Monday, 24 September 2012

University Challenge - Round One - Heat 9

St. Andrews v. University of Bangor

St. Andrews’ teams are always given the choice of wearing their distinctive red cloaks or not when appearing on UC. This year’s team were in plain clothes, so to speak. They were Ben Adams, Jim Parsons, Andrew Newton, and their captain James Gray.

The University of Bangor was , until a very short time ago, a college of the now defunct University of Wales. Well, I did my English degree at Goldsmith’s College, but I did my Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Swansea – which was part of the University of Wales at the time, and so I am afraid that the weight of support from the Clark sofa had to be borne by the collective shoulders of Adam Pearce, Mark Stevens, Simon Tomlinson, and captain Nina Grant.

First blood was drawn by Simon Tomlinson who knew that the USA took control of the Philippines from Spain in the dog end of the 19th century. This brought up two bonuses on world history. I was a little surprised that neither team knew that the two Chancellors of the Exchequer who died on the same day, 70 years apart, were Lord Randolph and Sir Winston Churchill. Simon Tomlinson took his second starter, taking that good old quizzer’s chestnut that the area between the Earth’s crust and its core is the mantle. 2 bonuses were take on the work of Henrik Ibsen. Neither team could answer a definition referring to the term – Self Fulfilling Prophecy. A moment or two of amusement was provided by captain James Gray’s buzz, then his immediate retraction – “Trust me , it’s wrong” he said. Commendable honesty from the St. Andrews skipper. The next starter was another old chestnut, asking about the Scottish born writer of adventure stories who wrote about travels in America, and died on Samoa. Neither team knew this was R.L. Stevenson, and Bangor lost five for an early buzz. Actually thinking about it, the next starter, which neither team got, has done the rounds a few times as well. Carlton Magee invented what ? The Parking meter. You’ve heard it or you haven’t. We were actually stuck in a bit of an answer drought at the moment. The next starter, which was some Physics thing, asked about a particle named after the 20th letter of the greek alphabet. Although one answer got a satisfyingly indignant reaction from JP, neither team knew this would be upsilon. At last we had a correct answer, when James Gray knew that the sporting venue named after an early aviation pioneer was Roland Garros. One bonus was take on a hard set on zoology. James Gray took his second consecutive starter with the picture starter, which showed , as he knew, an Australian Rules football pitch . ( By the way – if you’ve never seen an Aussie rules game, and you get the opportunity, you should. It’s a GREAT sport. ) The bonuses showed other playing areas, and one was duly identified. Ben Adams took a good starter on George Orwell’s Duckspeak, and a full set of bonuses on names was taken. AT this stage St. Andrews had sprinted into a lead of 50 to 30.

Mark Stevens hit back for Bangor with the Van Allen Belt. One bonus followed on language families.Nina Grant knew that a series of characters, culminating with Dinkley from Scooby Doo, all have the name Velma. One bonus on the Roman Catholic church followed. Neither team could recognize a pop music starter. Both teams knew the band was Coldplay, but neither knew the song was Lovers in Japan. Given a series of films starting with Howard the Duck, neither team knew that they had all received the Golden Raspberry for the year’s worst film. Cue an interesting and enjoyable telling off for Simon Tomlinson. After St. Andrews got their answer wrong he buzzed in , without giving JP the chance to read the whole question for him. JP seemed extremely pleased that he got it wrong anyway. Andrew newton, quiet in the match to this point, buzzed in to correctly identify The Mask of Anarchy as being Shelley’s response to the Peterloo Massacre. Unfortunately this earned them the music bonuses. They could identify the groups, but not the countries featured in the titles of the songs. One of those maths things about acceleration accelerated away from both teams. Nina Grant knew that the first and last colours of the rainbow alphabetically are blue and yellow. 2 bonuses followed on volcanic rocks, and they were unlucky not to get a full house, due to the skipper mishearing an answer from Mark Stevens. It had been a good little period for Bangor, and St. Andrews needed to strike back. Andrew Newton took the next starter. knowing Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. 2 bonuses on long stage works narrowed the gap further. Mark Stevens buzzed in quickly for the next starter. he knew that if the question contains the words ‘animal’ and ‘latitudes’ then the likelihood is that we’re dealing with the horse latitudes. 2 bonuses on Science fiction were gladly received. The next starter was the second picture starter, but neither team could identify that the lady depicted had been painted by Picasso. Andrew Newton, though, who was doing a sterling job keeping his team in the game , knew that Russia joined the former G6 after Canada. St. Andrews were unable to identify any of the artists in the picture bonuses. Again, Andrew Newton struck knowing that the substance found at the Earth’s core is also often found in meteorites. No bonuses could be taken on physics, and this close game was getting closer still. Simon Tomlinson knew that the stage of an insect’s life being asked for was pupa. One bonus on classical music was taken. Andrew Newton for once buzzed early unsuccessfully, failing to correctly identify the Sea of Azov. One bonus was taken on a good UC set on rings. Neither team knew that the US state beginning with I , which lies between two other states beginning with the same letter, is Illinois. Jim Parsons took a good starter, knowing that the Museum in the Clouds can be found in the Dolomites. But alas for St. Andrews, no bonuses on institutions followed. Rather surprisingly nobody knew that you can have yellow, grey and pied wagtails. Ben Adams knew that a selection of things were all linked by the word El, but that only brought the gong. There was never much more than a chink of daylight between the two teams, but Bangor probably had the better of the contest overall, and they won by 125 to St. Andrews’ 105. Hard lines St. Andrews, but well done Bangor. Good luck in the second round.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP peddled a fine line in exasperated indignation tonight. Firstly we had the response to Stafford Cripps being offered as an answer to the Chancellor / PM question. “Good heavens ! NO ! . . . NEVER !”. Then for the upsilon question, one of the teams suggested ‘neutrino’. Our man did a virtual double take .”. . . WHAT ?!!” Then for the painters bonuses, to be fair to St. Andrews they didn’t know the British artists involved, so they dug up a name to hit and hope with – which really is all you can do when you don’t know. They offered Gormley as one answer. “What – “spluttered our hero, “ Anthony Gormley ? “ Oh come on, Jezz. You knew very well that they didn’t mean Joe Gormley.

