Saturday, 28 February 2015

University Challenge - Elimination Match

Oxford Brookes v. Bristol

The Oxford Brookes team of Simon Joyce, Paula Ayres, Stephen Mayes, and skipper David Ballard were unfortunate to meet Gabriel Trueblood and the St. Peter’s team at the top of their form last time out, and so they found themselves on Monday night drinking in the last chance saloon with the Bristol team of Lewis Rendell, Benjamin Moon, Miles Coleman and their captain, Anastasia Reynolds, who lost to Liverpool last time out. The Maths this time was pretty simple – win and you live to fight another day, lose and you’re out.

As often happens with the first starter, it was quite long and involved, then suddenly became obvious. Lewis Rendell buzzed in as soon as he was given the words – Fifth Republic – and gave the answer of Charles de Gaulle. 1 bonus on Chancellors of the Exchequer followed. David Ballard knew Twitter’s Vine service for the next starter. Now, as soon as JP announced that the bonuses were on constructed languages I said  - if you don’t know, choose Klingon, coz that will be one of them! – As it happened it was the last one. I can heartily recommend Bill Bryson’s book ‘One Summer’ – or for that matter anything written by him – but neither of the teams knew it was about the year 1927. A lovely UC special starter followed, asking which TV drama’s title can be expressed using the symbol for the 6th element, and the standard of measures adopted by etc etc. CSI – said Lewis Rendell, and he was right to do so. A rather long and involved set of bonuses on organic chemistry followed. When my mind came back in the room Bristol had managed one of the bonuses. The picture starter showed us a bit of a family tree and invited us to say who was missing. It looked pretty clear that it was John Fitzgerald Kennedy missing, and Paula Ayres was the one who won the buzzer race to say so. Three more family trees of US political figures followed, and OB managed 2 of them, missing out on the Harrisons – including presidents William Henry and Benjamin. Oblique equilateral quadrilateral  - began JP. It’s our old friend the rhombus – I exclaimed to no one in particular. Lewis Rendell gave the same answer at practically the same time. He was having a very good start to the match. A set of musical disaster bonuses weren’t exactly a disaster for Bristol and they added a further five points to their score. Thus, a little after the ten minute mark we had a good match, with Bristol ahead by 45 to 40.

Now, Stephen Mayes was guilty of a slip of the tongue trying to say the daughter of Germanicus who married her uncle Claudius. He actually said her grandpa, Agrippa, before adding – Agrippina. It was very bad luck, but – and this is just my opinion and feel free to disagree – a correct application of the first answer rule. It couldn’t go across as a bonus, so we went on to the novelist who wrote 9 novels in Russian before starting to write in English. A good shout from Anastasia Reynolds saw her answer Nabokov. Now, I know little or nothing about Romanesque sculpture, and so none of us had any of the bonuses thereon. Neither did any of us know the Palae-Arctic for the next starter on eco zones. Kenneth Arrow didn’t mean a great deal to any of us either. Thus seemingly becalmed, thankfully Oliver Sacks ‘The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat’ gave Paula Ayres a chance to stop the rot. A UC special set of bonuses on words either beginning or ending with three consecutive letters of the alphabet offered much, but in the end they only managed just the first. In a close game you’ve got to fill your boots on a set like that. When you’re asked for the name of an American composer, and it’s a classical piece, unless you know differently you go for your buzzer and say Aaron Copland. That’s what Benjamin Moon did, and it worked. Three more pieces with mountains as their themes saw Bristol add ten more points to their score. Lewis Rendell knew that most questions that contains the words ‘American State’ and ‘Book of Mormon’ are going to want Utah as the answer, and duly won that buzzer race. Maths bonuses did nowt for me, but at least brought another 5 points to Bristol. David Ballard had a very good early buzz to identify screenwriter Nora Ephron for the next starter. Now, a full house on revolutions saw them reduce the deficit to 15. On the cusp of the 20 minute mark Bristol led 90 – 75.

As they say in tight sporting contests, this was maybe going to come down to who wanted it more. The second picture starter allowed Anastasia Reynolds to identify Nicholas Hytner of the NT. They couldn’t manage any more of the same for the bonuses. None of us had drag or frictional force for the next starter, and so we moved on to allow Lewis Rendell to identify Swedish as the last of the 24 languages of the EU when listed alphabetically. None of us had a clue about the bonuses on lipids and stuff like that. Nor did anyone know about KOH. A hard quote from Henry VI was not taken by either team. Lewis Rendell knew that the term manqué is from the French verb meaning to lack. Just out of interest, the first time I ever watched Home Alone it was in St. Malo, and its French title is Maman, J’ai Manqué L’Avion! – or – Mum, I Missed the Plane. This brought up bonuses on the World Cup – Phew. Something I could answer. We were given cities, and had to name the tournament and year. They took one bonus, but were unlucky with Mexico 1970 for the last. Those cities were Mexuco, but from the second time they hosted the tournament in 1986. Well, it’s not meant to be easy – this is University Challenge after all, not Pets Win Prizes. Nobody knew Soave, so we moved to another starter, and Stephen Mayes buzzed in early to identify various US Secretaries of State. Biographical novels gave nothing away as bonuses, but the gap remained at a bridgeable 40 points. Tow full houses would do it, but time was starting to run out. Nobody knew that 10 to the power of 24 is denoted by the prefix yotta. Miles Coleman knew that the short stories “My Life” and “A Visit to Friends” were written by Chekhov, and it was Bristol who managed the full house, on Jamaica. Maybe someone among the teams knew that it was Henry II married to Eleanor of Aquitaine, but neither team had it. That was that. At the gong, OB had 85, and Bristol 150. Bad luck to OB – Bristol get another chance at the semis. Well played.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

It was a long suffering JP who listened to OB’s answer on the composer of ‘Pines of Rome’ and said ‘Who did you say!’ – then rather helpfully added that the three consecutive letters they were looking for could be any three consecutive letters.

When he asked which wine takes its name from the Italian for sweet, and David Ballard offered ‘Prosecco’ – JP replied “Good lord no!”

