Sunday, 17 December 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 2: Match 6: Detectives vs Arrowheads

OK, last second round match of this year's Only Connect. Winners would join the other second round winners in the group stage. Runners-up would join the other second round runners-up and the two highest scoring second round runners-up in the play-off round, which begins next week. Followed by the long awaited return to Monday nights on New Year's Day!

Anyway, playing the final second round match were the Detectives, Ian King, Tim Harrison and captain Tim Hall, who won a good first round match against the Theatricals, and the Arrowheads, Sarah Lister, Hannah Hogden and captain Nick Lister, husband of Sarah, who comfortably saw off the Wombles.

Round 1. The Detectives opened the show with Lion: 'C: Volt', then 'A: Arlington Million' (I had it at this), then 'B: Henry II', and finally '[cough cough] A: Googol'. They just about offered enough to get the point: they are million pound answers from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? UK. The Arrowheads opened their account with Two Reeds: 'Man-Killer', then 'Penthesilea', then 'Sharron Davies'; they offered them to be Gladiators from the eponymous series, not right. Their opponents saw 'Jeff Bezos company', and offered 'Amazon' as the link for the bonus. For their own question, the Detectives chose Twisted Flax, and got the music question: we heard the Chameleons with 'Up the Down Escalator', then 'White Ladder' by David Gray, then Aerosmith with 'Love in an Elevator', and finally Led Zeppelin's classic 'Stairway to Heaven'. They offered 'stairs', not right. Their opponents simplified it to 'ways of moving between floors', and collected a bonus. For their own question, the Arrowheads chose Water, and got the picture set: we saw the stadium Candlestick Park, then a still from Hitchcock's 'Rope', then the cover to the Beatles' 'Revolver' album, and finally a symbol for a dagger. They were timed out without an answer, and their opponents didn't see it either: they are weapons in Cluedo. The Detectives chose Eye of Horus next: 'Immunisation against infectious diseases', then 'Crime fiction (Pengiun)', then 'Colonel Gaddafi's philosophy', and finally 'Michelin travel guide'. They offered 'green', which Victoria was maybe a bit lenient to let them have, the link being 'green books'. Left with Horned Viper, the Arrowheads saw 'Tuesday 3 Feb-9 Mar', then 'Monday 1 May-7 May', then 'Sunday 22 Mar-25 Apr', and finally 'Thursday 22 Nov-28 Nov'. They didn't quite get it, their opponents did: they are the earliest and latest dates where festivals can fall. At the end of the first round, the Detectives led 4-1.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Detectives kicked the round off with Horned Viper: '08:43:38', then '09:49:05', and then '10:54:33'. They didn't get it, their opponents did: it's times when the three clocks hands are right in line with each other, so '12:00:00' would be fourth for a bonus. For their own question, the Arrowheads chose Lion: 'Goals', then 'Away goals', and then 'AET'; they offered 'Penalty shootout', correct for two points, the sequence being how two-legged Champions League matches are decided. The Detectives chose Twisted Flax next: 'African leopard < African lion', then 'African lion < Cape buffalo'; they tried 'Giraffe < Elephant', not right. Their opponents saw 'Cape buffalo < Black rhino', but could also not offer an acceptable answer. They are the Big Five of African animals, so 'Black rhino < African elephant' would come fourth. The Arrowheads chose Eye of Horus next: 'Diver', then 'Tawdry', and then 'Lenya'. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents. 'Brown' completes the set, the sequence being the victims in the most common version of the song 'Mack the Knife'. For their final choice, the Detectives chose Two Reeds: '00 Henry I', then '01 Edward VII', and then '02 Anne'. They, and I, saw it to be monarchs who took the thrown in years ending in those numbers, so '03: James I' (or, as we call him up here, James VI) would complete the set. Left with Water, and the picture set, the Arrowheads saw the band 'The Nice', then Guy Ritchie and Guy Pearce, and then a checkered flag being waved. Neither side got this excellent cryptic set: the clues are 'Nice', 'Guys' and 'Finish', so something for 'Last', like the composer James Last (of Red Dwarf fame) would complete the set. At the end of the second round, the Detectives led 6-4.

On to the Walls. The Arrowheads went first, and chose to tackle the Lion wall. They had their first set in line pretty quickly: 'Bangla', 'Lal Toofan', 'Cobra' and 'Kingfisher' are types of Indian beer. After a few wrong guesses trying to feel the clues out, they isolated 'Fetish', 'Albino', 'Vindaloo' and 'Palaver', which are loan words from Portuguese, but they offered 'Hindi' instead, so three dropped. After carefully looking over the remaining clues, they isolated the final sets: 'Eleanor', 'Willpower', 'Marmalade' and 'Madonna' all follow 'Lady' to give song titles, while 'Allen Carr', 'Gum', 'Hypnosis' and 'Patches' are methods of curing smoking habits. Seven for that then.

