Friday, 8 September 2017

University Challenge - Round 1 - Heat 7 - Trinity, Oxford, v. University College, London

Trinity, Oxford, v University College, London

As an alumnus of London University myself (Goldsmiths College, class of 1986 thanks for asking) I’ll always be a little biased towards London University teams. However, if I’m honest I didn’t really mind which team was going to win this show, as long as we weren’t given another contest which was over by the 20 minute mark. So to the teams. Trinity were represented by Maxim Parr-Reid, Nicole Rosenfeld, Ben Coker and skipper James Gunn. UCL’s team consisted of Tom Allinson, Charlie Dowell, Omar Raii and their own captain, Robert Gray. None of the members of either team mentioned Chiswick. Shame. 

James Gunn took first blood for Trinity identifying the term super moon. Bonuses on patience – not the card game nor the middle English poem from the Gawaine manuscript – provided them with another 2 correct answers. Omar Raii had a bit of a rush of blood to the head with the next starter and came in extremely early to lose 5 points. Given the whole question James Gunn recognised a definition of altruism. Again, 2 bonuses were taken on the National Rifle Association. For the next starter Charlie Dowell did well, coming in early to identify the German explorer Humboldt, putting his team’s score into the black, and earning bonuses on recipients of the Hughs Medal. 2 bonuses of their own followed. Being fair to myself I did know that coins were first minted in Lydia before a further clue to the name was given, which enabled the Trinity skipper to take his third starter of the evening. It wouldn’t be his last. A welcome set on John Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel yielded my first full house of the evening, but nothing to Trinity, who might have done a wee bit better – even not knowing the poem the Duke of Monmouth should have been gettable. For the picture starter a map showed us where in Britain and Ireland you’d find rocks of the Carboniferous period. I know, I was amazed when neither of the teams got it either (sarcasm). Tom Allinson knew that Barbara Hepworth was a fellow student with Henry Moore, and earned the rollover picture bonuses. One correct answer meant that they trailed by 30 – 50 at the 10 minute mark, but at least the indications were that we had two teams who were going to make a fight of it.

Charlie Dowell came in too early for the next starter, but Trinity were unable to capitalise. None of us knew the muon. (Blue muon? Harvest muon? Dark Side of the – alright, I’ll behave.) Now, a list of books’ English titles followed. I didn’t know them, but the last, the Lusiads – was just a clue that we might be talking Portuguese. We were, but nobody in either team saw it. James Gunn knew that lophiiforms are anglerfish – good shout, that. Bonuses on pineapples proved fruitless to Trinity. The splendidly named Alfred Badger played a part in the development of the flute, a fact of which I and the 8 team members were all unable to conjure out of thin air for the next bonus. Now, when asked for an adjective used for, amongst other things, a painting by Grant Wood, you’ve got a 50/50 chance – it’s either American or Gothic. Add a novel by Philip Roth and it’s a 100/0 chance – it’s American. Tom Allinson won that buzzer race. That was a nice UC special question, and the bonuses on Irish counties that shared names with other things or people was a nice UC special bonus set. UCL only managed one of them, but this kept them within a full house set of the lead. Nicole Rosenfeld knew that Calabria is the so called toe of Italy. My heart sank as JP announced a set of bonuses on Matrices – but when my mind was back in the room, Trinity had answered two of them. James Gunn came in incredibly quickly for the music starter to recognise the merest soupcon of music from the musical Hamilton – apparently it’s about Alexander rather than Diddy David of that ilk. This gave Trinity a very quick full house, and took them to a triple figure score. Omar Raii buzzed in to identify Henry I who defeated Robert Curthose in the battle of Tinchebrai. This starter was well timed, bearing in mind that Trinity were n danger of disappearing over the event horizon at this point, but they could only add 1 bonus on donkeys. I’d never heard the definition of the word Wuthering before, and I doubt Nicole Rosenfeld had either, but we both guessed correctly for the next starter. One bonus on female Prime Ministers of the Americas  meant that at the 20 minute mark Trinity had a commanding lead of 120 – 55.

Robert Gray began the UCL fightback knowing a set of phrases beginning with ad. They added a further 10 points with bonuses on Roman Provinces. For the second picture starter we were shown a painting that absolutely screamed Van Dyke, and Omar Raii won the battle to claim that windfall. Two correct answer on bonuses of other paintings from the same collection, and in the space of a few minutes the score was looking a lot closer. Ben Coker buzzed in for the next starter, though, recognising a description of the corrupt ecclesiastical practice of indulgences. A UC special set on pairs of words with the prefixes – pro and con – for example profuse and confuse – enabled Trinity to once again widen the gap to two full house sets. For the next starter Robert Gray correctly identified the Bahamas. UCL needed a full house on physiology. *Lap of honour around the living room imminent*. Yes, I’d left it late, but awarded myself the victory lap for knowing tocepherol as Vitamin E. – UCL did one better, but missed out on their full house. Tom Allinson knocked a further 10 points off the lead, knowing that Ionesco wrote Rhinoceros. Two bonuses on Russia cut th gap to 10 points. Now THIS is what we pay the licence fee for! Once again, though, it was Ben Coker who threw a spoke in the UCL wagon wheel, knowing that Bernard Cornwell’s first non-fiction work is about the Battle of Waterloo. Crucially, 2 bonuses gave Trinity a lead of 30 points. A full house would not do it for UCL, and there was hardly any time left. Then the usually sure footed James Gunn lost 5 points by buzzing too early, mistaking the cross of St. Patrick for that of St. Andrew. Omar Raii took the 10 points.

Could we have a tie?

No, we couldn’t. The contest was gonged before any of the bonuses could ask. A very good match. You sensed that Trinity were always a bit better on the night than UCL and well worth their win by 160 – 145. UCL’s score gives them the chance of a repechage slot. Neither teams, I felt, quite set the world alight with their bonus work – I wasn’t counting, but I’d guess that their % of correct answers was similar to that of Oxford Brookes last week. Never mind that though, it was an absorbing contest, and for that I thanks both teams. 

Jeremy Paxman Watch

For the first time in living memory JP did not refer to UCL as ‘The Godless Institution of Gower Street’. About time. When Trinity suggested that Clint Eastwood had been president of the NRA he veritably chuckled and replied “He’d be mortified!” Really? How well do you know Clint then, Jez? I think we should be told. 

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

Victorian financier Albert Grant, model for bogus financier Augustus Melmotte in Trollope’s “The Way We Live Now” , donated the statue of William Shakespeare in Leicester Square.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Not a bad match, two teams pretty evenly matched, though Trinity just about managed to maintain the lead throughout. As you suspected, both teams were about half way with the bonuses, Trinity 15/27 and U.C.L. 13/24. U.C.L.'s score should hopefully be good enough for the repechage.

On Monday, we have Sheffield Hallam vs Newcastle, then the week after, Leicester play Fitzwilliam of Cambridge.