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

SQuja is Scrooge in the Klingon translation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

Only Connect - Quarter Final

Q.I. Elves v. Nørdophiles

Anne Miller, Andrew Hunter-Murray and James Harkin, the Q.I. Elves, lost out in their first match against the Bibliophiles, but saw off the Nightwatchmen in their second, and the Coders last time out. So they were certainly a team with the wind behind them. The Nords, Will Day, James Keeling and captain Joanna Murray, secured a victory by 2 points over the Night Watchmen in the first round, and then beat the Bibliophiles to secure their place in this quarter final. On paper it was anybody’s game, but then games aren’t played on paper, so what does that matter?

Round One - What’s the Connection?

The Q.I Elves kicked off. Captain James picked Two Reeds, and possibly wished he hadn’t since this brought up the music set. We heard several pieces,  and I realized they were all about flowers when we heard a song from Carmen, and the British Airways music from years gone by. The Elves had it from Flower of Scotland. The Nords went for Twisted Flax, and received what looked at first like a funny old set – Usain Bolt – William Wordsworth – Mark De Man – at which point I had it – and Lord Judge. They are all, as the Nords explained, examples of nominative determinism. That is, they all do what is dictated by their names – Mark De Man is a footballer. Personally I don’t like Wordsworth as an example – all of the other surnames could be verbs. There we are, call me a pedant if you like. Lion gave the Elves – Nothing at all. Hokay – no chance of a five pointer there. Psychedelic Welsh Rock band followed – then superseded by ESA. I knew that ESA replaced Incapacity Benefit – just not how it fitted together with the other two clues. Captain James explained it. Nothing at all can be sweet Fanny Adams (supply your own alternatives) – SFA – and Super Furry Animals are also SFA. Apparently the third clue was the Securities and Futures thingy so I was barking up the wrong tree . Good shout. Now, with eye of Horus the Nords kicked off with ‘Three Musketeers Sequel’ – that’s the lesser known Twenty Years After. Odysseus returns home – well, that was twenty years after he set out. Three points to me. Rip van Winkle Awakens  - and – China Wedding anniversary completed the set. Serious quizzers would have probably had it from either of the last two, and it has to rank as an opportunity missed for the Nords when they went for 10 years. The Elves weren’t going to turn their collective nose up at that windfall. Thus emboldened James disdained the curse of the Viper, settling for the pronunciation Horned. Grundon (Waste Management) did nowt for me. The Goring (Hopitality Services) also left me scratching my head. Berry Brothers and Rudd Ltd. (wines and spirits) didn’t help, but Andrew gave the correct, and frankly, rather prosaic answer that they all supply services by Royal Appointment. Water left the pictures for the Nords, who were shown photos of various things – all very well known photos. I knew it was going to be the name of the photographer, but I just couldn’t remember. It was a fair question too, since the Kiss, the last, is very well known, but none of us could dredge up Robert Doisneau. Which meant that the Elves led by 6 – 1, and I wasn’t expecting that,

Round Two – What Comes Fourth?

The Elves sought to press home their advantage by taking Two Reeds first again. This brought up O6 – the six should be a lot smaller. Next was B5. It looked like chemistry – but what the sequence was I didn’t yet know. When FE4 came up it was obvious. Oxygen has 6 letters etc. So SN3 could be the only answer – tin being 3 letters long. The Elves had it. Lovely, lovely set. Lion gave the Nords – Washington’s Birthday. That’s celebrated on a Monday. Next was Mardi Gras – well that’s a Tuesday – the clue is in the name. We both went for Thanksgiving – which is on a Thursday , and we were both right.  Twisted flax showed the elves a -  → Gulf of Mexico – Then we had →East China Sea. Third was →Atlantic Ocean. None of us knew that the answer was →Mediterranean Sea. Actually the Nords has worked out that it might be outflows of the world’s longest rivers, which was the sequence. Never saw it myself. The Nords needed points, and so captain Joanna asked for Hornèd Viper. My fingers were crossed for them. PHP – then – MySQL. Now, I knew that this is an IT/Internet sort of thingy, but no more than that. Apparently these are all LAMP platforms, and the correct answer, as given at this point, was LINUX. Nope, not a Scooby. Water gave the Elves Yesugei. Actually, I knew him. He was father of Genghis Khan. Working on that principle my shout for a five pointer was Kublai Khan. The Elves didn’t see it. The second was, as I hoped, Genghis Khan. Now, Ogodai would have really mucked up my plans here, because although he was Genghis Khan’s first son and successor, he wasn’t Kublai’s Dad. Thankfully Tolui came next. After what the late Bill Maclaren might have called a wee bit of argy bargy captain James stuck to his guns with Kublai Khan for the point. This left the last set for the Nords. We saw a picture of a boar, then a hind, then a 9 headed hydra. That was the second of Heracles’ labours, which meant that all we needed was a lion, the first. Not for the first time this show a lack of detailed general knowledge denied the Nords the points. They knew he cleaned out the Augean stables, but that wasn’t the first task – neither was fetching Cerberus from the Underworld, which was the Elves’ answer. SO at least the Nords had narrowed the gap, but they still trailed by 7 – 10.

Round Three – Missing Vowels

Immediately after choosing the Lion wall the Nords could see a group of novels by Irvine Welsh – Filth – Glue – Crime and Porno. Which were not alternative names for four of the 7 Dwarves, apparently. Film genres – horror – romance – noir and musical fell almost immediately after, rather to the Nords’ surprise. A couple of seconds thought saw them identify Robbie Williams songs – Candy – Millennium – Rudebox and Strong, which left waves in the shape of Mexican – Radio – Heat and Shock. – Well, I have to say it, that was a flawless wall performance worth every one of the 10 points it earned them.

