Saturday, 23 March 2013

University Challenge - Quarter Final Qualification Match

Monday’s show was a qualification match. Both teams had won their first quarter final match, so a win in this show would bring automatic qualification for the semis, and a loss would not mean elimination from the competition. All to play for. In their first quarter final match St. George’s London, represented by Shashank Sivaji, Alexander Suebsaeng, Sam Mindel, and captain Rebecca Smoker, comfortably saw off Pembroke, Cambridge. New College, Oxford won a close match against King’s Cambridge in their first quarter final . The team were Remi Beecroft, India Lenon, Tom Cappleman, and skippering the side was Andy Hood. Let’s get on with it, then.

Alexander Suebsaeng was first to strike for St. George’s, correctly identifying the War of Queen Anne. This gave them the chance of a set of bonuses on 19th century politics. They took one, but were slightly unlucky to identify slavery itself as having been banned by the Ministry of All Talents – the correct answer being the slave trade. Tom Cappleman got New College off the mark, buzzing in early to say that H,G,Wells’ “The Time Machine” is set some 800,000 years in the future. Prison literature was an interesting category for a set of bonuses, but they only managed one. All square. Andy Hood buzzed in too early for the decade of the publication of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs ( His glacier mints have had a more lasting popularity ) Alexander Suebsaeng was closer with the 1580s, but the fact that it was the same decade as the birth of Shakespeare gave it to me as the 1560s. Alexander Suebsaeng knew that sheep can be hefted, and won his team a set of bonuses on an Islamic mathematician. I guessed algorithm for the first answer, and algebra for the last but that was me done. St. George’s managed two of their own. The picture starter showed us a UK £5 coin, but nobody knew that it commemorated the Queen’s Golden Wedding anniversary. Neither did I – well, she didn’t remember my silver wedding either, so fair’s fair. Our old friend the triptych gave Sam Mindel the next starter, and this gave St. George’s the picture bonuses, more commemorative £5 coins. The team managed one. Andy Hood buzzed in very early to identify the house Chequers. Orthography didn’t promise a great deal . They managed one of them, but were split between Ph and TH for the last. They zigged with PH, when they should have Zagged with TH. “Oohhh!” said Andy Hood. Well done sir! I like it when people get involved in the quiz they’re playing.This brought us to the ten minute mark, and St. George’s were in the driving seat, with 45 to 25.

The next starter was one of those – what links – questions, where you have to wait, because you know the easy one is coming. Tom Cappleman waited for – waterfall in Venezuela – then leapt in with Angel. That’s good tactics. Bonuses on botany were not promising, to be honest, but I was pleased that quercus suber came up. The team though didn’t know it was cork. The next starter was another of those – wait for it – questions. We wanted a 500 year old building that had gone through a lot of uses, the latest being a youth hostel to encourage people to stay in it rather than escape – BUZZ! Shashank Shivaji of St. George’s won the buzzer race to answer “Colditz.” Ship’s cats was another interesting series of bonuses, which gave me a full house. St. George’s didn’t have any of them. Tom Cappleman took another starter on marine sponges. A good UC set followed on words which begin with personal pronouns – eg. – the wife of Priam = HE – Hecuba. Lovely set, and New College managed all of them. This was enough to put them just five points behind now. The music starter played us an extract from The Nutcracker – Rebecca Smoker won the buzzer race on that one. Bonuses on ballet scores inspired by fairy tales proved very fruitful as they took a full set. Am I the only person who automatically starts singing “I know you, I waltzed with you once upon a dream” every time I hear that particular excerpt from Sleeping Beauty ? I digress. Alexander Suebsaeng answered on John Snow, the father of epidemiology, who traced an outbreak of cholera to the public water pump in Broad Street. “Bonuses on Mathematics” announced JP, and “I’ll get me coat” announced my brain. St. George’s didn’t add to their score either. Andy Hood knew that the polish pianist Andre Tchaikowsky left his skull to the RSC. Takes all sorts, I suppose. A great set on novels whose titles feature duplicated words followed. I’m sorry to say that the only one I had was “The Sea, The Sea”. New College didn’t get them. Andy Hood knew that new president of the European Central Bank, a very quick buzz. Bonuses on Astronomy caused amusement when India Lenon explained ‘I don’t know the latin for air pump!’ Well, quite. No points on the bonuses, but the starter itself was enough to put them just 15 points behind St. George’s. Andy Hood, playing a real captain’s innings at this stage of the contest supplied the correct answer of confirmation bias for the next starter. No, me neither. The bonuses were on people called Roberts. I was delighted to dredge up vorticism and Antigua for a full set. New College didn’t manage the one bonus they needed to draw level, but were handily placed at the 20 minute mark, 5 points behind St. George’s who led with 95.

The 2nd picture starter showed us the author J.G.Ballard, looking just a little reminiscent of Tony Robinson. Some maths thing followed – and Tom Cappleman had it to earn the photograph bonuses. of writers who declined honours, as did J.G.Ballard. They managed one, and were in the lead. Tom Cappleman knew that one of the three ancient greek divisions of the climate zones of the earth was frigid. Bonuses on the Wars of the Roses brought another ten points, and New College had all the forward momentum now. Shashank Shivaji pulled back the deficit somewhat, knowing that the shortest time between UK general elections in the 20th century occurred in the year 1974. Bonuses on angles sounded hard, but Sam Mindel, when begged by his team, managed the last one. The gap was now back down to 15. Trigonometry provided the next starter. Sam Mindel had a go, but Tom Cappleman had the correct answer. The Lady of the Camelias didn’t provide much joy in the bonuses, but New College managed one. Asked a question about a natural feature on the US – Canadian border, you’re going to be right a lot more often than you’re going to be wrong if you answer “Niagara Falls.” Remi Beecroft won the race for that one. Place names gave nothing away to New College, but they had the lead, they had the momentum, and the clock was running down. I liked the next starter. As well as Bangkok, there are three other world capitals which begin with the letters BAN. Tom Cappleman sat back on his buzzer for half a second to be sure, then buzzed in with Banjul and Bangui. Good answer. he could also have had Bandar Seri Begawan. Modern Irish theatre brought the contest to an end. The final score was 160 to 110, a win for New College. For almost all of the contest it had been extremely close, and this was an absorbing show, albeit that I would imagine that the bonus conversion rates weren’t the highest we’ve seen in the series. Well done New College, through to the semis. Good luck to St. George’s in their final elimination match.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Well, there was nothing really worth writing about. The nature of the contest was such that JP was absorbed with the task of just keeping the questions flowing. The only thing I noticed was when Andy Hood expelled his Ooohhh of frustration over the digraph, our man smirked and interjected “That’ll teach you!”

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

’Hefted’ is an adjective applies to sheep who will instinctively return to their own territory, and thus do not need to be fenced in.


Jack said...

Well, not a terribly high scoring affair, but a good close match, between two good teams, both of whom deserved the victory.

The stats: Tom Cappleman got seven starters for New College, which made up for a rather low 9/34 bonuses (with one penalty). St George's also did rather poorly on the bonuses: just 8/21, which contrasts to their good work with the bonuses in their previous games; Alexander Suebsaeng top scored with three starters.

Next week, a Cambridge derby between Pembroke and King's (good luck James and co!). The week after, Manchester vs St George's, followed, presumably, by Bangor vs Monday's winners.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack,

Yes, maybe I'm being a little unfair to New College, but before the start of the show I espected a win for St. George's. Just goes to show how much I know.

As you say, good luck to Jim and King's next week.