Saturday, 26 August 2017

University Challenge - Round One, Heat 5 - York v. Warwick

University of York v. University of Warwick

Yes, my friends, I can only apologise to the two teams and any loyal readers I still have left that I haven’t posted earlier this week. Well, the fact was that I was in Berlin for most of the week, and only got to watch the match for the first time late last night. Enough of such frippery.

York, then, were represented by Connor Bindler, Ben Longworth – who is the first PGCE student I can remember on the show for a long time. Well done, sir, and I hope that you enjoy your career in teaching when you qualify – Matthew De Sousa, and captain Benjamin Maier. Opponents Warwick were represented by Flora Jackson, Daniel Arribas, Charlotte Symons and their skipper, Ben Salter. Let us begin.

A lovely starter saw Charlotte Symons win the buzzer race to recognise several uses of the word starter itself. I bet they’ve been saving that one up for a while. This ushered in a set of bonuses on poetry, based around the Shakespeare line that all that glisters is not gold. 2 bonuses were taken. Now, you can’t blame Benjamin Maier for connecting US State – and – Element – with California, but it was an incorrect interruption and lost 5. I didn’t know that ununseptium has now been named after Tennessee , but Ben Salter worked it out from the details given. Bonuses on the Scottish Enlightenment brought another 2 bonuses. Now, I did think that the two teams both sat on their buzzers a little for the next starter. In a buzzer competition, once you hear the name Gaudi you have to go for your buzzer and answer “Sagrada Familia”. You will be right far, far more often than you are wrong. Flora Jackson took that particular unconsidered trifle. Ancient writings almost inevitably yielded another two bonuses. Now, with the score at 60 to -5, I don’t blame Benjamin Maier for throwing caution o the wind with the next starter. Nor do I blame him for coming up with the name of Thomas Wyatt for a court poet of Henry VIII. Crucially, though, it wasn’t right. None of us could dredge up the name of John Skelton. Right – here’s another tip. If you’re asked for a Greek letter, and you don’t have a Scooby, try Omega. It will be wrong more often than it’s right, but it will be right more often than a lot of other Greek letters. There was a Maths thing for the next starter, and following my own advice I just got in with Omega before Ben Salter, who clearly actually knew the answer, buzzed in with the same. Minimalism promised me a minimal return but I knew Beckett for the last. Warwick – all together now – took two bonuses. The picture starter showed us a chart giving details of a decisive battle, and asked us for the country in which it was fought. I got Chile from the name Bernardo O’Higgins, and while I don’t know if that’s what gave it to Daniel Arribas, the fact is that he had it as well. More stuff concerned with 1817 provided the bonuses. Now, see if you can guess how many Warwick answerd. Buzz – unlucky, it was 1. Still, that meant that they had a huge lead , as the score stood at 100 to minus 10. 

There was a really beautiful starter next, which asked for the EU member country whose flag consists of vertical bands of the colours of the seas on which Odessa – at which pint I answered Belgium, and Flora Jackson incorrectly guessed Ukraine (horizontal bands of blue and yellow) which allowed Matthew De Sousa to earn a huge round of applause by giving the correct answer. Now, you so rarely see a team which has been patently struggling to win a buzzer race get a gimme set of bonuses, and certainly the set that York were given on analytical techniques used in art conversation was not full of Eastern promise. At least the one bonus they took gave them a positive score. This seemingly did little to raise the spirits of York’s skipper though. Asked for Truman’s defeated Republican opponent in 1948, he launched an extremely speculative punt with Smith. That’s my – haven’t a clue but don’t want to leave the answer blank – name, and from the tone of his voice Benjamin Maier knew it was unlikely to be right. Sadly that wiped out York’s score. Daniel Arribas had that one. Post war American elections provided some amusement as Flora Jackson tried in vain to convince her team that Ronald Reagan won the 1972 election. They stuck to their guns with Nixon, correctly, and added the other two for their first full house, to add to York’s woes. At last Benjamin Maier got in with a correct interruption when he recognised a description of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I don’t blame him for his victory celebration , raising his arms. After three points losers a lesser man would have fought shy of buzzing for the rest of the contest. The bonuses on Razia Sultan must have daunted their spirits a bit, but we still both managed a couple of correct answers to this set. Benjamin Maier was in very quickly to recognise Blondie’s Union City Blues for the music starter, and more groups that made their names at the CBGB club brought both of us 10 more points. The next starter was lovely to watch . “Which Japanese expression means Hello, and is also the title. . . “ at which point Ben Salter buzzed in with an expression which said – I can’t believe this question is this easy, there must be a catch.” Well it was, there wasn’t, and his answer of konnichi wa was correct. Diseases whose names were derived from African languages sounded hard, and both of us only managed the last. Some thing about polysaccharides saw Ben Salter give the correct answer on an impressively early buzz. Robert Baden-Powell  sawBen Salter manage to give the title “Scouting for Boys” without laughing – well done sir, and a full set was taken. Sadly Ben Longworth came in too early for the next starter, but Warwick didn’t know that the oldest university in South America is in Peru. So it was that on the cusp of the 20 minute mark, Warwick led by 160 to 35. It is possible to score 140 unanswered points between the 20 minute mark and the gong, but let’s face it, we all knew that it wasn’t going to happen in this show, and the match was over as a contest already. 

