Monday, 18 March 2019

University Challenge 2018-19: Elimination Quarter-Final 2: Darwin vs Emmanuel

Evening all. On we travel into the unknown with the second elimination quarter-final, and a Cambridge derby, between two teams I, in my infinite wisdom, both picked as semi-finalists; one still could be, the other couldn't as they'd be out. Apologies for any typos, as I cut my right index finger on a broken supermarket trolley last night and it's hurting a fair bit when I bend it.

Darwin College Cambridge rocketed through the knockout rounds, beating SOAS of London and Downing of Cambridge in the first and second rounds, but slipped up in their preliminary against Bristol, a low scoring affair which they lost on a tie-breaker. Hoping to make up for that and recover their earlier form were the unchanged foursome of: 
Stuart MacPherson, from Bothwell in South Lanarkshire, studying Physics  
Chris Davis, from London (originally California), studying Plant Sciences  
Captain: Jason Golfinos, from New York City, studying Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 
Guy Mulley, from Loughton in Essex, studying Law

Emmanuel College Cambridge narrowly lost their first match to fellow QFers Glasgow, but recovered via wins over King's of London and St Peter's of Oxford, before coming unstuck again against St Edmund Hall in the preliminaries. Hoping to bounce back again and not fall at the same stage they did a year ago tomorrow were the also unchanged foursome of: 
Connor MacDonald, from New Brunswick, Canada, studying Politics  
Vedanth Nair, from Kings Lynn, studying Economics  
Captain: Dani Cugini, from Warwick, studying English  
Ben Harris, from Bath, studying Geology

Off we set again then, and a prompt buzz from Mr MacDonald with 'Gladstone' opened the scoring for the night; bonuses on double numbered years saw Emmanuel take one bonus and unluckily miss another. Mr MacPherson duly sent Darwin off in quick pursuit, and bonuses on the critique of writer Kate Millett gave them two correct answers, and the lead. Which increased when Mr Golfinos, their top player in the earlier rounds, took his first starter of the night, unlocking a classic UC bonus set on pairs of names where the last letters of the first and the first of the second are the same, of which they took another two. The first picture round, on cities that have won the EU's Access City Award, went to Emmanuel, who also took two bonuses, cutting their gap to 40-35.

Darwin duly increased it again though, with Mr MacPherson identifying the opening words of Trainspotting (the novel), and another pair of bonuses followed with it. Mr Golfinos, with the bit in his teeth, was then very quick to identify Spain and Portugal as the signatories of the Treaty of Tordesillas, and almost singlehandedly banged out a full bonus set on Matilda of Tuscany. A second quick starter in a row went to the Darwin captain, which gave them another great UC bonus set asking to identify chemical elements from clues to a scientist whose initials are their chemical element; they took one of these. Mr Harris broke Emmanuel back into the game on the next starter; two bonuses followed, before Ms Cugini gave her side a second starter in a row, with the subsequent bonuses, on astronomy, bringing them within 25.

The music round, on singers often called 'the Godfather/mother of' their genre, went to Darwin, who took a full house of bonuses, increasing their lead to 125-75. Asked for a political figure born in Dublin in 1769, Mr Nair zigged with Nelson, Mr Golfinos zagged with Wellington, and Darwin took full advantage with a second successive full set. A quick buzz from Mr MacDonald brought Emmanuel back into the game though, and a full set of their own took them into three figures. Mr Golfinos wasn't to be stopped though, another quick starter, and yet another full set set his side on their way again.

The second picture round, on stills from non-US road movies, went to Emmanuel, who failed to add to their score, leaving the deficit at 175-110. Mr Harris did the right thing in going in quickly for the next starter, but dropped five, and Mr Golfinos picked up the drop; one bonus followed.

And when Mr Golfinos took the next starter, that was game over; two bonuses on cameos by Alfred Hitchcock went with it. Emmanuel went out fighting though, Mr Nair offering 'Einstein-Bose condensate', which Paxo decided was close enough for the points, and a full set of bonuses was taken in short order. Mr Mulley took the last starter of the game, and the one bonus there was time to answer they got right. At the gong, Darwin won 225-130.

A good high quality contest, well played both teams, shame this is an elimination match. Unlucky Emmanuel, but a fine series of performances, and an entertaining team to watch, thanks very much for playing! Well done Darwin though, another strong win over good opposition, and best of luck in the play-offs!

The stats: Mr Golfinos was, once again, the best buzzer of the night with eight, taking his running total to 36, one more than Mr Leo thus far, while Mr Harris was best for Emmanuel with three, though Messrs MacDonald and Nair were joint best for the series overall with 13 each. On the bonuses, Darwin converted a very good 23 out of 31, while Emmanuel managed an also decent 13 out of 21, with the night's one penalty.

Next week's match: the first play-off, which, unless I've been misinformed, will see Edinburgh vs Bristol, followed by Manchester vs Darwin.

