Saturday, 23 July 2016

University Challenge : Round One: Heat Two

Corpus Christi Oxford v. Jesus Cambridge

By popular request (singular) I'll have a bash at a UC review, then we'll see how it goes from there. So last week's second heat of the first round saw the series' first Oxford-Cambridge match up. Corpus Christi were represented by Tom Fleet, Emma Johnson, Adam Wright and skipper Nikhil Venkatesh. I have a fancy that Nikhil Venkatesh is the same Nikhil from Derby who did well in the 2006 series of Junior Mastermind. I met his dad Ashok – a very nice gentleman in my opinion – at the semis of Mastermind that year where I was a stand in, and he explained that he'd only entered because his son was in Junior Mastermind. Ashok did very well, wining his semi and getting to the Grand Final. Their opponents, Jesus Cambridge consisted of Sam Fairbrother, Rosa Price, Daniel Petrides and captain Theo Morris Clarke. They've all come up clean from a far from exhaustive search.  
Sam Fairbrother drew first blood for Jesus – that sounds awful, thinking about it – by recognising Aristotle's definition of Tragedy. That's the dramatic concept, and not the Bee Gees song. Drinking in Shakespeare gave them a full house of bonuses. Adam Wright knew that William Thompson became Lord Kelvin – and so did I. I'm very sorry, but I'm claiming that one as a Science starter answered correctly. Cue lap of honour around the Clark sofa.Properties owned by the landmark trust saw Corpus Christi also open their account with a full house. Tom Fleet took a flier on which asian country's national holidays include Respect for the Aged Day with Japan, and he was right to do so. The bonuses they earned were on life Sciences, specifically on plasms. I groaned at this point, since I'd answered all the questions correctly so far. Still, I managed to dredge up cytoplasm for the first, which set this series record at the first 10 answers given correctly. Corpus Christi were going great guns as well, with another full house. Well, I'm not being funny, but when I get 2 Science starters right in the same show, then there's something seriously strange going on. Yet I guessed that if Bert and Ernie were sub atomic particles from outer space, then they might well be neutrinos. I doubt Adam Wright was guessing when he gave the same answer , but we were both right. Bonuses on people named Rhodes followed – Cecil (or 'long and winding as his mates called him, I believe) Wilfred (or 'Country' as his mates called him) and Zandra ('No through'). Zandra Rhodes, the last of the three bonuses was the first question to be dropped in this show. On to the picture starter, which was some Maths thing about sets. Normal service from the Clark sofa was resumed, as I didn't have a Scooby. Jesus skipper Theo Morris Clarke had it, and Jesus went on to take one of the bonuses. So did I, although not the same one. TL;DR is an internet abbreviation that I fear might be applied to the average LAM entry – as Emma Johnson knew, It means Too Long Didn't read. The announcement of Chemical Elements as the subject of the bonuses was greeted with 'oh no, not more bloody Science' from the sofa, and Corpus Christi might well have been thinking the same after failing to trouble the scorer on the set. Surprisingly I had both Zinc and Lead – thanks Sporcle. So here we were, at slightly past the ten minute mark, and Corpus Christi had a lead of 80 to 40, for which I felt they were decent value as well. 

