Saturday, 17 October 2015

University Challenge : Round One: Heat 14

St. John’s , Oxford v. Bristol

JP kicked off by reminding us that the target for both teams to at least get into the repechage round was 130. Hoping to win and avoid that route were St. John’s represented by Alex Harries, Charlie Clegg, Dan Sowood and skipper Angus Russell. Hoping to block their path were Bristol, represented by Vanessa Lynn, Robert Hayman, Benjamin Crawshaw and captain Andy Saxon.

The first question asked about Dutch Palaces, and Charlie Clegg won the buzzer race to give us the answer of The Hague. Dungeons and dragons in literature brought them two bonuses. Charlie Clegg buzzed in a little too early for the second, which gave us a quote from a French composer, but even though they were given the fact that the composer had composed The Pearl Fishers, captain Andy Saxon of Bristol couldn’t dig up Bizet to capitalize. Charlie Clegg, quite rightly not daunted by his previous misfire was first in to offer that part of Austen’s Persuasion is set in Lyme Regis. A very good full house on the Yi Dynasty of Korea followed. Various definitions of hot-spot allowed Vanessa Lynn to open Bristol’s account. 2 bonuses on Carl Jung followed – I surprised myself with a full house on that set. Already we had reached the first picture starter. This one revealed a word cloud taken from a book of the King James Bible. The prominence of the names Abraham and Jacob made it fairly clear we were dealing with the Book of Genesis, and theology student Charlie Clegg was understandably first out of the starting blocks for that one. More of the same followed, and a second full house was duly taken. I’ll be honest, as soon as JP said ‘15th century thesis’ I offered ‘The Prince’, but would have waited had I been in the studio, and maybe would have been beaten to the buzzer by Alex Harries, who was first in. September 3rd. 2 bonuses took their score to 85, which gave them a 65 point lead over Bristol at the 10 minute mark. They were good value for it too.

Vanessa Lynn recognized the opening of Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”. I may have said this before, but Sylvia Plath always reminds me of sitting in 20th century poetry seminars, and every time that Ted Hughes’ name was mentioned a chorus of voices would intone ‘the wife murderer!’. Bit harsh, that. Novels of the 1740s brought them 10 more points – they were fine on Richardson and Fielding, but floundered on Smollett. Dan Sowood scored his first starter for St. John’s, recognising a definition of menthol. Like St. John’s the only bonus on Joe Sacco that I could answer was about the Battle of the Somme. Captain Angus Russell took his first starter, recognizing that JP was describing Greater Manchester. This now meant that all 4 of St. John’s had correctly answered at least one starter each. Mark of a useful team, that. One bonus was taken on scientific instruments. Nobody recognized the work of Tchaikovsky for the music starter – me neither. Alex Harries took a good starter on the word fulminate. The music bonuses were all other pieces which were savaged by the critic Hanslick, otherwise known as the critic Who? St. John’s took one. It’s worth noting that St. John’s had already reached the magic number of 130. Bristol, though, were going to need to go like the clappers to give themselves a chance of getting there. A superb UC special starter asked the teams to combine two names to come up with Franz Ferdinand – lovely bit of work that – and Charlie Clegg, pick of the contest’s buzzers by some distance, was first in with the answer. 2 points on seas of the Pacific Ocean followed. Andy Saxon managed to beat the might of St. John’s to the buzzer to answer that endocrinology deals with glands. Sadly embryology yielded them no further points. This meant that the score at the 20 minute mark stood at 150 – 50. The match was over as the result was already sorted. How many points could St. John’s score, and how close could Bristol get to the repechage remained the only real questions to be answered.

I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on paintings, but there was something about the second picture starter that screamed out Caravaggio. Charlie Clegg thought so too, but he did hesitate, and earned a wigging from JP for his pains. The painting showed Judith beheading Holofernes, and three more paintings of the same subject followed. A full house was duly taken. Robert Hay man knew that any questions with the words Spanish – Greek and painter in it will probably be looking for the answer El Greco – and he was right. 2 bonuses on the novel Venus in Furs took them to 70 points. None of us knew enough about crystal lattices to take the next starter. Andy Saxon knew about some of ‘lands’ in Antarctica to take the next starter, and Bristol were having their best passage of the competition. Two bonuses on the Gulf of Guinea took them to 90 points, and the cusp of the respectability represented by a triple figure score. That was achieved with the next starter, as Vanessa Lynn knew various thingummybobs which respond to the sense of touch. This was followed by a full house on human anatomy. Fair play to Bristol, when they did get a starter they weren’t doing too badly with the bonuses. The old chestnut Baron Bannside went to Angus Russell, who knew it was Ian Paisley. A full house on rulers brought St. John’s double century up. When I hear an astronomy question and the words German mathematician are included I always go for Kepler. That’s what Charlie Clegg did, and rightly so. 2 bonuses on latin abbreviations followed. A good buzz from Alex Harries saw him confirm that 22,000 use British Sign Language as their first language according to the most recent census. They took just the one bonus on the five pillars of Islam. Alex Harries knew that a Viscount comes in precedence above a Baron. Saints and their symbols added another 10 points to their total. Nobody knew that there’s a palace or something called Cuba on Sicily. Robert Hayman knew that the Deity Hapi was the personification of the annual inundation of the Nile. There wasn’t time to complete a set of bonuses on Administrative regions of European countries, which was a bit of a shame for Bristol, as they finished close to a repechage slot with 125. Had they found their buzzer fingers a little more quickly they might even have made it. Take nothing away from St. John’s though – they look a good outfit, and could go well in the rest of the series.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

A wee dram of the pedantic early doors in this show when JP took Charlie Clegg’s ‘Lyme’ and made it clear he was waiting for more. Well, what else could it be, Jez? Light? Cordial?!

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

The Kanchatka Peninsula is bordered by the Sea of Okhotsk


Jack said...

Definitely one of the better first round matches of the series. A superb performance from St John's against a decent Bristol team who are unlucky to just miss the play-offs. The Oxford side could well have a good run this series, provided they get a good draw in the second round. But, with the third highest score of the series, you'd probably fancy them to win, unless they draw Imperial or York.

On the bonuses, St John's managed 26/39 (with one penalty) and Bristol 11/20.

So, the play offs begin on Monday. The four teams competing are Glasgow, Southampton, Queen Mary and St Peter's. My guess for Monday is Glasgow vs St Peter's, but we shall see.

Unknown said...

A small typo: It is Kamchatka, not Kanchatka peninsula.

Unknown said...

Given up on Only Connect?