Monday, 25 August 2014

University Challenge 2014-15: Round 1: Match 6: L.S.H.T.M. vs L.S.E.

Evening all, from Ayrshire. Didn't have to wait until Friday to cover tonight's show due to a change of plan which I won't go into. Tonight's match was a London derby, which he we haven't seen many of in recent years, so it would be interesting one way or another.

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine was founded in 1899, and is currently situated in Bloomsbury on a site it shares with a mosquito colony. It has sent a team to UC once before, among whom was LAM and JOW reader and future Only Connect champion Michael Wallace, who lost in the first round, but survived to the repechage, only to fall there too. This year's quartet were:
Andy Taylor, from Oxford, studying Tropical Medicine and International Health
Rebecca Glover, from Ottawa in Canada, studying the Control of Infectious Disease
Captain: Sarah Legrand, from London, studying Epidemiology
Anjaneya Bapat, from the Wirral, studying Tropical Medicine and International Health

The London School of Economics was founded in 1894, and joined the University of London in its current form in 1900. Alumni include JFK, Mick Jagger and Ed Milliband MP. It has sent teams sporadically throughout the BBC series, coming second in 1995-96; it last sent a team in 2008-09, who reached the QFs before losing to Manchester. This year's team were:
Peter Sims, from Edmonton in Canada, studying Economic History
Jeffrey Mo, from Calgary in Canada, studying Econometrics and Mathematical Economics
Captain: Jimmy Chen, from Colchester, studying Government and History
Pedro Franco de Campos Pinto, from Brazil, studying Economics

So, off we set, and Ms Legrand got L.S.H.T.M. (not 'London School', as Mr Tilling called them last time they were on) off the mark, getting the first two starters very quickly, and half the bonuses went with them. No bonuses came from their third set, but they made up for that by taking the first picture round, on opera titles written using emoticons (yes, really). They only got one of these bonuses, but it didn't matter, as their lead stood at 75-0.

L.S.E. promptly jumped off the start blocks, but only managed one bonus from their first set. They fared better with their second set, this time taking two. Sarah Legrand bought L.S.H.T.M. back into the game, but took nothing on a complex bonus set on quotes from '30s films and the actors who spoke them. At this stage, only one starter had been dropped, but quite a lot of bonuses had been dropped, thus holding down the scores.

The music starter saw Peter Sims identify the B52s' 'Rock Lobster' (of Family Guy fame) and earn L.S.E. the music bonuses, on pop songs sung in a spoken voice; they didn't take any of these, but had recovered well, closing the gap to 75-45. They took the next starter, and the resultant bonuses closed the gap to just ten points. Sarah Legrand gave L.S.H.T.M. more breathing space by taking the next starter, but they could only manage one bonus on genetics. L.S.E. were hunting them down, closing the gap to five points, and then taking the lead.

Neither side took the second picture starter; the bonuses, on paintings of beach scenes, went to L.S.E., and they now led by 115-90. But L.S.H.T.M. weren't going to let them get away, and took a starter and a full set of bonuses to level the game. Sarah Legrand then took another starter to take them back into the lead, and then took a second in a row; half the bonuses from these two starters followed, and you thought this may have been enough to see them home.

L.S.E. weren't done yet though, and pushed back hard taking the final two starters, but the bonuses just didn't fall their way, and they didn't quite make it. At the gong, L.S.H.T.M. won 150-140.

A low scoring game, but a close one nonetheless. Bad luck to L.S.E., but 140 may be enough for the repechage; like Sussex, it will be borderline, and it would be fair if it bought them back. Well done to L.S.H.T.M on a fair performance, but I feel they may need to play a bit better next time; best of luck to them for that next time!

Sarah Legrand finished the night's best buzzer with an impressive seven starters, while Messrs Sims, Mo and Chen split responsibility for L.S.E. with three each. On the bonuses, L.S.H.T.M. managed 12 out of 27, and L.S.E. 10 out of 25; low rates, but there were no penalties, which is good.

Next week's match: Liverpool vs Sheffield

Also next week, Only Connect begins on BBC2! And it's running for 27 weeks apparently. Suppose we need more of it now it's on BBC2.

Monday, 18 August 2014

University Challenge 2014-15: Round 1: Match 5: St Peter's vs Sussex

Evening all. Here we go again with another round of University Challenge. After four matches interesting in one way or another, what would Week 5 have in store?

St Peter's College Oxford is one of the newest Oxford college, founded in 1929 as a hall, and becoming a college properly in 1961; it was men only until 1979. Alumni include Mark Carney, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the Rev W. Awdry, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. This year is the first of the revival the college has got a team on to the show; they were:
John Armitage, from Lancaster, studying Maths
Ed Roberts, from London, studying History
Captain: Gabriel Trueblood, from London, studying Medicine
Spike Smith, from Maidenhead, studying Maths

Sussex University was one of the plate glass unis founded in the '60s; its alumni include Ian McEwan, Peter Hain MP, Bob Mortimer and Frankie Boyle. The university won UC twice back in its early days of the '60s; it last sent a team back in 2009-10, where they lost in the first round. This year's quartet were:
Tom Whitehurst, from Rhyl in North Wales, studying Cognitive Neuroscience
David Spence, from Leicester, studying Scientific Computation
Captain: Joss MacDonald, from Romsey in Hampshire, studying History and Politics
Matthew Dean, from Birmingham, studying Philosophy

Off we went then, and St Peter's got off the mark first, and took all three bonuses. Sussex responded by taking the next two starters, and half the bonuses that came with them. The sides split the first four starters and twelve bonuses equally, getting two and three each respectively. The first picture round, on places in northern England notable for confectionary manufacture, went to Sussex, and gave them a lead of 55-35.

