Saturday, 16 February 2019

University Challenge Quarter Final Match 3 - Manchester v. Edinburgh

Quarter Final Match 3 – Manchester v. Edinburgh 

The Manchester team of Alexander Antao, Georgia Lynott, Joe Hanson and captain James Ross didn’t, in the words of Shania Twain, impress me much in their first round heat. Their second round match though was a much more useful performance. As for the Edinburgh team of Matt Booth, Marco Malusa, Robbie Campbell Hewson and skipper Max Fitz-James, well they were more convincing in their first round match. Who would win then? You paid yer money and took yer choc ice.

Robbie Campbell Hewson took first blood with a good early buzz to say that Victoria is the southernmost state of the mainland of Australia, thus earning an early Paxman well done. Bonuses on Baghdad brought a quick full house. Much like the England rugby team in recent matches, Edinburgh’s tactic seemed to be to blitz the opposition at the start, as Max Fitz-James put in a terrific early buzz to say that the Mantoux test is widely used to detect immunity to TB. Ladybird books made a nice UC special set which brought another full house. So far Edinburgh were 6 out of 6. This run came to an abrupt halt when Max Fitz-James came in too early, and suggested that “Go Set a Watchman’s” manuscript was discovered in a trunk in 1991. Not a daft suggestion that, but had he waited a couple of seconds more he’d have heard that it was written more than 100 years earlier, which ruled out Harper Lee’s book. Given the Widow Douglas, Manchester still missed out on Huckleberry Finn, which will have to count as an opportunity spurned. Joe Hanson, as well as winning the accolades for by far the best shirt of the whole match, knew the Poynting Vector – no, me neither – to kickstart his team. The physicist Thomas Sydenham brought both of us two points. I was a little surprised that nobody knew that Sarah Kingdom’s famous son born to a French father in Portsmouth in 1806 was Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but there we are. Just 6 years later Charles Dickens was born in the same city. Alexander Antao came in far too early for the next one. Asked for a particular style of decoration, we just hadn’t been given enough to narrow it down by the time he offered the Arts and Crafts Movement. In fact, associating it with Islamic Art at the end of the question took me out of the equation, and Edinburgh couldn’t dredge up Arabesque or Moresque either. Another early buzz from Robbie Campbell Hewson saw him identify the first of a series of MPS elected in 2017 as representing constituencies all in Cumbria. Nuclear models in physics promised me nothing, which is what it delivered. More surprisingly, Edinburgh also took nothing more from that visit to the table. So to the picture starter, and first to buzz in to identify the city on the map in question as Bruges was Marco Malusa. Other cities whose tourist websites call them the Venice of the North provided two correct answers. So as we approached the 10 minute mark Edinburgh certainly looked the sharper of the two teams, leading by 75 – 15.

Captain James Ross made inroads into the deficit, knowing the Guelphs and Ghibellines for an early buzz. Arthur Schopenhauer bit a further 10 points out of it. I didn’t understand the next question, but Georgia Lynott knew the answer was plagal cadence. Gesundheit. The director Mary Harron provided both of us with one correct answer, and meant that Manchester were now just a full set behind. Clearly on a roll, Georgia Lynott buzzed early to identify the Oktoberfest for the next starter, thus earning bonuses on blood coagulation. I awarded myself a lap of honour for knowing vitamin K for the last of these. Manchester had the other two as well, and so the scores were level, but all the momentum was with Manchester. Something about triangles and resistors went begging – not surprised – and so Max Fitz-James came in too early for the herb in sauce bearnaise and lost five. Alexander Antao tapped tarragon into the open goal, and Manchester took the lead for the first time. Multiple gold medallists at the 2016 Olympics didn’t do Manchester many favours. The music starter, om popular music, was always going to be a buzzer race, and Max Fitz-James got his team’s bandwagon rolling again by winning it with the name of Chuck Berry. Other tracks also played to drive Manuel Noriega from his hiding place. It was maybe a little bit strict not to allow them just the Vandellas for Martha and the Vandellas, but there you go. They took the other two and the lead. Something maths-y led Robbie Campbell Hewson to give the correct answer. Fair enough. Bonuses on the great Anish Kapoor brought a timely full house. There was a great buzzer race between the two captains to identify the penultimate character to die in Hamlet, won by James Ross. Fractions in binary notation brought laughter but not points. So, by slightly after the 20 minute mark Manchester had had the better of the previous ten minutes, but Edinburgh still led, by 115 – 95.

Matt Booth knew that the 4 states bordering Mexico west to east have initials which spell cant. Fair enough. Bonuses on Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey brought a couple of bonuses. So to the second picture starter, and a stamp commemorating famous Gandalf lookalike, Walt Whitman. He was number 1 in the UK for weeks on end with ‘Rose Marie’, I believe. Matt Booth took his second consecutive starter with that one. More US postage stamps commemorating famous Americans provided Edinburgh with no further points. Alexander Antao buzzed in very early on the names Trung Trac and Trung Nhi to supply the correct answer of Vietnam. Volcanic activity in the solar system brought Manchester 10 points closer. Nobody knew that Cecil Beaton and Edith Head won Oscars for costume design. My Mum’s cousin studied under Cecil Beaton, but that’s another story. Did you know that pteridomania refers to a passion for ferns? Me neither, and more importantly, nor did either team. A good early buzz from Max Fitz-James saw him identify Kurosawa’s film Rashomon. Nazi Germany provided rather a gentle set of bonuses, which Edinburgh quickly dispatched to the boundary. Alexander Antao correctly identified refugee as a word first coined to describe French Huguenots – of whom my ancestor William Rainbow was one – who escaped to Britain in the 17th century. People with the name Quiller allowed one bonus before the contest was gonged. Edinburgh won by 170 – 130, and on reflection it was that opening burst in the first 7 minutes or so which proved the difference between both teams, and I may be mistaken but I did think that Edinburgh were slightly better on the bonuses, although neither team did badly on that score. Well played – good match.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

On the tarragon question Max Fitz-James give a long pause before answering ‘cilantro’. Our hero replied “I’m sorry, but you must answer when you buzz . . . (pause for comic effect) You’re wrong anyway.” Oh Jez, you old tease.

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

The Mantoux test is widely used to detect immunity to tuberculosis

1 comment:

Jack said...

Yeah, a good game between two decent teams that could've gone either way until late on. Ultimately, as you suggest, Edinburgh's better bonus rate ultimately prove key, 18/27 to Manchester's 11/23. Edinburgh definitely an outsider team worth keeping an eye on.

On Monday, the last preliminary quarter-final sees Emmanuel take on St Edmund Hall.