Now, you hear 'branch of Mathematics' and 'name' and 'Arabic' then you slam into the buzzer and answer Algebra. That's what Nikhil Venkatesh did, anyway. Business related books brought me nothing, but the two answers supplied by the skipper saw Corpus Christi into treble figures. I have to say that I was in earlier to answer Charlie for the next starter, knowing that Brandon Thomas wrote "Charlie's Aunt" (which incidentally is one of the answers in the immortal – Two Ronnie Mastermind sketch. Compete this quote about Margaret Thatcher – Her heart my be in the right place but her? (Answer) Charlie's Aunt. They don't write em like that any more.) In the first incorrect interruption of the show, Nikhil Venkatesh was misled by the mention of two books by Roald Dahl and offered Danny. Rosa Price had it right and this brought her team a set of bonuses on Arundhati Ry. I've read 'The God of Small Things' and while it isn't my favourite Booker winner it certainly has something. We both managed 2 bonuses. If you're asked about a book by Thomas Paine, then you buzz as quick as you can and answer "The Rights of Man" because you'll be right a hell of a lot more times than you won't. Theo Morris Clarke continued his team's fightback with the right answer, earning bonuses on Micronesia. I had my first full house, and Jesus took two. This put them only 15 point behind Corpus Christi. The ever popular music starter played us part of the film score of Up. Mrs. C. loves that film, so I did recognise it. More Disney Pixar scores followed, and we both missed out on Wall E. I got to see that one for free in preview somehow – the fact that I didn't remember it maybe being a demonstration that you don't value anything you don't have to pay for. Now the next starter set a little trap – asking for a grain of which pearl is a variety, and I'm afraid that Emma Johnson fell into it, buzzing early to give 'Barley'. Not a daft asnwer at all, but when the rest of the question revealed that it was a staple foodstuff in Africa I thought it would be millet and it was. No bonus for Jesus. Adam Wright stopped the rot for Corpus Christi, buzzing early to identify newts and salamanders as amphibians. Two rather good bonus on mid nineteenth century US history pushed them back into a narrow lead. The Oxford skipper buzzed a little too early on the next starter on Thomas Hardy. If he'd heard the character names, he'd probably have known it was Jude the Obscure, which lost him 5, and gave Jesus the starter. Science, in the shape of Physics, reared its ugly head again with the bonuses. They did neither of us any good. Dan Petrides took a flyer with a question about a test match between England and Pakistan in 2015, and was rewarded with a correct answer of Alastair Cook. I took a full house on Michelangelo sculptures while Jesus took two. So the score at the 20 minute mark made interesting reading. Impatient buzzes contributed to Corpus Christi only adding 25 to their score in the previous 10 minutes, while Jesus had added 90 to theirs to lead by 130 to 105. 

Last ten minutes, then, and squeaky bum time. A dilemma for Corpus Christi, since anticipating and buzzing early is a way of taking away the opposition's momentum if it works, but it's risky. An incorrect buzz, followed by the full question for the opposition can result in a 30 point hike to their score. None of us knew the term deliquessence, so we moved to the net starter. Something about computing and logic gates saw the Cambridge skipper buzz too early and lose 5 of the lead. Given a free run Adam Wright supplied the correct answer. Bonuses on Sir George Eden took Corpus Christi back into the lead in what even JP was moved to call a very close contest. Nobody could identify a silhouette portrait of Wagner for the second picture starter. That's the classical composer, not the former joke X Factor contender. The next question on an Italian composer saw both teams sensibly wait on their buzzers until the words 'barber of Seville' were uttered, and that buzzer race was won by Rosa Price. Tow out of three bonuses on the composers' silhouettes put Jesus back in the lead. All to play for.There was something about an Italian called Pareto, which the Corpus skipper was onto like a greyhound after an electric hare. Tow bonuses on US national holidays edged them ahead by 5. Seemingly back on song, Nikhil Venkatesh was first in to answer the next starter, about well known Charlton Heston impersonator, Cardinal Richelieu. Corpus Christi managed two of the three bonuses on Homer's Odyssey, but would they regret missing the gettable Polyphemus? Right, I make no bones about this. Not one, not two but three Science starters did I take in this show. I dredged Hubble's Constant up jut as Adam Wright was buzzing in with the same answer. With the clock running down and bonuses t come I had a feeling that this might just seal the deal for Corpus Christi.Two bonuses took the lead to 190, and relative safety, for I doubted there would be time to get in the two full houses Jesus would need to win. None of us new that the letter F denotes lanthanides and actinides on the periodic table. Fair play to Jesus, they were still fighting. Skipper Theo Morris Clarke buzzed early with the economist Stiglitz, and earned bonuses on inorganic Chemistry. What, again with the bloody Science? Yes, afraid so. They took two, as did I , but they still languished 25 points in arrears – they could theoretically take the game into extra time with one more successful visit to the table. Theo Morris Clarke looked like he was taking a punt suggesting that Towers of Silence are used by followers of Zoroastrianism, but it was right. They needed three more correct answers, but just didn't know frugivore or fructivore. In fact they didn't take any bonus, and crucially that meant that they were still 15 points behind. Even if there was time for another starter it wouldn't be enough. There was, and this one, though was taken by Tom Fleet, whose heart must have been racing, but he looked like a steely eyed assassin as he killed off Jesus' chances in this game, knowing the American William James. There was neither the need nor the time for bonuses, as the gong now sounded the end of the contest. Final score 200 – 175. Well played both teams. That was a good match, nay, a very good match. I'm pretty sure that Jesus will be back in round two with that score.  

