Saturday, 13 September 2014

University Challenge - Round One - heat 8

Bath v. Glasgow

Two of my favourite cities contested this edition of UC. Bath probably doesn’t need any plug from me, and I think that many people’s eyes were opened to the beauty of Glasgow through the Commonwealth Games – and if they weren’t, well, trust me, it’s well worth a visit. So to the show. Bath were represented by Phil Herbert, Scott Kemp, Henry Rackley and their captain was Miles Thomas.  Glasgow’s team were Jonathan Gillan, Christina McGuire, Erin White and their skipper, Daniel Hill. Let’s get cracking then.

Three definitions of the word attachment provided the first starter, and Christina McGuire provided the first answer. Three bonuses on British monarchs was right up my street, and they were right up Glasgow’s street as well, since they took a full house, earning the rarely awarded JP seal of approval. Christina McGuire took her second consecutive starter with Nancy Astor. Philosophy and literature provided them with another two bonuses, although they missed out on Mr. Chekhov for the last. Something about elements followed, but none of us knew that the answer was lithium. Ho hum. A terrific early buzz from Daniel Hill of Glasgow saw him give the answer of Continental after being given a couple of definitions. This released a set of bonuses on evolution, and I’m afraid that Glasgow made no more of them than I did. We’d reached the first picture starter, and poor old Bath hadn’t had so much as a sniff of a starter yet. This showed us the label from an LP, with one of the tracks – also the title of the album – missing. Well, as a lifelong fan of the Fab Four I knew it straightaway, and Daniel Hill wasn’t far behind, identifying it Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Off the point completely, but as a belated birthday present my daughter Jessie took me to see the Cavern Beatles performing at the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot last Wednesday, and they were excellent! – Sorry, back to the show. Three more album track lists provided two bonuses. Just a few starters in, and Bath were already 75 points behind, and must have been dreading JP’s – ‘plenty of time left’ – as sure an announcement of impending doom as they come.Skipper Miles Thomas did what you must do in such circumstances, and threw caution to the wind on a question about a german mathematician and philosopher. Actually, his answer Leibnitz was a pretty good early shout, but not right, sadly. Glasgow didn’t know Frege, and neither did I. The next starter provided the first points for Bath, as Phil Herbert identified H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. The bonuses were on teacher’s favourite books according to a 2013 survey in the Times Ed. They missed out on Pride and Pred, but took the other two, which meant that just after the ten minute mark Glasgow led by 75 – 15.

The next starter asked for the various species of creature whose name comes from a latin word for ring. Miles Thomas knew that latin for ring is annulus, but didn’t take it the one step further to get annelid. Jonathan Gillan buzzed in for his first starter with the phrase casus belli – a good answer that. Bonuses on buildings that were never built. 2 were taken, and Glasgow were still comfortably in control. Henry Rackley knew that any question containing the words stately – home – and – safari – is probably barking up the Longleat tree, and duly took a good early buzz to earn the bonuses where the team were asked to identify countries from the names of three of their political parties. 1 was taken. So to the music starter. Three piece of popular music segued into another, all linked by a city, either the city of birth of the artist, or whatever. Iggy Pop was first, and almost before we heard any of the next Daniel Hill buzzed in. He obviously knew of Mr. Pop’s connection with the city of Detroit. More of the same followed in the bonuses, of which Glasgow managed a full house, again earning approving comments from JP.Now, seminiferus tubules is not a phrase that comes up in polite conversation every day of the week, but somehow it suggested testosterone to me, which was confirmed by Erin White. Paintings and art galleries were the subject of the next bonus set, and proved elusive. Which didn’t really matter that much in the context of the show since the gap was now 100 points. A nice question followed for the next starter – in the 20th century 4 US presidents succeeded to the presidency following the death of the previous incumbent – Teddy Roosevelt, the first, was given. The other three were, of course – Coolidge – Truman and Johnson. Two were required and Scott Kemp offered Coolidge and LBJ. This earned bonuses on household water usage. Yes, it never rains but it pours. On questions about average household uses of baths etc. , unsurprisingly they failed to add to their score .Daniel Hill knew a group of writers all linked by either birth or residency in Mexico. Now, I’ll let you into a secret. When UC asks a maths question which begins what is the value of X if the square of Y blah blah blah – I usually answer 0. It isn’t always right, but a surprising amount of the time it is. It was on the first of an otherwise difficult set of Maths bonuses. One bonus took Glasgow to 140 at the 20 minute mark, and Bath trailed with 40.

