capital cities of Asian countries from the chemical symbols from which they can be spelled. Phew. Not quite as difficult as it sounds, but getting on that way. They took a full house. Which meant that despite trailing in terms of starters answered, St. Peter’s actually led at the ten minute mark – 45 – 40.

Gabriel Trueblood took starter number 3, knowing the term stent. Authors with the surname James only provided another 5 points. Spike Smith took the next starter, knowing a number of clues that all added up to Nickel. Protozoal diseases of humans didn’t promise a great deal, if truth be said, but the skipper is a medical student, and he made short work of these. He also knows classical music too, since he very quickly recognised Albinoni’s Adagio for his 4th starter. 3 more blockbusters from the Co-op’s list of most requested musical pieces for funeral services provided just the one correct answer on Elgar’s Nimrod. Never mind, it still brought up triple figures. Starter number 6 for the St. Peter’s captain was provided when he knew that Zhang Zhou is associated with Taoism. Observational astronomy provided another 5 points for the total. Spike Smith took his second starter by recognising a definition of irony – well, it’s like goldy and bronzy, but it’s made of iron (Blackadder the Third? One of the Blackadder series anyway). There was some laughter when JP announced that their bonuses were on potatoes. Having said that, though, they still took two bonuses. A relatively simple mental arithmetic question – add the number of pawns on a chessboard etc. – which just required you to keep up with the different elements of it, saw Gabriel Trueblood take starter number 7. The team only took one bonus on palaces, but it really didn’t matter. They had completely shut out OB for this middle section of the contest, and had a lead of 110 points.

Spike Smith, the able lieutenant of the St. Peter’s team took his third starter by identifying a portrait by Cezanne. 3 more portraits of the art dealer Ambroise Vollard followed, and they identified the artists of 1 more portrait of the same. Now, whenever you hear the words ‘district of Seoul’ in a question, you press your buzzer and say ‘Gangnam’. That’s what Gabriel Trueblood did to take his 8th starter. Physics starters did little for either of us, although the team managed one more than I did – namely 1. Finally Simon Joyce managed to claw back another starter for OB, knowing that Tom Bradlye had been a mayor of Los Angeles. They went on to take two bonuses on the historical term – the Pale-. Gabriel Trueblood took starter number 9, knowing that the acronym SALIGIA is taken from latin words for the 7 Deadly Sins. Good shout. Bonuses on fictional books asked for the author and the real books in which specific fictional books appeared. 2 more correct answers added 10 points to the score, but the contest was already over. It was just a matter of what the final score would be. Neither team knew the Prague school for the next starter. It was Simon Joyce who won the buzzer race to correctly answer that Napoleon Bonaparte created the Legion D’Honneur. A bonus on Botany pushed OB within one set of a triple figure score – but was there time to get it? Gabriel Trueblood took his tenth starter knowing that the word comet is derived from the Greek for long hair. Eritrea provided a full set of bonuses. Starter 11 for Mr. Trueblood followed immediately afterwards, since he knew that Angola shares the same three flag colours as Belgium and Germany. A UC special set on years that only contain two different digits only gave time for one correct answer before the gong.

The final score was 240-80. We all know that you win as a team, or you lose as a team, but even so this was another highly impressive performance by Gabriel Trueblood. There’s a long way to go in this series yet, and anything can happen, but no team will fancy playing against St. Peter’s now.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Just when you thought that giving up Newsnight had mellowed JP for good . . . When asked for the architectural term Romanesque, neither team managed to get the correct answer. This earned this withering blast,
“No. Don’t know much about architecture either of you.”
He was back to rubbing salt into wounds at the end of the show as well, saying to OB, “I’m afraid you got a bit whipped there, Oxford Brookes, didn’t you?”

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

There is a variety of potato called a Vivaldi


Jack said...

A result that most of us probably expected, and I would have to say St Peter's will be considered lukewarm favourites to win the whole series now.

Of course, there is still the issue of whether Mr Trueblood's colleagues can pick up the slack if he has an off-day; given this was probably the final show before a recording break, we shall have to wait and see if he maintains his ability into the next match.

I think you may have slightly miscalculated Mr Trueblood's starter tally there Dave; I make it ten myself. His side managed 23/38 bonuses and Oxford Brookes 6/15, where our man Simon Joyce (asphinctersays) was best with four starters.

On Monday, I am informed it is Durham vs Caius, which means it must be Trinity vs Magdalen the week after.

Stephen Follows said...

Selwyn, Oxford?!?!

Londinius said...

Hi Stephen
Oxford, Cambridge, same diff (joke!)


Hi Jack Sorry if I miscounted on the starters - I was away the day we did Maths at school.

Simon Joyce did well not to get disheartened by the way that St. Peter's shut them out during the middle of the contest, and to come back and still take some more starters. OB are not out of the contest yet.

Adam Lewis said...

Slight correct/random trivia, if I may!

The Viking Party was actually the Pirate Party. The logo may or may not look familiar - it's essentially the official political party wing of the Pirate Bay filesharing service. Yes, the same one the Swedish and other governments have been repeatedly trying to shut down and that is now inaccessible (legally) in the UK. They've actually got some representation, having clearly appealed sufficiently as a protest vote to a big enough demographic.

Entertaining contest again, though it does seem that Trueblood again largely - though not entirely - carried his team. Against a team who lacks such a player, OB will fancy their chances. I hope the scoreline doesn't bother them as much as Paxo seemed to imply it might, because they're a better team than that.

asphinctersays said...

Thanks for the kind words, Londinius. I was just getting beaten to the buzzer by Mr Trueblood throughout, fair play to him, he was just a bit too quick for me. I was pleased with my performance on balance, just a shame the other guys couldn't get into the game more.