Sunday, 2 September 2018

University Challenge 2019 - Heat 6 - Strathclyde v. Durham

Well, here we are, dearly beloved, with the last review we need to take us up to ate with the competition. That wasn’t too painful. So, in last Monday’s heat we had Strathclyde, in the shape of Billy Hogg, Thomas Callan, Catherine Ember and captain Jack Pollock. Their opposition was provided by Durham, whose team comprised of Sian Round, Cameron Yule (any relation to legendary quizzer Donald Yule, I wonder) Ben Murray and skipper Matthew Toynbee.

Asked for a precise form of weather, Ben Murray needed no more than a mention of a 1971 track by The Doors to buzz in with the answer Storm. The novels of Daniel Defoe brought two bonuses. Ben Murray also took the next starter, knowing about the word gauge in particle physics. A full house on cricket commentators followed, although not, sadly, a reference to a great Two Ronnie sketch. Cameron Yule took his team’s third successful early buzz, knowing that the Blue Mosque is one of the sights of Istanbul. Atmosphere and space physics provided Durham with a further 10 points, and me with a lap of honour for guessing the term Heliopause based on what had come before. Nobody knew Martha Lane Fox who became a crossbench peer in 2013, but Jack Pollock lost 5 for chancing his arm before the end of the question. He made amends with the next starter, buzzing in with Russian rocket pioneer Tsiolkovsky. I had that as well, but had only just finished my previous lap of honour, so sat this one out. Now, I’ve never heard of Existential Comics, but it sounds like fun. Two bonuses on Captain Metaphysics brought a more healthy hue to Strathclyde’s score, and took us to the picture starter. This was a wonderful UC special, showing us the flags of the sequence of teams beaten in a specific year of the FIFA World Cup finals. Thomas Callan had that one, and a full house on three more of the same put Strathclyde within a full set of Durham’s score. The score stood at 65 – 40 right on the cusp of the ten minute mark. 

Sian Round recognised the Venice Bienniale for the next starter. Feminism in the 1970s brought two correct answers. I didn’t understand about stuff smelling of garlic, but  I did know that arsenic takes its name from a Persian word, as did captain Matthew Toynbee. Now, I’m very sorry. But when I took a full house on the bonuses on anti-coagulants, not only did I do another lap of honour, I also accompanied it with a pursed lips fanfare. Durham managed two. A UC special requiring the words either and differ saw Ben Murray being far too quick on his buzzer to allow Strathclyde a sniff of the points. Deaths in “The Lord of the Rings” proved to be meat and drink to Durham who took a full house. That man Murray was in again for the next starter, recognising the words of Schopenhauer. The domestic in 20th century art provided two correct answers. So to the music starter, and both teams dwelt on the buzzer a little before Matthew Toynbee buzzed in to tell us that the composer of what was obviously the Can Can was Offenbach. Three more examples of operatic satire or parody brought two more correct answer, and poor old Strathclyde just couldn’t seem to get into the contest at this stage. They didn’t get in for the next starter, when Matthew Toynbee recognised definitions of quartz and quasar before JP had finished the question. Named experiments in Physics brought another full house, and the game looked as good as over. Descriptions of other characters’ relationship to the title character of a well known novel were more than enough to give Cameron Yule “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”. Questions on medicine whose answers all began with G only provided a single bonus, but Durham had already gone beyond the 200 point barrier. Nobody knew the Han Dynasty of China for the next starter, but sadly Catherine Ember gave an incorrect early buzz and lost 5. That mean that not only had Durham shut Strathclyde out for a whole ten minutes, but Strathclyde had actually seen their score decrease. Durham led by 210 to 35. 

