Friday, 23 March 2018

University Challenge - Elimination Match - Fitzwilliam, Cambridge v. Emmanuel, Cambridge

Fitzwilliam, Cambridge v. Emmanuel, Cambridge

Yes, dearly beloved, whatever happened in this match, Cambridge were going to lose one of their teams from this year’s series. First up we had Fitzwilliam, represented by Theo Tindall, Theo Howe, Jack Maloney and skipper Hugh Oxlade. Opponents Emmanuel were Ed Derby, Kitty Chevallier, James Fraser and captain Alex Mistlin.  

The first starter was one of those where you had to wait and wait, and then go for the buzzer like billy-o when it suddenly became obvious. Asked for the authors of the Sign of Four and The Picture of Dorian Gray, that race was won by Kitty Chevallier. Authors and the decades in which they won their Nobel prize brought them just the one bonus.Now, I don’t know anything about elastic collisions, but Ed Derby did. American presidents sharing part of their names with England footballers provided a nice UC special set which this time brought a full house. That old stager John of Gaunt made one of his regular appearances in the next starter, and Hugh Oxlade won the race to pluck that piece of low hanging fruit. Geneticists promised me little, and delivered nowt. More surprisingly they delivered nowt to Fitzwilliam too. So to the picture starter. We saw a map of Europe with several cities, all sharing the same last letter. I recognised Biarritz for Z – whether this gave it to Jack Maloney I couldn’t say, but he had it right. More cities linked by a last letter provided a full house, and reduced the gap to 5 points. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really get the next question, but Jack Maloney worked out that the answer would be the letters TUV. Respect for that. This led to a really lovely UC special set all about figures of speech from the Monty Python parrot sketch. I took a full house, but Fitzwilliam missed out on pushing up the daisies. Thus, on the cusp of the ten minute mark the contest was nicely poised, with Fitzwilliam just nosing ahed at 55 – 40. 

The next starter, like the first, rewarded those who had the nerve to wait and then spring. Asked for the sole language of Andorra, Jack Maloney beat his own team mate Theo Howe to answer Catalan. Angevin Queens of England were gettable, and indeed Fitzwilliam contrived to get them. James Fraser buzzed to get his team back in the match, knowing the medical term ischaemia. Good shout. A great full house on Icarus followed. Now, I’ll be honest, if you ask me about a French composer of the 19th century, and I don’t actually know the answer, I will tell you it’s Berlioz. This is a tactic which has borne a slow but steady stream of revenue in UC over the years, and it did so again for the next starter. James Fraser actually knew the answer and he buzzed in to take the points. Astrophysics only provided one bonus, which was one more than I got. So far I hadn’t had so much as a sniff of a lap of honour answer. Now, did you know Karl Marx Gave The Proletariat Eleven Zeppelins, Yo? New mnemonic on me, too. Karl Marx stands for Kilo and Mega apparently. None of us quite knew that Eleven Zeppelins is exa and zetta. Fair enough. Theo Tindall got his team moving forward again, recognising a brief summary of Dombey and Son. Literary bad feeling sounded intriguing, and the bonuses thereon provided a further ten points which was enough to take Fitzwilliam into treble figures. For the music starter we were give some relatively early U2 – which is probably why it took a while before Ed Derby chanced his arm with the correct answer. Other exponents of, and I quote, “white macho guitar music” provided just the one bonus – although they were doubtless of no difficulty to gents of a certain age like myself. For the next starter, a UC special, teams were asked if the 8 planets of the Solar System and elements of the periodic table were both listen in order of mass – which planet would be equivalent to lithium. I went for Venus – Mercury and Mars being smaller – but I think Jack Maloney just went in order from the Sun as he answered Earth. This left James Fraser to give the correct answer. Thinking I should get while the going was good, I set off on the lap of honour. When I sat back down again, Emmanuel had taken two bonuses on anthropologists, and the lead. Asked for the decade when Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan was published, Alex Mistlin came in slightly early, and a one decade out answer lost 5. This allowed Hugh Oxlade in to level the scores. A full house on elements named after scientists meant that the score at the 20 minute mark was 125 – 110. It looked as if this contest would go right down to the wire.  

Nerves seemed to play a part as Theo Tindall came in too early to provide the answer that the anvil chorus is from Il Trovatore. James Fraser was happy to snap up that particular unconsidered trifle. Extinct Indo-European languages gave us both the same two bonuses, and this then led to the second picture starter. It was Theo Howe who came in first to identify a still of the Film Unforgiven showing actor and director Clint Eastwood. More stills from films whose directors also starred in them. Fitzwilliam took a full house on a fairly gentle set. The lead, at this point, was yoyoing back and forth between the two teams. You sensed that if one of them could take two starters in a row they might just start to pull away. The order of adjectives in English allowed Kitty Chevallier to ensure that Fitzwilliam didn’t get a second successive starter. Asked to identify highest mountains on the sveen continents based on their geographical coordinates, they failed to retake the lead, but languished 5 points adrift. There really was enough in the next question to identify Thomas More, but neither team managed it. A great buzz from Theo Tindall saw him identify administrative regions, or oblasts, of Kyrgyzstan. Two correct answers meant that Emmanuel needed a full house just to pull level. The reliable Kitty Chevallier knew the first words of Twelfth Night – If music be the food of love – and pulled back 2/5ths  of the deficit. None of the literature bonuses could be taken though. No one knew the island of Krk for the next starter. Now, if you’re asked for a country that was once part of French Indochina, you’ve really got a one in three chance. Those were the odds facing Alex Mistlin who won the buzzer race. If he zigged correctly, then a couple of answers would probably be enough. Actually he was some way away, going for Thailand, rather than Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia. Given an answer to nothing Theo Howe went for Vietnam, but Laos was required. I as very pleased with myself for rearranging the chemical formula for salt to make the word clan for the next starter just as Jack Maloney buzzed in with the same answer. One felt instantly that this was it for Emmanuel. So it proved, as the contest was gonged, leaving Fitzwilliam winners by 175 – 150.  

Very hard lines to Emmanuel – that was a contest which could easily have gone either way. Well played both.  

Jeremy Paxman Watch 

He was extremely well behaved until Emmanuel identified Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven as the work of Oasis. “Good heavens no!” he spluttered, “ . . . the IMMORTAL Stairway to Heaven”. Led Zep fan, Jez? Really?  

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

Karl Marx Gave The Proletariat Eleven Zeppelins, Yo – hands down, no contest.


Jack said...

Good match, well played by both sides, in the end it was Fitzwilliam's better bonus rate that won the game, 18/25 to Emmanuel's 13/27. Unlucky to them, but no shame in going out at this stage.

On Monday, the first play-off between Bristol and Edinburgh, the week after Newcastle vs Fitzwilliam; I can't call either of those matches on paper, so hopefully we'll get some good matches!

Aethelstan said...

There's been some good science questions of late but someone has a curious interest in the names of not terribly well known theories in environmental science and evolution.

At Jacks place I stated that I had trouble liking Fitz. Not changed that but, very well, on rewatching they can have some bonus points for that superb wicker goat mascot that was posted next to them.

I will somewhat naughtily call Edinburgh for monday.