Tuesday, 6 September 2011

University Challenge - Round One - Match 10

University College London v. York

UCL are traditionally one of the strongest of the London University colleges in this competition, and last night they were represented by Howard Carver, Patrick Cook, Tom Andrews and captain Jamie Karran. York’s team were Rob Miller, Greg Melia, Heather Powell and captain Andrew Rose.

First to score were York, when skipper Andrew Rose knew that up until a relatively short time ago it was believed that the whole Universe just consisted of the Milky Way. Now we know that you could eat one and still not ruin your appetite. This brought bonuses on authors and History, of which they managed 2. A little surprisingly neither team knew that “Frost at Midnight “ and “Christabel” among other poems were written by S.T. Coleridge. Patrick Cook took UCL’s first points, knowing that if it’s a work by J.K. Galbraith, if you say that it’s the Affluent Society you’ll be right far more often than you’re wrong. No bonuses were taken on silk. Still , Howard Carver took UCL’s second starter knowing that the three anagrams referred to were serve- sever and verse. 2 bonuses followed on film quotations and years. Patrick Cook doubled up his tally with the next starter on an American writer whose name I didn’t quite catch. Not to worry. A tricky set of bonuses on Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty proved elusive. Tom Andrews continued UCL’s good work with the picture starter, where he recognised the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. More of the same followed in bonuses, and the only one that UCL didn’t recognize was that of a velociraptor . Have they never seen Jurassic Park ? So at the 10 minute mark UCL had shown by far the more nimble fingers in the buzzer race, though a slight profligacy with bonuses meant that they only led by 60 to York’s 20.

A gap which was immediately reduced with the next starter when Greg Melia knew that a particular specialized computer language is ADA, a good early buzz. 3 good bonuses on metals were taking, and the gap had shrunk. When Andrew Rose took the next starter, and the team took a bonus on winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature the gap had disappeared completely as the teams were all square. Tom Andrew opened it up again, knowing that a mathematician referred to was Necker. One bonus was taken on toads. Captain Jamie Karran took a brave early buzz on a difficult literature question, and lost 5 – neither team knew the term Myosis. Howard Carver knew and anagram of Salvador Dali when he heard it, though, and this introduce a set of bonuses on Italian buildings. This was very much to UCL’s liking as they managed all three. The music starter followed in short order, but neither team knew a little bit of Liszt when they heard it, although they may have recognized, as I did, that it came from a well known Tom and Jerry cartoon. So the music bonuses, on other pieces of classical music used in cartoons of the 40s and 50s followed after a neat arithmetical question , which involved thinking in both binary and ternary. I am not up to such mental acrobatics, but Howard Carver certainly was, and all three musical bonuses were taken. Patrick Cook completed a virtual shut out for UCL by taking the next starter on a type of Japanese riddle, and the team managed a single bonus on dances. So at the 20 minute mark UCL’s lead of 135 to 60 looked decisive.

Tom Andrews recognized a description of Primal Scream Therapy. All well and good if you like that sort of thing. This brought bonuses on petrochemical companies. Neither team fancied the look of da Vinci’s uncompleted Adoration of the Magi for the 2nd picture starter, and so the picture bonuses rolled over. Greg Melia knew what the Golden Rule was, and so this gave them a crack at the pictures, which escaped them . Me too. Neither team knew a quotation from King Lear.Again, neither team knew that Funafuti is the capital of Tuvalu. Still, Greg Melia did know that if submarines were U-Boats, then torpedo boats were E-Boats. A set of oriental phrases commonly used in English passed York by, I’m afraid. There remained enough time for three more starters. Neither team knew that Isaak Walton wrote about angling. UCL took the other two , with Dijon mustard and nucleic acids. That was it. The final score was a win to UCL by 185 to 105. Not a classic show, by any means. However look on it this way. A run of the mill University Challenge is still way better than most other shows.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

It was Uncle Jez again tonight. There was a brief moment when he raised my hopes of something more, when UCL confused the witches of Pendle – a Mastermind SS last year – with the Tolpuddle Martyrs. “Tolpuddle ?!” spluttered JP in his very best, Lady – Bracknell – a – Handbag ? ! – mode. Other than that he seemed to be rather enjoying himself. York were commiserated with, and reminded that 105 was a perfectly respectable score. Indeed it is. Then UCL he hailed as ‘a very entertaining team ‘.

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

The phrase ‘conventional wisdom’ was first coined in Galbraith’s “The Affluent Society”.


Des Elmes said...

UCL tend to send very good teams, while York were of course last year's runners-up (a fact not pointed out by Paxo, which was quite strange IMHO) - so this looked like being a good match.

Instead, just seventeen starters were answered correctly, with a further seven dropped.

And, for York, it was quite a change in fortunes after the success of last year...

The stats: those seventeen starters were split very evenly, with Patrick Cook and Tom Andrews getting four each for UCL and Howard Carver three, while Andrew Rose and Greg Melia got three each for York.

Both teams also answered in the region of half their bonuses correctly: UCL 17/33 with two penalties, York 9/18.

So, ten matches gone in this series, and still the only ones that have been really good are the two Oxbridge clashes...

Next week, however, sees the third such match - and a royal-sounding one too, as King's Cambridge take on Queen's Oxford.

Rob said...

Do you know if Jamie Karran was on Pointless last series? I'm thinking I saw him with a friend in the final round.

Michael said...

Just an FYI, it's Hywel Carver, not Howard Carver (although a fairly forgiveable mistake!). And yes, UCL Karran was on Pointless in series 3 (with his boyfriend, who is me :)).

Ben Dutton said...

Was it on Pointless I saw Jamie Karran? I guess it must have been, though I thought I'd seen him on The Chase. Certainly he has been on TV before.

Michael said...
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Jack said...

Another disapointing match really, but I enjoyed it for some reason. Not much I can say that hasn't been said already.

Des is quite right that the Oxbridge matches have been the only really good matches so far. Compare this to the last series, where the first round started with three great matches, and we didn't really get another good one until the end of the first round.

Londinius said...

Hi Everyone

Thanks for the stats Des. I know what you and Jack are saying about the matches this year, but I tend to look on it this way. An average or below par UC match is still a hell of a lot better than a good match in almost any other show - except OC of course.

Hi statron, and welcome to LAM. Thanks for dropping by. Apologies to Hywel - as an honorary welshman myself I blush at my mistake ( not saying that he is welsh, but his name is. )Please pass my congratulations on to Jamie, and wish him the best of retrospective luck for the second round.