Saturday, 7 December 2013

University Challenge - Round Two - Match Five

Trinity, Cambridge v. Peterhouse, Cambridge

This was an interesting match up. After their first round demolition of an excellent Christ Church team, many people were already placing the mantle of champions in waiting around the collective shoulders of Matthew Ridley, Filip Drnovsek Zorko, Richard Freeland and Ralph Morley. Certainly their first round performance was as impressive as we’ve seen for a couple of years. Still, there’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge before we get to the sharp end of this year’s tourney. Their opponents on Monday evening were Mark Smith, Edmund Zimmer, Melanie Etherton and Alex Davis of Peterhouse, Cambridge, who had shown their own mettle in the first round in defeating a good Balliol team by more than 100 points. The indicators were that we were in for a quality show.

Richard Freeland struck first for Trinity. It was asking for a shared name, but we were only given the first a scientist of some kind, before he buzzed in with the answer of Wolfgang. They took one out of three gettable bonuses on monarchs. Ralph Morley buzzed in early and correctly on the Gift Aid Scheme. As an aside, my wife and eldest daughter both work in Charity shops, and so can I ask, if any readers do ever donate, can you please ask about the gift aid scheme if they don’t tell you about it. It costs nothing, is easy to do, and makes your gift even more valuable. Presidents of the Royal Society brought them a full set. I didn’t get the last one, but they worked it out well between them. The first chink in Trinity’s armour was revealed when LAM reader and contributor Filip Drnovsek Zorko interrupted incorrectly for the next question. This let Edmund Zimmer in, who recognised the scientific name of the Horseshoe crab. As an aside, the horseshoe crab is an amazing creature. A living fossil, it is a direct descendant of trilobites. Also, and this is just my theory, I think that it was the inspiration for the design of the original Cybermats in Dr. Who. However, I digress.

The Cybermat and the Horseshoe Crab. Are they by any chance related? I think we should be told.

French wine growing regions promised little and delivered less for Peterhouse, although I did manage to guess champagne for the last. Still, the team were now off and running. Edmund Zimmer knew that as soon as you hear the words American English Dictionary you have to hit the buzzer, and answer Noah Webster. Bonuses on gases brought both of us another correct answer. The good old chestnut about water and calcium carbide gave me a rare science bonus. The first picture starter showed us the layout of an Asian Grand Prix circuit, and it was Ralph Morley who recognised it was Malaysia. Good shout, that. I think it was probably a guess, because they didn’t get any of the three more Asian circuits as bonuses. Like them, I too answered Singapore to each of them. Skipper Lex Davis of Peterhouse supplied the correct answer of heliosphere for the next starter, to earn bonuses on philosophy. One correct answer was again taken. Neither team could answer in which county the National Trust;s first acquired property is situated. So at almost the 10 minute mark my expectations of a high quality contest were certainly being fulfilled. After Trinity’s blitz start Peterhouse had pulled back well to be level, at 40 – 40. Peterhouse were going for it on the buzzer, and that is certainly what you have to do against a team such as Trinity.

Edmund Zimmer knew that it was Richard Nixon who had an enemies list including Paul Newman. Two bonuses on the Arts put Peterhouse into the lead for the first time. Alex Davis knew all about elastic collisions. bonuses on the German pharmaceutical company Bayer took their score to 80, and for the first time this series it looked as if Trinity were under pressure. Edmund Zimmer recognised a quotation recommending a one year old child as a most nourishing meal as the work of Jonathan Swift, from ‘A Modest Proposal’. Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis yielded no bonuses for any of us, but their lead was now up to 50 points, and the elastic between the teams was starting to stretch ominously. Filip Drnovsek Zorko struck back for Trinity, knowing about TED conferences. Sports bonuses on kabbadi and handball brought their own score up to 60. For the music starter that man Edmund Zimmer recognised The Barber of Seville, and the elastic was stretching again. The bonuses were all pieces of classical music that included the names of European cities in their titles. They couldn’t quite manage any of them, although myself I was pleased to recognise An American in Paris. A lovely UC special asked for the two words which mean a long thin sword, and to fix something, when the three vowels are rearranged. Melanie Etherton buzzed in very quickly with rapier and repair, and the lead was back to 50 points. A further ten points were added to the lead when they correctly answered two of the bonuses on the 1923 General election. Edmund Zimmer jumped a little too early on the agrarian communists of the 1650s with Levellers, losing 5 points, which gave an opportunity to Trinity. They were unable to dig up the Diggers. Still, Trinity seemed to take heart from this slight reversal in Peterhouse’s fortunes, and Ralph Morley the skipper buzzed in to correctly identify blue and white as the colours on the national flag of Finland. Preserved steam railways in Britain brought Trinity a full set, and at one fell swoop the deficit was reduced to 30 points. Richard Freeland won the buzzer race to identify Rigel as the brightest star of the constellation of Orion. The gap was down to 20 points. Bonuses about semi-conductors meant nothing to any of us. Filip Drnovsek Zorko seemed rather pleased to be asked about which former Yugoslavian republic joined NATO in 2004, since the answer was Slovenia, his home country, which JP was at pains to point out. A good UC special set of pairs of similar words brought Trinity a full house, and more importantly, the lead, just after the 20 minute mark. Trinity led by 120 – 115, and so there was still absolutely nothing in it. In some ways this contest was reminding me of a tug of war match, with one side gaining ascendancy, and moving the mark closer to their line, only to be pulled back by the other. Who would get the final shove on? Going into the last few minutes the momentum did seem to be with Trinity.

