Saturday, 15 October 2016

University Challenge - Round One: Heat 14: Glasgow v. East London

Glasgow v. East London

Glasgow were represented by Robin Thomson, Alexander Shishov, Ethan SImpson  and their captain, Angus Lauder. East London, in their first appearance ever I believe, were represented by Christopher Ducklin, Kelly Travers, and their own skipper, Rachel Evans Jerushah Jardine.

I will tell you a story. The headteacher for most of my time at Elthorne High School in Ealing in the late 70s and early 80s was Mr. Nicholas Wheeler-Robinson. He only ever taught me for the Russian History section of my A Level. After the most consistently interesting session he gave us – the very first on the background to imperial Russian History he gave us a test. One question he gave us was – name a Russian novelist of the 19th century – and you must spell the name correctly. He told me later that every single person in the class had written some variety on the theme of “ Dostoi Doestoy Doys Tolstoy”. Well, a similar choice confronted both teams for the first starter , and it was Robin Thompson who correctly offered Dostoevsky. This earned a set of bonuses on Milan, and they managed to answer 2 correctly. Both teams rather slept on their buzzers for the next question, until the Glasgow skipper provided the answer of The Guinness Book of World Records. This enabled them to take a full house on Tchaikovsky. Jerushah Jardine knew that the zika virus is named after a forest in Uganda. Chemical compounds only brought another 5 points, but at least they were up and running. Now, I’m very sorry, but the two teams should all have buzzed after the words ‘hard stare’ for the next starter, instead another few seconds of question went by before Christopher Ducklin buzzed in with the answer. Religions in Iran were by no means gimmes, but East London snapped up the lot. The frst picture story showed a map of part of Britain with the location of a city on it. Modern day name and Roman names were required. “Bath – Aquae Sulis!” I shouted, earning myself a mutter ‘smartass’ from Mrs. Londinius, who was making a rare appearance on the Clark sofa during this show. Kelly Travers didn’t hesitate and gave the same answer. Three more of the same, which were a real quizzer’s set, provided 2 bonuses. They knew Chester but not Deva. On the cusp of th 10 minute mark this was enough to ensure that East London led by 60 to 45.

“Don’t touch my circles”. Archimedes! I shouted. Shut up! Mrs. L. replied. Robin Thomson buzzed in and gave the same answer – and was duly told to shut up as well. (By Mrs. L, and not JP, I hasten to add.) Films whose titles include the name of a chemical element were a great UC set, and Glasgow managed the one they needed to draw level. Robin Thomson made a mistake buzzing in too early, telling us the title given to the ruler of an area of the Holy Roman Empire, rather than to the area he ruled, giving us Elector rather than Electorate. Given a free throw Rachel Evans slam dunked that one. Autobiographies provided another full house for East London. Nobody knew Philip Glass for the next starter. Funnily enough nobody knew the Solar Impulse airplane. Making it a hattrick nobody knew that King Stephen’s consort was Matilda of Boulogne. A really good early interruption saw Robin Thomson identify a set of words starting with SCY – Scythia and Scylla being the two we were given clues to. Vitamins proved useless to them – to be fair they weren’t easy at all, apart from Thiamin, B1 – which is one of a pair of good league quiz A and B questions. (The other is B2 – Riboflavin). The music starter gave us the dulcet tones of Sir Ozzy of Osbourne, and I was a little surprised that nobody recognised his voice. So the music bonuses rolled over, and were claimed by Angus Lauder, who knew that starfish are echinoderms. The three bonuses were excerpts from singles which were debut solo releases by singers with successful groups. I think we all recognised Peter Gabriel. I was a BIG Pink Floyd fan back in the day, and recognised Syd Barrett for the second, and remembered Geri Halliwell’s ‘Look at me’ – no trace of irony about that title, surely? I was pleased to identify the term angst for the next starter, and Alexander Shishov knew it as well to take his team back into the lead. This they consolidated with a full house on a set on American History. Really and truly I was a bit surprised that neither team knew that the brightest star in Ursa Minor is Polaris, but there we are. The impressive Robin Thomson knew that the French politician who went on to stage a coup to bring the second republic to an end was Louis Napoleon. Properties owned by the Landmark Trust didn’t add to their 115, but since East London languished back on 80, Glasgow were in the lead by the 20 minute mark.

For the second picture we were shown a photograph of a painting that screamed Caravaggio. Rachel Evans came in for that one. That was Boy Bitten By A Lizard, and more pictures of people bitten by animals took them up to 95. Kelly Travers knew that the rooibos or redbush provides a caffeine free tea. They could do nothing with a series of tricky but gettable bonuses on pharmacology. Christopher Ducklin came in for East London’s third consecutive starter knowing that it was Mahatma Gandhi who published an autobiography in Gujerati in the 20s. Bonuses on fog saw them take a ten point lead. However let’s reflect on this for a moment. If we just take the bonuses for the 3 consecutive starters, East London had managed 10 points out of a possible 45 – would they come to regret this profligacy? Ethan Simpson stopped the rot for Glasgow, knowing the answer to the next question was D. UNESCO world heritage sites in Catalonia took Glasgow to 135, and a 10 point lead. East London were not done yet, as Rachel Evans recognised Christian Dior’s comments about Coco Chanel. 2 bonuses on the Bronte sisters gave them back a ten point lead. What a good contest this was. Kelly Travers did what you have to do at this stage of the game and went for the next starter when she thought she knew the answer. Sadly this resulted in a 5 point loss. However Glasgow could not dredge up the term asset stripping to capitalise on this. Kelly Travers did exactly the same as she had done with the previous starter, but this time she knew that William Henry Harrison served the shortest term of any US President. (Reputedly he caught a  chill at his own inauguration which carried him off in the end.) That was enough. We had time for a bonus on the solar system, but it made no difference. East London ran out narrow winners by 150 – 135. Well done to both teams on providing us with an excellent contest.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Is JP a Paddington Bear fan, by any chance. I ask the question due to the great man’s obvious delight at Christopher Ducklin’s right answer. He screamed “YES!” and practically leapt out of his chair. His follow up comment showed just how much he has mellowed recently – “No knowledge is ever wasted here.” It’s not that long ago that he would have followed up that answer with – we now know what you do with your evenings – or something of that ilk.

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

The zika virus takes its name from a forest in Uganda.


Jack said...

Another very good close match between two very evenly matched teams, as has been the case with most of this series. The fact that the highest score of the series so far has been 235 suggests a low scoring series. But we've seen some very good, closely fought matches between very good teams, and that's the sign of a high standard of team this series. Any of the fourteen second round teams, or the four repechage teams, would deserve a place in the QFs IMO.

On Monday, then, we have the first play-off; don't know who between, but SOAS vs Queens' is my best guess. Then, the show is off for at least one week due to Autumnwatch, as is Only Connect.

Cwazywabbit said...

Thank you, the tension of that day meant that I only recall fragments of that episode, I totally forgot about the solar impulse question and still can't believe Paxman didn't ask "which one" for the Gandhi answer.
Yours and Jacks blogs were a good source of information on the lead up to the recording, keep up the good work.

Londinius said...

Thanks Jack, and thank you Chris. As regards the Gandhi answer I personally feel that just Gandhi is always an acceptable answer for Mahatma/Mohandas Gandhi - I think that's implicit. However, for Indira/Rajiv/Sonia then you'd have to stress the given name as well.

Thank you for the kind comments about the blog - it's only really meant to be a bit of fun, but if it helps anyone, then that's great as well.

Best of retrospective luck in Round Two


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