Saturday, 10 December 2016

University Challenge: Round Two : Wolfson, Cambridge v. Jesus, Cambridge

Wolfson were represented by Justin Yang, Ben Chaudri, Paul Cosgrove and their skipper Eric Monkman. Opponents Jesus, Cambridge were Sam Fairbrother, Rosa Price, Daniel Petrides and captain Theo Morris Clarke.

Justin Yang won the buzzer race to identify Romeo of the Shakespeare play for the first starter. Bonuses on Bruce Chatwin only brought 5 points – I was a little surprised that they didn’t know that Werner Herzog directed Fitzcarraldo. Eric Monkman did exactly what you must do, buzzing in the moment that a question becomes obvious. As soon as we’d had ‘battle named after which city’ and ‘Nelson’ he buzzed in with the obvious answer Copenhagen. When JP announced that the bonuses were on chemical elements I paused the Tivo box, and spent a couple of moments putting on my trainers in preparation for a lap of honour.This was a terrific set, whereby the team had to get the clue – Dr. No, and the element rom the abbreviation – No = Nobelium. Yes, of course I had them all, as did Wolfson. A rush of blood to the head saw Eric Monkman buzz in with an incorrect interruption, when, had he waited, it gradually became obvious that the instrument being described was a theodolite. Jesus, seemingly shell shocked at this stage, could not capitalise. Again, Eric Monkman came in too early for a pure guess for the next question. We were asked which is the 3rd densest planet of the solar system – didn’t know – with the most circular orbit – I could have guessed but wasn’t certain – with the highest albedo. Now that really was the giveaway since Venus is by far the brightest planet. Again, though, this went begging. Ben Chaudri committed the cardinal sin of not listening to the question for the next starter, and arguably his answer of “Berwick” gave Theo Morris Clarke the opportunity to provide the right answer of the River Tweed. A full set of chestnuts on the Bible gave them 25 points, and left them only 5 points off the lead, despite Wolfson’s brisk start. The picture starter showed us an important junction on a rail map of England, and Sam Fairbrother correctly identified it as Crewe, which gave Jesus the lead. They managed one of the bonuses which were all more of the same. A great buzz from Ben Chaudri identified the Manor of Rothamsted to put the scores level, and a full house on languages of Asia gave them a lead of 55 – 40 on the cusp of the 10 minute mark.

Now, if you’re asked for the name of an Italian neo-classical sculptor, you hit the buzzer, and say Canova. Neither team could do that. Right, the next starter basically asked for one of the two US baseball players that the average man on the Clapham Omnibus might have heard of. Daniel Petrides zigged with the wrong one – Joe DiMaggio – while Eric Monkman zagged with the right one – Babe Ruth. Bonuses on Jadwiga, Queen of Poland (which sounds like a title of a very bad film) promised but little, but delivered a useful 10 points. Wolfson’s determined skipper also took the next starter, recognising a description of a ratchet. A full house on The Fellowship of the Ring brought up Wolfson’s century. Sam Fairbrother was the first to recognise that Baron Richmond is not actually a character in a pantomime, but William Hague (you’re making up your own punchlines now, I bet.) Astronomy provide one bonus. So to the music starter, and Sam Fairbrother obeyed the unwritten rule that if it’s a piano solo, you’ll be right more often than you’re wrong with Chopin. 3 more classical music lullabies provided a terrific full house for Jesus. Ben Chaudri was the first to buzz in to identify the Azores for the next starter. Less well known colours as described by the Fount Of All Human Knowledge (Wikipedia) brought ten more points. Now, I felt Eric Monkman was a little unlucky with the next starter. Asked which Empire Bayezid ruled, he answered Turks. The correct answer was the Ottoman Empire, but as we know, The Ottoman Empire was what eventually became Turkey. I don’t question the adjudication, but I feel sorry for the Wolfson skipper since I’d say that he obviously knew the right answer. Daniel Petrides supplied that. Authors usually known just by initials and surnames – eg – E.M. Forster – brought 2 correct answers. I’d argue that neither team boasts a cycling fan, since there was no rush to the buzzer when JP asked for the name of the city in which the annual classic race to San Remo starts. “Milan?” asked Eric Monkman with a gesture which seemed to ask – it can’t be that, can it? – It could and it was. A couple of correct answers on National Trust properties brought the score to 135 – 95 in Wolfson’s favour at the 20 minute mark.

