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.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 1: Match 9: Disparates vs Beaks

OK, I think we can safely say the show is not using a two group split for the first round draw, but I'm carrying on calling my reviews what they are for now, until it is confirmed for definite in the play-offs. If there are any. The other explanation for this 'two highest scoring losers' they said is that there are no play-offs, and the 37 is made up by the return of the celeb specials. We shall see.

Anyway, playing on Friday were the Disparates, Steve Havard, Ruth Ellis and captain Huw Meredith, and the Beaks, Rob Cromarty, Aidan Sproat-Clements and captain Dan Sproat-Clements (relationship unclear).

Round 1. The Disparates went first, and kicked the show off with Twisted Flax, and the picture set: we saw a whale shark, then an elephant seal, then a tiger moth; they saw them to be animals whose names include another animal, and collected two points. The Beaks opened their account with Eye of Horus, and the music question: we heard Bobby Darin's 'Beyond the Sea', then NWA with 'Straight Outta Compton', then Edith Piaf with 'La Vie en Rose', and finally Johnny Cash's classic 'Walk the Line'. They didn't get it, their opponents did: their titles were used for biopics of their singers. For their own question, the Disparates chose Two Reeds: 'Houston, Texas', then 'The Ryder Cup', then 'Morse code', and finally 'Colt pistol'. They identified them as being named after people called Samuel, or Sam, and collected the point. The Beaks chose Lion next: 'Criminal', then 'The final', then 'Cut to'; they spotted that they can all precede the names of quiz shows ('Criminal' Mastermind, 'The final' Countdown, 'Cut to' The Chase, and the final clue would've been 'Only as strong as' The Weakest Link), a nice set, for two points. The Disparates chose Water next: 'Disposition matrix', then 'Enhanced interrogation', then 'Blue on blue', and finally 'Collateral damage'. They didn't quite get it, their opponents did: they are euphemisms used in the military. Left with Horned Viper for their own question, the Beaks saw 'Alceste (anthropo)', then 'Wolverine (aero)', then 'Peter Pan (gerasco)', and finally 'Ron Weasley (arachno)'. They got it from the final clue: they are phobias that the characters suffer from. At the end of the first round, the teams were tied on 4-each.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Disparates kicked the round off with Two Reeds: 'UK's tallest roller coaster', then 'Card game (aka Chinese poker)', and then 'Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Wilson'; they identified them as 'Big One', 'Big Two' and 'Big Three', so offered 'Top accountancy firms', or 'Big Four' for two points. The Beaks chose Eye of Horus next: 'Thomas Gabriel', then 'Simon Gruber', and then 'Colonel Stuart'. They didn't quite see it, nor did their opponents; they are the villains of the Die Hard films, so 'Hans Gruber' completes the set. The Disparates chose Twisted Flax next: 'D', then ')', and then 'I' (closest I can get, sorry); they saw them to be the symbols for face emojis, so offered '(' for two points. The Beaks chose 'Horn-ed' Viper next: 'Greece', then 'Philippines', and then 'Morocco'. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents: they are countries with three Es, three Is and threes Os, so 'Uruguay', with three Us, would complete the set. For their final choice, the Disparates chose Lion: 'M21 F-', then 'M21 F30', and then 'M21 F21'; they offered 'M18 F18', which was correct, the sequence being the age at which both sexes could vote in the UK. Left with Water, the Beaks got the picture sequence: we saw a pineapple, then a tree, and then another pineapple; they saw it to be the lyrics to the (very annoying) song 'Agadoo', but got the order muddled up and thus didn't get it. Nor did their opponents. Some coffee would complete the set. At the end of the second round, the Disparates led 10-4.

On to the Walls. The Beaks, needing a good score, chose to tackle the Water wall. After spotting some connections, they had little luck finding groups, before eventually isolated 'Windsor', 'Castle', 'Hepworth' and 'Back', which are surnames of famous Barbaras. A second set, 'Zoosk', 'Match', 'Tinder' and 'Badoo', which are dating apps, eventually followed. With barely any time left, the final sets settled in on their first attempt: 'Coxswain', 'Grinder', 'Mate' and 'Lookout' are jobs on a ship, while 'Slip', 'Stevedore', 'Granny' and 'Gordian' are knots. A full ten there.

The Disparates thus set to work on the Lion wall with the ball still in their court, just about. In contrast, their first set, 'Dover', 'Hythe', 'Sandwich' and 'New Romney', which are 'cinque ports' in Kent, came almost instantly. After that, though, they couldn't untangle any more, spotting the links, but not being able to isolate any groups. They were eventually timed out, and thus had to pick up bonus group points: 'Hastings', 'Oliver', 'Lemon' and 'Japp' are characters in the Poirot books, which they didn't quite get, 'Grinder', 'Hoagie', 'Hero' and 'Submarine' are types of sandwich, they did just about get, while 'Fever', 'Belly', 'Jersey' and 'Pages' can all follow 'Yellow', which they also got. Four points there, which left the teams level at 14-each going into the final round.

So Missing Vowels would decide the show. 'Things that can be purple', which saw the Beaks fortuitously get a point for saying 'PEARS' instead of 'PROSE', went to them 2-(-1). 'Full names of fictional characters', such as 'JAMES TIBERIUS KIRK', was a clean sweep to the Beaks 4-0, and that was game over. '2016 dictionary additions' only had time for one clue, which was timed out. The Beaks won 20-13.

Another good show with some good questions and good answering. Unlucky Disparates, who will probably not be coming back in the play-offs whatever's going on, but thanks for playing. Well done Beaks though, and best of luck in the second round!

Next week's match: Dandies vs Gaffers

Monday, 18 September 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 1: Match 9: Leicester vs Fitzwilliam

Evening all. In a week when I've purchased the first two UC quiz books of the Paxo era, and been looking back on the eras they came from. As I told Chris Ducklin's excellent Quizzy Mondays podcast, the starters were generally a lot shorter in those days, and a return to that might be beneficial given how long and drawn out the starters often are nowadays. A return to the red set of the early noughties might not be a bad idea also. Anyway, on with tonight.

