The last leg of the Beeb’s powerhouse triple whammy of the best of quizzing last night pitted the universities of Exeter and Manchester.
Jacob Evans (capt)
Alice Irving (capt)
James McCafferty was fast in to take first blood, knowing that the words “Once Upon a Time” precedes the words ‘In Hollywood’ and ‘In the West’ – (and quite a few others too, although my script for Once Upon A Time in Aberavon remains, as yet, unfilmed). This brought up a set of bonuses on twin towns. Now, Hay on Wye happens to be one of my favourite towns, and I’ve asked several times in my quizzes about it being twinned with Timbuktu. This was the only one that Manchester managed. The fact that they didn’t know that Dunedin is taken from the Gaelic for Edinburgh suggested that although extremely intelligent and knowledgeable, as all contestants on the show are, the team probably didn’t possess a dedicated pub quizzer, because that is one of the nuttiest (and chestiest) of old chestnuts. A well-timed buzz saw Ollie Kirwin make an immediate response for Exeter, knowing the word flak. Which he might well have taken had he got it wrong. Flak is named after the captain of the Trumpton Fire Brigade. The University of Ingolstadt saw me take the first bonus, but there my opening burst ended at 6 on the bounce. Both Exeter and I took the first and last of the set. Nice to see the Illuminati getting a name check, though. Ollie Kirwin took his second starter on the bounce, knowing that William II was killed in the New Forest. It was the Brand New Forest then, while now it's only the Nearly New Forest. Aye thenk yow.. Self-driving cars promised little. Actually Exeter took two, but I was happy to take the money and run with Tesla. So to the picture starter. I’m lucky enough to have appeared in two TV quizzes from Glasgow, and so recognised the Armadillo and the huge dock crane which appeared in a striking picture of a city’s waterfront. Both teams were misled, I think, by the resemblance of the Clyde Arc Bridge to the ‘Eyelid’ over the Tyne. Now, for the next starter, I earned myself a lap of honour around the sofa by knowing that Descartes gave his name to a coordinate system. Tom Stone won the buzzer race for that one. This earned the picture bonuses. Not more pictures of waterfronts, but maps showing the positions of other British shipbuilding ports. I surprised myself by taking a full house. Although a couple of the right answers were on the table, Manchester showed a little profligacy with the bonuses, failing to score at this visit to the table. Exeter skipper Jacob Evans knew that the IPL began in 2008 – good shout that. Bonuses on Nobel laureates with shared surnames saw Exeter take a full house, to lead by 65 to 25 at the 10 minute mark.
When the opposition are beating you to the buzzer the best thing to do can be to hit and hope. So I don’t blame Richard McNair for buzzing early and offering Solomon for a favoured second son from the second book of Samuel. When it’s not your night, though, these ones tend to hit the wire and bounce out, and he lost five points. Given the full question, Exeter couldn’t dredge up the name of Absalom. Same dad as Solomon, but he actually was the 2nd son. Asked – when the first five numbers are written as words, how many vowels do they contain? TJ Alabi seemed uncertain when he buzzed in to offer 9. He was right though. Bonuses on opera saw me take a rare full set, but Exeter missed out on Il Trovatore and William Tell (Rossini apparently stole the overture from the Lone Ranger TV series. The swine.) Tom Stone now tried to disrupt Exeter’s rhythm by buzzing early on a question about some kind of graph, but again failed to hit the target. The answer was hysteresis, and it’s just as well that JP knew because neither Exeter nor I did. Tom Stone persevered and took the next starter, knowing that Kate Winslet played fossil hunter Mary Anning in “Ammonite” – which can kill Superman apparently. A UC special set on character names from The Matrix provided the bonuses. Manchester managed the first, but the other two escaped them. Which all brought us to the music starter. Richard McNair took Manchester’s second in a row, recognising the work of one time Ealing resident Edward Elgar. Three more songs from song cycles followed. I resolved to answer Schumann to each bonus until it was right. It was actually the first answer. So I answered Schubert for the next two – it was the third. Sadly Manchester didn’t nail down any of the answers. At least Manchester’s tactic of slinging buzzer and throwing caution to the wind had slowed Exeter down, but it didn’t work with the next starter as Tom Stone interrupted incorrectly. It was Jefferson Ting who knew that the Fed Cup in tennis was renamed after Billie Jean King. Self portraits brought me one, and Exeter none of the bonuses. Richard McNair knew that Galileo was born in Pisa for the next starter. Apparently his surname was Galilei, although I always thought it was Figaro. Bonuses on the naturalist Georg Steller passed them by. So on the cusp of the 20 minute mark, Exeter still led by 90 to 45. Manchester had answered more starters in the last ten minutes, but this had come at the cost of several point deductions for interruptions, and their inability to convert bonuses had cost them.
A good interruption saw TJ Alabi recognising that the next starter was working its way towards an answer of the poet Shelley. Bonuses on world leaders saw Exeter take another ten points, and if they’d realised that all 3 answers began with the same letter, they might well have had a full house. Jacob Evans recognised Brazilian footballer Marta for the picture starter. More world female football players of the year brought another 5 points. TJ Alabi took Exeter’s third starter on the bounce, when he caught Manchester napping when the definition of the word isthmus reared its familiar head. A lovely set of bonuses on questions set in 20th century poetry saw Exeter draw a blank. None of us knew the answer to the probability question that followed. James McCafferty took a flyer on the next but found that the answer had gone after he buzzed. None of Exeter could capitalise with the Analects of Confucius - who were a lesser known prog rock band from the early 70's, I thought. Undaunted, James McCafferty took the next starter with alt-J. Fair enough – me neither. Persian History bonuses brought me nothing but Manchester took two. Tom Stone recognised three abbreviations containing S for Space for the next starter. A tricky set on visual defects saw us both take two bonuses. Neither team quite managed to dredge up Verlaine for the next starter. The contest was gonged before the completion of the next starter, which meant that Exeter had won by 130 to 80.
JP congratulated Exeter saying that they were just about ahead for the whole contest. Hmm -sorry, but it looked a little more comfortable than that to me, Jez. Manchester were a little unlucky that they didn’t quite make it into triple figures – all they needed was one of their hail Mary buzzes to have come good and a sympathetic set of bonuses. Well that’s quizzing for you.
Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
The (real) Illuminati Secret Society was formed at the University of Ingolstadt