All over bar the shouting? Well, not necessarily. It is possible to score over 100 unanswered points in the last 6 or seven minutes of the show, but it ain’t easy. The next starter showed us a phot of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, some time before he recorded “Take Me Out”, I believe. Jonathan Gillan won the buzzer race for that one. More pictures of leading political figures from World War One provided Glasgow with another ten points, but they mistook Tsar Nicholas II for his first cousin King George V. Nobody knew that the third most common element of the human body is hydrogen. Blimey – think how much we’d weigh if it wasn’t. Neither team knew that Ingleborough was one of the three peaks in the three peaks challenge. Miles Thomas knew that it’s a Feast for Crows in the Game of Thrones series. French past participles used as culinary terms brought two bonuses, but they missed out on fondue. Miles Thomas buzzed early for a second consecutive starter, knowing that Dickens had written out against the Poor Law. Bonuses on pseudo words brought Bath another ten points. That man Miles Thomas completed his triple buzzing in early to identify element 95 as Americium. Two bonuses on Russian cities raised their score to triple figures, but the gap still stood at 65, and only a couple of minutes remained. Any small chance was aniffed out when Jonathan Gillan recognized a quote from Othello. Three bonuses on Phoenicia pushed Glasgow to 190. Miles Thomas hadn’t given up though, and put together a number of symbols to form the word pen. Unfortunately none of the bonuses on European Treaties from the 1400s provided any points. Surprisingly nobody knew that Thomas Carlyle was writing about France in his seminal work, for the next starter. I didn’t get the next question, but the answer was 2, and Miles Thomas knew it. Operas of Benjamin Britten only gave time for one bonus, and they didn’t get it. At the gong the final score was 190 – 120 to Glasgow. Well played Glasgow – good luck in round two. As for Bath, well, JP rather sagely pointed out that the last few minutes had actually shown what they could do, but their slow start meant no chance of a repechage slot.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP started early this week, with his own little oblique contribution to the Scottish Independence debate, noting that Queen Anne didn’t trust the Scots. Well, to be fair I doubt that they were that fussed on her either.
More fuel to the ‘is JP going soft debate’ was provided when he twice apologized for fining Bath for incorrect early buzzes. Come on Jez – they buzz in early, it’s their lookout!
Thankfully he was quite sniffy about the music bonuses. He does hate it when people buzz in early, and so when he announced the music bonuses he said, ‘it might be in your interest to hear all three pieces before you buzz.” – or – in real terms, as Michael Bates used to say to Babar Bhatti in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum – don’t be such clever dicky.
He did give Phil Herbert an old fashioned look for suggesting that Ben Nevis might be one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge peaks, and passed a comment, but his heart didn’t really seem in it.

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

Had Albert Speer’s People’s Hall in Berlin ever been built, then the condensed breath of the 180,000 capacity crowd would have caused rainfall. 


Jack said...

Not a great deal you can say about this match, except that Glasgow deserved to win overall, and Bath gave a fair account of themselves late on. A walkover would've been a shame, so it was nice to see Bath recover late on. Glasgow gave a good account of themselves too, and it will be interesting to see how they fare in the next round.

On the bonuses, Bath managed 10/23 (with two penalties), and Glasgow 18/30, which is not bad at all, and may prove key in a closer game on the buzzer.

On Monday, Leicester play the Open University, and the week after, reigning champs Trinity College Cambridge take on St Andrews.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Well, even a slightly below average UC heat is still a darn sight better than almost everything else.

Glasgow certainly looked a competent outfit - but I've yet to see anyone blow me away in the way that Trinity did in their first round last year.

dxdtdemon said...

If a Yes vote happens, will the have to re-record some episodes as Glasgow would presumably be disqualified?

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

Independence won't actually legally happen until a couple of years from now, so I reckon this year and next's series are at least safe if we do vote Yes!

It would be nice to see some Scots do well, we really haven't had much of a run in this competition for a good long time.

Londinius said...

Hi Guys

As Adam says, it can't affect this series one way or another. It is interesting to speculate what will happen if the vote is Yes to Independence. Personally I think and hope they will still extend the invitation to institutions in Scotland, although this would then also raise the issue of maybe inviting institutions in The Republic of Ireland as well. And why not?

Unknown said...

Also really pleased that Bath recovered themselves, and equally surprised that Chekov was left unanswered. And happy to follow the blog and learn that it is Trinity vs St. Andrew's soon!