Friday, 30 March 2018

University Challenge - Elimination Match - Bristol v. Edinburgh

Bristol v. Edinburgh

To use the vernacular, dearly beloved, it was another bacchanal in the Last Chance Saloon. Who would get to stay for the lock in, and who would be ejected before last orders? Ollie Bowes, Kirsty Biggs, Dom Hewett and captain Sam Hosegood of Bristol were beaten by Newcastle last time out, while John Heaton-Armstrong, Stanley Wang, Philippa Stone and captain Innes Carson of Edinburgh lost out to the might of Merton. Most likely winners? The coin was very much in the air as far as I was concerned.

“This great island lay over against the pillars of Hercules . . . “ “Atlantis!” said I, and after a few more seconds, so did Ollie Bowes. Descriptions of deities from Virgil’s Aeneid were by no means easy, and Bristol failed to improve their score. I loved the next starter which gave several definitions of chestnut, as in old quiz chestnut, and Innes Carson won that particular buzzer race. Historical periodisation was a bit of a mouthful for the bonuses, and Edinburgh managed 1, although they had a close but no cigar answer for the year of the Great Reform Act. A fine buzz from John Heaton-Armstrong saw him identify the term Aryan from a long description – I was out with the washing with this one. Smaller and larger physical units – eg – how many millipascals to one bar – promised me but little and delivered one answer, just as it did for Edinburgh. Now, time was that the picture round would usually arrive around the ten minute mark. In recent shows it’s been a wee bit earlier. This time we saw a photo in which I recognised Einstein and what looked like Marie Curie. Innes Carson identified the conference where it was taken as being held in the 1920s, and the subject quantum physics. For the bonuses we were shown significant equations by specific participants. I answered Einstein for each and got my point for the last. Edinburgh managed their first full house of the contest. Stanley Wang came in too early for the next starter and lost 5. Bristol couldn’t capitalise either. I’ve never heard of the Kruskal trick myself. Right. You hear “Greek mythological figure” , “complex” and “Carl Jung” then you slam the buzzer through the desk and answer Electra. Innes Carson did just that. Bonuses on UNESCO World Heritage sites in China supplied one correct answer, but it still meant that Edinburgh had opened up a healthy lead of 65 – 10 by the 10 minute mark. It looked like they certainly had Bristol’s measure on the buzzer.

The next starter was an edible reddish brown seed of Castanea sativa. (A chestnut. Oh, do pay attention, Bond!) If you ask a majority of regular quizzers to link the words “test cricketer” “FA Cup finalist” “world long jump record” and “throne of Albania”, then I guarantee that a huge majority will say CB Fry, and say it very quickly, at that. Yet that particular piece of low hanging fruit went unpicked. Nobody knew the body louse for the next starter – me neither. A wonderful UC special for the next starter asked which Old Testament Prophet’s name is a reversal of the 4 letter recreational drug in Brave New World. Stanley Wang beat me to the correct answer of Amos. This earned a set of bonuses on winners of the Kate Greenaway medal. None of us had a Scooby about the first two, but I was a bit surprised that nobody else knew Raymond Briggs from the details given for the third. Right, if the Earth is a basketball and the moon a tennis ball, how many metres apart are they? Why I shouted out 7 I have no idea. But it was right! I set off on my lap of honour while JP announced the next starter, neither team having won a cigar on that one. It was over 10 minutes since Bristol had added to their score, so I was pleased when Ollie Bowes buzzed in to identify several figures as rulers of the Byzantine Empire. Now, as did Bristol, I answered Pasteurisation to more than one of the bonuses on heat sterilisation, and was very upset when it proved to be the answer to none of them. No bonuses for Bristol either. This brought up the music starter, and one of the easier opera starters. Philippa Stone won the buzzer race to identify an aria from Madame Butterfly. Other operas also centred around women who die provided two bonuses. Ollie Bowes got Bristol moving again knowing that Drake singed the King of Spain’s Beard in Cadiz. Hindu deities and the animals they use for transportation provided an interesting set of bonuses. We both managed two of these. Another good buzz from Philippa Stone saw her identify the marsh mallow plant. This took Edinburgh into triple figures, and a bonus on Henry VIII’s divorce of Katherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn supplied a further 5 points. At 110- 40 at the 20 minute mark a Bristol win was not totally out of the question, but the odds against it were lengthening, and the bartender was measuring the shortest path from their table to the door.

