Saturday, 17 December 2016

University Challenge: Round Two: Robinson, Cambridge v. Balliol, Oxford

Robinson, Cambridge v. Balliol, Oxford.

Robinson’s team were David Verghese, Catherine Hodge, George Barton and skipper James Pinder. Opponents Balliol were Freddy Potts, Jacob Lloyd, Ben Pope and captain Joey Goldman.

Joey Goldman was the first in to identify ”Islands in the Stream” as a posthumously published work of Ernest Hemingway. Let’s be fair about this – the phrase ‘Joey Goldman was first in’ will probably feature quite prominently in this review. This earned a set of bonuses on political insults, and Balliol scored a full house. James Pinder hit back with the next starter. When I heard the words ‘which greenhouse gas’ I guessed methane rather than CO2, and this was the correct answer supplied by Mr. Pinder. A set of bonuses on Nobel prizes for the sciences brought none of us anything. Once again Joey Goldman was far too fast for anyone else when he recognised a set of examples all connected with the morpheme mono. Authors cited as major influences by Mahatma Gandhi provided another full house. Balliol, to be fair, had started like a thoroughbred. There was no sign of them slowing down on the next starter either as Joey Goldman was in with a great interruption to provide the term syzygy. Gesundenheit. How did they do on bonuses on religious iconography? Not at all badly, taking 2 out of three, but did this offer hope to Robinson by showing that they were merely brilliant, and not invincible? A UC special followed for the first picture starter. We were shown a concert programme, with three works by different composerd. Each was rendered in the first language of the composer – all 3 composers were required. I had 2, Mendelssohn and Rossini, which was better than either team, but it wouldn’t have been enough. The answer to the next rather involved starter was Adolf Hitler, and for once it was Freddy Potts rather than Joey Goldman who took the points for Balliol. Three more concert programmes saw Balliol get 2 out of 3 on 2 of them, but no points. So, on the cusp of the 10 minutes mark it looked ominous for Robinson who trailed by 10 to 80.

Freddy Potts took a double, recognising works by people called Bragg. Railways in Africa provided another full house, and took Balliol through the 100 point barrier. Something about mass, velocity and value meant nowt to me, but James Pinder said it was 3, and he was right to do so. Solvents provided them with one correct answer. David Verghese was in too quickly for the next starter on an Asian river. Freddy Potts complete his hat trick by offering, albeit reluctantly, the Oxus. Bonuses on the theatre went begging. For the music starter Freddy Potts identified the dulcet strains of Daft Punk. More duos brought a further 10 points, but I was sorry that the young whippersnappers missed out on Sparks. Joey Goldman, not to be outdone by Freddy Potts, came in extremely early to identify a Byzantine Emperor as having the name “Born in the Purple”. I thought that was the late singer Prince. A couple of bonuses saw them manage to name mallards and eiders, but not goldeneyes. A UC special starter on capital cities and names of the days of the week saw Catherine Hodge stop the rot for Robinson, and it would only have been fair if they’d had a nice easy set of bonuses. They didn’t, though – a tricky set on Historical personages and the centuries in which they lived still yielded 2 correct answers. Annual average rainfall in Manchester was not, it must be admitted, the most interesting question that has ever been asked on UC, and neither team quite managed to be close enough to the answer. So approaching the 20 minute mark the scores were 155 to 40, and although games are often won and lost in the last few minutes, it looked as if Balliol had at least one of their collective feet in the quarters.

James Pinder knew about saturated compounds, which is just as well because I didn’t have a Scooby meself. Standard abbreviations of the titles of Shakespeare plays proved rather more fruitful for me, while Robinson managed their first full house. For the second picture starter Catherine Hodge was the first to recognise a photograph of the Duchess of Windsor. Sadly more celebrities wearing Elsa Schiaparelli designs failed to add to their score. Nobody knew the play/film “The Women”. Ben Pope and I both knew that when you discount the Sun and the centauri lot, the next closest star to Earth is Barnard’s Star. Protein degradation only yielded the one bonus, which was one more bonus than I managed, but that didn’t matter, for the clock was very much on Balliol’s side at this stage. Joey Goldman’s speed on the buzzer came into play in the next starter where he was very early in to identify the Harappa as a civilisation in the Indus Valley. Places that delimit areas of the BBC coastal weather forecast saw them fail to add to their score in what was a distinctly gettable set. Catherine Hodge took her third starter for Robinson, knowing the Scandinavian detective Lund. Pulitzer prize winning novels took them to 85 – another starter and bonus would see them into triple figures. They didn’t get I on the next, which saw Ben Pope identify the amanita strain of fungi. 2 bonuses on Anglo Saxon coinage brought them up to their double century. Once again Joey Goldman was in way early for the next starter, and he was right with Viktor Frankl. Ecology bonuses gave them nothing, but by this time anything they added to their score was merely gilding. Indeed, that was that with the gong bonging before the next starter. The final score was 210 – 90. Hard lines Robinson, no shame in being outbuzzed in round two. Well played indeed Balliol, and that buzzing display all bodes well for future matches.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

On the theatre questions a rather theatrical outburst from our hero when a rather anachronistic answer was given - “Sir Laurence Olivier?! He was old, but he wasn’t that old!”. Other than that another very quiet week.

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

Gandhi named an idealistic community in South Africa after Tolstoy, with whom he had corresponded.


Jack said...

Another match that was won on the buzzer: Mr Goldman had six correct starters for Balliol, same as Robinson managed between the lot of them. But, as you say, nothing wrong at all with losing by simply being outbuzzed by your opponents, so fair play to them.

Another excellent offering from Balliol though, though the QFs will be probably their biggest challenge yet against a team that are more their equals (my guess is they'll play Wolfson or Warwick); if they can still perform that well against either of them, they surely must be seriously fancied.

Well that's it for regular UC this year; the Christmas series begins on Monday for two weeks, and we resume in the New Year with Corpus Christi vs Peterhouse and Oriel vs Bristol.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

An ominous performance from Balliol; I don't think I'd want to play them in the next round, though anything can happen on the night, and a match agaijnst another fast buzzing team would be fascinating.