Monday, 16 October 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 1: Match 13: Corpus Christi vs St Anne's

Evening all. After last week's show, I rather sensibly decided to take a Strepsil before the show started, so that I didn't have to run off and get one early on in the show. Hopefully this won't become a forced habit, but we can only wait and see. Anyway, the penultimate second round match, with 150 or more enough to bring either team back win or lose.

Corpus Christi College Cambridge was founded in 1352, and is one of the university's smaller colleges. Alumni include the playwright Marlowe, the Tory bigwigs Francis Maude and Owen Paterson and the actor Hugh Bonneville. It hasn't enjoyed as much success as its Oxford sister college, its most recent performance being an unlucky first round exit three series ago. This year's foursome were:
Tristan Roberts, from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, studying Physics
Kripa Panchagnula, from Hemel Hempstead, studying Natural Sceicnes
Captain: Joseph Krol, from Bingley in West Yorkshire, studying Maths
Benedict McDougall, from London, studying Classics

St Anne's College Oxford was founded in 1879, and was a women only college until men were let in 100 years later. Alumni include writers Iris Murdoch and Helen Fielding, political has-been Danny Alexander and conductor Simon Rattle. It too hasn't had much luck in the BBC era, three times exiting in the first round, though an all-female team of alumni did well in the most recent Christmas series. This year's quartet were:
Ramani Chandramohan, from Canterbury, studying Classics and French
Cameron Royle, from Fleet in Hampshire, studying Chemistry
Captain: Kanta Dihal, from Eindhoven in the Netherlands, studying Science Communication
Andrew Jamieson, from Northampton, studying Earth Sciences

Off we set again then, and Mr Royle set the ball rolling for the night with 'mortar'; the Oxford side failed to take any of the first bonus set, on rebellions, including a topical one on the Gunpowder Plot. Mr McDougall promptly identified Aristotle to get the Cambridge side off the mark, and they, in contrast, took a full bonus set on Commonwealth island nations. A second starter in a row went to the Corpus Christi right-winger, and a second full bonus set in a row came with it. Mr Royle put a stop to that, and bonuses on 'popinjays' gave St Anne's their first correct bonus. The first picture round, on former colonies and the decades they became independent nations, went to Corpus Christi, whose bonus form continued, a third full set, and a lead of 75-25.

Mr Krol took a second starter in a row, the planet Neptune his answer, but the Cambridge side finally showed some armoury chinks, as they dropped all three bonuses on works differing by one word. Kings of Belgium proved more to Corpus Christi's liking, taking two of that set. Neither side guessed the right decade on the next starter, Miss Chandramohan took the next for St Anne's, and the Oxonians showed they weren't going to take this lying down, taking a full house of their own.

The music round, on Russian classical pieces inspired by the work of Pushkin, went to St Anne's, who took just the one bonus this time, which reduced their arrears to 115-65. A third starter in a row went the Oxford side's way courtesy of Mr Royle, and two bonuses on 19th century US history put them within sight of their opponents. Mr Krol increased that sight gap, but just one bonus on zoology followed. (I got one of the ones they didn't, on which order rabbits belong to) Leading ladies in Hitchcock films also proved a troublesome set for the Cambridge side, just the one bonus accompanying again. Then controversy as Miss Chandramohan buzzed, then failed to answer, and had cut in quickly enough for it to be considered an interruption; Mr Krol took the points, and two bonuses on time zones gave them the points needed to come back whatever the result.

The second picture starter was dropped; the bonuses, on triptychs, went to Corpus Christi, who took just the one bonus again, which left their lead at 170-80. Mr Royle proved his side weren't given up just yet, taking the next starter, and bonuses on polar bears (no mention of Knut, sadly) took them into triple figures. Mr Krol was first in with Wittgenstein though, and a full house just about put the game to bed.

Which left St Anne's seeking a play-off berth; Mr Jamieson added his worth to that cause by taking the next starter, but just one bonus on Indian land borders followed. Mr Royle's taking of the next starter, though, gave them sufficient points to push Imperial off the play-off board, and two accompanying bonuses within one starter and bonus of a definite return. Mr Krol was in first to identify the Joker card though, with two bonuses going with it. Final starter of the night went to Mr Krol, and there was no time for bonuses; at the gong, Corpus Christi won 225-135.

Another pretty good match tonight, well played both. Unlucky St Anne's, who gave a good account of themselves, and whose score will be the target for next week's teams; if they do miss out, hopefully it won't be by just five points. Best of luck in getting there! Very well done Corpus Christi though, a decent first performance against good opponents, and they could get a good run with a favourable second round draw (hopefully not the draw I fear they'll get); best of luck in the next round!

The stats: Mr Krol was, by far, the night's best buzzer with NINE(!) to his name at the gong, while Mr Royle was best for St Anne's with five. On the bonuses, Corpus Christi converted a decent 21 out of 33, while St Anne's managed 12 out of 24 (with that one penalty).

