Saturday, 1 October 2016

University Challenge - Queen's University Belfast v. Birmingham

In Monday’s heat Queen’s University Belfast were represented by Padraig Regan, Caitlyn Newby, Enda Doherty and captain Stuart Mathieson, from Belfast. Their opponents, Birmingham, were represented by Elliot Jan-Smith, Fraser Sutherland, Chris Rouse and their skipper George Greenlees. Let’s get down to business.

Formed in 1934 . . . political party . . . first seat 1945 , , , At this point quizzers up and down the length and breadth of the country would have been giving the answer Scottish National Party, but Chris Rouse gave UK Communists, which allowed Queen’s the benefit of the full question. Their bonuses were on vandalism and the arts. They took two. George Greenless gave an early interruption to identify Clodagh and others as named British storms. Good shout. Bonuses on Wikipedia followed, but failed to add to Birmingham’s score. . nor mine for that matter. Caitlyn Newby was the first to identify cockroaches from their description, earning Queen’s bonuses on the Fields Medal, and they managed a couple of these. Both Fraser Sutherland and I were quickly in with the answer that the ancient port shown on a map in the picture starter was Tyre. 3 more cities founded by the Phoenicians followed, of which they took two. Again, Chris Rouse was in too early fr the next starter which allowed Padraig Regan to supply the correct answer, the political term neo-conservatism. A bonus on China meant that by the ten minute mark Queen’s were comfortably ahead, leading by 60 – 20.

Something about wavelengths saw Enda Doherty provide the correct answer of 5. Fair enough. The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, known in LAM Towers as Edna Who? - promised me but little, yet delivered two more correct answers, while Queen’s managed the one. On the next starter it was Fraser Sutherland who tried the speculative early interruption, and waved bye bye to another 5 points. Even with the full question, Queen’s couldn’t identify the term Chamberlain. Captain George Greenlees showed how it was done on the next starter. He knew very well that it was Ancient Egypt where people believed that their hearts were weighed in the Underworld, and he buzzed the second that the question became clear, not the second before it became clear. Two bonuses on shrubs and trees made their score look a lot more healthy. I don’t blame Fraser Sutherland for thinking that Life on Mars might have been on the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, but it was an opportunity missed, as it allowed Padraig Regan to give the correct answer of Hunky Dory. Queen’s only managed the one bonus on Bowie albums. A good buzz from George Greenless on the next starter saw him correctly identify a reference to Botticelli. 2 bonuses on the films of Luc Besson followed. Caitlyn Newby played with fire by buzzing in for the next starter – name two British monarchs not succeeded by their son or daughter, giving one and then umming for a few moments. She received a restrained wigging for her pains, and this allowed the battling Birmingham skipper in with William IV and Edward VIII. 2 bonuses on constellations were taken, and there looked little doubt that Birmingham were on the comeback trail. It seemed rather inevitable that it should be George Greenlees in for the next starter, which asked about the Chinese Army’s involvement in the Korean War. I rarely get more than one of any set of bonuses on economics, and this was what both Birmingham and I had this time. Mind you, this was enough to ensure that Birmingham had come back from the brink of disaster to be only 5 points behind at the 20 minute mark – Queen’s led 90 – 85, but Birmingham had the momentum.

That man Greenless identified a painting as the work of Monet for the second picture starter. I have actually made a copy of that painting using oil pastels, many years ago. I did like the French Impressionists of that period back then and I identified all three views of Argenteil by other painters. Birmingham managed narry a one, but importantly they were in the lead for the first time in this match. George Greenlees buzzed in with the correct answer of presbycusis – gesundheit – for the next starter. One bonus on airports named after fictional characters followed. George Greenlees also knew that the telephone was invented in the 1860s. Well, that’s a bone of contention. Let’s say that Alexander Graham Bell filed his patent in that decade, and ignore the claims of Mr. Meucci who seems to have invented a telephone device quite a bit earlier. English words taken from French past participles. How long since a starter had been answered correctly by anyone other than George Greenlees? He added another with the Lizard Peninsula. A timely full house of bonuses on Tolkein’s “The Hobbit” put them over the event horizon. Enda Doherty broke the spell that George Greenless had woven over the match by correctly answering that Ohio joined the USA in 1803. We both knew that the stirrup is also known as the stapes, but that was the only Science bonus that either of us managed. At least Queen’s, beaten into submission by the power of Greenlees were into triple figures now. Fraser Sutherland added a little gilt to the Birmingham victory by identifying the French Lieutenant’s Woman for the next starter. That was all there was time for, and Birmingham, owing a massive debt of gratitude to their skipper, won by 165 to 105. Well played.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

A rather wistful comment from JP after Queen’s told him that the Fields Medal is only for mathematicians under the age of 40. “I’d be happy enough with 40”. Is that a sigh for lost youth from the sexagenarian?

Then, when Birmingham took a full house on The Hobbit he felt moved to observe “I don’t think we’ll enquire too closely about what you get up to at night.” What precisely was he suggesting there, do you think? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

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

There are more Wikipedia articles in Swedish than any other language apart from English


Jack said...

Excellent recovery by Birmingham, thanks in no small part to Mr Greenlees securing nine correct starters, including a run of seven in a row! Queen's just got overwhelmed by this, and it's a shame they're not in the play-offs, as they probably did deserve another go. Both teams were about midway with the bonuses: Queen's 9/18, Birmingham 14/30 (with three penalties).

So, final two first round matches coming up. On Monday, St Andrews play Worcester of Oxford; the week after, Glasgow take on East London, making their debut in the contest.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack
What's that all about?