Friday, 5 August 2016

University Challenge Catch Up: 1 Heat Three: Liverpool v. Warwick

Heat Three – Liverpool v. Warwick

Yes, I’m working my way through the backlog. So we start with Liverpool against Warwick. Liverpool’s team consisted of Nick Kurek, Guy Nicholls, Pauline Rowe and skipper Gethin Hopkin. Opponents Warwick were represented by Sophie Hobbs, Sophie Rudd, Thomas Van and skipper, former Countdown champion Giles Hutchings.

Thomas Van took first blood as he knew that Great Missenden is the home of the Roald Dahl museum. This earned bonuses on Art Galleries and museums, but they failed to add to their score. The next starter, on attendants of Elizabeth I, which saw both teams sleep on their buzzers a little, but in the end was answered by Guy Nicholls. A bonus on the goals of Hinduism took Liverpool into the lead. I’ve never heard of a truth table, but Sophie Rudd did, and took her first starter of the evening. It wouldn’t be her last. A couple of bonuses on the films of Marilyn Monroe followed. Nobody on either team knew Nancy Friday’s “The Secret Garden” for the next starter. Giles Hutchings guessed that a pheasant was named after a river in ancient Georgia, and was right to do so. This brought up another set of bonuses, this time on mass extinctions of the Paleozoic era. That Paleozoic era, eh? Blink and another species was gone back in those days. One bonus was taken. This brought up the first picture starter. We were shown a national flag with everything blanked out except three stars. I’m not bad on flags, and I recognized it as the Philippines, and so did Sophie Rudd. More flags followed, and I pleased myself with a full house, although Warwick themselves missed out on Tuvalu. Still, that was enough to ensure that they had a comfortable 60 – 15 lead at the 10 minute mark, and had looked decent value for their lead.

There was some Geometry thing about pentagons next, but none of us had it. Pauline Rowe was the first in to buzz about the writer who wrote about the 15 year occupation of his driveway – Alan Bennett. A couple of bonuses on terms of the legal year significantly reduced Liverpool’s deficit. Then Sophie Rudd took her third starter by winning the buzzer race to spell the word plebiscite. Bonuses on the Russian choreographer Fokine saw them add another 5 points to their score. For the music starter we heard the dulcet tones of Vincent Price’s spoken contribution to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Guy Nicholls won the buzzer race on that one. 3 more spoken parts of well known songs provided a single correct answer. I’ll be honest, I knew the first two, and I knew the last was ‘Do You Love Me’, but couldn’t have named the Contours. Giles Hutchings was in too early for the next starter, and lost five, allowing  to say that “A Brief History of Seven Killings” is about an assassination attempt on Bob Marley. Guy Nicholls, who was certainly Liverpool’s best buzzer to this point, knew it was Bob Marley. My score at this point in the game was higher than usual, but that’s probably because the Science quota was on the low side up to now. Physics gave me nothing and Liverpool 1 bonus. I was a little surprised that neither side could drag up the phrase cardinal virtues for the next starter, but there we are. Next we had one of those starters where you have to wait and wait, then slam the buzzer through the desk when the answer becomes obvious. If I said the words ‘Italian’ and ‘Excavation’ and nothing else you’d probably give the answer that Thomas Van gave – Pompeii, and you would both have been correct. No points were taken by any of us on magazines though. The next starter was also a wait-and-see question, and this time it was Sophie Rudd who won the race when it became obvious that the name Larry David was required. Two correct answers on the year 1915 took Warwick to triple figures. Sophie Rudd took her second starter in a row, recognizing several things which are all symbolized by the letter E. Two bonuses on rice took their score to 120, and they led by 55 points at 20 minutes in. They weren’t in the clear yet, but you’d rather have been in their position than Liverpool’s at this stage of the game.

For the second picture starter Giles Hutchings recognized the pointillist style of Georges Seurat and for his pains received a set of bonuses asking for them to identify famous paintings from that part of them which showed a dog. They got the one that I didn’t. Sophie Rudd again proved the best buzzer of the bunch when she came in to answer that Teddy Roosevelt was the first US president to go outside the USA while in office. 2 bonuses on painkillers and analgesics took the lead to 95. Thomas Van had the first shy at the name of the Indian river also known as the Jamuna, but it fell to the Liverpool skipper, Gethin Hopkin to give us the right answer, Brahmaputra. 2 bonuses on philosophy followed. When you’re asked about Japanese Theatre the answer is always likely to be a 50/50 between Noh and Kabuki. For the next starter Sophie Rudd zigged with Kabuki and she was right to do so. Two bonuses on constellations of the Zodiac followed. There was a sense of inevitability that it was Sophie Rudd who claimed the next starter, identifying the term “Restoration Comedy”. Personally I always thought that was an oxymoron, whoever I digress. Administrative districts in England named after natural features sounded harder than it was, but Warwick disdained the bonuses. Nonetheless the job was already done, and they didn’t need to answer any more questions. The next starter asked which planet in the solar system has a surface area almost the equivalent of the Indian Ocean. Obviously a much smaller one than Earth, Nick Kurek had a punt with Jupiter, but we could chalk another starter up to Sophie Rudd. 6 letter words whose only vowel is the letter O provided Warwick with what I believe was their first full house of the night. By way of celebration Sophie Hobbs took her own first starter with the term Maghreb. Borders that do not share a land border but are linked by bridge or tunnel gave them their second full house of the night. Pauline Rowe took the next starter on people who took part in the assassination of Julius Caesar, but sadly there was not enough time for the one bonus that would have put them into triple figures.

Bad luck Liverpool. Well played Warwick. If I’m honest, I feel that despite the winning score of 235 – 95, I feel they may need to improve their bonus conversion rate to be a real threat, but first round form is unreliable.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP chided Sophie Rudd for ‘almost’ taking too long on the picture starter, but this was mild stuff compared to what we’ve seen in previous series. There was absolutely nothing else of note.

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

The word pheasant derives from the ancient name of the river Rioni in Georgia


Ian F said...

I liked the bonuses on flags. Very much the kind of intriguing questions that make UC a distinctive quiz. I didn't get any of them and was impressed that they did. I'm sure you don't pick up that level of vexillology on a casual basis.

Jack said...

Excellent performance from Warwick, Miss Rudd in particular, who finished with nine starters to her name. Agree that their bonus rate, 20/42, if improved, could make them major title contenders. Liverpool did OK (7/16 bonuses), but they were simply outplayed on the buzzer for the most part.

Londinius said...

Hi guys

Ian - you get knowledge like that by playing the flag games on Sporcle. Just google it. Great fun games.

Gavin Tillman said...

Sporcle is excellent as is Memrise app.

Manny the Lion said...

Tremendous buzzing by Warwick's Sophie Rudd and promisingly, everyone on the Warwick team got themselves on the buzzer.

Out of interest, does anyone have a sense of what an excellent/good/ok bonus conversion rate is? Perhaps it depends on at what stage in the competition we're at as well. More difficult bonus questions in the latter rounds I'd expect.