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

Jupiter has a system of rings called Halo, Main, Gossamer and Himalia


Jack said...

A low scoring match, yes, but it was certainly an entertaining one, and it's a shame that we won't be seeing St Andrews again, as they were an entertaining team. Andrew Newton's four starters were the side's best tally, while Simon Tomlinson also got four for Bangor.

Neither side did that well on the bonuses: St Andrews made just 6/24 (with three penalties), while Bangor made a slightly better 11/24 bonuses (with two penalties), and that's what won the game.

Well done to Bangor, one of whom has posted on here and on Online Writings as 'Welshguy'.

So, another middle-of-the-road match, then. We seem to be getting a few of those this series. Lincoln vs Manchester has been the only real standout match so far this series. As usual, we can only hope for better next week, with the runners-up of the last series, Pembroke College Cambridge, and Lancaster.

BoiCymraeg said...

I suspect that you might both have been harsher on us had you not known I was likely to read it ;)

Slightly personally ashamed not to have got any starters at all. But we all thought we'd done pretty poorly in that match and were just lucky that our opponents weren't better.

That said, I think though that our low score masks a better performance than it suggests. We lost a lot of points on stupid mistakes - our conferring wasn't up to scratch as reflected in the mispronunciation of Gabbro and missing my suggestions of "Ghosts" for the Ibsen bonuses and "Tchaikovsky" for the classical music ones; plus some points lost for silly guesses. Our score should have been more like 140. Still, a win is a win, and I think it's the first win for Bangor in something like 15 years!

Londinius said...

Hi Both

Welshguy - the fact is that I did know ( hope ) that you'd be reading this. Regardless of that, though, I try very hard not criticise teams harshly or unfairly.As a relatively seasoned TV campaigner myself I know how easily it can happen that things just don't turn out the way you'd like them to. The box can be a distortiung mirror sometimes, and can make the mediocre look good, and the good downright ordinary sometimes.

It was a funny old match , though, the way those starters just kept going begging in the first ten minutes or so. But fair play, it brought out the beast in JP a bit, and that's what we like to see.

As you say, a win is a win, is a win. Best of retrospective luck for the next round, and many thanks for not giving me any clue as to how you fared in the competition as a whole

BoiCymraeg said...

Of course - I would never give any results away. Apart from anything else, they made us sign an agreement form not to!

jim360 said...

Well worth it just for the "trust me, it's wrong!" Moment. Anyway well done on winning welshguy, I know how hard it is! Trust me, I was on the King's Cambridge team this year... gutted we lost and it was a tight game, but so far we're second-highest scoring losers so fingers crossed, eh?

Thanks for this blog, and Jack I read yours too!

Londinius said...

Hello Jim

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to drop by. You know, I think that you've every chance now - it hasn't been a high scoring series all round so far, and your score is looking more and more like it will put you through. Hope so.