Saturday, 10 February 2018

Quarter Final Stages - Fitzwilliam, Cambridge v. Merton, Oxford

Fitzwilliam, Cambridge v. Merton, Oxford

An interesting one on paper, this one. Fitzwilliam, consisting of Theo Tindall, Theo Howe, Jack Maloney and skipper Hugh Oxlade had never looked like losing either of their previous matches. However, they had faced and overcome decent opposition in both. Merton, in the shape of Edward Thomas, Alex Peplow, Akira Wiberg and skipper Leonie Woodland, had looked very much the team to beat, especially in the way that they overcame a distinctly useful Oxford Brookes team in round two. For me, Merton were the favourites going into the show, but the Clark tip has ruined many a team’s chances in the past. 

Alex Peplow did exactly what I would have done for the first starter. Asked for a female writer of detective fiction he came straight in with Agatha Christie and lost 5. Given that she wrote “Death Comes To Pemberly” it was easy for Hugh Oxlade to supply the correct answer of PD James. 19th century history gave all of us a full house. Both teams sat back on their buzzers a bit. Given the words “Marco Polo” and “Emperor” that ought to be enough to give you Kubla/Kublai Khan. When Coleridge’s poem was brought into it, Theo Tindall supplied the correct answer. Mathematics in poetry really did not offer any of us a great deal, but Fitzwilliam still took a full house. They led by 55 points. It was too early to be thinking in terms of a possible upset, nonetheless this was a great start for the Cambridge team.A lovely UC starter gave us the world records for three men’s athletics events, and asked us to add up the distances of the events in question. 200+400+1500 made 2100, as Jack Maloney quickly worked out. Bonuses on Georges Cuvier only supplied one bonus for both of us. Asked for any three of the US States that are both contiguous with each other and have names of 7 letters or fewer, Akira Wiberg tried Utah, Nevada and Wyoming, and put Merton’s account into the black. Charles Dickens, and opening words of his novels, supplied them with 2 correct answers. For the picture starter we saw a definition of an everyday french word taken from a French dictionary. All the teams had to do was supply the word, in French. My schoolboy French was good enough to give me the word biere, shortly afterwards supplied by Leonie Woodland. The word, that is, and not the beer. More of the same followed, and we both took a full house. Akira Wiberg buzzed early to supply the acronym OECD for the next starter – a good shout, that. The Absurd Cycle of Albert Camus brought us all another full house. So having just passed the 10 minute mark, both teams had made fruitful visits to the table, and were tied at 65 apiece. 

The star buzzer of Merton’s second round match, Alex Peplow, showed his form really for the first time in this match, buzzing in very early to confirm that it was Holst’s Planets which has one section titled with the same name as the French month of March. Biochemistry only brought a couple, but it put Merton into the lead. Jack Maloney hit back for Fitzwilliam, knowing the star Canopus (and not, as I’ve heard it called – Canopenus). The Book of Genesis provided the basis for a great UC special set. For each question, teams had to work out the number of years between specific events in History, and then work out which figure of the Old Testament lived that long. That’s fertile ground for question setters. The usual ones asked are Methuselah – 969 – Noah – 950 – Adam – 930 but there are others in the 900s. In this case the answers were Abraham at 175 – then Methuselah and Noah. Fitzwilliam only took Methuselah. Akira Wiberg, who was on great form in this contest, came in very early, needing just Robin Williams and Robert De Niro to give the film title Awakenings. Bonuses followed on the Art Historian Fiona Spalding. Now the first bonus was controversial. Asked for the institution of which she’d written a history, captain Leonie Woodland offered “Tate Britain”. Now, the original Tate Gallery IS now called Tate Britain. JP refused, since he wanted The Tate. I don’t know – I’ve seen answers which were wider of the mark than that awarded the points before now, especially since the question specified the institution on Millbank, which IS Tate Britain now. They answered the other two correctly, and at least were given the points for those. So to the music starter, and it was Alex Peplow who recognised one of the songs from the musical Matilda. Songs from three more musicals rewarded for their lyrics gave Merton 2 more correct answers. I didn’t recognise Sunday in the Park with George either.  Fra Lippo Lippi gave me Robert Browning for the next one. Whether it was that name or another that gave it to him, Alex Peplow, who had found his range by now, took it. Granite only brought a further 5 points. The excellent Akira Wiberg provided the name of Kitty Hawk, where the Wright Brothers made their first powered flight. Greek mythology, all answers starting with At – provided a full house , and the Merton Juggernaut really seemed to be moving into top gear. Who else but Akira Wiberg would buzz in for the next starter, which required the Nervous system as the answer. 2 bonuses on the Adriatic meant that in a few minutes Merton had opened up a triple figure lead over Fitzwilliam. Alex Peplow took another starter by knowing that Costa Rica had abolished its army. One bonus on Chinese History  meant that by just after the 20 minute mark, Merton led by 200 – 80.