St Peter's were soon hot on their heels though, and had soon captured the lead. The side appeared to be struggling somewhat with the bonuses, but if you're quicker on the buzzer, that only half matters. Paxo was maybe a bit harsh to disallow Sussex's answer of 'chemical elements' when he was after 'the periodic table', which St Peter's promptly took for the points.

The music round, on classical pieces with millions of YouTube viewings (yes, really), went to St Peter's, who took all three bonuses and upped their lead to 115-55. By this stage, Gabriel Trueblood had built up a head of steam on the buzzer, as he seemed to be getting almost all the starters thrown at him, including a very quick interruption which Paxo seemed taken aback by! He also took the points after Sussex unluckily slipped up by not quite getting an answer out right. The side soon made up for that though, getting back into the game for the first time for a while.

Neither side got the second picture starter, and Mr Trueblood was unlucky to slip up on the next starter, falling for a swerve; Sussex took the points and the second picture bonuses, on famous Glaswegians. The Oxford side's lead now stood at 155-90, and was falling as Sussex began to fight back into the game and into three figures.

Mr Trueblood took another starter, just to make sure that his side were safe. Sussex were now playing for a place in the repechage, and were making good progress towards that sort of score. The sides swapped starters for the final minutes, and at the gong, St Peter's won by 205-150.

Very well done to St Peter's, Mr Trueblood in particular, on a very good first outing, and we shall wait and see how they fare next time. Bad luck to Sussex, but a fair performance nonetheless, and 150 will be borderline for the repechage IMO. We shall have to wait and see.

Mr Trueblood's superb buzzer showing saw him finish the match with eleven(!) starters to his name; great stuff that. David Spence was Sussex's best buzzer with four. On the bonuses, St Peter's converted 16 out of 38, and Sussex 15 out of 24, and both sides incurred one penalty.

Next week's match: the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine vs the London School of Economics

May not be able to review next week's match until Friday, so there may be a bit of a wait next week; we shall see.

Monday, 11 August 2014

University Challenge 2014-15: Round 1: Match 4: St Anne's vs Caius

Evening all, from Ayrshire. We're back from our week off, and back on track with the series. At least we got three shows out of the way before our week off; Mastermind returned on Friday, and was only on one week before taking a week off! Anyway, off we go again, and our first Oxbridge match of the series too.

St Anne's College Oxford was founded in 1952 and was women-only until 1979; alumni include journalist Polly Toynbee and conductor Simon Rattle, provider of one of last series' comedy moments! The college last sent a team three series ago, where they lost in the first round to eventual runners-up Pembroke College Cambridge and narrowly missed out on a place in the repechage. Hoping to do better tonight were:
Sam Zwolinksi, from Northallerton in North Yorkshire, studying Physics
Laura Ludtke, from Red Deer in Canada, studying English Literature
Captain: Edward Hicks, from Reading, studying History
Rebecca McKavanagh, from Croydon, studying Clinical Neurology

Gonville & Caius College Cambridge dates back to the 14th century and was refounded two centuries later; both founders give their names to the college. Alumni include the late great Sir David Frost, Ken Clark and Jimmy Carr; a further four alumni formed the team from the college who won Christmas University Challenge back at the start of the year. A student team last appeared in 2005-06, where they reached the quarter-finals. This year's quartet were:
Ted Loveday, from Hammersmith, studying Law
Michael Taylor, from Ballymena in Northern Ireland, studying History
Captain: Anthony Martinelli, from Hertfordshire, studying Medicine
Jeremy Warner, from Southampton, studying Natural Sciences

Off we set then, and the teams swapped starters to start with, with St Anne's setting off first, and Caius swiftly following. The Cambridge side narrowly fared better on the bonus front, meaning they had a narrow lead. They also took the first picture round, on final standings of F1 seasons won by Brits, and their lead afterwards stood at 70-35.

Ted Loveday of Caius slipped up afterwards, but St Anne's couldn't pick the points up, failing to get the precise answer out. Mr Loveday made up for it afterwards with the next starter, and two bonuses followed. The Cambridge side had no luck with their next set of bonuses, but made up for it by taking the next starter and all three bonuses. A big lead was starting to open up.

Neither side identified the music starter, but the bonuses, on songs whose titles are elements, went to Caius. They had shut St Anne's out in this phase, and led 140-35. And the lead was just getting bigger; the starters kept falling to the Cambridge boys, and, apart from a set on female psychoanalysts which they dropped completely, they generally seemed to take the bonuses as well. Paxo felt the need to tell St Anne's there was still plenty of time left; Edward Hicks promptly buzzed on the next starter, but no answer followed, allowing Caius to pull further away.

The second picture round, on depictions of Ophelia from Hamlet, went to Caius, and their lead now stood at 255-35. Two slip-ups in a row by Caius were not picked up by St Anne's, but Sam Zwolinski took the next starter, finally bringing St Anne's back into the game. Caius seemed to back off a bit now, and St Anne's were managing to finish the match on a flurry, aided by a full set of bonuses on cell structure.

Caius, however, were closing in on 300, and one starter and two bonuses did it. St Anne's managed to break into three figures with the final starter, but could only get as far as one bonus before the gong went. Caius won the game 305-105.

Very well done to Caius on a very impressive first performance, and we shall look forward to seeing how they fare next time around. Bad luck to St Anne's, who were simply outplayed in the middle stages, but they managed a respectable score in the end, so well done to them.

Ted Loveday was the night's best buzzer, getting six starters, while Edwards Hicks was best for St Anne's with three. On the bonuses, St Anne's converted a respectable 9 out of 16, and Caius a very good 32 out of 48, with three penalties. Very good form there; we shall see if it sticks in the next round.

Next week's match: St Peter's College Oxford vs Sussex