Robinson, Cambridge, v. Wadham, Oxford
Robinson’s first team member, David Verghese, has an interesting claim to fame. IIRC he is the reigning (that is, the latest to date) Junior Mastermind champion. We both won our titles in 2007, and so I felt drawn to Robinson for this reason, and burdened them with my support. The rest of the team were Catherine Hodge, Geoff Barton and captain James Pinder. Wadham for their part were Vivian Holmes, Edward Lucas, Thomas Veness and captain Vivek Ramakrishna.
The first starter was a buzzer race. Velvet Underground – album cover – and designed by – were enough to send fingers racing, and it was won by Geoff Barton, who supplied the correct answer of Andy Warhol. Two bonuses on word coinages were answered correctly. David Verghese lost five when suggesting Hernan de Soto was the first European to cross the Amazon. Rather surprisingly Wadham chanced their collective arm with the Missouri rather than the more likely Mississippi which was the correct answer. I’ve never heard of Alphonse Neveran, but ask me which insect born disease he was concerned with and I’ll guess malaria every day of the week. Vivek Ramakrishna didn’t look like he was guessing, but he gave the same answer and we were both correct. The Lunar Society brought up our friend from the previous show, Priestley, whom they had for a bonus, although surprisingly they missed out on Josiah Wedgewood. Clues to the words Quince, Flute, Snug, Snout and Bottom led Thomas Veness correctly to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. ON their plant bonuses they had two, but I was surprised to see them miss out on rhizome, which is something of a recurring UC chestnut. In 1540 it turns out a chap called Howard was the first to use blank verse in England. I guessed but didn’t know. David Verghese had it to kickstart Robinson. Their two bonuses on 1908 put them just 5 points behind Wadham. The picture starter showed a map of the USA with the locations of 12 federal reserve banks. I didn’t know the one highlighted and neither did Robinson. Vivian Holmes recognised Atlanta, though. Bonuses on the same theme took them to 55 to Robinson’s 35 at the 10 minute mark.
Catherine Hodge knew that if you have a sculpture in Prague commemorating a literary figure, then chances are that It will be Franz Kafka. This earned a set on astronomy. Both of us had dark matter right for the second, but neither of the other two. The next starter on a substance in the cell walls of plants saw Geoff Barton in very quickly with the correct answer – boron. The bonuses were on African flags with suns in them. Now, I do like my flag questions, and was happy to take the full house available. Robinsons managed just the one, but they had their noses in front now. Geoff Barton came in far too quickly for the next starter, but Wadham couldn’t capitalise. I’m not surprise that people might not know the century in which Abbess Hild of Whitby lived in, but I am surprised that nobody knew the century in which the Prophet Muhammad lived. Vivek Ramakrishna came in too early for the next, which really needed you to wait until you realised that it was about the European Space Agency’s launch site, in which case it became obvious that the answer wanted was Guiana. Robinson couldn’t take advantage. Vivek Ramakrishna made amends, knowing that if it’s hairy or nine banded it’s an armadillo. Or a yeti with a Remington. Western novels set in Japan brought one bonus, which was enough to put Wadham back into the lead in what was turning out to be an absorbing contest. Holst’s Mars was enough to give skipper James Pinder the music starter, and two bonuses were enough to see them re-establish a 15 point lead. Nobody reckoned chapter titles from Dombey and Son, nor could they relate firkin to a Dutch term for 4th. For the next starter David Verghese was in too early and lost five, but Wadham failed to identify King Edward Vi from the clues given. So after this low scoring interlude the score at the 20 minute mark stood at 75 – 65 to Robinson.
David Verghese knew that the short lived political union of Egypt and Syria was the UAR (United Arab Republic). Ten points on oils were taken. The next starter saw Vivek Ramakrishna identify Santa Fe as the cities with the name that means Holy Faith. They could have used a full house on bonuses, but technology billionaires only brought a single. The second picture starter showed us Vivien Leigh playing Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, and the first in for that one was Catherine Hodge. Gillian Anderson provided them with their only bonus. Nobody knew the ratio between the mass of the Earth and that of the Moon. Fair play to David Verghese, he knew that Ezra Pound and some others are buried in Venice – not a place you’d just pick out of thin air for that question. Unesco World Heritage sites in Southern Europe didn’t provide any points. The lead stood at 40, with a couple of minutes to go. Normally you’d call that just about do-able, but neither side had been scoring that quickly in this particular match. Thomas Veness gave Wadham hope, knowing GH stands for growth hormone. Two bonuses on muscles put them within a full house of the lead. Effectively the whole game seemed to rest on the next starter – and neither team was yet at a certain of a repechage place score. Geoff Barton sealed the deal for Robinson, knowing the residence of the PM of Canada. Rubbing salt in the Wadham wounds they scored a full house too. Nobody recognised a list of characters in Jonson’s plays – Doll Common did it for me (but that’s my problem, boom boom.) Vivek Ramakrishna threw caution to the wind buzzing way too early on the nest starter, and when we learned that what was required was the metal often alloyed with copper in coinage, James Pinder applied a little gloss to his team’s score by giving the answer nickel. That was it, giving Robinson a win by 155 to 95. That sounds more emphatic than it really was – with 2 minutes to go either team could have won. Well played both.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
Nothing to see here. Get on with your lives, citizens.
Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
The earliest recorded use of the word twitter comes from Geoffrey Chaucer. He must have been gutted that it would be 600 years before anyone could read any of his tweets.