Saturday, 8 February 2014

University Challenge - Quarter Final Match Four

Queen’s, Belfast v. Southampton

Well, here we were, with the last two teams to be released from the starting gate for their first match in the quarter finals. Queen’s University Belfast won a low scoring first round contest against Aberdeen, before posting a more convincing performance to send Downing, Cambridge home in the second round. Their team of Suzanne Cobain, Gareth Gamble, Alexander Green and their skipper Joseph Greenwood had never featured on anybody’s lists of favourites for the semis, but they had made it this far and hadn’t lost yet.

Their opposition, Southampton, in the form of David Bishop, our own Richard Evans, Matt Loxham, and skipper Bob De Caux, had a rather more complicated route to get this far. They had lost a first round clash with fellow quarter finalists SOAS, before defeating Loughborough in the repechage round. After this their buzzer form improved tremendously, and they scored a massive 300+ score against Bangor in the second round. If they maintained their buzzer form, then Queen’s could be in for a torrid time in this match.

Suzanne Cobain struck first for Queen’s by identifying a group of items all linked by the word bourbon. Biographies gave Queen’s a full set with Cancer, Coffee and Cod. Both teams waited well with the next starter, which asked about newspapers published in a Commonwealth country. When JP got to the words ‘southern hemisphere’ Bob De Caux won the race with Australia. This gave them bonuses on astrophysics. Now, I’m not one to brag – alright, I am one to brag – but this was a lap of honour round the living room moment since I had all three, as did Southampton. Richard Evans was impressively quick to buzz in with element atomic number 15 – phosphorus. Bodily secretions sounded difficult, but actually were all rather gettable, and so Southampton made sure that they got two, missing out on earwax. For the next starter Richard buzzed early again to identify the assassinations of the unrelated Gandhis – Mahatma and Indira. Names of wars provided a full set. For the picture round we saw a series of flags indicating the last 5 holders of an office. The last three being Poland – Germany and Argentina it was pretty clear that this was the Papacy, and David Bishop won the race to answer that one. More of the same followed, and Southampton managed Sec Gens of Nato, Chairpersons of the Commonwealth and the head of the IMF. Matt Loxham recognized a description of the book Information is Beautiful to take the next starter, and also to take his team through the 100 point barrier. People with the surname Hastings slowed Southampton down, and they only took one bonus this time. It really didn’t matter. They led by 110 to 25, and they were absolutely flying.

Matt Loxham looked like he thought his answer of Simon Rattle was wrong in the next starter, and heaved a sigh of relief when it turned out to be right. The 2011 census was the subject for the next set of bonuses, and this rather dry statistical set yielded nothing to me, and one to Southampton. A Mathsy thing came next – there were lots of As and Bs in it – and nobody had it. Bob De Caux was in extremely quickly to identify the first building to have the name Guggenheim attached to it. The questions on mixtures escaped me completely, but not Richard. He took a full set for his team. Thus emboldened he recognized a description of the Warsaw Pact, and knew that it was signed in Warsaw, appropriately enough. Works in the National Portrait Gallery in London gave me a full set, but Southampton took just the one this time. From Art to Music, but nobody recognized a snatch of Vivaldi. We weren’t quite halfway through the contest, but Queen’s needed to strike, and they needed to strike now, and so they did Joseph Greenwood took a flyer on a very early buzz on a question about Voltaire. Fortune favoured the brave, and Queen’s thus earned a set on classical music pieces using trumpets. Rather surprisingly I took two, while Queen’s didn’t get any of them. A lovely starter followed on works with blank pages was taken by Bob De Caux. Bonuses on Terry Eagleton proved tricky, and yielded just five more points. Bob De Caux recognized states of Mexico for the next, and the Southampton juggernaut just rumbled on. A UC special set on films whose titles contain a word from the NATO phonetic alphabet took Southampton beyond the event horizon, and to the brink of 200. Gareth Gamble managed to get in with the next starter on typed of inflammation. Number theory actually brought me two bonuses myself, although Queen’s themselves took the full set. This slightly improved their score, but now, just after the 20 minute mark, they trailed by 60 to 195.

We saw a painting of a Russian author next. Joseph Greenwood zigged with Tolstoy, while Bob De Caux zagged with Dostoevsky. Three more Russian nineteenth century authors followed. They only managed one. A lovely buzz from Matt Loxham to identify Franz Kafka as the German language novelist whose works were originally published by Max Broad. Enemies of Rome wasn’t that hard, but Southampton took them very quickly. Queen’s took another starter when Suzanne Cobain identified Green white and purple as the colours of the Suffragette movement. Bonuses on secession and secessionists yielded one bonus. Richard Evans was in extremely quickly for the Fall of Singapore with the next starter. Geological periods yielded another full set, and once again Southampton looked within reach of the magical 300 barrier. For once Richard came in with an incorrect starter, as he didn’t know that dynamite is kieselguhr soaked in nitroglycerine. Nobody knew a set of works by Beethoven. Suzanne Cobain knew that Arthur Evans excavated Crete. The set of bonuses on Geography provided them with the points to take their score up to 90, but they did miss the extremely chestnutty Straits of Messina. Bob De Caux recognized classes from Olympic sailing. Steven Pinker yielded nothing to any of us in the bonuses. Richard knew that the ECHR is the European Court of Human Rights. Japanese culinary terms brought ten points and took them to 290. One more starter and that would be 300. David Bishop had time to buzz for the next starter, but not to answer. I’m sorry, Queen’s, but 290 to 90 is a thrashing. It sometimes happens that one team is just consistently better than the other on the buzzer, and that’s what happened in the show. Well done Southampton! The semi- final seems to beckon!

Jeremy Paxman Watch

An early grump when Southampton offered “Big Bang Theory” to an astrophysics bonus “I asked for two words, “ our hero huffed, but allowed it to pass on the grounds that it was right.
With the Simon Rattle starter he observed,
”I thought that you were shaking your head because it was too easy!” Well, as I’ve told you before, Jez, they’re all easy when you have the answers written on a card in front of you.
I wonder whether it was deliberately that he rendered Charpentier’s Te Deum as “tedium” ?
In the Russian author picture, Joseph Greenwood offered Tolstoy for Dostoevsky for the starter. When the picture of Tolstoy was shown as one of the bonuses, JP couldn’t resist saying, “Yes, THAT is Tolstoy, inimitable really. “ Yeah, go on Jez, stick the boot into a team while they’re down, why don’t you.
To be fair he did manage an amusing response when Southampton offered Pushkin to a painting of Mr. Chekov.
”Well, I was going to say unmistakeably Chekov, but clearly mistakeably Chekov.” Nice verbal dexterity there.

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

The last phase of the Chad-Libyan War in 1987 was known as The Toyota War. It takes its name from the Toyota pickup trucks used as technicals to provide mobility for the Chadian troops as they fought against the Libyans

1 comment:

Jack said...

Yes, another thrashing here definitely. Unlike Southampton's previous match though, you can't say you couldn't have seen it coming. As good as Queen's were against Downing, they were clearly not as good as Southampton, and it showed here.

When they did get in, Queen's managed an OK 8/15 bonuses. Southampton managed 28/45, thus suggesting their buzzer strength has been the main cause of their two impressive victories so far.

I'm reliably informed on JOW by Filip that Trinity play SOAS on Monday; this points to subsequent matches of Manchester vs Cardiff, Somerville vs Southampton, and Clare vs Queen's. Some good matches to be had there, I think.

If the QFs were still instant eliminators, a final four of Trinity, SOAS, Somerville and Southampton would be one of the best final fours we've seen IMO!