Leicester University was founded in 1957, and won the first ever series of UC just six years later. Alumni include politicians Norman Lamb and Natalie Bennett and funny man Bob Mortimer. It has sporadically sent teams to the revived series, the last such side, three series ago, were unlucky to lose in the second round. This year's foursome were:
Graham Aldred, from West Yorkshire, studying Toponymic Archaeology
Stan French, from Norwich, studying Chemistry
Captain: Pip Brown, from Devon, studying Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Jamie Byrne, from Bristol, studying Physics

Fitzwilliam College Cambridge also won UC not long after its foundation, seven years after it became a proper college in 1966. Alumni include politicians Andy Burnham and Vince Cable and historian David Starkey. It last appeared on UC in 1999-2000; their unused reserve later appeared on the Professionals series on the 'Lawyers' team. This year's quartet were:
Theo Tindall, from Bristol, studying Russian and Arabic
Theo Howe, from Oxfordshire, studying Japanese Studies
Captain: Hugh Oxlade, from South Woodford in London, studying History
Jack Maloney, from Harpenden in Hertfordshire, studying Medicine

Off we set again then, and Mr Tindall got the ball rolling for the night with the word 'guru'; bonuses on Internet companies provided them with two correct answers to start off with. Mr French wasted no time getting Leicester off the mark, but they managed just the one bonus from their first set on Asia. They took the lead with the next starter though, with two bonuses accompanying. A penalty then handed Fitzwilliam the advantage back, however, which they took, along with two bonuses on famous husband and wife pairs. The first picture round, a classic UC round on culinary terms spelt using chemical symbols, went to Fitzwilliam, who wiped the plate clean with the bonuses, giving them a lead of 65-30.

Mr Tindall's excellent early buzzer work continued as he took the next starter, but smelling salts in Victorian literature proved a fruitless bonus set. 20th century industry proved more to their liking, as they took a swift full set. A debatable penalty then set them back five however, though Leicester failed to pick up; Mr Aldred took the next starter though, and bonuses on the Peterloo massacre gave them two correct answers.

The music round, on classical pieces whose titles refer to another composer, went to Leicester, who took just the one bonus, which reduced their arrears to 95-65. A starter on Charlie Chaplin's Great Dictator gave Leicester a third in a row (I might have got it were I not yet to read a book about him I took out from the library earlier!); two bonuses on bacteria put them just ten behind, before another Fitzwilliam penalty (no debate this time) cut the gap to just five. It then went up again as Mr Maloney took the next starter; bonuses on banana cultivation didn't appear very fruitful (pun intended) at first, but they took two.

The second picture round, on England cricketers with noted success in the Ashes, went to Fitzwilliam, who took just the one bonus, which stood their lead at 125-85. After a quiet spell, Mr Tindall spoke up again with the next starter; bonuses on Elizabeth I, appropriate given what's on after UC at the moment, gave them ten points and surely enough points to come back win or lose.

Back came Leicester though, with Miss Brown doing the honours; ten bonus points deservedly took them into triple figures and back within sight. What looked like a guess from Mr Maloney gave Fitzwilliam possession back though, and two bonuses on humanism followed. And when Mr Oxlade took the next starter, that was game over. Another starter and bonus set might have been enough for Leicester to get to the play-offs, but Mr Howe would rather ensure all four Fitzwilliam players had a starter to their name. The gong cut the bonuses off; Fitzwilliam won 200-105.

A pretty decent enjoyable match well played by both sides. Unlucky Leicester, who gave a good account of themselves and are unlucky to, I would imagine, go out at this stage, but thanks for playing and well done on a good effort. Well done Fitzwilliam though on a solid first outing against good opposition, and best of luck in the second round!

The stats: Mr Tindall was the best buzzer of the night with six under his belt, while Messrs Aldred and French and Miss Brown all took two each for Leicester. On the bonuses, Leicester converted an OK 10 out of 18 (with one penalty), while Fitzwilliam managed an also pretty decent 20 out of 32 (with two penalties); could be dark horses for the second round should they get a favourable draw.

Next week's match: Imperial vs Strathclyde

Only Connect carries on on Friday, with my review on Sunday, by which point what exactly is going on with the tournament structure will be a bit clearer.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 1: Match 8: Wanderers vs Pedagogues

OK, so it seems that Only Connect isn't going ahead with splitting the first round into groups, and is instead just using the entire first round as a single entity. But lets just stick with this until we know for sure, why don't we? Anyway, on with Friday night's show.

Playing were the Wanderers, John Payne, Richard Arthur and captain Sanjoy Sen, and the Pedagogues, James Manson, his wife Megan Mason and her sister, captain, Jennifer Shearman.

Round 1. The Pedagogues went first, and kicked the show off with Lion, and the music round: we heard 'When I am Laid In Earth' from Purcell's Porgy and Bess, then the Hollies with 'Air That I Breathe', then Handel's Water Music, and finally The Crazy World of Arthur Brown with 'Fire'. They didn't quite get it, their opponents did: they all represent the four Aristotelian elements, for a bonus. For their own first question, the Wanderers chose Two Reeds: 'Senkaku Islands 1971', then 'Christmas Island 1958', then 'Macau 1999'; they saw them to be islands that changed sovereignty in that year, and collected two points. The Pedagogues chose Twisted Flax next: 'Song from 'Les Miserables'', then 'Rubbers on a table tennis bat', then 'Roulette wheel'; they identified them to be red and black, and collected two points. (Cue a voluntary sing-along from Mr Payne!) The Wanderers chose 'Horn-ed' Viper next: 'Chit', then 'Knick'; a nice one this, replacing the I with an A gives a two word phrase, which they spotted for three points. The Pedagogues chose Eye of Horus next: 'Ben', then 'O'', then 'ap', and finally 'dottir'. They didn't get it, their opponents did: they are surname affixes that indicate your lineage. Left with Water, and the picture set, for their own question, the Wanderers saw a still from the film Holiday Inn, then the band The Small Faces with frontman Steve Marriott circled, then a four seasons pizza, and finally the media personality Perez Hilton. Neither team saw this: they all share their names with hotel chains. At the end of the first round, the Wanderers led 7-2.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Pedagogues kicked the round off with Lion, and got the picture set: we saw Richard Ayoade (or Richard Okanoyu as my Dad now calls him thanks to Pointless!), then Stephen Merchant (which gave it to me), and then Ed Tudor-Pole. They didn't get an answer in time, and their opponents didn't see it neither: they are, of course, the hosts of The Crystal Maze, so Richard O'Brien would come fourth. The Wanderers chose Twisted Flax next: '3: Cage', then '2: Barn'; they saw it to be EU classifications of eggs, but their answer of '0: Free Range' was incorrect. Their opponents saw '1: Free Range', and so offered '0: Organic' for a bonus point. For their own question, the Pedagogues chose Two Reeds: '4: Netherlands', then '5: France, Luxembourg & United Kingdom', and then '6: Sweden'. They didn't get it, their opponents did: it's the countries that have won Eurovision the most, so '7: Republic of Ireland' completes the set. For their own question, the Wanderers chose 'Horn-ed' Viper: 'Kits', then 'Cats'; they saw it to be the St Ives poem, so 'Sacks' would be third, and 'Wives' completes the set for three points. For their final choice, the Pedagogues chose Eye of Horus: 'Perth football team', then 'BBC journalist kidnapped in 2007', and then 'Nixon's predecessor'. Both teams saw the sequence, 'Johnstone', 'Johnston' and 'Johnson', but neither could come up with an acceptable answer: 'Author of 'The Alchemist'', ie Ben Jonson, would suffice. Left with Water, the Wanderers saw 'Call for a cab', then 'Member of a learned society', and then 'Vertical shaft containing water'; they saw the clues to represent 'Hail', 'Fellow' and 'Well', suggesting the phrase 'Hail-fellow-well-met', so something for 'Met', like 'The Metropolitan Police', would come fourth for two points. At the end of the second round, the Wanderers led 13-3.

