Saturday, 3 October 2015

University Challenge: Round One: Match 12

Clare, Cambridge v. Warwick

Another Cambridge college then tried to follow in the footsteps of last week’s winners, St. Cats. Clare College were represented by David  Tremain, Sarah Binney, Ellie Warner and skipper Olivier Grouille. Their opposition, from Warwick, were Hugh Osborn, Emily Stevenson, James Leahy and captain Ashley Page.

Claire Warner recognized that the first question was driving towards Jan De Groot – or John O’Groats, the name of which allegedly commemorates him. Two bonuses on the Wallace Collection were duly taken. As soon as David Tremain heard the title “The Deserted Village” he knew we were dealing with Oliver Goldsmith. Two bonuses on birds in poetry brought them to 40 points. The Warwick skipper knew that the Cowper glands are found beneath the prostate. Fair enough. Fungal diseases of trees brought us our old friends Ash dieback and Dutch Elm disease, but Sudden Oak Death was a new one on me as much as it was a new one on Warwick as well. No prizes to either team for not picking up the chestnut that Simon Bolivar was born in Caracas – with him being probably the original of the old poem There was a young man from Caracas. The next starter was one of those where you just had to wait and wait until it became obvious. Ashley Page’s nerve broke first and he gave away five. When the words Scientific Director of the Manhattan Project were finally spoken, Olivier Grouille correctly supplied the answer of Robert Oppenheimer. Bonuses on 11th century kings proved too difficult for Clare, and they failed to add to their score from this visit to the table. For the first picture starter we saw the flag bearing St. Piran’s cross, and it fell to Ashley Page to tell us that it was the county flag of Cornwall. More county flags followed, and Warwick recognized one of them. This meant that at the 10 minute mark Clare led 50 – 30.

St. Louis de Ha! Ha! Is not a place that I’ve ever heard of before, but somehow I doubt that it could possibly live up to its name, claiming, as it does, to be the only place with two exclamation marks in its name. James Leahy was first in for that one. This earned his team a set of bonuses on Roman remains in North Africa, but they failed to score. The word intrusive brought Ashley Page another starter, and another five points were accrued from a set of bonuses on Bartok. I was very pleased with myself for getting Zuleika Dobson for the next starter. Didn’t she play Angie in Eastenders? Neither team had it. A set of people who all formed partnerships with Lewises brought Ashley Page another starter, which suggested that he had really found his buzzer range, and Clare were finding it difficult to edge their way back into the contest. American Geography provided one bonus. The music starter saw David Tremain buzz in too early and lose 5 points. Still, he was doing the right thing, trying to get his team going again. This gave Warwick a clear run at Rossini’s Barber of Seville, but they didn’t know it any more than I did. Now, in a quiz, if you hear the name Edward Hopper, then you hit the buzzer and say ‘Nighthawks’. That’s what Ashley Page did. The opera bonuses didn’t work out for them, but when you’re comprehensively winning the buzzer race it doesn’t matter so much, as long as you keep winning it. It was James Leahy who guessed that Henning Mankell is Ingmar Bergman’s son in law. Two bonuses on moons put them on the cusp of triple figures. Nobody knew the one about electronic circuits, neither did I. David Tremain knew about the birth of psychology, and at last Clare were moving again. They were unable to take any bonuses on the Council of Constance. This meant that on almost the 20 minute mark they still trailed by 60 to Warwick’s 95.

Sarah Binney certainly knew her Studio Ghibli films, as she took the starter on Spirited Away and a full set of bonuses on the same, which put Clare right back in the game. What price all of those missed bonuses for Warwick now? A sequence of mothers of consecutive British monarchs was completed with Mary of Teck by Emily Stevenson. This enabled Warwick to score their own full set on chemical elements. In graph theory there are 7 features in the theoretical Bridges of Konigsberg. I didn’t know that but Ashley Page did. 2 bonuses on the Wakhan Corridor took them closer to the event horizon. James Leahy kept his foot to the floor and answered correctly that the Troodos Mountains are in Cyrpus. One bonus on roman history followed, but with the gap at 75 Warwick appeared to have done the job. Sarah Binney knew that the writer of Foundation and Empire had the given name Isaac. A bonus on political figures and literature brought them up to 100 points. A list of 20th century foreign secretaries passed both teams by. James Leahy knew the film making term auteur. A bonus on neo- terms pushed the further ahead. Emily Stevenson knew that the Willow Tea Rooms were the work of architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Warwick just had time to take one bonus on European airports before the gong, which completed a fairly comfortable 195 – 100 win.

Well played Warwick, hard luck Clare. I fancy Warwick will have to be a little less profligate with their bonuses next time round, but hey, what do I know?

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Our Jez said nothing worthy of particular comment before Ashley Page offered ‘intrusion’ rather than intrusive. He accepted it eventually, but pulled a face which suggested allowing it to pass was akin to having a wisdom tooth pulled.

Rather ungallantly when Sarah Binney pulled a despairing face and offered a guess at an answer to the electronic circuit starter he suggested that ‘you seemed to be in pain a moment ago.”

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

Henning Mankell is the son in law of Ingmar Bergman.


Jack said...

Another fairly nondescript match between two half decent sides, and ultimately it was Warwick's better buzzer showing that won the game. They got twice as many starters as Clare, and both sides converted just under half their bonuses; Clare managed 8/18 and Warwick 17/36 (with two penalties). Agree that they'll need to do better than that next time, but we know how misleading first round performances can be sometimes.

On Monday, Queen Mary of London play Nuffield College Oxford; the week after, the final first round match pits St John's College Oxford vs Bristol.

Stephen Follows said...

Why, oh why is there no quality control over pronunciation, and why is it always the classical music questions that nobody checks? 'Kodaly' is pronounced COD-eye, Jeremy, not coh-DALL-ee, as anyone with a modicum of musical knowledge could tell you.

One wonders what would have happened if someone had pronounced it correctly - it doesn't look anything like it sounds, so an ignorant question master such as yourself could easily have marked it wrong. This kind of thing never seems to happen with the literature or science questions, so why can't the same standards be applied to music?