The Elves also started quickly, with Oswald – Goneril – Regan and the Duke of Cornwall from King Lear. Airports followed quickly with Robin Hood – John Lennon – Stansted and Prestwick. Now, what they didn’t see at first was a list of words whose first part is also the name of a Prime Minister. I could see HEATHrow – PITTsburgh – MAJORity – BROWNing – which left Victorian poets Tennyson – Arnold – Lear and Hopkins. So they isolated three of them, saw the connection, and then solved the last two lines. Not as quick as the Nords, but in its own way just as impressive. 10 points apiece, and they led 20 – 17.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

We kicked off with words containing four N’s. The round fell 2 – 1 to the Elves – however an incorrect buzz lost them one of those points. I found those really difficult myself and didn’t get any of them. Collectors and what they collect was a good old quizzer’s set, but neither side could take the upper hand, both getting two. A good old OC special set followed with sports people merged with music acts. There was just time for the Nords to take the first and that was that. A 23 – 21 win for the Elves saw them through, after a good game between two well matched teams.



Friday, 27 February 2015

Mastermind - Semi Final 3

As has become customary, let’s cast a glance down the form guide to last night’s show.
Diane Hallagan – 28 – 3 (12)
Ewan Paton – 26 – 0 (13)
Stuart Jenkins - 25 – 2 (12)
Andrew Teale – 24 – 4 (10)
Bill Carey – 27 – 3 (12)
This line up has the added irony that of last night’s contenders, the highest scorer in the first round was actually Diane, who was the only one of these contenders not to win her heat. You may recall she was just slightly behind that fabulous score set by Ian Clark in the first round. Well, that doesn’t signify anything, since Diane has won quite a few Masterminds in her time – and going into last night’s show she was the only one of these contenders to have previously won a Mastermind semi final. Great things were expected, then. Before we start as well it was nice to see Egghead Barry Simmons in the audience as well.

Diane was first to start them This time out she was answering on the Miss Marple novels of Agatha Christie. Just taking the novels, there are, I think , about 12 of them, so that’s a hefty old chunk of material to have to learn in the kind of depth that will give you a fighting chance. I’m sure that it was a slip of the tongue that saw Diane substitute Murder in the Library for Murder in the Vicarage for the first question, but after that she hardly looked back. I’ve always said that experience in the chair is a valuable thing, and Diane gave a masterclass in how to really snap out answers to your questions. The faster you go, I’m sure, the faster that John goes, and Diane couldn’t have gone much faster. 12 correct answers off a 90 second round is a fabulous performance. Without wishing to be horrible to the other contenders, the words ‘game over’ were already going through my mind as she walked back from the chair.

Of course, it wasn’t game over. It never is during the first round, however things may appear. Second up was Ewan Paton. When I watched Ewan answering on the US Masters, and then general knowledge in the first round heat, I had the distinct impression that he was a proper, regular quizzer, and nothing about his round on the Scottish National Football team last night did anything to change that impression. It was another double figures round, with no passes, and that’s a real mark of quality in a 90 second round.

Stuart Jenkins had taken a notable scalp when he defeated Julia Hobbs in his first round heat. Julia did well enough to make it to the first semi final a couple of weeks ago, so that puts Stuart’s first round performance into some perspective. Last night he was answering on John Clare. John Clare was the so-called ‘pastoral poet’ of the 19th century, whose last decades were plagued by mental illness. Stuart scored 8, and that’s a good score off 90 seconds, as I’ve said before. However, it looked unlikely to be good enough in this show, where the standard of specialist rounds was so high.

I liked Andrew Teale’s choice of specialist subject in Henry VII. I always think that kings and queens are relatively interesting subjects, and quite doable in a few weeks. Andrew appeared in last year’s series, where he missed out on a repechage slot by a couple of passes. This year he made no mistake by winning his first round heat.  Last night he whacked in an almost perfect round, just missing out on one of his last couple of questions. That gave Andrew 10 points, yet again another high quality specialist round .

Finally Bill Carey. Bill put in an exceptionally good specialist round on Brian Epstein during his first round heat. A similar round on Aubrey Beardsley in this show would do very nicely, thank you. Well, Bill did very well with his round, but not with quite as spectacular results as in the first round. He whacked in a fairly hefty 9, which would have given him a fighting chance in many a semi final. Not this one, though, one sensed.

Experience over the last couple of years tells us that you need to get into the 20s to have a fighting chance of going through to the final. Stuart was first back to the chair for his GK round, and to be fair to it he didn’t do at all badly either. 11 points were enough to put him up to 19, nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of. However, and this was crucial, the leader was on 12, and 8 in a GK round was not a requirement which would put her into the corridor of doubt. Bill followed, and he too finished with 19. Again, 10 in a semi final GK round is a good round, and again, it wasn’t enough to put Diane into the corridor of doubt.

Ewan Paton, with his GK round, again confirmed my feelings that he is a regular quizzer. Fe did what you must do, racking up as many points that are on offer to you as you can, and not accruing any passes while you go. In the context of this series, 13 is a very fine score off a two minute general knowledge round, and 23 is a score which has won several semi finals over the last few years. All he could do now was wait.  Andrew followed, and I’m afraid that he didn’t have his best GK round. Although he started brightly a couple of questions caught him on the hop, and he was dragged down into a pass spiral from which only the buzzer could extricate him. Hard lines Andrew – it’s a horrible thing to happen and it could happen to any of us.

All of which meant that Diane needed 11 and no passes to draw, and 12 to win. That’s the kind of score which I’m sure that everyone who knows Diane knew was well within her capabilities. However, this didn’t make it easy. One careless slip, especially if your mind wants to keep coming back to it, can wreak havoc when you’re chasing a total like this. So just to put our minds at rest, Diane grabbed this round by the scruff of the neck, and shook the life out of it. To put it into perspective, I think that Diane reached 24 with almost 30 second still to spare. She maintained her momentum, and posted what must be regarded as a remarkable score of 15, for 27 overall. That may be beaten during the remaining semis – but I’ll be surprised if it is. Superb performance, Diane – many congratulations, and best of luck in the Grand Final.

Diane joins a very select band of people who have made it to two Grand Finals – illustrious names such as Geoff Thomas and Mark Grant being prominent in the list.

