Saturday, 28 July 2018

University Challenge 2019 - Round One Heat 2 - Emmanuel, Cambridge v. Glasgow University

Emmanuel, Cambridge v. Glasgow

Hello again, Dearly Beloved, and how was your week? Mine? Well, to be honest, pretty good, thanks for asking. Start of the school summer holidays is always a time for celebration. So, who would be celebrating after this second heat? First off we had Connor Macdonald, Vedanth Nair, Ben Harris and skipper Daniella Cugini, representing Emmanuel, Cambridge. Their opponents were Glasgow University, in the shape of Lewis Barn, Freya Whiteford, Cameron Herbert, and captain James Hampson. If these two teams could provide as good a match as we’d been served up in the first heat, then I wouldn’t be complaining.

5  letter word – symphonic poem by Mussorgsky. That was enough to give me night for the first starter, and a poem by Auden and painting by Rembrandt saw James Hampson win the buzzer race. This earned Glasgow a set of bonuses on Heligoland, of which we both took a brace. Ben Harris opened Emma’s account, recognising a definition of the word metabolism. Renaissance court painters provided a relatively tricky set of which they took 1. Both Lewis Barn and I took a flier on the next, offering Alfred Hitchcock for a film maker born in London in 1899. Nobel laureates in Chemistry saw me set off around the living room for being able to dredge up the name of Dorothy Hodgkin. A couple of correct answers saw Glasgow extend their lead. So to the picture round. We saw the island of New Guinea, and the first to identify it was Connor Macdonald. More international islands whose territory is divided between two or more nations saw Emma take an impressive full house. I felt that identifying St. Martin’s – which I couldn’t – was particularly good. Connor Macdonald took a second consecutive starter, coming in early to identify the playwright and actor Sam Shepard. The Hindu goddess Durga didn’t necessarily promise a great deal, but gave me a full house to Emma’s one. Now, when the words – in a mathematical magic square – passed JP’s lips for the next starter, I thought that there was no chance of me getting it. In desperation, after JP had read out 8 numbers, I said 5 which was the only one he hadn’t mentioned. Lewis Barn buzzed in with the same number. It was right. Flabbergasted enough to break my ‘too old for more than one lap of honour per show’ rule, when I sat back down Glasgow had taken 1 bonus on animal names which comprise of two other animal names, for example raccoon dog. This had the effect of levelling the scores at 55 apiece on the ten minute mark.

Daniella Cugini recognised that Myron was the sculptor of the Discobolus, and buzzed in early to earn bonuses on photographic self portraits. We both ook two bonuses, missing out on Cindy Sherman (altogether now – also known as Cindy Who in Lam Towers). Lewis Barn buzzed in early to supply us with the term bionic, in a question which alluded to the 10 year old me’s favourite TV show, the Six Million Dollar Man. 6 million dollars. Today that’d maybe get you half a bionic fingertip. The solar system bonuses saw captain James Hampson at one point say one of my favourite quiz observations – ‘I don’t even understand the question’. They still took a bonus. A really lovely UC special question alluded to the word byte in the middle of Presbyterian. Freya Whiteford zigged with bit, allowing Vedanth Nair to zag with byte. A set on German political parties gave Emmanuel a full house, putting them into triple figures as we headed to the music starter. The unique tones of Debbie Harry singing about a chap called Dennis allowed James Hampson to buzz in with Blondie. Three more songs by anglophone acts including refrains or interludes from other languages saw Glasgow take a timely full house, and thus earn the much prized Paxman well done. The next starter, about the insect order dermaptera, was one of those which suddenly becomes obvious, and this time it was Connor Macdonald who won the buzzer race to identify earwigs. An impressive full house on optimism followed. Asked for the political office held by John Aislabie who was found guilty of corruption in promoting the South Sea company- Chancellor of the Exchequer was always going to be worth a punt, and the first to take the opportunity was Cameron Herbert. Bonuses on physics gave Glasgow a full house – and I answered Joule for a Lancashire born physicist, but declined the third lap of honour this offered me. Vedanth Nair came in too early for the Appalachians – the American Mountain range including various named series of hills, losing five, but James Hampson couldn’t capitalise, zigging with the Rockies. The big clue was the mention of the Shenandoah. Neither team could quite dredge up the Royal Academy of Arts for the next starter. Now – how about this. The next starter asked “A letter of the Swedish alphabet is the official symbol used to measure wavelengths – and at this point I came up with Angstrom, literally as Freya Whiteford was buzzing in to offer the same answer. Yes, dearly beloved – for me an unprecedented fourth lap of honour worthy answer in the same show. National trails in England and Wales failed to provide them with any further points. This mean that right on the cusp of the 20 minute mark Glasgow held a slender lead of 130 – 120. What a good match.

