Saturday, 22 January 2011

Only Connect Special - Crossworders v. University Challengers

Just HOW good are reigning University Challenge champions Emmanuel ? Well if they could live with the Crossworders, one of only two undefeated champion teams of Only Connectors , then the answer would clearly be extremely good. Brilliant in fact.

Round One – What’s the connection ?

Kicking off for the University Challengers were Jenny Harris, Josh Scott and who else, Alex Guttenplan. Indeed I may be wrong but I do think that our Victoria is something of a Guttenfan. Lucky boy. The team opted for Lion, and received a set of pictures for their pains. I didn’t recognise the first, but as the full set unfolded we came to see the flag of Qatar and a qwerty keyboard. The team had it, with words with q but no u. The Crossworders – in case you’ve forgotten they are Mark Grant, Ian Bayley, and captain David Stainer – looked behind the Eye of Horus, and saw the Swedish Air Force – KLM – HM Customs and Revenue – Rolex. All of them , as they knew, use crowns as part of their logo. All square . Behind the flax the UC team found Glass Bead Game – Merce Cunningham’s Choreography – Darma Initiative Loop – and the South Korean Flag. They didn’t get it. Then a bit of confusion among the ranks of the Corssworders saw Mark offer games of chance – then Ian offer the I Ching. When pressed to pick , captain David sportingly went with Mark’s original answer, although I’m sure he knew that Ian’s was the right one. So a potential bonus dropped, but fair play not just done, but seen to be done. The Crossworders upped the tempo with the next , taking it after three clues. Aurelian – Stonewall Jackson ( at which I , like the team, had a inkling ) and Anwar Sadat, which confirmed it for them that we had a set of people killed by their own troops. The Challengers picked the sound set behind horned viper. On three clues they correctly answered that all of the sounds we heard were sent into space on satellites – specifically the Voyager satellite. You know – the one that threatened the Enterprise in Star Trek the Motion Picture. The Crossworders finished off with Two Reeds. Fortis Shareholders and Mutadar Al Zaidi gave them the right link, and Saboteurs confirmed it – they all made protests with shoes. Liked the way that Ian protested when Kruschev was revealed that he didn’t throw his shoe. I was shouting the same thing at home ! Mind you Victoria explained that these were protests primarily , not necessarily throwings, then in a gesture reminiscent of question masters since time immerorial offered to take the points away if he so wished ! At the end of a great round the Crossworders led by 5 to 3.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?

The Challengers had the horrible experience of knowing what the connection was between Parasurama – Rama and Krishna – but not what came next. Being that they are all successive avatars of Vishnu, the Crossworders knew it was Buddha. Both teams knew what came next after Devon – Carbon and then when it was revealed – the Kingdom of Perm – but neither could say that the Triassic era took its name from three strata. So close . . . The Challengers got their second set of pictures of the evening when the flags of Spain, then Mexico, then the short lived Republic of Texas were revealed. That was the one you had to know – they didn’t unfortunately. The Crossworders knew that they all successively ruled Texas, so by rights the next would be the flag of the USA, the Stars and Stripes. Cracking answer. A great number one came next , with one, then two , then three sevenths rendered as decimal fractions. When it was passed over Alex rattled off the correct answer .571428 as if he was back in the final of UC . He did something very similar with their own question, knowing that Fraction of the Earth’s meridian and Bar containing plutonium were previous definitions for a metre. He rattled off the current definition , which is the distance that light travels in a specific fraction of a second. Finally a nice little cryptic set , which didn’t trouble the Crossworders – 5 =V , 6 = IX – working on the roman numerals contained within the written names of the numbers, then it would be 8 = I. Quite right too. Another brilliant and enjoyable round saw the Crossworders still ahead with 10 to the Challengers’ 7.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Crossworders took Water, and frankly made it all look rather easy in the unravelling stage. Shrapnel , Leotard Jacuzzi and Silhouette fell first. More about them in a minute. Then Harket, Quisling, Much and Greig – obviously famous Norwegians, Nature – Goose – Hubbard and Courage – all mothers and finally Viper Maverick Iceman and Hollywood, from the best film ever made by Ridley Scott’s brother, Top Gun. When asked about the first set, the Crossworders said, as I would have , that they were all named after their inventors. Au contraire ! Apparently none of these things were named after the person who invented them, but someone else. Live and learn.

The Challengers had shaped up well so far, but a little wall inexperience cost them time and the chance of a big score here. In the full time they only unravelled Gamblers – Lion – Opium and Vice – which may sound like ingredients of a good Saturday night in some parts of the country, but are all in fact dens. Once the wall was resolved they didn’t see that Royal Arms – Oak Tree – Forth Bridge and Celtic Cross have all featured on £1 coins. They did know that Acorn – Dragon – Apricot and Sinclair have all been British computer companies, and also that Box – Delta – Malay and Stunt are all kites. So it was very much advantage to the Crossworders , as they led by 17 to 11.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

Honours fairly even in this round. The Crossworders took the fictional pairs by 2 to 1. The only team to get one of the – Equals 42 set were the Challengers – who knew of course that 42 is Life , The Universe and Everything. The Crossworders took 3 films based n true life events. The Challengers took the other, but also committed the only miscue of the round. Still they did very well with a set of analogies of white is to black as – taking three. Loved the one which come up right at the death , too late for either team to answer – Barry is to Cilla ! Think about it !

The final score then was a win for the Crossworders by 22 to 17. But how do we reckon that the Challengers did ? Damn well, if truth were told ! On that performance , they’re as good as almost any team we’ve seen on the show – and that is praise indeed. Well deserved, too.


Jack said...

It's so wierd hearing that man Guttenplan talking straight rather than just giving answers. Good effort by him and his team though. If they'd done better on the wall, they could of taken it right to the wire.

Andrew B. said...

Hmm - the "flirting" at the beginning was about the most cringeworthy thing I've seen on TV in a long time...

Have to say, the Crossworders seemed a bit off form by their high standards - maybe they were taking it easy as it was a special?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this review - fair and entertaining as always. We did really think we had the harder wall - we (well, Alex anyway) worked out theirs as quick as they did once we set eyes on it on Monday. Which is not to say I don't think the better team won, because they definitely did.

It was a lot of fun to film, and great to meet such friendly fellow quizzers, including our opponents, and yourself of course!


Londinius said...

Hi Jenny

Thanks as always for dropping by. It was lovely to meet you in August - shame we couldn't have actually come in watch your match, but there we are !

Look after yourself