Jeremy Paxman Watch 
JP was seen on best behaviour tonight. This may well be because he often is when it's an Oxbridge match. There was absolutely nothing of note, other than the way he hailed one of the last early buzzes with "Danerous buzz but effective. " Quite so. 

Interesting Fact That I Didn't Already Know Of The week 
Eden Park test cricket ground in Auckland NZ, and Eden Gardens test cricket ground in Kolkata, India, are both named after Sir George Eden, a British politician.


Manny the Lion said...

Hooray! Thanks for posting your review Dave. I've missed your UC reviews (including reading about your Science lap of honours!) and welcome them back for as long as you're able to.

This first Oxbridge match was a good quality first round encounter with every single person getting a starter - I always think that this is a sign that a team really is a team.

A bit of delving into the history books of UC now regarding highest scoring losers.

With a score of 175, Jesus would be *very* unlucky not to have a second crack. The last time 175 wasn't good enough was back in series 28 (1998-99!) with 185 being the lowest losing scores that allowed both Victoria University of Manchester and Harris Manchester Oxford.

The following scores have good enough to secure a play-off match in previous series:
2015-16: 130 (Queen Mary London)
2014-15: 140 (LSE)
2013-14: 155 (Loughborough/Southampton)
2012-13: 140 (Lancaster)
2011-12: 155 (LS of H&TM)
2010-11: 155 (Exeter)
2009-10: 165 (Clare and Emmanuel, Cambridge)
2008-09: 150 (Pembroke, Oxford)
2007-08: 145 (Birmingham)
2006-07: 150 (Manchester and Reading)
2005-06: 130 (St John's and Trinity, Oxford)
2004-05: 120 (York)
2003-04: 140 (Reading)
2002-03: 165 (UMIST and UCL)
2001-02: 145 (Leeds)
2000-01: 170 (Bristol)
1999-00: 165 (UCL)
1998-99: 185 (Victoria U of Manchester and Harris Manchester, Oxford)

Jack said...

Good to see you posting again Dave.

And thank you Manny for those stats, although, if I may correct you, the lowest repechage score in 2013-14 was Christ Church's 150. But I definitely agree that Jesus will be incredibly unlucky if their score isn't enough for the play-offs, especially as their score is higher than all the play-off scores from last series.

As for the match itself, it was a great one between two fine teams that could've gone either way until Corpus had that little spurt after the second picture round. In fact, they won the match on the bonuses, converting 21/30 to Jesus' 16/30. They will certainly be one to watch in the next round, and I suspect Jesus will be one of the favourites for the play-offs, when/should they make them.

On Monday, Liverpool play Warwick; the week after, a Cambridge derby between Queens' and defending champs Peterhouse.

Manny the Lion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manny the Lion said...

Thanks for spotting that error Jack regarding the lowest repechage score in 2013-14. And indeed you're right, 175 would have beaten all of last year's play-off scores (130 Queen Mary and St Peter's Oxford, 135 Southampton and 155 Glasgow).

Will be interesting to see how Liverpool play next week after their tremendous showing last year in reaching the semis.

Mycool said...

Sometimes you shake your head in disbelief. You would think that every UC team would assign one of the team members to learn off the atomic numbers of the elements in the periodic table. That was 15 points thrown away.

Mycool said...

And great to see you back, Dave. Keep at it.

Unknown said...

Well done Sam I thought you tried very hard.
And sorry your team Lost I wish you a Very Merry XMAS