Friday, 12 October 2018

University Challenge 2019 - Round One - UCL v. King's, London

UCL v. King’s London

Our second London University derby of the season pitted UCL against King’s. UCL were, George Mitkov, Sophia Walker, Feiyu Fang and captain Robert Johnstone. King’s in their turn were represented by Liam Tsang, Rhianne Jones, Katie Heath and their own skipper Anthony Chater.

The first starter was one of those where you have to wait and wait until it suddenly becomes obvious then slam the buzzer through the desk. Looking for a word linking several works, the most obvious was the last. If it’s by Jung Chang, then it’s wild swans, and so the answer must be wild. Sophia Walker knew that, and took the points, earning a set of bonuses on a set of quotations whose final words rhymed with each other. They took two , but I’m a little surprised that nobody knew the James Joyce quote. Now, if the question asks for an American memorial, you’re immediately thinking of Mount Rushmore, especially so when the question also uses the words carved – and – granite -. So George Mitkov was doing the right thing when he buzzed in early with the correct answer. Members of bands mentioned in the title of “All the Madmen: To the Dark Side of English Rock” brought UCL a single bonus. Now, me, I thought Allopatric was the correct greeting for the late famous TV stargazer Mr. Moore, but apparently it’s a term in biology as well, which Liam Tsang took on the buzzer. Philosophers according to their descriptions in the 1907 Nuttall Encyclopaedia brought King’s a full set. Anthony Chater made it 5 from 5 for King’s, knowing that Inigo Jones designed the Queen’s House in Greenwich. Very nice it is too. Lanthanide elements was the subject of the bonuses. I duly strapped on my trainers since a lap of honour opportunity seemed to be in the offing. I didn’t get Cerium, but Neodymium was good enough and off I trotted, bagging Praseodymium as I was making the circuit. The picture starter was a map showing the locations of three major industrial museums in the UK. When asked for the activity around which all three are themed, well, the South Wales one looked like Blaenavon to me, which meant that Big Pit colliery museum. I was right, and so was Rhianne Jones. Three more maps of themed industrial heritage museums brought a third consecutive full set to King’s, whose bonus conversion rate at this point was 100%. At the 10 minute mark they led by 75 – 35.

Now, for the next starter I was sure it was cricket from the George Orwell quote, but the moment it mentioned E.W. Hornung I knew it was. He created Raffles, and Raffles played cricket for England when he wasn’t robbing the rich and stupid. Neither team was quick to take a punt until Sophia Walker buzzed in to get UCL’s show back on the road. British History brought no points. I was very surprised that they didn’t get New Model Army, but there we are, they’re all easy if you know them. Sophia Walker, who was having a great evening on the buzzer so far, had a good guess that it was TS Eliot being referenced in the next question. Amino acids promised me nothing, which is exactly what they brought me. They brought one bonus to UCL. Liam Tsang struck like a coiled cobra to take the next starter, knowing the inscription on the gravestone of Boltzmann. I prefer Spike Milligan’s – he has “I told you I was ill” in Gaelic. Sisters in 20th century US fiction finally saw King’s drop bonuses, and they failed to add to their score. I only knew the last one because of the film of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. So to the music starter and it fell to George Mitkov to identify the work of Maurice Ravel. Three more French composers brought one correct answer. Now, you had to stick with the next one, but when it ended with the 1513 death of one of the two countries’ kings in battle while invading the other it was obvious this must have been Flodden, so the two countries were England and Scotland. We’d already seen that UCL are no great shakes on History, but neither it appeared were King’s, as both teams were somewhat wide of the mark. Asked for an ancient Lebanese seaport, I don’t blame George Mitkov for zigging early with Tyre, but the question alluded to it being the origin for the Greek word for book, and that meant it could only be Byblos. So to the next starter, and it was Sophia Walker who identified the town of Aix En Provence from a series of clues. China in the 1920s brought up two bonuses, and this gave UCL back the lead. The indefatigable Sophia Walker stretched this lead by buzzing early to identify Zadie Smith’s novel “Swing Time”. This took UCL to 100, and Robert Southey gave them ten more points. So, just after the 20 minute mark, superior buzzing had seen UCL forge a lead of 110 to King’s 85.