On to the Walls. The Wanderers went first, and chose to tackle the Lion wall. The first sets came pretty quickly, 'Angel', 'Turkish', 'Shepherd's' and 'Rapper's' can all precede 'delight', while 'Homity', 'Mince', 'Cottage' and 'Stargazy' are pies. The wall was solved pretty comfortable after that: 'Burnt Oak', 'Highgate', 'Bank' and 'Oval' are tube stations (rather unfortunate question to have on Friday), while 'Frozen', 'Hollywood', 'Holiday' and 'Erotica' are songs by Madonna. A full wall well solved, so a full ten points.

The Pedagogues thus set to work on the Water wall in danger of falling out of sight. They spotted a sequence of Citreon cars, and isolated 'Picasso', 'Saxo', 'Cactus' and 'Berlingo' (the last of which of greatly amused my parents, who have just bought one!). A second set followed: 'Mirage', 'Oasis', 'Camel' and 'Sand dune' are things typically associated with the desert. The final clues promptly fell into place: 'Golden Nugget', 'Stratosphere', 'Bellagio' and 'Flamingo' are noted casinos in Las Vegas, while 'Dali', 'Goya', 'Miro' and 'Velazquez' are Spanish painters. Another well resolved full ten points, which left them trailing 23-13 going into the final round.

So, Missing Vowels to finish off, with the Pedagogues needing a good performance to catch up/reach contention for the repechage. 'Comic book characters and their alter egos', such as 'SUPERMAN AND CLARK KENT', went to the Pedagogues 2-0. 'US State mottos' went to the Pedagogues 2-1. 'Vegetarian dishes', which included 'BOILED EGG AND SOLDIERS'(!), was split 2-each. 'Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge' was announced, but the only clue there was time for was timed out. The Wanderers won 26-19.

Another excellent half hour of quality quizzing. Well done Wanderers, and best of luck in the second round. Unlucky Pedagogues, who did perfectly reasonably, and whose fate will lie in whether I understand correctly, and the draw is not split. If it is, they stand a decent chance of a return. If not, they will probably sit behind the Geocachers on points scored in the first two rounds. Victoria's chat with them at the end seems to imply the latter. We shall have to wait and see, hopefully it will all make sense in the end.

Next week's match: Disparates vs Beeks

Monday, 11 September 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 1: Match 8: Sheffield Hallam vs Newcastle

Evening all. And we start tonight with an apology. In my review of Friday's OC, I mistakenly credited Luke Kelly of the Inquisitors with having won UC with Manchester; turns out the Luke Kelly of that team was a completely different gentleman who just looked a bit similar. My apologies to both Mr Kellys, and my thanks to Julia Hobbs for pulling me up on this on Twitter. Now, on with tonight.

Sheffield Hallam University was formerly Sheffield Polytechnic, becoming a university in 1992. Alumni include Nick Park of Wallace & Gromit fame, Howard Wilkinson of football fame and Andy Akinwolere of Blue Peter fame. It has sent a team to UC once before, in 2000-01, who reached the QFs. This year's foursome were:
Richard Simkins, from Sheffield, studying English
Alex Crombie, from Hedon in East Yorkshire, studying Education
Captain: Chris Doyle, from Wigan, studying English
James Hanson, from Rotherham, studying History

Newcastle University is also reasonable recent by standards, founded in 1963. Alumni include British institution Rowan Atkinson, music man Bryan Ferry and some chap called Tim Farron, whoever he was. It has regularly sent teams to UC, last appearing two series ago and reaching the QF play off stage. This year's quartet were:
Jack Reynard, from Leeds, studying Medicine
Molly Nielsen, from London, studying Medicine
Captain: Jonathan Noble, from Newcastle, studying for a PGCE
Adam Lowery, from Sunderland, studying Chemistry

Off we set again then, and not the best start to the night, with Newcastle losing five and Sheffield Hallam failing to take possession. The second starter was dropped too, before Miss Nielsen finally broke the duck on the third; Newcastle proceeded to make up for the slow start by taking all three bonuses on Russian composers' first symphonies. Another starter was dropped, with Sheffield Hallam losing five; Mr Crombie made up for that though by taking the next starter, though his side got nothing from the bonuses on Orwell's 1984. Mr Noble was next up for Newcastle, and his side took two bonuses on the work of John Napier. The first picture round, on graphs showing how often politicians were looked up on Google, went to Sheffield Hallam, who, again, got nothing from what was a rather tricky round, which left them trailing 40-15.

Another five points were lost, this time by Sheffield Hallam, and again Newcastle failed to pick up, and a second starter in a row was then dropped again. Miss Nielsen once again took it on herself to stop the rot, and her side took two of the resulting bonuses. Miss Nielsen then took a second starter in a row, which unlocked a tricky bonus set on the duration of 'seasons' on other planets, of which the Tynesiders took one.

Neither side indentified Marvin Gaye for the music starter, though, like myself, they probably did recognise it as the song Robin Thicke was accused of ripping off with 'Blurred Lines'; the bonuses, on other music plagiarism cases, went to Newcastle, who got nothing from another complex bonus set, leaving their lead at 85-10. The works of Umberto Eco provided Newcastle's next bonus set, following another starter from Miss Nielsen; two came this time. Mr Doyle finally broke Sheffield Hallam back into the match, but another tricky bonus set, on melting points of metals, provided them with no correct answers again. Another starter was dropped, Mr Noble took the next, all three bonuses followed, and that was game over I'm afraid.

