Saturday, 5 November 2016

University Challenge: Repechage 2 - Durham V. SOAS

Repechage 2: Durham v. SOAS

A welcome back bouquet to UC (and a bunch of raspberries to the person who decided to take it off for a week again.) In this, the second of our repechage matches, Durham were represented by Thomas Brophy, Owen Stenner-Matthews,  Nat Guillou and their captain Cressida O’Connor. The School of Oriental and African Studies were represented by David Bostock, Magda Biran-Taylor, Odette Chalaby  and their captain, Henry Edwards.

A lovely early buzz by Owen Stenner-Matthews to identify Leviathan as the philosophical work which takes its title from the Book of Job started off proceedings. This earned Durham bonuses on literary characters from the Sherlock Holmes stories linked by the same names. They managed one, but should have done better on a very gettable set. Both teams commendably waited through the next starter until the answer became clear, at which point the SOAS skipper Henry Edwards won the buzzer race to identify the word stereotype. Mary Anning – supposedly the inspiration for the nursery rhyme she sells icthyosaurs by the sea shore – provided them with a couple of bonuses. A good interruption from David Bostock identified a social policy emanating from Sweden. Bonuses on towers in European cities provided the first full house of the night, and SOAS, so it seemed, were on useful form. Now, when you hear the words ‘primate’, slow’ and ’slender’ in the same question you slap the buzzer and answer ‘loris’. That’s what Magda Biran-Taylor did, thus earning the set of bonuses on Roman history. Another full house followed, and it seemed as if they had gathered 70 points in very quick time indeed. The picture starter was more of the same as Henry Edwards was first in to identify a map showing the Peloponnese. Three more maps of peninsulae provided 2 correct answers. Durham, though, hadn’t quite wilted under the SOAS onslaught, and Cressida O’Connor knew that if a question has the name ‘Walsingham’ in it, occasionally it might be about Our Lady of Walsingham, but 9 times out of 10 Elizabeth I will be the answer, which she correctly gave. My favourite type of Science questions are those on elements, so I was delighted these provided Durham’s bonuses. I had a full house, Durham managed the 1. So at the ten minute mark they had pulled up to 30, but SOAS had a fine lead with 90.

The next starter was a great example of how sometimes you have to wait and wait and wait, then go like the clappers for the buzzer. For example, if the question started with the words ‘William Gibson’ it would be well worth chancing your arm at that point and going for ‘cyberspace’. With this, though, the name was wanted, and cyberspace was actually the last word of the question. Henry Edwards won that race. Pairs of words like garLIC – LICentious followed, of which they managed two, and burst through the 100 point barrier very early. David Bostock knew the economist Pigou – who is also a wee penguin on CBBC, isn’t he? – and boundary demarcation lines brought their lead to 100 points. Volhynia is apparently a historical territory now in Ukraine. Another good shout from Henry Edwards there. Art in 1911 didn’t promise a great deal, and to be fair, it delivered me one, but SOAS still managed two. On to the music starter, and this time it was Durham in the shape of Thomas Brophy who were quickest out of the starting blocks to identify that Springtime for Hitler was from The Producers. Three more songs from musicals winning the big 6 Tony awards gave them a full house, and pushed them over the 50 point barrier. A great answer from Henry Edwards identified an example of Spondee from Hamlet. Optical effects gave me another two Science answers with Doppler and Faraday, but SOAS only managed the latter. Then JP started spouting something which began “If x and y. . . “ and so my mind went bye byes for a little bit, and when it came back nobody had answered the question correctly. A nice question about US States and how many states border them also went begging. I knew that Donizetti had written an opera about Mary Queen of Scots, but nobody else did. Finally Thomas Brophy stopped the rot, knowing that HDF stands for Hubble Deep Field. 17th century History gave them a much needed full house, but still at the 20 minute mark they had a mountain to climb, trailing by 80 to SOAS’ 165.

Magda Biran-Taylor knew that the Seikan tunnel links Hokkaido and Honshu. Dickens’ Hard Times brought a quick full house. The picture starter showed a Toulouse Lautrec lithograph, and again Magda Biran-Taylor identified it. Three more examples of the poster as art form provided another SOAS full house, and took them through the 200 barrier, and surely into the 2nd round proper. Nobody knew that Allan Jay Lerner was the lyricist of such musicals as Gigi. Points dropped there.  When you’re so far in front you can afford to throw caution to the winds and buzz with abandon, and Odette Chalaby took a flyer to answer that John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the USA. She didn’t say that exactly, but JP gave her the point after giving her a mild ticking off. Mountains in Asia brought one more correct answer. Owen Stenner-Matthews managed to win the buzzer race to identify the Garden of Gethsemane, but only one bonus of a difficult set on the Holy Roman Empire left them languishing on 95. Nobody knew about making nitric acid for the next starter. Sadly Cressida O’Connor tried a little too hard on the next starter and lost five, as neither team knew about collective bargaining. Henry Edwards knew that it was Apollo who chased Daphne. Velma, Freddie, Shaggy and Scooby later proved that he was really the fairground owner, apparently. 2 bonuses on the derivation of London Underground station names followed. A UC special followed which involved concatenating the symbols for various SI units to form a word. Henry Edwards knew it was MASK. Naughty old Henry Miller provided SOAS with nowt, which was what I managed as well. When you’re asked about features on the Moon, seas will always be a good shout, and it certainly worked for Magda Biran-Taylor. Sadly Durham lost five on that. Which was pretty much it. The final score then was 270 – 85.

I don’t know that the questions were that much harder in this show than in the first round, which was JP’s crumb of comfort offered to Durham. No, Durham handled the questions they got pretty well. But crucially they were comprehensively outbuzzed, and there’s little or nothing you can do when that happens. Hard lines, but very well played SOAS.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

As has become the norm, very little to report nowadays. Even when he was telling Odette Chalaby off for not saying Chief Justice of the United States, his heart wasn’t really in it, and you sensed it was more in sorrow than in anger that he did so.

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

Maida Vale is actually named after a battle in Italy.


Jack said...

Yeah, unlucky to Durham; they were by no means a bad team, as shown by their first performance, but they were easily second best here against a SOAS team who were unlucky to draw such an evenly matched team and just get pipped in their first match. SOAS's score is the highest of the series so far, and its also, just, the biggest victory of the series so far. Definitely a team to watch in the second round.

So, the second round starts on Monday. We know Open are playing, and, if the last two years are anything to go by, Edinburgh will be their opponents. If that is the case, we can also expect to see Birmingham vs St Andrews the week after.

Stephen Follows said...

A shame that they didn't repeat (on the iPlayer, at least) the 'RIP David Bostock' sign that ended the credits of SOAS's previous match. I believe he's just as dead as he was last time (although he still seems to be playing extremely well).