The second picture starter saw Akira Wiberg identify composer Clara Schumann. Other women on the Edexcel A Level music syllabus provided us both with just the one correct answer with Bjork. Now, I’ll be honest, if I’m asked for a North American economist of the 20th century I always answer Milton Friedman, so I can’t blame Edward Thomas for that, even though it lost him 5. Fitzwilliam couldn’t supply the name JK Galbraith. The next starter saw me in very quickly as I recognised the final words of Iago from Othello. Alex Peplow was almost as quick. The River Severn provided a bonus. At last Fitzwilliam managed to beat Merton to the buzzer, as Jack Maloney was very quick to identify the Filipino language Tagalog. Bonuses on chemical elements since antiquity saw Fitwilliam take the ten points they needed to reach triple figures. Dairyman Crick gave me the next starter, him being a character in Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Monday to Saturday, Dairyman Dick, On Sundays Mr. Richard Crick)which Alex Peplow took. Indian Prime Ministers and their home states brought just the one bonus, but by this stage it was academic anyway. A great buzz from Jack Maloney saw him correctly answer that 6,7 and 8 are the 3 consecutive numbers between 1 and 10 which share an initial letter with a King of England since 1066. The Elizabethan Navy provided one bonus.Now, I’d been a long time waiting for a lap of honour question in this show, but when asked for a greek letter denoting a receptor blocked by some or other chemicals – beta blockers (thanks, Bill Werbeniuk) came into my head, and I set off at twice my normal speed in order to make sure that I was sitting back down by the gong. The living room isn’t at all large, but I am VERY slow.) That man Akira Wiberg bagged another with that one. Bonuses on Africa gave Merton a full house, and just an outside chance of hitting 300. That faded when it was Theo Tindall who correctly guessed that Asbjornson and Moe collected the folk tales of Norway. That was it though, as we were gonged before the bonuses. The final score was 270 to 125.  

Let’s start with Fitzwilliam. They are a good team, and they still showed that tonight. What they seemed to lack, though, was an absolute demon on the buzzer. Merton have not one but two of those. I believe that Akira Wiberg was best in this match, but Alex Peplow wouldn’t have been far behind either. This double buzzing whammy makes Merton very hard to beat. I’m not going to ruin their chances by putting the Clark 50p on them to win the series. . . yet. . . but I can’t see me putting it anywhere else while Merton are still involved.  

Jeremy Paxman Watch 

Just really the controversial Tate Britain ruling, and I’m guessing that was voices in his ear which told him to rule it like that. He did say some nice things to Fitzwilliam about them still showing some pretty impressive displays of knowledge too.

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

Canopus is actually named after the pilot of King Menelaus in Greek Mythology.


The Escorial is often cited as being the largest granite building in the world.


Jack said...

A pretty fair result all things considered; Fitzwilliam were good, Merton were just better. Both sides performed strongly on the bonuses, Fitzwilliam 11/18 and Merton 28/42, so it was on the buzzer that the match was won. And having seen off a proven strong team, Merton must surely now be the team to beat.

On Monday, the other possible team to beat, St John's, play Ulster, followed by Emmanuel vs Edinburgh the week after.

Londinius said...

Thanks Jack. Good conversion rates those. I'll be interested to see how St. John's match up.

Aethelstan said...

I'm very excited by mondays match, as I pointed out on Jack's blog. I think the Johns vs Ulster match will tell us much about the series trajectory, Ulster could deliver an upset being sharp on the buzzer, but, as Jacks figures testify their conversion rate is a bit on the low side, and they seem to have got 'lucky' in some of the opposing teams they've had. Could be an upset or a kicking!
Merton are impressive, a good captain in Woodland and worthy of comment at high table at my own college the other day. The Merton team do fit the college sterotype, the giggling at the Erotic Zeus thing in their previous match was endearing!

George Millman said...

Are your previous instances of supplied answers being given the points that were further away than Tate Britain from this current series? If so, that is surely unfair, but if they're from previous years I think it's completely reasonable that they've toughened it up a bit.

Stephen Follows said...

Definitely a bad call on the Tate question (although it was Frances Spalding they were talking about, not Fiona). There was also one clearly erroneous five-penalty (also against Merton).

Rather worse, though, was the fact that nobody had thought (or knew) to tell Paxman that Ethel Smyth's name is pronounced to rhyme with 'blithe' and not with 'Sith'. Perhaps that girl had a point about women composers being badly treated, after all.