Animal lairs are another of those recurring quiz staples, so I was surprised that it took a long time before John Heaton-Armstrong buzzed in with the answer form for the next starter, after being given hare’s den and other definitions. A nice UC special set invited Edinburgh to identify countries participating in the 6 Nations rugby tournament by comparing their area with another country of similar size. We both took a full house there. I’ll be honest, I didn’t identify the work of Goya for the second picture starter, but then neither did the two teams. Kirsty Biggs identified Occitanie from the next starter, and earned the picture bonuses, identifying one of series of characters from the Commedia del’Arte, but not the artist who painted him. Tough set that. Now, if a question mentions Walter Raleigh’s History of the World, it’s pounds to pennies that the question hinges on the fact that it was written while he was imprisoned. The next starter certainly did. John Heaton-Armstrong sounded uncertain when he suggested this, but he was right. The 2004 work “The Plot Against America” is unfamiliar to me, as apparently it was to Edinburgh, but we still both managed 2 bonuses. The lead was now more than 100, and the bartender was making gestures with his watch, and thumb cocked towards the door to Bristol. Innes Carson won the buzzer race for the next starter to identify the Scottish place name element – strath. 2 bonuses on volcanism added a little more gloss to the scoreline. Now, usually, if a question asks for a subatomic particle I’ll answer neutrino. I did for the next starter, and earned myself another lap of honour. Captain Carson took hat one. Again, more gilding to the score was applied. A great buzz from Sam Hosegood saw him work out that in a list of countries bordering Sudan, Chad was missing. American cities in the works of Arthur Conan Doyle looked set to boost their score, but sadly they were gonged after the first bonus. Edinburgh were clear winners by 195 – 60.

Put simply there was just too much buzzing in the Edinburgh team for Bristol to cope with tonight. Never mind, no shame in getting to the quarters. Well played Edinburgh.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Jez had a chuckle when it was suggested that Dennis Compton might once have been offered the throne of Albania. It wasn’t a daft suggestion though – he had some of the sporting credentials which were also part of the question.

He seemed genuinely impressed when Innes Carson dredged up Tristan and Isolde for the second music bonus – and well he should have been – hell of a shout, that one.

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

Yama, Hindu God of Death, is sometimes depicted as travelling on a buffalo


Jack said...

Good win for Edinburgh, who despite some close scrapes earlier in the series have proved themselves worthy semi-finalists overall. Bristol well beaten here, on both fronts, just 2/14 bonuses to Edinburgh's 18/33, but no shame in going out at this stage. Edinburgh now face St John's in the semis, another match that will be most interesting given the two teams' respective run-ins.

First up though, on Monday, we have another interesting match up, Newcastle vs Fitzwilliam in the final quarter-final, should hopefully be another good one.

Steve Goddard said...

Hello! -- I've been following your blog with huge enjoyment for a while. Just to say, you're right about those first starters, on Virgil's 'Aeneid', being tough, and I speak as a long-time Virgil obsessive who studied Latin at uni. In particular, I'm inclined to say that the first one was just plain wrong: it's part of an extended simile which compares Queen Dido (which is what Paxo gave as the answer) to the goddess Diana, and all the characteristics in the lines quoted apply specifically to Diana, not Dido (Dido doesn't have a quiver, and has nothing to do with Latona, mentioned in the lines, who is Diana's mother); so it's a bit of a stretch to say that Dido is really the character being directly referred to... (as I say, slightly obsessive... but it's rare to catch out the UC question-setters in what looks like an error).

Aethelstan said...

That was another one I enjoyed the questions. I throughly enjoyed Mastermind tonight as well, thanks for yout thoughts!

I'm pleased with the way this UC match turned out, well deserved team Edinburgh. If we get Newcastle monday we have Oxon, fen poly and two others including a Scottish team, which I regard as fair. Well, whoever wins monday gets Merton, hard lines indeed!

Londinius said...

Thanks Jack, Steve and Aethelstan. I'm glad that it wasn't just me who felt that about the Aeneid questions, Steve. I always enjoy a UC match - even some of the walkovers that we had in round one were still very watchable. Let's face it, even a lacklustre UC match is still miles better than almost any other quiz.

Stephen Follows said...

The 'Tristan' clip, like all those opera extracts, was very straightforward for anyone who knows a bit of opera. Much easier than some of the rather weird and obscure classical music bonuses we've had this season.