Only Connect was awash with UC alumni tonight, with five out of six on the teams. Review coming up on Thursday I hope.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Only Connect Series 14: Quarter-Final 1: Time Ladies vs LARPers

OK, here we are at the first quarter-final of what I've pretty much decided will be the last series of Only Connect I cover in this much depth on this blog. These blogs are becoming increasingly harder to write, and with my new blog requiring attention too, I need to prioritise. Don't worry, I will still cover it on here, just not a full review.

Anyway, playing the first quarter-final on Monday were the Time Ladies, Charlotte Jackson, Emma Harris and captain Rebecca Shaw, who came straight through with victories over the Motorheads and the Pyromaniacs, and the LARPers, Martel Reynolds, Kiwi Tokoeka and captain Ronny Jackson, who defeated the Durhamites and, also, the Motorheads en route, but were also beaten by the Poptimists.

Round 1. The Time Ladies opened the show with Eye of Horus, and the music question: we heard Tom Waits with 'Grapefruit Moon', then Prokofiev's 'The Love for Three Oranges', then 'Lemon Tree', and finally 'Oh! My Darling Clementine'. They saw the link from the last two, and collected a point. The LARPers started their show with Lion, and the pictures: we saw an Indycar motor race, then a Madison cycle race, then a girl playing badminton, and finally a rugby union match. They didn't get it, their opponents did: they are sports named after places. For their own question, the Ladies chose Water: 'Outlook', then 'Workhouse', then 'Hangover', and finally 'Overhand'. They didn't quite work it out, their opponents did: they are portmanteau words which form other portmanteau words when the components are switched ('Lookout', 'Housework', 'Overhang' and 'Handover') For their own question, the LARPers chose 'Horn-ed' Viper: 'Germany (1888)', then 'USA (1841)', then 'Vatican City (1978)', and finally 'UK (1936)'. Again, they didn't get it, and their opponents didn't quite get there either: they are years where those states had three rulers. The Ladies chose Two Reeds next: 'Kings Cross', then 'Patpong'; they came in here and tried 'suburbs of Sydney', not correct. Their opponents saw 'De Wallen' and 'Reeperbahn', and correctly offered that they are red light districts of their cities for a bonus. Left with Twisted Flax for their own question, the LARPers saw 'Chinese beer', then '"Northern bastard"', then ''Informer' performer', and finally 'Visual static'. They saw the link to be 'snow', and collected the point. At the end of the first round, the 3-2.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Ladies started the round with Twisted Flax: '4: Russia and Rwanda', then '3: Armenia and Albania', and then '2: Slovenia and Slovakia'. They tried '1: Austria and Australia', not correct. Their opponents knew it to be countries whose names differ by 4, 3 and 2 letters, and, despite not being able to think of an example, were allowed the bonus. '1: Iraq and Iran' was the model answer. For their own question, the LARPers chose Water: '1751: 282', then '1752: 355', and then '1753: 365'. They knew it to be something to do with increasing numbers of days in years, but their offer of '1754: 366' was not correct. Their opponents tried '1756: 366', reasoning it to be years with increasing numbers of days. This wasn't quite what TPTB had in mind, the model answer being simply '1754: 365' and the sequence 'sequential years and how many days in them', but Victoria deemed their answer an acceptable alternate sequence, so bonus given. For their own question, the Ladies chose Eye of Horus: '"a lucky one"', then '12:43'; they saw them to be '18 to 1' and '17 to 1', and so offered 'Quiz show hosted by Sandi Toksvig', or '15 to 1', for the three points (the first clue being a reference to Fairytale of New York). The LARPers chose Two Reeds next, and got the picture set: we saw an army tank, then a bluebottle, and then Bruce Springsteen. They didn't get it, their opponents did: they are the lyrics to 'Dub Be Good To Me', 'tank fly boss walk', so offered 'someone going for a stroll' for the bonus. For their own final choice, the Ladies chose Lion: 'Devanagari', then 'Arabic', and then 'Chinese'. Both teams saw it to be something to do with languages, but neither quite got there: they are writing systems and the number of users, so 'Latin' would be fourth. Left with Horned Viper, the LARPers saw 'Cecil', then 'HSBC office guards', and then 'UK No. 1 in June 1996 & 1998'. They didn't see it, their opponents did: they are increasing numbers of lions, so 'Comedy about UK terrorists' would be an acceptable answer. At the end of the second round, the Ladies led 8-4.

On to the Walls. The LARPers went first, and chose the Lion wall. After careful study of the clues, they isolated two sets in reasonably quick succession: 'Chief', 'Bibbit', 'Martini' and 'McMurphy' are characters in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', while 'Don't pass', 'Big 8', 'Hardway' and 'Field' are bets in craps. They worked out the remaining connections, but couldn't untangle the sets in their three goes, so had to try for bonuses: 'James', 'Hawkins', 'Phillips' and 'Gunnell' are surnames of famous women called Sally, while 'Robertson', 'Flat head', 'Torque' and 'Ratchet' are types of screwdriver. Six points there.