The second picture round, on paintings used for, or as the inspiration for, album covers, went to Newcastle, who took just the one bonus this time, which left their lead at 145-20. Mr Simkins took another starter for Sheffield Hallam, but, once again, they got nothing from the bonuses; at this point, I genuinely feared for them that they'd become the first side (that I know of) to end the match having answered no bonuses correctly.

Newcastle, by contrast, seemed to be doing decently on the bonuses when they got them; Mr Noble took the next starter, and bonuses on novels and the prime ministers in office when they were first published gave them a full house. Another starter was dropped, Mr Crombie took the next, but, alas, there was no time for any bonuses. At the gong, Newcastle won 170-40.

Another rather low scoring match, probably due to some unusually hard questions for the first round. Unlucky Sheffield Hallam, for whom things just didn't fall tonight, but who came across well and must be a decent team to have made it on the show in the first place, so thanks for taking part. Well done Newcastle though on a not bad first performance, and best of luck in the next round!

The stats: Miss Nielsen was the best buzzer of the night with five starters, while Mr Crombie was best for Sheffield Hallam with three. On the bonuses, Sheffield Hallam, alas, converted 0 out of 12, which I think might be an unfortunate first for the show (plus two penalties as well), while Newcastle, by contrast, managed an OK 17 out of 27 (with one penalty).

Next week's match: Leicester vs Fitzwilliam College Cambridge

Only Connect, meanwhile, will be carrying on on Sunday nights for the foreseeable future, until the show returns to Monday, in which case I'll, hopefully, be able to return to doing it on Tuesday nights.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 1: Match 7: Cricketers vs Inquisitors

OK, Only Connect time. Unless I say otherwise, we shall carry on on Sunday nights until the show returns to its rightful place on Monday nights. And when Victoria mentioned having been visited by three spirits in her intro, I can't have been the only one expecting her to go on to say she drank them!

Playing the final match of this half of the first round (I think) were the Cricketers, Andrew Burford, Simon Williams and captain Neil Clarke, and the Inquisitors, Luke Kelly (winner of £64,000 on Millionaire), Rob Cumming and captain Julia Hobbs (Mastermind regular and runner-up to Beth Webster in Make Me an Egghead Women's tournament).

Round 1. The Inquisitors went first, and kicked the match off with Lion: they saw 'Cat Flap: head', and after a bit of discussion, buzzed and offered 'spoonerisms'. Correct for FIVE POINTS! Excellent work! (The other clues were 'Marking Peter: street', 'Flock of Bats: residential area' and 'Belly Jeans: sweet shop') The Cricketers thus set to business with Twisted Flax, and the picture set: we saw a racoon, then Madonna, then a submarine; they saw them to be Beatles song titles, and collected two points. The Inquisitors chose Horned Viper next: 'Ffynnon Garw', then 'Football League First Division', then 'Pluto'; they offered at this point that they were all things that were downgraded, and they too collected two points. The Cricketers chose Water next: The Pied Piper of Hamelin', then 'Dolly Parton', then 'Colin Baker's Doctor Who', and finally 'Joseph'. They didn't see it, their opponents did: they all famously wear coats of many colours. For their own question, the Inquisitors chose Eye of Horus, and got the music set: we heard Little Boots with 'Remedy', then Little Jimmy Osmond singing 'Tweedle Dee', then Little Richard singing 'Lucille'; they spotted the link, and collected another two points. (I can name all the Osmonds by heart, despite being far too young to remember them BTW!) Left with Two Reeds, the Cricketers saw 'Dumbo', then 'Nolita', then 'Soho', and finally 'Tribeca'. They identified them as neighbourhoods of New York, for a point. At the end of the first round, the Inquisitors led 10-3.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Inquisitors kicked the round off with Twisted Flax: 'Cheltenham (567)', then 'Puniness (3456)'; they identified them as words with descending numbers in them, but having buzzed, couldn't provide an acceptable answer. Their opponents saw 'Freighters (34567)', but couldn't pick up either. They are words with descending numbers in them, but the numbers represent where the hidden number is, so, for example, 'Seventy (12345)', would be acceptable. Nice cryptic question, but maybe too much for the first round! The Cricketers chose Lion next: 'Sundar Pichai', then 'Larry Page', and then 'Eric Schmidt'. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents. They are CEOs of Google, so 'Larry Page' again would be fourth. The Inquisitors chose Eye of Horus next: 'Le chagrin', then 'La joie', and then 'Une fille'; they saw it to be the Magpie rhyme in French, so 'Un garcon' would be fourth. The Cricketers chose Two Reeds next, and got the picture set: we saw Wendi Deng, Rupert Murdoch's ex, then Ding Junhui the snooker player, and then the Vietnamese dong; they saw the sequence, and offered 'a pile of dung', for two points. For their final choice, the Inquisitors chose Water: 'Calida', then 'Almeria'; they spotted it to be the Spanish costas, but their offer at this point of 'Brava' was not correct. Their opponents saw 'Tropical', but couldn't pick up. It is the costas, but going south, so 'Del Sol' is fourth. Left with Horned Viper, the Cricketers saw 'Glenn', then 'Anil'; a rather appropriate question for them, they quickly saw it to be leading wicket takers in Test cricket, so 'Shane' would be third, and 'Muttiah' fourth. At the end of the second round, the Inquisitors led 12-8.

On to the Walls. The Cricketers took their turn to go first, and opted for the Lion wall. They immediately isolated 'Whippy', 'Muscle', 'Kipling' and 'Sheen', which all follow 'Mr' to give brand  names. This was followed by 'Bolton', 'Ball', 'Portillo' and 'Palin', which are surnames of famous Michaels. They took their time with the final sets, and eventually worked it out on their first try: 'Hockey', 'Age', 'Lolly' and 'Floe' can all follow 'Ice', while 'Ball', 'Staccato', 'Sheet' and 'Forked' are types of lightning. A full ten well worked out there.

The Inquisitors thus set to work on the Water wall. They too isolated a set immediately: 'Knoxville', 'Vegas', 'Morris' and 'Ball' are surnames of famous Johnnys. A second set came pretty easily too: 'Measure', 'Shaker', 'Muddler' and 'Shot' are bartending terms. They came unstuck with the remainders though, and thus had to pick up bonus connection points: 'Butter', 'Pucker', 'Cough' and 'Wrap' can all precede 'up', which they got, while 'Set', 'Belly', 'Barn' and 'Tap' are dances, which they spotted when they saw it. Six points there, which left the scores level at 18-each going into the final round.