Details


Diane HallaganThe Miss Marple Novels of Agatha Christie 12 – 0 15 - 026 - 0
Ewan PatonThe Scottish National Football team – 1945 - Present10 – 0 13 - 023 - 0
Stuart JenkinsJohn Clare8 – 111 - 219 - 3
Andrew TealeKing Henry VII10 – 0 7 - 617 - 6
Bill CareyAubrey Beardsley9 - 110 - 219 – 3

Answers to News Questions

In the News

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news?

Michello Ferrero
Binky Felstead
Salutation Inn, Ham
Pascal Papé
Andy Goode
Seamus Daly
George Ferguson
Andy Vernon
Lysblink Seaways
Finn Russell
Oliver Sacks
The Magic Whip
Richelieu – Drouot
What Pet Should I get?

In Other News

Which much criticized statement did Ed Balls make last week?
What is Boris Johnson set to renounce?
Ex King Juan Carlos of Spain appealed against a paternity suit launched in which country?
Which European country elected its first woman president last week?
Which team did Bradford City knock out of the FA Cup?
What was the score in the 6 Nations match between Scotland and Wales?
– and England and Italy?
– and Ireland and France?
Who became the oldest player ever to score in the 6 Nations?
Which country did Ireland defeat in the cricket world cup?
The Vatican are offering to provide what for homeless people?
Who is the new manager of Aston Villa?
How many Brits made it onto the shortlist of 100 for the Mars mission?
University of Portsmouth researchers discovered that which natural substance is even stronger than spider silk?
Name the Tesco supplier of spices which they have recalled due to finding they have been adulterated with nuts
Which actor supposedly fluffed a line which revealed Lucy Beale’s killer during the live broadcast
Champions League – what was the score between Chelsea and PSG?
Who is the European 2016 Ryder Cup Skipper?
– and the US skipper?
Which birds are tweeting all night because of city light pollution?
2015 is the Chinese Year of the what?
Which band won best band at the NME awards?
Louis Van Gaal was formally warned by the FA over his comments after Man Utd’s draw with which team?
Swiss prosecutors raided the Geneva HQ of which bank?
What links Colossus – world wide web fibre optics – cats eyes – stainless steel – carbon fibre – DNA sequencing – the I limb?
Who appealed for the return of her 2016 Commonwealth Games gold medal which was stolen?
Who knocked holder Ronnie O’Sullivan out of the welsh open?
Which confectionary product will become the first to use solely Fairtrade cocoa?
What type of Russian bombers were monitored just outside UK airspace?
Who killed Lucy Beale?
What was the Europa League score between Everton and Young Boys?
– and Liverpool and Besiktas?
– and Spurs and Fiorentina?
– and Celtic and Internazionale?

Answers

The World’s richest confectioner, who passed away
Made in Chelsea star, who took £3k to promote Barnardos on social media, but has paid it back
Won Pub of the Year
French rugby player cited and banned for 10 matches
Wasps stalwart, leaving to join London Irish
To stand trial for Omagh bombing
Mayor who campaigned for 20mph speed limits in Bristol, caught speeding
Team mate and fellow European championship medalist with whom Mo Farah had a Twitter spat last week
Cargo ship that ran aground on Ardnamuchan Point
Scotland fly half cited and banned for two matches
Neurologist who announced he has terminal cancer
New Blur album due to be released in the summer
Station at which Chelsea fans prevented a black man from entering their carriage on a Metro train, singing racist chants.
Newly discovered Dr. Seuss book to be published

In Other News

People should keep receipts for cash in hand jobs
His US citizenship
Belgium
Croatia
Sunderland
26 – 23 Wales
47 – 17 England
18 – 11 Ireland
Nick Easter
West Indies
A free shave and shower
Tim Sherwood
5
Limpet Teeth
Santa Maria
Jake Wood
1 – 1
Darren Clarke
Davis Love III
Robins
Sheep – (sometimes called Ram or Goat)
Kasabian
Cambridge
HSBC
All feature on a new set of Postage Stamps
Kelly Sotherton
Matt Stevens
Mars bar
Bear
Bobby Beale
4 – 1 Everton
1 – 0 Liverpool
1 – 1

3 - 3

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Brain of Britain 2015 - Heat 8

Sorry about the late arrival of this review. Still, let’s have a look at the runners and riders of this, the 8th heat of 2015 BoB.
Mary Dixon
Kathryn Everett
Andrew Hoyle
Nigel Jones

Mary kicked off with the question on the BoB website about the film “Bonnie and Clyde”. That gave Nigel a bonus. Kathryn maybe could have connected the name Roentgen with X – Rays. Nigel did for a second bonus. He also knew Andrew’s first, that the surface of Venus is hotter than any other planet in the solar system. For his own questions he quickly gobbled up 4 – and then he did the same with his 5th. That made a maximum possible 9 points for the round. Game over? Well, indications in the second round were that, yes, that might very well be the case. Mary didn’t know the Bow Street Runners, which bonus got Kathryn off the mark. I’m sorry, but I have to say that this really is the kind of question that you do need to know the answer to if you’re going to have a realistic go at BoB. Kathryn then added another point, but didn’t know that the Mercers are followed by the Company of Grocers in the order of precedence of the Guilds of the City of London. Nobody had that. Andrew didn’t know that Henry Cooper was the first person to be Sports Personality of the Year twice. Kathryn had that. Nobody knew the original name of the Minotaur, which meant that Nigel didn’t get to add to his score in this second round. He didn’t need to. Kathryn now had 3.

In round 3 Mary heard some folk music from Hungary to get her off the mark. She didn’t know the term parsec, which got Nigel into double figures. Kathryn took two goes at John Paul Jones, then missed out on Dr. Sir Magda Yacoub, which got Andrew moving as well. He didn’t know that Kipling wrote “Captains Courageous” – neither did anyone else, rather surprisingly. Nigel took another one but didn’t know about Ronald Searle, and so Kathryn took that point to take her to 5 against Nigel’s 11. Mary took her first but didn’t know that North and South Utsire are off the coast of Norway. Nigel took that windfall. Kathryn had some talking for her sound question, about the ship The Empire Windrush. She knew it, but failed on the capital city with which the Golem was associated. Nigel had it with Prague. Andrew knew Dr. Crippen was on the Montrose, but should probably have known that She in “She” was more formally called She Who Must Be Obeyed from. Nigel was never going to turn his nose up at that rather gentle lob. In his own set he balked at lych – meaning body or corpse – and nobody had it. So at the halfway stage Mary and Andrew had 2, Kathryn 6, and Nigel 14.

