Saturday, 1 August 2015

University Challenge - Round One - Match Three

Kent v. Newcastle

We kick off this third contest with Kent. They were represented by Alexander Atmore, Emma Isworth, Thomas Cheetham and skipper Caitlin Gilroy. In the blue corner we had Newcastle, represented by Alexander Kirkman, Nicholas Smith, Kate Bennett and captain and LAM reader Tony Richardson. So far every team in the competition has scored triple figures, and both losing teams have the kind of scores which give them at least a chance of a repechage slot.

Now, the first starter asked for, amongst other things, the single digit number of the Historic counties of Ulster. So that was 9, and Alexander Atmore had it from the circles of Dante’s Inferno. Bonuses on web browsers brought me two bonuses, and Kent one. Alexander Atmore made it two in a row by recognizing a definition of the word Economics. Bonuses on ‘fun’ in the titles of books brought me one bonus, and Kent two. Urggh – fun. I’ve always thought that the term ‘fun day’ is an oxymoron – anything that calls itself a fun day invariably isn’t. Just like any INSET day which contains the word ‘workshop’ in the course title is almost always a complete waste of time – workshop meaning ‘we get the fees, but you do most of the work’. Teachers will know what I mean, I’m sure. I knew that the Chester Beatty Library is found in Dublin, as did Tony Richardson, kickstarting his team into action. Newcastle’s bonuses were on definitions of cloud types from the Cloudspotter’s Guide. A full set followed. For the picture starter we had a mocked up picture of one of those brown signs form the motorways that show places of interest, showing several places in the same county. Alton Towers being one, it was obvious that this was Staffs. Kate Bennett was first to buzz in, and this brought up three more of the same. These provided Newcastle with a second consecutive full set, and the lead. Caitlin Gilroy knew that the third month of the year alphabetically is December, and this gave them a set on puppetry. This yielded them nothing, and so we moved on to the next starter, with both teams level on 50 at the 10 minute mark.

Alexander Atmore knew that Murakami wrote Kafka on the Shore. Optical devices provided none of us with any points at all. Nicholas Smith recognized a definition of the Thalamus to earn Newcastle a set of bonuses on eponymous lines. We both had the plimsoll line. This brought us to the music starter. Following on from last week’s set used on OC, this week Crrrraaaaiiiigg DAAAvid made what I guess is his UC debut. Alexander Atmore recognised his dulcet tones first. Three other artists or bands who have also been consigned to Room 101 followed. My wife recognized The Bay City Rollers before I did. Kent had one, but should have had two, had they listened to JP’s instruction to give them the singer, rather than the band for the last one, offering U2 when they should have offered Bono. For the next starter both teams had a good think about which Shakespeare character could be ‘as easily led by the nose as asses are’ before Nicholas Smith offered us Othello. Communication and signaling systems gave them a full house, and put them ahead. A good old UC special starter then asked us for the words pump – hump – slump. After Kent messed it up, Alexander Kirkham took that one. Zadie Smith brought a couple of bonuses, but it should have been three. They too failed to listen to one of the questions, thinking that they needed the name of a novel by EM Forster which inspired Smith, while only the author was required. Still, they were in triple figures, and the gap was widening. Newcastle squandered 5 points of it with an early buzz on a question asking for chordata – me neither. Tony Richardson buzzed early to identify the term gentrification for the next starter, and this earned bonuses on semiconductors. One bonus was enough to mean that they had a lead of 125 – 75 at the 20 minute mark, and Kent were looking down the barrel of a gun.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was born in London, and even though I’ve lived in Wales for the last 30 years (alright, 29) I’m still a Londoner at heart. I love the city – but even I have to agree that it takes a hell of an artist to make the Thames look like the Grand Canal in Venice. Canaletto was that artist as Emma Isworth pointed out for the second picture starter. More British buildings in paintings followed, and none were taken. Not knowing Westminster Abbey was a little surprising. If you add the regnal numbers of the victorious kings in the Battles of the Boyne, Bannockburn and Bosworth together then you get 11. Nobody had it. Tony Richardson knew that Kipling, Rushdie and Tendulkar were all born in Mumbai. An easy set on Greek mythology (all easy if you know them) provided a full set. Emma Isworth knew that an inglenook is found by a fireplace. Birds gave them one bonus, and triple figures. Nobody knew that ‘Moses , my servant is dead’ are the first words of the Book of Joshua – gettable that one, if you think about it. Emma Isworth knew that Medoc is a wine growing region on the banks of the Gironde. With a full set there was maybe just enough time for Kent to pull this one out of the bag. Children’s authors didn’t give them a full set, though, and only ne correct answer left them on 115. Nicholas Smith recognized a question about Buddhism, and earned a set on ballet. This promised little, but Odette and Odile gave us both Swan Lake for one. We none of us knew the 3 metals in the cyanote group. That was it – no time to finish the last starter.

So Newcastle won by 145 to 115. For once JP hit the nail on the head when he said that 115 is a perfectly reasonable score, but I dare say that there is little or no chance of them returning with that. Well played New3castle – a good win.

Personally – and by all means feel free to disagree – I don’t think that any of the teams we’ve seen so far this season has been as strong as any of the series winners since I started LAM, so my guess is that we haven’t seen the series winners yet.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

I don’t know if JP was on a promise on Monday night, be he seemed quite eager to get the show over with. ‘Come on Kent!’ he insisted immediately after Newcastle had offered an incorrect answer to the third month of the year alphabetically. Then he added ‘It took you an almost embarrassingly long time to work it out!” Well, all I can say is that they must have cut out the wait in the edit, because that was a very unfair comment otherwise.

He does like to show off when he knows an answer, does our Jez. When Newcastle offered Helen of Troy for one answer he replied, “Yes, or Helen of Sparta, to give her her maiden name.” Why? I may be wrong, but I did think that when Aphrodite promised Paris Helen, she was already married to Menelaus. What the hell, I could easily be wrong. So could Jez, mind you.

He did give Nicholas Smith a pause and an old fashioned look when he suggested that ‘Moses, my servant. Is dead. . . ‘ were the first words of the book of Exodus, but forbore from passing comment.

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

The curlew is the symbol of the Northumberland National Park and the Osprey is the symbol of the Cairngorms (I did already know that the Razorbill is the emblem of the Pembrokeshire Coast).


Jack said...

This was a pleasant enough match, apart from that moment near the end where Newcastle were penalised for interrupting just as Paxo was finishing saying the final word of the question. I was hoping this wouldn't happen this series after the trouble it caused last series, but clearly that still needs to be worked on.

Agree that none of the winning sides so far look like potential winners, but all were good teams. Newcastle do look quite promising though: 18/24 bonuses, compared to Kent's 7/24; that's a very good bonus rate. If they can improve their performance on the buzzer next time, they could have a good run this series.

Next week, Manchester return, and play York, then Swansea play Nottingham the week after.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack
Swansea, eh? Oh dear, that means that they're going to be cursed by support from the Clark sofa, then.

Looking forward