So Missing Vowels would decide who went straight through, and who'd have to hope for the play-offs. 'Planes' went to the Inquisitors 3-1, as did 'Trains'. 'Automobiles' went to the Inquisitors 2-1, while 'Films with transport in the title' finished 2-0 to the Inquisitors, and that was time. The Inquisitors won the show 28-21.

A high quality show, well played both teams. Well done Inquisitors on a very impressive first performance, could be a team to watch in the next round, best of luck in it! Unlucky Cricketers, but a decent effort, and, if I understand the format correctly, they will survive to play-offs alongside the Escapologists, having scored the same number of points as the Lapsed Physicists, but acquired more in the first two rounds. If someone could explain precisely what is going on, that'd be much appreciated.

Next week's match: Wanderers vs Pedagogues

Monday, 4 September 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 1: Match 7: Trinity vs U.C.L.

Evening all. So, who would witness the better match tonight: me, here in my flat watching UC as usual, or my Dad, who is at Hampden with his mates watching Scotland play Malta. Well, at the time of writing, I am unaware of the score of that match, or of the England game for that matter, so don't anyone tell me, I'll find out after I've done this. So lets get on with it...

Trinity College Oxford is one of the university's smaller colleges, founded in 1555; alumni include PMs Pitt the Elder and Lord North, news quiz panelist Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jay Gatsby, allegedly. Unlike it's Cambridge namesake, it has rarely appeared on UC, it's only prior Paxo appearance being in 2005-06. This year's foursome were:
Maxim Parr-Reid, from Olney in Buckinghamshire, studying History and Politics
Nicole Rosenfeld, from Hertfordshire, studying Maths
Captain: James Gunn, from Melbourne, studying Classics
Ben Coker, from Hadlow in Kent, studying PPE

University College London, founded in 1826, may be part of the University of London, but its student body is larger than many actual independent universities. Alumni include Mahatma Gandhi, philosopher John Stuart Mill, all four members of Coldplay. It has regularly sent teams to UC, the last, three series ago, going out in the second round. This year's quartet were:
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

Off we set again then, and Mr Gunn took the first starter of the night; a bonus set on 'patience' provided Trinity with two correct bonuses to start off with. U.C.L.'s first buzz of the match saw them lose five, and handed Trinity another starter and pair of bonuses. Mr Dowell moved the London side back into positive figures, and they too took two bonuses from their first set. Mr Gunn took already his third starter of the night, but no bonuses came this time. The first picture round, on maps showing rock distribution, went to U.C.L., after the starter was dropped; just the one bonus followed, leaving them trailing 50-30.

Another slip-up cost them another five though, but their opponents couldn't pick up this time. Another starter was dropped, before Mr Gunn resumed his excellent early buzzing, identifying the angler fish; bonuses on pineapples got them nothing more though. Mr Allinson brought U.C.L. their third starter of the match; bonuses on Irish counties provided them with just the one correct answer. Miss Rosenfeld then added her name to the buzzer scoresheet, and the Oxonians also took just the one bonus.

The music round, on songs from Hamilton, went to Trinity, who, despite having not actually seen it yet(!), quickly hoovered up the bonuses, which increased their lead to 105-40. Mr Raii then made up for his earlier slip-up taking U.C.L.'s latest starter, but just the one bonus followed again. Miss Rosenfeld took a second starter of the night, giving her side a bonus set on female politicians in the Americas, of which they also took just the one. Mr Gray now entered the fray for U.C.L., ensuring all four Londoners had a starter to their names, and two bonuses on the Roman Empire came their way.

The second picture round, on paintings housed at Holkham Hall, went to U.C.L., who took two bonuses, which meant they had now closed the gap to 120-95. Just a starter and full bonus set in it now, until Mr Coker increased it by taking the next starter. A full bonus set on pairs of words differing by 'con' and 'pro' made the London side's task a bit harder. Mr Gray did his best to achieve it, taking the next starter, and two bonuses on vitamins accompanied.

Dying minutes of the show, and U.C.L. were certainly still in contention; Mr Allinson took the next starter, and a bonus set on Russia gave them two correct answers which put them just ten points behind. But when Mr Coker took the next starter, that was most likely it; Trinity took two bonuses just to be sure of it. Mr Gunn, who had gone quiet after the excellent first half, lost five on the next starter; Mr Raii took the pick up, and despite his best attempts to hurry Paxo's preamble to the bonuses, there was no time for any further questions. At the gong, Trinity won 160-145.

Not a bad match at all, a pretty decent one actually all things considered. Unlucky U.C.L., but 145 looks like it would probably be enough for the repechage, so hopefully we'll see you again there, and good luck in making it there. Well done Trinity though; a decent first effort against decent opponents, and best of luck in the second round!

The stats: Mr Gunn finished the best buzzer of the night, with five starters to his name, while Messrs Allinson and Raii were best for U.C.L. with three each. On the bonuses, Trinity converted 15 out of 27 (with one late penalty), while U.C.L. managed 13 out of 24 (with two penalties); not bad rates those, so it was the buzzers where the match was won.

Next week's match: Sheffield Hallam vs Newcastle

As for Only Connect, I'm considering moving my reviews back to Tuesdays earlier than I planned, but we'll wait and see how I feel this Sunday.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 1: Match 6: Meeples vs Tequila Slammers

OK, time to look back at one of the most hotly anticipated episodes of Only Connect for a long long time!

For playing we had the Meeples, Tom West, Hugh Trimble and captain Gail Trimble, one of the all-time UC greats, accompanied by her husband and brother, and the Tequila Slammers, Michael Tomsett, of last year's Bristol UC team, George Ferzoco, Mastermind alumnus, and captain Roderick Cromar, alumnus of Mastermind, Brain of Britain and UC, captain of the Aberdeen side that reached the semis of Paxo's first series.

