Monday, 26 November 2012

University Challenge: Round 2: Match 2: York vs New College

Well, after last week’s trouncing, we were all hoping for a closer match this week, and, on paper, we should’ve had one.

York defeated Trinity Laban way back in July, winning by 185-105 after a sprint in the final quarter. The unchanged team might not have wanted to leave it so late this time:
Alex Leonhardt, from Porthcawl in Wales, studying Political Philosophy
Robin Virgo, from Stamford, studying Chemistry
Captain: Rebecca Woods, from Chester, studying Psycholinguistics
Edward Haynes, from Kenilworth, studying Biology

New College Oxford looked very impressive when they racked up a score of 230 in their first match, made even more impressive by their opponents, Homerton, scoring 145 and surviving to the repechage. The favourites for tonight’s match were also unchanged:
Remi Beecroft, from Letchworth in Hertfordshire, studying Psychology and Philosophy
India Lenon, from London, studying Classics
Captain: Andy Hood, from Wasperton in Warwickshire, studying PPE
Tom Cappleman, from Bracknell, studying Maths

So, on paper, New College looked the likely winners, but York would surely give them a good match.

Well, at first, it was all looking rather close. The sides swapped starters to start with, with generally more starters than bonuses being answered correctly. Then, after the first picture round, York began to pull away a bit, and pulled out a lead of 100-45. Could a shock be on?

New College thought otherwise. They began to buzz back into the match, with a run of starters, including the picture round, on music performers from Sheffield.

The third quarter began with Tom Cappleman beginning a surge on the buzzer not dissimilar to one he showed in the first round. York’s lead soon became a deficit and New College began to pull away into the distance.

One starter question I managed to work out using DoND stats:
“If there are five different coloured balls in a bag, how many different combos of three are possible?”
Well, it’s ten. At 5-box, there are ten different 2-box pairs you can end up with. The same applies here, if you assign each coloured ball a board sum. Tom Cappleman managed to work this out as well, and New College’s lead was up to 175-100.

There was still plenty of time for York to recover the deficit, and Rebecca Woods tried to launch a fightback by taking the next starter. It didn’t seem to work, as New College continued to take starters, and soon, their lead was up to 215-115, and surely they were home and dry. But York weren’t going to just roll over and die, and valiantly fought back by taking three consecutive starters, but no bonuses went with them. At the gong, New College won by 215-145, but the match was certainly closer than the score suggests.

York did indeed give New College a good fight. It’s a shame they fell silent in the middle phase of play, otherwise it could have gone right to the wire. Rebecca Woods and Edward Haynes got three starters each, but the side was let down by just 11 bonuses out of 27. Andy Hood and Tom Cappleman got five starters each for New College, who answered 17 bonuses out of 39, which is pretty good, but a slight step back from the 19 out of 33 they managed in the heat. Still, they do have potential to do well in the quarters, so we’ll see how they fare there.

Next week’s match: Warwick vs King’s (good luck James and co!)

Tonight’s Only Connect was the first semi-final, and a really closely fought game as well, with only one point separating the teams at the end. A fine display from both teams, considering some of the questions were really hard, including one Victoria Coren described as ‘evil’.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Deal or No Deal - 17th-25th November

Well, this was a better week than last week, even if frustrating at times.

Monday 19th: Marc
Winnings: £10,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £15,000 (17-box)
Box value: £20,000

Once again, the player makes a decision that is perfectly reasonable for the board in question, only for the proveout to go against them.

Tuesday 20th: Zeny
Winnings: £5,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £15,000 (2-box)
Box value: £50,000


Wednesday 21st: Pat
Winnings: £2,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £2,000 (5-box)
Box value: 10p

We wait almost four weeks for a Banker spanking, and we finally get one, from a £2,000 win! Pat had a really unlucky game that just looked like another typical trainwreck. But an all-blue fifth round got her a bailout of £2,000, which she took, and, thus broke the record for the lowest Banker spanking achieved by a deal  (the lowest from a box opening is £750, achieved by Becky earlier this year). Even though it was a low tariff win, it was good to finally see a Banker spanking after almost four weeks without one.

Thursday 22nd: Deepa
Winnings: 1,000,000 rupees (£11,857)
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: 3,000,000 rupees (£35,571) (5-box)
Box value: 1p

For a while, it looked like Deepa might join Josh in the ’14-box deal’ club. That she made it to 8-box shocked many. The Banker recognised her courage, as was shown in the decent 8-box offer that came after some rather low offers, which was presented in Deepa’s native currency, just to try and show to her the enormity of the money. She did go one round too soon, but at least she avoided the dreaded 1p club, so still a good result.

Friday 23rd: Mathew
Winnings: £10,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £13,000 (17-box and 2-box)
Box value: £50

Nothing terribly memorable here except the Banker’s mocking of Mathew’s tatty dress sense, which resulted in him lending Mathew one of his old suits for him to wear!

Sunday 25th: Kirsti
Winnings: £5,000
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £8,000 (14-box)
Box value: £750

Kirsti’s decision to deal at £5,000 may have been cautious, but understandable with just the £250,000 left higher. It may have statistically been a poor decision, but going on and crashing to a blue would have been worse, so she got a good result for herself, which is what really matters.

We seem to be doing better now than we were earlier in the month, with most players getting their decisions validated, eventually. Let’s hope things continue to improve, and we get some more, higher value Banker spankings next week.

Monday, 19 November 2012

University Challenge: Round 2: Match 1: Pembroke vs Bath

So, the second round kicked off tonight, with an expected result, though maybe not on an expected scale.