For the Beat the Brains interval the first question asked which Pennyslvania township and river gave its name to the covered wagon popularly said to have won the West? Nobody knew the Conistoga, and neither did I, although it is very possible that I have heard it in the past. The same city gave its name in abbreviated form to which product. I went for a stogie cigar, and so did the Brains, which proved to be the right answer.

Back to the contest. Mary didn’t know that Alexander Pope’s Great Dane was called Bounce. Nobody knew it, neither did I. Kathryn didn’t know that Joe Root shared a record last wicket stand with Anderson. Again, nobody knew it. Andrew had a bout of Puccini (a bit of ointment will clear that up, sir – I’m ‘ere all week, ladies and gents), but didn’t recognize Turandot. Nobody did. Nigel kicked off knowing that Actinium comes first alphabetically amongst the periodic table elements. He didn’t know a book about birdwatching, and neither did anyone else. Didn’t matter – he was surely over the event horizon. Mary took her first, a quote from Newton, but didn’t know that hastate leaves are spear shaped. I didn’t either – it’s not one of the ones which usually gets asked – cordate etc. Kathryn didn’t know something about a product of the sassafrass tree, or summat like that. Andrew probably should have known that Peter O’Toole was Henry II in “The Lion in Winter”. It’s, well, it’s a chestnut, and you have toyou’re your chestnuts in BoB, or you’re not going to build up a great score. Inevitably Nigel snapped up that unconsidered trifle. For his sound starter Nigel didn’t recognize the dulcet tones of the Clash.

Into the last two rounds of the competition, then. Mary didn’t know that the highest point of the Rockies is Mount Elbert. Fair question – didn’t know it. Kathryn didn’t know a women’s garment from Scotland – the arisade or summat like that. Andrew didn’t know that Sir John Jervas became the Earl of St. Vincent. Nobody had that. On to Nigel now, who didn’t know that Jeffrey Archer wrote books called Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. So to the final round. Mary again missed out on a chestnut that a regular quizzer would have known, that the USS Arizona memorial is in Hawaii. Andrew took the bonus. Kathryn didn’t know a trilogy written by Henry Miller. Nigel took that. Andrew didn’t know an instrument that was developed from the dulcimer. Nott surprised, and nobody had it. Which is why you have to get the chestnuts, because lurking round the corner you always have the chance of being given a what the ‘ell like that. Nigel finished the contest by answering his first, but not knowing that the ancient remnant of an impact crater is called an astrobleme.

In all honesty I think Russell was indulging in a bit of hyperbole calling this ‘another very tense heat’. It is difficult to build that much tension when the game is over  as a contest to all intents and purposes after the first round, indeed none of the other contenders managed to equal the score that Nigel achieved in the first round alone. It became clear that Nigel has a good general knowledge and wouldn’t let any chestnuts passed him, and the others just couldn’t match him. For the record, the final scores were: -
Mary Dixon - 3
Kathryn Everett - 6
Andrew Hoyle - 3
Nigel Jones – 18

Well played Nigel – and best of luck in the semis.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

LAM Weekly Podcast

In this week's show: -

Bridgend quiz league
Mastermind
University Challenge
Only Connect
Cheating
Mixed bag of questions
Answers to last week

Only Connect - Quarter Final

Orienteers v. Gamesmasters

Right then, quarter finals and sudden death. In the blue corner, the Orienteers, Paul Beecher, Simon Spiro and Sean Blanchflower, who won their place by defeating the Romantics, and the Gamesmasters. In the red corner . . . well it was the same Gamesmasters, whose only loss was to the Orienteers. Filip Drnovšek Zorko, James Robson and skipper Frederic Heath-Renn took out the Coders and the Bibliophiles to work their own way through. In their previous match the Orienteers had carved out a five point lead by the end of round three, and survived a Gamesmasters onslaught in the Missing Vowels to win 22-19. So basically, the Gmesmasters needed to be within 3 points by the end of the walls to be realistically in with a chance. Well, whoever won this show, one person would be a step closer to the coveted University Challenge – Only Connect double. Would it be Sean or Filip, though?

Round One – What’s The Connection?

The Orienteers kicked off, choosing Twisted Flax. Timothy Evans (for murder) – Michael Shields (for attempted murder) – Derek Bentley (for murder) – Alan Turing (for gross indecency). Now, I had gone for pardons from the second. Sean offered posthumous pardons. I would have got quite annoyed at the adjudication on this, had not Victoria offered them another go. They didn’t supply the answer she wanted – that these were just pardons, since they weren’t all posthumous. The Gams didn’t manage a bonus. Victoria then went on to make the unarguable point that while there was nothing wrong with the pardon being given to Alan Turing – why haven’t other people convicted of the same offence for the same reason been pardoned as well? For their own first set the Gams chose Lion, and received – ho-de – ho –de – ho. Well, that was the response to hi-di-hi-di – hi from Minnie the Moocher. This was followed by Stand Up stand up stand up – from the Isley Brothers/Housemartins Caravan of Love. So these were responses in songs – fillers – call them what you like. The Gams also took - Talkin bout my generation - then - Doo dah – doo dah. They gave an answer which satisfied Victoria, but the correct technical term apparently is call and response responses. Fair enough. Two Reeds gave the Teers - Rome, 64. Hmm , I needed more on this one. London 1212, though was a bit of a clue for me.  London Bridge was my grand final specialist subject, and I knew that the Bridge was gutted by fire a few times in its history, and 1212 was the first of these. New York 1776 certainly didn’t disprove my fire theory, and London 1666 proved it beyond reasonable doubt. The Teers had it from the last clue. The Gams then opted for Eye of Horus. Now, I take nothing away from the Gams for knowing bits of The Creation of Adam off two clues – in fact James had it off the first but they took a second to be certain, which was probably sensible. Yet this really was the plum set of the round – whoever picked this one had a serious chance of decent points compared to the other sets we’d seen so far.  Sean ignored the opportunity to enhance his choices by voicing the second vowel of Horned Viper, and received Silent. Compare this with the previous set. I defy anyone to have a reasonable chance of getting a five pointer off that word. Knock – out was the second, and it obviously wasn’t punch, because then knock out would be last clue, not second.  Reverse didn’t help me at all, and I don’t think it helped the Teers much either. Ducth, though was the clincher and all of these were auction types. Left just with water, the Gams knew they’d be getting the water set. This was maybe a bit of payback for the easy picture set. The songs were – Every Teardrop is a waterfall – The Boy In The Bubble – American Pie – I walk the line. They are all ways of representing data graphically – pie chart  - line graph etc. Fair, but tough, and no points to anyone. So for part one of the contest it was mission accomplished by the Gams, who led by 4 - 2