Round 1. The Meeples went first, and kicked the match off with Eye of Horus: 'Tom Finney', then 'Joe Wurzelbacher', then 'Thomas Crapper'; they tried 'inventors of things that sound like they were named after them', not right. Their opponents saw 'Mario', but were none the wiser: they were plumbers. The Slammers chose Two Reeds to start with: 'Charging bull's testicles', then Juliet's right breast', then 'John Harvard's left shoe', and finally 'Abraham Lincoln's nose'. They saw them to be things rubbed for good luck, and collected the first point of the night. The Meeples chose Twisted Flax next: 'Wine and Beverage Appreciation', then 'Cult Satanic Stories', then 'Critically Acclaimed Animal Tales', and finally 'Cerebral Scandanavian Movies'. They didn't get this, nor did their opponents: they are micro-genres on Netflix. The Slammers chose Lion next, and got the music question: we heard Motown Junk by the Manic Street Preachers, then Tom Waits singing Downtown Train, then Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat, and finally Billy Joel with Uptown Girl. They didn't see it, their opponents did, and collected their first point of the game. For their own question, the Meeples chose Horned Viper, and got the picture set: we saw Stan Lee, then Eric Bana, then Kyle Edmund the tennis player; misidentifying him as Stan Wawrinka, they offered that they are all called Stan. Not right. Their opponents saw Kenny Everett, but were none the wiser. They, of course, share their names with those of the main characters in South Park! Left with Water, the Slammers saw 'The Fleadh Cheoil', then 'Archbishop of Armagh', then 'Sinn Fein', and finally 'Irish national rugby team'. They didn't get it, their opponents did: they operate in both Northern Ireland and the Republic as one entity. At the end of a surprisingly low scoring first round, the Meeples led 2-1.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Meeples kicked the round off with Lion: 'Triangle 0', then 'Trapezium 1', and then 'Parallelogram 2'; they saw it to be shapes with that many parallel lines, and offered 'Regular hexagon 3' for two points. The Slammers chose Two Reeds next: 'George II', then 'George IV', and then 'William IV'. Neither side got it: they are monarchs who were not succeeded by their offspring, so 'Edward VIII' would complete the set. The Meeples chose Water next: 'Larry', then 'Leslie'; they saw it to be the Durrell siblings in order of age in 'My Family and Other Animals', so 'Margo' would be third, and 'Gerald', who wrote the book, fourth, for three points. The Slammers chose Twisted Flax next: 'Question', then 'Suffer', and then 'Fortune'. They didn't spot it, their opponents did: it's the final words in the lines of the 'To be or not to be' soliloquy, so 'Troubles' would be fourth. For their own final choice, the Meeples chose Eye of Horus, and got the picture set: we saw the band Rage Against the Machine, then a cash machine; they saw them to be 'RATM' and 'ATM', so offered 'Judi Dench as M', and collected another three points. Left with Horned Viper, and in need of points, the Slammers saw 'Journey', then 'Heuretics', and then 'Minutest'. They didn't get it, nor did their opponents; they are words that begin with French units of time descending, so something like 'Seconded' would satisfy. Now that's a bit hard for the first round IMO! At the end of a rather one sided second round, the Meeples led 11-1.

On to the Walls. The Slammers chose to tackle the Lion wall. They promptly isolated 'Bullpen', 'Mound', 'Diamond' and 'Foul line', which are features of a baseball pitch, followed shortly by 'Samurai', 'Killer', 'Jigsaw' and 'Tredoku', which are variants of Sodoku. After spending a good long while looking over the final clues, they solved it on their final go: 'Deadly', 'Kate', 'Hardy', 'Quick' can all follow 'Kiss Me', while 'Matrix', 'Cuticle', 'Plate' and 'Lunula' are parts of a fingernail. Fully solved, so a much needed full ten points.

The Meeples thus set to work on the Water wall, and quickly got stuck. They eventually spotted a link of types of chip, and isolated 'Micro', 'Tortilla', 'Wood' and 'Blue'. That was as far as they could get though, so they had to settle for bonus point collections: 'Thatcher', 'Tufnell', 'Blackburn' and 'Brooks' are surnames of I'm A Celebrity winners, which they didn't get, 'Caroline', 'Marshall', 'Cook' and 'Solomon' are islands in the Pacific, which they did get, while 'William', 'Potato', 'Spot' and 'Talk' can all follow 'Sweet', which they didn't. Just three points there, which left their lead at 14-11 going into the final round.

So, suddenly, we had a close match, and it would be decided on Missing Vowels. 'Expressions involving body parts', such as 'HARD SHOULDER', was split 2-each. 'CD', such as 'COMPACT DISC' and 'FOUR HUNDRED', went to the Slammers 3-1. 'Things that come in sevens' went to the Meeples 3-0, and that was time. The Meeples won 20-16.

A surprisingly low scoring match, but certainly not a bad match by any means. Unlucky Slammers, who did very well to recover after the second round, and have alas fallen short of the repechage, but well done anyway on a valiant effort. Well done Meeples though, and best of luck in the next round!

Next week's match: Cricketers vs Inquisitors

Monday, 28 August 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 1: Match 6: Oxford Brookes vs Courtauld

Evening all. Tonight, we welcome back two institutions that last sent teams three series ago, and who both, ironically, bowed out after losing to the same team. Excellent intro from Paxo too, remarking that the teams will soon be wishing they'd applied for Pointless instead! In light of the episode of that that's (should be) being repeated tomorrow teatime, they probably won't be!

Oxford Brookes University began life as an art school, and later became Oxford Polytechnic, and then a university in 1992. Alumni include ex MP Lynne Featherstone, current MP Jonathan Djanogly, and Olympic rowing great Steve Williams. The team from three years ago reached the QFs, losing to Bristol. This year's foursome were:
Inigo Purcell, from Chiswick, studying English Literature
Pat O'Shea, from Oxford, studying Film
Captain: Thomas De Bock, from Liege, studying Motorsport Engineering
Emma-Ben Lewis, from Woodford Green, studying Psychology

The Courtauld Institute of Art is part of the University of London, based in Somerset House alongside the eponymous gallery. Alumni include acting great Vincent Price and the art critics Andrew Graham Dixon and the late great Brian Sewell. Its team from three series ago were beaten by the same Bristol team in the first round. This year's quartet were:
Ty Vanover, from Clintwood, Virginia, studying 19th Century Art
Margaret Anne Logan, from Patchogue, New York, studying 18th Century French Art
Captain: Harvey Shepherd, from Chesterfield, studying History of Art
Jack Snape, from Bolton, studying the Conservation of Wall Paintings

Off we set again then, and Mr De Bock took the first starter of the night; his side proceeded to take a full bonus set on British indie bands. Both sides then lost five for incorrect interruptions, but in neither case did their opponents pick up the points. A second penalty from Courtauld was picked up by Oxford Brookes though, and they took two bonuses on astronomy. A nice bonus set on theme parks saw Oxford Brookes take two points, and Paxo ask why Skegness was so funny after the audience laughed at a mention of it! The first picture round, on flags of countries that border another, went to Oxford Brookes, who swept clean, and thus led 80-(-10).

