Tuesday, 7 February 2012

University Challenge - Qualification Match 2

Pembroke, Cambridge v. Clare, Cambridge

Another match where the winners would get a semifinal place, and the losers would get another shot. Pembroke College scored a comfortable win over Balliol in their first match, and have a couple of very good buzzers in Ben Pugh and skipper Bibek Mukherjee, and are ably supported by Imogen Gold and Ed Bankes. Clare had it harder in their first match, managing a close win against Homerton. They too have two very useful buzzers in Daniel Janes and Chris Cao, and the two Jonathans – Foxwell and skipper Burley - have both weighed in with answers in every match as well. Clare had scored over 300 in their second round match. However, they hadn’t faced a team with buzzers quite as sharp as Pugh and Mukherjee up to this point. On paper, an interesting match in prospect.

Ben Pugh won the psychologically important race for the first starter, when he recognized that Maggie Thatch had stood for the safe labour seat at Dartford in her first election. This brought 2 bonuses on Peru. Chris Cao lost 5 points for buzzing too early on the next – a list of places all linked by the letters TAN. Skipper Bibek Mukherjee took that one for bonuses on the humours. These brought Pembroke a full set , and another 15 points. That old chestnut Emmanuel Kant reared his hoary head, and Ben Pugh was first to the buzzer. The set of bonuses which followed on officers of the government brought 2 more correct answers. Neither team recognized a definition of the term neurosis. The words ‘game’ and ‘eternity’ in the next starter for some reason immediately made Imogen Gold think of cricket, and she was right. So Pembroke’s next set of bonuses followed on chemical elements. Only one of these was taken. For the picture starter we were shown the line of succession of executive responsibility in the USA – with the Vice President in the second position. A lightning fast buzz from Ben Pugh correctly identified the missing link as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. For the bonuses, all the team had to do was to identify photographs of three speakers, of which they managed two. Bibek Mukherjee knew that the world’s largest christian church is in the capital of Cote D’Ivoire. Poor Clare must have been wondering when they were ever going to get started, because Pembroke were on fire. The bonuses on fictional titles in TV shows brought them 2 bonuses. Ed Bankes knew that the name for the eastern Mediterranean taken from a French verb meaning to rise is the Levant, thus ensuring that every member of his team had answered at least one starter correctly. The bonuses on the term Albion proved tricky , and they only took one. So by the ten minute mark Pembroke had achieved that rarity , a complete shut out of the first 10 minutes. They led by 140 to – 5, and had this been a boxing match you sense that Clare would be taking at least their second standing count of 8.

Cue Jonathan Foxwell to stop the rot by taking Clare’s first, with lysosomes. Their first set of bonuses on hexagons was a tricky one of which they managed one correct answer. Neither team knew that if all the numbers between one and one hundred were written out in letters, alphabetically the first would be eight, but the last would be two. Imogen Gold knew a set of words which can be made from the letters of Kafka-esque. Their bonuses on words which mean very small brought them another full set. Neither team knew that Camus said it was Charm that got you the answer yes without having to ask the question. Ed Bankes named three of the countries whose name in English begins with a different letter from their internet abbreviation. This brought them a terrific set of US Army circumlocutions, of which they answered 2 correctly. Poor Clare. At this stage of the contest they must have known they were going down, because JP was trying to encourage them – "There’s still plenty of time , Clare, for you to come back." he said. Kiss of death, that, I always think. A music starter by Telemann did for both teams. So the bonuses passed over to the next starter about Deptford, which gave Daniel Janes his first of the night. 3 more extracts of music based on Don Quixote followed, and I thought that Clare did well to get the first and third of these. It seemed as if Daniel Janes had found his range now, and he took the next , knowing that James Murray when compiling his dictionary called the shed he did it in his scriptorium. Questions on the 200th birthday boy Charles Dickens gave them a brace of bonuses. Chris Cao did his bit for the team , knowing that lordosis denotes a curvature of the spine. The bonuses were on eponymous states of matter – fair enough. Again, I thought that they did well to take one of these. Skipper Jonathan Burley buzzed too early on the next starter and lost five, which allowed Bibek Mukherjee to answer that we were looking for the forename Malcolm. A set of bonuses on young British Artists proved tricky , but their one correct answer proved enough to take them to 200 points. It had been a better 10 minute period for Clare, and in fact they had just about outscored Pembroke slightly in the last ten minutes, but still they trailed , having 60 points of their own.