Volume of a sphere yutta yutta. Nobody had it. Cameron Yule knew that James II was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne. Margaret Thatcher gave Durham a full house, and a lead of 200 points. At least JP had not administered the coup de grace by telling Strathclyde that they had plenty of time to catch up, because they didn’t. The second picture starter looked like Cezanne, and by golly it was Cezanne. Cameron Yule knew that. Other works on show in the inaugural exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in New York brought another full house. Ben Murray buzzed in immediately after being asked the decade in which Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto. I actually knew that was 1930 too, but stuff it, no third lap of honour for that. Statues brought two bonuses. With 4 minutes to go Durham were now less than a full set away from the magical 300 point barrier. A good shout from Billy Hogg saw him identify that, as California is the most populous state of the USA, so New South Wales is the most populous state of Australia. Scientific terms beginning with flu- added a further ten points to their score. Both teams rather sat on their buzzers once we heard the word pipistrelle, with Matthew Toynbee eventually buzzing in to pluck that particular piece of low hanging fruit. Fish whose common names refer to other animals gave a full house which took Durham to 305. And there was still time for more. Cameron Yule was just too fast on the buzzer for Strathclyde when the teams were asked about the director in 16 of whose films Toshiro Mifune starred. A full house on fictional dogs followed. It was all too easy for Durham, whose Ben Murray buzzed in very early to identify the term mole from the definition. People with the surname Ford gave them the ten points they needed to reach 350. There was still no mercy shown towards Strathclyde, as Cameron Yule buzzed in to identify an 1867 Abraham Lincoln as a rare postage stamp. That was it, though, for the contest was gonged halfway through the first bonus. The final score was 360 – 55. 

For once, JP said the most appropriate thing he could to Strathclyde, that they were beaten by a very good team. Certainly were. As for Strathclyde, well, it’s difficult to comment on how strong or otherwise they were, although they managed 7 out of their 9 bonuses. They lacked firepower on the buzzer, and that gave them no chance against this Durham outfit. In my review of Heat 4 I criticised Downing for not achieving a score of 300 + when they were dominating the buzzer so much. Well, you certainly can’t make the same criticism of Durham. Their score – fantastic. Their bonus conversion rate I would imagine was very high. Ben Murray and Cameron Yule particularly caught the eye, but there was buzzing throughout the team. We’ve only got this one performance to go on, but this Durham outfit certainly seemed to have all of the attributes you’d expect from a team that can do extremely well in UC. I shall watch their second round match with interest. 

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP couldn’t quite bring himself to say well done when Strathclyde took their full house on the first picture set. “You watch a lot of football” he sniffed. Hmm. You never say “You read a lot of Periodic Tables” when a team gets a full house on Chemistry, Jez.

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

Apologies. I certainly didn’t know everything in this show, but I was so engrossed in the match that I didn’t jot a standout gobbet of information in my notes.


Jack said...

Spectacular stuff from Durham; all four players pulled their weight on the buzzer, and a bonus rate of 38/48! The exact same bonus rate 2010/11 champions Magdalen managed in their first match. Good omens? We shall have to wait and see, but you'd have to say they're one to watch definitely.

Strathclyde definitely not a bad team; their bonus rate definitely shows that, and they'd have beaten another team I'd have thought. Credit to them for taking it nicely in their stride.

Tomorrow's match pits York against St Edmund Hall of Oxford, the week after, Edinburgh vs Sidney Sussex of Cambridge.

Londinius said...

Thanks Jack.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

I can definitely vouch for the strength of Strathclyde's captain, Jack Pollock. We've never met, but he participates in the international pub quiz that I run and has finished on the podium 6 times out of 7, alone, the only person with anywhere near such a record. My quiz is teams of up to 4, which frequently include more than one A-rundle Learned League player. Jack is himself an A-rundle player, and you don't get there without being a very good quizzer indeed.

Spectacularly bad luck of the draw and those all-important fractions on the buzzer won the day unfortunately for Strathclyde. Durham are definitely a team to watch in the next round, as that was an emphatic performance.

Aethelstan said...

The Durham team, to me, epitomised a good UC team; sharing the workload with some good buzzing and an excellent conversion rate, and stands in interesting contrast to the Darwin match a few weeks back heavily dominated by the star player. There's been some discussion that Durham are not particularly significant on the university level quizzing circuit so it will be interesting to see how they fare further down the line, well I hope.

On another note, much UC discussion in the media and on twitter as regards gender balanced questions and team composition, with some worrying observations with respect to the number of ladies putting themselves forward for teams. Some articles feature anecdotes from Ms McKeown and Dr Woods.

Stephen Follows said...

It was 'either' and 'dither' - hence the one-letter difference mentioned in the question.

Steve Goddard said...

A bit late coming to this, but the website -- which got namechecked again in last night's match -- is indeed great fun (and it was thanks to it that I recognised two of the sexy philosophers last night). Updated every Monday!