Saturday, 22 December 2018

University Challenge 17/12 Goldsmiths, London v. Glasgow

Well, here we are, Dearly Beloved, the last leg of my quiz catch up this weekend, and arguably the one that I have the most personal stake in. My alma mater, University of London Goldsmith’s College, making what may well be their first ever appearance in the second round of University Challenge. Goldies were represented by Keshava Guha, Ieuan Cox, Jamie Robinson and effervescent skipper, Diana Issokson. Their opponents were Glasgow, represented by Lewis Barn, Freya Whiteford, Cameron Herbert, and captain James Hampson. This team had shown ominously good form in beating Emmanuel in the first round. I needn’t remind you that the same Emmanuel team are already in the quarter finals.

Freya Whiteford opened Glasgow’s account, recognising definitions of the word broadcast. This was after Keshava Guha dropped five for an incorrect early buzz. Film soundtracks brought them two more correct answers. James Hamspon was incredibly crick to realise that an article in Nature in 1953 would be Crick and Watson’s – presumably revealing the structure of DNA. Bonuses on Sir David Brewster yielded just five more points. The nezt starter, on the location of the University of Debrecen, was one of those you had to have patience with. As soon as it became clear, Cameron Herbert buzzed in with the correct answer of Hungary. Pairs of words beginning with the same doubled vowels provided another single bonus. For the picture starter we saw an actresses nominations for Oscars, and the films for which she was nominated but didn’t win. James Hampson identified the actress as Helen Mirren, and the film as The Queen. Once again, they took a single bonus on more of the same. Nobody really got the next starter on palindromic names, but Keshava Guha came in too early to put Goldies a little further into the red. Thus, on the cusp of the 10 minute mark things were looking bad for my guys, as Glasgow led by 65 to minus 10.

Right, if you should be asked for a 17th century female writer, you’ll never be that far off with Aphra Behn.  That’s what James Hampson said, and he was spot on. Place name elements n China and Japan promised but little, which is more than it delivered me, although Glasgow did again manage one bonus. I correctly guessed that the Nomonhan Incident involved the USSR and Japan, as did Cameron Herbert. This took the lead to 100 points, but things denoted by the Greek letter lambda did no favours to any of us. Goldies looked so dispirited by this time that nobody even tried to buzz for the next starter, allowing Cameron Herbert to score with a speculative punt that the flower being described was bluebell. You’ve guessed it – one bonus was taken on literature and substance abuse. So to the music starter. Now, I often say if it’s classical, and you don’t know, and none of your team is buzzing, then give Beethoven a go. That’s what Cameron Herbert did, and he was right! How many bonuses did they get? One! Mind you, captain James Hampson tried hard to persude his team out of that one right answer. Now, let me tell you that by this point I was worrying that Goldies were going to end up with the lowest score ever. The contest was over haflway through, and they hadn’t answered anything correctly yet. Especially when Keshava Guha, doing what you must do in such straits, by hitting and hoping, lost another 5 points. Glasgow didn’t know the term abduction either, but they had a three figure lead, and at this stage it didn’t seem as if their squandering of bonus opportunities was going to matter in the least. Finally captain Diana Issokson stopped the rot by answering that moss sometimes forms peat. Dadabhai Naoroji provided the two bonuses needed to at least give Goldies a positive total. The Goldies’ skipper, seemingly warming to the task. Identified a lighthouse for the next starter. Female composers brought another two bonuses which meant that, as we reached the 20 minute mark, the deficit was back to single figures, as Glasgow led by 120 – 25.

No, I didn’t think Goldies had a cat in Hell’s chance at this stage. Neither team knew the next starter which was some Physics thing. Plucky Keshava Guha was not put off from buzzing early by previous misfortunes, and knew that as it is the Daily Planet in Superman, it is the Daily Beast in Scoop. Eponymous laws only provided on bonus, but at least Goldies were now actively climbing towards respectability. I didn’t understand the next Maths question, but Ieuan Cox had it right. Goldies had now brought up their half century of points in quick time. A full house on Eurasian bears meant Goldies earned themselves a coveted Paxman well done. James Hampson thought that this was quite enough of a Goldsmith’s revival to be getting on with, so he won the buzzer race to identify the work of Magritte for the second picture starter. Three other works from the Peggy Guggenheim collection provided a correct answer. Nobody knew that the National Forest spans parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Goldsmiths’ weren’t quite finished yet, though. Keshava Guha knew that the metical and others were currencies of former colonies of Portugal. A full house on Macchiavelli took Goldies to 90 points. Could they actually, maybe, still be in this match, I began to ask myself. It didn’t look like it. Keshava Guha, hearing gingiva, buzzed in with gums – not hearing the part of the question saying- which supports. Ah, cruel fate. James Hampson flirted with disaster by missing the open goal and kicking the ball into row Z of the stands, saying mouth rather than teeth. Never mind, that man Guha took the next starter on Aden. Two bonuses on human anatomy put them a mere 30 points behind. Crucially, though they would need two starters plus bonuses – and there was hardly any time left. I’ll admit it – I was out of my seat cheering when Keshava Guha took the novel “A Passage to India” for the next starter. Two starters on Africa meant we were a mere 10 points behind. If we could take the next starter, then even if we were gonged it would mean extra time. Well, I’ll be honest, I was gutted when the contest was gonged just after the next starter was read out, but my goodness, what a fightback. Hard lines, Goldies – I’m proud of you guys. However, Glasgow were the winners, and they deservedly take their place in the quarters. Well done guys, and best of luck.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Right Jez, I have a bone to pick with you. Granted, Goldies’ opposition in the first round, University of London Institute in Paris were one of the weakest teams we’ve seen in several years, but it’s just bloody rude and frankly snide to say that they’d left their brains in Paris. Shame on you.

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

Sorry, but I was too absorbed in the contest to pick anything this week. Watch this space.


Jack said...

Great recovery from Goldsmiths, unlucky to lose after it, but a fine performance to go out on. Glasgow very nearly made to pay for a slight bonus profligacy, 9/27, compared to the 15/21 that Goldsmiths managed. Deserved quarter-finalists though overall I feel.

Now we break for the usual two weeks of Christmas UCs; the regular series resumes on the 7th of January.

Aethelstan said...

I was very worried about Goldsmith's there but what a storming fightback! One of the best matches for a while. If I read the the old digital TV guide I think we have the first Christmas special tonight...

Stephen Follows said...

If the subtitles were accurate, I was deeply unimpressed with the Goldsmiths captain for saying that Clara Schumann was 'lame' for editing her husband's works after his death. A nasty comment, to be frank.