I pride myself on being impartial, dearly beloved, when it comes to University Challenge. Well, I’m sorry, but stuff that for a game of soldiers when Goldsmiths are playing. At least I’m being honest about it from the start.
Representing my alma mater, then, were Alex Wilkins, Catherine Coldstream, Greg Sibley and skipper Henry Coburn. Opponents Southampton’s team consisted of Josh Holland, Rory Fleminger, James Carrigy and captain Steve Barnes.
First blood fell to Goldies’ Greg Sibley, who incidentally hails from the same home town as Eric Monkman. He was first to recognise various definitions of the word jolly. Jolly good. Bonuses on the Black Sea brought Goldies a full house. Greg Sibley took a double, knowing the words of David Mamet for the next starter. However bonuses on astrophysics passed them by completely, although I’m sure that they would be consoled if they knew that I earned a lap of honour for estimating Earth’s escape velocity as 11km per second – I knew that it was 7 miles a second. Mind you, I could have taken a second for the next starter, where I guessed that physicist born in 1831 in Scotland would possibly be James Clerk-Maxwell. Alex Wilkins did the same. Guess the answer, that is, not take a lap of honour. Early 16th century paintings yielded another full set. The first picture starter invited us to identify the cities of Bristol and Guangzhou on a brace of maps. Nobody managed that. Not surprised. I am surprised that nobody even chanced a buzz at a question to which the answer fairly obviously seemed to be the Tower of London, but there we are. You pays yer money. The next question concerned Marianne
Who North and nobody knew it. Finally Henry Coburn took the
next starter, knowing that if you mix Taylor Swift’s 4th album ad a
Coldplay song you get Jason Orange. Of course you do. This brought Goldies the
picture bonuses, and three nearish misses but no cigars. Nonetheless it had all
gone pretty well for them in the first ten minutes, as they led by 70 – 0.
Greg Sibley came in too early and lost five for saying that K2 is in the Himalayas. This left Steve Barnes to open his team’s account with the correct answer of the Karakoram. A couple of correct answers on the Lake District seemed to do wonders for Southampton’s collective spirits. For the net question Steve Barnes knew that the moment you hear ‘welsh born journalist’ and ‘Africa’ in the same question, then you slam the buzzer down and confidently answer Henry Morton Stanley. Authors born in 1946 only provided another 5 points, and took us to the music starter. Steve Barnes took his triple, being first in to identify a song from Wicked. Two out of three more ‘I want’ songs narrowed the gap to a mere 10 points. Greg Sibley stopped the rot by knowing the naturalist Rachel Carson, but Goldies could only manage a single bonus on birds. Still, the Goldies mini revival continued as Henry Carson won the buzzer race to say that Tess of the D’Urbervilles was apprehended in Stonehenge. 2 bonuses on Ancient Egypt put Goldies into triple figures, and as we approached the 20 minute mark, they led by 100 – 55.
At this stage, then, it all looked fairly good for Goldies, and they seemed to have an excellent chance of at least getting a repechage score, while Southampton had a lot of work to do. So they started doing it. I didn’t even know that Pascal played the triangle, but Steve Barnes did. The Arts and playing cards brought two bonuses of their own. The second picture starter showed two 18th century chaps on horseback, ne shooting the other, from the Newgate Calendar. Greg Sibley thought it might be Alexander Hamilton from his fatal duel with Aaron Burr, but that was a real shot in the dark (see what I did there?). James Carrigy gave the obvious answer of Dick Turpin, and was right to do so. This earned a set of bonuses on other illustrations from the Newgate Calendar. Two correct answers meant that the gap between the teams stood at 5 points. A lovely UC starter saw Steve Barnes concatenate the first letters of the capitals of Kenya, Canada, Cabo Verde and Scotland to get the word nope. Yep. Chemical elements in haiku form brought two correct answers, and lead of 15 points. Goldies really needed an answer at this stage since the momentum was all Southampton’s. Fair play, Greg Sibley tried but his early answer to the next starter was speculative in the extreme and lost 5. Southampton couldn’t capitalise with a Stevenson screen. I’d guess that Rory Fleminger like me knew that the 1998 Olympic Winter Games were held in Nagaon, which enabled him to answer Naga for the next starter. Expressions with the initial CI brought a full house, and the death knell, sadly , was tolling for Goldies. James Carrigy came in early for the next starter with the name ‘Nora’ and Rory Fleminger raised his fists in triumph. A UC special set on the directions between Spanish cities in a straight line provided two bonuses, and what was a close victory was now turning into a rout. Josh Holland piled Pelion on Ossa, giving the correct answer of ellipse to the next starter. Answers beginning with ped – brought the inevitable 2 correct answers for Southampton, and the gong ended the contest. Southampton won by 175 – 95.
Poor old Goldies actually ended the contest with a lower score than they’d had at the 20 minute mark. They were shut out and buzzed out, sadly. So congratulations to Southampton. Bear in mind that they were scoreless by the 10 minute mark, and this was an increasingly sure and confident performance. With a conversion rate of slightly more than 60%, they’ll be in with a shout in round two.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
When Henry Coburn suggested that Georgia O’Keefe might have painted the contents of a gallery of botanical paintings in Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, JP trotted out his ever popular ‘crikey no!”
When Southampton identified a song from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” JP relied “Yes, embarrassing, isn’t it?” Er, that would be a no, Jez. It’s a lovely film.
Southampton earned a rare plaudit from JP for knowing that the capital of Cabo Verde begins with P.
Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
The Confucius Institutes promote Chinese language and culture.