Friday, 16 November 2018

University Challenge 2019 - Repechage Match 2 - Hertford, Oxford v. Exeter

So to the second repechage match. Hertford, Oxford, represented by Steffi Woodgate, Pat Taylor, Chris Page and skipper Richard Tudor, lost on the buzzer to Clare of Cambridge in the first round, while Exeter, whose team were Simon Waitland, Will Klintworth, Jessica Brown and their skipper Danny Lay, lost a thriller to Warwick in the very first match of the series, back in July.

Possibly mindful of the way that his team were buzzed out of their heat, Chris Page came in very early for the first starter, and lost five, allowing Simon Waitland to buzz in, and rather amusingly give the correct answer while JP was burbling on telling them that they could hear the whole question. The answer was paradise papers. No, me neither. Meetings and assemblies gave Exeter a further 10 points, but I wondered if they’d rue saying enclave rather than conclave. I felt that both teams rather sat on their buzzers for the next starter, asking where Plato taught, until Richard Tudor buzzed in with Academy after a number of other clues to the word. Karl Pearson , (altogether now – known in LAM Towers as Karl Who) promised but little, but actually served me up a lap of honour for knowing that Francis Galton is considered the father of Eugenics. That was the only one that Hertford knew as well. I didn’t know that 40,000 doctors cooperated in a study that established a link between smoking and cancer, but I guessed for the next starter. Steffi Woodgate knew. Doping in sport provided a further two bonuses. Both Richard Tudor and I recognised the names of two of the tutors of Elizabeth I. for the next starter. Lorraine Hansberry added another bonus to both of us. Hertford were outbuzzing Exeter at this stage, but not making the most of the bonus opportunities. Early days though. On to the picture starter which showed us a map on which a major forest, obviously the Forest of Dean, had been marked. First to identify it was Will Klintworth. More of the same brought another two correct answers. This meat that just before the ten minute mark Hertford still led, but only by 45 – 35.

Chris Page won the buzzer race to say that YBA in a particular context stands for Young British Artists. Manet’s Le Dejeuner Sur l’Herbe provided Hertford with their first full house of the evening. Danny Lay knew that for the most part, if you hear the words Charles Goodyear at the start of a question, if you answer vulcanisation at once, you’re going to be right a lot more often than you’re going to be wrong. Bonuses on the sciences promised me but little, although I did know that a gram stain is used to distinguish between bacteria. Exeter took two. Will Klintworth knew that the Visegrad contains Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as Hungary. Good shout, that. Early Gothic cathedrals only provided a single bonus for Exeter, but more importantly it gave them the lead. Neither team could manage to dredge up the proverb ‘good fences make good neighbours’ for the next starter. Despite a very helpfully worded question, neither team knew the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. Exeter nonetheless seemed to have warmed up now, and Will Lay won the buzzer race to idenfity the term Dustbowl, as in the Great American of the 1930s. Agricultural products beginning with co provided no more points, but took us up to the music starter. Will Lay very quickly recognised the work of Edvard Grieg. Three exercises in musical nostalgia brought Exeter two correct answers, and me nowt. However I atoned for it knowing that a neotenic Mexican salamander must be an axolotl – giving me ax for the next starter. Chris Page wasn’t far behind either, with a timely back to put his own team’s effort back onto the rails. I was surprised that they didn’t know that Napoleon Bonaparte is buried in Les Invalides – you can’t afford to miss gimmes like that in a tight match. They did rally to recognise the name of the composer of the Marseillaise to score one bonus on the set. Thus galvanised skipper Richard Tudor took a good early buzz to identify Purple as the colour in the title of a 1985 Woody Allen film – The Purple Rose of Cairo if you’re not certain. Elements known since antiquity gave me that rarest or rara aves, a full house on Science. Hertford too took a full house, which gave them back the lead. Good match. Simon Waitland knew about Coriolis to snatch back that lead with the next starter. Meera Nair’s work has, I’m afraid, passed me by, but I did guess the last. Exeter went one better than me for that set of bonuses. Thus, on the cusp of the 20 minute mark they led, but the contest was nicely poised at 125 – 110.