So the Detectives could increase their lead if they could sweep the Water wall clean. They also isolated a first set very quickly: 'Sward', 'Campo', 'Savannah' and 'Veldt' are areas of grassland. A second set quickly followed suite: 'Grass', 'Sheffield United', 'Helicopter' and 'Razor' are linked by 'blades'. The final sets slotted in nicely after that: 'Mini', 'Gang', 'Oy' and 'Young' can all precede 'ster' to give longer words, while 'Dirndl', 'Hobble', 'Pencil' and 'Prairie' are types of skirt. A full ten there, which increased their advantage to 16-11 going into the final round.

So, still all to play for in Missing Vowels. 'Rhyming slang and its meaning', which saw a penalty for an omitted 'and', went to the Arrowheads 2-0. 'Things that can be drawn', such as 'COMPARISON' and '(A) PAIR OF CURTAINS', was split 2-each. 'Pairs of planetary moons' went to the Arrowheads 3-1, and that was time. The Detectives had snuck home, 19-18!

Another very good match, very well quizzed by both sides. Unlucky Arrowheads, best of luck in the play-offs. Well done Detectives though, and very best of luck in the group stage!

Next week's match: the Meeples vs the Parishioners in the first play-off.

UC back tomorrow at 8:30, see you then with that.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 2: Match 5: Dandies vs Beaks

OK, we're back! After a few weeks' break for football coverage, Only Connect is back and kicking! We're back for two more weeks after this before we break for Christmas, which means we'll wrap up the second round and get the first play-off round underway too before Christmas. Anyway, lets get on with this...

Playing on Friday night were the Dandies, UC legend Oscar Powell, Lewis Barn and captain, and blog reader, Jack Bennett, who comfortably defeated the Gaffers in their first match, and the Beaks, Rob Cromarty, Aidan Sproat-Clements and captain Dan Sproat-Clements, husband of Aidan, who came from behind to beat the Disparates first time around.

Round 1. The Beaks went first, and restarted the series with Two Reeds: 'Hidden Agenda - oac', then 'Heaven Can Wait - ubitsc', then 'Secrets & Lies - eig', and finally 'Mulholland Drive - ync'. They didn't see it, their opponents did: they are films directed by men whose surnames begin with L and end in h (Loach, Lubitsc, Leigh and Lynch) For their own first question, the Dandies chose Water, and got the picture set: we saw the band Toto, then racing driver Christian 'Toto' Wolff, then footballer Salvatore 'Toto' Schillaci, and finally the cast of the Wizard of Oz with an arrow at Toto the dog. That gave them the link, and the point. The Beaks chose 'Horn-ed' Viper next: ''Something's Got To Give'', then ''The Athenaeum Portrait'', then ''The Last Tycoon'', and finally 'Schubert's Symphony No. 8'. That gave it to them: they are all unfinished works. The Dandies chose Twisted Flax next: 'Harlem, New York', then 'Quarter, Naples', then 'City, Whitley Bay'; they saw that the latter are all known as 'the Spanish (former)', and collected two points. The Beaks chose Lion next: 'Faroe Islands (1907-92)', then 'Bournville, Birmingham (1895-2015)'; they offered that they have no pubs, and collected three good points from it. (The unseen clues were 'USA (1920-33)' and 'Saudi Arabia (1952-present)') Left with Eye of Horus, and the music set, the Dandies heard Tom Waits with 'Time', then 'Life' by Des'ree, then 'People' from the musical Funny Girl, and finally Madonna with 'Vogue'. They spotted the titles to be those of magazines, and collected the point. At the end of the first round, the Dandies led 5-4.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Beaks opened the round with Two Reeds: '4th: Making Up', then '3rd: Save Me', and then '2nd: Boom Bang'. They didn't quite see it, their opponents did: they are the first and last words of the UK's four Eurovision winning entries, so '1st: Puppet String' would complete the set. For their own question, the Dandies chose 'Horn-ed' Viper, and got the picture set: we saw a red and yellow striped jacket, then the singers P!nk and Professor Green, and then two chocolates with purple and oranges wrappers. Neither side got it quite right: they are the colours of the rainbow as in the song 'I Can Sing A Rainbow', so something representing just 'blue', such as the eponymous band, would satisfy. The Beaks chose Twisted Flax next: 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', then 'Art', and then 'The Dumb Waiter'; they saw it to be plays with 4, 3, 2 and 1 characters, so offered 'Underneath the Lintel' for the two points. The Dandies chose Lion next: '2005 Jo Swinson', '2009 Chloe Smith' (I had it at this), and then '2010 Pamela Nash'. They saw it to be the youngest MP in parliament, or 'Baby of the House', so '2015 Mhairi Black' (or 'Mary' Black as Victoria called her) would complete the set. For their final choice, the Beaks chose Water: '5 on 19', then '3 on 17', and then '5 on 12'. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents: they are starting positions in backgammon, so '2 on 1' would complete the sequence. Left with Eye of Horus again, the Dandies saw 'La Suisse: quatre', then 'Le Belgique: trois'; they identified it as countries where French is an official languages, and how many official langauges that country has, so 'La France: une' would come fourth there. At the end of the second round, the Dandies led 11-6.