Next week's match: Merton College Oxford vs King's College London, at the earlier time of 7:30, so don't miss it.

Only Connect moves into its second round on Friday, be back on Sunday with my usual summary. May also choose to post tomorrow about a few other things, see how I feel.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 1: Match 12: Detectives vs Theatricals

So, two weeks earlier than expected, here we are at the final Only Connect first round match. The task for the two teams involved: win, or lose with a score of 22 or more; 21, and they'd have had to have done in having scored more than eight in the first two rounds to outpip the Cricketers to the final space. I feel another rant, sorry, post about tournament structure coming.

Anyway, playing on Friday were the Detectives, Ian King, Tim Harrison and captain Tim Hall, and the Theatricals, James Kinsley, Caz Slota and captain Vikki Nelson.

Round 1. The Detectives kicked the show off with Eye of Horus: 'Spectacular Spectacular', then 'Manhattan Melodies', then 'Oh Streetcar!', and finally 'Springtime for Hitler'. They identified them to be fictional musicals (within other works), and collected the first point of the night. The Theatricals opened their account with Twisted Flax: 'Newborn babies', then 'Winner of the Indy 500', then 'Alex and his droogs'; that gave it to them, they are noted for drinking milk. (The final clue would've been 'Someone who wants to play for a team better than Accrington Stanley'!) The Detectives chose 'Horn-ed' Viper next: 'Improbable', then 'Watchmaker', then 'Gene', and finally 'Delusion'. That gave it to them: they are the final words of titles of Richard Dawkins books. The Theatricals chose Two Reeds next, and got the music question: we heard Green Day's classic 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams', then Eddie Grant with 'Electric Avenue'; that was enough for them to offer 'streets', and collect a rare music question three-pointer. The Detectives chose Lion next, and got the picture set: we saw George from Rainbow, then Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants, then Michaelangelo's David, and finally Prince Andrew. They saw them to be the Patron Saints of the Home Nations, and collected another point. (Incidentally, was thinking the other day that perhaps we should have a sound, such as a camera flash, to signify the picture sets, in the same way the music questions have their 'da-ding' sound) Left with Water, the Theatricals saw 'President Knox', then 'Comedian Kehinde', then 'Author Kindred', and finally 'Economist Kenneth'. They didn't get it, and their opponents didn't quite get close enough: they are the middle names of people known by their middle initial K (James K Polk, Stephen K Amos, Philip K Dick and JK Galbraith respectively). At the end of the first round, the Theatricals led 5-3.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Detectives opened with Two Reeds: 'PAT = 1 or 2', then 'S = 2', and then 'FG = 3'. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents: it is scoring in American football, so 'TD = 6' would come fourth. (Apparently, there has been some discussion about this question, which I sadly cannot contribute to as I do not follow the sport) The Theatricals chose Lion next: 'First Dog Watch ends', then 'BBC4 begins', then 'Monday night Premier League kick-off'; they saw it to be something to do with times, but their answer of 'EastEnders begins' wasn't acceptable . Their opponents saw it to be 6pm, 7pm and 8pm, so offered 'The Nine O'Clock News begins' for the bonus points. (On a point of pedantry, EastEnders does start at 9pm sometimes, but probably not often enough to make that an acceptable answer) For their own question, the Detectives chose Twisted Flax: 'Chair, Patron of the National Citizen Service', then 'UN Special Envoy for Global Education'; they saw it to be jobs done by PMs after leaving office (Cameron and Brown respectively), so 'Quartet's Special Middle East envoy' for Blair would be third, and 'Surrey CCC President' for Major would be acceptable for fourth and three points. The Theatricals chose Horned Viper next: 'Puerto Rico', then 'Jamaica', and then 'Hispaniola'; they saw it to be Caribbean islands getting larger, so 'Cuba' would be fourth. For their final choice, the Detectives chose Eye of Horus: 'L_____ Relating to jurisprudence', then 'D____ Sufficiently clothed', and then 'H____ Not disposed to cheat'. They offered 'T____ Disinclined to tell lies', and were correct for two points, the sequence being the 'LOHT' mantra of the Advertising Standards Authority. Left with Water, and the picture set, the Theatricals saw a calendar bearing 'December 25', then Hugh Laurie as Doctor House, and then a cup of tea being stirred. They saw it to be the poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas', and offered a mouse, for two points. At the end of the second round, the teams were tied on 9-each. So 21 would bring either team back win or lose.

