Saturday, 29 July 2017

University Challenge 2018: Round One - Heat two

There's me blethering on about Only Connect and Mastermind, totally oblivious to the fact that UC restarted a couple of weeks ago! Apologies to the first 4 teams involved, and I will review the first match when I can.

Meanwhile: - 

Trinity College Cambridge v. Bristol

Trinity were represented by Matthew Kingston, Owen Petrie, Rahu Dev  and their skipper, Maya Bear. Especial mention for Rahu Dev whose from Chiswick where I was born 53 years ago.  Bristol’s team were Oliver Bowes, Kirsty Biggs, Tom Hewett and captain Sam Hosegood.

First blood then fell to Tom Hewett of Bristol, who, after due consideration, knew that the natural phenomenon in the title of a DH Lawrence novel was the rainbow. I always thought when I studied English that DH Lawrence only wrote one and two thirds good novels, being “Sons and Lovers” and the first two thirds of “The Rainbow”. Never had the guts to say so in my finals, mind you. Bonuses on things connected with the number 1000 saw Bristol fail to take any of a very gettable set. No, really and truly, if you hear a criticism of slavery ascribed to a British MP, then you slam the buzzer and go for William Wilberforce. Oliver Bowes zagged with Pitt the Younger – coincidentally subject of a William Hague biography, as was Wilberforce, allowing Rahu Dev to zag with the right answer. Bonuses on dogs in children’s literature brought two bonuses, and the lead. Kirsty Biggs was first in to say that B F Goodrich patented a conveyor belt in the form of a Mobius strip. That I’d like to see. Physics bonuses saw captain Sam Hosegood score with a long punt guess on the first, but the other two went begging. The Bristol skipper was very quickly in to say that Holden Caulfield mentions David Copperfield in the opening of The Catcher in the Rye. Bonuses on Hanif Mohammad brought both of us just the one bonus, knowing his world record first class score was eventually eclipsed by Brian Lara. Then we came to the first picture starter, and we saw the entrance to a public lavatory with the words Dynion and Merched. Welsh people and those in Wales such as myself yelled out “Welsh!”, and Owen Petrie was very quickly in with the correct answer. More of the same saw Trinity take 1. Thus right on the cusp of the 10 minute mark we had a tied game, both sides 35 apiece. However Bristol seemed at this point to have the advantage on the buzzer, if not on the bonuses. 

A very good early buzz from Oliver Bowes saw him identify the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from their weapons – ooh, Matron. Potatoes in art did them no favours – they might well have been expected to get Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters at least. I have no idea how I knew that Osmium and Rhodium are in the platinum group, but that didn’t stop me from making the traditional lap of honour around the living room. Sam Hosegood correctly had Iridium and Palladium. Films about writer’s block again saw Bristol fail to make the most of a set of bonuses, taking none of a tricky set. At this point they were comfortably beating Trinity to the buzzer, yet failing to take anything like a meaningful lead. A lead which was cut by 15 when Matthew Kingston correctly identified Walter Tevis’ story, “The Man Who Fell to Earth”. Bonuses on the Lloyd George coalition government saw the first full house of the competition, and actually gave Trinity the lead. This brought us to the music starter, and Oliver Bowes was very quickly in to identify a Mozart horn concerto. He knew his music, did Mr. Bowes, for he quickly rattled off a full house of bonuses. Nobody got the next starter, about events of the 1070s. Now, I didn’t know that Mintaka, Alnilam and Almitak are the stars in Orion’s Belt, but when Astronomical feature was mentioned I soon guessed it. As did Sam Hosegood. Kate Greenaway provided a second consecutive full house, and one sensed that Bristol had decided to stop messing about and get on with the job of winning the contest. The increasingly impressive Bristol skipper knew that Rey, or Rhagae was a former name of Tehran. Biology saw Bristol return to bad old ways. The sphygmomanometer is an old quiz chestnut, and maybe they might have known myo- as a prefix referring to muscles. Well there we are. Made little difference considering that Sam Hosegood was in very quickly for the next starter, knowing HDL stands for High Density Lipoproteins. How could I forget? That old favourite King Zog of Albania made his first appearance in this series in the next set of bonuses. I was pleased with myself for digging up Skanderbeg (not literally. That would be gross.) I had a full house, Bristol took one, and just approaching the 20 minute mark they had put on 70 unanswered points, to lead by 125 – 60. 

