Saturday, 22 November 2014

University Challenge - Round Two - Match Two

Durham v. York

In their first round the Durham team of Daniel Morgan – Thomas, Freddie Lloyd, Nikul Boyd-Shah and their captain Fred Harvey completely overwhelmed an outgunned Brasenose team. Their opposition tonight, York, in the collective shape of Jack Alexander, Adam Koper, Joe Crowther and skipper Alistair Middleton, had less of a free ride in their own first round heat, but finished with daylight between themselves and their opponents, Corpus Christi, Cambridge. Let’s get on with the show.

Daniel Morgan-Thomas heard the name Terry Deary, and that was enough to let him in for ‘horrible histories’. This opening salvo brought up bonuses on lines of poetry written in the 1850s. Durham had the same two that I had. Various definitions of the word zero brought Nikul Boyd-Shah into play, as he took his team’s second starter. In the bonuses they were asked for a monarch, and offered Edward VII, but it was another overweight irreligious womaniser, in the corpulent shape of George IV. They picked up the other 2 bonuses on my 2007 semi final specialist subject. Alistair Middleton opened York’s account knowing that the coin which first appeared in a different form in 1986, but now has the words of Isaac Newton around the rim, is the £2 coin. Me, I thought that they were the words of Oasis. Film stars added another 10 points to their score. Fred Harvey correctly guessed that the emerald green sea slug uses photosynthesis. Good trick if you can do it. We both had two of the bonuses on biochemistry that followed. The picture starter that followed showed the crest of a European football club with helpful words etc removed. I guessed Olympiakos, as did Adam Koper. Three more crests – all referring to Greek history or mythology – followed, and York took a full house with Sparta Prague – Atalanta and Ajax. A set of definitions of words that all contain a double Z was picked up by Daniel Morgan-Thomas. Two word phrases which can be abbreviated to the letters PR brought another 10 points. This meant that at the 10 minute mark Durham looked good value for their 80 – 45 lead.

Alistair Middleton knew that The Treaty of Hubertusburg ended the central European stages of the Seven Years War. This brought up bonuses on musical instruments made from organic material. They managed one, but they were going to need more than this if they were to stop Durham disappearing over the event horizon. The next starter was an old chestnut which gave the full version of the oft shortened quote in which Graham Greene compared Fred Astaire to a human Mickey Mouse. Nobody fancied it at first. Alistair  Middleton had a sensible punt with Charlie Chaplin, and Nikul Boyd-Shah tried Harold Lloyd. Well, if you’ve never heard it before, you’ve never heard it. Nikul Boyd Shah took the next starter on World Heritage Sites, and this earned a lovely UC special set. Durham were asked to take a name – eg Moscow – and split it into chemical element symbols – then give the answer in terms of the full names of the elements. So Mo Sc O W gave Molybdenum, Scandium, Oxygen, Tungsten – which incidentally were four of the rejected suggestions for names of the Beckhams’ kids. They managed Lisbon, but Tirana was a city too far. It was interesting to watch the grimace cross the features of Adam Koper when JP announced that the next starter would be the music starter. Fred Harvey was very quickly in to recognise the strains of Pachelbel’s Canon. The bonuses were pieces of pop music which had the same chord progression (what?). Immediately I predicted we’d hear ‘Altogether Now’ by The Farm. We did too, but only after the Pet Shop Boys. That was the only one that Durham managed. Alistair Middleton buzzed in to answer that Marriot’s Law is known as Boyle’s Law in Anglophone countries. Some Mathsy stuff on prime numbers provided them with a full set of bonuses. Given the words Shona – landlocked – between Zambesi and Limpopo rivers the teams should probably have arrived at Zimbabwe for the next starter, but neither did. Nikul Boyd-Shah did well with the next one, though. Hearing sister – dentist and artist we both chanced our arms with American Gothic, and were both right. This earned Durham a set on infectious childhood diseases, which were all quite rightly dispatched over the boundary rope. Alistair Middleton, who played such a sterling captain’s innings in this match, took a very early buzz on coral reefs for the next starter. 2 bonuses on artistic genres meant that on the cusp of the 20 minute mark the gap was narrower, as Durham led by 130 – 110.