Mr De Bock once again handed the Oxford side possession, and another full bonus set. Mr Vanover finally broke Courtauld's duck, and they took full advantage, taking a full set of bonuses on American artists. Neither side identified an obscure cricket term for the next starter, Miss Purcell took the next, and a nice (and topical) bonus set on the Shipping Forecast saw a brief mention for our old friend Cromaty(IV)! (OK, it was the other way around, but still!) Miss Logan identified Arnold as the American general who defected to the British (as most Simpsons and Red Dwarf fans will know), but the Londoners got nothing from the resultant bonuses.

The music round, on recordings of Summertime, went to Oxford Brookes, who took the same one I did, which left their lead at 130-25. I then guessed asteroids for the next answer, as did Mr De Bock, and we were both right. Just the one bonus followed again. Mr Shepherd then made up for his earlier errors by taking the next starter, but, again nothing came of the bonuses, and they then failed to capitalise on an Oxford Brookes penalty. Mr Shepherd took a second starter, though, and women buried in Highgate cemetery proved more to their liking, as they took two correct answers.

The second picture starter was dropped by both sides, much to Paxo's dismay at Courtauld! The bonuses, on paintings in the Birmingham Art Gallery, did go to the Londoners, who, did, mercifully, manage one, though this wasn't enough to get an unimpressed Paxo off their backs! They had, however, reduced the deficit to 140-70. Mr De Bock then fought Oxford Brookes back into the match, however, and a full set of bonuses on African capitals (including a second Pointless nod of the night, with that of the Central African Republic!) meant that was game over.

Mr De Bock then identified the German state of Saarland, unlocking a bonus set on German baroque architecture, of which they only managed the one bonus. Five were then lost to a penalty, which Courtauld picked up the points from, and they took one of the two bonuses there was time for. At the gong, Oxford Brookes won 185-75.

An enjoyable match despite the low scores. Unlucky Courtauld, but you came across very well despite lapses on your home subject, so thanks very much indeed for playing. Well done Oxford Brookes though, and best of luck to yous in the second round!

The stats: Mr De Bock was by far the best buzzer of the night, with seven to his name, while Mr Shepherd was best for Courtauld with three. On the bonuses, Oxford Brookes converted an OK 18 out of 30 (with three penalties), while Courtauld managed 7 out of 17 (with two penalties).

Next week's match: Trinity College Oxford vs University College London

Back with Friday's Only Connect on Sunday; remember to look out for UC legend Gail Trimble on one of the teams!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Only Connect Series 13: Round 1: Match 5: Lapsed Physicists vs Belgophiles

OK, Only Connect time. One of the advantages of the much hated Friday night slot for me is being able to do my reviews on Sundays; will be hard for me to make the switch back to Tuesdays if/when the show returns to its correct Monday slot. Anyway, on with Friday night's episode, which demonstrated why UC's tournament structure doesn't really work with OC...

Playing were the Lapsed Physicists, Lizzy Crawford, Andrew Taylor and captain Adam Tumber (UC and Mastermind alumnus), and the Belgophiles, Helen Fasham, Phil Small and captain Ben Fasham (relationship not stated).

Round 1. The Belgophiles kicked off the show with Eye of Horus, and the music set: we heard 'Roundabout' by Yes, then Oasis' 'Slide Away', then 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot', and finally 'See-Saw Margery Daw'. They identified the link of 'playground equipment', and collected a point. The Physicists opened their account with Twisted Flax: '1779 hymn to the tune of 'New Britain'', then 'Character inspired by Amy Elliott Dunne', then 'Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man', and finally 'Joseph's Technicolor Dreamcoat'. They didn't see it, neither did their opponents; I did though: they all involve the word 'Amazing'. (The first two being 'Amazing Grace' and 'the Amazing Amy') The Belgophiles chose Two Reeds next: 'Music (Denmark)', then 'Lobbying (K)', then 'Banking (Wall)'; they spotted the brackets to be streets and their associated professions, for two points. The Physicists chose Water next: 'Oscar the Grouch', then 'Central Line', then 'Top stripe on Netherlands' flag'; they tried that they all changed from red to their current colours. Not right. Their opponents saw 'French portion of EE Telecom', but were none the wiser; they are changed to their current colours from orange, not red. The Belgophiles chose Lion next: 'Britain: Twenty to eight', then 'Trafalgar: Five past six'; they spotted them to be battles and their years expressed as 24 hour times, and collected three points. Left with Horned Viper, and the picture set, the Physicists saw two US army servicement, then some Bombay duck, then the Calcutta Cup, and finally a jockey wearing jodhpurs. They spotted them to be things named after Indian cities (the first clue representing the Bangalore torpedo), and collected their first point of the match. At the end of the first round, the Belgophiles led 6-1.

Round 2, What Comes Fourth? The Belgophiles opened with Eye of Horus again: 'Individually', then 'Crocodile', and then 'Sudoku subgrid'; they saw them to be 'one by one', 'two by two' and 'three by three', so offered a 4x4 car, which was sufficient for the two points. The Physicists chose Water next: they saw the first clue 'Dodecahedron (12,5)', saw the sequence to be platonic solids in descending order of sides on each face, and thus offered 'Tetrehedron (4,3)', which was correct for the first FIVE POINTS of the series! Good work! The Belgophiles chose 'Horn-ed' Viper next: 'Young', then 'Pooh', and then 'Six'. Again, neither team saw it, but I did: its the final words in the titles of the original AA Milne books, and so 'Corner' completes the series. (The books being 'When We Were Very Young', 'Winnie the Pooh', 'Now We Are Six', and 'The House at Pooh Corner' respectively) The Phycisists chose Twisted Flax next, and got the picture set: we saw Harold Wilson, then Gordon Brown, and then Anthony Eden. They didn't see it, their opponents did: it's prime ministers with descending numbers of letters in their surnames, so Theresa May would complete the set satisfactorily. For their own final choice, the Belgophiles chose Two Reeds: 'Thornton', then 'O'Leary', and then 'Flack and Murs'; they saw it to be presenters of some show called The X Factor, but didn't know who came fourth. Their opponents did, offering 'O'Leary' again for the bonus. Left with Lion for their own final question, the Physicists saw '1st= England, 1st= Australia', then '3rd South Africa, 4th West Indies', and then '5th New Zealand, 6th India'. They saw it to be something to do with cricket, but couldn't provide the right answer. Their opponents could, offering '7th Pakistan, 8th Sri Lanka' for a bonus, the sequence being debuts in test cricket. At the end of the second round, the Belgophiles led 10-7.