Pembroke College Cambridge were the definite favourites for tonight’s show, having won their first match 200-140, and done so against Lancaster, a team good enough to survive to the repechage and go through to Round 2 as well. The time were unchanged from before:
Robert Scanes, from North London, studying Natural Sciences
Emily Maw, from Oxford, studying Maths
Captain: Tom Foxall, from Birmingham, studying Classics
Jemima Hodkinson, from Portsmouth, studying Natural Sciences

Bath has a much closer first round match against Liverpool, winning by a rather low scoring 125-110. Therefore, they’d need to raise their game a bit if they were to win here. They were also unchanged:
Joe Kendall, from Bristol, studying Economics and International Development
Adam Salvesen, from Oxford, studying Biology
Captain: Matthew Wise, from Surrey, studying the Modern Applications of Mathematics
Toby Smith, from Clitheroe in Lancashire, studying Physics

To be fair to Bath, the match did start off close, with the sides swapping starters early on, and the sides being tied at 50 all shortly after the first picture round, on film taglines in foreign languages; Pembroke had an unlucky miss, answering ‘Jaws’ when the answer was ‘Jaws 2’! (Reminds me of when Fathers Ted and Dougal were playing charades; Ted does ‘Jaws’, but Dougal guesses ‘Jaws 2’)

By the music round, Pembroke had built up a head of steam, and had shut Bath out for a while. The rather complex audio round was on B sides that later became better known than their A sides; the A side was played, and the better known B side was what was required. Amazingly, Pembroke managed two of these, bringing the scores to 105-50.

Throughout the third quarter, Pembroke continued their surge on the buzzers, shutting Bath out of the contest. By the second picture round, Pembroke were ahead by 165-50, and surely were home and dry. Joe Kendall valiantly tried to buzz his side back into the match, but misbuzzed and lost his side five much needed points.

However, Mr Kendall did make up for the earlier error and finally got his side into the game again. Sure, they were too late to catch Pembroke, who were now almost 200 points ahead, but could they at least reach respectability? Just about: Toby Smith answered the final starter question of the match, but the gong went before they could attempt the bonuses. Pembroke won by a stonking great margin of 255-75, the biggest win of the series so far.

To be fair to Bath, they weren’t an overly terrible team; but, as we saw in their first match, they needed to rely mainly on buzzer strength, and against a team like Pembroke, that was always going to be a problem. That said, all four of their players got at least one starter correct, which is respectable; Toby Smith got two, and the side managed 6 bonuses out of 13 with the one penalty. Pembroke captain Tom Foxall answered a magnificent ten(!) starters, just one behind Simon Dennis’ series record of eleven; the side answered 23 bonuses out of 42.

Next week’s match: York vs New College Oxford

Only Connect was much closer tonight, with only two points separating the teams at the end of the match. Both were fine teams, and it’s a shame they only met each other in the quarters; neither deserved to go out really.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Deal or No Deal - 12th-17th November

Well, this was a better week than last week, even if frustrating at times.

Monday 12th: Jo
Winnings: £2,700
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £8,500 (17-box and 14-box)
Box value: £20,000

Unlucky really. After taking out the top three in a single round (the seventh time that’s happened in live play), there wasn’t really much chance of a recovery. And Jo’s subsequent 5-box bailout for a respectable £2,700 wasn’t daft; just unlucky that the proveout went against her.

Tuesday 13th: Tommy
Winnings: £5
Opened the box
Highest offer: £8,500 (17-box)
Box value: £5

Once again, someone opens their box to a blue. But there was more to it than that. Tommy’s daughter had written him a good luck card with Box 20 on the front containing £20,000. And so, it was coincidental for Tommy to select Box 20. And so, when faced with a final two of £5 and £20,000, Tommy turned down his offer of £6,500. He may well not have gambled if the card premonition hadn’t been there. A tense and exciting game, despite the heart-breaking ending.

Wednesday 14th: Charlie
Winnings: £13,500
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £20,000 (5-box)
Box value: £100

Now this is more like it. It may not have been a Banker Spanking, but for someone’s decision to eventually be justified after several games gone wrong was a good enough result in itself. In the following day’s game, Noel mistakenly referred to Charlie’s game as a Banker Spanking, and was subsequently punished by the Banker for doing so!

Thursday 15th: Teresa
Winnings: £30,000
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £45,000 (5-box)
Box value: £10

Like Charlie’s game, a deal that turned out to be one round too soon, but was ultimately justified. And, when a player only goes one round too soon, somehow missing out on more money doesn’t feel so bad. Especially when you have £30,000!

Friday 16th: David
Winnings: £9,000
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £71,000 (2-box)
Box value: £100,000

Another incredibly unlucky proveout. David’s decision to bailout at £9,000 wasn’t a terribly stupid one considering it was a precarious board. So cruel that the board would’ve totally turned around leaving him with a final two of £50,000 and £100,000.

Saturday 17th: Hazel
Winnings: £24,500
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £104,500 (2-box)
Box value: £250,000

Yet again, a sensible deal is made to look bad by the jackpot being in the box. Hazel’s decision to deal at £24,500 was sensibly seeing as only £75,000 and £250,000 were higher. Just unlucky that the Jackpot came to the table for the fifth time in under three weeks.

The show seems to be in a phase of people making sensible decisions, only for the proveout to go against them. As the Banker pointed out, people still have been winning huge sums of money, even though they haven’t been taking the box. Also, it should be noted that, with the exception of Smithy, all the players who have sold the jackpot recently have made a sensible decision for the board, and have simply been unlucky.

As I’ve said many times before, we can only hope for better things to come. We usually get a couple of decent games in late November, so let’s hope for a few more this year.