The Ladies chose thus put daylight between themselves if they could get a clean sweep of the Water wall. Again, they took their time analysing the clues, and eventually had a set in the bag: 'Ansel', 'Patch', 'Oleta' and 'Nicola' are forenames of famous people with the surname Adams. They got a bit stuck after that though, and couldn't get anything else, so had to also go for bonuses: 'Peg out', 'Hoop', 'Bisque' and 'Peel' are croquet terms, which they didn't get, 'Brown Windsor', 'Tom yum', 'Gumbo' and 'Shchi' are soups, which they did get, while 'Onchan', 'Ramsey', 'Douglas' and 'Castletown' are places on the Isle of Man. Four points there, which reduced their lead to 12-10 going into the final round.

So, Missing Vowels would decide the first semi-finalists. 'Exhibits in the British Museum' went to the LARPers 2-1. 'Things with tiers', such as 'WEDDING CAKE' and 'ENGLISH FOOTBALL' was another 2-1 to the LARPers. 'Things that have been famously vandalised', such as 'STATUE OF WINSTON CHURCHILL' and 'ROME' was a 2-2 split. And that was time: a 16-16 tie!

A tie-breaker question thus required again: 'LKB FY YLP'. Ms Shaw was in first: 'LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP'; riiiiiiiiiight!

Another absorbing contest between two very well matched teams, well played both. Unlucky LARPers, but a respectable series of performances, thanks very much for playing. Well done Time Ladies though, and best of luck in the semi finals!

Next week's match: the Durhamites vs the Poptimists

Monday, 11 March 2019

University Challenge 2018-19: Qualification Quarter-Final 2: Bristol vs St Edmund Hall

Evening all. Hope most of you weren't thrown by the change of time tonight. Most inconvenient for me, as I had to miss the Simpsons so I could take my shower before the quiz hour started! Never mind it was one I've seen many times before, it doesn't feel right having to miss it! Never mind, we'll be used to it next week I suppose. Anyway, on with the show, and the second qualifier quarter-final.

Bristol won a low scoring first round contest against Queen's of Belfast, then had a higher scoring win over Warwick in the second round, and in their first quarter-final, pulled off a minor upset against Darwin, winning on a 105-each tie-break. Hoping to continue this resurgence were the unchanged foursome of: 
George Sumner, from South London, studying Physics 
Owen Iredale, from Hadleigh in Suffolk, studying Biology 
Captain: Anne Le Maistre, from Adelaide, studying History 
Pushan Basu, from Newcastle, studying English Literature

St Edmund Hall Oxford reached this stage with three comfortable wins, over York in the first round, Clare of Cambridge in the second, and Emmanuel in the preliminaries, with their captain dominating the show all three times. Hoping to continue in the same vein tonight were the also unchanged foursome of: 
Agastya Pisharody, from India and Basel, studying Material Science 
Marceline Bresson, from the Netherlands, studying Economics and Management 
Captain: Freddie Leo, from Berlin, studying History 
Lizzie Fry, from Worcestershire, studying Geography

Off we set again then, and Mr Iredale set the ball rolling for the night with 'China'; the Avonsiders hit the ground running on all fours with a full bonus set on poet Elizabeth Bishop. Mr Iredale won the buzzer race again on the next starter, asking for the shortest and longest named elements, 'Tin and Rutherfordium', a nice chestnut worth knowing that. Two bonuses followed this time. Mr Leo, the joint best buzzer of the series thus far heading into this contest, attempted to get his side going on the next starter, but his answer of 'Sculpture' was not acceptable for 'Architecture', losing them five. Bristol didn't pick up, but did take the next starter, and one bonus, unfortunately missing another after Ms Le Maistre misheard her colleague; harsh, yes, but consistent with similar adjudications before. The first picture round, on cities that lie on the confluences of rivers, went to Bristol, who took a full set, giving them a lead of 85-(-5).

And up it went again, as Mr Sumner took the next starter, and one bonus took the Avonsiders into three figures. St Edmund Hall had a chance to get going with the next starter after Mr Basu slipped up, but Ms Bresson shot wide of the mark offering 'Spring' instead of 'Autumn', with Paxo harshly rubbing it in somewhat harshly. Finally, Mr Leo got them going in the right direction again, and a pair of bonuses accompanied it. Having seemingly found his range, Mr Leo took a second starter in a row, but no bonuses followed this time.

The music round, on pop songs featuring Carol Kaye on bass, went to St Edmund Hall, who, again, managed just the one bonus, reducing the deficit to 95-40. And they were getting closer by the minute (metaphorically), as Mr Leo took the next starter; one bonus on works based on Shakespeare plays followed, with a nice bit of logical deduction providing them with the answer. Mr Iredale reawoke his side on the next starter, taking them back into three figures, and two bonuses on astronomy went with it. Ms Bresson moved St Edmund Hall closer again on the next starter though, and a timely full bonus set meant it was still either team's game heading into the final quarter.