On to the Walls. The Dandies went first, and chose to tackle the Water wall. They spotted some connections, but had little luck getting group slotted in. With just seconds to go, they finally isolated 'Strange', 'No', 'Faustus' and 'Legg', which are fictional doctors. They couldn't get anyway, and had to collect bonuses: 'Pepper', 'Capri', 'Pop' and 'Uni' can all precede 'corn', which they didn't see, 'Aedile', 'Censor', 'Tribune' and 'Quaestor' are Roman officials, which they did get, while 'Prefect', 'Anglia', 'Zephyr' and 'Consul' are old Ford cars, which they also saw. Four points there.

The Beaks thus could put themselves well back in the hunt with a good result on the Lion wall. They, in contrast, had two groups sorted out pretty quickly: 'Claret', 'Measuring', 'Puzzle' and 'Milk' are types of jug, while 'Aled', 'Toby', 'January' and 'Inigo' are famous Joneses. They couldn't quite get the final sets sorted out though, failing to get it in their three tries. They too thus had to collect bonus points: 'Boston', 'Nantucket', 'Quincy' and 'Springfield' are places in Massachusetts, which they spotted, while 'Lakeland', 'Kerry Blue', 'Border' and 'Yorkshire' are terrier dogs, which they also got. Six points there, which meant they trailed 15-12 going into the final round.

So, still all to play for going into Missing Vowels. 'Shakespeare plays and the character who speaks the first line' went to the Beaks 3-1, so just one in it now. 'Symbols of early Christianity' was another 3-1 to the Beaks, giving them the lead. 'Pairs of words and expressions for lavatory' went to the Beaks, 2-(-1), and that was time. The Beaks had come from behind, again, to win 20-16.

Another good match, well played by both teams. Unlucky Dandies, but best of luck in the play-off round. Well done Beaks though, and best of luck in the group stage!

Next week's match: the Detectives vs the Arrowheads in the final second round match, followed by the Meeples vs the Parishioners in the first play-off the week after, then we break for Christmas.

No UC tomorrow night, so see you next Sunday, I guess.

Monday, 4 December 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 2: Match 4: U.C.L. vs Edinburgh

Evening all. You'll be pleased to know I finally seem to have got my heating to acceptable settings, so, for the first time in a few weeks, I am doing this review in a comfortable heat. And with what sounds like a cracking EastEnders to catch up on later on, as things finally get somewhere after nearly a year of slowness, I need to get a move on with tonight's show, as two more teams, both of whom frankly deserve a place in the group stage, fight it out for one. Runners-up highly unfortunately go home.

U.C.L. were narrowly defeated by Trinity of Oxford in their first match 160-145, but survived to the play-offs, where they pulled off a highly impressive demolition of the fancied St Hugh's of Oxford side 315-45, the highest score for a couple of series. Hoping for more of the same were the unchanged foursome of:
Tom Allinson, from Whitchurch in Hampshire, studying History
Charlie Dowell, from Chelmsford, studying Neuroscience
Captain: Robert Gray, from Kingston-upon-Thames, studying Cell Biology
Omar Raii, from Kabul, studying Maths

Edinburgh last graced us with their presence back in the first match of the series, where they beat out our friends Ulster 165-160, who also survived to the play-offs and are now in the group stage, so no mean feat. Hoping to join them and avoid becoming the first team in six series to go less far in the contest than the team they beat in the first round were the also unchanged line-up of:
John Heaton-Armstrong, from Edinburgh, studying Russian and History
Stanley Wang, from Edinburgh, studying Speech and Language Processing
Captain: Innis Carson, from Glasgow, studying Chemistry
Philippa Stone, from Oxford, studying Biology

Off we set again then, and Mr Wang opened the scoring for the night by spotting 'red' to be the colour linking, among others, supporters of Garibaldi; the Scots side took one bonus, but were unlucky to miss another. (I got the other other) Mr Dowell opened U.C.L.'s account for the night, and they promptly took the lead with two bonuses on the song Waltzing Matilda, familiar to me only through the commentary of Jonathan Pearce! Mr Raii, and myself, identified the people listed in the next starter as Agatha Christie murder victims, but just the one bonus followed this time. Ms Stone was next in for Edinburgh, and bonuses on mammals gave them one bonus to put them five behind. The first picture round, on the locations of museums, went to U.C.L., who were unable to take any bonuses, which nonetheless put them ahead 45-30.