On to the Walls. The Theatricals chose to tackle the Water wall, and isolated their first two sets in short order: 'Cochlea', 'Anvil', 'Tragus' and 'Stirrup' are parts of the ear, while 'Fast one', 'Muscle', 'Rank' and 'Pint' are things that can be pulled. They then took their time to work out the final sets, but couldn't in their three gos. So they had to go for bonus connection points: 'Stone', 'Bonspiel', 'Hog line' and 'Hammer' are terms in curling, which they didn't get, while 'British Lion', 'Eon', 'Ealing' and 'Handmade' are British film companies, which they did get. Five points there then.

So the Detectives set to work on the Lion wall knowing they had a good chance to take the lead. After spotting a link of 'easy things', they eventually isolated 'Doddle', 'Snap', 'Cakewalk' and 'Breeze'. A second set, 'Chill', 'Easy', 'Sleep' and 'Country', which can all follow 'The Big' to give a film title, followed. They then had more luck than their opponents with the final sets, solving it on their final go: 'Bank', 'Computer code', 'Railway line' and 'Menorah' are things with branches, which they got, while 'Seat', 'Cinch', 'Tree' and 'Cantle' are parts of a saddle, which they didn't. Seven points there then, which gave them a narrow lead of 16-14 going into the final round.

So Missing Vowels would decide who went through and who'd have to hope they reached 21. 'Brands preferred by Brexit voters', such as 'HP SAUCE' and 'PG TIPS', went to the Detectives 3-1. 'Brands preferred by Remain voters' (!), such as 'BBC IPLAYER' and 'SPOTIFY', also went to the Detectives 3-1. 'Things found in corners' went to the Theatricals 3-1. 'Events of 1986' only had time for one clues, which the Theatricals took. The Detectives won, 23-20.

Another excellent match, one of the best of the second round. Unlucky Theatricals, who miss out on a return by a single point, a shame considering that performance, a very decent one indeed, thanks very much indeed for playing. Very well done Detectives though, and very best of luck in the second round!

So, the Escapologists and the Cricketers (we think) will join the six second round runners-up in the play-off round.

Next week's match: the Vikings vs the Parishioners in the first second round match

Monday, 9 October 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 1: Match 12: St Andrews vs St John's

Evening all. Might be a bit disjointed this evening, receiving text updates from my Dad on events in Cardiff. We're at the business end of the tournament now, with Ulster now safely through to the play-offs. The job for tonight's two teams fairly simple: win, or lose with a score of 155 or more to make the play-offs. A rematch tonight from a play-off from 2010-11 (my first full series after starting watching properly).

St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland, and the third oldest in the UK, founded in the 1410s in what is otherwise a rather small town. Alumni include mathematician John Napier, Prince Wills and Princess Kate, and some chap called Alex Salmond, whoever he was. It won the series in 1982; last year's team went out in the second round. This year's foursome were:
Euan Grant, from Edinburgh, studying Divinity
Christina Fell, from Coventry, studying Statistics
Captain: George Davies, from Houston, Texas, studying Ancient History and Archaeology
Matthew Leighton, from Hereford, studying History

St John's College Cambridge was founded in 1511 by the estate of Lady Margaret Beaufort, who also founded Christ's College Cambridge. Alumni include the poet Wordsworth, the physicist Paul Dirac and the actor Derek Jacobi. It last sent a team four years ago, who lost in the first round, it's best Paxo-era performance being the semi-finals in 2008-09, losing to Trimble's Corpus Christi. This year's quartet were:
John-Clark Levin, from Los Angeles, studying Politics and International Studies
Rosie McKeown, from Kingston-upon-Thames, studying French and German
Captain: James Devine-Stoneman, from Southall in London, studying Superconducting Spintronics
Matt Hazell, from Ringwood in Hampshire, studying Veterinary Medicine

Off we set again then, and Mr Devine-Stoneman very quickly opened the night's scoring by identifying George as the first name of the prime minister who died after just four months in office; his side took a full set of bonuses to start the show. A second starter went the way of St John's, and while I nipped to the bathroom for a Strepsil, they took two bonuses on Islamic art. Mr Davies now opened St Andrews' account, but they got nothing from their first bonuses. A second set, on women buried in Pere Lachaise proved more to their liking, taking two. The first picture round, on maps of empires, went to St Andrews, who took two bonuses, and, with them, the lead, 50-45.

Several players went for their buzzers when 'Amstrad' was mentioned for the next starter; Mr Hazell was first in with Sir Alan Sugar, and St John's had the lead back; they took a full bonus set to boot. A second starter in a row went the Cambridge side's way, but they finally showed a chink of armour as they missed all the bonuses. A slip-up then gave St Andrews a route back into the match, but they could only take one of the resulting bonuses. Miss McKeown recouped the lost points for St John's, and they two bonuses on electricity, unluckily missing the third after giving an answer which, I'm informed, is also a valid answer to the question in question.