The second picture round, on people who have delivered the Jefferson Lecture, went to St Edmund Hall, who took two bonuses, taking them into triple figures, and reducing the gap to 115-100. Next starter asked for a regnal number, Ms Le Maistre buzzed first, but was wrong; Mr Leo buzzed, and let out a considerable pause before correctly answering. Lenient, yes, but I have seen him allow answers after similar length pauses before (including one by Alex Guttenplan many years ago). One bonus put the sides on level pegging.

With not much time left, Mr Leo swooped in on the next starter to give his side the lead, and a timely full set of bonuses was banged out in no time. Mr Iredale kept his side in the game with a good buzz to identify three South American countries south of the Equator; a full set of their own would take them level, but they could only manage the one. And when Mr Leo took the next starter, that was game over. Indeed, no time for bonuses; at the gong, St Edmund Hall won 150-130.

An absorbing contest, well played by both sides. Unlucky Bristol, unfortunate to lose after that flying start, but still a fine performance, and best of luck in the play-offs. Very well done St Edmund Hall though, and very best of luck in the semi-finals!

The stats: Mr Leo was, once again, the best buzzer of the night, albeit only just this time, with seven to Mr Iredale's six. On the bonuses, Bristol converted 13 out of 21, while St Edmund Hall managed 13 out of 24, with both sides incurring one penalty, so it was a game narrowly won on the buzzer.

Next week's match: Darwin vs Emmanuel, with the winner playing Manchester in the play-offs, where Bristol will play Edinburgh

Only Connect began its quarter-finals tonight, also with a close game; blog coming up on Wednesday I hope.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Only Connect Series 14: Play-Off 4: Birdwatchers vs Westenders

OK, so I've made a preliminary decision: this will be the last series of Only Connect I cover on here in as much detail. These reviews have been easier to write this series what with the return to the old format, but require a lot of time and effort that I am increasingly running out of. Plus, what with my new blog recently started too, I will need to make time to deal with that too. I'll finish this series before I decide for sure though.

Anyway, playing on Monday night were the Birdwatchers, Chris Grandison, Keli Richards and captain Lauren Hamer, who lost to the Dicers then beat the Brews on a tie-break, and the Westenders, Tom Chisholm, Abbas Panjwani and captain Megan Stodel, who defeated the Dragons but were beaten by the Ancient Alumni.

Round 1. The Westenders kicked the show off with Water, and the picture set: we saw a young lady wearing a hat, then an older lady wearing sunglasses, then another young lady staring off to one side, and finally a baby with a pacifier in its mouth. Neither side got this: they are illegalities in UK passport photos. The Birdwatchers started their show with Twisted Flax: 'Palomo', then 'Copenhagen', then 'Marengo'; they saw them to be the horses of military leaders, and picked up the first points of the game. The Westenders chose Eye of Horus next: 'Hindi slap', then 'German farting demon', then 'French wand', and finally 'Italian slipper'. They correctly identified them as translations of the names of breads (chapati, pumpernickel, baguette and ciabata), and collected their first point of the night. The Birdwatchers chose Two Reeds next, and got the music set: we heard Scottish band Camera Obscura with 'Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken', then Whitney Houston with 'Where Do Broken Hearts Go?', then Elvis with 'Heartbreak Hotel', and finally Elton John and Kiki D with 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart'. They spotted the link from the last two, and picked up the point. The Westenders chose Horned Viper next: 'Thin and bright', then 'Heavy and dark'; they came in here and suggested them to be translations of the names of the four Renaissance Painting Modes, but were not correct. Their opponents saw 'Soft and simple' and 'Diluted and untidy', and saw them to be words with shared opposites, for the bonus point. Left with Lion for their own question, the Birdwatchers saw 'Johnny Depp', then 'Hannibal', then 'Sammy Davis Jr', and finally 'Gordon Brown'. They suggested them to all be blind in one eye, and were correct (an interesting little known fact about Mr Depp there). At the end of the first round, the Birdwatchers led 5-1.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Westenders started with Twisted Flax: '1. Iowa', then '2. Hawaii'; they saw them to be US states with increasing numbers of 'I's, so offered '4. Mississippi' for the three points. The Birdwatchers chose Eye of Horus next: 'Area', then 'Wind', and then 'Precipitation'. They didn't spot this, nor did their opponents: it's the information given in the first third of the Shipping Forecast, so 'Visibility' would be fourth. The Westenders chose Water next, and got a music question: we heard 'The Reluctant Dragon' from Disney's film of the same name, then Dukas' 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice', and then 'When You Wish Upon a Star'. They knew it to be something to do with Disney, but didn't get a correct answer. Their opponents suggested it to be the first four Disney feature films going backwards, and correctly offered a song from Snow White for the points. (Cue a reluctant rendition of 'Heigh-Ho'!) For their own question, the Birdwatchers chose Two Reeds: 'Pohn', then 'Gaul', and then 'Reorge'; they saw them to be the forenames of the Beatles with the first letters switched a bit, so 'Jingo' would complete the set! For their final choice, the Westenders chose Lion, and got the picture set: we saw a Macaque monkey, then a cheque about to be written, and then a work by Rene Lalique. They didn't see it, their opponents did, and offered a chef's toque for the bonus. Left with Horned Viper for their own final question, the Birdwatchers saw 'German (terrorism)', then 'Nuclear (prolonged cold and darkness)', and then 'Arab (revolution)'. They saw them to be phrases with seasons missing, so suggested 'Indian (really hot weather)' for the two points. At the end of the second round, the Birdwatchers led 11-4.

