Tuesday, 16 January 2018

University Challenge - Round Two - Fitzwilliam, Cambridge v. Magdalen, Oxford

Fitzwilliam, Cambridge v. Magdalen, Oxford

Yes, dearly beloved, it’s an Oxbridge match up this week. In the light blue corner we had Fitzwilliam, represented by Theo Tindall, Theo Howe, Jack Maloney and one of my favourite captains of this series, Hugh Oxlade. In the dark blue corner were Magdalen, who consisted of Winston Wright, Christopher Stern, Sarah Parkin, and captain Johnny Gibson. 

Hugh Oxlade was in as quickly as I was to know that the Army subdued by King Alfred was known as the Great Army. Bonuses on ducal residences saw 5 points bounce off the rim into the middle distance as they rejected Belvoir Castle, but they took the other two. White Surrey was the horse of Richard III, according to Shakespeare, as Johnny Gibson answered to open Magdalen’s account. Environmental agreements certainly didn’t promise a great deal, but we both had the same one right – the fact that the city in question is no longer the capital was pretty much a good indicator for that one. Many year ago, part of the next starter provided one of my favourite moments in the sadly defunct Neath Quiz League. Asked what the mythical Welsh ‘Cwn Annyn” was, I guessed cwn – from latin canis (a significant number of Welsh words are derived from latin)- might well be dog, and so answered the Hound of Hell. Which was close enough to get the points. If I told you that I never again reminded my 3 Welsh team mates that it was an Englishman who’d got the right answer, then you’d know I was lying. It was Johnny Gibson who correctly answered that this and other examples were all manifestations of dogs. This gave them a set of bonuses on Richardson’s “Pamela”, and Henry Fielding’s glorious parody thereof, “Shamela”, and they took a full house. Christopher Stern came in too early for the next starter on elements, losing 5. As soon as JP said it took its name from the Greek for violet I shouted ‘Iodine’ and took off on my lap of honour. Jack Maloney answered that one. Biology refused to yield them any bonuses. This brought us the picture bonus, and a map showing the location of a British port. Jack Maloney was first in with Felixstowe, and more ports which can cater for super containers on the map brought a full house, and catapulted Fitzwilliam back into the lead. Sarah Parkin was in very quickly for the next starter, recognising a quote from Nye Bevan. Novels about dictators yielded a further 10 points, which meant that we were all square on 55s at the 10 minute mark.

Christopher Stern was in too early for the next starter, allowing Jack Maloney to take another starter, recognising that the ancient area to which the question referred was Bactria. They took one bonus on Goethe and works inspired by his own. They missed a trick here, obviously not knowing that the moment you hear the name Paul Dukas, you give the answer The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It was that man Maloney who won a real UC Special buzzer race to explain that you need to add IA to change one moon – Titan – into another – Titania. Data compression bonuses did none of us any favours. Johnny Gibson had a rush of blood to the head and came in too early for the next starter. A set of steps up Cheddar Gorge is Jacob’s Ladder, and that name was the answer, as supplied by, well, who else, Jack Maloney. Bonuses on the original members of the Football League added a further ten points to what was becoming a significant lead. At this stage Magdalen were certainly not out of the contest, but they really needed a clean buzz to find some momentum again. The music starter saw Theo quickly in to identify the artist as Drake. More pieces of music that have made use of the Jamaican dembow rhythm provided 10 more points. Fitzwilliam at this stage were making it look easy, winning the starters, and taking points at every visit to the table. Johnny Gibson struck back for his team, being the first to recognise a description of the artist Paul Klee. Bonuses on George Sand seemed to be sure to provide Magdalen with a full house, but they zigged with Minorca when they ought to have zagged with Majorca for the last. Theo Howe was first in to identify Reindeer moss as a species of lichen.This earned a lovely UC special where the team were given two African cities for each question, and asked to name the countries which a straight line between the two would pass through. We both managed a full house on this one. Daring was rewarded as Johnny Gibson hit and hoped that Gordon Lamb House is the HQ of the Scottish National Party. It is. This earned bonuses on hormones, which to be honest did nothing for any of us. Johnny Gibson had the bit between his teeth though, and knew about vectors in physics for the next starter. 17th and 18th century philosophers were another bonus set offering me but slim pickings, but provided Magdalen with 10. Thus at the 20 minute mark the gap had at least been pulled back to manageable proportions, as Fitzwilliam led by 145 – 95.

Jack Maloney showed the first chink in his armour, losing five when asked for either of the French rivers whose name can preceded maritime. Magdalen’s inspirational skipper capitalised with the answer Seine. Only one bonus on crickets was taken, but nonetheless the gap was reduced to 30 points. For the second picture starter it was that man Gibson who recognised the work of Vermeer. Other paintings from Isabella Stewart Gardner’s collection yielded just one bonus, but now the gape was down to 15 points. What a good game this was turning out to be. Who else but Johnny Gibson would be first in to link Uhuru – Urdu and Uluru ( well, the clues to them) with the letter U. The gap was now down to 5. Bonuses on towns or cities beginning with Ul saw them draw level, but Ulverston, birthplace of the great Stan Laurel, just elude them. Both teams rather sat on their buzzers when asked for a five letter name for the largest species of the deer family. That’s a quizzer’s question which needs to be despatched to the boundary without a second thought. Finally Theo Howe gave the right answer, and put his team back in front. Still, they only managed one bonus on Charlotte Bronte, so the game was not over. Jack Maloney, back on form, identified JPL as the Jet Propulsion Lab,and two bonuses on Magna Graecia pushed them further ahead. With the scent of victory in Magdalen’s collective nostrils, Theo Tindall took his first starter by recognising the first lines of Virgil’s Aeneid. Birthplaces of British monarchs stretched the lead to 50 points – still only two full houses. There was time, if only just enough. Sarah Parkin did the first thing in taking the starter. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get it, but the answer was milligram. Asteroids only yielded 1 bonus though, and so Magdalen still required two consecutive starters. That hope was dashed as Theo Tindall identified a bird’s syrinx as the source of its call. There wasn’t time for a full set of bonuses on Scotland, and the final score was 200 – 155 for Fitzwilliam.

That was a very enjoyable match between two good teams. There was more buzzing throughout the whole of the Fitzwilliam team, which is what won it for them in the end, but no shame for Magdalen, who were by no means outclassed. 

Jeremy Paxman Watch

He was up and at ‘em early on the Belvoir Castle question, rubbing it in that the correct answer was ‘on the table’ for Fitzwilliam.

Later on he clearly approved of the tone of voice Hugh Oxlade used to say the name ‘Justin Bieber’, to which he chuckled and saluted the ‘wonderfully disdainful’ way that he said it. 

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

George VI is the only future British Monarch to be born at Sandringham


Jack said...

This was a very good match indeed, between, as you say, two very evenly matched teams, with similar bonus rates, Fitzwilliam 17/34 and Magdalen 14/30, so it was on the buzzer that that match was decided. Unlucky for Magdalen to go out at this stage, but Fitzwilliam worthy winners and worthy quarter-finalists.

Final second round match next Monday, Oxford Brookes vs Merton.

Stephen Follows said...

That question you didn't get was one of your UC specials, linking internet domain names (eg. '.uk' for this country) with standard abbreviations for metric units (eg. 'kg' for 'kilogram'). Hence, the answer was 'milligram' because its abbreviation ('mg') is the same as the domain name for Madagascar ('.mg'). You're welcome...