Saturday, 28 February 2015

University Challenge - Elimination Match

Oxford Brookes v. Bristol

The Oxford Brookes team of Simon Joyce, Paula Ayres, Stephen Mayes, and skipper David Ballard were unfortunate to meet Gabriel Trueblood and the St. Peter’s team at the top of their form last time out, and so they found themselves on Monday night drinking in the last chance saloon with the Bristol team of Lewis Rendell, Benjamin Moon, Miles Coleman and their captain, Anastasia Reynolds, who lost to Liverpool last time out. The Maths this time was pretty simple – win and you live to fight another day, lose and you’re out.

As often happens with the first starter, it was quite long and involved, then suddenly became obvious. Lewis Rendell buzzed in as soon as he was given the words – Fifth Republic – and gave the answer of Charles de Gaulle. 1 bonus on Chancellors of the Exchequer followed. David Ballard knew Twitter’s Vine service for the next starter. Now, as soon as JP announced that the bonuses were on constructed languages I said  - if you don’t know, choose Klingon, coz that will be one of them! – As it happened it was the last one. I can heartily recommend Bill Bryson’s book ‘One Summer’ – or for that matter anything written by him – but neither of the teams knew it was about the year 1927. A lovely UC special starter followed, asking which TV drama’s title can be expressed using the symbol for the 6th element, and the standard of measures adopted by etc etc. CSI – said Lewis Rendell, and he was right to do so. A rather long and involved set of bonuses on organic chemistry followed. When my mind came back in the room Bristol had managed one of the bonuses. The picture starter showed us a bit of a family tree and invited us to say who was missing. It looked pretty clear that it was John Fitzgerald Kennedy missing, and Paula Ayres was the one who won the buzzer race to say so. Three more family trees of US political figures followed, and OB managed 2 of them, missing out on the Harrisons – including presidents William Henry and Benjamin. Oblique equilateral quadrilateral  - began JP. It’s our old friend the rhombus – I exclaimed to no one in particular. Lewis Rendell gave the same answer at practically the same time. He was having a very good start to the match. A set of musical disaster bonuses weren’t exactly a disaster for Bristol and they added a further five points to their score. Thus, a little after the ten minute mark we had a good match, with Bristol ahead by 45 to 40.

Now, Stephen Mayes was guilty of a slip of the tongue trying to say the daughter of Germanicus who married her uncle Claudius. He actually said her grandpa, Agrippa, before adding – Agrippina. It was very bad luck, but – and this is just my opinion and feel free to disagree – a correct application of the first answer rule. It couldn’t go across as a bonus, so we went on to the novelist who wrote 9 novels in Russian before starting to write in English. A good shout from Anastasia Reynolds saw her answer Nabokov. Now, I know little or nothing about Romanesque sculpture, and so none of us had any of the bonuses thereon. Neither did any of us know the Palae-Arctic for the next starter on eco zones. Kenneth Arrow didn’t mean a great deal to any of us either. Thus seemingly becalmed, thankfully Oliver Sacks ‘The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat’ gave Paula Ayres a chance to stop the rot. A UC special set of bonuses on words either beginning or ending with three consecutive letters of the alphabet offered much, but in the end they only managed just the first. In a close game you’ve got to fill your boots on a set like that. When you’re asked for the name of an American composer, and it’s a classical piece, unless you know differently you go for your buzzer and say Aaron Copland. That’s what Benjamin Moon did, and it worked. Three more pieces with mountains as their themes saw Bristol add ten more points to their score. Lewis Rendell knew that most questions that contains the words ‘American State’ and ‘Book of Mormon’ are going to want Utah as the answer, and duly won that buzzer race. Maths bonuses did nowt for me, but at least brought another 5 points to Bristol. David Ballard had a very good early buzz to identify screenwriter Nora Ephron for the next starter. Now, a full house on revolutions saw them reduce the deficit to 15. On the cusp of the 20 minute mark Bristol led 90 – 75.

As they say in tight sporting contests, this was maybe going to come down to who wanted it more. The second picture starter allowed Anastasia Reynolds to identify Nicholas Hytner of the NT. They couldn’t manage any more of the same for the bonuses. None of us had drag or frictional force for the next starter, and so we moved on to allow Lewis Rendell to identify Swedish as the last of the 24 languages of the EU when listed alphabetically. None of us had a clue about the bonuses on lipids and stuff like that. Nor did anyone know about KOH. A hard quote from Henry VI was not taken by either team. Lewis Rendell knew that the term manqué is from the French verb meaning to lack. Just out of interest, the first time I ever watched Home Alone it was in St. Malo, and its French title is Maman, J’ai Manqué L’Avion! – or – Mum, I Missed the Plane. This brought up bonuses on the World Cup – Phew. Something I could answer. We were given cities, and had to name the tournament and year. They took one bonus, but were unlucky with Mexico 1970 for the last. Those cities were Mexuco, but from the second time they hosted the tournament in 1986. Well, it’s not meant to be easy – this is University Challenge after all, not Pets Win Prizes. Nobody knew Soave, so we moved to another starter, and Stephen Mayes buzzed in early to identify various US Secretaries of State. Biographical novels gave nothing away as bonuses, but the gap remained at a bridgeable 40 points. Tow full houses would do it, but time was starting to run out. Nobody knew that 10 to the power of 24 is denoted by the prefix yotta. Miles Coleman knew that the short stories “My Life” and “A Visit to Friends” were written by Chekhov, and it was Bristol who managed the full house, on Jamaica. Maybe someone among the teams knew that it was Henry II married to Eleanor of Aquitaine, but neither team had it. That was that. At the gong, OB had 85, and Bristol 150. Bad luck to OB – Bristol get another chance at the semis. Well played.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

It was a long suffering JP who listened to OB’s answer on the composer of ‘Pines of Rome’ and said ‘Who did you say!’ – then rather helpfully added that the three consecutive letters they were looking for could be any three consecutive letters.

When he asked which wine takes its name from the Italian for sweet, and David Ballard offered ‘Prosecco’ – JP replied “Good lord no!”

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

SQuja is Scrooge in the Klingon translation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

1 comment:

Jack said...

I agree with the first answer ruling, though I thought the penalty was a bit harsh. I can, however, recall a couple of prior instances where Paxo has accepted a corrected answer, two of which didn't have any impact on the result, but one did, as the team in question won by just five points.

As for this match, there isn't a great deal you can say, except the better team on the buzzer won. Bristol will need to play better than that to make the semis; they converted just 10/30 bonuses, compared to Oxford Brookes' 8/15 (with that one penalty). Unlucky 'asphinctersays' and co, but a good series effort.

On Monday, chances are it'll be the clash of the titans: Caius vs Magdalen. Should be fascinating viewing whatever happens. Of course, Bristol may well have to face whoever loses that match in their play-off. Week after, I guess it'll be Durham vs Trinity.