Thursday, 8 October 2009

TV Watch - University Challenge

University Challenge – First Round Heat 13 – St. Andrews v. Somerville College Oxford

Two days late with your review, Mr. Clark ? What is the world coming to ? Yes, apologies to anyone who has come to check out the review of the latest heat, only to find that LAM seems to be neglecting its public duties. The only mitigation I can plead is that its not through sloth, only through the fact that this has been an exceptionally busy quiz week, which I will only too gladly tell you all about. However, let us deal with UC first.

This match paired two former series’ champions, the University of St. Andrews, and Somerville College Oxford. St. Andrews apparently have a student population of about 3,000 to draw from, while poor old Somerville have about a 6th of that number. Once again , we were reminded that the red cloaks of St. Andrews were originally meant to make their students easily identifiable, and thus help keep them out of houses of ill-repute. Nothing quite so juicy about Somerville, and we had to content ourselves with the titbit that both Shirley Williams and her mother Vera Brittain were both former students, as indeed was Dorothy Parker.

St. Andrews made most of the early running, although it was noticeable that they failed to score on a set of bonuses which required them to identify which cities various test cricket grounds could be found in. After ten minutes they had carved out a very healthy lead for themselves, but then captain Guy Fletcher-Wood of Somerville began almost single handedly to haul his team back into contention, finding range with a number of starter answers.

The fight back began to look temporary though, as St. Andrews , and in particular Christopher Flaherty began to apply a stranglehold on the match. The team passed the 200 point mark before twenty minutes had passed, and were clearly going to win. The foot came off the gas pedal in the last four minutes though. Having reached 255, they failed to answer another starter correctly. This allowed Somerville to finish with 150 points. If I’m correct, then that put them just 5 points away from a repechage spot, actually a really good performance. Special honours to Guy Fletcher – Wood of Somerville, with 6 starters. However the star turn was really Christopher Flaherty, whose individual haul of starters was amongst the finest I’ve seen this series.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

A disappointing week for Paxman watchers. Mild and congenial throughout. The only comment I particularly noted was in his explanation to an unanswered starter,
“They’re the people who conferred the blessed Arndale Centres on us. “ Even when he told Somerville “ You were a bit slow “ – meaning on the buzzers – he qualified this with “You got some brilliant answers “ All of which leads LAM to ask – has someone been slipping happy pills into his tea ? I think we should be told.

Interesting Fact I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week

I really liked the question which required the three separate answers of Dunk, Flunk and Munk – sorry – Monk. However the two which really stood our for me were –
a) That nostalgia is greek for a return to native land and pain
b) JK Rowling is actually one of the top ten mispronunciations !

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