Saturday, 10 October 2015

University Challenge: Round One: Match 13

Queen Mary London v. Nuffield, Oxford

QML were represented by our first all female team of this series, Kate Lynes, Stephanie Howard-Smith, Yolanda Lovelady and captain Verity Williams. Nuffield, making what JP said was their debut in UC, were represented by Spencer Smith, Alexander Sayer Gard-Murray, Daniel Kaliski and Mathias Ormestad Frendem.

The first question asked for the US Sitcom title which features in the name of a place of worship for Quakers, and it was Kate Lynes who answered first with Friends. Two bonuses on fictional farms followed. Yolanda Lovelady recognized a quote from the late Maya Angelou for the next starter. This time the bonuses were on the number 8 , and they took a full house. Believe it or not I heard the words X-Ray Diffraction technology and I said ‘Rosalind Franklin” – it was a little while before Daniel Kaliski buzzed in with the same correct answer. Once I’d finished the lap around the sofa Nuffield managed one bonus on precipitation. The next starter was a UC special picture starter where we saw the title of a book written in international phonetic alphabet. It was Treasure Island, which Mathias Ormestad Frendem was the first to work out. This won a set of more of the same, and took a full set. Mr. Gard-Murray knew that the word legend comes from a gerundive of the latin for – to read. Contemporary works based on a classical poem brought them two correct answers. All of which meant that after a bright and breezy opening in which both teams showed some useful buzzer work , Nuffield led 60 – 45.

Stephanie Howard-Smith worked out that it is Henry VII whose tomb is topped with an effigy by Torrigiani. A full house of bonuses on events of the Noughties put Queen Mary back on top. Kate Lynes won the buzzer race to say that you can grow bacterial cultures in a petri dish. Two bonuses on organic chemistry followed, and you have to say that Queen Mary were looking a very useful outfit at this stage. Now, for the music starter we heard the song Lilac Wine. I’ve only ever heard Elkie Brooks’ version, but one of my very favourite singers of all time is Nina Simone, and I was sure it was her singing this one. So it was. Nobody else recognized her. A very long winded starter next eventually contained the words Pablo Picasso – and – artistic style – which seemed to beg the answer Cubism. Mr. Gard-Murray obviously thought so, and he earned the music bonuses for saying it. Each one was one of the first tracks recorded in a particular format, and Nuffield took one of them. Now, I’ll bet that I wasn’t the only one who shouted “Smithsonian!” at the telly when JP mentioned the words “Bequest. . . English mineralogist . .. “ but Mr. Gard-Murray went for the Royal Society, which allowed Stephanie Howard-Smith in with the correct answer for Queen Mary. Two bonuses on Bertold Brecht took them to 110. It was Nuffield’s best buzzer, Alexander Gard-Murray who buzzed in first to say that an allen key has a hexagonal cross section. Only one bonus of a gettable set on people born in the Polish city of Lodz was taken. So right on the cusp of the 20 minute mark the score was 110 to 85, but it still looked like either side could win.

Mathias Ormestad Frendem recognized the work of Van Gogh for the second picture starter. Shown three other paintings of the outskirts of Paris Nuffield took a good full set to draw level with Queen Mary. Verity Williams buzzed too early and offered fructose for the next starter, when Pectin was required, as duly supplied by Alexander Gard-Murray. They took two on the age of exploration, but received a hard but fair adjudication on the last. Asked for the name given to the westernmost part of Africa, they were kind of right with Green Cape, but JP had wanted the proper name Cabo Verde, so no cigar there. A cracking good buzz from Alexander Gard-Murray saw him answer that Nine Provinces – Four Provinces – Northern Sea Circuit and Main Island are direct translations of the names of the major islands of Japan. One bonus on volcanoes was still enough to ensure that the gap was more than a full set, with only 3 and a bit minutes to go in the competition. Verity Williams knew that the cranberry is efficacious in the treatment of urinary tract infections. The bonus set on computer languages really didn’t help. Daniel Kaliski recognized a quotation from Malthus. A couple of bonuses on deserts, and the match was as good as over. Fair play, Verity Williams knew that proximal is the opposite term to distal. There was time for them to take one bonus, and then the gong. Nuffield were worthy winners on 165, but JP expressed the hope that Queen Mary might make it back on 130, and I hope so too. Well played both, a good match.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Both teams managed to get the sex of the singer of Lilac wine wrong. When Yolanda Lovelady suggested Stevie Wonder there was a big pause – and I could sense the internal battle going on within JP. You see the thing is that he often seems to take something of a shine to all female teams, and is often on his best behaviour with them. So he made do with the pause, and kept the comments and the old fashioned looks to himself for now.