Pat Taylor took a good early buzz to identify the phonetics term rhotic. South American capital cities offered a potential full house, and indeed that’s what they delivered, handing Hertford back the lead. A still from the biographical film about Iris Murdoch saw neither team able to identify its subject. A rush of blood to the head saw Will Lay throw away 5 points by buzzing early to identify the Red Fort as located in Beijing. This was compounded when Pat Taylor gave the correct answer of Delhi. The Picture bonuses from films about writers brought a full house to Hertford, who must have felt that the wind was well into their sails at this point. Steffi Woodgate buzzed early to recognise parts of an insects eye – each ot their own, I suppose. Bonuses on the Berlin Wall took the Hertford lead to 60 points, and with just 4 minutes to go, that looked decisive. It wasn’t over yet though. Will Klintworth won the buzzer race to identify L’Eminence Rouge as Richelieu. Bonuses on India didn’t help a great deal, yielding just the one correct answer. At this stage there was no point in Exeter sitting back on their buzzers, so I don’t blame Will Klintworth for taking a flyer with the next starter, but he failed to identify that Blair, Major etc were all Leaders of the Opposition. Richard Tudor confirmed Hertford’s win by giving the correct answer. History bonuses brought a further ten points. Haemaglutinin – gesundheit – was right up Steffi Woodgate’s street, and she left everyone else trailing in her wake for the next starter about said antigen. Meteorites provided just the one bonus, but this was immaterial since the job was done. Nobody could dredge up the term epicene for the next starter. Will Lay did well to buzz early to identify Le Figaro as the newspaper named after a character created by Beaumarchais, but Exeter’s chance had passed several minutes earlier. US Golf courses at least allowed Exeter to finish with a flourish with a full house. Indeed the final answer of the evening was supplied by Will Klintworth who recognised a description of General Gordon. This took Exeter’s score to 165 – higher than the first round, while Hertford won with 215. Make no mistake, this was a quality match, and a pleasure to watch – well played to both teams.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Nothing to see here, citizens. Go on with your lives.

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

The first case of competitors losing their medals for doping offences was the 1968 Swedish Modern Pentathlon team.


Jack said...

Another fine high quality match, between two evenly matched team, ultimately decided on the buzzer late on. Hertford's slightly better bonus rate also counted in their favour, 22/33 to Exeter's 15/27. No shame in Exeter going out on that performance, Hertford, like Emmanuel last week, definitely worth keeping an eye on having twice performed well against good opponents.

Speaking of which, according to Ms Cugini on Twitter, Emmanuel are back in the first second round match on Monday, playing St Peter's. Another potentially close match that.

Also, Dave, I wonder if you saw this week's Only Connect; would be interested to hear your thoughts on the two debatable decisions.

Londinius said...

Sorry Jack - I didn't see it - do tell.

Stephen Follows said...

This seems to be why the leaders of the opposition question was unexpectedly difficult:

Jack said...

I noticed that mistake too; slip of the tongue probably.

Anyway Dave, for the picture question in the first round, one team were shown: a margarita pizza, then a Garibaldi biscuit, then a Caesar salad. They offered at this point that that they were all named after Italians; they were given the points, given that it was right for the clues we had seen, but the last clue, a Beef Wellington, not named after an Italian. The right answer was that they were just foods named after people.

Then, in the second round, the other team saw: 'Room 5', then 'Give it 4%'. At this point, they offered 'France 2', their reasoning being that adding 96 to each number would give a phrase, 'Room 101', 'Give it 100%' and 'France 98'. Now, this wasn't the correct answer or sequence, but VCM gave them the points, as they had come up with an answer and sequence that fitted the clues they had seen. The correct sequence was binery misreadings, 'Turn the volume up to 3' would've been third and 'Starter for 2' an acceptable answer.

Both decisions to award the points have caused a bit of discussion; I personally think if you're going to give one, you have to give the other too, or not give either. But that's just my views. Would be interested to hear you adjudication.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack,
Very interesting. Not having seen the show I hesitate before sticking my oar in. However, for what it's worth, this is my two penn'orth. For many people, Only Connect is THE quizzer's quiz show. Let's be honest, we've all been to quizzes where the way a question has been phrased has actually thrown up possible answers which the setter has not necessarily considered. In most cases either the setter doesn't have the breadth of knowledge to realise this, or to accept it when it is pointed out to him or her, and falls back on the old axiom, the question master is always right. Which is fair enough, because if you didn't have that to fall back on, then quizzes could descend into anarchy. It says a lot for Only Connect that the team were confident enough to be able to say - you know what, you're right. Let's take the first set you mentioned. If instead of a Caesar salad they had perhaps a Peach Melba, then I think that it wouldn't have been fairer. But to have three foods named after Italians - and Caesar Cardini was certainly born in Italy - was really inviting that conclusion. In a show noted for the general excellence of its question setting, this maybe wasn't the best constructed set ever, but it's forgiveable, and I tend to think that the ruling was fair.

As for the other, well, I don't think I've ever seen another team come up with an acceptable answer for a round two question by using completely the wrong sequence. But the thing is, their France 2 doesn't work with the correct sequence. Hmmm, this is tricky. You see, if their answer had worked with the binary misreadings, then fair enough, no problem. But it didn't, and I would have tended to say - well done, ingenious suggestion, but not, I'm afraid what we were looking for as you'll see when I show the other team the third clue. It's tricky, though. I'm not sure whether it would have been given if the other adjudication hadn't happened in the same show. Not a problem though - as long as the same principle is applied in all such cases, and there's consistency.

Aethelstan said...

Thought we had a good match last week there! A shame in a way we have St Peters vs Emma on monday, two of the stronger teams and we lose one of them...