Saturday, 23 March 2019

University Challenge 2019 - Elimination Match - Darwin, Cambridge v. Emmanuel, Cambridge

Elimination Match – Darwin, Cambridge v. Emmanuel, Cambridge

Well, dearly beloved, last Monday we had two of the more interesting teams in this year’s contest drinking in the last chance saloon. Darwin lost to Bristol last time out, when their lightning fingered skipper didn’t quite manage to buzz them back after a bad start. Stuart Macpherson, Chris Davis and Guy Mulley were hoping that skipper Jason Golfinos would manage another virtuoso performance to see them through. Standing in their way were Emmanuel, felled by this year’s other buzzmeister, Freddy Leo of Teddy Hall last time out. Connor Macdonald, Vedanth Nair, Ben Harris and skipper, LAM reader Dani Cugini were hoping that the fighting qualities which have seen them safely this far would stand them in good stead once again.

A good old chestnut kicked us off, and it was Connor Macdonald who won the buzzer race to say that it was Gladstone who Victoria claimed spoke to her as if addressing a public meeting. World history, and events which happened in years made of a recurring number, eg 1414, provided a bonus. The next starter featured a riddle by Jonathan Swift, and maybe I was just having a good evening but I was surprised that neither team could see that the answer was vowels, and it’s not as if I’d encountered the riddle itself before. I didn’t know the term Mean Free Path, but Stuart Macpherson did, and opened Darwin’s account with it. Being two seats removed from his skipper he had to make do with a Golfinos fist bump. Literary criticism of Kate Millet – yes, Kate Who in LAM Towers – brought two bonuses to give Darwin the lead. Jason Golfinos took his first starter of the evening, knowing that Debussy and Charles Trenet both produced works entitled La Mer. A good old UC special set on pairs of words, the last letters of the first of which are the first letters of the second followed, and provided controversy with the first. Asked for a Russian born pioneer of abstract art and a US orbiting space laboratory, the required answer was Kandinsky and Skylab. Darwin offered El Lissitzky and Skylab. Now, I’m sorry, but it’s Skylab, not Zkylab. Yet JP accepted the answer. It didn’t necessarily make any difference to the outcome of the show, but I’d be interested in the justification for accepting that one. For the picture starter Ben Harris recognised the English city marked on the map we saw as Chester. Other cities that have won the EU’s Access City award provided a couple of bonuses and narrowed the gap to 5. A range of things and people referenced in the opening of Trainspotting brought Stuart Macpherson another starter. We both took two bonuses on last lines of American works of literature from the middle of the 19th century. All of which meant that Darwin led by 60-35 just after the 10 minute mark.

Jason Golfinos’ buzzer finger was in perfect working order to win the buzzer race to answer that Portugal and Spain concluded the Treaty of Tordesillas. Matilda of Tuscany didn’t seem to promise a great deal, but actually delivered the Darwin skipper a very good full house. He seemed to have warmed to the task now, as he buzzed early to identify the Dunning (Clive? Surely not.)-Kruger Effect. Gesundheit. Physics, and a UC special set which involved using the initials of scientists to give chemical elements provided me with what I thought was a well earned lap of honour for getting Isaac Newton – In – Indium. Incidentally this was the only one that Darwin took as well. Ben Harris knew that if the breastbone is the sternum – and it is – then S for sternum will probably point towards the Spanish word for South. This earned much needed bonuses on Russian poet Anna ‘Who’ Akhmatova. The second bonus required the answer of Osip Mandelstam. Dani said that she hadn’t heard of him. I think he’s probably best known through the book “Hope Against Hope” written by his wife Nadezhda Mandelstam, about their torment and persecution before he was taken away by Stalin’s thugs, and died on the way to the gulag. Emmanuel took the other two bonuses. Dani had a great early buzz for the next starter to identify Dario Fo from his Nobel Citation. Two more bonuses on dwarf planets reduced the gap to 25 as we approached the music starter. It took quite a long time before Jason Golfinos identified the work of Gil Scott-Heron. Three other artists who have also in their time been called the Godfather/mother of a genre of music brought a full house. Jason Golfinos correctly guessed that a political and military figure born in Dublin in 1769 was the Duke of Wellington. Sculptures in the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence saw Darwin take another very good full set, and suddenly the gap between the teams was widening ominously. On the cusp of the 20 minute mark Darwin led by 150 – 75.

I was pleased with myself for guessing that aesthetics has been defined as the Science of sensitive knowing – neither team managed that. A great early buzz from Connor Macdonald identified former Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff for the next starter. Bonuses on the world in 1919 brought a timely full house and took Emmanuel’s score into triple figures. Jason Golfinos took his 6th starter with Juergen Habermas, (who I thought was the left back for East Germany in the 1974 World Cup.) Creative works sharing the same titles were all too easy for Darwin, and brought them another full house. Neither team – nor me – recognised a still from the film Wild Strawberries for the second picture starter. Now, you hear the nickname Kingmaker, you sling some buzzer and answer Warwick. Stuart Macpherson missed with York, allowing Ben Harris in with the correct answer.  The picture bonuses rolled over from the previous starter promised but little on non American road movies, but they might possibly have had Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Nobody knew that Koplick Spots are associated with measles. I don’t blame Ben Harris for answering Leviathan as the creature mentioned in the Book of Leviticus – it sounded a 50/50 between that and Behemoth. Sadly for him it was Behemoth and this gave Jason Golfinos starter number 7. Rivers and National Parks only brought the one bonus, but time was very much on Darwin’s side now. Starter 8 followed fast on its heels as Jason Golfinos identified Dover as the first of the Cinque Ports alphabetically. Cameo appearances of Alfred Hitchcock took them to 210, and the game was all over bar the shouting. Bose Einstein Condensate brought Vedanth Nair the next starter, and a set of bonuses on Lewises brought a full house. Guy Mulley took the next starter, recognising the titles of Alan Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquests. There was time for just one bonus on the prophet Samuel before the gong ended the contest. Darwin won by 225 – 130.

Hard lines to Emmanuel. They didn’t play badly at all, but were beaten on the buzzer, and also to an extent beaten on the bonuses. They did well on their own bonuses, but not as well as Darwin, who were hitting them out of the park largely in this contest. They’ll fancy their chances of progression after this, and not without good reason.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

You ust got the idea that JP was telling Darwin off for showing off when he told them they could have given the better known Kandinsky for the bonus question. Wonder what he would have said if he’d realised that strictly speaking they gave a wrong answer (I think).

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

Nothing especially grabbed my attention this time. Sorry about that.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Another great individual performance from Mr Golfinos, taking his series total to 36, one more than Mr Leo thus far, and a very strong bonus rate of 23/31, Darwin definitely back in contention after their last game. Emmanuel can consider themselves unlucky to be out at this stage; as has been pointed out, playing St Edmund Hall and Darwin in successive games is a far from ideal QF draw. Good showing to go out on though, 13/21 a respectable bonus rate.

On Monday, unless that comment from a couple of weeks ago is wrong, Edinburgh will play Bristol, followed by Manchester vs Darwin.