On to the Walls. The Birdwatchers went first, and chose the Lion wall. They quickly isolated a first set, 'Haiku', 'Sonnet', 'Sestina' and 'Ballad', which are forms of verse, but got rather stuck after that. Eventually timed out, they had to go for bonus points: 'Samurai', 'Tycoon', 'Emperor' and 'Seduction' can all follow 'The Last' to give film titles, which they didn't get, 'Bonsai', 'Honcho', 'Sake' and 'Emoji' are words borrowed from Japanese, which they did get, while 'Manga', 'Peace', 'Apply' and 'Grape' are the names of fruits with the final letter changed, which they also spotted. Four points there.

The Westenders could thus make up lost ground with a good result on the Water wall. They too, were somewhat stuck initially, but then clicked two groups in quick succession: 'Alien', 'Sunshine', 'Passengers' and 'Gravity' are films set in space, while 'Friction', 'Electromagnetic', 'Strong Nuclear' and 'Elastic' are forces. They tried the final sets, but couldn't work it out in their three tries, so had to also got for bonuses: 'Spanker', 'Lateen', 'Moonraker' and 'Spinnaker' are types of sail, which they got, while 'Lumbers', 'Jib', 'Rush' and 'Judged' are books of the Old Testament with one letter changed, which they didn't see. Five points there, which meant the Birdwatchers led 15-9 going into the final round.

So, Missing Vowels would decide the last place in the knockouts, with the Westenders needing the sweep the round to stand a chance. 'People known for wearing red' was split 2-each. 'African UNESCO World Heritage sites' went to the Westenders 3-0. 'Idioms containing two animals', such as 'IT'S RAINING CATS AND DOGS' and 'A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING', was another 2-all split, and that was time. The Birdwatchers won 19-16.

Another good show, well done both teams, well quizzed. Unlucky Westenders, but a good series of performances on the whole, thanks very much for playing! Well done Birdwatchers though, and best of luck in the knockouts!

Next week's match: the first quarter-final, the Time Ladies vs the LARPers

Monday, 4 March 2019

University Challenge 2018-19: Elimination Quarter-Final 1: Glasgow vs Manchester

Evening all. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I have just started a second blog, Jack's Other Blog, where I hope to be talking about non-quiz things, mainly my experiences and thoughts of football. And, to borrow a football metaphor, tonight's match pitted the footballing capital of Scotland against the footballing capital of England (arguably); the winners would survive to the play-offs, the runners-up would bow out.

Glasgow defeated fellow quarter-finalists Emmanuel in their first match, then snuck a win against Goldsmiths of London in the second round, but their first quarter-final saw them fall to Durham 170-110. Hoping to recover and keep the prospect of two Scots teams in the semis alive were the unchanged foursome of: 
Lewis Barn, from Airdrie, studying Professional Legal Practice 
Freya Whiteford, from Bonybridge near Falkirk, studying Physics with Astrophysics 
Captain: James Hampson, from Helsby in Cheshire, studying Medicine 
Cam Herbert, from Burley-in-Wharfedale in West Yorkshire, studying Sociology with Quantatitive Methods

Manchester defeated East London narrowly in their first match, and then more comfortably beat Hertford of Oxford in their second, but their first quarter-final, the one shown on the Tuesday, saw them lose 170-130 to Edinburgh. (In fact, were it not for the new BBC Scotland channel, tonight's match would probably also have been delayed until tomorrow here) Also hoping to bounce back from that were the also unchanged foursome of: 
Alexander Antao, from Chingford in London, studying Mathematical Logic  
Georgia Lynott, from Burnley, studying Applied Maths  
Captain: James Ross, from Coventry, studying Classics and Ancient History  
Joe Hanson, from Gravesend, studying Data Intensive Science

Off we set again then, and Ms Lynott opened the scoring for the night with 'Pascal'; the side took a single bonus from their first set on post-modernism. Mr Herbert opened Glasgow's scoring with 'A Tale of Two Cities', and they took two of their first set, and with them the lead. Mr Hampson increased that lead with 'La Boheme', giving his side a bonus set on cell biology, of which just the one was taken. The first picture round, on island groups highlighted on maps, went to Manchester, who got a reaction from Paxo for claiming the Faroe Islands to be between Sweden and Finland! They took the other two bonuses though, leveling the game at 35-each.