The music starter saw Miss McKeown, and myself, identify Mendelssohn; the bonuses, on symphonies in A-major, gave St John's two right answers and, with them, a lead of 115-65. In came Mr Devine-Stoneman with the next starter, and bonuses on film adaptations of Shakespeare provided them with two correct answers. Mr Levin took the next starter, on his native US, and the result bonuses gave them enough points to came back win or lose. Paxo didn't quite believe how quickly Mr Hazell got the next starter; to be honest, I don't think he did either! St John's now had a 100 point lead, and bonuses on natives of Herefordshire gave them two more to add to their collection, as did full names of picture file abbreviations for their next set.

The second picture round, on multiple Pulitzer prize winners, went to St John's, who got nothing from the bonuses this time, which left their lead at 205-65. With the match pretty much over a contest, St Andrews were now playing for a play-off place; Miss Fell set them on their way by finally breaking them back into the match, and bonuses on biblical figures gave them two correct answers. A second starter in a row went to the Scots side, and one bonus was enough to put them into triple figures and within sight of the play-offs.

Back came St John's though, with Mr Devine-Stoneman doing the honours; an excellent set of bonuses on Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start the Fire' gave them another full house. Mr Leighton gave St Andrews more hope by taking the next correct starter, and two bonuses on author's pseudonyms put them one starter away from a play-off place. Alas, that starter never came, as St John's took the remaining correct starters, plus one of the bonuses there time for. At the gong, St John's won 255-120.

A pretty decent match, finally the series picking up after the slow-ish start. Unlucky St Andrews, a decent team, who I suspect would've beaten another team and who have fallen just short of the play-offs, but a fair effort, so thanks for playing. Very well done st St John's though on an excellent first performance against decent opponents, could be a team to watch methinks; best of luck in the next round!

The stats: Mr Devine-Stoneman was the best buzzer of the night, with five to his name, while Mr Davies was best for St Andrews with three. On the bonuses, St Andrews converted 10 out of 21, while St John's managed a very decent 24 out of 39 (with the night's one penalty), and for the first time this series, all eight players got at least one starter right.

Safely through to the repechage: Ulster (160) and St Hugh's (155)

Next week's match: Corpus Christi College Cambridge vs St Anne's College Oxford

Back with the final Only Connect first round match on Monday; I'm off now to follow the dramatic events elsewhere in Cardiff.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 1: Match 11: Arrowheads vs Wombles

OK, time to try and take my mind off Scotland once again faltering when it matters most (not too fussed, would've lost in the play-offs anyway, will easily make Euro 2020 if we right the wrongs of this campaign) by looking back on Friday's Only Connect, and the penultimate first round match.

Playing were the Arrowheads, Sarah Lister, Hannah Hogben and captain Nick Lister, husband of Sarah, and the Wombles, Mike Arrowsmith, Duncan Palmer and captain Charlie Talbot.

Round 1. The Arrowheads kicked the show off with Lion: 'Black Needles', then 'Saint-Cyr', then 'West Point', and finally 'Sandhurst'. They identified them as military academies, and collected the first point of the night. The Wombles opened their account with Two Reeds, and the picture set: we saw Britannia, then Buzz Lightyear, then the board game Go, and finally the formula for calculating your BMI. They ran out of time to answer, so over to their opponents for a bonus: they are now defunct British airlines. (Accidentally topical that one!) For their own question, the Arrowheads chose Eye of Horus, and got the music set: we heard 'The American Dream' from Miss Saigon, then Gershwin's classic 'An American in Paris', then the theme of the film 'American Beauty', and finally the late Tom Petty with 'American Girl'. They spotted the link, and collected another point. The Wombles chose Twisted Flax next: 'Ishmael', then 'Piscine Patel', then 'Lemuel Gulliver'; they identified them as survivors of shipwrecks, and collected their first points of the game. The Arrowheads chose Water next: 'Asa: singer', then 'Alfredo: actor', then 'Albert: politician and environmentalist', and finally 'Alphonse: gangster'. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents: they are the real first names of famous men called Al (Jolson, Pacino, Gore and Capone respectively). Left with Horned Viper, the Wombles saw 'Western lowland gorilla', then 'Until her father withdraws the T-bird', then 'Tony Blair's "top priorities"' (that gave it to me), and finally 'Allsopp and Spencer's TV show'. That gave it to them: they are the same word repeated three times. At the end of the first round, the teams were tied at 3-each.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Arrowheads opened the round with Two Reeds: '()', then the pi symbol and '^'; they identified them as the symbols of the BODMAS order of operations, so '+' would come fourth. The Wombles chose Lion next: 'Jane Seymour', then 'Catherine of Aragon', and then 'Anne Boleyn'. They didn't get it, their opponents (and I) did: they are the mothers of successive monarchs, so 'Mary Queen of Scots' would be fourth. For their own question, the Arrowheads chose 'Horn-ed' Viper: 'Leeds United (1969)', then 'Derby County (1972)', and then 'Nottingham Forest (1978)'. My Dad and I got this, but neither team did: they are the last four first teams to win the English top division for the first time, so 'Leicester City (2016)' would, of course, be fourth. The Wombles chose Water next: 'D: Ford', then 'C: Dartmoor'; they offered 'A: Parkhurst', which was not correct. Their opponents saw 'B: Wormwood Scrubs', but couldn't get it either. They are categories of prisoner and where they would go, so 'High Security: Belmarsh' would be fourth. For their final choice, the Arrowheads chose Twisted Flax: 'Complete with regard to every detail', then '-3rd In one side and out the other', and then '-2nd Animal's feeding vessel'. They saw the sequence to the 'THOROUGH', 'THROUGH', and 'TROUGH', so '-1st Not Smooth', ie 'ROUGH' would complete the sequence. Left with Eye of Horus, and the picture set, the Wombles saw the cast of Friends, then some Roman soldiers; they saw it to be 'Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!', so offered something to represent 'Lend me your ears!' for the three points! At the end of the second round, the Arrowheads led 9-6.