None of us recognised the Dulwich Picture Gallery for the second picture starter. Melanie Etherton buzzed in too early on the next starter which asked which family of fruit plants yuzu, bergamot and neroli are obtained from. Trinity didn’t capitalise, which was a little surprising since the answer was the relatively simple citrus family. Nobody got the next starter about pre decimal currency. Ralph Morley knew that the phrase ‘by the skin of your teeth’ comes from the Book of Job. This earned them the dubious pleasure of the art gallery picture bonuses. They didn’t get any, neither did I.Richard Freeland knew that in base 3, 1000 is equivalent to 27 in decimal. A very quick buzz that. Two correct answers on Ivy League Universities stretched the lead to 40 points with three minutes to go. The next starter began by sounding harder than it actually was. You might not immediately have thought of a farm as an economic unit, but it was obviously the word linking works by Stella Gibbons and George Orwell. Filip Drnovsek Zorko was first in with the answer. A very quickly answered full sets on Commonwealth states was just what the doctor ordered and stretched the lead to 65 points. Edmund Zimmer couldn’t correctly answer the name of the third longest river on the Iberian Peninsula, associated with the production of Port wine, nor could Matthew Ridley. It was the Douro. Filip Drnovsek Zorko was in very quickly, knowing that 583 members make up the US Electoral College. That’s not one of the Ivy League. I’m here all week, ladies and gents. The two bonuses on biology practically guaranteed the win. Ralph Morley won the buzzer race to answer that the city of Tennessee charing its name with the ancient capital of Egypt is Memphis. That took Trinity through the 200 point barrier. Three correct bonuses on Anthems took them even further. When you’re in the ascendant, then it seems to give you an extra half second on the buzzer, and Ralph Morley was in early to answer that Sir Hugh Dowding was an important figure in the Battle of Britain. 2 bonuses on locations of ancient cities were enough to take us up to the gong. Now, if you just look at the final scores – 240 – 110 – you might think that this was a fairly routine win for Trinity. It wasn’t. Peterhouse played well, and they were neck and neck with Trinity until just the last few minutes. They were unlucky to meet Trinity at this stage, but showed that they are a class act in their own right. As for Trinity, well, they have shown that they can handle pressure. Good luck in the quarters. A fine match.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

There was absolutely nothing worthy of note until after the ten minute mark. Asked for the name of the creator of the work “Just what is it that makes todays homes so different, so modern, so appealing” Peterhouse offered Hobley. “Hobley?!” queried our hero, in terms that suggested that he couldn’t quite believe the answer. Dramatic pause. “Hobley! No, it’s Richard Hamilton.”
For a music bonus Peterhouse offered the composer Johan Strauss. “The Older or the Younger?” JP asked, and he noticeably chuckled when they wrongly offered the older. Not very nice, Jez.
Our man seemed a little aggrieved that Filip had that Slovenia question. Well, don’t blame him Jez – you’re the one who asked him!
On the pre decimal currency question JP smiled broadly when neither team answered correctly, and you could practically hear him thinking – Yeah! take that, yer young whippersnappers!
His belligerent mood continued into the nest set of bonuses, where he leapt on one of the comments they made to each other about one of the galleries maybe being up North. He made pointed comments about this when he gave each answer, and then hailed Trinity’s answer of The National Gallery for the Walker Gallery with a scornful, “National Gallery! It doesn’t look anything like the National Gallery!” Another dramatic pause. “That’s also up North!”

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

The first building acquired by the National Trust is a cottage near Alfriston in East Sussex.


Jack said...

Good match, and I agree that Peterhouse were unlucky to run into Trinity this early. They did well early on, but ran out of steam later on. Another good showing by Trinity though, and a deserved win for Filip and co.

On the bonuses, Trinity converted 24/39, which is as many correct as Peterhouse was asked; they managed just 8/24.

Looks like we also have another Christmas UC series to look forward to this year.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack,
Yes, I did think that they might rue those missed bonuses, but no, they played well, even though Trinity were the better team in the end.

Didn't know about Christmas UC, but well and good. Looking forward to it.

Cromarty(IV) said...

I've been looking forward to this match since just after I came off the set following Southampton's second round game. As Filip implied over on JOW, we met Trinity for the first time backstage shortly before they went to film this one, and I remember thinking to myself, "Good luck to whoever's up against them!" As I think I've mentioned before, once I knew about their 300-point tally from round 1, they had a Gail Trimble effect about them, in that I was terrified at the prospect of playing them!

So, in a way, Peterhouse drew the short straw. But they certainly gave Trinity a run for their money for a fair chunk of the match, so well done to them for that. In the end, then, we can certainly say that Trinity has beaten two very good teams to get to the quarters, so they should be ones to look out for.

I, too, am very much looking forward to Christmas UC, especially because Southampton are going to be putting in an appearance on it! We've also got a team from Emmanuel, Cambridge to look forward to - doing what I think is their first work on UC since Alex Guttenplan was flying their flag.

opaltiger said...

On the citrus question, I overthought it and assumed they wanted the scientific name for the genus (which as it turns out is also citrus, but never mind). Which was annoying because I knew yuzu was a citrus fruit. Oh well.