A classic UC starter followed, asking, if France is FP and Germany GB, which two European countries would be SB? Mr Barn knew them to be Serbia and Slovakia, the link being the initials of the countries and their capitals. The Scots side took another pair of bonuses on film critics, including an amusing definition of Rotten Tomatoes! Mr Ross halved the lead by taking the next starter, but they got nothing from the resulting bonuses. Ms Whiteford then made sure all four Glasgow players had answered a starter right, and they took another pair of bonuses on the work of Ted Hughes.

The music starter saw Mr Hanson identify Philip Glass' Einstein on the Beach; the bonuses, on pop songs about scientists, provided Manchester with a single correct bonus, which reduced their arrears to 75-60. It decreased further when Mr Antao took the next starter, which meant all eight players had a starter to their name, but no bonuses on cities purpose built as capitals followed. Another starter from Mr Antao took Manchester into the lead, but, again, they got nothing from the bonuses, a very tricky set on classical mechanics. A third starter in a row went to Manchester's left winger, and this time, a single bonus went with it.

The second picture round, on works by professors at the Royal Academy, went to Manchester, who took two bonuses, which took their lead to 115-75. Still all to play for entering the home straight, but when Mr Hanson identified the geologist James Hutton (as I'm sure my geologist Dad would've too were he not watching the football instead!), and another duo of bonuses accompanied it, Glasgow now really needed to go for it on the buzzer.

A chance came when Mr Antao slipped up on the next starter, and Mr Barn did the right thing in having a guess, but only managed to get a second exasperated reaction of the night from the host! And when Mr Antao made up for his error by taking the next starter, that was game over; a single bonus followed, but those points were then lost to a technical interruption. Glasgow couldn't capitalise, and then dropped five of their own with an unfortunate early buzz; Mr Hanson took the points, and there was time for two bonuses, of which one was taken. At the gong, Manchester won 155-70.

A good enjoyable and entertaining contest, well done both teams, and kudos for clapping each other at the start and end of it too. Unlucky Glasgow, outplayed on the buzzer in the second half, but a decent and entertaining series of performances, thanks for playing! Well done Manchester though, and best of luck in the play-offs!

The stats: Messrs Antao and Hanson were joint best of the night with four each, while all four Glasgow players ended the night with a starter each, Mr Hampson ending their run their best player, with sixteen starters over four games. On the bonuses Glasgow converted 7 out of 12 (with one penalty), while Manchester managed 11 out of 33 (with two penalties).

Next week's match: Bristol vs St Edmund Hall, back at the old time of 8, with Only Connect at 7:30.

Only Connect finally ended its group stage tonight and completed its knockout stage line-up. Review of that on Wednesday I hope.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Only Connect Series 14: Play-Off 3: Hotpots vs Brews

OK, so now we know exactly what's happened with Only Connect. Remember a few weeks ago when the Forrests had to withdraw, but Victoria claimed the Dragons had had to pull out? Well, this week, the Dragons actually have had to withdraw, but Victoria claimed in her intro it was the Forrests who'd had to! Hope someone got fired for that script blunder. Anyway, that did mean another team would get a reprieve, and given that they were playing the other reprieved team, whoever won would reach the knockouts with only one win to their names!

Playing were the Hotpots, Paul Jackson, Jo Beattie and captain Paul Richardson, who were eliminated after losses to the Poptimists and the Durhamites, but have been reprieved by the Dragons' withdrawal, and the Brews, Andy Christley, James Buchanan and captain Daniel Foskett, who went out after losing to the Forrests and the Birdwatchers, but were asked back to take their first opponents' place in the qualifiers, where they lost to the Dicers. And I thought the return to the old format would make these previous form summaries easier to write!

