Saturday, 29 August 2015

University Challenge: Round One - Heat 7

Christ’s Cambridge v. Kellogg, Oxford

An Oxbridge match usually gets the adrenaline flowing, and last Monday’s contest matched Christ’s of Cambridge with Kellogg of Oxford. Representing Christ’s we had Vivek Midha, Joe Kitchen, Evan Lynch, and their captain Douglas Morton. On the other side we had Jake McBride, Victoria Ball, Simon Dismore and skipper Jonathan Finlay representing Kellogg. So let’s get on with it then.

You don’t have to be a hardened UC viewer to feel your buzzer finger twitching when you hear the words miners’ safety lamp. Vivek Midha was the first in with Humphrey Davy. Invocations of the Muse was the subject of the first set of bonuses, and this proved barren for Christ’s. Douglas Morton knew that Bangladesh became independent in 1971, and this earned another set of bonuses, this time on St. Thomas Aquinas, and this was more fruitful, yielding two correct answers. For me Septimus Harding was the giveaway that JP was looking for A Trollope for the next starter. Simon Dismore opened Kellogg’s account, although he didn’t sound at all sure of his answer. Two bonuses on noble gases brought them into the competition. I really liked the picture starter, even though I didn’t get it right. It showed a diagram of a constellation, and the greater the magnitude of a star, the larger the dot representing it. None of us knew it was Gemini. None of us knew the definition given in the next starter referred to pink noise. Douglas Morton recognized the latin axiom we call Occam’s Razor, and this earned the constellation bonuses. I’ll be honest, the only one that I got was Orion as well. That took them to 45, as opposed to Kellogg’s 15.

Douglas Morton had a very good early buzz to identify the name of Barcelona’s Olympic stadium. Bonuses on Peter Morgan’s scripts about the Queen or Tony Blair brought another five points. Victoria Ball knew about Gesellschaft. Gesundheit. One bonus on political Garcias brought them to 30 points. Evan Lynch knew that oxygen and silicon make up about 70% of the Earth’s crust. Alchemical terms took their score to 80. On to the music starter, and nobody knew the Habanero from Carmen. I knew it was from Carmen, but no cigar for that. Vivek Midha knew that Super 8 is the format which was much used by amateur filmmakers. Bonuses on classical music took them to 3 figures. Maybe JPs words of encouragement worked at this point since the Kellogg skipper, Jonathan Finlay came in to answer that Curtmantle, Rufus and the Merry Monarch all had the regnal number 2. Now, bonuses on Banksy installations brought a slight controversy. Asked in which tourist attraction Banksy had installed a likeness of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner, Kellogg answered ‘Disneyland, Florida’. Now, as we all know, DisneyLAND, the original, is in Anaheim California. Orlando, Florida is home to DisneyWORLD. Since the answer was the original, JP would not allow it because they appended Florida to the answer. For what it’s worth I think the adjudication was correct – judging by the answer they meant Disneyworld, which was incorrect. Harsh, I know, but fair. The one correct answer they managed took them to 45 as opposed to Christ’s 100 on the cusp of the 20 minute mark. I’m sorry to say it, but I was finding this particular match quite slow going.

Onto the last mad gallop, then. Joe Kitchen knew that the Giant’s Casueway is made of basalt, and buzzed in impressively early. For some reason it gave me huge pleasure to hear Roger Tilling intone ‘Christ’s Kitchen’, but then that’s my problem, and I’ll just have to deal with it. French intellectuals and philosophers brought their score to 120, and I doubt that anybody seriously thought that Kellogg were going to be able to come back now. The second picture starter brought up the word Hungarian in Hungarian. Now, I don’t know Hungarian, but I do know that anything starting with the word Magyar is going to be related to Hungary, as did Douglas Morton. 2 more of the same were correctly answered as bonuses. Joe Kitchen knew the Fowler Brothers who worked on the Concise English Dictionary. A UC special set on words composed of letters in reverse alphabetical order sounded more difficult than they were and again Christ’s added two more bonuses. The two countries in the world with the definite article as part of their official two word names are The Gambia and The Bahamas. Douglas Morton supplied the former, which was all that was required for the next starter. Poor old Kellogg seemed completely demoralized at this point and just couldn’t find their buzzing range at all. Bonuses on the regnal name Theodore brought a rare full house, and that momentarily took the wind out of Christ’s sails, allowing Jonathan Finlay to identify Apatosaurus and Diplodocus as Sauropods. They took one bonus on bridges. Joe Kitchen resumed the Christ’s march on the second round, knowing that Gray wrote ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’. The almost inevitable two bonuses on fish took them to over 200. The gong ended the match before we had time to complete the next starter.

So Christ’s won by 205 to 60. Kellogg weren’t brilliant, and you have to say that they’re probably not one of the best team’s that Oxford could boast. But with UC, when it comes to assigning places in the series the overall quality of the teams within a collegiate Uni, or within an area, isn’t the only consideration. I’m neither saying that’s a good nor bad thing, just that it is what it is. As for Christ’s, that was a good performance, although it is difficult to judge just how good, and I doubt we’ll really know until they come up against a better team on the buzzer in the next round.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP for some reason best known to himself seemed to find Victoria Ball’s suggestion of the Whale as the constellation starter rather ridiculous. One sensed a sarky rejoinder was hovering on his lips. However JP has always seemed to be susceptible to an attractive lady, and so he choked back the chortle. He also laughed at Douglas Morton’s irreverent suggestion that Peter Morgan’s screenplay about Tony Blair and Bill Clinton was called Sooty II. Well, quite.

I didn’t think that Kellogg were doing that badly, but just past the 15 minute mark JP felt obliged to tell them that there was still plenty of time, which as we all know is guaranteed to make your spirits sink as it’s the closest UC has to a kiss of death. JP seemed surprised that Kellogg could bounce back from this to answer the next starter, as he murmured “impressively quick.”

The generally light hearted tone of the proceedings continued when Christ’s suggested Jaques Chirac as one of a set of French philosophers and thinkers. JP rose to the bait and replied, “I don’t think you could call him an intellectual by any stretch of the imagination. “ Yes, Jez, that was the point. I wonder if he’d have said the same if they’d said Marcel Marceau or Pepe le Pew?

You have to give it to JP. He makes you think that he’s gone soft, telling Kellogg that they had come and taken part, and that was the main thing – quite right, but then he had to go and remind us that the iron fist could come out of the velvet glove at a moment’s notice, saying “You did what you could . . . which wasn’t very much.”

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

Ununoctium (which I did know about) is actually the 7th noble gas. This renders a question I asked in a quiz last Sunday incorrect. 


Jack said...

Pretty one sided match to be honest. I didn't think Kellogg were that bad, but they were easily second best here. Christ's looked decently impressive here, but, as you say, we'll need to see how they cope against a better team before we can judge their true potential.

On the bonuses, Christ's managed 19/33 and Kellogg 5/12 (with one penalty).

So, on Monday, Sussex play Queen's of Belfast; week after, a rare first round Cambridge derby, between King's and Sidney Sussex.

Londinius said...

Thanks Jack - that Christ's bonus rate isn't too bad is it. I'll be interested to see how they do fare next round - as yet we haven't seen many teams who I think will absolutely blow anyone else away at the moment.