Friday, 10 March 2017

University Challenge - Elimination Match - Birmingham v. Balliol, Oxford

Birmingham v. Balliol, Oxford

Yes, dearly beloved, last Monday was a visit to the last chance saloon. Drinking for Birmingham were Elliot Jan-Smith, Fraser Sutherland, Chris Rouse and skipper George Greenlees, while the drinks for Balliol were on Freddie Potts, Jacob Lloyd, Ben Pope and captain Joey Goldman.

Now, if you hear “town” and “shares its name with an 18th century painter” then don’t hesitate – it’s Gainsborough. Joey Goldman won that buzzer race, and this brought Balliol a couple of bonuses on places with similar names to Westeros. I’ll be honest, I interrupted incorrectly with Herodotus for the Greek historian required for the next starter, as did Freddie Potts. The answer, supplied by Chris Rouse, being Thucydides. Bonuses on world History proved elusive, but Birmingham managed one of them. Joey Goldman was very quickly in with the term Anthropocene for the next starter. Mendelian genetics frankly did not seem very promising, and indeed I managed narry a one. Balliol took none of them either. SKY is an acronym named for the top universities in South Korea – as Joey Goldman knew for the next starter. Ida Lupino only provided a single bonus, and this brought us up to the first picture starter. Being a massive Beatles fan of course I recognised Komm, gib mir diene hand – and – Sie Liebt dich as I wanna Hold Your Hand and She Loves You. The Beatles did actually record these German versions of their own songs. Poor old Freddie Potts gave us I wanna Hold Your Hand, but then offered is – She Loves Me , adding a hopeful yeah-yeah – yeah. No, no no, to coin a phrase. This allowed Chris Rouse in to steal. The titles of three more tracks rerecorded by 60s artists for release in Europe. Brimingham only took the one, although they were only just outside the bullseye with both of the other two. This meant that the score at the ten minute mark stood at 40 – 25 to Balliol. On the surface there didn’t seem to be much in it. However both of Birmingham’s starters had come from incorrect Balliol interruptions. Early indications were that Balliol was winning the buzzer race hands down.

Perhaps self-employed taxi driver was the biggest clue to Noddy for the next starter, but neither team managed it. Fr the next starter Jacob Lloyd finished off a great quote from Ronald Hutton about the English Civil War. This earned Balliol a set of bonuses on Australian Deserts. I knew the Simpson, so I had one, but Balliol didn’t. For the next starter, it was one of those long winded things which suddenly becomes clear, and when it became obvious that the words ‘pathetic fallacy’ were what the question was driving at I saw at least four hands fly to the buzzers. It was Jacob Lloyd who got there first, though. My heart sank as JP announced physics as the subject – still, my policy of always answering neutrino to any question about a particle paid dividends with the first bonus. Yes of course I did a lap of honour . That was me done for this set, but it brought a full house to Balliol. A cantata from Prokofiev went begging for the music starter, and so the bonuses rolled over.  I don’t blame George Greenlees for flying into the next starter, but sadly Esperanto is not the only constructed language, and this starter wanted the lesser known Volapuk. Balliol couldn’t capitalise. Nothing daunted, George Greenlees knew that the word Gloria usually precedes In Excelsis Deo – while deo itself usually precedes daylight com and me wanna go home. Sorry. This earned music bonuses for Birmingham in the shape of three more excerpts from scores by composers known for their association with a particular film director. They took the one I knew as well, Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone. The next starter was about the physicist Stokes, and the impressive Joey Goldman added to his starter tally with that one. Now, when you hear English poet and Catholic convert, it doesn’t necessarily mean Gerard Manley Hopkins – but you can bet your life that will be the answer. Bonuses on him brought a full house to Balliol. It seemed inevitable that it was skipper Goldman who won the buzzer race to answer the next question about Lady Hamilton. The solar system brought another couple of bonuses, and Birmingham were, frankly, looking down the barrel of a gun. Freddie Potts guessed that a series of periods in a specific country’s history belonged to Brazil. A lovely UC set on palindromic surnames gave Balliol a lead of 140 – 30 just after the 20 minute mark.  The game wasn’t necessarily over, but the engine was already on Birmingham’s minibus of despair.

I didn’t know Giorgio di Chiricho for the second picture starter, but the irrepressible Balliol skipper was in like a whippet for it. 3 more examples of architectural capricci brought another full house. George Greenlees managed to get a toe in the door by knowing that melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland. Psychology bonuses added a much needed 10 points. Freddie Potts knew the Germa poet Heinrich Heine for the next starter after an incorrect Birmingham interruption. A UC special set on pairs of words where a few letters have to be added to the first to make the second brought an easy full house to the Balliol juggernaut. Nobody knew a set of different types of hedgerow for the next starter. For the next starter Joey Goldman knew that Citizen’s Broom toppled the leader of Burkina Faso. French ministers of finance gave me nowt, but Balliol took 2 to take them through the 200 point barrier. Let’s be honest, if you’re asked about an architectural historian – it is going to be Pevsner, isn’t it? Certainly Joey Goldman thought so with a very early and correct interruption. Verb moods brought a full house in very short order. I was surprised how long the teams took to get feldspar from the next starter, but eventually it was George Greenlees who snapped up that unconsidered trifle. Geography bonuses pushed them a little further onwards, but triple figures still looked like something of a tall order. Unstoppable, Joey Goldman added to his set of impressively early buzzes knowing the story of an horu had something to do with Chopin. Pharmacology only brought the one bonus, but that was of no significance. Now, I don’t know how I knew that Gibraltar Point is in Lincolnshire, but I did. Joey Godlman looked as if he was guessing, but his answer was right. Pairs of people and the full decade in which they were both alive brought up the 200 point lead for Balliol, at which point the gong brought the contest to a conclusion. Balliol won by 265 to 65. Hard lines Birmingham – beaten by consistently superb buzzing, and there’s nothing you can do when that happens. This sets up a fascinating shoot out for Balliol.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Here’s a funny thing – Jez can’t pronounce ‘nomenclature’, Seriously – he says it about 6 and a half minutes into the show, and he tries to say the first couple of syllables missing out the vowels – nmnclature. Most bizarre.

When the Balliol team failed to answer any questions about Australian deserts an exasperated JP expostulated “What is the point of having an Australian if you can’t answer things like that?” Well – at least Ben Pope can probably pronounce nomenclature properly, Jez.

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

Quickset, Devon and Cornish are all different types of hedgerow

1 comment:

Jack said...

Excellent stuff from Balliol, their buzzer work redeeming them here after it arguably cost them the match against Wolfson. Unlucky Birmingham, but no shame in getting outbuzzed like that at this stage of the contest. Mr Goldman's ten starters is the largest individual haul of the series thus far, and it really sets the cat amongst the pigeons as far as the rest of the series is concerned. On Monday, we have Warwick vs Wolfson, the week after Corpus Christi vs Balliol; both hopefully good matches.

In terms of bonuses, Birmingham managed 7/15 (with four penalties) and Balliol 26/41 (with one penalty).