Saturday, 10 January 2015

University Challenge - Round 2 match 7

Selwyn, Cambridge v. St. Peter’s, Oxford

The Selwyn team of Afham Raoof, Hannah Warwicker, Charles Cooper and their skipper, Joshua Pugh Ginn managed to do something which many teams have tried, but very few teams have managed, namely defeating the University of Manchester in their first round match. Well, Manchester made it through the repechage, but were then taken out by a very useful Gonville and Caius outfit. Selwyn’s opponents, St. Peter’s, Oxford, took on Sussex in their previous match, and the team of John Armitage, Ed Roberts, Spike Smith and their skipper, Gabriel Trueblood won , due in no small part to a stellar buzzer display by their captain. This certainly looked like a good match on paper.

There was a long preamble to the first question about a website, but as soon as JP said “world’s leading film website” Gabriel Trueblood started where he had left off in the first round by winning the buzzer race to say “IMDB” They went on to take two of three bonuses on Charlotte Bronte, not knowing that she dedicated the second edition of “Jane Eyre” to W.M.Thackeray. There’s a whole story behind that, which you’ll be delighted that I’m not going to tell you here. Gabriel Trueblood knew that a drug whose action is the opposite of another drug is called an antagonist. I was pleased to know retroviruses to take a point on the next bonus set, but St. Peter’s also knew lentiviruses for another 5 points. Gabriel Trueblood finished his hat trick of starters in short order with the next question, knowing the cabinet ministers who resigned at the outbreak of World War I. A UC special set followed in which clues were given to two people, and the surname of the first would also be the first name of the second, for example – CS Lewis and Lewis Carroll. Got that? I had DBC Pierre, and Pierre Corneille, Glenda Jackson Pollock (you know what I mean) and John Milton Friedman.Rather surprisingly St. Peter’s didn’t have any of them, which meant that despite their domination of the buzzer, their lead remained at 50. Now, I’ve never heard of student’s T Distribution, but Afham Raoof had, and this timely buzz launched Selwayn’s bid. Their set of bonuses was on Physics and Chemistry – basically they had to take symbolic formulae in Physics, and say which chemical elements the same letters would stand for. It was another real UC special set, and two bonuses enabled them to reduce their deficit to 30. The picture starter showed an outline of England with the location of a motor racing circuit marked on the map. Now, even if you hadn’t seen the map, Silverstone is always going to be a decent shout for this, and it was Afham Raoof who gave the answer. The link between starter and bonuses was that Silverstone first held the European GP. So we were shown a European map, with three locations which have held Grand Prix billed as something other than the GP of the country in which they are located. Imola and the San Marino GP wasn’t hard, the Nurburgring was guessable, but Dijon really required you to know your Formula 1, and neither I nor Selwyn did. Selwyn took 1 bonus. Ed Roberts was the only one who fancied a buzz at the King who was on the throne in 1266, and gave the correct answer of Henry III.Bonuses on Streets followed. Quality Street and Lombard Street escaped them, but Main Street brought another 5 points. On the next question I thought Joshua Pugh Ginn was unlucky to be pinged for an early buzz when it seemed the question might be finished, but wasn’t. Given a quotation from a Canadian Nobel Prize winning author, even when told that the writer’s most famous novel was Humboldt’s Gift, St. Peter’s didn’t know it was Saul Bellow. We were slightly over the 10 minute barrier, and St. Peter’s led by 65 to 30.

Spike Smith produced a very good early buzz to identify Harbin as the capital of the most northerly province of China. A UC special set on pairs of words that differ only in the presence of a final letter D promised a lot and indeed delivered a full set. A question on the periodic table followed. Basically you had to work out that Kilo comes 11th in the phonetic alphabet, and therefore Sodium comes 11th on the table. I hadn’t worked it out by the time JP gave both teams the answer. Gabriel Trueblood took his 4th starter, knowing that Ha Joon Chang is a name to be reckoned with in the field of Economics. Birds whose scientific name is comprised of the same word twice – eg Cygnus Cygnus, I had a full house, while St. Peter’s took two, missing out on a bit of an old chestnut in troglodytes troglodytes – the wren. Afham Raoof gave an answer to a question which I didn’t understand, and lost five points, then John Armitage had a pop, but no cigar. Apparently it was coherence. Ironic. Afham Raoof waited a little longer on the next question, but as soon as he heard “its capital is Libreville” he buzzed in with the answer of Gabon. This brought them first lines of films from the 60s. Here Joshua Pugh Ginn showed he can answer the next question before it’s asked. When given the line “They all me Mr. Tibbs” he answered Psycho. The very next line actually was from Psycho! The team managed one bonus. For the music starter Hannah Warwicker was in impressively early to correctly identify the Hebrides Overture by Mendelssohn. 3 more pieces of music inspired by a country of which the composer was not a citizen followed as bonuses. All were Russian and for each he wanted composer and inspirational country. Not easy and they did well to take one. The next starter was a good old chestnut on “Brave New World”. Asked what the letters ‘AF’ on dates meant Gabriel Trueblood knew that we were dealing with After Ford. Food crops that originated in the New World were gettable, but they only managed one of them. Now, when you hear the name “Georges Lemaitre” you slam the buzzer as quick as you can and answer “Big Bang “ That’s what Afham Raoof did. A couple of bonuses took their score to 75, 50 points behind St. Peter’s.

