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University Challenge: Cardiff vs. Oxford Brookes

July 19, 2010

Summer, and the University Challenge season is on us again. I think I managed to miss the very first episode owing to have completely forgotten that it was on, but I caught last week’s on iPlayer just now. Cardiff University faced off against Oxford Brookes – the other Oxford university.

The Brookes got off to a very slow start, being briefly on negative points (for a wrongly interrupted starter question) but caught up in the second half for that rare occurrence, a completely dead heat on 210 apiece. It turns out the procedure for resolving these is to ask an extra starter question, with the correct answer winning automatically; this time, however, it took no fewer than three extra questions before somebody got one right. The winning answer was the name of C. S. Lewis’ and J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary pub-meet-up group (the Inklings), and unsurprisingly the Oxford team got it, to win 220 to 210.

I scored 230, 165 without un-startered bonuses, including eleven correct starters. The only round I got full marks on was the one about Michael Moore, strangely enough – naming his films from a description (exposé of the US health system – Sicko; gun laws and violent crime – Bowling for Columbine; W’s exploitation of September 11 – Fahrenheit 9/11.) There was also a round about World Heritage sites, one of which required you to name the Italian town famous for its 14 towers named after a Bishop of Modena; it is of course San Gimignano, the City of Towers, and it just goes to show that Assassin’s Creed II does have the occasional crumb of useful knowledge to impart. (I still failed the round about Venetian landmarks, though.)

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul Skinner permalink
    July 19, 2010 1:41 pm

    I sent a letter off to University Challenge about this as Paxman specifically said:

    “Ok, the way we decide the winner – although I suspect you’ll both go through because it’s a very good losing score whoever has it – the way we decide who goes through automatically to the next stage of the contest is to ask a starter question. Whichever team gets this right wins automatically; if you buzz in incorrectly you get a 5-point penalty and therefore lose automatically without them even having to answer. Ok, everyone clear?”

    Notice the use of the words “lose automatically”.

    Either he’s dictated the rules wrong, or he’s applied them incorrectly.

    Will be interesting to see what they say.

    I got 10 questions right in that episode though. I was chuffed.

  2. July 19, 2010 3:30 pm

    Nobody interrupted, though, did they? A normal wrong answer doesn’t get a penalty. Or was I not paying attention and there was an interruption? Ah well. We shall see.

  3. Seamus permalink
    July 19, 2010 8:05 pm

    There was an interruption: she got it right and got 10 points.

  4. July 19, 2010 8:39 pm

    But nobody put in an incorrect interruption, did they? Paul seems to be implying that somebody should have lost earlier in the tiebreak because of a deduction for a wrong buzz-in, but I don’t recall that there was one …

    And it’ll be off iPlayer now, so I can’t check. Bugger.

  5. Paul Skinner permalink
    July 19, 2010 11:01 pm

    The word “interrupted” isn’t used there in the Paxman quote at all. Where are you getting that from?

    He says if you buzz in incorrectly, which Oxford did. Either way, we’ll see what they say.
    I just wanted to see what their answer would be, really.

    You have to buzz in in order to answer a starter question, and Oxford got the first one wrong; therefore going by Paxman’s rules they should have automatically lost.

    I’ve got a feeling Paxman’s dictated rules weren’t quite as clear as the real rules probably are.

    I just enjoy writing pedantic letters and demanding memorabilia in order to satiate me. It normally works quite well.

  6. Seamus permalink
    July 19, 2010 11:33 pm

    “buzz in” = “interrupt”

  7. July 20, 2010 10:38 am

    @Paul: Ah, right. You think that the equivalence Seamus kindly quotes above was insufficiently clear. Or don’t, but are basically motivated by pedantry and a desire for things with the BBC letterhead on them. (This isn’t your first finicky letter to UC, as I recall.) Perfectly understandable reasons, both.

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