Mr Carson took, what looked like, an educated guess on the next starter, and his side were rewarded with a bonus set on years with at least three identical digits, such as 1999, of which they took two. A good quick buzz from Mr Dowell on a starter that was apparently also asked on the Xmas UC repeat that was on BBC4 just before tonight's match(!) gave U.C.L. back the lead, and they took a full set of bonuses on regions of India. Mr Heaton-Armstrong made sure all four Edinburgh players had a starter to their name, and two bonuses on physics gave them the lead again. A slip-up from their opponents the Scots side a bonus set on Eleanor Roosevelt, which they promptly took all three of.

The music round, on power ballads, went to U.C.L., who took two of the bonuses which reduced their arrears to 95-85. Good match so far, and it took another twist as Mr Allinson gave the next correct answer to a starter, thus making sure all eight players had a starter under their collective belts, and the Londoners retook the lead with a full bonus set on countries hidden within other words, such as the frankly brilliant 'pyROMANIAc'! Hope the OC question setters were taking notes! Mr Carson, who unusually has been on that show before UC (it's usually the other way around), took a good starter asking which is the only UK regnal name to also be that of an SI unit (Henry), and a full bonus set of their own gave them the lead again. The Edinburgh captain then took another starter, and his side now had a bit of breathing room as another full bonus set came with it.

The second picture round, on historical figures and the currencies they appear on, went to U.C.L., who took two bonuses, unluckily missing the third, which cut the gap to 140-130, setting up another grandstand finish. This remained firmly on as Mr Gray took the next starter, and bonuses on humanist philosopher saw his side pull off the old trick of giving the same answer, Erasmus, to all three bonuses and getting it right on the last one!

That put them level pegging again, and Mr Raii then gave them the lead with the next correctly answered starter; the bonuses would be crucial in such a close match, and they took two. The next starter was dropped just to add to the tension; Mr Heaton-Armstrong took the next starter, but the Scots side really needed the bonuses. They took just one, but it mattered not, as Ms Stone took the final starter just in time to sneak them in front at the gong. Edinburgh won a good close match 170-165!

Another thrilling match, well played in great spirits by both sides. Unlucky U.C.L., just pipped at the post, but nothing to be ashamed of at all, a fine series of performances, thanks very much for giving us them. Well done Edinburgh though, another good performance against, and close win over, good opponents, and very best of luck in the group stage!

The stats: Messrs Dowell, Raii and Carson ended the night joint best buzzers with three each. On the bonuses, U.C.L. converted 16 out of 27 (with one penalty), while Edinburgh managed 16 out of 24, so it really was fine margins that decided the match. Well played both sides though, frankly a travesty that this is a second round match and one of these teams is out for good.

No show next week as Nigella's Christmas special requires the timeslot, so we're, hopefully, back in two weeks, though whether with a regular show or the first of the Christmas specials, I don't know yet. So if this is indeed the last regular UC of the year, thank you and good night!

Only Connect back from it's sabbatical on Friday, and will definitely finish it's second round before Christmas; back on Sunday with Friday's match.

Monday, 27 November 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 2: Match 3: Warwick vs Ulster

Evening all. It's freezing again in my flat tonight, so once again, the heating is going on early, and probably staying on after it usually turns itself off as well! That's the last time I turn it off when I go visit my parents for the weekend! Amidst all this coldness, we have the small matter of UC to deal with; the third second round match, winners stay on for group stage, runners-up go home.

Warwick had a fairly easy first round victory over York, leading from the off, and eventually coming home 240-80. They were the same four as that occasion:
Flora Jackson, from York, studying English with Creative Writing 
Daniel Arribas, from Madrid, studying Maths 
Captain: Ben Salter, from Wiveliscombe in Somerset, studying Maths 
Charlotte Symons, from the Welsh Borders Area, studying Writing

Ulster were beaten in their first match by Edinburgh, buy just five points 165-160, but survived to the play-offs where they defeated St Anne's of Oxford 175-90. They too were unchanged from before:
Cathal McDaid, from Buncrana in County Donegal, studying English Literature 
Kate Ritchie, from Waringstown in County Armagh, studying Fine Art 
Captain: Ian Jack, from Peterhead, studying Pharmacy 
Matthew Milliken, from Comber in County Down, studying Education

Off we set again then, and Mr Jack, as is customary when his side play, took the first starter, identifying the literary work of Winston Churchill; two bonuses on regions of France were taken, though they incurred the wrath of Robot Wars fans everywhere by not getting Vercingetorix! Mr McDaid was in quickly with 'assassin' for the second starter, and a bonus set proved very much to his side's liking, as they took all three. Ms Jackson opened Warwick's scoring for the night, and the Coventry side took two bonus set on works of thought. Both Mr McDaid and myself had 'plimsoll' for the line on the side of a cargo ship on the next starter, but the bonuses yielded just the one correct answer this time. The first picture round, on coats of arms of German state capitals, went to Ulster, who took just the one bonus again, which took their lead to 75-20.