Jonathan Foxwell took the second picture starter, recognizing Abraham as the missing name on a family tree of figures from the Book of Genesis. More of the same provided them with a full set. Now they were at 85 points. Daniel Janes buzzed too early for one on coffee, which lost 5, and let Ed Bankes in with the right answer. The bonuses were on works of literature with England repeated in the title. A tricky set which yielded nothing to the team. Chris Cao knew that the Haganah formed the basis for the army of Israel. Bonuses on Florence brought another 2 correct answers. Clare now had 100 , and were 110 behind Pembroke. A great early buzz from Daniel Janes linked a film by Woody Allen and a song by Janis Joplin with Roses. Bonuses on pharmacology saw them take another full set. Now they had 125 , and there were 3 minutes left. Chris Cao knew the subject of a painting donated to Manchester was football. Bonuses on damaged reputations saw Daniel Janes trying to supply correct answers at double speed, but it worked and took their score up to 150. In a matter of a very few minutes they had cut the deficit to 60 points. Surely they couldn’t do it ? Could they ?

Well, maybe. Chris Cao took the next starter on things that are magnetic – the deficit now cut to 50 points. They took one bonus to cut it to 45, but they only said Levi when Levi Strauss was required for another bonus – a little careless, but understandable under the circumstances. Chris Cao knew that annual Bloomsday celebration commemorates the works of James Joyce. Deficit now 35 . Bonuses on space telescopes brought another 5 points, and the deficit was cut to 30. However Chris Cao buzzed too quickly on the reverse of an isthmus, and lost 5. Which gave Pembroke the chance to decide that all this comeback business had gone on quite long enough , thank you very much, and reliable Ben Pugh supplied the correct answer. Escapes by boat brought them 2 bonuses – surely enough for the win. Especially when Ben Pugh took the next starter, knowing that Au – the symbol for gold, also stands for Astronomical Unit. 2 bonuses took them to 250. That win, over Clare’s 175 looks like a comfortable one, but it really was a terrific comeback by Clare. Well done Pembroke, who take a well-earned place in the semis. But Clare aren’t out of it yet. Good show.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Chris Cao got the first wigging for buzzing and then not answering straight away that we’ve seen for a while. Nice to see that JP still cares about this sort of thing. Let’s be fair though , he does seem to be really enjoying this series. He loved it during the fightback when Daniel Janes shouted “Geronimo !” at him in answer to a bonus.

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

Paddington Bear, although he comes from Peru , is actually called Pastuso in Peru


Jack said...

Definitely one of the most exciting matches of the series so far. Who'd of thought, when Clare trailed 140-(-5), that they'd come within 30 points of pulling off one of the most remarkable comebacks ever. A good final spurt by Pembroke though put pay to that.

So, can Pembroke win the title. Maybe; they've scored convincingly and consistantly over the four games they've played, and appear to have done very well on the bonueses. All four have contributed their bit to the team effort, but Ben Pugh has stood out as a great individual player. Serious contenders? Most definitely!

Des has agreed to provide the weekly stats for the rest of the series, as I'd prefer to focus on speculation of matches to come.

Next week then, we have the first ever Paxo era rematch, as Balliol play Homerton. I have no idea who to go for this time. Homerton looked strong in the repechage and the second round, but struggled a bit in the first QF. Balliol have played well as a team, but, in all three games, have gone quiet for worryingly long periods.

In short, it could go either way, but will be fascinating to watch in more way than one.

joe said...

There's no Janis Joplin song called 'Rose', Dave. The link was that Bette Midler played a Janis Joplin-like character in the eponymous film, The Rose. Woody's film was of course The Purple Rose of Cairo.

Des Elmes said...

Wow, Dave - you're early this week. ;)

When the music round was taken with Pembroke leading 185-10, it looked like we might be in for another bloodbath - or, at least, that Pembroke would retain a big lead right up to the end, like in their previous match against Balliol Oxford.

Instead, Clare went and put their feet to the floor - and kept them there.

Kris Cao was particularly impressive, more often than not buzzing in correctly after Paxo had read out only a few syllables, while many bonuses also had right answers supplied to them in double-quick time.

And when the gap came down to just 30, there can't have been many people watching who weren't on the edge of their seat or shaking with excitement...

Somehow, Pembroke managed to remain largely calm and composed - and it paid off in the end.

By pinching those last two starters, Ben Pugh made himself the team's best buzzer with five, ahead of Bibek Mukherjee and Edward Bankes on three each and Imogen Gold on two. And they did indeed do very well on the bonuses: 24/38.

Clare's bonus conversion rate was no less impressive - 19/30 - but four penalties hurt them. Cao finished with five starters of his own, while Daniel Janes picked up three and Jonathan Foxwell two.

So, Pembroke are through to the last four, and they deserve to be there. But can they become the champs?

Well, as Jack points out, they certainly have all the necessary tools.

They might have to use these very well indeed, though, if they encounter the likes of Manchester - or, indeed, Clare again...

Londinius said...

Hi Everyone

Sorry Joe - I have to deciphr my own notes when I'm writing the reviews, and sometimes I don't get things down very accurately.

I had a good week work-wise Des, and bought myself a free evening on Tuesday to write the blog. It's half term week this coming week too, so you never know, it may be posted on Tuesday again too.

Thanks for all the work on the stats guys - I really appreciate your efforts.