Saturday, 25 January 2014

University Challenge - Quarter Final Match 2

Cardiff v. SOAS

Monday brought us another two teams hoping to win their first quarter final. Cardiff, in the shape of Eleri Evans, Sara Caputo, Tom Parry-Jones and captain Roderick Lawford, had to battle to win a low scoring match against Exeter by 145 to 95 in the first round. In the second though they showed their class by convincingly beating a useful Liverpool outfit by 230 to 145. SOAS – the London University School of Oriental and African Studies – represented by Maeve Weber, Luke Vivian-Neal, James Figueroa and their captain Peter McKean, sent Southampton packing in their own first round, winning by 230 to 155. Southampton, I ought to remind you, went on to win a repechage match, then score the highest total of the series so far in round two! A couple of weeks ago we watched as SOAS gave Reading a bit of a hiding in the second round. As for this contest – well, I’m an alumnus of London University, but then I do live in South wales. So leaving any partisanship aside, the form guide suggested SOAS by a short head.

A nice UC starter kicked us off, and Maeve Weber was first to recognise a set of rephrased titles from Evelyn Waugh novels. Quotations on the subject of power brought out two correct answers.Neither team recognized quotations from a website dedicated to rehabilitating the reputation of an English King. Sara Caputo dived in too soon with King John and lost 5. SOAS guessed Richard the III, but it was his successor, Henry VII. Maeve Weber was in first with the next starting, knowing the term Imprinting as applied to animal behaviour. German film artists didn’t promise a great deal, but SOAS managed to take a full set. Maeve Weber, very impressive at this stage for SOAS, recognized various varieties of cactus for the next starter. Cosmology brought one bonus, which was one more than I managed. Peter McKean won the buzzer race for SOAS on the next starter, identifying the letters on the inscription on the Cross as INRI. Bonuses on Roman officials brought two, and thankfully my O Level Latin course had spent a bit of time telling us about this sort of thing, so I had my first full set of the evening. Thanks Mr. Rose. Now, for an old stager like myself the picture starter was a piece of cake, seeing as it highlighted Czechoslovakia on a map of Europe. If you were born in the 90s, maybe it was harder. Peter McKean took that one. 3 cities were marked on a map of former Czechoslovakia, and the team were asked to identify them for the bonuses. One bonus took their score to 95, but this was, in real terms, a triple figure lead, since Cardiff were still on a minus, just as we approached the 10 minute mark.

Neither team knew that founder members of the football league never to have won the top division in English football. JP offered Accrington and Notts County, but nobody knew the other two were Stoke City and Bolton Wanderers. Bloomin’ good question, that one. For the next one it really paid to wait. Peter McKean came too early, and I didn’t have a clue. However when the end of the question revealed that the city in question is home to the IOC, then I knew it was Lausanne. Cardiff could not capitalize. Something about fractions of light followed. The answer was zero, and none of us knew that. Fair enough. Peter McKean knew that Polish born revolutionary – she – and Spartacists – is more than enough to give you Rosa Luxembourg, and he won the buzzer race. The bonuses on The Anatomy of Melancholy brought me two, but SOAS didn’t score. Now at last Cardiff broke their hoodoo, as Sara Caputo identified W.H.Auden from a series of clues. Elecrtomagnetic Radiation brought me one for Roentgen, and did the same for Cardiff. Luke Vivian-Neal took his first starter of the show recognizing a description of the fabled Curate’s Egg. US presidents, a perennial UC favourite, brought me a full set, but SOAS struggled and again failed to convert any. For the music starter we were given a piece of music from a popular beat combo and asked for the band, and the album it was taken from. Eleri Evans knew it was the Arctic Monkeys, but gave is the title of the track rather than the album it came from. James Figueroa missed out for SOAS. Sara Caputo, trying admirably to get her team moving again, buzzed in too early on the name of the Cardinal who died on the same day as Mary I. and paid the price for her offer of Cromwell. This gave Peter McKean a free run at Reginald Pole. The music bonuses followed, with three other pieces of popular music inspired by works of literature. The works and the writers were required. Not easy, but one was taken. Tom Parry-Jones knew that in pharmacy OTC means Over the Counter. This brought Cardiff bonuses on Dutch Art. Cardiff took the chestnut on the birthplace of Vermeer. Now to prarphrase, Peter McKean knew that Reuben was the first of the children of Israel, and thus the impressive SOAS skipper won a set of bonuses on one letter film titles. Two were answered correctly. So on the cusp of the 20 minute mark things really hadn’t greatly improved for Cardiff, even if SOAS’ run rate had slowed up a little. They led by 145 to 20.

