Saturday, 23 February 2019

University Challenge - Quarter Finals, Emmanuel,Cambridge v. St. Edmund Hall, OXford

Emmanuel, Cambridge v. St. Edmund Hall, Oxford

Right, dearly beloved, a very interesting match up this, as Oxbridge derbies often are. We had Dani Cugini’s Emmanuel team, up against Freddy Leo’s Teddy Hall outfit. Freddy Leo, you may recall, is the lightning fingered skipper whose buzzer performance in the first two rounds was as worthy of comment as Jason Golfinos. The Emmanuel team were Connor Macdonald, Vedanth Nair, Ben Harris, and skipper, LAM reader Dani Cugini. St. Edmund Hall were Agastya Pisharody, Marceline Bresson, Lizzie Fry and captain, Freddy Leo.

Now, as soon as William Penny Brooks was mentioned I knew that the first starter was about the Olympics. When de Coubertin was also mentioned Vedanth Nair won the buzzer race to take the points. Bonuses on Stockholm brought a full house. Maybe it was just me, but the next starter seemed to be crying out for the answer – Einstein – but Vedanth Nair undid some of his own previous good work coming in early to offer Linus Pauling. This allowed Freddy Leo to come in for his first of the evening. Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare made a rather lovely set, and they produced their own full house, every bit as worthy of a Paxman well done, but not receiving one for their pains. A rare Leo missbuzz saw him come in too early for the next starter with a rather wild guess – even just from Edward Jenner he ought to have known it could only be cow pox or small pox that was required. Given the full question Dani knew it was cow pox. Sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List saw them only add 5 more points to their score. The decisive battle of 1356 gave me enough to work out we wanted the actor Sidney Poitier for the next starter, and a moment or two later we saw Freddy Leo employ that distinctive buzzing style, where he seems to bounce up on his chair while slamming down the buzzer, to provide the same answer. The physicist Lise Meitner – wasn’t she the co-writer of 80s sitcom The Young Ones? – gave both of us one correct bonus for nuclear fission. I can tell you, it was a relief to get the lap of honour out of the way early in this show. So to the picture round, and we saw the title of One Hundred Years of Solitude in Spanish. Neither team was in especially quickly, and it fell to Freddy Leo. Three more works in English influenced by Magical Realism whose titles had been translated into Spanish provided a full house in fairly short order. This meant that at the 10 minute mark St. Edmund Hall led by 60 – 35.

Linear Accelerator meant nowt to me, but it gave Freddy Leo starter number 4. Coalition governments. This yielded but little, but that hardly mattered considering that the momentum seemed to be all with Teddy Hall by this point. Now, I fancy it may have been on UC in years gone by that I first heard the word mondegreen – it’s a misheard lyrics thing. All of Mondays participants were too young to have watched it back then so that one went begging. Dani Cugini played a captain’s innings with the next starter, coming in early after working out that the clues in the question were all pointing to words beginning with the letter K. Large numbers filled me with apathy, but to be fair you could at least have an educated guess at these. I took 2, and Emmanuel 1. The main thing was thought that it put them at just a full set behind. With Leo in such form, Emmanuel had to buzz early, so I don’t blame Connor MacDonald for coming in too early for the next starter. Freddy Leo knew that Admiral Donitz was eventually named as Hitler’s successor. Bonuses on logic brought two to Teddy Hall and 1 to me – asked for a British philosopher if the year is possible I always answer Bertrand Russell – he crops up regularly on UC does our Bert. So to the music starter. To be fair we were allowed perhaps 3 bars before Leo leaped at his buzzer again. Alright, it was quite a well known piece of music, but nonetheless this was still impressive. More pieces written after the composers in question had suffered hearing loss provided one bonus. Funnily enough they never went for the most obvious ‘deaf composer’ in Beethoven. Emma hadn’t given up, and Dani was in for the next – sadly too early, but nonetheless the right tactics to adopt. Of course, this left an open goal for Freddy Leo to tap synecdoche into the net. By this stage I couldn’t help wondering if Freddy was going to score all of his team’s starters in this match. Actors who’ve played Heathcliff on screen paid tribute to Timothy ‘Jones the Bond’ Dalton but brought just the one correct answer. To be fair to Agastya Pisharody he did have a shy at the next Science starter, but lost 5 for his pains. Nobody knew a pi bond (make your own puns). Nobody knew the Wanderings of Oisin by Yeats for the next starter. All of which meant that Teddy Hall led by 120 to 40 as we approached 20 minutes, and to all intents and purposes this contest was over.

