Tuesday, 14 December 2010

TV Watch - University Challenge

University Challenge – Round 2 – Match 7 Merton, Oxford v. Queens’, Cambridge

Another Oxbridge match. Last week it was the Oxford team that prevailed. However this always looked like a close match on paper. Merton were represented by an unchanged team of Tim Coleman, Verity Parkinson, Kim Al-Hourani and captain Tom Hudson. However there was a change to the Queens’ team, as Mark Jackson ,Simon Wallace and David Webster were joined by new skipper William Belfield.

A very impressive buzz from new skipper, William Belfield of Queens’ took the first starter, when he identified the American savant used as the inspiration for the film Rain Man. Bonuses on forgetting were more difficult, and they took the one. Mark Jackson of Queens’ allowed JP to finish asking the next starter, but he knew that the question was referring to Notre Dame in Paris. The bonuses on forums brought my favourite slip of the series, when Queens’ answered Davros when they meant the resort Davos. Still, no one should be exterminated for that. No bonuses were taken. Kim Al – Hourani buzzed too early on the next on artificial sweeteners. Still, Queens’ didn’t know it. Simon Wallace took the next starter knowing the painter required was Picasso. William Belfield buzzed in too early on the next starter, wrongly identifying the lizard sharing its name with a god to whom children were sacrificed as Baal. It was Moloch. Tim Coleman of Merton wiped out their deficit knowing that it was that well known anagram of toilets – T.S.Eliot – who redeived the 1948 Nobel prize for Literature. Their bonuses were on group 11 of the Periodic Table, and they took all 3. Which all goes to show that you can afford to let some of the starters go if you can take all of your bonuses. Mark Jackson was in quickly on a good picture starter to say that the footballer represented with two kits of clubs he’d played for was Ashley Cole with Arsenal and Chelsea. Three bonuses followed with more of the same, but Mo Johnstone restricted them to 2 . Mark Jackson was having a very good game so far, and he buzzed in with the next starter, recognising a definition of intelligence. European region and the countries they belong to gave Queens’ difficulty, and they only took one. You have to say that at the 10 minute mark, Queens’ might well have had quite a bit more to show for their dominance than the 70 – 20 lead they enjoyed.

I got a Maths question right ! For all the bamboozling detail abut squares and cubes of I when I is minus 1 etc. I saw through it and shouted that it was one. Skipper Tom Hudson of Merton looked like he heard me, as he got it. 2 bonuses followed. Then Miss Al-Hourani identified the poet Khalil Ghibran. Cue beatific smile from Jeremy, and more of that a little later on. Pairs of 10 letter anagrams followed, and only the last pair – decimation and medication fell to them. Still, the gap was closing nicely, down to a mere 15 now. Cue, perhaps for a Mark Jackson starter, and he didn’t disappoint, buzzing in smartly to identify The Isle of Man to be part of the subject of a 13th century treaty between Scotland and Norway. Bonuses on philosophers caused a few wrinkled brows behind the Queens’ table, but they still managed to take one of them. The music starter followed. Tim Coleman of Merton recognised an excerpt from Die Fledermaus – a good shout that. Bonuses were a little harder to come by, and they didn’t know any of the excerpts that followed. Again, the gap was down to easily manageable proportions, so again Mark Jackson stepped up with an early buzz, making the connection between mole – little furry feller, and mole – little birthmarky feller. A set of bonuses on Economic theorems didn’t offer a great amount, and Queens’ had no change from them at all. Still time for a couple of starters before we moved past the 20 minute mark, and the next was again taken by the Talented Mr. Jackson, who knew that Rimsky Korsakov worked on Mussorgsky’s stuff after his death. This brought up a set of bonuses on ceramics. These were no more to Queens’ liking than the previous set. Verity Parkinson of Merton knew that according to Shakespeare it is Life that is but a walking shadow. A nice smile for Miss P. here as well, since our Jeremy does love someone who knows their Shakespeare. A set of bonuses on the French Revolution offered them a chance to narrow the gap again, and they duly took a pair of them to bring it back down to 20. Time for one more starter before the 20 minute mark, and a rush of blood to the head saw Tom Hudson buzzing early to suggest that Darwin had a career in the Merchant Navy before becoming a writer and a naturalised British citizen. Joseph Conrad, I’m afraid. Still, even allowing for that, Merton were keeping themselves in the contest, although Queens’ led by 105 to 80.