Well, it certainly wasn’t impossible that Selwyn could bridge that gap, but your money was probably on St. Peter’s at this point. The next starter was one which it paid to wait. Eventually it asked for the structure indicated by the word Pont in Maltese and Welsh. Joshua Pugh Ginn took that one, knowing it was bridge. Politics and dystopian fiction reduced the gap to 35. I was pleased to recognise the second picture starter as a painting by Whistler. Neither team managed to answer correctly so the picture bonuses rolled over. Spike Smith knew that Robert Herrick advised us to gather rosebuds while we may. This brought up the picture bonuses, and St. Peter’s took a full set. A good early buzz from Gabriel Trueblood identified hormones produced by the pituitary gland. John Armitage came into his onw with this set, providing them with 3 correct answers. Suddenly over the space of just a couple of minutes the gap had widened to 85, and it was going to need a comeback of Lazarus like proportions for Selwyn to pull it back now. Ed Roberts knew that John Stuart Mill (of his own free will, on half a pint of shandy was particularly ill – sorry) wrote The Subjection of Women. Bonuses on bees in literature took the gap to 105. A lovely starter asked which two US presidents since 1945 as well as George H W Bush are the incumbents who have lost elections. Gabriel Trueblood knew that carter was one, and his predecessor Ford was another. Another full set on Tudor warships followed, and St. Peter’s were well and truly over the event horizon. Nobody got something about quadratic equations for the next starter. Spike Smith guessed that Bavaria and Saxony were the two German states that share borders with the Czech Republic, and he was right. This time two bonuses were taken. Afham Raoof took his team into triple points, knowing that the party New Deal is envisaged as a left-wing version of UKIP. That was it. There was no time for bonuses, and St. Peter’s had won by 235 to 100. Well played both – good luck in the quarters.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Very little for the discerning Paxman watcher in this. Poor Joshua Pugh Ginn just couldn’t think of the name of the actor who played Norman Bates, and finally offered a despairing Alex Nixon.
“Alex Nixon, really?” chuckled our hero, but it was clear that he was laughing with the team rather than at them.
To be fair to the man he did attempt words of consolation to Selwyn,
“I thought you were pretty good, “ but then blotted his copy books by damning them with faint praise, “. . . at times.” then rubbing it in with, “You never quite hit your stride did you?” How are you supposed to respond to that one?

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

A drug whose action is the opposite of another drug is called an antagonist


Jack said...

A game that was won on the buzzer: Mr Trueblood notched up seven correct starters, which is the same as Selwyn managed between the four of them. An unlucky draw for Selwyn, who I suspect could've won either of the previous two matches before this one, but a respectable effort.

I think St Peter's will have to be taken seriously now; Mr Trueblood's buzzer skills could well see him see the side home against some of the other teams in the QFs. If he has an off-day, however, I suspect the others may struggle to carry themselves.

On the bonuses, Selwyn managed 8/19 (with two penalties) and St Peter's 24/36 (with one penalty).

On Monday, by process of elimination, it must be Oxford Brookes vs UCL. And then the QFs begin the week after.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Yes, you have to take St. Peter's seriously now. I also agree that there is a question mark over what they might do if Gabriel Trueblood has an off day. Having said that there were also similar question marks about Alex Guttenplan's Emmanuel team, and Gail Trimble's Corpus Christi team in years gone by, and they were answered pretty emphatically. That St. Peter's bonus rate improved as the show continued - had they started as well as they finished they might even have been pushing 300.