On to the Walls. The Wombles went first, and chose to tackle the Water wall. They spotted some links, and after some failed goes, isolated 'Pig', 'Tyre', 'Waffle' and 'Curling', which can all precede 'Iron'. There followed a second set: 'Latka', 'Rumble-de-thumps', 'Pitepalt' and 'Chip', which are potato dishes, though they didn't recognise that. With not much time left, they tried to work the others out, but couldn't in their three attempts, and thus had to settle for bonuses: 'Draw', 'Drive', 'Hook' and 'Fade' are types of golf shot, which they got, while 'The Big Short', 'Half Nelson', 'Fracture' and 'La La Land' are films starring Ryan Gosling, which they also got. Five points there.

The Arrowheads thus had room for error as they set to work on the Lion wall. After spotting some links, they too had trouble isolating, eventually slotting in 'Kayak', 'Punt', 'Coracle' and 'Pirogue', which are types of boat, followed by 'Bet', 'Ante', 'Flutter' and 'Wager', which are terms used in gambling. They couldn't fit the final clues in, and thus too had to settle for bonus points: 'Germs', 'Rumours', 'Butter' and 'Wings' are things that can be spread, which they saw, while 'Say You Will', 'Tusk', 'Mirage' and 'Penguin' are albums by Fleetwood Mac, which they also got. Six points there, which increased their lead to 15-11 going into the final round.

So, still all to play for with Missing Vowels. 'Things that can be cracked' went to the Wombles 3-1. 'Titles of Dickens novels with the word order changed', such as 'TIMES HARD', went to the Arrowheads 3-(-1). 'Things that are real', such as 'REAL ESTATE', was split 2-each. 'Test' only had time for one clue, which the Arrowheads took. At the end of the show, the Arrowheads won 22-15.

Another good show with some good quizzing. Unlucky Wombles, but nothing to be ashamed of there, thanks very much indeed for taking part. Well done Arrowheads, and best of luck in the second round!

Next week's match: Detectives vs Theatricals

Monday, 2 October 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 1: Match 11: Emmanuel vs St Hugh's

Evening all. You join me on a Monday where I've been feeling a bit perkier than in recent weeks. Having been once again considering the show's prospects and swotting up on back editions, one of which proved handy in answering a question tonight(!), I was in the mood for a good match tonight! And I'm pleased to report we got one!

Emmanuel College Cambridge is one of the wealthier of the university, founded in 1584; alumni include university founder John Harvard, writer Sebastian Faulks and humourists Griff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath. It won UC in 2009-10, and reached the semis last year; members of both those teams, including UC legends Alex Guttenplan and Bobby Seagull, recently appeared on Eggheads and gave a good account of themselves. This year's foursome were:
Ed Derby, from Manchester, studying Physics
Kitty Chevallier, from Hampshire, studying Arabic and Hindi
Captain: Alex Mistlin, from Islington, studying Politics and International Relations
James Fraser, from Bristol, studying Medicine

St Hugh's College Oxford, founded in 1886, was formerly a women only college, with men being allowed in in 1987. Alumni include Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, comedy actress Rebecca Front, and a certain Mrs T. May. It last appeared in 2009-10, exiting in the second round after a heavy defeat to Imperial, who were later beaten by Alex Guttenplan's Emmanuel. This year's quartet were:
Kazi Elias, from Cambridge, studying History
Euan Grainger, from Shrewsbury, studying Biological Sciences
Captain: Daniel de Wijze, from Manchester, studying Earth Sciences
Aidan Mehigan, from Washington DC, studying Art History

Off we set again then, and a slip up from St Hugh's (who's being all male was not well received by many a Twitterer!) handed Emmanuel the first starter of the night; the Cambridge side took two bonuses on the films of Quentin Tarantino. The Oxonians recovered their lost points, and took two bonuses of their own on European geography. They then took the lead on the next starter, and a full bonus set meant they now doubled their opponents' total. Mr Mehigan took what would be the first of many starters of the night, though just the one bonus followed this time. The first picture round, on sheet music of famous compositions, went to Emmanuel, who took two bonuses, which reduced their arrears to 55-40.

