Saturday, 10 November 2018

University Challenge, Repechage 1, Emmanuel, Cambridge v. King's, London

Connor Macdonald, Vedanth Nair, Ben Harris and skipper Daniella Cugini, representing Emmanuel, Cambridge, put on a very good performance narrowly missing out to Glasgow in their first round heat while scoring 175. Their opponents, Kings, London, Liam Tsang, Rhianne Jones, Katie Heath and their own skipper Anthony Chater, lost out in the Central London derby against old rivals UCL. They’d scored 145. Advantage Emmanuel? Time would tell.

Daniella Cugini, impressive in the first round match, started much the same way in this one, recognising a quote from “To Kill A Mockingbird” very early to take first blood for Emmanuel. Bonuses on the word cosmos brought just the one correct answer. Both teams rather sat on the buzzer for the next starter, with Connor Macdonald finally springing to life to answer Golda Meir just before the question was finished. Composers in London brought a full house. Liam Tsang hit back for UCL, recognising the definition of a bacterial colony for a timely early buzz. Astronomy and Physics I thought maybe offered me the chance of a lap of honour. Indeed, knowing that Chiron is a centaur from Greek Mythology, that’s exactly what happened. By the time I returned to the sofa, puffing and wheezing, (and it’s not even a big room) both King’s and I had taken our own full houses. Anthony Chater narrowed the gap further, knowing that Winchester Cathedral fitted the description given for the next starter. Barbara Hepworth yielded nowt for the bonuses, in what was a reasonably gettable set. So to the picture starter, and a map of part of the USA, with a city marked out in California. Vedanth Nair recognised that it was the state capital Sacramento. More American cities which were terminals of North American railroads provided a far from easy full house. Connor Macdonald took his second starter, recognising a description of sugar cane. Films of 2017 brought two bonuses, which meant that Emmanuel, who’d had the better of the opening exchanges, led by 85 to 35.

It was pretty obvious that the country in question, neighbouring Switzerland, was Liechtenstein, and Vedanth Nair won the buzzer race to supply that answer. This time Emmanuel’s bonuses were on female military leaders in China – can’t wait – I thought as JP announced these. Actually I still managed two, while Emmanuel took a good full house. Some chemistry thing to which Ben Harris supplied the correct answer Friedel-Crafts followed. Pressure brught another full set of bonuses, and at this stage the odds on a King’s win were getting longer and longer. There was a long time still to go, but Emmanuel had a 100 point lead. Nobody knew about ephedrine for the next starter. Now, if you ever get a question which contains the words “a German philologist” then it’s going to be about one or both of the Brothers Grimm. Daniela Cugini knew this as she buzzed in really quickly to answer Grimm’s Law to the next starter. Names often heard in pairs gave us a wonderful UC special set which earned Emmanuel two bonuses. So to the music starter. Anthony Chater quickly recognised that the Trolley Song was from the musical Meet Me In St. Louis. Three more MGM musicals from this period brought the ten points they needed to reduce the gap to an even hundred. A UC special set saw Ben Harris give us auk and ork, and then almost curse himself as he realised it is auk and orc, a fact which didn’t escape Katie Heath. Bonuses on various Engelberts brought the gap down to 75. Katie Heath then committed the fatal error of not listening to the question. Asked for an island in a novel by Swift, she gave us the title of the novel, “Gulliver’s Travels” allowing Ben Harris to take revenge by giving us Lilliput. To bonuses of their own on impact craters in the solar system followed. Rhianne Jones knew various latin words beginning with AL. Countries that formerly possessed nuclear weapons brought a couple more bonuses for King’s, and right on the cusp of the 20 minute mark the score stood at 175 – 95 to Emmanuel. The task was not totally beyond King’s at this stage, but it would require some phenomenal buzzer work.

Nobody knew the geometry starter which followed. Vedanth Nair recognised that the other person from the one named who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was Malala Yousafzai. The anatomy of fish brought up a full house, and magnified the scale of the mountain that King’s still had to climb. The second picture starter brought a photograph of a British historical figure. Connor Macdonald did the old quizzer’s trick of only offering the surname “Pankhurst”. JP was having none of it, “Which one?” he asked, his eyes narrowing with suspicion. Connor Macdonald zigged correctly with Emmeline. Three more people involved in the Women’s Suffrage Movement brought one bonus. Now, if it’s a beverage and it’s a cantata, it’s coffee. Anthony Chater knew that, and struck like a coiled cobra. Madness in Shakespeare brought 2 bonuses. However, every time King’s scored, Emmanuel would just take the next starter, and Vedanth Nair recognised a description of Baku for the next starter. National trails in Southern England brought just one bonus, but it really didn’t matter. The clock was running down and King’s were pretty much out of time, even if they answered every remaining question. They took the next one, Liam Tsang knowing osteoblasts. Fictional spacecraft did them no favours and they failed to add to their score. The impressive Vedanth Nair took the next starter giving the terms of supply and demand in economics. Pele did them no favours, but it was immaterial. Anthony Chater won a fast buzzer race to identify the opening line of “The Go Between” which I once mistakenly thought was written by J.R.Hartley, (younger readers may wish to consult their parents or grandparents about that specific cultural reference). Island countries did at least allow King’s to reduce the gap to double figures. That was it. Emmanuel won by 235 to 140, in a pretty convincing performance. Hard lines King’s.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

‘Is it Alexander von Humboldt? is that the brother you were thinking of?’ asked Jez, teasingly. ‘Yes? Well, you didn’t get him!’ He started early this week. For the film question, asked for a city in Yorkshire, Daniella Cugini, acting on advice from Vedanth Nair that the answer began with T, offered Truro. Cue the Paxman eyebrows shooting towards the ceiling. “Truro’s NOT in Yorkshire!” he sniffed, his nose wrinkling as if it had just detecting an unpleasant odour. Actually, though, I think that there was a bit of sympatico between Jez and the Cambridge skipper. When she offered Apollo and Daphne instead of Daphnis and Chloe, she shrugged her shoulders and went ‘Ach’ in a ‘hey, whaddya gonna do?’ gesture, which caused the great man to laugh, and replicate the same. Down, boy, down, or they’ll be putting bromide in your Horlicks again.

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

Chopin gave his final performance in London in 1848 after fleeing the unrest in Paris (which saw the overthrow of Louis Phillipe)


Jack said...

This was probably the best game of the series so far; both sides gave a high quality performance, both sides strong on the buzzer, and the bonuses, Emmanuel 24/36 and King's 12/24. No shame in King's to go out on that performance; Emmanuel, meanwhile, having performed strongly against two decent opponents, must be one to keep an eye on.

On Monday, the second play-off sees Hertford take on Exeter. The second round starts the week after, no word on who's playing yet though.

Aethelstan said...

A great match as Jack says. Emma set out their stall pretty early on and although King's, who were a decent team in their own right, tried, they couldn't catch them. Emma seems balanced, all players contributed, and a good quality captain to boot. All things being equal they should go far. I enjoyed the questions this week as well.

This monday's match could go either way in my view, although as a gut feeling I may say advantage Hertford, thinking back on performances.