Friday, 1 March 2019

University Challenge Quarter Final Qualification Match Durham v. Edinburgh

Qualification Match Durham v. Edinburgh

Durham, in the shape of Sian Round, Cameron Yule, Ben Murray and skipper Matthew Toynbee, defeated a good Glasgow team in their first qualification match. They were looking to make it a double over Scottish opposition in this first qualification match. Edinburgh, for their part, defeated Manchester in their first quarter final, and that’s always a good scalp to take. They were represented by Matt Booth, Marco Malusa, Robbie Campbell Hewson and captain Max Fitz-James. Favourites for this one? Well, memories of the 360 points Durham scored in the first round lingered, so I fancied they might be just a tad too strong.

Now, Max Fitz-James knew that if you’re asked for a work of 1988 and told that it concerns physical science, it’s never going to be a bad idea to chance your arm with “A Brief History of Time”. Bonuses on limestone brought us both 2 correct answers. Durham skipper Matthew Toynbee had a fantastic early buzz to link the Leningrad Symphony by Shostakovitch with the number 7. This earned a set on knots. Reef and bowline were pretty predictable but none of us knew a figure of 8 knot. All square. Max Fitz-James came in too early for the next starter on a mathematician, allowing his opposite number to take his second starter with a punt at Euler. French place names, derived from clues from symbols for elements – yes, a UC special set that – gave me just the one and Durham two. Right, I did not in any way, shape or form understand the next question, but Ben Murray knew it was Leetspeak, so let’s be thankful for that. Seperatist movements again brought Durham two bonuses. So to the picture round. Now we saw a diagram containing several character names and arrows illustrating their relationships. The names Vladimir and Estragon were signposts that this was Waiting for Godot, and bearing in mind there was the name of a character missing I fully expected when Matt Booth buzzed in that he was going to say Godot. The name failed him, though, allowing Cameron Yule in. More unseen characters from plays proved to be a surprisingly tricky set, Durham managing none, and I only managed Abigail from Abigail’s Party. Nonetheless, Durham had set out their stall purposely in the first 10 minutes and led by 70 – 15.

Nobody knew the answer to a question about mass and kinetic energy for the next starter. No, of course I didn’t. If it’s Maths, I always answer 1 or 0. Ben Murray was 100% on the right lines with his answer to the next starter, but the answer he gave – Covenant – was not specific enough, which lost 5 and allowed Max Fitz-James in with the Solemn League and Covenant. A lovely set on Spanish cities and their namesakes provided two bonuses. Cameron Yule got Durham on the move again knowing that William Hazlitt wrote Table Talk and The Spirit of the Age. Pharmacology saw me earn a lap of honour for knowing serotonin. I didn’t get any other bonuses in this set while Durham took a full house. Now, I earned a potential second lap of honour (on which I passed) for guessing that a meteor shower named from the constellation between Taurus and Cancer would be the Geminids.

Jeremy Paxman WatchMatthew Toynbee gave the same answer. The UK tech industry promised me nowt, which it delivered. More surprisingly Durham failed to add to their score as wwell. So to the music starter. From the first ooher – ooher all the fifty somethings like myself were probably shouting ‘The Buggles!’ at the telly. Max Fitz-James, noting a similarity to the immortal Barbie Girl presumably, offered Aqua. Ben Murray came close, offering the Bugles. No cigar for that one, I’m afraid. The next starter was one of those which suddenly becomes easier right at the end. Patrick Clifton, as many good quizzers know, is none other than Postman Pat, and postman was the linking theme behind that starter. Matthew Toynbee had a shy at it, before Matt Booth gave the correct answer. More pop songs or tunes featuring Oscar nominated composers proved harder than I expected, and Edinburgh took 2, while I only took the one. 19th century French artist working mainly in wood engraving certainly suggested Gustave Dore, which was the correct answer given by Cameron Yule for the next starter. Solar eclipses gave me just the one correct answer with Isandlwana, the same as Durham. So as we approached the 20 minute mark Durham still had a healthy lead, with 115 to Edinburgh’s 55.

