Monday, 18 July 2011

University Challenge - Round One - Match Three

Worcester, Oxford v. Clare, Cambridge

Ah, the first Oxbridge head to head of the season. Might this mean a close match ? First to be introduced were the Worcester team of Dave Knapp, Jack Bramhill, Jonathan Metzer, and captain Rebecca Gillie. JP informed us that the skipper had only decided to give UC a go after coming away from a quiz machine and realizing she’d made a profit. Well, that’s no easy thing to do at all. Their opponents Clare were represented by Kris Cao, Daniel Janes, Jonathan Foxwell, and captain Jonathan Burley, and were another very young team, with an average age of 20.

The first sign we had that Worcester meant business was a very good early buzz from Jonathan Metzer, who realized that Pythagoras discovery of his famous theorem, and the murder of Agamemnon amongst other events both happened in a bath – although not the same one, or at the same time. 2 bonuses were taken on oysters in literature. Dave Knapp followed up , knowing that Cotopaxi is in Ecuador. Another couple of geography bonuses followed. A nice starter, the next one asked for the French word meaning – boldness – forever linked to a Turner painting . At the mention of Turner all hands leapt for the buzzer, but Jack Bramhill got there first of all with Temeraire. 2 bonuses were taken with the letter Q. It had been a whirlwind start for Worcester, and it needed Daniel Janes to stop the rot. He knew that a list of titles were all nominees for the lost Booker Prize, which enabled Clare to take a full set of bonuses on Physics. Game on. Neither team fancied the first picture starter, which showed a diagram of the brewing process. So the bonuses went with the next starter, and when the words ‘nickname’ and ‘australopithecus’ had passed JP’s lips, Jonathan Metzer knew full well that the answer had to be Lucy – or Lucy In The Ground With Arthritis as I once heard her unkindly described. Worcester were happy to take all 3 brewing bonuses. Clare quickly hit back with starters from Jonathan Foxwell and Daniel Janes on Physics and Economics, the second of which brought up a lovely set of bonuses on unusual World Championships – more of that later. So after a good fightback by Clare, Worcester’s lead at the 10 minute mark had been narrowed to 80 – 65.

Rebecca Gillie took the next starter on the Pentagon. A bonus followed on questions containing the word self. Kris Cao hit back, knowing that the mystics referred to were Sufis. 2 out of 3 bonuses were taken on the 7 deadly sins and Dante, Kris Cao buzzed early on the music starter. Yes, he knew it was Tchaikovsky, but zigged with Swan Lake. 5 points off. Jonathan Metzer zagged with The Nutcracker, and thus earned a set on music linked to animals via the film Fantasia. Only 1 taken. Undaunted, Kris Cao correctly buzzed on Blackfriars Bridge for the next starter. 2 bonuses followed on Plate tectonics, and we were all square. Then Clare took the lead for the first time in the contest when skipper Jonathan Burley answered the next starter on some Physics chappie. Still, the gap was not widened when they failed to answer any of a set of bonuses on paintings of Madonna. Sorry, that should read paintings of THE Madonna. A classic early buzz starter followed. If its Tenniel then the answer is likely to be either – Bismarck – Punch – or – Alice in Wonderland – or the Captain ( ask your parents ). When the question asked which event, then Daniel Janes won the buzzer race, knowing it was about the cartoon Dropping the Pilot. 2 bonuses followed on Parts of the Body. Jonathan Metzer narrowed the gap by correctly answering that Latin had no word for ‘the’ while German has 6. A great UC set involving doing simple arithmetic with the numbers in famous book titles followed – they did well to get 2. Neither team recognized Marlene Deitrich in the 2nd picture starter, and so the bonuses which accompanied this went to a starter on Astronomy, won by Kris Cao. So going into a tense last period, Clare now led by 150 – 125.

