Saturday, 9 February 2013

University Challenge - Quarter Final Match 1

Manchester v. Imperial

Here we are in the quarter final stages then. On paper Imperial looked the more impressive in the first two rounds. But Manchester – well, I mean, they’re Manchester, aren’t they. And nobody is ever going to get rich betting against Manchester in UC. Their team of David Brice, Adam Barr, Debbie Brown, and captain Richard Gilbert came back from the dead in the first round to beat Lincoln, Oxford, and then looked much more convincing in knocking out Magdalen, Oxford in the second round. As for Imperial they impressively disposed of Jesus , Cambridge in their first round, and of Bristol in the second. The team of Pietro Aronica, Dominic Cottrell, Henry Guille and captain Martin Evans looked like a distinctly useful outfit, and were fancied by many – including this columnist – as one of the teams to watch.

The adjective short gave Debbie Brown the first starter, and this gave Manchester a set on Alexandre Dumas. 2 were taken.Richard Gilbert had a rush of blood to the head and leapt in too quickly for the next starter, losing five, but Pietro Aronica recognised a description of varieties of Kurdish. A nice set of bonuses on archaeologists brought 5 more points. Richard Gilbert again twitched too early on the next start, offering the term nouvelle vague instead of cinema verité, Martin evans had it. The Pulitzer prize brought just one bonus, but even so Imperial now had a lead of 30 to 10, and so far all seemed to be going according to the script.The next starter was the first picture. This time Richard Gilbert allowed JP to finish asking the question before buzzing in to tell us that the archaic English letter we saw was none other than yogh. More of the same gave both me and Manchester a full set, with eth , ash and thorn. Adam Barr knew that the greek letter mu is the symbol for a micron, and this led to bonuses on Philosophy.I had a couple, but Manchester had to let them go begging. Richard Gilbert had well and truly found his range now, as he buzzed in early for the name of King henry I’s daughter, the pretender Matilda. A great OC special set followed – two words, which between them contain the name of a greek letter – for example – tiresOME GAme gives you omega. Manchester were glad to accept the set, which meant that they had scored 60 unanswered points in the last few minutes. It was just past the 10 minute mark, and they led by 70 to 30.

Neither team, not I , knew about the Ethernet for the next starter. The Imperial skipper, seeing that Manchester were throwing caution to the wind with the buzzer decided that this was the tactic to adopt himself now, and buzzed impressively early to correctly answer on Small is Beautiful. Bonuses on fish brought another ten points to cut the deficit a little further. As soon as the name Ray Kroc was mentioned in the next starter I expected an immediate buzz, but JP was allowed to almost finish the question before David Brice buzzed in with the correct answer of McDonalds. The set of bonuses was on chemical energetics. No, me neither. Manchester got one of them. This brought up the music round. We heard a wee snatch of Handel, recognised by David Brice. Three more choral pieces followed. I only had the one, as did Manchester . JP was not impressed – “ of course – it’s Nimrod” he sniffed when we both offered Elgar as an answer. Neither team knew gastrula – but Dominic Cottrell lost five for Imperial through buzzing in too early. A great early buzz restored these points and more besides when Pietro Aronica offered Attila the Hun for the next starter. Asked about plays by Sophocles Imperial answered Antigone to each, and were right on the last one. That good old chestnut a cete of badgers followed. Dominic Cottrell buzzed early again and lost 5, but Manchester were unable to capitalise. Henry Guille knew the term algorithm to earn a set on algebra. Imperial managed 1. Still they were coming back at least. Martin Evans won the buzzer race on the 1916 Easter Rising, and the gap was down to 20. A set of amusing quotations from Johnson as related by Boswell, failed to yield any more. The gap then remained at 20 as we hit the 20 minute mark, so only one good set separated the teams. A good match, this.

The second picture set showed us Whitby Abbey, but nobody recognised it. Pietro Aronica unwittingly provided us with The Finest Comedy Moment Of The Series So Far with the next starter. when asked which romantic creation of Charlotte Bronte’s had been played on film by, among others, Timothy Dalton and Orson Wells he buzzed in to offer “Inspector Clouseau”. More about that later.Debbie Brown gave the correct answer of Mr. Rochester. Manchester , then , earned the bonuses on pictures of abbeys. I had Glastonbury, but that was me done. The team didn’t manage any. Richard Gilbert knew that the first US president to die in office was William Harrison. Walt Disney’s Fantasia – a film I love – gave Manchester 2 bonuses. Martin Evans, not giving up, buzzed in very early to give us the Ruhr. Bonuses on Astronomy took Imperial to triple figures, and only 30 behind. Henry Guille didn’t know that the Campbell Stokes apparatus records hours of sunshine, but Debbie Brown did. Unfortunate political predictions was the set of bonus that this starter brought up . 2 bonuses were taken. Martin Evans again played a captain’s innings by buzzing in early to identify the line “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” as the work of John Keats. The Merry Wives of Windsor provided another ten points, but the gap remained at 30. When the question which began 2Which activity precedes Kicking the Hornet’s nest and . . . “ Henry Guille did exactly the right thing buzzing in on instinct. Alas, the answer, which had been I am sure on the tip of his tongue fled, and he lost five. This let in Richard Gilbert, and the 10 points he derived virtually sealed the win. Cthonic stuff gave Manchester a full set, and with the gap now doubled to 60 and hardly any time left the game looked over. To hammer the point home Richard Gilbert won the buzzer race to name Henry VII as the monarch threatened by the pretender Lambert Simnel. A set of novels was the subject for the bonus, but we only had time for one before the gong. The final score 185 of to 115 certainly looked like an emphatic victory for Manchester, and they certainly look fair set for the semis now. However Imperial, despite being a little outplayed on the buzzer, were in the contest right up until the last three minutes or so, and they can still make it. Well played both – a thoroughly enjoyable show.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