Ms Jackon was in quickly again for Warwick on the next starter; two bonuses followed, and the other provided a good comedy moment as Mr Salter decided he might as well give an answer, as 'pass' will certainly be wrong. The Warwick captain took the next starter himself, but bonuses on French physics provided them with just five further points. Those points were lost when Mr Salter slipped up on the next starter; Ms Ritchie took the points for Ulster, but no further points came from the bonuses. An unlucky slip-up from Mr Arribas, who provided the original German Ubermensch instead of the English translation Superman; Mr McDaid picked up, but no bonuses on astronomy followed again.

The music round, on classical pieces inspired by the work of ETA Hoffmann, went to Warwick, who took one correct bonus, reducing their arrears to 95-60. The gap increased again when another slip-up occurred, but Ulster could not take possession this time. Ms Jackson was in with Guyana for the next starter though, and bonuses on women born in 1917 provided them with two correct answers. The next starter was dropped, Mr Milliken took the one after, and rock star's autobiographies provided Ulster with two correct answers. Mr Jack took 'REM' for the next starter, before any mention of that band could come out(!), and a timely full bonus set put all the pressure on Warwick going into the final phase.

The second picture starter was dropped, the bonuses, on depictions of St George, went to Warwick, who just the one, which left them trailing 140-90 entering the final straight. Mr Arribas took the next starter, lifting the Midlands side into triple figures, and one bonus was taken with it. And when Ms Jackson took the next starter, and one bonus on Rabbie Burns went with it, they were now just one starter and full bonus away from the lead!

That starter came in the form of a spectacularly quick buzz from Mr Salter; two bonuses put them on level pegging, but they were denied the lead when, torn between two answers for the third, they chose the wrong one! Next starter might just win it; to add to the tension, the next starter was dropped! Ms Jackson was first in on the next, but was wrong; Mr McDaid came in with the right answer, and two bonuses on phobias put Ulster within sight of the group stage. And when Ms Ritchie took the next starter, that was game over. At the gong, Ulster 170-140.

A cracking match, very well played both sides, shame one of you must miss out on the group stage; bravo to both for clapping each other over the credits. Unlucky Warwick, who so very nearly pulled it off after trailing from the off, but nothing to be ashamed of there, thanks very much indeed for playing. Very well done Ulster though, and best of luck in the group stage!

The stats: Ms Jackson was the best buzzer of the night, ending the match with five, while Mr McDaid was Ulster's best with four, his colleagues all getting two each. On the bonuses, Warwick converted 13 out of 27 (with three penalties), while Ulster managed 14 out of 29; similar rates there, suggesting the match was won and lost, narrowly, on the buzzer.

Next week's match: don't know yet, but my guess is U.C.L. will be involved; will tweet anything I find.

Only Connect still on its football sabbatical, so, unless I decide to talk about something else about it and UC in the meantime, back next Monday, same time.

Monday, 20 November 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 2: Match 2: St John's vs Corpus Christi

Evening all. Tonight's fixture demonstrates why the show's current filming method of doing a second round match on the same day as the first round matches of the teams involved needs to have something done about it. Tonight's teams offered up two of the best performances of the first round, and tonight one of them would leave the contest for good; the others would join their compatriots Emmanuel in the group stage.

St John's College Cambridge ran out winners over a decent St Andrews side in their first round match, leading throughout and winning 255-120 at the gong. Hoping for more of the same tonight were the unchanged foursome of:
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

Corpus Christi College Cambridge won an Oxbridge derby against St Anne's of Oxford, also leading throughout the match, their winning margin at the gong was 225-135. Also hoping to match that tonight were the also unchanged quartet of:
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

Off we set again then, and Mr Hazell was first off the traps with 'red', including a topical mention of Red Dwarf; they firmly set their intentions out by taking a full house of bonuses. Mr Roberts just as quickly took Corpus Christi off the mark, but they had less luck with their first bonuses, taking just the one. Ms McKeown was next up for St John's, and they took a second full bonus set, on thermodynamics. Another starter and full bonus set for St John's, and already things were looking foreboding for Corpus Christi. Mr Roberts did take a second starter for them, but, again, just the one bonus followed. The first picture round, on compilations of first lines of poetry, went to St John's, who took a fourth full house, giving them a lead of 100-30.

And it got worse for Corpus Christi, as Ms McKeown took a second starter in a row, and a fifth full bonus set, on geographical journeys, went with it. St John's finally showed some weakness on their next bonus set, as they 'only' managed two on plate tectonics. Mr Roberts came back in for Corpus Christi with his third of the night, but, once again, just the one bonus came with it. Ms McKeown was back on the buzzer with the next starter though, and they again took two bonuses on bacteria.

