Saturday, 20 December 2014

University Challenge - Round Two Match 6

Glasgow v. Liverpool

The Glasgow team of Jonathan Gillan, Christina McGuire, Erin White and their skipper, Daniel Hill completed a 190 – 120 win over Bath in the first round. Comfortable enough in the end, although JP did point out that they raced off to a big lead, then allowed Bath to make a comeback before closing out the match. Their opposition, Liverpool, represented by Ben Mawdsley, Jim Davis,  Hugh Hiscock,and their captain, Dachman Crew, did something cimilar against Sheffield, allowing them to finish only 25 points behind. So a difficult one to call.

The first starter involved a pharaoh, and had quite a long preamble, but as soon as it mentioned the title of a poem by Shelley Jonathan Gillan buzzed in correctly with Ozymandias. I took a full set of bonuses on names of English Cathedrals. Glasgow managed 2. Nobody got the next starter about E number classifications. For the third starter Jonathan Gillan illustrated the perils of trying to win the buzzer race. Given half of the question about a banking institution he lost 5 for guessing Rothschild, while the next part about its collapse due to rogue trader Nick Leeson made it clear that it was instead Barings. Hugh Hiscock took that one. Words ending in – oid only yielded 5. Jim Davis knew that oscitation means yawning, and this brought a set of bonuses on botany weren’t that helpful either, but did bring another 5 points to the Liverpool total. The first picture starter showed the page of a book, with the last few lines of a famous poem. The teams had to say what the last few words, which had been blanked out, were. In this case it was Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori.Hugh Hiscock was first in for this one. Three more poems from the first world war followed with words blanked out. They didn’t get any of them, and I thought, hmm, JP will have something to say about that. He did. Hugh Hiscock took his third starter, recognising the creators of the London Review of Books. Sir Robert Walpole was the subject for the bonuses that followed, and Liverpool managed one bonus. Liverpool were winning because they were winning the buzzer race, but it did crossed my mind that the profligacy they were showing with the bonuses might well be a cause for regret if Glasgow could find their buzzer fingers.Liverpool led by 55 – 15.

I felt Daniel Hill was desperately unlucky that his answer of Venice as the republic which lost its independence to Napoleon in 1797. The Glasgow skipper was doing exactly the right thing trying to win back the initiative. As it was, there was only one other possible answer of Genoa. Nobody knew it, so Dachman Crew offered Venice again, to JP’s amusement. Some Maths thing followed, to which the answer was 120, as provided by Dachman Crewe. The international phonetic alphabet – not the NATO call signs alphabet I hasten to add – were hard if you’re not familiar with it, and they did well to take 2. Jonathan Gillan managed to get his second starter of the night, knowing that works by Mill and Delacroix are linked by the word Liberty. Bonuses on the city of Aleppo brought them a full set, and meant that for all Liverpool’s dominance on the buzzer, the gap was only 40. Asked for the French composer of a piece of music we were played, Jonathan Gillan gave my answer – Debussy – and we were both wrong. Hugh Hiscock speculated with Ravel, and was right to do so. More pieces of classical music inspired by folk music and fairy tales followed, and Liverpool had to supply the name of the character after whom the piece was named. I recognised the second and third, while Liverpool managed the third. Nobody knew that rabbits and hares are lagomorphs. Nor did anyone know that Paraguay shares its name with a major river that flows into the Parana. Dachman Crew came in with a good early buzz on a definition of a nautical mile. A UC special set on astronomy wasn’t easy, but Liverpool still took 2 of them. Daniel Hill knew that Edward III took the throne at 14 after his mother raised a rebellion to depose his father. Bonuses on people who share their name with Harry Potter characters again brought them a full set. If only they could start getting some starters. They didn’t get the second picture starter. It was Hugh Hiscock who was first in to take a triptych by Francis Bacon. More of the most expensive artworks sold at auction followed, and Liverpool took a full set. That meant that the score at the 20 minute mark – 130 – 60 – reflected the Liverpool dominance a little more than it had a minute or two earlier.

Nobody took a starter on thermodynamic cycles, but Liverpool lost 5. Daniel Hill knew that anyone who founded a paper called The Liberator would either have been interested in Abolition of Slavery, or Blake’s Seven. Thankfully he went for the former. Bonuses on reptiles provided nothing for them. Still, seemingly at home on the buzzer now Daniel Hill won the buzzer race to name the Festival of Britain as the mid 20th century celebratory occasion asked for in the next starter. Back to form they scored a full house on films about the Titanic. The gap was down to 35, but Liverpool didn’t panic, and took the next starter, about the derivation of the phrase – a purple passage- ooh, Matron. Chemistry brought me an unexpected full set of bonuses on radon and noble gases. Liverpool didn’t add to their score. Didn’t matter – they just went on to take the next starter – knowing that halophyte is the term for a plant that can flourish in areas of high salinity. Surprisingly I was also able to get a full set on operas about Orpheus as well, of which Liverpool managed 1. Didn’t matter – they were far enough ahead by this time. Dachman Crew knew Job’s comforters to earn a set on owls in English 18th century and 19th century verse. They didn’t know them, and I only recognised the last. Christina McGuire knew that Wordsworth’s heart leaped up whenever he beheld a rainbow in the sky. That was the last question. I Was glad that it took Glasgow through the 100 point barrier, but Liverpool were comfortable winners with 170 – 105. Hard lines Glasgow. Well played Liverpool. I fancy that they will be outsiders for the semis, but then what do I know?

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP started early this week. After the first starter was answered he was moved to quote from the inscription on the statue of Ozymandias in Shelley’s poem “Look on my works ye mighty, and despair.” So he was in one of those moods, was our Jez? I did hope so.
When Liverpool failed to take any of the first world war poem bonuses JP sounded personally insulted,
“These are some of the most famous poems of the First World War – you SHOULD know them.”
When asking for one of two British lagomorphs, and explaining what distinguishes them from rodents, he gave Glasgow a splendidly old fashioned look when one of them suggested field mouse.
Time was that Dachman Crew’s suggestion that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II composed The Mask of Orpheus – would have received a barrage of withering scorn, and indeed JPs initial reaction “WHAT?!!” could have stunned a badger at ten paces. He merely chuckled after this though.
Apparently I’m not the only one who rates Liverpool as outsiders for the semis. He made no bones about telling them “Your’re going to have to smarten up your act a bit for the semi finals.”

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

The word void is the only word ending in – oid in the OED which dates from before 1300.


Jack said...

A classic case of a match being decided on the buzzer: Liverpool aced the buzzer race throughout, but only converted 13/33 bonuses (with one penalty), whereas Glasgow, who were shut out for most of the match, managed 11/15 (with two penalties).

If these teams had been equal on the buzzer, Glasgow would have walked this match. Still, it's a testament to Liverpool's buzzer abilities that, if they hadn't answered any bonuses at all, they'd still have won by five points.

I agree that they'll need to play better in the QFs if they're going to progress; we shall see how they fare.

So, now we break for Christmas UC, which begins tonight. We resume in the New Year, with Oxford Brookes vs U.C.L. and St Peter's vs Selwyn.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

I think there were two crucial moments in this match. Firstly when Jonathan Gillan made his second buzz and lost five, which just introduced a note of caution to Glasgow - and then when Daniel Hill made the very understandable choice of Venice, which again deprived Glasgow of the little spurt of adrenaline they needed to really start going for it on the buzzer.

Myself I think that if you're going to be beaten, then you might just as well go down with all guns blazing. As we've both said, if they could only have fund their buzzer fingers they had the beating of Liverpool. That Liverpool never allowed them to do so is a tribute to their own skills and knowledge.