You had to play close attention to see anything worthy of note in the first fifteen minutes this week. When he announced that the bonus that Manchester had earned for the McDonalds starter was on ‘chemical energetics’ he just paused momentarily and gave them a look which said ‘ your guess is as good as . . . ‘

I can’t quite make up my mind whether he was trying to wind up Manchester or Imperial when he said “The Imperial Team are all champing at the bit they know the answers to all of these I bet”. Probably both of them.

Mind you, there was a lot to enjoy later on. The great man was in his element with the Inspector Clouseau answer – “I don’t know how you GOT that – it’s COMPLETELY wrong!” he expostulated, while pulling the face of a rottweiler sucking on a lemon. He allowed Debbie Brown to answer, then went back for another dig at the unfortunate Mr. Aronica – “That’s one of the funniest misapprehensions we’ve ever had on this show!” – Ah, it’s all a far cry from dear old Bamber’s “That’s a veeerrryyyy good answer, but I’m afraid it’s incorrect.”

A little later he put on his best schoolteacher frown , as Manchester persisted in giggling in the back row while he was asking a bonus question , and he asked “ Are you listening while I’m talking ? “ Ah, I’ve been THERE before, Jez, and I know how you feel.
He earned a few titters by referring to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as “The Great George Osborne”.

Finally, to cap off what had developed into a virtuoso performance from the great man, in his words of consolation to Imperial he said “You had some pretty catastrophic buzzing in then, but it’s just nerves . . . or short circuit of the brain. “ That’s our JP, never see a team down without missing the opportunity to send them on their way with a little salt in their wounds.

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

Sweetheart Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery a few miles south of Dumfries.


Jack said...

Well, it was hard to guess who'd emerge on top prior to this one: Imperial had the higher collegiate, but Manchester earned their points against better teams. James and I have speculated that Imperial's strong first two performances may have been down to the opposition's mediocrity, rather than their ability.

Of course, this could just be a brief blip for Imperial, and they could be back to their previous ways next time.

On the buzzers, Martin Evans got an impressive five starters, same as Richard Gilbert got for Manchester. The Mancunians managed 17/31 bonuses with two penalties, while Imperial did 10/24 with three penalties.

Manchester have most definitely recovered from that scare against Lincoln in the first round, but do they have what it takes to go all the way again? Maybe, we'll have to see how they fare against others.

Next week, UCL play Bangor, followed by Pembroke vs St George's. Although unconfirmed yet, this points to New College vs King's in the final preliminary.

jim360 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BoiCymraeg said...

Disqualification? What when who why?

Londinius said...

Jim - with regards to the disqualification remark. I know nothing about this. Obviously I'd LIKE to know about it,but only as long as it doesn't involve any spoilers. If you can't explain without giving away insider information, then please don't try - but then please be careful about what you post as well


BoiCymraeg said...

It's news to me (obviously, given my previous comment), so I can't see it having affected the show, at least for as far into the series as Bangor made it.

jim360 said...

Hi all -- whoops! I didn't mean to say that anyone had been disqualified at all. Sorry for implying that! I was mainly thinking that Jack was hedging his bets a little when he was saying "this points to" a New College v. King's match. What other possibility is there, I thought. Well, I suppose one of us could have got disqualified...

I also am guilty of rather badly misusing the word "pending". Probably meant "barring" or, "unless there was some highly unlikely disqualification". Anyway to my knowledge no-one has been or will be disqualified and I'm sorry for bringing it up.

jim360 said...

On balance I think it best that I've deleted the original comment - the stuff I want to keep is below


Manchester certainly are looking strong - a long way from their 75-point deficit or however much it was in that first-round match. And Imperial? Well I think they were unlucky sometime with some premature buzzing and the way the questions fell. Will need to win next time of course but I think they can still do that.

On a personal note I felt hard done by to see a set of Fantasia bonuses come up including the name of Ponchielli -- a name I'd made special efforts to nail down before the show in case this exact sort of set should come up! How typical that it did, but on a different show. Oh well.


Londinius said...

Hi jim

Ah - thanks for clearing that up for us! Panic over!