Round 1. The Hotpots opened the show with Eye of Horus, and got the music set instantly: we heard the Spinning Chorus from Wagner's Flying Dutchman, then Schubert's 'Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel', then George Michael with 'Spinning the Wheel', and finally Kylie with 'Spinning Around'. They didn't get a buzz in in time, allowing their opponents to offer the correct link for the bonus. (Surprised the Spinning Song by Mendelssohn wasn't one of them) For their own first question, the Brews chose Two Reeds: 'Thomas Jackson - Allied interception of blockade runners', then 'Steven Frayne - Dunkirk evacuation', then 'Frederick I - Nazi invasion of Soviet Union', and finally 'Erwin Rommel - US bombing of Iraq in 1998'. Neither side got this: those operations' military codenames are also those peoples' nicknames (Stonewall, Dynamo, Barbarossa and Desert Fox). The Hotpots chose Lion next, and got the picture set: we saw Fernando Torres, then singer Donald Glover, then Baby from Dirty Dancing, and finally Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid. They suggested 'Kid', which was close enough for the points; they are people with childish nicknames (Torres was 'El Nino' and Mr Glover is 'Childish Gambino'). The Brews chose Horned Viper next: 'H.G. Wells', then 'Beethoven', then 'Cujo'; they spotted them to be St Bernard dogs, and collected two points. The Hotpots chose Twisted Flax next: 'The Sleeping Gypsy (full)', then 'Fishermen At Sea (full)', then 'The Sheepfold (waning)'; they came it at this point, but their offer of 'phases of the Moon in the Southern Hemisphere' was not correct. Their opponents saw 'Starry Night (crescent)', and offered them as paintings in which the Moon appears in those phases, and collected a bonus. Left with Water for their own question, the Brews saw 'Big bad wolf (x)', then 'Bad big wolf ([a tick])', then 'Australian red wine (x)', and finally 'Lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife ([a tick])'. Neither team got this: it is the Royal Order of Adjectives, and examples of what is right and what is wrong according to it. At the end of the first round, the Brews led 4-1.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Hotpots started with Two Reeds, and got the picture set: we saw a white car, then a handbag, and then a television. Neither side got this: it is the old piracy ad that used to be on every DVD that went 'You wouldn't steal a car', and so on, so something representing 'a movie' would be fourth. (Ed Byrne did a brilliant send up of that ad on Mock the Week once!) The Brews chose Horned Viper next: 'In 4th: (e.g.) Macquarie', then 'In 3rd: (e.g.) Mauritius', and finally 'In 2nd: (e.g.) Ascension'. They tried 'In 1st: Fiji', which was acceptable, the sequence being islands in the oceans in descending size. The Hotpots chose Water next: 'Left harbour', then 'Maestros take one at the front', and then 'Celestial object before governing body is right'. They saw what was going on, and offered 'An angry person behind a vessel', which was good enough for the points, the sequence being crossword style clues to nautical directions. The Brews chose Lion next: 'Stiff Kittens', then 'Warsaw', and then 'Joy Division'. They didn't see it, their opponents did: they are successive incarnations of the same band, so 'New Order' would complete the set. For their own final choice, the Hotpots chose Eye of Horus: 'Eating a surfeit of lampreys', then 'Shot with an arrow while hunting'; they saw it to be deaths of English kings, but their offer at this point of 'Died in his bed at Westminster' was not correct. Their opponents saw 'Thrown against the pommel of his saddle', and offered 'Arrow in the eye' for the bonus. Left with Twisted Flax for their own final question, the Brews saw '15101051' at the bottom of the box, then '14641' a bit further up, and then '1331' a bit further still. They suggested '121' at the top, and were correct, albeit for the wrong reason: they are rows of Pascal's triangle. At the end of the second round, the Brews led 9-4.

On to the Walls. The Brews went first, and chose the Water wall. They quickly got a bit stuck, eventually managing one set: 'Steel', 'Pepper', 'Pebble' and 'Paper' are types of mill. That was all they could get though, so they had to try for bonuses: 'Cotton', 'Silvester', 'Heath' and 'Loss' are surnames of band leaders, which they didn't get, 'Tote', 'Duffel', 'Dorothy' and 'Gladstone' are types of bag, which they did get, while 'Asquith', 'Lloyd George', 'Thorpe' and 'Grimond' are surnames of leaders of the Liberal Party, which they also got. Four there then.

The Hotpots could thus make up lost ground with a better result on the Lion wall. In contrast, they had a set in the bag straight away: 'Shuttlecock', 'Quill', 'Duvet' and 'Boa' are products with feathers in/on them. A second set, 'Winder', 'Butter', 'Thirl' and 'Gras', which can all have 'mere' added to them to give the names of lakes, followed promptly, and they soon had things sorted on their second attempt: 'Rattle', 'Corn', 'Garter' and 'Coral' are snakes, while 'Hogwood', 'Abbado', 'Alsop' and 'Solti' are surnames of conductors. A full ten there, which meant they now led 14-13 going into the final round.

So, Missing Vowels to decide who took the penultimate knockout round place. 'Types of dating', such as 'CARBON DATING' and 'SPEED DATING', went to the Brews 3-1. 'Phrases containing furniture', such as 'WARDROBE MALFUNCTION', was another 3-1 to the Brews. 'Dinosaurs', such as 'BARNEY'(!) and 'STEGOSAURUS', went to the Brews 2-0, and that was time. The Brews won 21-16.

Another good contest, well done both teams. Unlucky Hotpots, but a fair performance to go out on again, thanks for playing! Well done Brews though, and best of luck in the knockouts!

