University Challenge – Quarter Final Elimination Match – Edinburgh v. Jesus College Oxford
Another nailbiting elimination match this week. Two weeks ago St. Andrews went down and out, and tonight either Edinburgh, or regular LAM reader and contributor Jim Waterson’s Jesus College team would have to join them. Sartorially it was very nice to see Mr. King of Edinburgh wearing a DJ and bow tie tonight. I like a man who pays respect to the gravitas of the occasion.
First blood went to Edinburgh, identifying types of cross, as did the second starter, identifying cloves. Mr. Docherty of Jesus got their first points by correctly identifying the chemical element bromine. A full set of bonuses put them only 5 points behind Edinburgh. Not for long though, as Edinburgh let Jesus guess that the Treaty of Windsor was signed in the 15th century, before correctly answering that it was signed in the 14th.
The picture starter gave Mr. Speller an easy tap in, to identify Hitler’s invasion of Russia as Operation Barbarossa.The bonuses on other invasions of world war II were a little harder, although they did get Overlord. Tit for tat, Edinburgh struck back with the very next starter. This time they got two of the bonuses too, a good thing, considering that both teams had been rather profligate with bonuses up to this point. “Pack – peck – pick – pock and puck “ recited captain Hugh Brechin of Edinburgh in response to a set of clues to take the next starter. Bloomin’ good answer, sir !2 more bonuses meant that Edinburgh were just starting to pull away by the 10 minute mark.
They started the second third as they finished the first, with a confident early buzz from Mr. King, identifying the use of platinum in catalytic converters. Only one bonus was taken, but at the time it didn’t matter, as Captain Brechin buzzed in again for the next starter, identifying an acronym for Australian State Capitals. At this point Jesus had been buzzed out of the game for a few minutes, and its always a test of a team’s nerve how they respond to this. Captain Hadley buzzed in to put Jesus back on the rails with the next starter, identifying, among other things, the name of the first Brazilian captain to lift the football World Cup. However this only pulled them up to 50 points, and at the halfway stage Edinburgh had a distinctly useful looking 60 point lead.
For the music starter on 60s TV themes, Mr. King looked a bit like the Saint, but he didn’t get any points for saying that the theme to the aforementioned show actually belonged to the Prisoner. Neither team got it, nor a set of quotations from The Tempest. Still , Mr. Speller impressed with his buzz of an answer of “anarcho syndicalism “. Try saying that when you’ve had a couple of glasses of dutch courage in the green room . They did pretty well on the theme bonuses too.
As we moved into the second half of the show the axis of opportunity shifted, as Jesus started finding the range for the starters. They pulled back the deficit to 20 points, before Mr. Kimmit correctly identified Henry Bessemer et al as pioneers of the Iron and Steel industry ( I’m in the iron and steel business lady – the wife does the ironing and I do the – sorry – a slight attack of the Music Halls there. ) At 20 minutes, moving into the last third, Edinburgh led by a slender 35 points. They took the first starter on self portraits, identifying Frida Kahlo. Then Mr. King identified a group of words from the last line of Paradise Lost. At this stage you could have named your own odds if you wanted to back Jesus, as the gap extended to 75 points. Mr. Speller made a timely interruption to identify the third woman member of the US Supreme Court. This was followed by a set on deposed kings.Not all were taken, but the gap narrowed to 45 points with 5 minutes to go.Hugh Brechin took the next starter, and Edinburgh pulled away again. Cue Mr. Speller of Jesus to take the next starter, identifying a list of authors as all being linked by the initials JM. What they did extremely well was to answer the bonuses quickly. They took the next starter, a gentle dolly on elements of the periodic table, and quickly whipped through the bonuses to get another two. The force was with Jesus for the moment as Mr. Docherty correctly predicted the next country bordering Brazil in a list given would be Peru. Good shout, and with the gap down to 30, even though time was running short, anything looked possible. 3 correct bonuses on Italian Prime Ministers helped. Mr. Speller identified the time signal of a waltz as 3 – 4, and now the gap was down to 5 points, with bonuses to come.They needed two bonuses to take the lead, and amazingly took one just on the gong !
What a fight back. Yet it might all come to nothing, depending on the tie break. The deciding question was , if I heard it correctly,
What is the determinant of a two by two matrix whose entries, reading row by row, are two, three, four, and five ?
My Mathematically inclined friends assure me that this was easy. I take their word for it. Whatever the case Mr. Matheson of Edinburgh buzzed in with the correct answer – negative 2.There's been a bit of discussion about this, but I've listened a few times, and it seems fairly clear to me that negative 2 is what he said. So very well done Edinburgh, and good luck in your next match. As for Jesus, very hard lines, but you earn great credit for a splendid fightback.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
I got the impression JP was very much into this match tonight. That’s nice for him, but it didn’t provide us with too many Paxman moments. Oh well, at least there was this.
When asked about an order of reformed Cistercians, with particularly strict rules, when offered Franciscans by Edinburgh, JP offered , “No, they’re TRAPPISTS – don’t you read Divinity ? “Mr. Kimmit, who provided the answer, actually is reading Divinity.
On the TV themes, he suggested that Jesus might not actually want these bonuses.
Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
The Treaty which formalized England’s oldest alliance, with Portugal, was called the Treaty of Windsor.