It looked like Queens’ were going to blink first. David Webster buzzed too early to give the answer Stanley Kubrick, when all that was wanted was an answer of which letter did his and other names both end and begin with. Miss Parkinson took that one. Questions on Biology brought a very useful 2 bonuses, which put the two teams absolutely level. David Webster atoned for his early transgression by being first in to buzz to identify a portrait of Benjamin Disraeli for the next starter. Again, they couldn’t get any of the bonuses, missing out on pictures of Peel, Balfour and Grey. Now it was Simon Wallace buzzing in too early , but Miss Al-Hourani knew that it was carbolic acid that Joseph Lister used as an antiseptic. Lead to Merton for the first time this match. Verity Parkinson buzzed too early on the next starter, so Simon Wallace supplied the correct answer. Nip and tuck doesn’t come close to describing the nature of this contest at the moment. One bonus was taken to take the lead. I salute Tom Hudson of Merton for knowing he had to buzz early on the next starter. Once ‘orchestral suite ‘ and ‘animals ‘ had passed JP’s lips he just had to buzz in, whether he knew it for certain or not. It was right, though. Bonuses on milk proved hard to get, and indeed they didn’t get any. Mark Jackson came back into the contest after a quiet period, taking the next starter. Queens’ needed bonuses, and they got two of them. They still needed the next starter, though, and David Webster got it, knowing the process being described was pasteurisation. Bonuses on walls all fell to them . Time was running out for Merton, and so Verity Parkinson gambled on the name of illegitimate sons of kings. It didn’t come off. When JP mentioned a shipping forecast area , Mark Jackson knew it was Fitzroy. And that was that. In the end Queens’ had daylight , winning by 175 to 120.

A low scoring game, yes, but a very exciting and entertaining one. Bragging rights then shared between Oxford and Cambridge at the moment, since both have one win apiece in this week and last week’s head to heads.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

“I wonder what took you so long, Merton. “ was Jeremy’s rather sniffy response to skipper Hudson’s answer to the Maths starter. However he soon thawed out towards them, and indeed there was a huge smile on his chops when Kim Al-Hourani identified the Lebanese poet also know as the Prophet as Khalil Gibran. Watch out Miss Al-Hourani, but I think our Jezza was quite taken with you. Bromide and bucket of water on standby, please.

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

Regurgitated food transferred from a parent to a baby bird is known as crop milk. So for heaven’s sake, if you see that on a menu, have a glass of water instead.


Jack said...

After the extraordinary games we've had recently, it was good to have a quieter, lower scoring one for once.

But did Queens' get a bit lucky? Just 12/36 bonuses and three penalties, but Mark Jackson's eight starters was what won it for them. Mr Jackson now has fourteen starters in his name, two more than Will Cudmore, amazingly!

Mind you, Merton made just 12/24 bonuses with four penalties. Tim Coleman finishes with six starters over two games.

Haven't Bristol waited long enough for their second match?! They play Newnham next week in the last second round match. As always, I look forward to it (but then, don't we all).

Des Elmes said...

I expected a good, close game here, and that's exactly what transpired - only Queens' surge in the final minutes settling it.

Both their victories have come as a result of being faster on the buzzers - Jackson in particular - than the opposition, compensating for trouble with the bonuses. (They managed just 13/37 in their previous match against Balliol.)

Merton, though, were hurt by their four penalties. Further to the stats, all four members got two starters correct, though Coleman was the only one not to make an incorrect interruption to one.

And further to the Queens' line-up change, Webster took the seat that Belfield occupied in the Balliol match.

Bristol have indeed waited long enough for their second outing to be broadcast - their victory in the series opener against St Andrews aired nearly six months ago! This must be the longest time between transmissions of two matches involving one particular team...

Londinius said...

Hi Jack and Des

As always, thanks for your stats and your take on the match. Des, you make a good point about the delay between Bristol's matches, although I can't answer whether its a record or not.