Nobody got the answer haplotype to the next question. Don’t be silly, of course I didn’t. Right then, you hear “Prime Minister” and “Birmingham” you answer Neville Chamberlain. That’s what Ben Chaudri did. Wolfson took their time over the biology bonuses, but they had them all right. The second picture starter showed us Kate Bush – ahhh, Kate Bush – and was identified by Sam Fairbrother. More photos of musicians and bands brought a full house, but Jesus still trailed by 40. Paul Cosgrove took his first starter of the evening, completing the quote that Physics is too hard for physicists. It’s too hard for English teachers as well, matey. As little as Wolfson collectively know about cycling, they know even less about cricket, and failed to trouble the scorer on a set on Lord’s test matches. Eric Monkman knew that the Delmarva peninsula takes its name from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Bonuses on apples were easier than they sounded, and yielded a further 10 points. The match wasn’t exactly over, but you could probably have named your own odds if you’d wanted to back Jesus at this point. Apparently 1 kilowatt hour is equivalent to 3,600,000 joules. Fair enough. None of us knew. That man Monkman knew that Ashkelon and other cities were home to the Philistines – a visit to the Tate Modern a few years ago convinced me that I’m one myself – and bonuses on The Odyssey were all too easy for them. A fine buzz from Rosa Price saw her identify major symphonies written in C Minor – good shout. 2 bonuses on years of the 19th century ending in a 6 brought 10 points. The inevitable Eric Monkman buzz saw him correctly identify Tie Square from its description. There was only time for two bonuses on polymers, of which Wolfson took one. The final score was 225 – 140 in their favour.

Hard lines Jesus, but on the night Wolfson were the better team, with the chief difference between the two being Wolfson’s highly effective captain.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Sadly JP was in his most Bamberish mood tonight, which gives us nothing to report.  

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

The little finger within a ratchet that permits movement only in one direction is called a pawl.


Jack said...

Yeah, once again, it was a match won on the buzzer; both teams were excellent on the bonuses, Wolfson 25/35 and Jesus 15/21. It was Wolfson's better showing on the buzzer, with Mr Monkman answering seven starters correctly, same as all the Jesus players combined. Unlucky to them, but nothing to be ashamed of; perfectly reasonable efforts in all three matches.

On Monday, it looks like we'll be seeing Robinson of Cambridge and Balliol of Oxford; then, we break for the Christmas specials, and resume in the New Year. Only Connect is on one extra week before it breaks.

Also Dave, I'm afraid I must report that your appearance on Millionaire was repeated on Challenge last night.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack,
Yes, and you know what, I still got that flipping question wrong! You'd think I would have learned by now.

Dan said...

Another interesting fact, courtesy of Yes Minister: both teams are named after the only two men to have colleges named after them at both Oxford and Cambridge.

PS - Men. There's a women who shares the honour.

PPS - All three are Jewish.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

Ah, Monkman. There's a Twitter account - UC Challenge Review - which is seemingly obsessed with the man, having made him its profile picture and beeh hyping up his reappearance for quite some time. (Speaking of Twitter, Dan, I recognise your own account, having recently followed you).

I do like the account's description of him as "speaking as though the whole world can only hear him through thick panes of glass". Which is not a criticism of course, and his intellect certainly cannot be criticised. Excellent performance tonight, leading to a well-deserved win, though we've seen far worse losing performances than that which Jesus provided that managed to win, so no shame to them.