Mr Derby put Emmanuel back within five, but they couldn't take any bonuses to retake the lead. Another starter did the trick, but an amusing bonus set on rhymes about English history proved no more fruitful. Zoology proved more to their liking, two correct bonuses accompanying a third starter in a row. A prompt buzz from Mr Mehigan finally broke St Hugh's back into the match, but the work of Dennis Potter wasn't to their liking, no bonuses accompanying again.

The music starter was dropped, the bonuses, on pieces dedicated to other composers, went to Emmanuel, who took all three, increasing their lead to 105-65. It increased again when Mr Mehigan was unlucky to be penalised for cutting in just as the question was finishing; Mr Fraser did the honours, and a second full bonus set in a row followed. Mr Mehigan then made up for his unfortunate slip, and two bonuses on lunar expeditions came with it. Mr Fraser was quick for Emmanuel again though, and an amusing bonus set on henpecked husbands provided them with one correct answer. (Another of them I knew thanks to an old match I revisited over the weekend!)

The second picture round, on paintings depicting Westminster Bridge, went to St Hugh's, who took a full house, which cut the gap to 145-105. Back came Mr Fraser to increase it again though, and two bonuses meant they'd surely have enough to come back win or lose. St Hugh's weren't finished yet though; Mr Mehigan took the next starter, and bonuses on the Bible gave them two correct answers, which they were gonna need to catch up.

And when Mr Mehigan took a second starter in a row, they were well back in the hunt; dropping all the bonuses on local government didn't help their cause though. Mr Grainger taking the next starter did though, two bonuses, and they were just ten behind with not much time left! To add to the jeopardy, Emmanuel dropped five, halving the deficit! St Hugh's couldn't capitalise though. Next starter might surely win it, but neither team got it! Nor the next! Finally, Mr Fraser broke the deadlock by taking the next starter; no bonuses followed, but they might just have done enough. Indeed, the gong went during the next starter; Emmanuel had snuck home 170-155!

An excellent close match, well played both teams. Unlucky St Hugh's, who nearly snatched it right at the end, but have surely done enough to return in the play-offs, so best of luck then hopefully! Well done Emmanuel though, and very best of luck in the second round!

The stats: Messrs Fraser and Meighan were joint best buzzers of the night, with six each for their respective teams. On the bonuses, Emmanuel converted 15 out of 30 (with one penalty), while St Hugh's managed 15 out of 27 (with two penalties), so it really was one starter that decided the match!

Next week's match: St Andrews vs St John's College Cambridge, in a rematch of a play-off from 2010-11

Only Connect back on Friday, with the penultimate first round match, now we know exactly what's going on there; thanks again to Phyl Styles for filling us in.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 1: Match 10: Dandies vs Gaffers

OK, big thanks to Phyl Styles for clearing up exactly what's going on here. Basically, we have 24 teams, with the twelve winners progressing to the second round, and the winners going onto the group stage. The second round runners-up will then go into a play-off round alongside the two highest scoring first round runners-up, which will eventually produce two teams who will join the second round winners in the group stage. Sure it will become clearer once it gets to screen; will go back and adjust my earlier blog titles later.

Anyway, playing on Friday night we had the Dandies, Oscar Powell, Lewis Barn and captain Jack Bennett, and the Gaffers, Graeme Kerr, Owen Davies and captain Alan Oliver. Fellow Quizzy Monday viewers will remember Messrs Bennett and Powell from last year's UC, where they reached the semi-finals and won it respectively; blog reader Jack Bennett has also appeared on Mastermind and Fifteen-to-One 2.0 since.

