Friday, 7 December 2012

University Challenge - Round 2 - Match 3

Warwick v. King’s, Cambridge

In their first round match the University of Warwick, represented by Sean Quinn, Sarah Jane Bodell, James Wheatley and their captain Andrew Shaw comfortably defeated the University of Aberdeen by 175 – 100. In their own first round match King’s Cambridge actually lost to St. George’s , London. After that aberration the team of Curtis Gallant, Amber Ace, our own James Gratrex and captain Fran Middleton bounced back to comfortably beat Homerton in the repechage. So they were certainly battle hardened by this time. On paper a good, close match up.

Fran Middleton pointed the way for her team by taking the first starter, on a definition of love. Bonuses on grammar and literature followed, and King’s took one of them. We saw the speed of Amber Ace’s buzzing in the repechage. This time it slightly got the better of her on the second starter. Asked for the name of the character who talks in a Sheridan play of the pineapple of politeness, and allegories swimming up the Nile, she gave the name of the play, The Rivals, rather than the character, Mrs. Malaprop. Not to worry. At least she was on good buzzing form. Nobody knew about the term genetics. Fran Middleton made a very quick buzz to identify the author Levi-Strauss. Official residences brought another one correct answer, and King’s led with 25 to nothing. Amber Ace recognized a set of words all beginning with – cud. Greek derived medical terms offered something to the classicist heavy King’s team, but they only took one. The picture starter showed a table from a world formula one season, in 1999, with the name of one winning driver missing. James knew that 1999 was one of the two consecutive years the championship was won by Mika Hakkinen, and so he was in there. More of the same followed, but they could only manage the last one with Sebastian Vettel, even though JP let the struggle for a few seconds with it. Amber Ace was in extremely quickly to identify Georgia as the present day country containing the ancient lands of Colchis and others. Westernmost locations with names beginning with Saint followed. Again, a single bonus was taken. At the ten minute mark King’s had completely shut out Warwick,with 70 points. On the one hand they were winning the buzzer race hands down. On the other though they were only converting one out of three bonuses each time, and weren’t putting the game beyond Warwick. Not yet, anyway.

Skipper Andrew Shaw opened Warwick’s account with the French composers known as Les Six. Bonuses on surnames and their anagrams was a good UC special set. For example – CHIANG Kai Shek, and ACHING. This was right up Warwick’s street, and a full set were taken. Now they had 25. James had a very good early buzz to say that an inhabitant of Crete is an anagram of the drink of the Gods. Nectar and Cretan you see. King’s bonuses were on the architect Frank Gehry, and this time they managed two of them. James Wheatley opened his account for Warwick with the term geo-caching. The bonuses which followed, on mathematical groups, took them to 40. Now came the music starter, a film soundtrack, and James Wheatley had heard hardly any of it before identifying it correctly as having come from Gladiator. More film scores provided the bonuses, and Warwick managed the first of them to take their score to 55. They were coming back, there was no doubt about that. Nobody knew that Jack Hobbs was the oldest man to score a test century in cricket. Neither did they know about club root. Music once again proved a happy hunting ground for Warwick, as Andrew Shaw was the first to identify Benjamin Britten’s ‘A Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra’.Bonuses on epitaphs provided a further 15 points to take their total to 80, and leave them only 10 points adrift. A gap which was immediately bridged when James Wheatley identified the Trent as the longest river in Britain and Ireland that does not empty into the sea. Commonwealth states in Africa were a nice set for an old fogey with a long memory, such as myself, but these young whippersnappers just didn’t know Nyerere, Kaunda and Banda. The impressive James Wheatley took the next starter , knowing several brands of table football table. A set of bonuses on sole survivors included the old chestnut about Comanche from the Little Big Horn. Warwick managed the first, but couldn’t do either of the next two. Wawrick were leading, but couldn’t seem to stretch that gap to any meaningful distance. Right on the 20 minute mark they now led by 105 to 90

