Sunday, 29 March 2015

University Challenge: Quarter Final Sudden Death Match

Liverpool v. Durham

Ben Mawdsley, Jim Davis,  Hugh Hiscock,and their captain, Declan Crew saw off the challenge of Bristol min their first quarter final match before falling to the collective might of St. Peter’s Oxford in their second. Durham, in the shape of Daniel Morgan – Thomas, Freddie Lloyd, Nikul Boyd-Shah and their captain Fred Harvey lost to the impressive Gonville and Caius team in their own first quarter final, but beat Trinity, Cambridge in their second. From here on in it’s lose and go home, so without further ado, let’s get on with the game.

Fred Harvey had an impressive early buzz to take the first starter with various definitions of the word action. A full house of bonuses on London squares put them well on their way. I give full credit to both teams for waiting for the next very long winded starter to wind through Italian composer .  . . opera. . . until the words William Tell were uttered. Then Daniel Morgan-Thomas won the buzzer race. It would have been easy to buzz too early and gone for Verdi, let’s say. US presidents as a category of bonus looked full of eastern promise, and indeed yielded another full set. Two sets of questions, and Durham were already at the half century mark. Freddie Lloyd took Durham’s third consecutive starter, knowing that the TV series Breaking Bad is sometimes referred to by chemical symbols. Chess openings finally proved their Achilles heel. They took the first, but didn’t know Ruy Lopez (my favourite opening, but then I’m a terrible player) and the term gambit. When asked for the title character of a Shakespeare play who was a Phoenician Prince one might have expected one of the players to go for Pericles, Prince of Tyre, but they didn’t. I felt for Declan Crew who buzzed in early and lost 5 for Deep Grammar rather than Universal Grammar, which was then supplied by Freddie Lloyd. Bad luck on that shout, but the right tactic from the Liverpool skipper. One bonus of a difficult astronomy set was taken. The famous gerrymander cartoon was shown for the picture starter, and neither team recognized it. Neither team knew the origin of the term explicit, and sadly Jim Davis buzzed too early with a wrong answer. Declan Crew squared the books for Liverpool by buzzing early for the next starter, having recognized the description of a lava lamp. Three bonus sets of maps of US congressional boundaries were duly taken to put them 15 points in the black. However Durham led with 75.

Asked for the Archbishop of Henry VII whose ‘fork’ was infamous, Daniel Morgan-Thomas went for Henry VIII’s Archbishop Warham, the man who actually kept Wolsey out of Canterbury, losing 5 points in the process. Nobody in Liverpool’s team knew it was John Morton. Daniel Morgan-Thomas made immediate amends by knowing that the architectural term frieze is derived from Phrygia. Words beginning with the letters lex yielded a further ten points for them. High Hiscock took a flier on the music starter. Asked for the name of the leader of the jazz orchestra we were listening to, he offered Glenn Miller. I thought it was probably Duke Ellington, which was a good guess as it turned out. Durham went for Louis Armstrong. So the bonuses rolled over. Declan Crew earned them, recognizing very quickly two definitions pointing towards the Game of Life. The music bonuses were all to do with choices made by presenters of Desert Island discs when they themselves were castaways. I had a rare full house in music, and Liverpool took ten points. Nobody knew that Henry III died in the 1270s. A superb early buzz from Hugh Hiscock saw him identify the term katybasis as the word coming from the Greek for going downhill. 1 bonus on Chinese provinces took them to 50, and 40 points behind. For the next starter Ben Mawdsley opened his starter account, correctly guessing that JM Barrie said some plays peter out, and some pan out. Great quote. One bonus on resonance was taken, but the gap was now down to 20 points. Nikul Boyd-Shah won the buzzer race when asked for an Irish politician ruined when named in a divorce case, knowing that our old friend Charles Stuart Parnell was being asked for. Two of a set of rather easy bonuses on cricket reestablished a lead of 40. On the cusp of the 20 minute mark the score was 100 to 70.

Asked for the English name of a constrictor Eunectes Murinus, Jim Davis offered boa constrictor. Now, here’s a curious fact. The boa constrictor is the only creature whose full English name is exactly the same as its full latin name! It was an anaconda, while Durham incorrectly offered python. Daniel Morgan-Thomas recognized the full name of English Heritage. Here’s a question for you. What’s the name of the Welsh equivalent body to English Heritage? Answer at the bottom. British mammals as a set focused exclusively on deer. Missing out on red deer and roe deer for the first two bonuses, it would have been funny if cruel if the last answer hadn’t been fallow deer, but it was. The impressive Daniel Morgan-Thomas won the buzzer race to identify an illustration from Alice in Wonderland as the work of John Tenniel (the Captain’s drawings were crap. Younger readers might like to ask their parents to explain that reference.) Works by other British illustrators from the ‘golden age of illustration’ provided a further ten points, and with a lead of 80 Durham were looking pretty fair set for the semis. Especially when Nikul Boyd Shah knew about Ensor’s painting of Christ’s entry into Brussels for the next starter. A UC special set on pairs of people followed in which the surname of one of which appears at the end of the surname of the other. Bonuses took the lead to 100 points, and that was game over, even though a few minutes remained. Ben Mawdsley recognized a list of different types of galaxies. Bonuses on Alex Gibney, better known as Alex Who? In LAM Towers, took Liverpool to 85. Surely they could get triple figures. If you’re asked for a 19th century Nordic composer if it’s not Grieg it’s Sibelius, and if it’s not Sibelius it’s Grieg. Hugh Hiscock zigged correctly with Sibelius for the next starter, which took them to 95, and earned them a UC special set of bonuses on biological terms which can be made up from the letters of the word challenge. One bonus took them into three figures. Nikul Boyd-Shah won the buzzer race to identify the Aleutian Islands as being part of Alaska. They didn’t manage any of a set of bonuses on populations. That was it. In the end Durham won comfortably by 175 to 100, and progress to the semis, where they will probably be looked on as underdogs, but hey, every underdog has its day. Well played, and bad luck Liverpool.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

On the JM Barrie starter, asked for the two words completing the JM Barrie quote about plays, “Some peter out and some – “ Daniel Morgan-Thomas offered Peter Pan. Well, that made perfect sense to me, but JP wrinkled his nose as if he’d just caught a whiff of a rotten egg and intoned, “Good lord no!”

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

I recognized the definition of the term frieze, but I had no idea that the word derived from Phrygia.

·      *   The Welsh body equivalent to English Heritage is Cadw


Jack said...

Not a great deal you can say about this match; both sides played a fair game, but the better team overall won. Unlucky to Liverpool, but a fair series effort.

Durham thus become the first team to make the semis after failing to break 100 in a previous match (albeit by just 5 points). Also, as I've said before, the four semi-finalist teams are all all-male teams.

On the bonuses, Liverpool converted 11/18 (with three penalties) and Durham 17/30 (with two penalties).

So, we're in the semis. Tomorrow, St Peter's play Magdalen, then Caius replay Durham the week after. I cannot call how this series will end; it'll be very interesting to watch.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Quick prediction then - St. Peter's v. Gonville and Caius in the final. (apologies to both teams whose chances I have now probably scuppered)