Wednesday, 31 August 2016

University Challenge - Heat 6: Emmanuel Cambridge v. Nottingham

Heat 6  Emmanuel, Cambridge v. Nottingham

I really must apologise. Bobby Seagull, the inspirational captain of Emma, wrote to me first weeks ago, enquiring after my health, and expressing his partiality for LAM, hoping that I might actually get round to reviewing the show. Thankfully he didn’t give away any clues as to the outcome. Well, Bobby, I hope that you’ll think that it’s a case of better late than never.

So obviously Bobby is the captain of Emmanuel, and his teammates were Tom Hill, Leah Ward and Bruno Barton-Singer. Their opposition, Nottingham, were represented by Joseph Meethan, Wester Van Urk, Isaac Cowan and their captain, Hugh Smith. Obviously they would be helped by the fact that Emmanuel were burdened by the support of the Clark sofa – but how much of a dragchain would this place on Emma’s ambitions?

Bruno Barton-Singer took a hell of a gamble on the first question. All he had to go on was ‘What flavour of quark . . . “ Now without any further information that could be up- down – stranhe or charm – and that’s just the ones that I know off the top of my head. That resulted in a loss of 5, and allowed Wester Van Urk to give the right answer when the question became a little clearer. Questions on Euro coins gave them two correct answers. Bobby Seagull went early to identify the Dickens novel whose eponymous hero is at times called Trotwood, amongst other things. This allowed Joseph Meethan a bonus with David Copperfield, and earned bonuses on rocketry pioneer Werner von Braun. With the next starter Bobby’s early buzz was right on target as he recognised a quote from Einstein. Fictional works set in Shanghai provided us both with 2 correct answers, and Emmanuel were away. Years ago I lost a quiz through not knowing latin names of well known birds, so when Fratercula Arctica reared its distinctive head I knew that when I guessed puffin from member of the auk family, I was right. Joseph Meethan was first to chance his arm, correctly as it happened. Fratercula from the latin for brother, because they look like little hooded monks, apparently. Aquarium fish I didn’t fancy much, and they did no good for Nottingham either. On to the picture starter. We saw a map with a capital city marked. I was pleased to identify Nigeria thus Abuja just before Joseph Meethan, having a very good game at this stage. More purpose built capital cities followed, and I thought they did really well to take a full house. At 75 – 10 by the ten minute mark, Nottingham were looking like a very useful outfit, and it looked as if Emmanuel were going to have their work cut out even scoring enough to secure a repechage place.

Joseph Meethan buzzed too early on a question which took a swerve after losing five points for Nottingham. Bobby Seagull buzzed in with the correct answer, US Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia to earn bonuses on the novels of Jane Austen, and characters called Mary. I had 2, and Emmanuel managed Mary Bennett from “Pride and Pred”. Bruno Barton-Singer knew that any question with the words – average distance from the Earth to – needs you to buzz immediately and say “Astronomical Unit”. He did and earned 10 points for what was looking like a rejuvenated Emmanuel team. Biochemical separation techniques did nowt for me, although I could work out chromatography from the Greek for coloured writing. Emmanuel took two. Bruno Barton Singer made it a double by knowing that Iris Murdoch wrote The Sea, The Sea. A UC special set on scientists, performers and writers – eg Compton and Mackenzie river give you Compton Mackenzie - . No prizes for not knowing the river Orwell to get George of that ilk, but still ten points added to the score. By this stage Joseph Meethan had regained his composure and was back in for an early starter on the word Thug. Philosophy in the 1620s sounded unappetising, but I took 2 of them, and Nottingham the one. Both teams seemed transfixed with the music starter, and it was quite a while before Hugh Smith gave the correct answer of the well-known Marriage of Figaro. 3 more duets brought nothing for them. Bobby knew that the start of the construction of the Chrysler Building began right at the dog end of the 1920s. I dare say that they might have done a little better with the Italian history bonuses. Garibaldi was a stone banker to come up, but Mazzini and Cavour were gettable as well. Nobody knew the Forsyte Saga, and again, that was gettable. Now, when asked for the first 4 letters of the British defeat of 1777 I guessed SARA from Saratoga, and then Sarawak confirmed it. Leah Ward was first in for it, and a full set from the names of families in George R R Martin’s epic oeuvre gave them the lead for the first time in the competition just after the 20 minute mark. At 105 – 95 Emmanuel were the team with forward momentum. Would it see them across the line?

Well, Hugh Smith was the first to buzz in to identify a phot of Christopher Lee for the second picture starter. Needing films and characters for the next three Nottingham took 2, which gave them back the lead. The revival continued for Nottingham as Wester van Urk identified Marie Curie’s notebooks as being extremely radioactive. European football stadia gave them 5 points more, but really they might have done better with them than they did. Tom Hill took his first starter knowing that Niobium is named after the daughter of the mythological figure that Tantalum is named after. Latex gave me a point for knowing that Opium comes from the papaver somniferum. Emmanuel still lagged behind to the tune of 15 points. Seemingly encouraged now, Tom Hill knew that the Lyke Wake Walk is in the North Yorkshire Moors national park. Words in English and other languages – Chat – Kind etc. brought them a full set and the lead. Time was getting on and it was anyone’s game. Probably the key moment was when Isaac Cowan incorrectly interrupted. He gave rust, while Bruno Barton-Singer gave us the smut we wanted. The novels of Ian McKewan brought them 10 points, which meant that Nottingham would need to return to the table twice to beat them. I doubted there was enough time for that, but as it was Tom Hill took the next starter. British Prime Ministers put them 50 points ahead, and the game was over to all intents and purposes. Isaac Cowan made a late bid by identifying solids with octagonal faces, for there was only time to try a couple of bonuses on dentistry. At the end the score was 175 to 135 in Emmanuel’s favour.

I would be surprised if that’s enough to bring Nottingham back – shame. Emmanuel’s 175 was therefore scored against one of the better losing teams in this first round – we have to take notice of that, and also of the strong way that they came back. Well played.

 Jeremy Paxman Watch

It isn’t like JP to play silly beggars with culture, but he did make a point of saying that the Flower Duet from Lakme was actually the British Airways advert. Not for well over a decade I don’t think, Jez.

He’s shown more inclination to join in with jokey answers in this series has JP. When Bobby plucked the name Silvio for the first PM of united Italy, he offered “As in Berlusconi (dramatic pause) no he’s not that old.”

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

Werner Von Braun was the subject of a film titled “I Aim at the Stars.” Mort Sahl suggested that it should be subtitled “ – but I often hit London.” Now that’s funny.


Jack said...

A good performance from Mr Seagull and co against decent opponents, who I hope will make the repechage. If they do, it will be right on the borderline.

Stephen Follows said...

How does one end up with 'Seagull' for a surname??