Connor Macdonald knew that Maricopa is the most populous county of Arizona. The Bible didn’t provide them with any further points sadly. So to the second picture starter. Freddy Leo recognised the work of Delacroix, and so earned bonuses on three more examples of orientalism in fine art. 2 correct answers ensued. Freddy Leo was first in to recognise clues to the name Mansfield. Alternative statements of the principle of conservation of energy did nowt for me, but when I came back to consciousness after the set, Teddy Hall had scored another 10 points. Marceline Bresson had a wild punt with the next starter – she could afford to, but nobody worked out that Alpha Centauri would probably be in the constellation of Centaurus – hence the name. Look, when you’re under pressure somehow the obvious becomes a lot less obvious, I know. Still having a go, Vedanth Nair came in too early for the next starter about the method of dismissal covered by law 38 in cricket. That man Leo knew that the last Stuart Monarch to rule solely in Scotland was Mary Queen of Scots. Conductors – that’s orchestral rather than bus or lightning – brought 5 more points, but it was all academic by this stage of the game. Naming two German states that border the Czech Republic was a bit of a gift for Freddy Leo, and he quickly supplied Saxony and Bavaria to take his own and his team’s 11th starter. Poems by Robert Browning put the Oxford team within striking distance of the 200 barrier. Ben Harris, though, took his team through the 50 point barrier, recognising several works connected by chip. As for the bonuses, well by the time that JP had said ‘perpendicular gothic architecture’ we were gonged.

The final score was 190 to 55. The huge difference between the two teams on the score board actually came down to one factor – the buzzing of Freddy Leo. He took every single one of his team’s 11 starters – and 11 is a ridiculous number of starters for one individual to get in one show. A fantastic performance. The team’s conversion rate was over 50% as well, slightly better than Emma’s. Well, Emma aren’t out of it by any means, but will be drinking in the last chance saloon in their next match. They’ve been there before, though, and know how to bounce back. As for Teddy Hall, well, it was always going to be said after this performance – the question remains, what happens to them if Freddy Leo has an off day? Time may tell.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Seemingly in a good mood this evening, he handed out a coveted – well done – to Emmanuel as early as the first set of bonuses. On the coalition government sets, the Oxford skipper hesitated before answering, referring to JP when he said “He’s going to laugh at us if we say something stupid, isn’t he?” to which JP smiled as if to say – yes, I am. Then he went easy when their actual answer was a little wide of the mark. We later on had the remarkable sight of JP apologising to Emmanuel when they offered William Tyndale for John Wycliffe. That wouldn’t have happened five years ago, let me tell you that. Then he corrected himself. He told Freddy Leo that a painting was Parisian Women “As you guessed” and then, bearing in mind possibly the Guttenplanesque nature of Freddy’s performance, he said “ or as you KNEW”. Which he followed up with “Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you! You KNEW it! Well done!” What has gotten into him?

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

Stephen Langton is credited with making the chapter divisions in the Bible that we use today.


Aethelstan said...

I was looking forward to this one. These two teams are in my "top three" this year along with our Durham friends. I must say I expected this match to be closer, I was taken aback at the thumping dished out by Leo. I do think in some cases these Oxbridge games can be 'grudge' matches; we remember the punishment dished out last season with John's versus Corpus! I would say Emma still have a chance at the semi's, very much not out - but Teddy have nailed their colours to their mast. I shall expect them to stand and deliver. It's interesting to consider what may happen if Leo has an off day- my gut feeling is his team-mates may be better placed to take up the slack than, say the Darwin team and Golfinos.

Jack said...

Agreed with Aethelstan that Mr Leo's colleagues are maybe a bit better prepared to pick up the slack should the starters not fall for him than other teams led by a star player in the past, but that's a matter for another game. Unlucky Emmanuel, but agreed that they're certainly not out of the tournament yet, just simply overpowered by Mr Leo on the buzzer this time.

On the bonuses, Emmanuel managed 5/12 and St Edmund Hall 19/33.

On Monday, Durham play Edinburgh, with the winners going through to the semis. Followed in the coming weeks by Glasgow vs Manchester, Bristol vs St Edmund Hall and Darwin vs Emmanuel.

qdx1 said...

Enjoyable match and fantastic performance by Freddy Leo (answering all of Teddy Hall’s 11 correct starters). He seems to have become something of a star (e.g. on the BBC website) based on this performance.

Of course both of the team captains from are now at Oxford and as an interesting side note, I see that Mr Leo has recently been playing on Oxford B (alongside Mr. Peplow and Ms. Woodland from last year’s UC finalists Merton) and Ms. Cugini has been playing on Oxford C.

It will certainly be an interesting buzzing contest if/when Teddy Hall meet Darwin and Mr. Golfinos. I am glad to see that Mr. Leo doesn’t delay answering after buzzing for a couple of seconds unlike Mr. Golfinos (of course they get about a second extra thinking time from Roger Tilling reading out their name/College).

Finally I note that the recording of the 1st round (& I assume two second round) matches for UC 2019-20 will be finishing today (25th Feb) so more than 40% of the next UC season has already been filmed.

Paul Gilbert said...

Not only could St Edmund Hall's score of 190 be the highest score with only 1 player getting any starters right, but it is also possible that Emmanuel's score of 55 is the lowest to have included correct starters from all 4 team members.

Anonymous said...

The huge difference between the two teams on the score board actually came down to one factor – the buzzing of Freddy Leo. He took every single one of his team’s 11 starters – and 11 is a ridiculous number of starters for one individual to get in one show. A fantastic performance. CWDP-303 dumps