Round Two – What Comes Fourth?

The Teers’ luck changed in the second round. Taking Two Reeds, they got a set which really suited Scrabble fanatic Simon. DA(3 pts) He had the connecting principle worked out from the first, and when CH(7 pts) came up he worked out that what was needed was AX(9 pts). These were ascending possible scores of two letter words. Great answer. The Gams chose Twisted Flax, and received 9 = B. 12 = Tr didn’t help me get any closer to the answer 15 = Quadr saw both me and the Gams have a lightbulb moment, as this was now clearly numbers of noughts of billion – trillion etc. So the answer would be 18 = Quint. As I said, the Teers’ luck had changed, and they picked the plum in this round. Given a picture from the wonderful John Tenniel illustrations of Alice in Wonderland, with the March Hare highlighted, I do wonder if they were tempted to take a punt for five on a fictional June? As it was they took Pril O’Neil to be certain before plumping for a June bug, which was good enough. Grace Jones as May Day represented May. Drastic action was required, and Frederic took just that, opting for Hornèd Viper. Now, the word England in white on a graduated red background gave the Gams the connecting principle that all of these appear on the navigation bar on the BBC news website. The next word was UK, and the one after that World. To be fair we should all of us have seen that these have been reversed in order. The next word would have been Home. No excuses – a good set which I didn’t have but should have done. Now, I probably wouldn’t have gambled in the studio, but when Roger Black came up as the first clue of the Teers’ next set, I went for Kriss Akabusi. I remember watching that 1991 world men’s 4x400m relay. I was visting my Mum in London at the time. Derek Redmond was the second clue, which confirmed it and gave it to the Teers. The Gams really needed a helpful set for their last go of the round. I didn’t have it from St. Albans, 1980 – but I did from Bath and Wells, 1991. These were all the last few Archbishops of Canterbury – their previous diocese, and the year of their promotion. Which meant that Durham, 2013 would be the answer. Neither team managed both diocese and year, although they had both between them. The scores revealed just how dramatic the reversal of fortune both teams had undergone was, since the Teers now had a lead of 11 – 6.

Round Three – Connecting Walls

The Gams kicked off first, knowing that they really needed as close to a maximum as possible. They quickly separated a set of PG Wodehouse characters – Byng – Wooster – Spode and Glossop. English Civil War Battles followed – Brentford (yay, Brentford! Go the Bees!) – Edgehill – Naseby and Preston. The last two sets were rather more problematical. They could see porcelain makers, but three attempts to find them failed. Once the lines were resolved we saw Royal Crown Derby – Wedgewood – Doulton and Aynsley. This left Gallup – Worcester – Kellner and Luntz. I didn’t know, but leapt on Gallup and went for pollsters. That was the right answer. The Gams just didn’t see it, and thus ended with 5 points.

A good performance from the Teers, then, could just about wrap the game up. 20th century ‘Angry Young Men’  British writers saw them find Braine – Amis – Wesker and Sillitoe early doors. Bushy – Osborne – Holyrood and Somerset were all ‘Houses’ that were royal residences at one time or another. Now, I could see a set of horse drawn vehicles, and words which can follow – fire -. In a case of lightning striking twice in the same place, the Teers too took three guesses and froze the wall. The horse drawn vehicles – Fly – Wain – Clarence and Gig – they didn’t know, and that surprised me a little. This left the fires – Brand – Arm – Fox and Fighter. This meant that they too scored 5. With the score at 16 – 11 the Gams had a hell of a gap to close, but at least it was possible still.

Round Four – Missing Vowels


Well, the first set, Greek cuisine, was one of those sets you could predict what was likely to come up. The Teers managed this taking 4, while the Gams lost a point for an early buzz. Game over? Well, not necessarily, since three consecutive numbers in ascending order went 3 – 1 to the Gams. Then a noun and a verb pronounced differently went 4 – 0 to the Gams. Time was running out, even though the momentum – and maybe even the Force- was with them. There was only time for one point apiece on Nobel Laureates in Physics. 22 – 18 was probably a fair reflection of the match, and the Teers deserved their win – hard luck to the Gams, but well played as well. 

University Challenge - Quarter Final Qualification Match 1

Liverpool v. St. Peter’s, Oxford

The Liverpool team of Ben Mawdsley, Jim Davis,  Hugh Hiscock,and their captain, Declan Crew defeated Bristol in their first quarter final match to place one collective foot in the semi-finals. Standing in their way though was the seemingly irresistible force of St. Peter’s Oxford. The team of John Armitage, Ed Roberts, Spike Smith and their skipper, Gabriel Trueblood defeated Oxford, Brookes in their own first quarter final, and many people are already tipping them as potential finalists.