Then, in a way, he paid a compliment to the men of Nuffield. When they spent a while arguing over whether the first music bonus was Kate Bush – it was actually ABBA – he said ‘it’s very rewarding to see some of the finest minds in the world deliberating over this.’ What, sarcasm? Surely not.

Daniel Kaliski recognized a quotation from Thomas Malthus. “Yes . . . Actually Malthus is all I was looking for “ replied JP. So bleedin’ what? That was Malthus’ christian name, so what the hell did it matter?

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

Nine Provinces – Four Provinces – Northern Sea Circuit and Main Island are direct translations of the names of the major islands of Japan.


Stephen Follows said...

Two poor calls there.

'Green Cape' should clearly have been accepted as an answer, because it was the correct translation and was clearly implied by the part of the question about vegetation. If Nuffield had lost by five points, they would have been justified in making a serious complaint.

On the Malthus question, I think you missed the second half of Paxman's comment. He said that he only needed the surname Malthus because it was Robert Malthus, not Thomas Malthus, which is what Kaliski had said, implying that he was being very generous in not marking it wrong. Well, when one looks Malthus up, what does one find?

So, not for the first time this series - see 'COH-dally' last week, the UC researchers have been seriously shown up. Does the now massive roster of question setters mean that standards of accuracy are being allowed to slide?

Jack said...

I spotted that Malthus allowance as well. I did think it was a bit lenient allowing him the point for getting the right surname but wrong first name. I've seen him refuse answers like that before. But after what you've said, disallowing that would have been very harsh, so that's OK then.

The match itself was pretty decent, and quite tense, and could have gone either way until Nuffield pulled away at the end. So, Queen Mary are currently joint third on the play off board with St Peter's. So, if Monday's runners-up score 135 or more, I suspect Queen Mary will go through over St Peter's, having acquired their score with fewer starters and conceded fewer starters too. But we shall see.

On the bonuses, Queen Mary converted 13/21 and Nuffield 16/27 (with one penalty each). Two half decent sides there, both of which have half decent potential for the rest of the series.

On Monday, St John's College Oxford play Bristol in the final first round match.

Paul Gilbert said...

I wonder if the meanings of the Japanese islands has come up as an Only Connect Round 1 question - if it hasn't, it should do.

Stephen Follows said...

Jack, I think Penguin Books might have had something to say if it had been given wrong:

Stephen Follows said...

And on the Green Cape thing, I presume now that 'War and Peace' is now not an acceptable answer to the question 'What is Tolstoy's longest novel?' After all, Tolstoy didn't call it that - he called it 'Voina i Mir'.

That decision was particularly laughable given the Picasso starter elsewhere in the programme: the English word 'cubism' was accepted as an answer, even though Picasso had been quoted in the question basically saying 'I speak no English'.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

Guys, I'm afraid I have to disagree that Cape Green should have been given as a correct answer, because the accepted English name of the country is in fact Cape Verde. Obviously the word Verde is not itself English, but this isn't a case like the Ivory Coast where that is the English name as standard. Cape Green is not the standard name of the country in this language. See the Wikipedia article, which always does use the English standard name, as a reference.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

Note this paragraph if you will:

Historically, the name "Cape Verde" has been used in English for the archipelago and, since independence in 1975, for the country. In 2013, the Cape Verdean government determined that the Portuguese designation "Cabo Verde" would henceforth be used for official purposes, such as at the United Nations, even in English contexts.

As such, Cape Green can't be an acceptable answer unfortunately.