Friday, 7 October 2016

University Challenge: Round One: Heat 13

St. Andrews v. Worcester College, Oxford

Well, it seems that the exchange rate this year  is that if you don’t have any Welsh teams then you can have two Scottish teams. St. Andrews, who this time around opted not to wear their traditional red gowns, were represented by Matt Eccleston, James Green, Andrew Vokes, and their captain, Toby Parker. Worcester College were represented by Sam Barnett, Rosemary Walmsley, Dennis Wang, and their own captain, Nick Williams.

When I was 16 I was given a beautiful ly bound 2 volume edition of The Outline of History, so I knew it was H.G. Wells’ work rather earlier than Sam Barnett, who buzzed in for Worcester. Bonuses on forms of amusement sw them take only 1 of an eminently gettable set. The St. Andrews skipper buzzed in and offered paraffin as the answer to a definition, with a wonderfully despairing look on his face, but he was right, and so was I. Being a correctly answered Science question the traditional lap of honour around the living room followed before the bonuses. These were on naturalists, and we both had the first and last. Nick Williams knew or guessed that the Enid Blyton character in question for the next starter was Noddy. This brought Worcester a set on the works of Roald Dahl with extracts from the opening paragraph. And they took a full house. This brought us to the picture starter, where James Green correctly identified the diocese of Ely on a map. Three more of the same followed, and St. Andrews managed 2 of these. It was nice to overhear one of these young whippersnappers referencing the ‘baby eating Bishop of Bath and Wells’ from Blackadder 2 – especially considering that this venerable classic is 3 decades old now. A good shout from James Green saw him identify Victor Hugo as the writer of the verse drama “Cromwell”. Bonuses on optics provided neither of us with anything, so at the 10 minute mark St. A’s led by 50 – 35, and up to this point neither team had lost 5 for an incorrect interruption.

Something about analogue and digital signals passed well over my head, but Rosemary Walmsley had it right. Governors General of India brought 1 bonus, and tied the scores. As soon as it became clear that the next starter was galloping towards the Alamo, Dennis Wang buzzed in correctly with San Antonio. Romantic poets offered a lot, and provided two bonuses, and the lead for Worcester. Toby Parker provided the first incorrect interruption of the contest when he buzzed in too early on a question about a mathematician called Abel. Dennis Wang was Abel to provide the right answer. Historiography sounded rather unpromising but Worcester managed 1 bonus. And so to the music starter. Both teams slept on their buzzer a little as we heard part of the overture to Carmen, and it was James Green who buzzed in with the answer. 3 more classical works inspired by Spanish folk melodies and dance forms provided them with a useful brace of bonuses. Dennis Wang, buzzing very well at this stage of the competition, identified a definition of the word metonym. I groaned as the set of astrophysics bonuses were announced, but actually managed the 2nd and 3rd, as did Worcester. James Green knew that Eragon is the first in the Inheritance cycle. Emma Goldman – wasn’t she the Six Million Dollar Man’s boss? – provided a couple to keep St. Andrews in touch with Worcester, who had been in danger of disappearing over the event horizon. A timely buzz by Andrew Vokes saw him correctly answer Skara Brae, and St. A’s were also in triple figures before the 20 minute mark. I think Joe Orton only wrote 3 plays, and so his bonuses promised much. St. A’s managed 2, but couldn’t quite get the title of Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Nevertheless, this meant that Worcester’s hard earned lead had been whittled down to 5 points, as the score stood at 110-105 in their favour.

For the second picture starter nobody identified a still from Citizenfour. So the picture bonuses rolled over. Both teams slept on their buzzers a little for the next one – Second World War. . . and . .  Mannerheim should have been enough. After a moment Matt Eccleston gave the correct answer of Finland. The picture bonuses, stills from three BAFTA winning documentaries saw them take a 15 point lead. Dennis Wang struck back, naming Tanzania and Burundi as two of the countries with shoreline on Lake Tanganyika. Iraqi cities saw them take their score to 130 with 5 minutes to go. What a good contest between two evenly matched teams this was turning out to be Sam Barnett knew that serialism is associated with the composer Schoenberg. Geology provided a few more points. It was all very tight, as James Green identified Pistol from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Bonuses on Milton and Cromwell brought the teams level. Could it all come down to the next starter? Possibly. It was something about stable isotopes of the first two elements of the periodic table. Rsemary Walmsley had first bash, but it fell to Andrew Vokes to give the correct answer of 4. Fair enough. Winners of the Academy Award for the best foreign language film meant they had a 15 point lead. You sensed that there was time for just the one more starter. If St. A’s got it, then game over. Neither team seemed willing to commit to the buzzer to identify pinus sylvestris, but eventually Matt Eccleston chanced his arm with scots pine, and he sealed the game for his team by doing so. There was time for them to get a bonus on King John, and the gong ended the contest. In the end St. Andrews won by 175 – 145, but there was literally nothing to choose between the teams until the last 2 starters. Well played both, and hard lines Worcester.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP was being interviewed on the Steve Wright Radio 2 show earlier this week, and he did admit that he’d become a lot more mellow in his responses to some of the answers on UC in recent years. We’ve noticed, son, we’ve noticed.

In fact all that was really worthy of note was his response to St. Andrews’ first buzz as he put my thoughts into words as he told Toby Parker, “For giving the correct answer you do look a bit miserable about it.”

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

St. Anthony (San Antonio) is often invoked as a finder of lost property.


Jack said...

Yeah, very hard lines to Worcester, especially that silicanes/silicates mistake right near the end. Had Mr Williams not misheard his colleague and got it right, those extra five points would have taken them into repechage contention, and they'd probably have gone above Queens' too, having acquired the same score with fewer starters. It's a huge shame.

Credit to St Andrews though on a fine performance against strong opponents, and a good run is certainly possible if they get a good second round draw.

So, final first round match on Monday, Glasgow vs East London, the latter making their debut on the series as far as I am aware.

Addy said...

Three Scottish teams this series - let's hope Glasgow can make it 3/3 in round 2!