Jim Davis was, in my opinion, very unlucky to have his answer of The Watergate Hotel ruled wrong for the answer to the first question. This left St. Peter’s, who themselves were sure that it was Watergate, a little nonplussed for a moment, until their skipper Gabriel Trueblood buzzed in with a speculative – Watergate . . . building? Now, I don’t so much have a problem with the adjudication that Hotel specifically was wrong. But this is a consistency point. Because we’ve all seen times when JP has been allowed to say words to the effect of – well, specifically it was the . . . but you’re close enough etc. etc. – Which meant that either every answer in this show would need to be spot on if we were going to be consistent.  Well, I’ve no doubt that everyone will have their own opinion on that one. St. Peter’s answered two out of three bonuses on Greek Islands. A group of clues to the word fifth allowed Liverpool’s own top buzzer, Hugh Hiscock, into the show. A full house on chemical elements put them level with their opponents. I took a flyer on Sydenham’s chorea with St. Vitus Dance, and as soon as the question mentioned that it takes its name from an early Christian martyr Hugh Hiscock supplied the same answer. They took two correct answers. Declan Crew buzzed in just a little too early on a question leading to Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, allowing Gabriel Trueblood to take his second starter. This brought up bonuses on words containing the letter combination a – e – a . A full house put them ten points ahead. Now, the first picture starter showed an irrational number thingy. Whatever it all meant it was Spike Smith who provided the correct answer of the square root of two. More of the same brought a full house, and since I answered Pi to each one, I ended up with a Maths bonus as well, since it actually was the answer to the last. Right, in the next starter Ed Roberts gave the answer ‘Head of the Civil Service’ to a question which really wanted the answer ‘Cabinet Secretary’ which is the name of the post. Now, yes, the Cabinet Secretary is the head of the Civil Service, but if JP was applying the letter of the question, it might not have been allowed. One bonus was taken on heroes, and this meant that at the 10 minute mark St. Peter’s had a useful lead of 85 to 35.

A mathsy/physicsy thing about Newton seconds and tennis balls was correctly answered by Declan Crew. Bonuses on palaeontology brought nothing – they weren’t easy by any means. I knew Richard Owen coined the term dinosaur. but that was it. Hugh Hiscock won the buzzer race to identify Alfred Dreyfus as the French officer imprisoned in the 1890s, thus earning a bonus on time and calendars. John Armitage answered what I believe was his first starter of this year’s series, knowing that Finland is the most densely forested country in Europe. Here’s a funny coincidence. We had that exact same question in the league, on exactly the same night. This earned St. Peter’s a set of bonuses on the Nobel Peace Prize and Latin America. These were too hard, and none of us got any bonuses. Now, I recognised the voice of Elton John pretty quickly, if not the song, for the music bonus, but it seemed like ages before Ben Mawdsley buzzed in to say the same. This earned the music bonuses all of which took their inspiration form the works of Shakespeare. One correct answer took them to within 15 points of St. Peter’s. Gabriel Trueblood took the next starter, knowing that the term guerrilla came into parlance during the Peninsular War. He’s a medical student, and he doesn’t make mistakes on his own subject, so took three correct answers on cranial nerves. Now, funnily enough I also had the chemistry starter which provided Gabriel Trueblood’s next starter. For some reason I took a punt with benzene, which proved correct for both of us. One History bonus was all that this yielded. I was a little surprised that nobody knew Bach’s Coffee Cantata, but there you go. On the cusp of the 20 minute mark St. Peter’s had pulled out the lead again, and the score was now 135 to 80.

There really isn’t much excuse for not knowing that George Washington’s portrait is on the one dollar bill, and it fell to Spike Smith to supply the correct answer. A UC special set on words followed, asking for a set fo words which can be made using any of the letters in the word – challenge. These are often sets that promise a full house, and St. Peter’s didn’t make any mistake with them. The second picture starter showed the Duke of Wellington, and Spike Smith took his second consecutive starter. Two bonuses on other Prime Ministers stretched the lead to 100 points now. Declan Crew was a little unfortunate to offer a hyperbola for the geometrical figure defined in the next starter, but it fell to John Armitage to take his second starter of the evening with an ellipse. A full house of bonuses on Haralds was duly taken. At this stage of the game the collective foot of St. Peter’s was pressing the pedal to the metal, and Liverpool just couldn’t find a second gear. Hugh Hiscock knew Louis Althusser for the next starter – good shout, that. German social philosophers offered but little, but two good answers took Liverpool into triple figures, and that was no less than they deserved. Now, if you hear the word Hesperus, you have to go for your buzzer and answer Venus. That’s what Gabriel Trueblood did. Biology bonuses provided none of us with anything, but it really didn’t matter, since St. Peter’s were by now comfortably into the semis. A little surprisingly neither of the teams knew the Pretender Perkin Warbeck for the next starter. Gabriel Trueblood knew that the Benguela current takes its name from a sea port in Angola – good shout. Two bonuses on Japanese public holidays added a little more gilding to the score. Both teams sat on their buzzers for a while after being asked who was the first American dramatist to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. Eventually Spike Smith gave the correct answer of Charlie Chaplin’s father in law – or Eugene O’Neill, if you prefer. There wasn’t time for St. Peter’s to answer correctly any of the bonuses on regions of Spain. All of which meant that the final score was 245 to 100.

Well, it answered the question, what might happen on a night when Gabriel Trueblood has some real competition on the buzzer? There was buzzing throughout the St. Peter’s team in this game, and they also faced a stiff test in the shape of a good Liverpool team, who pushed them hard throughout the first half of the show, until they really hit top form. As for Liverpool, well, it isn’t going to be easy now, but they can still come back and make it through.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

When Liverpool couldn’t dredge up ‘The Light Of The World’ JP explained , ‘It’s the one with the lantern’ and then held up an imaginary lantern to demonstrate. I’m looking forward to his mime of deoxyribonucleic acid.
Was there just a wee smidgeon of sarcasm in JPs voice as he said farewell to the irrational numbers with the words ‘Everyone at home will have been working those out with great pleasure, I have no doubt.’
His comment about the Elton John song “That was released in 1970, that’s social pre-history for you, really.” – now that was definitely sarcastic.

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

Mumford and Sons’ “Sigh No More” is inspired by “Much Ado About Nothing”

Friday, 20 February 2015

In The News

In the News

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news?

Michello Ferrero
Binky Felstead
Salutation Inn, Ham
Pascal Papé
Andy Goode
Seamus Daly
George Ferguson
Andy Vernon
Lysblink Seaways
Finn Russell
Oliver Sacks
The Magic Whip
Richelieu – Drouot
What Pet Should I get?

