Sunday, 7 December 2014

University Challenge - Round Two - Match 4

Gonville and Caius v. Manchester

Way back in August I was unable to review Ted Loveday, Michael Taylor, Anthony Martinelli, and Jeremy Warner’s splendid win in their first round heat, and I apologise for that. They broke the 300 barrier in that performance. Opposition in the second round was provided in the shape of Manchester, whose team of Edmund Chapman, Matthew Stallard, Charlie Rowlands and captain John Ratcliffe did that rare thing for Manchester by losing in the first round. They were narrowly defeated by Selwayn College, Cambridge, but bounced back to beat Sussex in the repechage. Well, the form guide said a Gonville and Caius win, but then we’ve already seen the form guide turned on its head in one or two of these second round matches.

It seemed as if both teams were sitting on their buzzers a little for the first long winded starter. It was clearly Mrs. Malaprop after the mention of Lydia Languish, but Michael Taylor was first to buzz in after the question was completed. Bonuses on film adaptations of Richard III brought 10 more points. In the second starter Matthew Stallard, so good on the buzzer in the last match, was first to recognise two definitions of the word parole. Fluid Dynamics provided one bonus. Right, I’d forgotten the start of the next question long before we reached the end of it, but the answer, provided by Charlie Rowlands, was Dirac and Fermi. A set of bonuses on the Irish national cricket team provided two correct answer. This brought us to the picture starter – which asked for a city on a map and the name of the airport which in turn was named after a composer – Anthony Martinelli knew it was Salzburg and Mozart. More of the same followed for the bonuses, of which G&C took 2, and were perhaps a little unlucky to get the composer but not the city on the third. Poor Matthew Stallard was very quickly onto the next starter, which asked for a nationality related to jumping beans, and to a wave at a sports stadium, but he offered Mexico losing 5 and letting in G&C with Mexican. It’s harsh, but it’s fair, as long as the same strictness is applied to both teams if such occasions arise. Eye – rhymes  - eg – demur and lemur brought G and C little, although the suggestion of geminine and feminine  was rather inspired. This brought us nicely to the 10 minute mark, with G&C leading by 50 – 30.

A UC special starter involving adding together numbers in the titles of novels failed to add to either team’s points. A Maths thing came next and whatever it was, Jeremy warner knew that the answer was pi squared over 6. Well done sir. The solar system, and in particular Lagrange points brought them 10 points. In the next starter nobody knew about various Madonnas, and so we moved on to various Trotters, which I’ll admit was much more my level. Matthew Stallard took that one. In augural addresses of US presidents provided 10 points and then led to the music starter. Michael Taylor recognised Talking Heads, and more of the favourite tracks of the narrator of Brett Easton ellis’ American Psycho followed. All they had to do was name the artists. Being as they were from my era I was able to identify the three, although G&C missed out on Whitney Houston. Matthew Stallard did the right thing in buzzing when he thought he knew the answer to the question – “The Cordillera Darwin is found on the largest island of which archipelago – “ and Galapagos certainly made sense. Sadly he lost 5, although even when given the fact that it is partly Argentinian and partly Chilean wasn’t enough to give G&C Tierra del Fuego. Ted Loveday knew that William the Conqueror’s wife, and those of several other people, were called Mathilda. This took his team to 100 points. William Hogarth gave them just the one bonus. Matthew Stallard, still trying manfully to drag his team back into the contest, identified Granta as the literary magazine in question for the next starter with a terrific early buzz. Terms in music offered a difficult set and brought only the one answer. Still, captain John Ratcliffe got in his own early buzz for the next starter, recognising definitions of words that end with ette. Botanical bonuses provided a timely full set, which meant that Manchester trailed by 85 – 105. That’s only a starter and two bonuses. So what it would all come down to was which team buzzed better in the last section. Matthew Stallard had been demonstrably quicker than G&C so far, but then everyone in G&C was buzzing, so the coin was definitely in the air.

We moved to the second picture starter, and an absolute gift in the Laughing Cavalier by Franz Hals. Skipper Anthony Martinelli took that crucial buzz for G&C, to earn three more paintings from the Great gallery of the Wallace collection. A full set was duly taken, and Manchester needed to start climbing the mountain all over again. Michael Taylor knew that when you hear the words ‘utilitarian philosopher’ you answer Jeremy Bentham, simply because you will be right a hell of a lot more often than you’ll be wrong. Balloon flights in literature again privded a full house, and G&C looked good for the win, even with several minutes left. Charlie Rowlands took the next start on double letters, and if Manchester could take a full set then all was not yet lost. On some thing about Geography and Maths they only managed 1. Still Manchester weren’t giving up. In another terrific early buzz, John Ratcliffe identified the word proboscis as being part of an animal which appears in the name of a creature. Politics – with the team being given the names of foreign sec and home sec saw the team asked for three prime ministers – crucially brought them no points, and the gap remained over 40 points. Nobody knew about Pop 3 stars. A significant early buzz from Michael Taylor, identifying Emile Zola as the author of a series of novels, pretty much guaranteed G&C the win. Bonuses on official languages of India provided a full set – an extremely impressive way to apply a little gilt to the gingerbread. With Manchester seemingly cowed, Michael Taylor correctly answered that the opera Gloriana concerns the relationship between Elizabeth I, and the Earl of Essex. The circulatory system of a mammalian foetus didn’t sound promising but G&C made short work of the first two. Well done to Charlie Rowlands for still buzzing in for the next starter, even though the match was lost, to identify the word sarcophagus as meaning flesh eater. Bonuses on philosophy refused to help them out much, only yielding 5 points. For once, Michael Taylor missed out on a starter, incorrectly answering that Truman was president when Hawaii and Alaska gained statehood. Matthew Stallard knew it was Eisenhower. There was no time for bonuses on regencies.

So the final score was Gonville and Caius 200 – Manchester 135. Hard lines Manchester, but there’s no dishonour in losing to a team who overall were better on the day. Many congratulations to Gonville and Caius – that was a good performance against a good team who are no mugs, and bodes well for the quarter finals.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Nothing really this week. The great man allowed himself a little chuckle at the suggestion of the german noun gender, and the mood suggested by an astrological term being feminine and geminine – but he was laughing with the team, and not at them.

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

Mathilda actually means Mighty in Battle


Jack said...

Well, that's unlucky for Manchester; they were certainly a good team, probably on a par with the team from two series ago who won the series, but they were simply and clearly outplayed here. First time for over ten years a Manchester team hasn't made the semis. Well done to them anyway.

But Caius must be taken seriously now, having posted an impressive first round score against a fair team, and taking down another adequate team in the second. We shall see how they fare in the QFs; they could cause trouble.

On the bonuses, Caius converted 20/30 and Manchester 11/24 (with two penalties).

So, tomorrow evening, I'm informed it's Bristol vs LSHTM. And I've posted some thoughts on the under-representation of women on UC on JOW if anyone wants a look.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

I think Gonville and Caius definitely have to be taken seriously after that. They're a good team, with buzzing throughout the team as well, and that's important. Quite a few good teams still left in the competition though, and far too early to start picking favourites for me.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

A hard fought match, but G&C ultimately were the better team on the day.

An annoyed gesture was made after the Mexico/Mexican thing, but I watched it twice and the question clearly asked for the adjective. Ultimately, there was no ambiguity there so I think it would have been wrong for Paxo to have accepted Mexico as being close enough there.

Wouldn't have made a difference there of course. Too late to suggest favourites as you say, but G&C are definitely one to watch in the quarters, and not a favourable draw for many.