The second picture starter saw George Mitkov identify the work of Frank Gehry. Other examples of Blobism or Blob Architecture brought UCL a full house. Their bonus conversion rate seemed to be improving as the contest continued, and it really meant that King’s were going to have to start slinging some buzzer seriously if they were going to come back into contention. Skipper Robert Johnstone took the next one on the volley for UCL, though, knowing the septum as defined in the question. A set of relative gimmes on pregnancy gave them another full house, and things were looking bleak for King’s now. Skipper Anthony Chater went for his buzzer on the next starter, but was beaten to the draw by George Mitkov, who knew that the two Prime Ministers mentioned in the question both succeeded the Pitts. Another two bonuses on ferns followed, and UCL now had a lead of 95.A really nice UC special gave us a series of actors, all of whose first names began with A and their surnames began with B – but only some of their prominent roles. First to work it out correctly was Liam Tsang. History bonuses didn’t promise much bearing in mind previous form, but they managed one. This took them to 100 points, which shortly became 110 when Liam Tsang had another lightning buzz to identify the SI unit asked for as the second. Geological periods named after Geographical areas brought just one bonus. Sadly their bonus for, so impressive earlier in the contest, seemed to have deserted them when they needed it most. For the next starter I zigged with infra red while Liam Tsang correctly zagged with ultraviolet for his treble. Professional cycling brought 2 bonuses. They’ve put on 50 points in short time, but there just wasn’t enough time for King’s to get much closer. Mind you, Anthony Chater still buzzed early for the next starter on baseball, and added another ten points. That was it though, as the contest was gonged halfway through a second bonus on Edward Albee.

UCL won with 185 – 145. This was a game won on the buzzer, with Sophia Walker particularly impressive for UCL. Well done, and best of luck in round two. As for King’s, it just begs the question why they only found their buzzer fingers in the last few minutes – it’s not as if UCL were that fast on all of their bonuses – just on some of them. As the old maxim goes, it’s bonuses for show, but buzzers for dough.  Good game though, and well played to both teams.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

UCL are on - I announced to no one in particular. - I bet JP calls them the Godless Institution of Gower Street. - He ALWAYS says this. Well, he didn’t when he introduced UCL. This was just to lull me into a false sense of security, though, for he brought it into his introduction of King’s.

Halfway through the third starter he stopped and asked Sophia Walker “Are you alright?” – I think she may have been choking for a moment. Time was when he’d have followed her announcement that she was fine with the words ‘Well sit up straight and pay attention then!’ He’s definitely mellowed.

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

David Bowie covered ‘See Emily Play’ on one of his albums.

Monosodium glutamate was first derived in 1908 from seaweed.


Jack said...

One of the better first round matche4s this series. U.C.L. probably won it on the buzzer, with King's probably slightly better on the bonuses, 13/22 to U.C.L.'s 17/30. King's might yet be back in the play-offs, though they are fourth with two games to go, and the fact that Paxo didn't mention the play-offs in his final chat would imply they won't make it. We shall see.

No game on Monday, Autumnwatch gets priority, back on the 22nd with East London vs Manchester. And Only Connect is back then too!

Will G said...

Hi, Both.

This result obviously means at least one of the 150 losing teams will be returning. Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry has highlighted Hertford as guaranteed to return and Exeter as a possible. Does anyone know how the differentiate?

Londinius said...

Hi Will. Actually I don't. Number of starters answered correctly? Bonus conversion rate? Your guess is as good as mine.

Jack said...

We don't know for sure that Hertford are the through team yet. But, usually, when two teams are tied on the same show, the team that acquired the score with fewer starters get priority. We think. By that logic, Hertford would get through over Exeter if tied for fourth place.

Stephen Follows said...

She wasn't choking - she was berating herself for not getting David Bowie in the previous question.