Friday, 29 September 2017

University Challenge - Round One - Heat 10 - Imperial v. Strathclyde

Imperial v. Strathclyde

The first of this week’s teams, former winners Imperial were represented by James Pollard, Ed Waddingham, Juan Rubio Gorrochategui, and their captain Istvan Kleijn. Their opposition came in the shape of the University of Strathcylde, and they were Ian Brown, James Flanigan, Paul Dijkman and skipper Alastair Logan. 

Now, here’s a point. I always thought that the word chevron was derived from chevre – the French rather than the Latin for goat. Whatever the case, it allowed Alastair Logan to draw first blood. Bonuses on various Parkers – sadly not Aloysius Parker – only brought one out of a very gettable set. The next starter asked for one of those Greek philosopher chappies. Strathclyde zigged with Plato, while Imperial zagged correctly with Aristotle. Their bonuses were on various meanings of the names of political parties or movements. 2 correct answers gave them an early lead. I didn’t know what Standard Error means, but Ed Waddingham leapt like a salmon to catch that one on the fly, and earned Imperial a set of bonuses on winners of the Palme d’Or at Cannes. They took one bonus – which funnily enough was the one that I didn’t know. Bog men, that is, ancient human remains preserved in bogs and marshes saw Imperial fail to add to their score. A lovely picture starter followed. This showed us most of the text of a blue plaque, and a map of the UK showing where it could be found. The date of death, and the fact that it said that she had been buried with the heart of her husband led both me and Istvan Kleijn to go with Mary Shelley. Actually, Alastair Logan’s throw of the dice with Thomas Hardy’s wife was not stupid at all – his hear was buried away from his body, and the area pinpointed on the map certainly wasn’t a million miles from Lower Bockhampton. But the date was just far too early. Three more commemorative plaques yielded no further points, and so they led 60 – 15 at the ten minute mark. Were they going to keep powering away?

Nobody recognised a Kenneth Tynan quote about King Lear, and so for the next starter Juan Rubio Gorrochategui increased Imperial’s lead when he recognised the description of a pangolin. Biochemical synthesis bonuses had me reaching for the smelling salts, and as I came round, Imperial had given two correct answers. Ed Waddingham knew that if you’re asked for a breathtaking natural feature near Buffalo, New York, you’re going to be in the ball park if you offer Niagara Falls. Cricket in 19th century literature saw them out for a duck. I’ll be honest, I love a good Trollope, but I’ve never heard of the dystopian story referenced in the second bonus. The line “No Man is an island” by John Donne gave Alastair Logan the chance to narrow what was becoming a worryingly large gap for his team. Prime numbers provided them with a full house. The music starter gave us a piece of classical music written to represent a month of the year. Neither team managed to get January. A fine answer from Paul Dijkman saw him correctly identify the Pakistan province of Balochistan. This gave Strathclyde the dubious gift of the music bonuses. More musical months added a single bonus, but that gap was shrinking. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really understand the next starter, but James Flanigan knew the answer was mitochondria. Films and books brought Strathclyde one correct answer on The Wizard of Oz. The Strathclyde charge continued as their impressive skipper identified the art critic Robert Hughes for the next starter. Biology Chemistry and Physics saw us both get the first two. This was enough to earn me a lap of honour around the living room, and Strathclyde the joint lead at the 20 minute mark. Both teams had 90, and it was starting to look ominous for Imperial.

Nobody knew that a set of books including “Great Expectations” were all published in the 1860s. I awarded myself a second lap of honour for knowing the second law of thermodynamics for the next starter, as did Istvan Kleijn. Johannes Brahms, a rum chap by all accounts, saw them again fail to convert bonuses into points. The second picture starter saw all of us fail to identify Raphael as the painter of a cartoon used as the basis for a tapestry. Right – if you get asked for a comic novel of the 18th century – well yes, I suppose it could be “Tom Jones” or “Joseph Andrews” or even any of Smollett’s novels. But on UC chances are that it won’t be. You buzz and you answer “Tristram Shandy”. Now, that is a rum old shaggy dog story if ever there was one. Neither team had it, which is only to their credit. Neither team knew that the Silurian came between Ordovician and Devonian. Finaly Alastair Logan won the buzzer race to say that Knights, frogs, birds and clouds (although not gypsies, tramps and thieves) were all plays by Aristophanes. Remember the picture starter. Well, we’d taken this long to actually get to the bonuses, more cartoons on display in major galleries. One was taken. Alastair Logan knew that the Shannon flows into the Atlantic west of Limerick. Indira Gandhi brought another 10 points, and Strathclyde led by a full set with only a couple of minutes to go. Not that Imperial were rolling over in the dust just yet. Ed Waddingham knew deuterium. So did I, but I was too knackered for a third lap of honour. Insects finally saw Imperial get their act together on a set of bonuses, taking a full house in very quick time. Right – socialist – political writer – 1947. Go. Alastair Logan won the race to say George Orwell. The 2016 Euro championship saw them take their own full house in quick time, earning the Paxman well done – the UC equivalent of the Paul Hollywood handshake. Now, there was drama, for as time ran out, Ian Brown lost 5 through an early buzz. If Imperial took a full house on this set they could still win by 5. They didn’t know the answer though. They would not have had time anyway, since we were gonged halfway through the next starter. 

Now that was a good match, since it went right down to the wire. It was pretty easy to see why Strathclyde won – the buzzing of their captain, and Imperial’s – sorry to say this – poor bonus conversion rate. Well, losing by 125 to Strathclyde’s 145 they might still be back to put that to rights. Well played Strathclyde – a demonstration of character there to come back after allowing Imperial to make the start that they did. 

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Jez rather displayed his ignorance in one of the films and books bonuses. When Strathclyde made the eminently sensible suggestion of “Gone With The Wind” he replied. “No, the Wizard of Oz. . . Technicolor of course.” Jez – what the hell do you think Gone with the Wind was shot in? And in fact, as well as being released in the same year as Wizard of Oz, with the same director as Wizard of Oz, Gone with the wind was completely shot in technicolour, while there are monochrome sequences in the Wizard of Oz. Brain in gear before mouth in motion please, Jeremy. 

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

A young sailor who has not yet learned the requirements of the job is called a ‘wonk’. Make your own jokes about that one.


Jack said...

Indeed it was on the bonuses that this match was won and lost, both teams getting eight starters, but Strathclyde managing 14/24 bonuses to Imperial's 9/24. Still, the way this series has been going, 125 may well be good enough for the play-offs, so we'll see.

On Monday, we have an Oxbridge clash, Emmanuel for Cambridge vs St Hugh's for Oxford; the week after, St Andrews take on St John's of Cambridge.

Stephen Follows said...

What on Earth were those music questions? I would be surprised if there has ever been a more obscure set in the entire history of UC.