Trinity Cambridge v. Christ Church Oxford
Well, if we were still waiting for fireworks in this series, then an Oxford v. Cambridge match was as likely a place to find them as any. Trinity won the original series once in 1974, and then 10 years later they won the first JP series. This year’s vintage were Matthew Ridley, Filip Drnovsek Zorko, Richard Freeland and Ralph Morley, the captain. Christ Church, Oxford didn’t win during the Bamber era, but did win as recently as 2008. They were represented by George Greenwood, Andreas Capstack, Philip Ostrowski and captain Ewan Macauley. On with the show.
When asked the name of the fifth sons of both George V and Henry II Ralph Morley was the first in with the correct answer of John. A set of bonuses on the philosopher Epictetus were all dispatched to the boundary, and even at this early stage Trinity were looking like a class act. Filip Drnovsek Zorko knew that a five letter term for a colourless volatile liquid, and a substance once thought to fill the empty spaces in the Universe would be ether.A nice UC set followed, on clues to pairs of people who shared the same surname. So, for example – the founder of the Quakers, and the winner of a backstroke gold medal in London 2012= Fox. Another full set. Five minutes gone, and already Trinity had 50 points on the board. Matthew Ridley buzzed in very early on the next starter, giving the correct answer of the Broken Windows theory. I wouldn’t have minded hearing a little bit more about that. Finally Trinity showed some weakness by only taking one bonus on scientific diagrams. Which was one more bonus than was answered form the Clark sofa, I might add. A great shout from Ralph Morley took the next starter, on the poet Catullus. Normal service was resumed as the team took a full set of bonuses on film directors and opera. The picture starter showed a map of 4 places in England all sharing the same suffix. Ewan Macauley buzzed first to break Christ Church’s duck with Hampton. Of the bonus set of 3 more sets of places linked by a common suffix they failed to add to their score. Still, they were under way. Matthew Ridley recognized a description of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy ( quote from a pupil – “Where’s the magic”?) Bonuses on world languages were all taken, and so at the 10 minute mark you have to say that Trinity weren’t just looking the most likely winners of this match, they were looking like most likely winners of the whole series. One of the most impressive opening spells I can remember for several years. They led by 115 to 10.
Ralph Morley was the first one to buzz in with the answer that the art collection held in Somerset House is the Courtauld. Once again they showed that they are human by only managing one bonus on Landseer. Now, brace yourselves. I knew a science starter – that the phenomenon involving the loss of electrical resistance at low temperatures is superconductivity. Ewan Macauley knew it too. This gave Christ Church a shot at Geometry. They took two bonuses. Rather surprisingly, given the quality of the two teams involved in this match, neither knew that Judy Garland sang the Trolley Song in the film “Meet Me In St. Louis”. The irrepressible and highly impressive Ralph Morley knew that the Roman General possibly poisoned in Syria in 19 AD was Germanicus ( you know him – Derek Jacobi’s brother.) Another UC special set on words that are often confused with each other followed. For example infer and imply. 2 correct answers brought up the 150 points for Trinity, and raised the possibility that we could possibly see our first 300 pointer for some time. The music starter played us a wee snatch of Pink Floyd before Filip Drnovsek Zorko buzzed in with the right answer. More pieces of music featuring a harmonium followed, with the bands who they accompanied being what was required for the answers. Trinity managed two of them. Asked how many different University Challenge teams could be formed from seven students Ewan Macauley correctly worked out that it would be 35. Bonuses on Deviations in the International Date Line saw them take their score to 50. Filip Drnovsek Zorko knew that novels by Stephen King and Zamyatin both had personal pronouns as titles. Astronomical telescopes provided them with another 5 points. Ralph Morley knew that the language with no official status which is closely related to Cornish is Breton. It’s not dissimilar to Welsh either, I noticed during a stay in St. Malô a good few years ago. Now, continuing the works of fiction whose names bear a word from the NATO phonetic alphabet theme of recent weeks, this time we had films. They didn’t know Une Étrange Aventure du Lemmy Caution, aka Alphaville, (one wonders whether it was big in Japan – one for 80s music fans there) but took the other 2 to break the 200 points barrier. At the 20 minute mark they led by 205 to 50, and the 300 pointer was still very much on.
Ewan Macauley knew what the colour of a particular solution n of ph value 9.6 would be – pink. This earned bonuses on Physics, and took a full set in short order. The second picture starter showed us a couple from European legend. Ewan Macauley took an unsuccessful stab at Abelard and Heloise, but Filip Drnovsek Zorko took a successful one with Tristan and Isolde. More of the same followed, but ironically Abelard and Heloise was the only one they managed. Ralph Morley buzzed in for the next, correctly identifying Lance-Corporal Jones from Dads Army as the recipient of a number of medals, including the Sudan medal. A set of bonuses on Scottish towns or villages brought another full set. Filip Drnovsek Zorko chanced his arm that Dutch metal would be another alloy of copper and zinc, and he was right to do so. Bonuses on Science and the Arts in the 18th Century saw them answer two of the required decades correctly.35 points required for 300. Ewan Macauley, who can still be pleased with his own personal performance in this show, knew that the two colours of the flag of Somalia are blue and white. A full set of bonuses on words ending with – x brought up their 100 points. Ewan Macauley also knew that the NASA probe Dawn was sent to study Ceres and Vesta. Bonuses on Cell Biology provided another full set, and took them to 125 points, and held out just the possibility of setting a repechage score. That man Macauley knew that the Lord Speaker – formerly Chancellor – of the House of Lords sits on the woolsack. A third consecutive full set took them to 150. Make no mistake, this Christ Church team are a very good outfit in their own right. Filip Drnovsek Zorko recognized the title of a work by Shelley. Bonuses on people linked by having the same three letters at the start of their surnames gave Trinity a full set, which brought them to 290. One sensed the gongmeister was flexing his muscles in readiness at this point, but there was just enough for Filip Drnovsek Zorko to answer that FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, which brought up the 300 points, and that was it.
Cards on the table, we’ve been waiting for a UC show this good for a long time. It was good to see JP pay tribute to Christ Church at the end – I agree with him when he says that he hopes this score will be enough to bring them back. To score that well while being blitzed on the buzzer by a rampant Trinity team suggests that they will give many other teams all the problems they can handle. As for Trinity – well! It’s not fair to lay the mantle of Champions in Waiting upon any team’s shoulders after just one performance, but that, gentlemen, was extremely impressive – one of the finest first round performances we have seen in quite a while. Well played.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
So impressive was the performance of Trinity that when neither team could answer about “Meet Me In St. Louis” our hero was moved to make the observation, “At last we’ve found a chink in your armour.”
Interesting Fact That I Did Not Already Know Of The Week
Dutch metal is an alloy of copper and zinc.