Saturday, 27 October 2018

University Challenge - East London v. Manchester

East London v. Manchester

Welcome back UC. You were only gone for a fortnight, but I still missed you. There was a big, gaping, UC shaped hole in that Monday evening. Still, you’re back as the second half of the OC/UC double whammy, and all’s right with the world.

Let’s begin with East London. They were represented by Chloe Knecht, Stephen Harvie, Scott Danielsen and captain Chris O’Mahony. Opposition, from the mighty Manchester University, came in the shape of Alex Antao, Georgia Lynott, Joe Hanson and skipper James Ross.

Georgia Lynott took first blood, showing a nippy buzzer finger to come in early to identify the word gig. Dramatic theory (the theory of relativity was a pretty dramatic theory, I would have thought) provided Manchester with 2 correct answers. Georgia Lynott again buzzed early for the next starter knowing that political leader – and – Sir Peter Lely – was only going to have the answer Oliver Cromwell. Macro provided another 10 points. Next followed a UC special starter – one of those take the number of – divide it by the number of – add the number of questions. Nobody had it. Scott Danielsen from east London knew that if the question mentions Valparaiso and Mendoza, it’s got to be about Argentina and Chile. Bonuses on finches brought 2 bonuses of their own. Alex Antao took a flyer with the next starter. I understand why he suggested that sarcophagus has the meaning preserver of flesh – but actually its meaning is the opposite – eater of flesh. Given the rest of the question it became clearer that the word we were looking for, as supplied by Scott Danielsen, was creosote. Pairs of words, in which one has added at – at the start – eg tract and attract – formed a lovely little UC special set, and provided, well nowt, I’m afraid, and they really should have done better with them. None of us recognised the outline of Panama for the first picture starter. This rather handily brought us to the brink of the 10 minute mark, with both teams off the mark. Manchester led by 35 to 30. Chances of both teams going through, though, looked slim.

Alex Antao came in early to give us Snell’s Law for the next starter. This won the picture bonuses, more Geographical locations sharing their names with types of hat. A couple of bonuses were taken. James Ross knew that Shah Jahan ordered the building of the Taj Mahal, but that wasn’t what the question was going to ask about, and he lost five. Given the full question which took a bit of a swerve, Scott Danielsen knew that the second largest city of Pakistan is Lahore. Astronomy provided no bonuses for East London, but I took one with perihelion, and set off on my lap of honour. Thus I missed out on another Astronomy question which allowed Joe Hanson to have his own correct interruption with the Large Magellanic Cloud. The author Rosemary Hill brought just the one bonus. Now, when you hear ‘French painter’ and ‘Aix en Provence’ you really need to slam the buzzer through the desk and answer Cezanne because he does recur on a semi regular basis. Before the end of the question Alex Antao gave away five by chancing his arm with Monet. East London couldn’t capitalise. Both teams sat on their buzzer through the next starter, allowing Stephen Harvie to come in with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Now, you should know that if you get a set of bonuses on 18th century furniture designers the chances are that the answers will be Hepplewhite, Sheraton and Chippendale. Can you get them in the right order, though? East London didn’t, taking just the one bonus. So to the music starter. Sounded like Rachmaninov to me, but not to either team, apparently, but Rachmaninov it was. Once again, both teams dwelt on their buzzers for the next starter, allowing Stephen Harvie I to identify Goldsmith’s village. This brought the dubious honour of the music bonuses, which were recordings of Rachmaninov playing works by other composers. They had the first full house of the night. This gave them the  lead for the first time in the competition. James Ross brought his team right back in with a fantastic early buzz which identified various First Secretaries of State. Quotations beginning with the prefix self- were enough to level the scores at 80 apiece as we were about to hit the 20 minute mark. Good contest.

Stephen Harvie restored the East London lead, knowing that Mrs. Gaskell published a biography of Charlotte Bronte. Biology bonuses followed. I considered a lap of honour for peristalsis, but inertia overruled me. Two bonuses took East London into three figures. Scott Danielsen added to the score knowing geographical regions linked by the name Salvador. The Pacific Theatre in World War II saw them only take one of a very gettable set of bonuses. So to the picture starter with a promotional still from the early 80s dramatization of Brideshead Revisited. James Ross again played a captain’s innings, taking the starter to narrow his team’s deficit. Stills from more of the UK’s top TV progs of the 20th century as selected by the BFI provided Manchester with the points they needed for their own triple figure score. Alex Antao was the first in to recognise the definition of a hyperbola. Bonuses linked by the word fury brought the two bonuses they needed to retake the lead. Stephen Harvie knew various literary Roberts for the next starter. World politics in 1999 brought two bonuses, and a 15 point lead. It was all desperately close – squeaky bum time, in fact. Something chemical came next and Alex Antao was in very quickly with the correct answer of magnesium. Recent element names were a gift, which gave me a rare Science full house. Manchester also lapped these up. They were in the driving seat, especially when Alex Antao came in very early to correctly identify the Tagus as the longest river of the Iberian peninsula. Joe Hanson was already raising his fists in triumph. Would this celebration be premature? It looked unlikely since there was hardly any time left. Indeed we were gonged after one incorrectly answered bonus. Manchester had won by 155 to 135.

One fancies they might have won more convincingly if it hadn’t been for some wild early buzzing, but the other side of that particular coin is that they did win it on faster buzzing, and what seemed to me a slightly better rate on the bonuses. Good contest.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

We saw a little touch of exasperation from our hero when East London failed to really get to grips with one of the At- bonuses. They had atrium, but couldn’t get ria from it. “All you had to do was put A-T in front of it he sniffed.” WRONG! That would have given you atatria actually. The point was you had to take the AT away. – See Jez, I can be pedantic too!

His eyebrows shot towards the ceiling when Manchester suggested Gaudi was a leading figure of the Gothic revival in England. “It’s a terrible answer!” he confirmed when Joe Hanson offered this honest appraisal of his own work.

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

Creosote has the literal meaning ‘preserver of meat’


Jack said...

Low scoring but enjoyable match; any match decided on the final starter of the game is a good contest in my book. And yes, it was a better bonus rate that won Manchester the game, 16/26 (with three penalties) to East London's 11/24. Good effort from them, any team that gives a team with as strong a reputation as Manchester a good contest is a decent team.

On Monday, the final first round match sees Keble of Oxford play East Anglia. Then we move into the play-offs.

Aethelstan said...

Good match there I thought! I enjoyed the questions as well.

Agree with Jack, the weight of history be upon Manchester, an initimidating prospect for an opposition team, no doubt.

Looking forward to seeing to seeing what Keble can give us tomorrow