I know bugger all about plane of polarization or whatever the next starter was about. However I had a pretty good idea that the English scientist who died in the year that Marie Curie was born was Michael Faraday, which was enough to give me the Faraday Effect, the points, and a declined opportunity for a lap of honour. Max Fitz-James came in before the English scientist was even mentioned and lost 5. Durham couldn’t capitalise. Various actors and actresses with the initials LM saw both teams rather dwelling on their buzzers before Cameron Yule supplied the answer. Literary titles including the names of an SI unit were a rather lovely UC special set which gave Durham a full house. Robbie Campbell Hewson had a good early buzz to identify Trieste as the main seaport of the Austro Hungarian Empire. Fictional composers brought me nowt, but a further ten points to Edinburgh. I couldn’t honestly see them winning at this stage, but it was still possible. So to the second picture starter. Now, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what Ada Lovelace looked like, but then I didn’t know any other lady mathematician of the period so she seemed like a pretty decent shout to me. Obviously Max Fitz-James thought the same and we were both right. Other women commemorated in the Overlooked feature of the New York Times did nowt for me, but Edinburgh took one for Sylvia Plath. Asked for two of the three Chancellors of the Federal Republic of Germany to have held the position for more than 10 years I gave Kohl and Merkel, as did Cameron Yule, Konrad Adenauer being the other. Bonuses on the various French Republics were gettable, and provided me with a rare full house, although Durham only managed 1. It didn’t matter. The clock was against Edinburgh, and they already had one foot in the semis. Matt Booth knew a definition of spirals to take the next starter. Oxymorons in Shakespeare gave me one I knew from Romeo and Juliet, one I guessed in The Tempest, and one I didn’t have a scooby on, which was from Hamlet. Edinburgh took the one. Max Fitz-James took a good early buzz to identify Pitt the Younger’s death as leading to the Ministry of All the Talents. Bonuses on areas of England known as the Isle of. . . led me to predict Thanet , Ely and Dogs. Well two out of three wasn’t bad. The second was actually Axholme, and dogs didn’t get a look in. Edinburgh took just the one again. Ben Murray knew that Jamaica was traditionally divided into counties of Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey to earn a set of bonuses on aberrations in optics. This meant nothing to me, and Durham failed to add any more to their score before the gong. Didn’t matter, as they’d still won by 165 to 110.

Both teams, then were pretty evenly matched for bonuses, converting about half of them, but Durham have more buzzing throughout their team – Cameron Yule, Matthew Toynbee and Ben Murray all made significant contributions on this score, while Edinburgh were heavily reliant on their skipper. Don’t count them out yet, though. Well played Durham, though, and best of luck in the semis.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

There was an interesting reaction from the audience when Ben Murray offered “The Bugles”. So much so that even the subtitles on the iplayer acknowledged it with ‘audience murmurs’. JP paused for a moment – presumably waiting for an adjudication in his lughole – before saying “No, it was the BUGGLES!” then adding for comic effect “Shame on you!”. He was obviously in that kind of mood, since after the next starter he muttered, “Who could fail to get Postman Pat.” Be honest with you, I’m not sure if he was having a go at Matthew Toynbee for not getting it, or Matt Booth for knowing it. Probably both.

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

Trieste was the main port of the Austro Hungarian Empire


Jack said...

I thought disallowing 'The Bugles' was a tad harsh; I recall a previous time that song appeared on the show, the team weren't sure how to pronounce it, so offered both 'Buggles' and 'Bugles', and they were given the points.

Another good contest overall though, Durham won it on the buzzer, with, as you say, both sides the same on the bonuses, Durham managing 14/30 and Edinburgh 10/21. Durham haven't seemed as imperious in the QFs as the first two rounds, but definitely still a team to reckon with in the semis. Edinburgh certainly not out of the running yet either.

On Monday, the first eliminator match sees Glasgow vs Manchester.

Stephen Follows said...

Particularly harsh considering that Yule said 'Curl and Merkel' when he should have said 'Cole and Merkel'.