Sarah Jane Bodell identified a photograph of Dwight Eisenhower. Three more figures who held High command at the time of the D Day landings followed, of which Warwick managed 2. James dropped 5 by offering supersonic rather than hypersonic. Look, when you’re behind, you have to hit and hope sometimes. The bonuses accruing to Warwick on Einstein provided them with 2 more correct answers. James pulled back those lost points, and more besides with a great buzz to say that the sum of the natural numbers between 1 and 1000 is 500,500. Me, I’m happy if I can say the sum of one and one thousand. The set of bonuses on the Civil Rights movement provided a full set, and King’s were back in the game. Curtis Gallant took the next with inception. Fictional towns weren’t totally to their liking, but at least narrowed the gap to 20 with about 5 minutes to go. James knew the Treaty of Rome founded the AU. The bonuses were on average numbers of days in a month in a Leap Year. Ho hum. They took two, and we were back to a tied game. But, and this is crucial, the momentum had swung back to King’s. Music once again gave Andrew Shaw a timely starter, as he knew that Hubert Parry wrote the music for the hymn Jerusalem. Bonuses on ophthalmology helped. 2 starters went buzzing, then James knew that 1522 saw the completion of the first circumnavigation. One bonus on John Masefield followed. All square again. Amber Ace knew that works by several authors including Donna Tartt all have the word ‘Secret’ in the title. A set of words beginning and ending with G followed. Then James knew that Hale Bopp was a comet. That took King’s score to 185, and that was enough, for the gong sounded before any bonus could be asked. King’s threw their arms to the sky in triumph, as well they might. A great show, Hard lines Warwick – a great fightback. But many congratulations to King’s. Thanks especially to James who has emailed me his own thoughts on the match, and these I shall be positing in a day or two – ( I’m off to Worthing for the weekend shortly, so I’ll be posting news and other stuff in a day or two. )

Jeremy Paxman Watch

The great man was moved to observe “It is useful being a classicist sometimes, isn’t it ?” when the three classicists on King’s team worked out the greek derived medical term iatrogenic.

He seemingly enjoyed watching Fran Middleton struggle with the name ‘Vettel’, chuckling to himself before allowing it to pass, gleefully observing “You’ve never heard of him, have you !” .

Skipper Andrew Shaw offered “Burke and Hare” for Burke and Wills, which gave a surprisingly jovial JP a fit of the chuckles.

Interesting fact of the week that I didn’t already know

The Lodge is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Australia


Jack said...

This was a great match, played superbly by both teams. Like many second round matches over the years, it's a shame either side had to go out so early.

In terms of starters, our man James got six correct starters for King's, while his namesake Mr Wheatley got five for Warwick; the side managed 14/27 bonuses, while James and co answered 15/33 with two unlucky penalties.

Once again, best of luck to James and co for next time.

Next week, St George's play Lancaster. Then the show takes its Christmas hiatus, and a new celeb series of Christmas UC kicks off.

jim360 said...

The Christmas break is slightly annoying because the second half of the draw I know very little about - at least in terms of who played whom. Still, the return of Christmas University Challenge is nice in its own way. I remember watching it last year and how in general the alumni didn't do that well apart from Christodoulou and Bhattacharya (not sure on the spelling), the two former UC contestants! Will be nice to see how it shapes up this year - who plays, the average scores and so on.

HughTube said...

Jim (and anyone else currently at university for that matter), if you enjoy this sort of thing, maybe I could persuade you to one of the national student events. There have been two so far this academic year, ACF Fall and IFT, and it's likely that there will be three more student competitions and hopefully an open tournament (the student tournaments will be a mirror of VCU closed, which will be much harder; MUT, which has run for the last two years in Britain (2012 MUT) and the British Student Quiz Championships (2012 BSQC). If the open tournament runs, it will be packet submission). The circuit is expanding and we are attracting more and more teams, but I still think it would benefit enormously from greater involvement from Cambridge. Cambridge sent teams to IFT (stats) and ACF Fall (stats) but a lot of the better players from ICQ and University Challenge don’t show up, whereas Oxford has sent five teams to both these tournaments and has won every one for the last three years. It would be great if Cambridge could be as involved as, and compete with, Oxford.

jim360 said...

Well I might check those out at some point but honestly I don't see myself as a perennial quizzer. I do a few Pub Quizzes in College and University, watch some quizzing TV Shows (mainly UC, which is why being on the set was such a surreal experience), but that's about it. I don't have the energy, motivation or patience to set myself a task of learning facts about something so I'd probably do pretty badly at Mastermind, unless I picked a specialist subject I already know loads about.

In that sense, then, UC is probably a one-off for me when it comes to seriously competitive quizzing. I'm enjoying my moment in the limelight and hopefully some of my General Knowledge/ Physics and Maths knowledge will come through. I'm certainly no Guttenplan though!

HughTube said...

Fair enough, it was a long shot, I'm just keen to persuade some more Cambridge students to get involved.

I would just say that as the format is like UC, it's quite common for specialists to do well at these events, and because all the questions are academic, rote learning facts isn't much of an advantage anyway.

dxdtdemon said...

I second Hugh's posts. When I volunteer at these kinds of tournaments, it seems that at least once each round, someone says, "I got this answer because it's something we covered in class last week." Teams with a guy who has deep science knowledge and are average at everything else are usually better than those who are average at science and good at other things.