On to the Walls. The Physicists took their turn to go first, and chose the Lion wall. They quickly had two sets sorted: 'Gaggle', 'Parliament', 'Murder' and 'Flock' are collective nouns for birds, while 'Tandy', 'Lange', 'Biel' and 'Chastain' are surnames of actresses called Jessica. After that, the final sets slotted in pretty comfortably: 'Bejam', 'Rumbelows', 'Presto' and 'Comet' are defunct retailers, though they went too specific with defunct electrical retailers, thus dropping three points, while 'Parliament', 'News', 'Alba' and 'Two' are BBC TV channels. Just the one (unfortunate) mistake, so seven points.

The Belgophiles thus set to work on the Water wall. They spotted some links straight away, and quickly isolated 'Manatee', 'Dugong', 'Sea lion' and 'Narwhal', which are marine mammals, and then 'Book', 'Pillow', 'Brief' and 'Stair', which can all precede 'case'. The final sets were then pretty easy pickings: 'Walrus', 'Fu Manchu', 'Handlebar' and 'Pencil' are types of moustache, while 'Saddle', 'Pedal', 'Seat post' and 'Fork' are parts of a bicycle. A full ten there, meaning they upped their lead to 20-14 going into the final round.

So, still just about all to play for going into Missing Vowels. 'US Presidential campaign slogans' was split 2-each. 'Puddings' went to the Physicists 2-1. 'Game show catchphrases' went to the Physicists 3-1. 'Basic maths' saw the Belgophiles take the first, and the second get timed out. The Belgophiles won a good match 25-21.

A good match, well played by both sides. Well done Belgophiles, and good luck in the second round! Unlucky Physicists, but hopefully your score will deservedly bring you back, so best of luck on that. Does mean we won't see the Geocachers again though; hopefully, for fairness sake, the two scores in the second half of the draw are both above 19. Why does the draw need to be split in two anyway?

Next week's match: Meeples vs Tequila Slammers (with UC legend Gail Trimble on one of the teams!)

Monday, 21 August 2017

University Challenge 2017-18: Round 1: Match 5: York vs Warwick

Evening all. Apologies if my blog is a bit scant this week, but A, my left hand is a bit sore today for some reason, and B, I'm listening to Monkman and Seagull's Polymathic Adventure on Radio 4 while I write this!

York University was an idea first suggested by James I, but wasn't founded until 1963; alumni include writer Graham Swift, Labour politician Harriet Harman and BBC DG Greg Dyke. It has regularly sent decent teams to UC, sitting last series out after reaching the semis two series ago. This year's foursome were:
Connor Bindler, from London, studying History
Ben Longworth, from Halifax, studying History
Captain: Benjamin Maier, from Oxford, studying English
Matthew de Sousa, from Macclesfield, studying Medicine

Warwick University was founded just two years later in 1965, and, based in Coventry, is named after the county of Warwickshire rather than the city. Alumni include Brexit bulldog David Davis, actor and writer Stephen Merchant and radio DJ Simon Mayo. It's team won UC in 2006-07, and has sent many a strong team over the years, last year's four reaching the QFs. This year's quartet were:
Flora Jackson, from York, studying English and Creative Writing
Daniel Arribas, from Madrid, studying Maths
Captain: Ben Salter, from Wiveliscombe in Somerset, studying Maths
Charlotte Symons, from Mid Wales, studying Writing

Off we set again then, and Ms Symons opened the night's scoring, and Warwick took a double of bonuses on poetry. York then lost five with their first buzz, allowing Warwick a second starter in a row, and a second pair of bonuses. This seemed to set the tone for the first part of the match, as a third starter was accompanied by two bonuses on the Rosetta Stone (tying in nicely with Monkman and Seagull's program tonight!). A second York penalty went unpicked-up on this time, but Mr Salter took the next, and, once again, two bonuses were taken. The first picture round, on events on 1817, went to Warwick, who took, you guessed it, two bonuses, which gave them a lead of 100-(-10).

Mr de Sousa had had quite enough of that, taking York's first starter of the night, and they put five points on the board by taking one bonus. Those five points were then surrendered to another penalty; Warwick picked up, and took a full bonus set on post-war US elections. Mr Maier then took York's second starter, celebrating nicely with raised arms! Two bonuses followed.

The music round, on acts who began their careers at CBGB, went to York, who took another two bonuses, which reduced their arrears to 120-40. Back came Warwick with Mr Salter taking a quick buzz though, just the one bonus on diseases accompanying this time. Mr Salter was very quick on the next starter though, handing his side a bonus set on Robert Baden-Powell, or Robert 'Baden-Pole', as Paxo called him throughout the round! All three were taken this time. York then lost another five, but Warwick couldn't pick up this time; Ms Symons took the next starter though, and just the one bonus followed again.

The second picture round, on sculptures of lions, went to Warwick (mainly thanks to the starter being from Mr Arribas' native Spain!), who took two bonuses, which left the scores at 195-35. Mr de Sousa did the right thing and tried his luck on the next starter, but was wrong, so were Warwick. Mr Longworth took the next starter though, remembering Cameroon as the winner's of the last African Cup of Nations. Bonuses on UK journeys handed them two correct answers.

With the match long over as a contest, it was now simply a question of how high both teams could get. Warwick broke 200 when they took the next starter, but got nothing from a bonus set on royal burial sites. Ms Symons then identified B and Z as the two consonants linking, among other things, Charles Dickens' pen name; the resultant bonus set on tit birds saw them take just the one correct answer, which they shouted out before Paxo could finish! Mr de Sousa took another starter for York, and a well taken full bonus set gave them a respectable score and within sight of 100. They couldn't quite get there though, Warwick took the final starter and two of the set of bonuses there was time for. At the gong, Warwick won 240-80.

A rather one sided match, but a watchable one nonetheless. Unlucky York, who were certainly not a bad team from what we saw of them, and I suspect would've beaten another team, but thanks very much for playing. Very well done Warwick though; an excellent performance against decent opposition, and certainly capable of going far in the contest with a favourable draw; very best of luck in the second round!

The stats: Mr Salter and Ms Symons were joint best on the buzzers with four each, while Messrs Maier and de Sousa were York's joint best with two each. On the bonuses, York converted a decent 10 out of 15 (with four penalties), while Warwick managed a solid 23 out of 39 (with one penalty). Like I said, could be a team to watch.

Next week's match: Oxford Brookes vs the Courtauld Institute

Only Connect on Friday as usual, with review on Sunday, and don't forget, if you missed it just now, to look up Monkman and Seagull's Polymathic Adventure online; well worth listening to!