I was fortunate enough to take part in several seminars on Manley Hopkins led by Stan Tottman, so I was straight in with windhover/kestrel for the next starter, and Charlotte Symons provided the same answer for Warwick. I certainly never leapt in on any of the bonuses on leptin, and in fact we both only scored on insulin for the last of the set. The picture starter was obviously from the Alhambra in Spain, and Daniel Arribas won that buzzer race. 3 more pictures of lion sculptures brought a further 2 bonuses. None of us knew the term diecious, and so the next starter after that Saw Ben Longworth correctly answer that Cameroon had won the African Cup of Nations . UK Geography bonuses took York through the 50 point barrier. Charlotte Symons knew who wrote Everything is Illuminated which took Warwick through 200. Royal burials saw them rather underperform – no marks for not knowing St. George’s Chapel Windsor, and in fact they took no points on this set. Charlotte Symons knew that the two consonants in Charles Dickens’ pen name – Boz – are B and Z. There was plenty of snigger material on the bonus set on British tits. Warwick only took the one bonus, but it was immaterial. Any dditions ot their score at this stage were just gilding. I was late getting my lap of honour around the living room in this match, but I took it after guessing that in some electrical thing the voltage would be halved blah blah blah. Matthew de Sousa had that one. Debut novels by musicians took their score to 80 after a full house. Flora Jackson took the next starter with Richard II, and if I hadn’t already done the lap of honour I would have done it after taking a full house on the periodic table. Warwick managed a couple. That was it. We were gonged with the score at Warwick 240 to York’s 80.

Based on what we saw when York did manage to get a starter, they actually looked a pretty decent team on the bonuses, certainly better than a sub 100 team. But you have to win the starters or you’re just not going to get very far. As for Warwick they’re clearly a useful outfit, but just how useful probably won’t become clear until the second round, and opposition who are more handy with the buzzer, I fancy.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

I have to pay tribute to JP for not allowing himself to condemn York with his customary kiss of death – plenty of time to catch up. 

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

Element 117 is now named Tennessine.


Jack said...

Agreed about York, definitely could've fared better against another team (10/15 bonuses); according to Mr Salter on Twitter, York fared well on the warm-up questions, and just got unlucky with the actual questions. Warwick did pretty decently on them (23/39 bonuses), but, like you say, we'll need to see them again before we mark them down properly.

On Monday, we have Oxford Brookes vs the Courtauld Institute; week after, Trinity of Oxford take on UCL.

dxdtdemon said...

I hope you had fun in Berlin.

Londinius said...

Hi both. Thanks for the stats Jack, I did have a sneaking suspicion that the bonus situation would be like this. Which all goes to show, you have to win those buzzer races.

dxdtdemon - thanks for asking. I had a fantastic time. I was only there for 5 days, but I think that Berlin is very much my kind of place.

Stephen Follows said...

York would probably have lost anyway on the form they showed, but:

Unfairness Alert!

If you're the producer of the show and you knew that one side contained someone from Spain and the other one didn't, why on Earth would you include one picture starter entirely written in Spanish and another showing a famous Spanish landmark?

I'd have submitted an official complaint if I'd been on the York team.