Sunday, 18 December 2011

University Challenge - Round Two - Match 8

Pembroke, Cambridge v. Nottingham

The last of the second round matches pitted Pembroke, Cambridge against Nottingham University. Both teams were in the bottom half of my unofficial table of first round results. Pembroke and their team of Edward Bankes, Ben Pugh, Imogen Gold, and Captain Bibek Mukherjee comfortably beat St. Anne’s Oxford by 205 to 140. Nottingham, in the shape of Harry Dalton, Matthew Byrne, Ewan Pickard and their captain Lee Cooper, beat the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine by 215 to 155. Nothing much to choose between their first round performances, and this suggested that maybe we were in for another close match. Maybe.

Keep calm and carry on said Harry Dalton. Correct, said JP, this being the slogan required as the answer to the first starter. Nottingham took a full set of bonuses on the human condition. Ben Pugh, who I believe was the leading buzzer on the night, took his first starter with a quote from Dwight Eisenhower. One bonus followed on search engines. Neither team knew that Coriolanus was originally banned in Nazi Germany, before becoming a set text when comparisons between the eponymous hero and Hitler began to be drawn. Harry Dalton lost 5 on that one by an early incorrect buzz. Captain Bibek Mukherjee of Pembroke, who weighed in with some good buzzes himself, knew the biologist Linnaeus. Again, only one bonus followed on beds. Ben Pugh knew that a set of definitions related to the term Cavalier. This brought up Pembroke’s first full set on pioneering female scientists. The picture starter asked the teams to identify the type of lens a photograph was taken with. Lee Cooper had a decent shout with fish eye, but Bibek Mukherjee had it right with wide angle. Three different types of lenses followed, and Pembroke managed to get two of them. The Pembroke skipper completed a very good first ten minutes for his team by identifying Big Island – or Hawaii – as the largest island of Hawaii. The team was unable to take any bonuses on sociological terms. By this time Pembroke had 85 to Nottingham’s 20.

I’m afraid that the mid-section of the contest was rather one sided as well. Neither team could quite remember the name Steven Pinker, but Lee Cooper dropped 5 from buzzing too early. I don’t blame him for this. When you are being outbuzzed you have a choice. You can either retreat into your shell, or go down fighting, and I always like to see a team giving it a lash. You might as well be hung for a sheep . . . Edward Bankes was very quick to work out the product of the two smallest 2 digit primes. 2 bonuses on Seattle followed. Neither team knew a Lemma. Edward Bankes, who weighed in with his own fair share of starters during the contest, knew the timeless classic “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monster”. My notes seem to say that the bonuses, of which Pembroke took one, were on beers, but I’m fairly sure that it was bears. Ben Pugh knew that J is the only letter of the alphabet that does not appear in a symbol of any element of the periodic table. Bonuses followed on The Picture of Dorian Grey. The music starter followed, and ben Pugh identified Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. The team managed a full set of bonuses on other works which had been panned on their premieres. Now the Nottingham skipper managed to muscle his way back into the contest, buzzing in very early on the term lebensraum. 2 bonuses followed on skin. Poor Nottingham just weren’t at the races on the buzzer – which was a shame because when they did get through they weren’t doing at all badly with the bonuses. Edward Bankes knew the difference between the EU and Council of Europe, and the team managed a bonus on plays at the Donmar Warehouse. A UC special followed. Let’s say that 1 is A and 2 B etc. What does 2015 spell? Ben Pugh knew it was TO. A very dominant second period, then for Pembroke, and they led by 185 to 35.

The game was over as a competition. Yet two points of interest remained. One was Nottingham’s attempts to reach a respectable score, and the other, Pembroke’s attempt to break through the 300 barrier. Harry Dalton made his bid first by identifying a painting by Roy Liechtenstein. Unfortunately the three pop art bonuses all went begging. Edward Bankes recognized a quote from “Twelfth Night”, and his team managed 2 bonuses on Physics. 200 barrier now passed by Pembroke. Imogen Gold took her starter by identifying Madame Butterfly, and the team took 2 bonuses on 1961. Nottingham took the next starter, knowing that alphabetically the number two comes second in French – well, something like that anyway. Haven’t we had a similar question recently – or am I imagining it? A full set of bonuses followed on words which are only differentiated by an acute accent. Lee Cooper knew that FIDE is the world governing body for chess. Again, another full set followed on a peace treaty. The skipper undid a little of the good work by buzzing too early on the next starter, which required identification of the anagrams – EBOR – EBRO – BORE. Ben Pugh took that one. No bonuses followed on Geography. Ben Pugh took a fairly swift hat trick here. He knew that the S in SIM card stands for subscriber. 2 bonuses followed on noble gases. Then he rounded it off by identifying antimony as the element in stibnite. 3 bonuses on religious clothing took Pembroke to 285. Ewan Pickard took a starter on anchovies, and a full set of bonuses on celestial bodies took them through the 100 barrier to respectability. Lee Cooper knew that heparin and warfarin are anti-coagulants, and then that was that. Pembroke won very convincingly, with 285 to 125.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Really nothing of note this week. JP was on his best behavior, and even managed a few words of genuine consolation to Nottingham – “You had a jolly bad start, but you showed us what you could do towards the end there. “ I couldn’t put it better myself.

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

Baidu is the most popular search engine in China.


Jack said...

Once again, it is shown that first round stats mean nothing in the second round. At least Nottingham managed to reach a good score, and considering they were only only 15 at the music round, that's impressive.

And when Nottingham did get to play, they were very good: 14/18 bonuses, with Lee Cooper getting three starters. The side incurred three penalties. Ben Pugh's eight starters were best for Cambridge, who picked up 24/48 bonuses.

So, tomorrow, UCL play Manchester in the first quarter-final. Tomorrow also sees the start of Christmas UC, which runs for two weeks starting from Monday. To be precise, four shows from Monday to Thursday, and four more from Christmas Eve to the 27th.

Des Elmes said...

I made Nottingham's bonus conversion rate 14/19.

Whenever there's about five seconds between Paxo finishing a bonus and the gong sounding, and the team doesn't answer the bonus in that time, I consider that the equivalent of a wrong answer.

Sorry to be a bit grouchy there, Jack - but that's just my humble opinion. ;)

And it's still an excellent BCR. ;)

Anyway, what a shame that quite a run of great matches had to be broken by a disappointingly one-sided affair.

Especially when I actually had Nottingham down as marginal favourites, going by the respective first-round performances...

But as Jack says, more often than not these mean nothing in the second round.

Do Pembroke have what it takes to go all the way? Well, over their two matches so far, Mr Pugh answered an impressive 15 starters, with his team-mates all playing good supporting roles - but they only picked up 41/84 bonuses.

This suggests that they might need to up their game just a little bit if they run into the likes of Homerton or Clare...

On, then, to the quarter-finals, which are sure to follow the same format as in the last two series - win two before you lose two. Slightly unusual that they're starting before the New Year, IMHO...

Christmas UC, meanwhile, is in fact a mini-tournament, with the first five matches being heats. This suggests that the lowest-scoring winners won't return for the semi-finals.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack - Hi Des

Thanks as always for the stats. Yes, I expected more from Nottingham too - but there wwe are - sometimes it just doesn't run for you.