Roderick Lawford took the next starter, identifying Felix Mendelssohn as the composer of Elijah. Chemical elements saw me get my answer of the night knowing that molybdenum comes between niobium and technetium. So I had two and Cardiff has one of those. For the picture starter I was surprise it took a while for either team to buzz in with the names of Daedalus and Icarus. Luke Vivian-Neal had that one. More paintings of ancient Greek pairings brought another ten points. Sara Caputo had a very good early buzz on the next to identify generals of Alexander the Great. The Man Booker Prize yielded one bonus. Tom Parry-Jones knew that if it’s a regular figure with 6 faces it’s probably a cube. Bonuses on Minor Prophets of the Old Testament brought them another correct answer. Peter McKean knew that Operation Jubilee was the codename for the raid on Dieppe. Exponantation in Maths passed me by completely, but SOAS managed 2 of them. Tom Parry-Jones threw caution to the wind with an early buzz on the Korean martial art – the way of hand and fist – with Taekwondo, and was rewarded for doing so. Pacific Island nations were gettable, but not easy, but they failed to trouble the scorer. Tom Parry-Jones took a double, knowing that the Himalayas mark the overlap between the Indian and Eurasian plates. Bonuses on major cities only yielded one correct answer. James Figueroa knew that octopus, squid et all are all cephalopods. Bonuses on the verb to be in European languages. Only time remained for two of these, one of which SOAS answered correctly. This meant that the final score was 200 – 90. We know that Cardiff are a good team, but it just wasn’t their night. They couldn’t impose themselves on the buzzer for the first half of the contest, and by the time they could it was too late. Well done to SOAS, though – looking good for a semi final place, guys.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

This week began with some eyebrow work when Eleri Evans suggested J.G.Ballard wrote “This Side of Paradise”. He seemed to have something against Miss Evans, since he virtually bellowed at Cardiff “Come ON!” to get them to offer a suggestion for one of the founder teams of the Football League never to have won the top division, and then when she offered Grimsby his eyebrows shot once more towards the ceiling, and hooted “Grimsby!!??”””” in derision. Shame on you, Jeremy.
He did, to be fair, seem to share Cardiff’s joy at managing to get into the game on the 12 minute mark. “What a relief!” he enthused, but to be fair he was smiling at the time.
JP listened to James Figueroa’s offer of “Eponymous by the Arctic Monkeys” and replied “No. .. but that’s smart!” Well, one dares to say the correct answer would have been smarter, still, you pays yer money.

On the late bonus set ont eh verb to be, he castigated SOAS for not knowing “mae” as in Cymraeg and also Mae West – “Anyone in Cardiff could have told you!”

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

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a distant relative of Francis Scott Key who wrote the lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner


Jack said...

Not a terribly exciting match here. When SOAS led by 100 after the first picture round, they did already look pretty certain winners. Cardiff did very well to reach their final score considering.

I wouldn't say SOAS were as good this time as before, but they are clearly going to be tough to deal with whoever they face next.

Both sides had been good with the bonuses before; this time, Cardiff only managed 6/21, and SOAS managed an average 17/35.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Just based on that performance you wouldn't fancy Cardiff's chances of getting any further. But they played a hell of a lot better in their second round match, and so you never know. It's difficult to say just how good SOAS are, because Cardiff didn't make it at all difficult for them. Everybody answered starters correctly, which is a good sign.They destroyed Cardiff on the buzzer. They are three from three, and so you never know - maybe they could go all the way. . . time will tell.

Tom said...

The questions didn't fall right for us at all in this game. Even when we got the odd starter right, we got shafted with the bonuses, as our 6/21 conversion rate shows. As they say, it's only easy if you know the answer.