In Other News

Which much criticized statement did Ed Balls make last week?
What is Boris Johnson set to renounce?
Ex King Juan Carlos of Spain appealed against a paternity suit launched in which country?
Which European country elected its first woman president last week?
Which team did Bradford City knock out of the FA Cup?
What was the score in the 6 Nations match between Scotland and Wales?
– and England and Italy?
– and Ireland and France?
Who became the oldest player ever to score in the 6 Nations?
Which country did Ireland defeat in the cricket world cup?
The Vatican are offering to provide what for homeless people?
Who is the new manager of Aston Villa?
How many Brits made it onto the shortlist of 100 for the Mars mission?
University of Portsmouth researchers discovered that which natural substance is even stronger than spider silk?
Name the Tesco supplier of spices which they have recalled due to finding they have been adulterated with nuts
Which actor supposedly fluffed a line which revealed Lucy Beale’s killer during the live broadcast
Champions League – what was the score between Chelsea and PSG?
Who is the European 2016 Ryder Cup Skipper?
– and the US skipper?
Which birds are tweeting all night because of city light pollution?
2015 is the Chinese Year of the what?
Which band won best band at the NME awards?
Louis Van Gaal was formally warned by the FA over his comments after Man Utd’s draw with which team?
Swiss prosecutors raided the Geneva HQ of which bank?
What links Colossus – world wide web fibre optics – cats eyes – stainless steel – carbon fibre – DNA sequencing – the I limb?
Who appealed for the return of her 2016 Commonwealth Games gold medal which was stolen?
Who knocked holder Ronnie O’Sullivan out of the welsh open?
Which confectionary product will become the first to use solely Fairtrade cocoa?
What type of Russian bombers were monitored just outside UK airspace?
Who killed Lucy Beale?
What was the Europa League score between Everton and Young Boys?
– and Liverpool and Besiktas?
– and Spurs and Fiorentina?

– and Celtic and Internazionale?

Answers to News Questions

In the News

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news?

Kenneth Noye
Fred Talbot
Robert Brown
Captain Guy Disney
Samson Lee
Rohan Dennis
Lizabeth Scott
Paul Brunt
Pierre Le Guennec
Gerhardt Richter
Lord Fink
Brian Williams
Francesco Schettino
Steve Strange
Heather Cho

In Other news

Name the French tennis player who pulled off a chock defeat of Andy Murray in the Rotterdam quarter finals
Which Acting Knight announced his retirement from the stage last week?
Who won the BAFTA for best actor?
and best actress
and best film?
Which county council found a priceless early copy of Magna Carta in its archives?
Who won the European women’s skeleton bob title?
Which team won the African cup of Nations?
Rangers were knocked out of the Scottish FA Cup by which team?
What was the Five Nations score between Ireland and Italy?
and Scotland and France?
and England and Wales?
Which former cabinet minister was buried in an unmarked grave?
Which former winner of Sports Personality of the Year announced his intention to retire?
How many Grammys did Sam Smith win?
Which bank was accused of helping wealthy clients avoid paying tax?
Name the Aussie PM who withstood a leadership challenge from his own party?
Which manager was angered with discussion on Match of the Day which suggested he had been sacked and then reinstated?
Who managed to talked for a full minute on his Just A minute Debut?
The BBC changed the ending of which novel for their TV adaptation?
Which country will be competing for the first time as a guest in the Eurovision song contest?
The New Premier League deal with Sky TV is worth how much?
Who is rewriting “What Katy Did”?
What was the score between Liverpool and Spurs?
Who ruled himself out of the QPR manager vacancy?
What claim did Sam Allerdyce make about Man Utd which so upset Louis Van Gaal?
Which former world number 1 tennis player denied allegations of tax evasion?
Princess Anne, Laura Davies and Anneka Sorenstam were 3 of the first 7 what last week?
Who was sacked as manager of Aston Villa?
What is happening to the UK album chart in March?
Which Royal announced he is taking a 20% pay cut?
Which new badge have the Girl Guides just launched?
Which French club are seeking a partnership with Manchester City?
Who announced he is taking an indefinite break from the sport he used to dominate?
Which circuit will host the formula 1 British GP for the next two year while the Circuit of Wales is being built?
Which actress compared the Royal Family to aliens last week?

Answers
Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news?

Notorious convicted killer given parole hearing.
Former TV weatherman convicted of indecent assault on two boys.
Britain’s longest serving PC retired after 47 years on the beat.
First jockey to ride over fences in Britain with a prosthetic leg
Also pulled out of Wales v Scotland game through concussion
Australian cyclist who broke the world one hour record
Hollywood actress passed away
Soldier who was paid to provide stories about Prince Harry
On trial for keeping a hoard of Picassos in his garage
One of his paintings sold for £30 million which is a record for a living artist in Europe
Had a spat with Ed Milliband who made allegations about his tax arrangements
NBC News anchor suspended without pay for his misleading the public over his Iraq war experiences
Captain of the Costa Concordia jailed for 16 years
Leading figure of New Romantic movement – lead singer of Visage – passed away
Korean Airlines Air rage former vice president – jailed for a year

In Other news

Gilles Simon
Sir Michael Gambon
Eddie Redmayne
Julianne Moore
Boyhood
Kent
Lizzie Yarnold
Ivory Coast aet on penalties
Raith Rovers
26 – 3 – Ireland
15 – 8 France
21 – 16 England
Leon Brittan
AP McCoy
4
HSBC
Tony Abbot
Nigel Pearson
David Tennant
The Casual Vacancy
Australia
£5.1 billion
Jacqueline Wilson
3 – 2 Liverpool
Tim Sherwood
That they are long ball ‘merchants’
Marat Safin
Honorary Women Members of the Royal And Ancient Golf Club
Paul Lambert
Streaming figures will count towards it
King Felipe VI of Spain
Gender Equality badge
St. Etienne
Tiger Woods
Silverstone

Dame Helen Mirren