Sunday, 20 October 2019

University Challenge - Round One - Wolfson-Oxford v. Sheffield

Wolfson -Oxford v. Sheffield

Homework a day late again, Clark Minor? Take 100 lines and bring them to my study after tiffin. Apologies, I was out and about yesterday. So without further ado, let’s have a look at last Monday’s heat. Wolfson, Oxford consisted of Mike Perrin, Mary Caple, Ryan Walker, and captain Claire Jones. Opponents Sheffield were, respectively Alastair Lyle, Sam Kelly, Daisy Fry and skipper Jonathan Newhouse.

I’ll be honest, for the first starter, as soon as Squirrel Nutkin appeared in the middle of a diverse list, I blurted out “50p piece”. Ryan Walker came in just before JP finished the question with the same answer. National Museums brought one correct answer. Now, you hear the words ‘paintings’ and ‘mad’ in close proximity to each other, then slam the buzzer and answer ‘Van Gogh’. Sure, sometimes it might be William Blake, but most times you’ll be right. Both teams waited for a moment or two then Jonathan Newhouse took Sheffield’s first points. Foreign language films that have won Oscars certainly seemed to please Alastair Lyle – a Chiswick man, I was pleased to see, as he pumped his fist in anticipation. With good reason, for his team dispatched all three of them to the boundary. I didn’t know the term Moral hazard, but Jonathan Newhouse did, and so this earned a set on material science. When I guessed UTS stands for ultimate tensile strength I didn’t even bother putting the trainers on, but just padded off on the lap of honour in my bare feet. Sheffield, meanwhile were showing Wolfson a clean pair of heels as they scored their second consecutive full house. Jonathan Newhouse made it 9 questions in a row for Sheffield as he knew that the bone which takes its name from the Latin for the sacred bone is the Sacrum. The bonuses on the English names of characters from the brilliant Goscinny and Uderzo’s Asterix the Gaul books somewhat inevitably took the total to three consecutive full houses. At the moment, Sheffield were looking like world beaters. Now, I mentally patted myself on the back with the picture starter. Symbols belonging to a religion were obviously suggesting the Indian subcontinent, but they didn’t fit what I knew about Buddhism or Hinduism, as suggested afterwards by both teams so I suggested Jainism. The picture bonuses were earned by Wolfson skipper Claire Jones, who knew that the French king once married to Eleanor of Aquitaine was Louis VII. More religious symbols from religions with large numbers of followers in India brought us both 2 bonuses. Just approaching the 10 minute mark, Sheffield led by 75 – 35, in what seemed to have become a buzzer battle between the two captains.

Alastair Lyle knew the word nurdle. Bonuses on pairs of words only differing by the addition of the letter g t the first word – eg – rumble and grumble – should have taken them into a triple figure score, but they passed on ratify and gratify. Claire Jones won the buzzer race to pair the river Neisse with the Oder and thus earn bonuses on physical chemistry. After Wolfson had answered two of them correctly my attention focussed on the telly again, and the next starter was one of those which suddenly became obvious after much preamble. If it's a painting and there’s elephant dung involved, chances are that Chris Ofili is involved, as Mary Caple knew. Bonuses on the artist Paula Rego brought Wolfson no bonuses, although I did get Jane Eyre knowing it was published in 1947. Then to the music starter, and rather a long snatch of Don Giovanni, if truth be told, before Mike Perrin correctly identified the work of Mozart. Three more recent examples of other ‘list’ songs brought us both a brace of bonuses. Now, the next starter was one of those old quiz chestnuts which are hardy perennials on UC. Daisy Fry was the first to buzz in to answer that it is the RSPB which has an avocet for its symbol. 16th and 17th quotations brought just the one bonus, but at least Sheffield were moving forward again after a period in which they had become somewhat becalmed. One of the ever popular Ambrose Bierce definitions provided Claire Jones with a correct answer to identify plagiarism. The Italian Empire brought Wolfson a full house and put them level on points with Sheffield, a remarkable turnaround. Sheffield weren’t done yet, though. Alastair Lyle identified the hcg test as the pregnancy test. Two bonuses on Japan and its neighbour took Sheffield to a 20 point lead, with 130 to Wolfson’s 110.

First to identify Kenneth Kaunda as a former president of Zambia was the Sheffield skip.Two bonuses on religious shrines followed. Claire Jones won the buzzer race to identify a photograph of Billie Holiday. Two bonuses narrowed the gap to a full set. The answer to the next question, Essential amino acid was I believed one of the possible names for Monty Python’s Flying Circus rejected in the early stages. Ryan Walker took that one. Philosophy, and major works on Ethics ( as opposed to Suthics and Middlethics) still left Wolfson languishing by 10 points. That deficit was wiped out when skipper Claire Jones won the buzzer race to answer that it was Alfred the Great who defeated Guthrum. Then spared his life and stood Godfather to him when he converted to Christianity as it happens. It’s a Dark Ages thing. Literary terms in poetry saw them fail to trouble the scorer. Neither team knew about the Tyndall Effect. I met Mike Tindall in a charity quiz auction once, and it certainly effected me. Sheffield at this time seemed like a rabbit mesmerised in the headlights, since both teams dwelt on the buzzer over Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, which eventually was taken by Wolfson’s estimable skipper. This gave them the lead at a crucial time, and titles given to British military leaders took them to 170. With their failure to take many bonuses, Wolfson were just creeping forward, but Sheffield just weren’t getting any starters. Then they did. Alastair Lyle recognised two elements that begin with Rad. One bonus took them to level pegging on 170 and the contest was gonged. Mike Perrin just about won the tie breaker, although he answered Rhodes before correcting himself with Colossus of Rhodes. That was enough.

Well played to both teams. JP observed that both will surely be coming back, and that’s fair enough. I think it’s fair to say that Wolfson owe a great debt of gratitude to Claire Jones. She managed 6 starters, and that was essential bearing in mind their modest bonus conversion rate of less than 50%. Sheffield impressed with their excellent bonus rate of 75%. However, if you don’t buzz, it doesn’t matter whether you know the bonuses, and so it will be interesting to see how they do in the repechage.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP was in rather quiet form , and you could see him wrestling with himself to decide how much of a ticking off to give Mike Perrin at the end. Geniality won out. Wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago.

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

A swirl of toothpaste is correctly called a nurdle.


Jack said...

A lot of people aren't happy about that tie-breaker, given that Mr Perrin only half answered initially before giving the complete answer after a pause. I suspect Bamber Gascoigne might have decided not to give the points, but not to give it to the opponents either, and start another question again. Also, I'm not convinced accepting it because both teams were coming back anyway was a fair call, as they are going in different directions.

Still, what's done is done, and both sides played well and deserve a second match. Wolfson the better team on the buzzers, Sheffield better on the bonuses (18/22 to Wolfson's 14/30), both teams certainly could have a good run in the contest.

Two more first round matches to come; tomorrow, Imperial of London vs Brasenose of Oxford, and then we finish with an Oxbridge derby, Lady Margaret Hall of Oxford vs Downing of Cambridge.

Gusssss said...

Can't agree re the tiebreaker. The question asked for one of the 7 wonders, and "Rhodes" unequivocally indicates he knew the correct one, especially as he immediately clarified correctly. It would have been petty to say the least not to allow it. Surnames only are regularly accepted as answers when unambiguous, for example.