History Boys v. Linguists
Virginia Fassnidge, Gail La Carbonara and skipper Tom Fassnidge of the Linguists defeated the Chessmen in their first round contest – a great result that, and then went on to beat the Oxonians to qualify for this quarter final round. As for the History Boys, well, Rob Hannah, Craig element and Gareth Kingston also beat the Oxonians, this time in their first round match, then won qualification by beating the Felinophiles in their second. Myself, I thought that the History Boys were favourites – sorry guys – but then what do I know?
Round One - What’s the Connection?
Kicking off the Hists picked Lion. We saw a bookie’s board with the odds for the Eastleigh By Election. Then we saw some ropes with knots in then a clock pointing to 3:20. Finally we saw some grains or cereals. Huh? I didn’t get it – the Hists didn’t get it and the Lings didn’t either. They are all things you can go against. Fair enough but let’s be honest, it certainly isn’t obvious even if you have all 4. The Lings found the music set. I had it about the same time that the Lings did, off the third clue – Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf. That was a song by a band named after a work of literature. The previous ones were by Belle and Sebastian, and the Fall, and the last would have been by The Divine Comedy. The Hists next opted for Eye of Horus. We had W: Andy Williams – O:Alice Cooper, in honour of Groucho Marx. Now – here is a fact. I knew that Alice Cooper paid to restore the O in the Hollywood sign. I did not know that he did it in honour of Groucho Marx, nor did I know that Andy Williams paid for the W – but I guessed. Rob knew it, and we both had it off 2. The Lings opted for water. We kicked off with Chilean Ski Resort. Nope. Guatemalan President. Nope. Opening in Spanish. Now I know a couple of words which give that sort of idea, but not enough to have gambled on it. However this was one of those where it became blindingly obvious with the last clue. MP for Enfield Southgate (1984 – 1997) was clearly Portillo. That was just enough for the Lings, who went for words starting PORT, but had it with the second bite of the cherry. Now, Gareth never lets me down, and this time was no different as he asked for Hornèd Viper. Susan , as the boys said, could have any number of connections – surely it wouldn’t be the Pevensey children from Narnia? No for Surajprasad was next. Actually that rang a bell. That is the S. in V.S.Naipaul. Staples, the next clue, is the S in C.S.Lewis. I guessed that Stearns would be the last – as in T S Eliot. I was right, but the Boys had already answered it off three before we saw it. Left with two reeds we kicked off with – Sol-Y Luna Y Cielo Proclaman – which I guess means something like The Sun The Moon and the Heavens declare. Significance I could only guess at. Nxa u fika e khaya uzojabula came next. Huh? Nie o Gott o guter verliesht didn’t help me. How I wish I could enumerate – Aha! It’s pi mnemonics in different languages. I just May I Have A Large Container of Coffee. Nobody saw it, so it ended 5 – 3 to the Hists.
Round Two – What Comes Fourth?
The Hists kicked off with Lion, and the first clue was Jordan. Hmm – too many possibilities. The second was Midland, and the third, Spyker. So Jordan was obviously the formula 1 team, which I thought eventually mutated into Force India, so that was my answer. Gareth was on the right lines with Formula One, but went for BAR, which I believe began as Tyrell. The Lings didn’t chance their arms. Right then, Twisted Flax gave the Lings 2012/13: £8,105. Huh? 2013/14: £9440 meant nothing to me either. I think the Lings had the principle – Income Tax Allowances, but not the right answer. As it was the Hists took a bonus with 2015/16: £10,500. Gareth went for the viper again, and this time earned a picture set. Now first off we saw the flag of Panama. As the boys themselves noted there was more than one plausible sequence which could develop from this, so they took the next one. This one was Malta. Hmm – interesting. Was it countries with 3 a’s – then 2 a’s – then 1 then none? No – since the next flag was Taiwan. I didn’t notice the connection, and neither of the teams had it. But you have got PamaMA – MALTA – Taiwan. So Angola would have done nicely. Two Reeds gave the Lings Hogshead. Was this as simple as barrel sizes? Well, the second was barrel, so by my reckoning that was firkin for an easy 3 points. Yes, for the last was kilderkin. If they knew it. I could guarantee that if they didn’t, the Hists would. They didn’t know this old quiz chestnut – and frankly they were lucky that the Hists didn’t choose that set as I think they’d have had a five pointer, or a three pointer at least. As it was they took the windfall. Eye of Horus, then, gave the boys One Vine. Next we had a polo chukka. Next we had standard office hours – 9 to 5. I‘ll be honest, I didn’t get it any more than the Hists did. Yet the Lings knew that a vine is six seconds long. I did not know that. A chukka is seven minutes – office hours is 9 to 5 – 8 hours, and so their answer, a perfect one, was the reign of Lady Jane Grey. 9 days. They utterly redeemed themselves in my eyes with that answer. Water gave the Lings Makemake. I knew that is a dwarf planet, and so my nothing to lose five point answer was Ceres. Haumea told me I was right, and Pluto confirmed it. Now, the question was – did the Lings know the name of Ceres, for I was sure that the Hists would. The Lings didn’t know it. Now – my answer of Ceres would have had the point as it was the answer given – but the Hists went for Eris which is larger than Pluto. Point duly given. The Hists thus extended their lead to 8 – 4.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
With ground to make up the Lings kicked off by quickly isolating a group of cabbagey vegetables – escarole – orache – kale and bok choy. There was a set of Somerset towns they went for next – Chard – Minehead – Wells – Yeovil. With plenty of time they spent a lot of time working out the next two lines. I could certainly see a set of MPs and former MPs sent to prison, and after one wrong attempt they got them – Stonehouse – Aitken – Huhne and Fields. (Fields? Gracie? W.C.?No, Terry) This left Bart – Olenska – Archer – and Frome – None of us knew that they are all characters in Edith Wharton novels. Fair enough.
A good 7 points still left the Hists with a chance of stretching the lead. They worked methodically to isolate the correct set of fictional bears – Iorek Byrnison – Paddington – Biffo – Baloo. Famous twins soon fell the same way – Grimes (Jedward) – McWhirter – Kray and Winklevoss (Claudia?) . The last two lines were isolated as sooty – ivory – red billed and glaucous. They zigged with terns when they should have zagged with gulls. Which left Bunyan – Herring – Wingrave and Budd – all from Benjamin Britten operas. 7 points, which meant they led by 15 – 11.
Round Four – Missing Vowels
I loved the first set – reasons why its fun to stay at the YMCA. These fell 3 – 1 to the Lings, halving the lead. The second set was a good old OC special set – quiz show and non quiz show – example Mastermind Your Language. 2 – 1 to the Hists. They Mean a Long Time fell 3 – 1 to the Lings. Hardly any time left, and a 1 point game. In fact , there was no time left – which meant that the Hists won with 19 to 18. A fair result, as I think they had shown superiority in two rounds to 1, with honours even in the walls. Well played Linguists though, never outclassed, and could even have forced a draw at the end. Good game.