Round 1. The Dandies kicked the match off with Lion: they saw 'Baskin Robbins: 31', and immediately offered 'the number of varieties". Good punt, but not correct. Their opponents saw 'Le Tour de France: Cyclist', 'Toblerone: Bear' and 'Fedex: Arrow', but couldn't pick up a bonus: they are hidden items in the logos of those companies. The Gaffers opened their account with Twisted Flax: 'Blind enthusiastic acceptance of an idea', then 'Someone vaporized and erased from existance', then 'Loyal willingness to believe contradictory statements', and finally 'Thinking against the Party'. They didn't get it, their opponents did: they are definitions of Newspeak words from Orwell's 1984. For their own question, the Dandies chose Water: 'Royalist Commander, 1st Battle of Newbury', then 'Long-time editor of 'Oz' magazine', then 'Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker', and finally 'Singer in boyband 5ive'; they identified them as men called Richard Neville, and collected a point. The Gaffers chose 'Horn-ed' Viper next, and got the picture set: we saw a map with Alderney highlighted, then one of New Zealand with Wellington, then the UK with the island of Tobermory highlighted, and finally the Orinoco river highlighted. My parents saw this, but neither of the teams did: they are the names of Wombles! The Dandies chose Eye of Horus next, and got the music set: we heard 'Joey' by Bob Dylan, then Charlotte Church with 'Crazy Chick', then Little Jimmy Osmond singing 'Puppy Love', and finally 'The Ugly Ducking'. They didn't get it, their opponents did: they have baby animals in their titles. Left with Two Reeds for their own question, the Gaffers saw 'Centenary: Scotland', then 'Giuseppe Garibaldi: France', then 'Millennium: Ireland', and finally 'Calcutta: England'; they saw them to be the then current holders of the Six Nations trophies, and collected a point. At the end of the first round, the teams were tied at 2-each.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Dandies kicked the round off with Twisted Flax: 'Display of an aircraft's airspeed', then 'Responsible for the Kitemark', and then 'Gil Grissom's team'. They didn't get it, their opponents did: they are ASI, BSI and CSI respectively, so something for DSI, such as 'Detective Superintendent', would do. For their own question, the Gaffers chose Lion: 'Factory', then 'Italian', and then 'Automobiles'; they saw it to be what FIAT stands for translated into English, but didn't know what the T stood for. Their opponents did, offering 'Turin' for the bonus. For their own question, the Dandies chose 'Horn-ed' Viper: 'James Callaghan (1976)', then 'John Major (1990)'; they had it the same time as I did, though not for the right reason, 'Theresa May (2016)' completes the set, the correct sequence being PMs who took office without winning an election ('Gordon Brown (2007)' would be third) The Gaffers chose Two Reeds next, and got the picture set: we saw cricketer Brian Lara, then Annabel Croft the tennis player, and then the tomb of the unknown soldier. They didn't quite see it, the opponents did: 'Lara', 'Croft', 'Tomb', so something for 'Raider', such as a player for the Oakland Raiders, would be fourth. For their own final choice, the Dandies chose Water: 'Queen Anne dies', then 'Napoleon exiled to Elba'; they saw them to be events of 1714 and 1814, so something to 1914, like 'Outbreak of First World War', would be third, and, for the points, something that happened in 2014, such as 'Scottish independence referendum', would complete the set. Left with Eye of Horus, the Gaffers saw 'Blood (1)', then 'Banana (2)', and then 'Grass (3)'. They didn't quite get it, nor did their opponents: they are things usually coloured in the colours of snooker balls, so 'Live wire (4)' would be correct. (Both teams suggestions of 'Rock' and 'Sand' could've been satisfactory, had they been able to give the connection too) At the end of the second round, the Dandies led 10-3.

On to the Walls. The Gaffers took their turn to go first, and chose the Lion wall. They spotted some links, but struggled to find sets; eventually, they isolated 'Seal', 'Area', 'Matter' and 'Goo', which can all follow 'Grey'. They could come up with nothing else though, so had to settle for bonus points: 'Lot', 'Paris', 'Cher' and 'Calvados' are French departments, which they didn't get, 'Usher', 'Sia', 'Brandy' and 'Drake' are singers known by one name, which they did get, while 'Cob', 'Tiercel', 'Tom' and 'Gander' are male birds, which they also got. Four points there then.

The Dandies thus could put the match pretty much out of reach if they could get a decent result from the Water wall. After studying the clues, they quickly isolated two sets: 'Riddle', 'Enigma', 'Conundrum' and 'Mystery' are things that can be solved, while 'Breed', 'Stock', 'Pedigree' and 'Strain' are examples of lineage. After looking over what was left, they faulted once, then solved it on their second go: 'Jacket', 'Nut', 'Puzzle' and 'Business' can all follow 'Monkey', while 'Twist', 'Wrench', 'Tear' and 'Sprain' are types of injury. So a full ten there, which gave them a lead of 20-7 going into the final round.

So, Missing Vowels to finish off with, with the Dandies realistically needing to just stand their ground to win. 'Names of phrases that include golf clubs', such as 'POTATO WEDGES', was split 1-each. 'Things a teacher might say' went to the Dandies 2-1. 'Newspapers that specialise in business' went to the Dandies 2-0, and that was time. The Dandies won 25-9.

Another excellent display of quizzing. Unlucky Gaffers, who were simply outplayed, but no shame in that on a show of this calibre, and thanks very much for taking part. Well done Dandies though, and best of luck in the next round!

Next week's match: Arrowheads vs Wombles

Monday, 25 September 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 1: Match 10: Imperial vs Strathclyde

Evening all. It's fair to say this hasn't been the highest scoring series; the fact that, at the start of the day, the four highest scoring runners-up were the only ones to break three figures. But after tonight's match, and having finally seen the full first round fixtures list (thanks to Chris Ducklin and whoever added to Wikipedia), I am optimistic that we'll get some good matches in the remainder of the round. So, on with tonight.

