Friday, 14 September 2018

University Challenge 2019, Round One - Ediburgh v. Sidney Sussex, Cambridge

Edinburgh v. Sidney Sussex, Cambridge

Well, hello, good morning, and welcome. In last Monday’s match Edinburgh, in the shape of Matt Booth, Marco Malusa, and Robbie Campbell Hewson and their captain Max Fitz-James, took on Sidney Sussex of Cambridge. They, in their turn, were represented by Radu Thomas, James Delaney, Isobel Ollard and their skipper Jay Vinayak Ojha. Good enough, so let’s get cracking.

Now, I didn’t know that it was the projecting head of a glacier, but I did know that Snout was the tinker in A Midsummer Night’s whatsername. The nose or muzzle of an animal was enough for Isobel Ollard to take the starter, and earn a set on mythical beasts, of which they managed one. The Wyvern is a bit of an old chestnut. Also appeared on the badge of Vauxhall cars for that matter. Matt Booth knew that oxidane is a name for water. Edinburgh also only managed to convert one of their first set of bonuses on rivers. The Edinburgh skipper showed a twitchy buzzer finger when he came in for the next starter before it became obvious that the answer was the French ship The Medusa, as in The Wreck of by Gericault. That allowed Isobel Ollard to take her second starter. Cross gender productions of Shakespeare again saw just the one bonus taken. So to the first picture round. We saw the name of several characters created by the same author, written in Cyrillic. Now, I know just enough Cyrillic to see that the second one had the first name Boris, so it was possibly Boris Godunov, which would be Pushkin. So it was. Off the point, but Pushkin wrote a poem about my great, great, great, great uncle once. True story. No marks for not knowing that the current England cricket captain, Joe Root, was also captain last year. AT last Robbie Campbell Hewson stopped the rot, knowing Freetown in Sierra Leone. This brought up the picture bonuses, more sets of characters in Cyrillic. 2 bonuses meant that by the 10 minute mark, Edinburgh led by 30 -25. A close match, although by no means a high scoring one so far.

The next question was about moments of inertia, and I had more than a moment of inertia while it was being asked. Neither team had it. Me? Don’t be silly. A lovely early buzz from Marco Malusa saw him identify Skopje as a city roughly halfway between Tirana and Sofia. My heart, gentle reader, did not exactly jump for joy when JP announced the next set was on particle physics. However, cryptic crossword type clues to electron – elect – ron, lepton (leapt on) and gluon (work it out for yourself) saw me take a full house, and the wheeze-athon that is m weekly lap of honour around the living room began. Some stuff about molecular biology followed, and it did no more good for either team than it did for me. Max Fitz-James was in early to identify Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as 2 territories incorporated into the Dominion of Canada in 1867. Good shout that. 2 bonuses on the ancient people, the Alans (make your own jokes about that one) followed, and it looked as if Edinburgh were shifting up through the gears. The Edinburgh skipper took his second consecutive starter with Wilfred Owen’s poem “Strange Meeting”. A surprisingly easy set on words beginning with -imp – gave me a second Science full house, but Edinburgh missed out on the second. So to the music starter, and possibly my favourite Genesis song (it’s the shortest! Joke, I don’t mean it! I loved Genesis, and went to see them at Wembley Arena in December 1983. Getting out of the car park afterwards took longer than the whole gig.) Follow You, Follow Me, from And then there were three. That gave Matt Fitz-James his hat trick. More bands or artists with single names that feature in the titles of books of the Old Testament gave Edinburgh just the one bonus. However, this meant that they had scored 75 unanswered points, and Sidney Sussex were on the ropes and starting to look a wee bit groggy. Edinburgh’s captain pushed it a little too far coming in too early for the next starter and losing 5. Sidney Sussex could not capitalise with the word cortex. Matt Booth knew that the San Francisco Giants have won the Baseball World Series several times recently. A nice set of old chestnuts about the names of countries in their own language – for example Suomi = Finland – saw Edinburgh take their first full house of the night, and a lead of 100 points. Now, when a question asks you what game links – then gives the name of films with knight and queen in their titles, then it doesn’t matter whether you know or not, you go for the buzzer and answer chess. Neither team did. They both waited for the information which made it even more obvious, and Matt Booth won the buzzer race. The 2009 book Twitterature, which sums up major novels in tweets of 140 characters or less, brought two more bonuses. Having been shut out for the best part of 10 minutes, Isobel Ollard revived Sidney Sussex, identifying Sleeping Beauty, the ballet, from the names of some of the characters. Two bonuses on spots in paintings brought the score to 145 – 45 to Edinburgh at the 20 minute mark.

