Liverpool v. St. Peter’s Oxford
We’re one contest in already, and it was quite a good one too. Hoping to match that first game we had Liverpool and St. Peter’s, Oxford. According to JP the two have met in UC before, and that time it was the Oxford college who had the better of it. Liverpool were represented by Jenny McLoughlin, Jack Bennett, Ed Bretherton and skipper Robin Wainwright. St. Peter’s’ team were Isaac Kang, Jeremy Thundow, Yaroslav Sky Walker, and their captain Nathan Gower.
I have actually heard the first starter about Alien Hand Syndrome before, so I chucked in Dr. Strangelove before it became obvious where the question was driving towards. As soon as it did, though, Robin Wainwright won the buzzer race. Liverpool took two out of three bonuses on British coronations. Nathan Gower opened his team’s account, recognizing a description of the pineal gland. Wizards, as in ‘the wizard of’ followed. We were asked Wishaw (John Higgins), Riga (Mikhail Tal) and Menlo Park (Thomas Edison) , although not The Dribble (Stanley Matthews). A mental pat on the back to myself for knowing Mikhail Tal was from Riga. Jack Bennett had a good early buzz, linking the names of the author of “The Magnificent Ambersons” with the founder of the Salvation Army to get Booth – Tarkington and William respectively. The novels of E.M.Forster, film versions of – provided two bonuses. Did I ever tell you that my nan swore blind that E.M. Forster wrote “Howard’s Way”? Onto the first picture. This was hard. We had a map of Europe, and then in the place where three capital cities would be were the distances to a 4th capital city. The teams had to work out which the 4th was. Very hard, and neither team, nor me, managed it. I wasn’t that far out, since Berlin isn’t THAT far from Prague, but still no cigar. The next starter was a little cracker. I had it from – The titles of non-fiction works by which author include a reference to the venues of the 1900 and 1908 Olympic Games – which gives you Paris and London as in Down and Out in – so we’re in George Orwell territory. We also had a reference to Wigan, and another one to Catalonia before Jack Bennett took the plunge. This earned Liverpool a bonus set on more maps and distances, and they were unlucky to fail to add to their score. The Cardwell and Childers Report in the 19th century led to the reorganization of the British Army. I didn’t know that – I guessed the Royal Navy – but both captains had a pop at it, and Robin Wainwright had it. Subatomic physics offered me but little, and delivered zilch, and Liverpool looked equally lost as well. It didn’t matter too much. At just past the 10 minute mark they led with 60 – 15.
British protectorate off the coast of East Africa. Be honest, if you go for Zanzibar every time you hear those words you’ll be right a lot more often than you’re wrong. That’s what Jeremy Thundow did, and this brought up a set of bonuses on disputed islands. A full set made their score look a lot more healthy, and the competition look a lot closer. Jack Bennett had already shown an ability to buzz in the moment that the answer became pretty clear, and once the obscure definitions of the word cataract were done, and we had ‘waterfall’ and ‘medical condition’ he was in there. Fossil hominids – I think I’ve taught a few of them in my time – were actually more straightforward than they appeared on the surface, and Liverpool duly despatched the full set to the boundary. So to the music starter, and that man Bennett won the race again when we’d had a couple of seconds of Jimi Hendrix. Again, this was a lovely set – because according to statistical information collected by YouGov ( who, me? Yes, you, guv.) a significant number of people for whom University Challenge is one of their favourite programmes list Jimi Hendrix as one of their favourite performers. More of the same followed with Ian Dury and the Blockheads (yes), Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show (nyeh, not so much) and Dusty Springfield (meh). That last one provded the only bonus. Nathan Gower had an impressively early buzz to identify Nate Silver as the statistician who correctly predicted the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election. Not so impressive as an act of prediction in a two horse race, but there we are, nice work if you can get it. Human physiology provided me with my lap of honour moment, since I did know that melatonin controls the sleep-wake cycle. BY the way, in terms of ridiculous misheard lyrics I was very disappointed to see a while back that in “A Whiter Shade of Pale” Procul Harum actually sing ‘ As the Miller told his tale’, rather than ‘As the melatonin fails’ which is what I’d heard. However, I digress. St. Peter’s added no points on that set. Nathan Gower, though, had found his buzzing form well, and identified the Mississippi born author who published her first novel in 1992 as Donna Tartt. Two of my work colleagues whose opinions I valye both absolutely love Donna Tartt. I’ve only read The Secret History, and while I agree it’s well written, I’m afraid it just didn’t do it for me. Benjamin Britten and the Cinema provided two good bonuses, and at least kept them in the game. The gap narrowed more when Jeremy Thundow identified the 1850s as the decade in which lord John Russell, and the earls of Derby and Aberdeen were Prime Minister. 19th century US history sounded full of Eastern promise – er – western promise. I was pleased with myself for dredging up the Gadsden Purshase – St. Peter’s couldn’t capitalize sadly. Robin Wainwright was the first to buzz in to identify Tannhauser as the Wagner opera about a 13th century minnesanger. Bonuses on French cities meant that at the 20 minute mark Liverpool led by 115 to 80. Judging from what we’d already seen you wouldn’t have bet against Liverpool completing the win, but both teams looked as if they could post a repechage score as well.