Next week's match: the Birdwatchers vs the Westenders

Monday, 25 February 2019

University Challenge 2018-19: Qualification Quarter-Final 1: Durham vs Edinburgh

Evening all. So, we've arrived at the business end of the quarter-final process; after tonight's match, we'd know the first of our semi-finalists. One team started the process as favourites, the others are dark horses, so a good contest was hopefully in the offering. A bit of a contest in my parents' household too: my Mum's alma mater vs my Dad's alma mater!

Durham breezed through their first match against Strathclyde, breaking all sorts of records in a 360-55 win, before dispatching Keble of Oxford only slightly less imperiously in the second round by 200-100, and then winning a good contest in their first quarter-final against Glasgow by 170-110. Hoping to continue this form and reach the semis for the fifth time under Paxo were: 
Sian Round, from the Wirral, studying English  
Cameron Yule, from Harrow in London, studying English  
Captain: Matthew Toynbee, from South Derbyshire, studying Maths  
Ben Murray, from Davenham in Cheshire, studying Chemistry

Edinburgh comfortably saw off Sidney Sussex of Cambridge in their first match by 210-75, before edging a great second round match against U.C.L. 180-160, and then, in the Tuesday match of two weeks ago, they beat Manchester in their first quarter-final by 170-130. Also hoping to continue in this vein and reach their third semis in a row were: 
Matt Booth, from Bristol, studying Maths  
Marco Malusa, from Italy, studying Economics and Politics  
Captain: Max Fitz-James, from Burgundy, studying Cell Biology  
Robbie Campbell Hewson, from Edinburgh, studying Maths

Off we set again then, and Mr Fitz-James, his side's MVP this far, opened the scoring by recognising the chapters of Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time'; two bonuses on limestone accompanied. A very prompt buzz from Mr Toynbee set Durham off in quick pursuit, and a bonus set on knots ("I can not knot." "Not knot?!" "Who's there?" "Pooh!" "Pooh who?") also provided two correct answers. A slip-up from Edinburgh gave the Wearsiders the lead, and they pressed home the advantage with a pickup and another pair of bonuses, from a classic UC set on French cities spelled using chemical symbols. Mr Murray gave a third starter to Durham, and the bonuses provided, yep, another two correct. The first picture round, on diagrams showing the relationships between characters in plays, saw that record end, as Durham drew a blank with the bonuses; but they still led 70-15.

Mr Murray was unlucky to lose five on the next starter, forgetting he'd been asked for a four word phrase rather than a single word; Mr Fitz-James took the points, and the Scots side took yet another pair of bonuses, unlucky to miss the other. Mr Yule correctly identified William Haslett, who seems to have been popping up a lot lately, for the next starter, and his side pressed home the first full set of the night. Mr Toynbee took the Wearsiders into triple figures with the next starters, but, in a reversal of fortune, no bonuses followed (pretty sure Martha Lane Fox has appeared in this series already too).

The Buggles' 'Video Killed the Radio Star' provided the music starter; Mr Fitz-James shot wide with 'Aqua', and Paxo was very harsh to disallow Mr Murray's offer of 'The Bugles', given that he's accepted that in a previous episode when a team were unsure of the correct pronunciation. The bonuses, on Oscar winning composers in bands, went to Edinburgh, who took two correct again, reducing the gap to 100-55. Mr Yule won the race to the buzzer to offer 'Gustave Dore' for the next starter, but just the one bonus went with it this time. Another five points then fell aside from Edinburgh's score, but Durham didn't capitalise; Mr Yule took the next starter though, and the side pushed forward with a full house of bonuses. Mr Campbell Hewson reawoke his side with 'Trieste', and fictional composers gave his side just a single bonus this time.

The first picture round, on women who had obituaries published in the New York Times' 'Overlooked' series, went to Edinburgh, who took another sole bonuses, which left the gap at 140-80. Still just about closeable, but when Mr Yule took his latest starter, and one bonus followed, the Scots side's task became a lot more of an ask.

They gave it a shot, Mr Booth taking the next starter, but only a single bonus on oxymorons in Shakespeare meant they were pretty much out of it now. Mr Fitz-James deservedly took them into triple figures, and another sole bonus, on English locales known as 'The Isle of (something)', gave them another single bonus. Mr Murray took the last starter of the game, but his side took neither of the bonuses there was time for. At the gong, Durham won 165-110.

Another good contest well played by two very good teams, well done both. Unlucky Edinburgh, but still a fair effort, very best of luck in the play-offs. Well done Durham though, deserved semi-finalists, and very very best of luck in them!

The stats: Mr Yule was, narrowly, the best buzzer of the night, with five starters to Mr Fitz-James' four. On the bonuses, Durham converted 14 out of 30 (with one penalty), while Edinburgh managed 10 out of 21 (with two penalties).

Next week's match: Glasgow vs Manchester in the first eliminator match.

Only Connect had its penultimate group stage match tonight, with, as we figured, another withdrawal, and a clear-up to the confusion the first caused. Review on Wednesday I hope.