All was set, then , for a grandstand finish, and neither team were to disappoint us. Kris Cao, very influential from the halfway mark onwards, recognized 6 Degrees of Separation, and 2 bonuses were taken on Middlesbrough. Rebecca Gillie hit back with Cordelia, for a bonus on the year 1711. Dave Knapp maintained Worcester’s momentum with the Khaki Election of 1900, and a full set were taken on Geography. Jonathan Metzer knew Penguin Classics for the next starter – blimey, it was close – and this brought up another lovely bonus set, on working out chemical elements from clues to the first few letters of the name – eg – Japanese style animation = MANGAnese. Questions on UC are always good – tonight they were brilliant. Neither team could get a Maths starter. Worcester had a tiny lead, as JP started asking the last starter. It was Daniel Janes of Clare who took it on The Sublime. All Square again. Time remained only for 2 bonuses on Kings of England – but Clare took both of them, to win by a nailbiting 190 to 180.

JP was quite right to offer fulsome congratulations to both teams. This was a great show, and think about this. How well both teams played against good opposition – and how much better the pair of these well matched teams might do against slightly slower, or slightly poorer opposition. Both have good buzzers, and strength throughout the teams. Well played both of you – congratulations Clare, and Worcester, you will surely be back.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Just a couple of vignettes tonight, but the first was a cracker. When asked for the mountain range which contains Mount Elbrus, captain Rebecca Gillie replied “Causacus ?”
“Its CAU – CAS – US” spelled out a rather narked JP, before realizing that he was talking to a lady, and ameliorating his tone somewhat. To the team who suggested that the photo of the actress was Margot Fonteyn he was rather incredulous. ”Fonteyn was a dancer ! “ he rather snorted. Ah, give the people what they want, JP.

Interesting Fact Of The Week That I Did Not Already Know

The hybrid sport of chess boxing ( yes, you did read that correctly ) does have its own world championships.


X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
k said...

It was the Caucasus mountains — "...which range features Mount Elbrus...?".

DanielFullard said...

I thought Janes and Cao made a very strong pairing and will be very tough to beat

Londinius said...

Hi k

OOps ! Red face. That's ultimate proof that blokes can't multitask . Sorry .

Hi Daniel

Yes, both teams looked strong throughout the teams - we'll see more of them both, I think


Jack said...

Definitely the best match of the series so far. Both teams deserve to come back, and no doubt that Worcester's score will be enough for the repechage.

And from what we saw of him, Mr Janes of Clare seems potentially hilarious; the Mae West exchange was one to remember. He and Chris Cao got four starters each, while Jonathan Metzer got five for Worcester.

Indeed, both sides got ten starters each, and it was those two extra bonuses at the end that won Clare the match.

As for last week, I didn't post here as I was away, but Mr Surgener of Birmingham looks like one to watch later on.

joe said...

Wasn't there a question about 'Which Irish satirist born in 1730...?' which the answer was given 'James Joyce'. JP should have run with this, surely!

Londinius said...

Hi Jack - Hi Joe

Oh blimey, yes. I thought when that one came up it was a surefire bet for a prime Paxman response - JP HATES it when they get a literature one wrong. All I can think of is that he was as caught up in an exciting contest as we were.


Anonymous said...

"...Daniel Janes to stop the rot. He knew that a list of titles were all nominees for the lost Booker Prize, which enabled Worcester to take a full set of bonuses on Physics."

I think that should be Clare.

Good match though. Go Worcester!

Londinius said...

Hi 8cd32a44-b22e-11e0-9284-000bcdcb8a73 ( or can I call you 8cd32a44-b22e-11e0-9284-000bcdcb8a7 for short ? )

Oops -- thanks for pointing that out - I'll amend it now.



Belus said...

Quick note - that should be *Kris* Cao on the Clare team.

TV production cut out Jeremy's most acerbic moment of the match - the incredulous manner in which he repeated "Wrath?!" when Burley/Clare suggested it was a deadly sin...

Londinius said...

Hi Belus

Ah, thanks for that - I'll correct it in a minute.

What is the world coming to ? Cutting out JP moments ? This should be stopped at once !


Andrew B. said...

But wrath *is* a deadly sin!

I hope Worcester return for the repechage - they looked a good team.