Radu Thomas recognised the work of Egon Schiele for the second picture starter. Three more depictions of Autumn brought, well, nowt, I’m afraid. I guessed the lamb dish whose name comes from stewed in ghee would be Rogan Josh, as did Matt Booth. The polymath Thomas Young ( altogether now, also known as Thomas Who in LAM Towers) brought both of us just the one correct answer. Radu Thomas recognised the words of Samuel Beckett for the next starter. Two bonuses on the British Empire were useful, but Sidney Sussex needed a lot more. I didn’t really understand the next question, but the answer, given by Robbie Campbell Hewson was caesium. Fair enough. Zoology only brought one bonus, but Edinburgh only needed points for gilding now. Sidney Sussex could not claw back the gap by now. Especially after Edinburgh’s distinctly useful skipper provided the answer that Boreas and Zephyrus, amongst others, represented winds in Greek Mythology. Chapter titles from well known novels provided another Edinburgh bonus. Max Fitz-James added another to his burgeoning starter collection, knowing that the something something something in molecular biology is phosphate. Fair enough. A set on US state capitals sounded full of Eastern Promise, but sadly we were gonged when we were both on for a full house after the first two bonuses. That was it. Edinburgh won by 210 to 75.

Sidney Sussex have my commiserations, but the fact is that you have to go for your buzzer, and sometimes take risks with starters, which they never quite managed to do. As for Edinburgh, well, it’s difficult to realistically assess their chances. They have a good buzzer in their skipper, but how they will cope with a faster buzzer team than Sidney Sussex is a matter of conjecture. Best of luck in round two anyway.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

On the cross gender productions, JP seemed a little tetchy when Sidney Sussex offered the male Benedict Cumberbatch in the male role of Malvolio. “No, it’s a cross ge – oh, never mind.”

Our host struggled really to say something positive to Sidney Sussex at the end. One sensed he mentally pulled back from the brink after saying “Well Sidney Sussex, that was a . . . “. Now, I’d like to think what he had in mind would not have continued with the words – load of old – but I can’t be certain. He gave the fair assessment of their performance with “Well, you never really got going did you?”

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
There is a species of gibbon called the Skywalker gibbon. 


Jack said...

A rather meh match in truth, started slowly, picked up later on, but a comfortable enough scoreline in the end. That said, Edinburgh managed a perfectly respectable 20/36 bonuses, and Messrs Booth and Fitz-James combined for nine starters overall, which stands them in decent stead for next time. Sidney Sussex managed 6/15 bonuses.

On Monday, Bristol play Queen's of Belfast. Next week, Dave, you'll be pleased to hear, Goldsmiths are on! Their opponents, the University of London Institute in Paris, who are, I believe, the first institution based outside the UK and Ireland to complete on the regular student series!

Aethelstan said...

I was a bit underwhelmed but Edinburgh seems to have the knack of sending good teams with 'stamina' for want of a better word,up. Interesting post about Mastermind Dave. I think I may have mentioned elsewhere, I wonder whether UC may be 'refreshed'at some point, I'd even put good odds on that if we get an all male final.

Londinius said...

Hi Aethelstan - with regards to freshening up UC - gawd, I hope not. It's pretty much right as it is. Yes, we could maybe have a couple fewer walkovers in the first round, and yes, JP could go a little bit more back to his previous acerbic self, but it's still great!