Seemingly in cruise control now, Bristol’s Tom Hewett recognised a quotation about the Impressionists – I was a big fan of Mike Yarwood, myself. Cosmology saw me getting annoyed with myself for not quite dragging up the name of Lemaitre. The bonuses gave little to any of us. The second picture starter showed us a Gillray cartoon clearly showing George III and Napoleon Bonaparte. There was a notable pause before Oliver Bowes buzzed in with the correct answer, which led me to wonder whether Trinity were just reeling at this point. More Gillray cartoons followed, of which Bristol managed two. Tom Hewett knew that Autolycus appears in “A Winter’s Tale”, and a set of bonuses on European monarchs in History brought a further 5 points. That made 120 unanswered points, and even though 4 minutes remained it would take a comeback of Lazarus proportions to see Trinity win now. Sam Hosegood answered some Physics thing correctly, and paradoxes gave them a rare full house. Tails well up, and with the scent of victory in their collective nostrils, Bristol forged on with Oliver Bowes recognising that Cuba is contained in the word incubate. Two bonuses on hexagons followed. At last Trinity managed to get a word in edgeways with Owen Petrie identifying Orthoclase Feldspar as being on the Mohs scale of hardness. So was Danny Dyer, once upon a time. Words or names ending in the letter I brought them two bonuses, and took them to the brink of respectability. Nobody knew the Deutscher Bund for the next starter. Rahu Dev gave them a chance of making triple figures, knowing that Gondar is in Ethiopia. Monasteries refused to help much, with a single bonus taking them to 95. A fabulous answer from Sam Hosegood identified Disobedience as the second noun of Paradise Lost, and that ended the competition, with Bristol winning comfortably by 230 – 95. 

Hard lines Trinity. As for Bristol, well it’s difficult to tell much from first round form. Trinity weren’t great buzzers, and I felt Bristol were profligate with bonuses. Nonetheless a score of over 200 has to be taken seriously. Well played.  

Jeremy Paxman Watch 

The great man seemed most amused by the name of the Cerberus like dog in the first Harry Potter book, namely Fluffy.

There was a rather lovely moment when JP decided to add a syllable all of his own invention to the blood pressure measuring device, calling it a sphygmomanoMOmetre. Nice try Jez.

As with most of the last couple of series, there was no real edge to JP’s performance, which is fine, and at least he commiserated with Trinity.  

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

By population, Ethiopia is the largest landlocked country in Africa


Jack said...

Good to see you reviewing again Dave, and I am sorry to hear about your depression; I hope that you are finding yourself getting better, but I appreciate that it can take time.

As for this match, nothing much to say that hasn't been already; Bristol were better on the buzzer, making up for a rather meh bonus rate of 18/42, compared to Trinity's 9/15. I suspect Trinity could've fared better against another team.

On Monday, we have Southampton vs Cardiff, and then we're off for a week to allow for LIVE athletics coverage.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack,

Thanks for your kind words. I think that I've mentioned since I've started posting again that I'm fully aware that I may never be totally free of the little demon on my shoulder, but certainly for the last two months since going back to work I think I've been fine. Taking it all one day at a time really helps. Today I'm good, thanks.

As I said, it's difficult to know just how good a performance of Bristol's that was. My gut feeling is that the bonuses revealed that they have some fairly large gaps in their collective knowledge, and if they meet a team who can match them on the buzzer then they could well struggle. But hey, what do I know?

I love the athletics - just wish we could have both.