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University Challenge: Balliol vs. Queens’

July 24, 2010

Finally caught this week’s University Challenge on iPlayer, a first-round clash between Balliol College, Oxford and Queens’ College, Cambridge (not to be confused with Queen‘s College, Oxford). Questions on philosophical notions of time, medal tables at post-war Olympics, and salad in literature. I would like it to be noted that I got two out of three of the salad questions right: the Laputans in Gulliver’s Travels extract sunlight from cucumbers, and Justice Shallow in 2 Henry IV looks like “a forked radish”.

Queens’ won by 190 to 155, after a slow start – Balliol were 70 to 15 ahead at one point but faltered midway. Both teams’ complete ignorance of the Portland Vase came as a bit of a surprise, as it’s always seemed to me to be one of the most iconic and memorable items in the British Museum, being a work of both extraordinary beauty and staggering technical skill.

I scored 240, 190 without un-startered bonuses, including thirteen starter questions. Pretty decent. I’m still kicking myself about not being able to remember that Peter Rabbit et al. are put to sleep by lettuce, not carrots, though.

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