The second starter showed us a still of the character Alan Partridge. The time it took for either team to buzz suggested that we at home got to see the photo several seconds before they did. James Hampson won that buzzer race. Stills from three more TV series created or co created by the great Armando Ianucci saw Glasgow take a full house – I should think so too. The Glasgow skipper took another flier for the next starter, knowing that the piers and Brighton and Aberystwyth are particularly known for their populations of starlings. English words of Arabic origin saw Glasgow take two. Even if they didn’t get another answer all night, their score of 175 would surely see them into the repechage round at the very least. Both teams thought for a moment before Vedanth Nair gave us Egypt and Saudi Arabia as the two countries either side of the Red Sea through which the Tropic of Cancer passes. Good shout, that. Bonuses on British royalty brought 2 bonuses, and for the second week running it looked as if both teams on show would have a good chance of playing a second match. Freya Whiteford took a flier with plankton for the next starter and lost five. She was unlucky since within a second or two it became obvious that the creatures being described were jellyfish. Ben Harris took that one. Hans Sloane (was he a bit of a square? I’m here all week, ladies and gents.) gave Emmanuel two bonuses and reduced the gap between the teams to just ten points. Cameron Herbert identified David Hockney as the subject of a 2017 retrospective exhibition for the next starter. Winter and poets only yielded five points, which meant that the teams would be all square if Emma could take a full house on the next set. Instead Ben Harris lost five, but can’t be blamed for slinging buzzer at this stage of the game. James Hampson couldn’t capitalise, neither team giving the sought after term of glycine. The musical term alla tedesca means after the style of the people of Germany. How did I manage to guess that? Well, in my youth I was known to read the odd war comic, and distinctly remember times when the German soldiers were called ‘Tedeschi’. Sad. Neither team guessed that one. Now, the fact that Hardy’s novel “Far From the Madding Crowd” takes its title from a line in Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” is a bit of an old chestnut, meant I was a little surprised that both teams rather sat on their buzzers before Daniela Cugini buzzed in with the right answer. Wars fought by the Brits in Asia saw them take two very quick bonuses, though it was interesting to see Ben Harris seemingly advising his excitable skipper to exercise a little caution at this stage. With a ten point gap and at most a couple of minutes to go, it really was squeaky bum time. The unflappable Glasgow skipper was first to buzz in with the term distal for the next starter. Bonuses on Michael Vaughan pushed them to 200. Emmanuel could still tie the scores with a full house, but was there enough time? No. We were gonged halfway through a Jane Austen starter. 

Well played both teams, that was a great match. Emmanuel must have an excellent chance of a repechage play off with 175 points. As for Glasgow, congratulations on a fine performance. Best of luck in the second round. 

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Right then Jez, since you insist on correcting perfectly good answers, here’s a correction for you. You asked for a 6 LETTER TERM. Lewis Barn correctly answered Bionic. “BIONICS, yes” you replied. Jez, for heaven’s sake, count the number of letters in bionics. That’s just embarrassing. 

When weighing up options for one of the optimism bonuses Emmanuel decided that Schopenhauer was ‘a bit miserable’ and when offered this as an answer, JP replied , “Correct – a very miserable man indeed.” Altogether now – takes one to know one, Jezza. 

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

Brit Frederick Sanger is the only person so far to have won two Nobel Prizes in Chemistry.


Unknown said...

Hi! I saw this on my Twitter, great review (I'm Dani from the Emmanuel team if it's not showing up as my name here) - wanted to confirm a couple of things:

1. Yes, the audience sees the picture rounds before the contestants do. Partridge went extraordinarily quickly - quicker than I could actually process what was on screen, to be honest.
2. You've mixed up Connor Macdonald and Cameron Herbert a couple of times.
3. Can confirm Far From the Madding Crowd is a bit of a chestnut - but there's a few quotes from Elegy which have been used in other stuff (Paths of Glory I believe is one?) so it took a couple seconds to dredge it up!

Jack said...

Yes, another very good game indeed, well played both sides, and I would imagine 175 would be enough to bring Emmanuel back in the play-offs. Lets hope so, these are both teams who could go a fair distance into this contest; Glasgow, incidentally, are the only one of Scotland's four ancient universities that hasn't reached the semis of a Paxo hosted UC series, this lot might just change that.

On the bonuses, Emmanuel managed 19/27 (with two penalties) and Glasgow 19/33 (with one penalty), so two extra starters won the game.

On Monday, the first Oxbridge match of the series, as Pembroke of Oxford play Downing of Cambridge. No show the week after, so we're back on 13th August afterwards. Still some wait for Only Connect to return; according to VCM on Twitter, we should be seeing it back for a short series in the Autumn.

Aethelstan said...

That was a good one again wasn't it? Quite enjoyable questions again, I found. The teams struck me as being a bit better balanced than last week. I was impressed by Emma, let's hope we see them again. You would have thought 175 would bring them back, I believe they could have bested some of last seasons quarter finalists. Let's hope these first two matches set the tone for the season and we don't have any of the weird mismatches that seemed to afflict early matches last year.

I liked the Alan Partridge one, and when he flashed up I did wonder whether he would register properly with some of the more youthful team members..

Londinius said...

Hi Dani, and thank you for taking the time and trouble to leave a comment. D'Oh - I've corrected the post now - apologies to Connor and Cameron over that. Obviously you can't say if you made it to the repechage, but here's hoping, and wishing you the best of retrospective luck if you did.

Hi Jack and Aethelstan. Yeah - it's been a great start to the series, hasn't it? Four good teams and two terrific matches. Long may it continue - nobody really wants to see one team thrashing another.

Stephen Follows said...

Since nobody else has mentioned it, Lewis Barn was also part of the very good Dandies team on the last series of Only Connect, alongside Oscar Powell (UC winner) and Jack Bennett (Brain of Britain finalist). I look forward to seeing whether he can go as far as his illustrious colleagues.