Saturday, 23 September 2017

University Challenge - Round One - Heat Nine - Leicester v. Fitzwilliam, Cambridge

Leicester v. Fitzwilliam, Cambridge

Yes, you’re right. The big question about this contest was – were we going to get a real contest, or was one of the two teams going to win easily again? Leicester, determined not do be easily pushed to one side, were Graham Aldred, Stan French, Jamie Byrne and their captain, Pip Brown. Equally resolved not to serve as cannon fodder were Fitzwilliam’s team of Theo Tindall, Theo Howe, Jack Maloney and their own skipper, Hugh Oxlade. Chiswickians? Not a one. 

As soon as he heard the first question wanted the word used for an early spiritual leader of Sikhism, Theo Tindall slammed the buzzer and gave the correct answer of guru. Internet company names gave both of us two gimmes. Both teams dwelt on the buzzer a little bit before Stan French answered that Chris Boardman was the man on the lotus bike who won the 1992 Olympic Pursuit gold. Shrinking lakes in Asia were by no means easy, and Leicester took one of this set of bonuses. I thought that Redox was bubble bath, but apparantly it’s some chemical thing, and Stan French identified it for his double. Notable people with names of 4 syllables provided Leicester with two correct answer, and me with a lap of honour around the living room for knowing Torricelli, which was the one that they missed. Jamie Byrne was in too early for the next starter, and this one was one where it really paid dividends to wait until it became obvious that the answer required was Death Valley. That’s what Theo Tindall did. Famous women and their famous husbands provided me with one and Fitzwilliam with 2. The first picture starter was a UC special – which showed umbers and weights of 4 elements. Teams had to take their symbols and say which word they spelled out. I worked out cook. Theo Howe came close, as did Jamie Byrne, but both were one letter away. There was a great buzzer race when the next starter became clear – blah blah blah, the same gallery houses a version of “The Scream”  - bang! Theo Tindall won the race to say Oslo. The picture bonuses gave us more of the same, with words from elements and Fitzwilliam took a good full house. At the ten minute mark they led by 65 – 30.

The impressive Mr. Tindall continued his good form recognising a description of the island of Sulawesi for the next starter. A lovely UC set on smelling salts in Victorian novels (apparently there was a law requiring smelling salts to be mentioned in novels between 1837 and 1901 ) did not enable them to increase the lead. Theo Tindall completed a hattrick, knowing that when you hear ‘Aeneid’ and ’Mythical Queen’, then Dido is usually the answer. Early 20th century industry gave us both a full house, and took Fitzwilliam to triple figures. Nobody knew about a British and French attack on Beijing in 1860, so we rolled on to the next starter. Simon Aldred recognised the Adam/Venerable Bede connection for the nest starter. The Peterloo Massacre provided two correct answers for Leicester, and the fightback was under way. Pip Brown recognised a wee bit of Ravel for the music starter. Works with the name of another composer in their titles, and they managed 1. Simon Aldred was first to buzz in with the title of Chaplin’s 1940 film “The Great Dictator”. Organisms that thrive in extreme environments sadly did not include one about English teachers, but gave Leicester enough to cut the deficit to 10 points. For the next starter Theo Howe buzzed in early with the only titel of a James Baldwin novel that I knew as well, and lost five for his pains. Leicester did not know ‘Giovanni’s Room’, the title required, either. Thus, just before the 20 minute mark the scores stood at 85 – 90, and joy of joys, we had a real contest. 

Jack Maloney took his first starter, knowing the Kattegat and Kaliningrad both start with K. 2 bonuses on banana cultivation followed. The second picture showed us the great former England cricket captain Mike Brearley, allowing Hugh Oxlade to take his first starter. The team also recognised Andrew Strauss to take a further 5 points. Right, if you ever hear the word ‘Astapovo’ in a question, slam the buzzer through the desk and answer ‘Tolstoy’. It’s the location of the railway station where he died. Theo Tindall picked that particular piece of low hanging fruit. 2 correct answers on courtiers and favourites of the Virgin Queen took the lead to 60, and you fancied that the winning post was in sight for Fitzwilliam now. Pip Brown knew several books which coupled capitalism with something else in their titles. Two bonuses put Leicester through the 100 point barrier, and there have been too few times this series when both teams have managed triple figure scores. I took a second lap of honour after guessing that fat is stored in the elaioplast of plants. Fitzwilliam took that, and a couple of bonuses on humanism put more gloss on their score. The Cambridge skipper took the next starter, identifying Maximilian as the ill fated Habsburg appointed Emperor of Mexico. . . briefly. The four corner US states which all meet at the same point provided a full house. Taking Fitzwilliam to 200, Theo Howe identified witch-hazel for the next starter, but there was no time for them to add to their score as we were gonged after one passed bonus. 

The score – 200 – 105, looks like a bit of a walkover. Nonsense. All bar 5 points of that gap were achieved in the last few minutes, when Fitzwilliam were simply too strong on buzzer and bonuses for a good Leicester team. Well done to Fitzwilliam. This series being what it is, though, Leicester are, I think, still in with a chance of a repechage slot, and I wish them good luck. 

Thanks for giving us a contest, both. 

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP got really sniffy when Leicester missed the last music bonus. “No, it’s Rachmaninov. I thought that was the easiest of the lot actually.” Well, Jez, answer me this one, then. Who recorded “Ozzie’s Dream” with the Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup final squad in 1981? No? It was Chas and Dave. Not so smart now, are you?

“Who’d have thought that you’d know so much about banana cultivation?” he scoffed after the banana bonuses. God knows what he’d have said if they’d had a full house on that set. 

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

The E in Ebay originally stood for Echo


Jack said...

Yeah, this was a good match, not as one sided as it sounds until the final minutes when Fitzwilliam ran away. Shame we probably won't see Leicester again, they were a decent enough team, 10/18 bonuses, suspect they'd have beaten another team. Fitzwilliam therefore earned their score against one of the better runners-up, plus a decent 20/32, could be one to watch in the second round with a favourable draw.

On Monday, Imperial College play Strathclyde, week after, an Oxbridge derby with Emmanuel for Cambridge and St Hugh's for Oxford.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack - not surprised about the bonuses. At least we have an idea what Fitzwilliam are all about now - it has been difficult to tell with some of the other winning teams this year.

Stephen Follows said...

Never mind Chiswick - I think Mr Oxlade is probably the first UC contestant from South Woodford since yours truly, way back in 1987. A good omen for Fitzwilliam, perhaps?