Saturday, 16 November 2013

University Challenge - Round Two - Match Two

Downing, Cambridge v. Queen’s, Belfast

In the first round Downing, Cambridge looked good seeing off St. John’s , Oxford. The team of Tom Claxton, Georgina Phillips, Tom Rees and captain John Morgan scored 260 and looked like an outfit to watch. Their opposition on Monday evening, Queen’s University Belfast, made rather heavier weather of their own first round match. Suzanne Cobain, Gareth Gamble, Alexander Green and their skipper Joseph Greenwood eventually overcame Aberdeen, scoring 140 points in the process in the first match of this series. On paper they were clearly the underdogs, but then what do we always say about first round form? It is notoriously unreliable.

Gareth Gamble kicked off the show, knowing that “Mrs Schofield’s GCSE” is a poem by Carol Anne Duffy. This earned Queen’s bonuses on snakes of which they took 2. Gareth Gamble took his double by gambling on an early buzz to identify words from the Monroe Doctrine. A bonus on dystopias and dystopian novels brought Queen’s score to 35 – already one quarter of their total from their first match. Nobody knew the term ‘continuous’ in the context of topology. The Queen’s skipper, Joseph Greenwood, knew that if the question contains the names – John Donne – and – Ernest Hemingway – then the words – for whom the bell tolls will never be far away from the answer. Chemical stuff followed as bonuses, and amazingly I had two – isotopes and allotropes, which were interestingly the same ones that Queen’s managed. John Morgan broke his side’s duck with the next starter, knowing the term panorama paintings. Answering on the works of Karl Marx I was really surprised that the team missed out on identifying a definition of communism, and sadly they managed neither of the other bonuses. I didn’t know Feuerbach, but the Paris Commune was certainly guessable. The first picture starter showed us a Delia Smith recipe for a Victoria sponge. Gareth Gamble had that one for this third starter in the first few minutes. They knew caramel for a bonus, but not béchamel sauce nor shortcrust pastry. I was a little surprised that neither team picked up on the definition of ideology for the next starter, but there we are. Nonetheless it had been a very good first period for Queen’s, who led by 70 to 10, a score which was already halfway towards their first round heat total.

I myself got the next starter, a description of Jacques, but it was only Jez and I who knew it. Gareth Gamble knew Tryptophan for the next starter. Royal spouses was a tricky set due to the presence of Philip of Spain, and they managed one. John Morgan knew that James Clark Maxwell was the Scottish scientist in question for the next starter. Scientists and eponymous principles brought them a full set of bonuses, and narrowed the gap to 50. That man Gamble knew that the gerund hopping follows a set of different words. African waterways didn’t promise a great deal of points, and to be fair it didn’t deliver them either. One bonus took Queen’s to triple figures. Alexander Green was close to the Southern Ocean, but Georgina Phillips had it spot on. Tetralogies gave Downing just the one bonus this time. The music starter was one even I could shout out after half a bar – being Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot. Joseph Greenwood won the buzzer race for that one. More pieces of classical music used for TV coverage of football tournaments followed, asking for the year and the tournament it was used for. John Morgan knew Deuteron to win a set of Maths bonuses. I knew the first – inverse! How did that happen?! I didn’t have any of the others, though. Downing had one of the others as well. Joseph Greenwood knew that Gorbachev resigned in 1991. A UC set of pairs of words differing only by the addition of a B to one to form the other promised much, and this gave Queen’s their first full set. Now they had their 140. Alexander Green knew that Mozilla created Firefox. I thought it was Clint Eastwood. This bonus set on decisive battles did not yield a full set,only the one. Tom Claxton buzzed too early for the next starter, allowing Alexander Green in to answer that Potassium has the same symbol as the Kelvin unit of Temperature. The Queen’s march into the second round continued with book prizes but again only managed 1 bonus. The second picture starter showed us a sculpture, and Tom Rees recognised the work of Anthony Gormley in the Yorkshire sculpture Park. More work from the same sculpture Park proved harder for Downing to identify, and they failed to add to their score. Gareth Gamble won the buzzer race to identify goulash as a Hungarian word. Optics gave me nothing at all, but Queen’s added another 10 points to what was looking like a winning score. By this time I realised that the 20 minute mark had been and gone, but Queen’s with 190 were looking impregnable, with Downing back on 80.

Tom Rees took his second starter with types of pendulum. Geography gave us a nice set of – iso – words. Suzanne Cobain knew that Maria Callas thought Carmen was too like a man. Palindromic years provided Queen’s with another 10 points. Tom Rees knew a set of novels with the number 84 in the title. Botany and medicine provided a nice set of bonuses, but they were not to Downing’s liking as they only managed digitalis. Ace inhibitors gave Georgina Phillips another starter. 20th century novelists gave Downing no bonuses. John Morgan recognised a quote from John Milton. Alas, all too late Downing were finally achieving parity in the buzzer race. Capital cities and rivers helped take their score to 135. That was that, a comfortable win for Queen’s with 210 to 135. Which just goes to show, when it’s a buzzer race you can throw the form book out of the window. Well played Queen’s, and bad luck Downing.

Jeremy Paxman watch

Gareth Gamble was the first recipient of the patented Paxman ‘old fashioned look’ for his correct answer to the sponge question. “How do you know that?!” he asked. When they failed on béchamel sauce and shortcrust pastry he observed that he is going to wait a year or two before inviting himself around for dinner. Avoid the quips Jez, Brucie you’re not.

JP was well impressed with the answers that Queen’s gave for the football music. He gave a rare ‘bad luck’ when they missed the last.

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

An isotach connects places of equal windspeed on a map.


Jack said...

And so we have our first major surprise of the series.

I think Queen's did so much better this time due to the bonuses falling better for them: 19/36 this time, to just 9/30 in the heat. Their starter rate was pretty much the same.

Downing were let down by their bonus rate of just 9/27, compared to the 25/42 they achieved in the heat. Add to that their not being as hot on the buzzer this time, and there are your reasons.

Still, Downing should not be ashamed of what happened; they were great first time around, and may have just had an off-day this time.

Well done to Queen's though, and we'll see how they perform next time. Keep up the buzzer work, and we could see more surprises out of them. Who knows?

Mel said...

How do the teams prepare? Are they given a list of topics beforehand to study? Cause some of the questions, if not all, are very specific.