Tuesday, 19 January 2010

TV Watch - University Challenge

University Challenge – Quarter Final stage match 3 – Imperial College London v. Edinburgh University

Checking through my form guide I see that Imperial beat St. Hugh’s Oxford in the second round by a massive 200 points, and their accumulated score, not including special case Emmanuel College, is the second highest behind St. John’s. They scored an average of 68% of all the points in their first two matches, which is a measure of significant dominance. Edinburgh on the other hand scored 170 in both of their matches so far, but to be fair they did manage to beat Regents’ Park Oxford in the second round. Regent’s Park, you remember beat the excellent Emmanuel team in their first match. They averaged 53% of the points in their first two matches, but then as any schoolboy can tell you, you only need 51% to come out on top. Any schoolboy with a calculator phone that is. Enough of such things. Whatever the stats may suggest, there are no soft matches at this stage.

Imperial took the first starter, and two out of three bonuses on quotations about King Charles I. The next two starters fell to them in quick succession as well. Still, they were a little profligate with the bonuses, and only had a fifty point lead as Edinburgh scored their first starter. By the end of those bonuses the lead had shrunk to 30. Still, Imperial gladly snapped up a full set on the final stages of world cup tournaments. Mr. Healy certainly knows his international football.

Edinburgh snapped up another starter, but Imperial seemed to be picking several sets to every one of Edinburgh’s, and were through the 100 point barrier not long after the ten minute mark. On a music starter I amazed myself with recognising that an aria was from Madame Butterfly , hence written by Puccini. Mr. Good of Imperial knew this too, and the bonuses it brought his team gave them a 100 point lead, and more. Twice Mr. Matheson of Edinburgh showed commendable fight by gambling on early buzzes, but these did not come off unfortunately. His third one did, and he got a very rare stamp of approval from our Jeremy for doing it. Well said sir.

If I was amazed that I got a classical music question right, I was even more flabbergasted that I guessed that plasmodium cells in the blood indicated malaria . That’s a science question ! Sorry, and back to the review. This Imperial team continued to be good value for their lead. It didn’t make a lot of difference what the subject for the starters was, they tended to either buzz in correctly, or let Edinburgh have a shout and then supply the answer after. They shared the answers around too, which is always a sign of a team that is more than the sum of its parts. The contest was over before the gong, and you have to say that Imperial looked pretty much as good value for their win as Manchester and St. John’s had looked for theirs. They had some terrific answers, for example knowing that Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world – that’s a quizzer’s question. At the gong they had won by 240 to 110.

As regards Edinburgh, Jeremy Paxman put his finger on it exactly when he said that they’d broken 100, which is perfectly respectable. Yes it is. The starters didn’t completely suit them, but if they get a run of questions that do suit they can do better than this. They may be down, but they’re certainly not out. Congratulations to Imperial though, who look a very good team.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

He was in a strange mood tonight, Jeremy. A lot of what he said about both teams’ performances was almost sagelike in its brevity and appropriateness. Then, while not exactly conciliatory, he did offer to Edinburgh when they managed their first starter , this verbose little gem,
“You’re not bereft any more. “
To Mr. Matheson of Edinburgh , when he buzzed in correctly after two incorrect buzzes, he offered even some words of encouragement,
“You’re doing the right thing, and keep going for it. “
Not that he’s gone totally soft. When being told that Gladstone had been Prime Minister the most times, a most exasperated JP replied,
“Yes of course ! I can’t believe it took you such a long time. “

Interesting Fact I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week

The name Rowena was not actually invented by sir Walter Scott for his novel “Ivanhoe”, but actually appears in the works of 12th century writer Geoffrey of Monmouth.


Gilead Amit said...

Hello - Gilead Amit here, from the Imperial team.

Just wanted to let you know that we also read your updates - a small occasional dose of egotism that the internet gives us access to.

It's always fun to read your take on the matches - look forward to seeing what you think of the upcoming ones!

stephen said...

Wasn't this the second week in a row that Linus Pauling was the answer to a Nobel prize query?

And Gilead -- could you be this year's Gail Trimble? The diversity of things you know makes my jaw drop every match you are in.

davidbod said...

I think the Rowena fact came to light in last year's RBQ when Marcel Berlins (rightly) corrected the supposed answer read out by Tom Sutcliffe to the other team's question - the first time I can recall that ever happening. The scores were left to stand, however.

Londinius said...

Hi Gilead, Stephen and David.

Gilead, that was a great performance last night, and you must be thrilled to have one foot in the semis now. Thanks for your kind comments about the blog. I've enjoyed all of your fine team's performances so far, and I look forward eagerly to the next one.

Stephen, I think you might be right about the Linus Pauling question, although I must admit I didn't notice as I was watching the show.

David - I think that's one of those Question Master Is Always Right things which I just hadn't come across before. I didn't hear the RBQ in question, to be honest I missed far too many of the series for one reason or another. I'd always heard that it was supposed to have been invented for Ivanhoe - just goes to show, there are more wrong'uns out there than we might think.