The music starter was missed by both sides, the first to be so of the night; the bonuses, on programmatic waltzes, went to St John's, who missed all three, but still led 175-45. A half-fortuitous buzz from Mr Hazell added to that gap, and two bonuses were taken, the third being unluckily missed after a misunderstanding. Ms McKeown added to her already good starter tally with the next starter, but just the one bonus, on capitalist writings, followed this time, but it did take them past 200. A starter from Mr Levin took them further in, and a nice bonus set on Google search suggestions for nationalities saw St John's acquire a further ten points.

The second picture starter was dropped; the bonuses, on paintings inspired by Byron, went to Corpus Christi, who took just the one again, reducing their arrears to 230-60. Match long over as a contest, but could they at least get a run together and reach a respectable score? Not if Ms McKeown had anything to do with it, as she took another starter, and bonuses on Shakespearean quotes about winter gave them a further two correct.

And they weren't finished yet, Mr Hazell taking the next starter, and one bonus on cricket was taken with it via, what looked like, a complete guess. Mr Roberts, who'd been keeping his side's score ticking throughout the match, took the next starter, but they couldn't get anything from the resultant bonuses. Both Mr Devine-Stoneman and myself correctly offered 'diesel' for the next starter, and bonuses on chess terms saw us both take the same two bonuses. Mr Krol, who'd been so impressive in Corpus Christi's first match, took the final starter of the match, but, again, nothing came from the bonuses. And that was the gong, St John's won 285-80.

A rather one sided match, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. Unlucky Corpus Christi, didn't deserve to lose like that and unlucky to go out at this stage, but thanks very much indeed for playing. Very well done St John's though, another sterling effort against solid opposition, definitely a team to watch in the group stage, very best of luck in it!

The stats: Ms McKeown was the best buzzer of the night with seven starters, while Mr Roberts was Corpus Christi's best with five. On the bonuses, St John's converted a superb 29 out of 42, while Corpus Christi managed just 4 out of 18, and, for the first time this series, there were no penalties all night.

Next week's match: Warwick vs Ulster. Then presumably U.C.L. are back the week after.

No Only Connect for a couple of weeks, so back next week with UC I guess. Unless I decide otherwise.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 2: Match 4: Wanderers vs Inquisitors

OK, no Robot Wars tonight, so I can get this week's Only Connect out of the way now. Both tonight's teams won their first match pretty easily, so it would be interesting to see how they fared against another proven team. Winners would go straight through to the group stage, runners up would go to the play-off round.

Playing were the Wanderers, John Payne, Richard Arthur and captain Sanjoy Sen, who beat the Pedagogues in their first match, and the Inquisitors, Luke Kelly, Rob Cumming and captain Julia Hobbs, whose first match saw them beat the Inquisitors.

Round 1. The Inquisitors chose to start the match with Lion, and got the music question straight away: we heard the Boomtown Rats with 'The Elephants Graveyard', then the famous 'Baby Elephant Walk', then 'The Elephant' from Carnival of the Animals, and finally Colonel Hathi's March from the Jungle Book. They had the link from the final clue, having recognised only it and the second, and collected the first point of the match. The Wanderers opened their account with Water: 'Apple Watch: San Francisco', then 'New Yorker: Irvin', then 'London Underground: Johnston'; they saw them to be the font that is used in those instances, and collected two points. The Inquisitors chose Eye of Horus next: 'Excess weight gained from emotional overeating', them 'State of well-being in a cosy environment'; they came in here and offered 'comfort', not close enough alas. Their opponents saw 'Longing to travel' and 'Malicious enjoyment of another's misfortunes', and correctly offered 'meanings of German words used in English' for the bonus. For their own question, the Wanderers chose Twisted Flax: 'Hitchcock film: Rope', then 'British TV ad: Bird's Eye Peas', then 'Queen's Christmas Speech: 1967'; they offered them to be the first instances to be shot in colour, and collected another two points. The Inquisitors chose Two Reeds, and got the picture set: we saw Gerald Ford, then Corrie characters Betty Williams and her husband, with an arrow pointing at the latter; they offered them as husbands of women called Betty, and collected three points. (The other clues would've been Barney Rubble and Frank Spencer) Left with Horned Viper, the Wanderers saw 'Claude Levi-Strauss (2009)', then 'Joao Havelange (2016)', then 'Lord Denning (1999)'; they saw them to be people who died aged 100 in those years, and collected two points. At the end of a strong first round, the Wanderers led 7-4.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Inquisitors opened with Water, and the pictures again: we saw a sword, then a statue of Juno, and then some gold bars; they saw them to be the Normandy Landing beaches, and correctly offered 'Omaha' for two points. The Wanderers chose 'Horn-ed' Viper next: 'Throat', then 'Hump', and then 'Skin'; they saw them to be Kipling's Just So Stories in order, so offered 'Spots' for two points. The Inquisitors chose Twisted Flax next: '0.1', then '0.04', and then '0.001'. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents: its the decimals of pi, so '0.0005' would come fourth. A tough one that! The Wanderers chose Two Reeds next: '2004: Israel (Windsurfing)', then '2008: Panama (Long jump)', and then '2012: Grenada (400 metres)'. They didn't quite work it out, their opponents did: it's first Olympic golds won at successive golds, so '2016: Fiji (Rugby sevens)' for example, would satisfy. For their own final choice, the Inquisitors chose Eye of Horus: 'North America (23)', then 'Oceania (14)', and then 'South America (12)'. They ran out of time before being able to answer; their opponents came in with 'Antarctica (0)' for a bonus, the sequence being the continents with the fewest countries in descending order. Left with Water for their own question, the Wanderers saw 'Girls', then 'Babes in the Wood', and then 'The Liver Birds'; they saw it to be TV series with four, three and two female title characters, so 'Miranda' as one with one would be fourth. At the end of the second round, the Wanderers led 12-7.

