Wednesday, 30 October 2013

University Challenge - 2nd Repechage match

Southampton v. Loughborough

Bac in the balmy days of August Southampton played against a very useful team from the London School of Oriental and African Studies, and were beaten by 230 to 155. The team were David Bishop, Richard Evans, Matt Loxham, ( our own Cromarty(IV) ? and skippering the team was Bob De Caux. In the previous match Lougborough were edged out by Clare points by a mere 5 points. They were Ally Thornton, Kathy Morten, Kate Spalding, and Captain Grant Craig. Nothing to choose between the teams in their first round performances, but in my preview I pointed out that Southampton had the better bonus conversion rate, and were therefore the more likely winners to me.

David Bishop kicked off the scoring for Southampton, knowing that the given name of the king who won the Battle of Tours in 732 was Charles. Acts regarding the lengths of Parliaments and the decades in which they were passed were very tricky, but they managed one. Bob De Caux knew that three terms were linked by the prefix exo. Bonuses on birds and their latin names saw the boys take another correct answer, narrowly missing out on turdus merula – no, that’s not what you’re thinking, it’s a blackbird. Nobody knew two Nobel winners from China. For the next starter neither team got queen dowager.Bob de Caux knew the Trojan satellites of Jupiter, and this earned Southampton another set of bonuses on diseases passed on by insects. 2 bonuses came their way this time, and meant that they had scored 45 unanswered points. Neither team knew the term soft power – me neither. Then after that harsh call he accepted an early buzz from Ally Thornton who offered red and grey for red and grey squirrels. It was accepted, and this gave Loughborough bonuses on websites. 2 were taken, and the gap was narrowed. I was surprised that nobody worked out that the picture starter highlighted four states belonging to the home states of the 2012 republican and democrat candidates for president and vice president. All of which meant that the score was 45 – 20 to Southampton, even though their buzzer prowess could have resulted in a larger lead by this time.

Bob De Caux knew that Edmund de Waal wrote The Hare With Amber Eyes, which earned the bonus set of US state maps – asking for the year in which the candidates whose home states they were ran for election. Tricky. I had one – 1980 – but Southampton didn’t manage any. Kate Spalding recognised a question about Estonia’s parliament – good shout that. Bonuses on rugby brought a full set, and narrowed the gap to 5. My goodness you had to be quick on the buzzer for the next, which began “Alexander the Great’s was called Bucephalus” That buzzer race was won by Southampton’s inspirational skipper. Early film makers brought another 5 points – I was pleased with dredging up Mitchell and Kenyon for a full set. Kathy Morten knew about one of the earliest depictions of the crucifixion. A chemistry set followed, and Loughborough scored the same as me. Zilch. The music starter gave us a snatch of You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket or Two. Kathy Morton knew it, and knew that Fagin sang it. More Fagins singing the same song followed, and all we had to do was identify them. I knew Ron Moody, and Rowan Atkinson, but not Russ Abbott. Loughborough had the great Rowan. For the next starter we had a UC special. If you insert the word one into the name of one Asian country, you get another. Name them. As he had been doing consistently all evening, Bob De Caux won the race. Islands, and who colonised them, followed, and they took one of them. Now – moment of the show for me – given a sequence of numbers I predicted they were perfect numbers, and the next would be six. Richard Evans said the same, and he was right to do so. Bonuses on bread brought 5 points. This meant that at the 20 minute mark Southampton had a 25 point lead of 95 – 70. A close match so far, but Southampton were scoring more starters, yet Loughborough were tending to do a bit more with the ones they got.

Matt knew that you can make the word runt – and others – using letters from the name of the planet Saturn. People born on the same days was a nice set, and Southampton managed two. For the second picture starter we had a rather nice detail from the Bedford Book of Hours. I had postcards of this on my room in hall at uni. Nobody recognised September, so the bonuses rolled over, until David Bishop identified a group of football clubs who all have a lion on their club badges. The picture bonuses followed, and Southampton managed 2. Nobody recognised alternative working titles for Tender is the Night. Decapod was a buzzer race, and it was won by David Bishop. Battles and dynasties provided Southampton with their first full set of the contest. That gap was now out to 90 points, and Southampton had one foot, and half of the other, in the second round. For the next starter Richard Evans knew that you get ten if you add the number of French republics to the number of permanent members of the UN security council. Uric acid may not be a pleasant subject, but it brought another 5 points. Neither team knew about lace for the next starter. Grant Craig recognised the chemical formula of potassium cyanide for the next starter. Bonuses on placenames which are also names of 2012 British gold medallists – a nice set – brought 5 more points. Nobody knew that Frankincense comes from an aromatic gum made from tree resin. Richard Evans knew that Bismarck said that the secret of politics is to make a good treaty with Russia.There was no time for bonuses, and this completed a win for Southampton by 185 to 80.Very well done Southampton, and bad luck Loughborough. As for my prediction, well, I don’t know that they won it through their bonus conversion rate, but their buzzing was very good indeed. Good luck in round two.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

A little bit of a mean call on the dowager starter. Kate Spalding offered Dowager queen rather than vice versa. Like I said, a bit mean that – I’ve seen ones like this given before.
When Loughborough offered Omid Djalili for the second Fagin he contendeted himself with the observation – that would be an interesting piece of casting. Quite.
Kathy Morten played with fire on the music starter by buzzing, and then not answering immediately. Funnily enough JP not only let it pass, but sounded impressed when she had the right answer. Smitten kitten, do you think?
He was in quite a funny mood JP in this show. He took issue with Bob de Caux’s pronunciation of Tenochtitlan, then said it in almost exactly the same way himself, then muttered ‘well, I don’t know.’
After this he became positively frustrated with Lougborough when they offered Bradley Wiggins as the man who shared his name with Australia’s longest river. “Nooo, “ he sighed “ It’s Andy Murray.” mentally adding , oh for Heaven’s sake! as he did so.

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

Sir Winston Churchill and Lucy M Montgomery were born on the same day. How would “Anne of Green Gables” have turned out like if Churchill had written it, I wonder. Probably as well as L.M. Montgomery’s “We shall fight them on the beaches “ speech.


Jack said...

Not a classic match, but a good and deserved win for Cromarty(IV) and co, and best of luck to them in the next round again. They won the match on the buzzer: Bob de Caux got five starters, same as Loughborough got between the four of them. On the bonuses: Southampton managed 15/33 (with two missignals), while Loughborough's rate was 7/15 (with one late missignal).

On to the second round then. No word on the draw yet, but I'm informed we have plenty more good stuff to come. Also, it's good to see extra care being taken to avoid any accidental spoilers after what's happened in recent years.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

I tend to agree with you that it wasn't a classic. Mind you, I think that the general level of questions on this show seemed a bit harder. During the first round I was averaging over 50 correct answers a show, but in this one I managed 42. Yes, I do tend to add up my correct answer score as I go along, and I'm well aware how sad that is. There's rules too. You can only claim the answer if you say it before the person answering on the telly does.

Cromarty(IV) said...

I agree that this might not have been the most spectacular game ever - but I'm a bit biased, and I can't help but enjoy this match!

Londinius, I see where you're coming from regarding the difficulty of some of the questions on this show - I think the general level this year is very difficult. There were plenty of matches in round 1 where I would have said very little. On quite a few of the bonuses that we missed, we weren't a million miles away!

There appears to have been a slight case of mistaken identity regarding the name that's hiding behind the pseudonym Cromarty(IV). I'm not "Southampton, Loxham", but "Southampton, Evans"!

I've just sent a collection of more detailed recollections from this match to Jack. Hopefully, you'll be able to see them in the near future.