Joe Crowther narrowed the gap further by buzzing in to identify the photo of Martin Sheen as President Jed Bartlett. Fictional characters closely identified with educational institutions provided them with a full set, and the lead for the first time in the match. Nikul Boyd-Shah correctly answered that St. Paul’s letter composed at Corinth in 57AD was 1st Romans.  2 bonuses were taken on cosmetics, and Durham were ahead again. A good, fast buzz from Freddie Lloyd identified Optimism as the subtitle of Candide. The verb 'to do' in various European languages only provided one bonus, but the clock was rapidly becoming Durham’s friend. Nobody knew that it was Vancouver named after an English explorer for the next starter, and the clock ran down a little more. Alistair Middleton was first to work out that the two planets of the solar system whose names contain the name of the nearest star in reverse were VeNUS and UraNUS. Some good answers on African countries narrowed the gap again, and when Joe Crowther answered that Lord Liverpool was Prime Minister while John Quincy Adams was US President, the teams were level. Particle physics did for them though, as they scored no more than I did. Adam Koper did exactly what you have to do when you’re in a tide game so late in the match, and buzzed early for the next starter. It was bad luck that the answer was incorrect, but I still maintain that he had to go for it. Given the full question Daniel Morgan-Thomas knew that it was referring to Ephesus. German winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature added another 10 points to the Durham lead. Asked which profession were excluded from Henry IV’s so called Unlearned Parliament, Alistair Middleton zigged with clergy, which allowed Daniel Morgan-Thomas to seal the game by zagging with lawyers. Bonuses on Ten Days that Shook the World took them to 200, and a 40 point lead. Once again Alastair Middleton went for it with the starter, and once again Durham provided the correct answer – in this case that tachyons are the hypothetical particles that can travel faster than the speed of light. There was no time for the bonuses on literary figures born in Shropshire. At the gong, Durham had won by 200 to 160. This was in some ways a better performance than their thrashing of Brasenose, who were, without wishing to be rude, only really along for the ride. York were in the contest right until the last couple of starters, and both teams deserve congratulations for providing us with an absorbing contest.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP began early this week. When he believed Fred Harvey was a little less than engaged in the answer ‘Elizabeth Barrett-Browning’ he replied “Well, I’m sorry it’s so easy!”  Mind you, JP’s perceived attitude to English literature questions is that they ARE easy.

He forbore from further comment until York took a full bonus on fictional characters, and observed,
“You watch too much TV.”

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

Mascara is a city in Algeria


Jack said...

A good match this, with two good teams playing a great game. It's a shame this was the second round and one of them has to be eliminated as a result, as neither really deserved to go out at this stage.

The bonus rates of both teams back the good play up: Durham managed 19/33 and York 17/24, both good rates, and both sides incurred one penalty.

I am informed it is Magdalen vs Open on Monday. And I have posted some thoughts on second round reform on JOW if anyone wants a look.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Yeah, a shame for York, but really for me the difference between the team was that Durham had three buzzers, while York were too heavily reliant on their captain to win the buzzer races for them. In a tight game, and a tight series such as this, then that will make all the difference. Looking forward to seeing how well the OU can do next week.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

Yep, thta OU game is going to be a cracker. I've loved seeng the OU this series, but with Magadelene's history in the show, and their decent 1st round performance, this could be very close.

I'd be hesistant to call any result an upset unless the margin of victory is particularly high, which I'm not really expecting. My love of the underdog probably puts me supporting the OU though, as would be good to see them make a run of this series and one more win gives them at least two more games.

Londinius said...

They need to show some willingness to sling some buzzer - more than they've done so far this series, or Magdalen will buzz them out of it.

Just my opinion, and as always . . .