On to the Walls. The Wanderers took their turn to go first, and chose the Lion wall. Their first two sets came almost instantly: 'Falkland', 'Dunfermline', 'Linlithgow' and 'Falkland' are Scottish palaces, while 'Good Omens', 'American Gods', 'Stardust' and 'Neverwhere' are novels by Neil Gaiman. After that, they quickly but carefully had the final sets solved: 'Holder', 'Ferry', 'Pop' and 'Bolan' are surnames of seventies glam rockers, while 'Bowie', 'Scone', 'Controversy' and 'Uranus' are words the pronunciation of which are much argued over. A well worked out full ten there.

So the Inquisitors set to work on the Water wall. They too had their first two sets done pretty efficiently: 'Procol Harum', 'Van der Graaf Generator', 'Yes' and 'Focus' are prog rock bands, while 'Rongeur', 'Lancet', 'Curette' and 'Retractor' are items of medical equipment. After that though, in a repeat of what happened in their first match (they even said so before starting), they got stuck getting the final sets together; they ran out of tries, and had to collect bonus points: 'Caliper', 'U', 'Hydraulic' and 'Disc' are type of brake, which they got, while 'Drum', 'Egg', 'Traffic' and 'System' are things you can beat, which they got in the nick of time. Six points there, which left them trailing 22-13 going into the final round.

So, Missing Vowels to finish with. 'Fruit and a noted variety' was split 1-each. 'Meanings of PA', such as 'PERSONAL ASSISTANT' and 'PENNSYLVANIA' was split 2-each. 'Bacharach and David songs' was a clean sweep to the Inquisitors 4-0. 'Squares and their cities' saw the Inquisitors take one, then get somewhat unfairly lose one as time ran out while they were answering the second. The Wanderers won 25-20.

Another fine match, well played both teams. Unlucky Inquisitors, best of luck in the play offs. Well done Wanderers, best of luck in the group stage!

No match next week due to a Women's World Cup qualifier, England vs Bosnia, or the week after due to an FA Cup match, Fylde vs Wigan, so we're back on the 8th of December, presumably with the Dandies vs the Beeks, followed by the Detectives vs the Arrowheads.

Back tomorrow with my usual UC write-up; see you then, I guess.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 2: Match 3: Meeples vs Belgophiles

So, we're back! For last week and this at least. Then we're off for another two weeks, firstly for a women's World Cup qualifier on the 24th, and then for the FA Cup again, AFC Fylde vs Wigan. So lets enjoy Only Connect while we can; not long now til it's back on Mondays when it belongs after all, so let's get on with Friday's match.

Playing were the Meeples, Tom West, Hugh Trimble and captain Gail Trimble, who defeated the Tequila Slammers in their first match, and the Belgophiles, Helen Fasham, Phil Small and captain Ben Fasham, who beat the Lapsed Psychologists in their's.

