Saturday, 16 March 2013

University Challenge - Quarter Final Match 6

Elimination Match - Imperial v. Bangor

It’s serious now. In this match both Imperial and Bangor knew that which ever team lost would be out of the competition. The Imperial team of Pietro Aronica, Dominic Cottrell, Henry Guille and captain Martin Evans had looked very good in their first and second round matches, but they outbuzzed by Manchester in their first quarter final. In their first quarter final match the Bangor team of Adam Pearce, Mark Stevens, Simon Tomlinson, and captain Nina Grant led by 70 points at one stage over the powerhouse UCL outfit, only to see them come back to win by 75 points in a virtual second half shutout.

First blood fell to Mark Stevens of Bangor, who knew that the unrest in Tiananmen Square occurred in 1989. This brought up bonuses on Geography, and Bangor took 2 of them. Simon Tomlinson knew that the word – stone – links both the oldest national park in the USA, and the Peak District. Bonuses on literature provided as full set, and Bangor had made a very good start. Martin Evans knew that there are 26 traditional counties of Ireland. So Imperial earned their first set of bonuses, and these were on mathematics. They were all about sets, and pretty difficult I’d say since Imperial only managed one. Martin Evans took his second starter with the scientist Maxwell. This time their bonuses were on South American history. Imperial managed 1, but could have had 2. More about that later. The picture starter showed a map highlighting the biggest exporting countries of a commodity. Martin Evans knew the commodity was bananas. More of the same – only with different fruits – followed. Name that Fruit – I knew it would make its way onto our screens one way. Imperial managed one bonus. The next starter gave a list of different literary genres, and our own Adam Pearce knew that these were used by hardy to classify his own works. Prevented him getting himself into another fine mess, I suppose. Pairs of word bonuses – eg llan and llano – gave Bangor a full set. They now led by 70 to 45. You might remember in their first quarter final they absolutely stormed through the first 10 minutes, but were hauled in and overtaken. So cool heads, and a consistent level of performance were required. Even so, they were in the driving seat at this stage.

Neither team was familiar with a website about places of worship in Norfolk and Suffolk. The next starter gave a mathematical problem about weighing a banker in gold. Nobody had it anyway. Synthetic languages gave the highly impressive Martin Evans a way back into the contest. The bonuses on acting studios were all gettable, but only 2 of them were taken. Still, it was all square now. Henry Guille buzzed too early on wrought iron for the next starter, but Bangor didn’t capitalize. Mark Stevens won the buzzer race to identify the first speaker of the House of Commons. Nordic cuisine gave them one bonus. This led us to the music starter, on a form of Jazz. Adam buzzed early with 12 bar blues, but sadly not correctly. Henry Guille took it with the answer ‘swing’. For the bonuses another three types of jazz were given, and all Imperial had to do was to identify the form. They had the same one that I had, jazz funk. Neither team knew the acronym CIVETS. Dominic Cottrell gave his team the lead by recognizing the motto of the Royal Society. Names of important minerals were rather unforgiving, and I thought they did well to get one of them. Adam Pearce knew that a series of definitions all led to words beginning with FEM. Sculptures on memorials enabled Bangor to take 2 bonuses, and the lead. This was turning out to be a very good contest, and at just under the twenty minute mark it was becoming fairly clear that whichever team kept their nerve, and showed daring on the buzzer could take this , and put one foot into the semis.

