University of Reading v. Imperial, London
Welcome to tonight’s edition of the clothes show. Oops, sorry, University Challenge. Yes, no media gnashing of teeth over this show’s contenders after last week’s vestgate. Reading’s respectively dressed contenders were Macdonald Ukah, Jan Kamieniecki, Lewis Blackshaw and captain Sammie Buzzard. Imperial’s equally unspectacularly clothed crusaders were Ben Fernando, Ashwin Braude, Onur Teymur and skipper James Bezer. JP, on the other hand, was wearing an electric blue taffeta ball gown, a diamond encrusted tiara and a gimp mask. Not really – usual grey suit and mauve shirt and tie combination.
I loved the first two Adrian Mole books that I knew the answer to the first starter as soon as JP said the words “I was racked with sensuality” – and to be fair Lewis Blackshaw didn’t need too much more. He earned a set of bonuses on the historic counties of Scotland of which Reading answered 2. The second starter asked which element is 4th heaviest of group one of the periodic table. Now, amazingly, I worked out that it would be potassium. It was a bit early for me to do a lap of honour round the living room, so I stayed seated as Ben Fernando gave the right answer for Imperial. Centenarians looked like a tricky set, but it provided one correct answer. James Bezer knew that susceptibility to hypnosis is rated on the Stanford Scale, and this gave the team a set of bonuses on Abel Tasman. I always prefer an able Tasman to a useless Tasman, me. Full house for Imperial. You sensed that it would favour Imperial when JP announced we’d be seeing a representation of a mathematical construction for the first picture starter, and you were right to do so, when Ben Fernando quickly gobbled up that it was something to do with Mandlebrot. Gesundheit. For the bonus set we had three more fractals. My mind went bye byes for a couple of minutes, but when it came back Imperial had earned 2 bonuses. Jan Kamieniecki knew that the IOC HQ is in Lausanne. Computer programming languages brought them one bonus. This was the third time in recent weeks that I’d heard a question focusing on the fact that Morrissey’s autobiography was published by Penguin Classics. Works by Tom Stoppard meant that by the 11 minute mark Imperial led by 80 – 35.
I didn’t understand the next question, but the answer was oogamy. Fair enough. Nobody else had it either. I guessed that Tanzimat referred to something which happened in the Ottoman Empire, as did Onur Teymur. Given three bonuses on volcanic eruptions Imperial managed two. For the music starter Onur Teymur identified a wee bit of Ludwig Van, and added one bonus. Jan Kamieniecki knew that Paisley shawls were named after the town west of Glasgow, and Reading managed two of the bonuses on Anglo Saxon rulers that followed. James Bezer knew the computing term defgramentation and came in with an early buzz to say so on the next starter. A full house on planetary astronomy impressed JP, and he awarded the team a relatively rare ‘well done’. Ben Fernando buzzed immediately that JP said PPP to give the answer purchasing power parity for the next starter, and it was starting to look very ominous for Reading. Boroughs of New York City brought 2 more correct answers. McDonald Ukah was the first to buzz in with the spelling of diphthong, and this brought them one bonus on people born in Bombay or Mumbai. For the second picture starter we saw Timothy Spall in the role of JMW Turner. James Bezer was the first to say so. More photos of actors playing notable artists brought one more bonus. Now at the ten minute mark Imperial were home and dry with 175, while on 70 Reading needed a huge effort to get into a repechage slot.
A good UC special starter saw Ben Fernando first to figure out that if you combine the initial letters of the capitals of Cuba and Croatia you get the symbol for hertz. They took one bonus on the Karakorum desert, but missed out on one by getting their Kublai mixed up with their Genghis. Ashwin Braude worked out that you can get from the Gulf of Guinea to the Med crossing a minimum of 3 countries. Reflexes only brought one point – and sadly none of the answers involved saying that a reflex is an only child who’s waiting in the park (ask your parents about that cultural reference). McDonald Ukah knew that the 2nd emperor of Rome was Tiberius. A gentle set on the Book of Genesis followed – they took two but failed on that old quiz chestnut, the mighty hunter before the Lord, who of course is Nimrod. When expressed as a hexadecimal, C is the letter of the alphabet represented by the number 12. Nope, me neither, but Ashwin Braude had it – pretty quickly too. Imperial picked up one bonus on the Bank Of England, but they really ought to have known that James Watt’s partner on the £50 note is Matthew Boulton. Their tails were well and truly up though, and none more so than Ashwin Braude. Who took another starter knowing that the landlocked country surrounded by a group of others that JP mentioned in South East Asia is Laos. They took one of three bonuses on DH Lawrence. Not a problem for them today, but we’ve seen how profligacy on the buzzers can catch up with you in later rounds. Ben Fernando knew that Mole Day is observed in commemoration of Avogadro’s Constant. Fair enough. A couple of chemistry bonuses took them over 250. That man Fernando knew that the summer triangle consists of Deneb, Altair and Vega. A 300 pointer didn’t look totally out of the question at this point. Repetitive place names took them to 275 – one full set away. Jan Kamieniecki stopped them from getting the next set by buzzing quickly to identify GB Shaw. 2 bonuses took Reading into 3 figures. James Bezer guessed that Poverty Bay was the site of James Cook’s first landing in New Zealand. That finished the game. Imperial were very comfortable winners by 285 to 110.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
JP kept his powder dry for most of the contest this week. Indeed it wasn’t until the second picture set, when Imperial suggested we were looking at a photograph of Kate Winslet playing Frida Kahlo. He did a very elaborate, slow and exaggerated double take before observing “It doesn’t look a bit like Frida Kahlo”. The double take on its own would probably have been funnier Jez.
Interesting Fact Of The Week That I Didn’t Already Know
Susceptibility to hypnosis is rated on the Stanford Scale.