Saturday, 17 August 2019

University Challenge 2020 - Round one heat three - Magdalen, Oxford v. York

In the previous heat we saw the first of this year’s Oxford colleges – Corpus Christi – take their place in the second round. Aiming to join them were Magdalen, in the shape of Dominic Brind, Josie Dallas, Harry Stratton and Captain Alex Hardwick. Aiming to prevent them from doing so were York, who were represented by Mickey Conn, Sophie Williams, David Eastham and skipper Sam McEwan.

Sophie Williams opened York’s account, recognising various definitions of the word graft. Books that had a profound effect on the creature in Shelley’s Frankenstein brought two good bonuses. Captain Alex Hardwick may well have known the answer to the next starter anyway, but any question which starts with the world championship of which game is always going to give you a decent chance if you answer chess. He still earned a well done from JP for it, which as we know is the UC equivalent of the Hollywood handshake. This brought 3 bonuses on Einstein. Now I’m sorry, but chances are I would have taken a lap of honour around the living room for knowing any of the answers. For knowing all three, though, I had to accompany it with a rousing rendition of that popular classic, Earwig O, as I did so. Thankfully Magdalen refrained from doing so when they also took a full house. Encouraged by his success, Alex Hardwick came in far too early for the next starter, allowing York a couple of moments to work out that the bone being referred to had to be called the axis. The year 1994 in video games proved very much to York’s collective liking, as they took their own full house. The only one I got was Donkey Kong, which I remember playing in a pub as early as 1983 – yes, dearly beloved, I was actually old enough to go into pubs in 1983. Given a list of leaders, Mickey Conn correctly took his second consecutive starter by recognising that two of the four countries alluded to were Gabon and Cameroon. Piano makers gave none of us anything in the first two questions, but we both despatched a very gentle underarm ball to the boundary knowing that a 97 key imperial grand has 9 more keys than a standard piano. For the picture starter we saw an erasure, or blackout poem. Basically you take the first page of a well known novel, and erase words to leave you with a poem of your own making. Told that this was from a 19th century novel, Sophie Williams zigged with “Wuthering Heights” The word truth on the top line suggested “Pride and Pred” and indeed Harry Stratton gave the same answer. JP leapt up from his seat and slapped him across the head calling him a “Cocky Australian oik.” No he didn’t. Jusrt testing if you were paying attention. This earned bonuses with more of the same taken from 20th century novels, and I thought that Magdalen did really well to get the first two – I only managed the first. So slightly past the 10 minute mark the scores stood at 60 – 40 in York’s favour.

Neither team could name an English monarch whose reign coincided with that of Suleiman the Magnificent, and Dominic Brind came in just a millisecond too early. Alex Hardwick was the first to recall that the creature slain at Delphi was the python, and this earned a set of bonuses on pairs of words – one of which was made by adding the letter J to the other, for example ape and jape. I usually think that you have to aim for a full house with this kind of set, and that’s exactly what Magdalen earned. Alex Hardwick certainly seemed to have the fastest buzzer finger at the moment as he took a second consecutive early buzz to correctly identify the definition of martial law. Incidentally, when I typed it in I accidentally put marital law. Freudian slip? Behave yourself. Prominent rulings of the US Supreme Court brought another full house, and Magdalen were now in the lead. The big clue about the short name of raphus cucullatus was that it was first sighted in the 16th century by Portuguese sailors. David Eastham chanced his arm with dodo, and he was right to dodo so. The story of Little Red Riding Hood brought York their own full house, and meant that both teams were one set away from a triple figure score. Good match. For the music starter we were played a composition written for piano but played on a synthesizer. Alex Hardwick was the first to notice that this was Debussy. Three more pieces played on a synthesizer provided two correct answers. Josie Dallas was very quickly in to identify Serial as being Apple’s biggest selling podcast in 2014. No, me neither. Dwarf planets provided just the one bonus to any of us. Asking for an 18th century furniture designer, Dominic Brind buzzed early and zigged correctly with Chippendale. Two bonuses on Fosse Way took their score to 140, which followed a five minute blitz during which Magdalen had completely shut out York, who languished on 85.

David Eastham got York moving again, knowing that if you throw two standard dice, excluding movements dictated by cards, the probability of landing on a railway station from Go in Monopoly is one in 9. Universities often known as UC provided a tricky set, with only The University of Canberra coming good for any of us. For the second picture starter Sophie Williams identified a still from The Twilight Zone – itself a specialist subject on the most recent heat of Mastermind. 3 more recent anthology TV series brought me nothing, but a full house to York. Consideirng the quality of both teams I was surprised that neither managed archetype from the definition that they were given for the next starter. David Eastham knew that the Wollaston medal is presented for achievements in Geology, and brought his team to within 5 points of Magdalen. Women bornin 1819, the same year as Queen Victoria (Gawd Bless ‘Er!)provided the one bonus to put the scores back on level pegging. Altogether now – squeaky bum time for both teams. Alex Hardwick played another captain’s innings, coming in early to identify a set of words all ending in – ling. Reptiles of the UK brought just a single bonus. However this meant that the next starter was crucial. If Magdalen could get it, then the chances were that there wasn’t enough time for York to come back. I took a flier on the next starter, thinking that the answer would be neutral, which is ph7. Harry Stratton confirmed I was right when he buzzed in to seal the deal for Magdalen. Classical music and German literature provided just one more bonus, but that was enough to ensure that York would need at least 2 visits to the table, and there was never going to be enough time for that. David Eastham had a go, though. He correctly identified the philosopher Zeno for the next starter, at which point the contest was gonged. Magdalen won by 170 to 150.

Well played Magdalen. Well played York – you deserve a place in the repechage round. Both teams had a bonus conversion rate of slightly more than 66%, which shows just how evenly matched they were. 3 games in, and no duffer teams yet. Let’s hope that this continues.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Blimey, but the great man started early tonight. Harry Stratton, from Sydney, introduced himself with G’day, which caused JP to sneer – “Subtlety, such a great characteristic of Australia!” Jez, it’s not as if he stood on the desk doing a kangaroo impression and singing Waltzing Matilda, for heaven’s sake! Something must have rattled his cage earlier, because when Cam McEwan correctly answered the sorrows of young Werther, JP deliberately corrected his pronunciation from Werva to Vurta. Mind you, when the team selected The Faerie Queen as one of those books you put down and never pick up again he heartily agreed that it could have been, even though the correct answer was Paradise Lost.

Interesting Fact that I didn’t Already Know Of The Week

The Wollaston Medal is presented for achievements in Geology

1 comment:

Jack said...

Another good contest between two good teams, both deserve to return, and, again, I'm pretty sure York will.