Nathan Gower identified Blake’s picture of Shakespeare. More pictures of poets from Manchester Art Gallery reduced the gap to 10 points, and took St. Peter’s into double figures. Neither team knew the term amphibolic and so we moved on. Now, you hear Flemish Artist – and – beard – and you slam the buzzer through the desk and answer Van Dyke. That’s the theory anyway, but neither team were very quick in their response. As it was Robin wainwright buzzed in to win a set of bonuses on geology. 1 bonus pushed them close to a repechage score. The Achievement of a synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits is how Carl Sandburg described poetry apparently. Neither team got that. Robin Wainwright knew that in France, bandes dessines are comic books/comic strips. Leaders of the Lib Dems gave Liverpool a full set, and they were looking good for the win. I was well pleased in my instant answer that 1000 in binary is 16 in decimal, and when the rest of the question was asked Jeremy Thundow had it as well. Books by Nobel Laureates took their score to 120, and although Liverpool led by 35, the result was once again in question. Nobody knew that the southernmost point of mainland Asia is in Malaysia. You say Swedish dramatist, and I think – Strindberg. Why? Because I don’t know any others. Well, it would have bought me the next starter, as it did for Robin Wainwright. Birds brought another timely full set, and at 180 Liverpool were coming back for another game whatever happened. Jack Bennett – best buzzer of the evening, I think, knew that A Tale of the Christ is better known as Ben Hur. Paintings in the collection of the J Paul Getty collection in Los Angeles gave them 5 more to take them to 195. Isaac Kang knew that every King of Scotland in a given period had the regnal name James. At 130 a full set could give them a decent chance of a repechage slot. Operas premiered in La Scala gave them a chance, but they had none. Jenny McLoughlin knew that the metacarpal phalangeal joints are the knuckles. Bonuses on time zones gave them only one chance to add to their score, and they were gonged out.
Liverpool won by 205 to 130. For St. Peter’s sake I hope I’m wrong, but I have a feeling that they may miss out on a repechage slot by a couple of bonuses there. Well played Liverpool, though – the better team on the night.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
JP again seemed to have been taking his happy pills, since he even went as far as to say that the first picture starter was pretty difficult when neither team got a correct answer.
He doesn’t like Dr. Hook, does our Jez. When that turned out to be one of the favourite groups for a large number of people who love UC he wrinkled up his considerable nose and virtually spat out,
“The viewers of this programme are even older than the presenter!” That’s quite clever actually – an insult to the viewers wrapped up in a seemingly self-deprecating comment. Welcome back JP – we’ve missed you.
There wasn’t much in the rest of the contest, although his exasperated ‘What?!’ when Nathan Gower suggested Carl Sandburg as a noted exponent of the limerick hinted at better things to come during the series.
The Cardwell and Childers Report in the 19th century led to the reorganization of the British Army.