Imperial College London is a science specialising college, formerly of the University of London, becoming independent in 2007. Alumni include Sir Alexander Fleming who re-rediscovered penicillin, the writer HG Wells, and former Mastermind and Brain of Britain champ Ian Bayley, who captained its UC team in 1996-97; it won the tournament the previous year, and again in 2000-01. Last year's team were unlucky to draw eventual champs Balliol in the first round. This year's foursome were:
James Pollard, from Cheshire, studying Electrical Engineering
Ed Waddingham, from Charlton in London, studying Medical Statistics
Captain: Istvan Kleijn, from Ermelo in the Netherlands, studying Biothematics and Medical Systems Biology
Juan Rubio Gorrochategui, from Alicante, studying Chemistry

Strathclyde University was founded in 1796, by a Glasgow University professor who felt there should be a second university in the city; alumni include missionary David Livingston, TV inventor John Logie Baird and musician Alex Kapranos. It's last UC venture was a first round defeat in 2012-13, while 2003-04 captain Aidan McQuade went on to win Mastermind. This year's quartet were:
Ian Brown, from Oban, studying to be an English teacher
James Flannigan, from Glasgow, studying Chemical Engineering
Captain: Alistair Logan, from Motherwell, studying Mechanical Engineering
Paul Dijkman, from Port Glasgow, studying Economics

Off we set again then, and Mr Logan got the ball rolling for the night with 'chevron'; the Clydesides took just the one bonus from the firsts set. Mr Kleijn opened Imperial's account in short order, and they fared a bit better on their first bonus set, on scientific terms now commonplace in politics. Mr Waddingham doubled Imperial's lead, and they took another two bonuses on Palme D'or winners, during which Paxo rather poorly mispronounced Errnest Borgnine's surname! Another starter went to Imperial, but no bonuses came this time. The first picture round, on commemorative plaques and their locations, went to Imperial, who got nothing from the bonuses again, which left their lead at 60-15.

Mr Rubio Gorrechategui moved Imperial further ahead by taking the next starter, and his side added ten more to their score from the resultant bonuses. Mr Waddingham was then next up for the Londoners, but nothing from a bonus set on fictional cricket matches was taken this time. Mr Logan finally broke Strathclyde back into the match, and they capitalised with a full bonus set of prime numbers, thus suggesting they were certainly back in the game.

The music round, on Fanny Mendelssohn's 'Year' cycle, went to Strathclyde, who took just the one bonus this time, but did nonetheless reduce the gap to 90-55. Indeed, Mr Logan took the next starter, and bonuses on the Wizard of Oz, including the Scarecrow's famous triangle gaffe later repeated by Homer Simpson, gave them one correct answer again. And when Mr Logan took a second starter in a row, and two bonuses were taken this time, the teams were level. Mr Kleijn then showed that he knows his Flanders and Swann as he identified the second law of thermodynamics to give Imperial back the lead; again, though, they could get nothing from the bonuses, which in a game this tight, could be costly.

The second picture starter was dropped, as were the next two replacement starters; the picture bonuses, on paintings intended to be copied as tapestries, eventually went to Strathclyde, who took one bonus, to give themselves a slim lead of 105-100. Another starter to the Strathclyde captain increased the lead, and two bonuses of Indira Gandhi gave them the upper hand for the crucial final minutes.

Back came Imperial though, with Mr Waddingham doing the honours; the side picked a good time to pull off a full set of bonuses, refusing to wait for Paxo to complete the last two before answering! That put the sides level again; Mr Logan identified George Orwell for the next starter, and when his side took a full bonus set on last year's Euros (as did I, possibly my first ever full set!), that was most likely game over. A penalty gave Imperial the chance to prove that wrong, but they couldn't take it. And that was the gong, Strathclyde won 145-125.

Another low scoring match, but a good close one nonetheless, so I enjoyed it. Unlucky Imperial, who fell away somewhat after a decent starter, but the way things are going, 125 might yet be enough for the play-offs, we shall see, but thanks for playing for now. Well played Strathclyde though, and best of luck in the second round!

The stats: Mr Logan was the best buzzer of the night, with six starters under his belt at the gong, while Mr Waddingham was Imperial's best with four; on the bonuses, Imperial converted just 9 out of 24, while Strathclyde managed 14 out of 24 (with one late penalty); that's where the match was won and lost.

Next week's match: Emmanuel College Cambridge vs St Hugh's College Oxford

Back with Only Connect on Sunday, and after Friday's show, my Dad has offered up a suggestion on the changing of the points system; I'm keeping it to myself for now, as I may choose to share it somewhere else another time.