Round 1. The Belgophiles kicked the contest off with Eye of Horus, and the picture set: we saw some Buddhist monks, then a bumblebee, then Richard Dawkins, and finally Chubby Checker performing the Twist. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents: they are characters from Oliver Twist. The Meeples chose to open their account with Twisted Flax: 'To love no longer (Bernanos)', then 'Home (Judas Priest)', then 'Oneself (TS Eliot)', and finally 'Other People (Sartre)'. The final clue gave it to them: they are what Hell is according to those people. The Belgophiles chose 'Horn-ed' Viper next, and got the music set: we heard Rubenstein's Melody in F, then Irving Berlin with 'Play a Simple Melody', then 'Broadway Melody', and finally 'Unchained Melody'. They didn't see it, their opponents did for a bonus. For their own question, the Meeples chose Two Reeds: 'George Sullivan', then 'dried paste', then 'tumble ready', and finally 'Eve the Ants'. Neither team got this, and I'm not surprised, as Dave Clark might say, this was verging on 'American Municipal Bankruptcies' difficulty: they are 're-assigned partners', ie, 'Gilbert and George, Gilbert and Sullivan', 'cut and dried, cut and paste', 'rough and tumble, rough and ready', and 'Adam and Eve, Adam and the Ants'. That has to be the hardest question I've seen since I started doing these. The Belgophiles chose Water: 'Au pairs', then 'Prisoners', then 'Members of the armed forces', and finally 'Self-employed people running their own business'. Again, they didn't get it, nor did their opponents: they are people who aren't entitled to the National Living Wage. Left with Lion, the Meeples saw 'Margarine' in yellow, then 'Petrol for commercial vehicles, 1948' in red, then 'Chicago river, Saturday in mid-March' in green; they saw them to be things that have been dyed the colour in question, and collected two points. ('Marge Simpson's hair' in blue would've been fourth). At the end of a tough first round, the Meeples led 4-0.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Belgophiles kicked the round off with Eye of Horus: 'Jack Island', then 'Philip Castle', and then 'Dinah Valley'. Neither team got this: they are the books in Enid Blyton's 'Adventure Series' and the children in them getting younger, so 'Lucy-Ann Sea' would come fourth. Again, a bit too hard for this stage of the contest. The Meeples chose Horned Viper next: '20', then '171', and then '71'. They didn't get this, their opponents did: they are Central London dialling codes minus the zeros, so '1' would complete the sequence. For their own question, the Belgophiles chose Water: 'Attlee: 3', then 'Kinnock: 2'; they offered at this point 'Blair: 0', and picked up three points, the sequence being Labour leaders who lost a descending number of elections. The Meeples chose Two Reeds next: '4th: Louis (1964)', then '3rd: Christian (1960)', and then '2nd: Elizabeth (1950)'. They didn't get this, nor did their opponents: they are the Queen's children, and their names in correlation to the order they came in, so Prince Edward's fourth name is Louis, Prince Andrew's is Christian, Princess Anne's is Elizabeth and just '1st: Charles (1948)' would come fourth. For their final choice, the Belgophiles chose Twisted Flax, and got the picture set: we saw Anni-Frid and Agnetha from ABBA, then Benny and Bjorn from ABBA; they offered 'Desmond Decker', which was, just, acceptable, the sequence being double acts whose first names both begin with A, B, C and D, so 'Dick and Dom' would've been a more acceptable answer, but close enough. Left with Lion, the Meeples saw 'I = He', then 'You = He', and then 'You = Me'. They saw it to be the lyrics to 'I Am The Walrus', so 'We = All together' completes the set. At the end of an only marginally easier second round, the Belgophiles now led 7-6.

On to the Walls. The Meeples took their turn to go first, and chose the Water wall. They fairly quickly isolated 'Chin', 'Tong', 'Panam' and 'Malt', which all become countries when an A is added, and then 'Frontier', 'United', 'Delta' and 'Spirit', which are US airlines. Having done that, the final sets slotted in nicely: 'White wine', 'Kombucha', 'Balsamic' and 'Sherry' are types of vinegar, while 'Cox', 'Guetta', 'Prydz' and 'Oakenfold' are club DJs. A well resolved full ten there.

The Belgophiles thus set to work on the Lion wall needing a good score to stay in touch. They too hit the ground running, isolating 'Genoa', 'Madeleine', 'Fairy' and 'Dundee', which are cakes, followed in short order by 'Doctor', 'Florence', 'Sly' and 'Katrina', which all partner 'and the (something)' to give band names. The final slots were in line pretty easily after that: 'Rome', 'Pap', 'Julie' and 'Tang' all become NATO alphabet words when a latter is added (Romeo, Papa, Juliet and Tango), while 'Milan', 'Ancona', 'Bari' and 'Venice' are Italian regional capitals, their offer of 'Italian cities' being close enough. Another well resolved full ten, which left them ahead 17-16 going into the final round.

So, Missing Vowels would decide who went straight through to the group stage and who went into the play-off round. 'Tall buildings' went to the Belgophiles 3-1. 'Things Robin says to Batman', such as 'HOLY BIRTHDAY CAKE', was split 2-each. 'ROI', such as 'RETURN ON INVESTEMENT' and 'REPUBLIC OF IRELAND' (playing Denmark as I write this), went to the Meeples 2-0. 'Chefs and their restaurants' only managed one clue, which was timed out. The Belgophiles had snuck home, 22-21!

A pretty good match well played by both considering how hard some of the questions were. Unlucky Meeples, but best of luck in the play-offs. Well done Belgophiles, best of luck in the group stage!

Next week's match: the Wanderers vs the Inquisitors. Then we're off for another two weeks, hopefully back on the 8th of December.