A thing about vectors and axes followed, and nobody did any better with it than I did. Adam knew that Vangelis was in Aphrodite’s Child. A single bonus on astronomy increased their lead slightly, but not enough to enable anyone to relax yet. A picture of Catherine de Medici defeated both teams. I knew that a phoneme is the smallest unit of sound, and so did Simon Tomlinson. The picture bonuses on more French consorts followed, and Bangor did rather well, taking 2. The gap was looking useful, when the moment of truth came. Asked who made a particular quote, Henry Guille recognized it at once, and said “Niccolo de Medici . . . NO !” as he realized what he’d done. Of course he KNEW it was Niccolo Machiavelli, but it just came out wrongly. It can happen when you’re under pressure, but to add insult to injury it probably gave Nina Grant the correct answer. Bonuses on literature compounded the problem for Imperial as Bangor took a full set. A great starter followed, which showed us that Warsaw is alphabetically the last capital in the EU. Nobody had it. Dominic Cottrell recognized a list of antibiotics. The gap was not so wide that Imperial couldn’t bridge it, but they needed a full set of bonuses really at this stage. The set was a UC special asking for shorter words which can be formed from any of the letters of the word empire. Surprisingly they didn’t get – pire – meaning worse in French. Nobody knew that Victor Hugo and others were all born in Besançon. Nobody knew that Browning wrote “God’s in his heaven – all’s right with the world. Simon Tomlinson knew that Chemnitz was formerly called KarlMarxstadt. Things linked by the name Lot gave them two bonuses, and they were looking like winners. Simon Tomlinson made things safe for Bangor when he won the race to complete the quote from the sublime to the ridiculous. Bonuses on prefixes added further gilding. Adam Pearce won the buzzer race for the next starter, knowing that the extinct aurochs is the ancestor of domestic cattle. The team didn’t get a lot of change out of the set of bonuses on architecture, but the contest was already won. Dominic Cottrell knew that the Globe theatre flew different coloured flags denoting what sort of play was to be performed. Science bonuses only gave Imperial enough time to add one bonus. Bangor ran out winners by 210 to 120.

Well played to both teams. It was an absorbing contest, and either team could have won up to the last three minutes or so, when Bangor’s tremendous finishing spurt pushed them over the line. Best of luck in your qualification/elimination match.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

He began quite early in this show. When the first set of bonuses asked for the English translation of a French term, and Nina Grant answered it he narrowed his eyes and said “Yes, you’re studying French aren’t you?” making it sound for all the world as if he was accusing her of some vaguely unsavoury practice.
On the last South American History bonus, when Imperial answered Bolivia he replied in his best “This hurts me more than it hurts you “ voice “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to accept your FIRST answer, I asked for the CAPITAL- “ and proceeded to give them a little bit of a wigging.
A nice dig at bankers occurred when the two teams estimated the hypothetical banker’s weight in gold as £30,000, and £300,000. JP supplied the correct answer of £3 million, adding “He wouldn’t get out of bed for 30,000 or 300,000! “
I did think he was going to give us a choice retort when Nina Grant offered Yeats – pronouncing it Yeets. JP hates it when you don’t pronounce anything to do with English Literature correctly. “It’s pronounced Yates” he snapped back.

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

CIVETS is an acronym used in financial terms for the emerging markets including Colombia Indonesia, Vietnam , Egypt Turkey and South Africa


Jack said...

Well, this was a great performance by Bangor, showing that their first and second wins weren't just sheer luck, and that they have potential to play strongly, when it matters. Simon Tomlinson and our man Adam Pearce got four starters each, and the side managed a very good 22/33 bonuses, with two penalties.

But what a shame for Imperial. James speculated at one point that they're strong performances in the early stages were due to being against weak(er) teams, rather than themselves. That may well be the case, or maybe they were just on better form in those matches.

Either way, it's a shame to see them go, especially as they had been tipped as possible champs on the basis of their early showings. Martin Evans topscored for this match, also getting four starters, and the side made 10/22 bonuses with two penalties.

Poor Henry Guille, as well. Something similar to what happened here happened in their first quarter-final. Just nerves no doubt, but it was pretty upsetting to see him take it so badly on both occasions. Poor lad.

On Monday, what should be a good close match between St George's and New College, with the winners joining UCL in the semis.

BoiCymraeg said...

I knew that Vangelis wrote the score for Blade Runner; I'd never heard of Aphrodite's Child.

As I noted on Jack's blog I was very annoyed by that jazz round which I think was very poorly worded. To be fair they did say "what form of jazz is this", rather than "in what form is this music" (which was what I answered - correctly I might add!); but as I said there, "form" has a specific meaning in music and what they were asking for would be better described as "style" or "genre"; had they used either of those I'd have said Swing straight away... frustrating because, having gone into this contest on the proviso that I knew a lot about music, 4-games in I still hadn't got a single music starter!

jim360 said...

All in all, a good week for Wales v. England...

Looking forward to Monday's match between two teams that beat us in close games earlier. Here's hoping that it will live up to its billing. I fancy it will be Cappleman v. Mindel/ Sivaji on the buzzers.

And the week after that it's Pembroke v. King's in the second elimination match. Tense times...

Londinius said...

Hi All

Da iawn, Adam ! Ardderchog! ( apologies if I've got the spelling wrong ) And to your rugby team as well, which I'm afraid gave us a stuffing I find few positives to draw from. Best of luck in your qualification match.