Here Comes a Friendly
...what with the Trimble impact, the Kay ineligibility and the colllective bullshit-infused insanity of the associated media coverage, but I can't really comment in depth on any of it, due to my involvement with the show. People seem to forget, however, that UC is a television programme and that if they want a fair tournament, without trifling rules about who is able to play, then the universities should gang together and form a massive, wide-ranging national higher education institutions' competition. However, they won't because the will and unity and sheer get-up-and-go just isn't there. Which is why University Challenge will continue to be the next best thing.
As for Slumdog Millionaire, I read the book Q&A when it was first published and found it to be somewhat cheesy and infuriatingly shallow, especially when compared to the overwhelming vibrancy and panoramic scope of the magnificent non-fiction book on Mumbai that is Suketu Mehta's Maximum City. Combined with the nagging feeling that every Danny Boyle film has left me with a strange sensation of emptiness from A Life Less Ordinary onwards, and my enthusiasm for visiting the cinema is less than giddy. I love the style and propulsive glaze of Danny Boyle's films, but I'm always left wondering if I could be bothered to see the film again (see Sunshine, 28 Days Later etc), even when I own a copy. So I'll wait for the £5 DVD on Amazon thank you very much.
President's Cup Friendly 1/3/09
We lost the main President's Cup match 38-30. Some of the questions were insanely hard and several of my fellow teammates expressed their dismay at how hard it was and their resultant low, and I mean low, scores. Oh well, it does happen. I just wish it didn't happen so soon after the Oxford game.
Anyhoo, here's the friendly what I wrote. It finished 37-37, so at least it was balanced, the less said about my blurting out the answer before the opposition had a chance to have a go TWICE, the better. Unanswered questions marked so *
1a Which American pharmaceutical company recently settled a multi-billion dollar damages case with 200 alleged victims of a drug trial in Kano, Nigeria?
1b Which 1856 novel was partly inspired by Delphine Delamare, the wife of a country doctor who committed suicide after embarking on a string of affairs?
2a Which novel was partly based on the case of Martha Brown, who was hanged in 1856 for murdering her abusive husband?
TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
2b Which golfer from Northern Ireland won his first professional title at the Dubai Desert Classic on February 1?
3a Which French insurance companies group sponsored the FA Cup from 1999 to 2002, having sponsored cricket's Sunday League?
3b Which Swiss pharmaceutical company was created in 1996 from the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz Laboratories?
4a Which Korean-American golfer won his first PGA Tour tournament at the Wachovia Championship in May 2008?
4b Sponsors of Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munchen's football stadium, what German company is the second largest international insurance and financial services provider in the world?
1a Charles V of Spain gave Malta to which religious and military order in 1530?
KNIGHTS HOSPITALLER (or Order of St. John or Sovereign Miltary Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta)
1b In which Brazilian city, the capital of Minas Gerais, were England defeated by the USA at the 1950 World Cup?
BELO HORIZONTE (at the Estadio Independencia)
2a Which Central American lake is also known as Lago Cocibolca or Lago de Granada?
2b Led by Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen, which order were defeated by Polish and Lithuanian forces at the Battle of Tannenburg (or Grunwald) in 1410?
KNIGHTS OF THE TEUTONIC ORDER or TEUTONIC KNIGHTS
3a Zeno, the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy came from which city on Cyprus, now known as Larnaca?*
3b Located in the Altiplano, Lake Poopo is found in which country?
4a Which city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato hosted the quarter-final that saw West Germany beat England at the 1970 World Cup?*
LEON, formally Leon de los Aldama) (at the Estadio Nou Camp)
4b Famed for his paradoxes, Zeno was a disciple of Parmenides, the founder of which school of pre-Socratic philosophers?
ELEATICS (named for Elea, a Greek colony in Campania)
1a Who reached no.3 with their one-hit wonder 'My Favourite Waste of Time' in 1986?
1b Which US TV series centres on the agency Sterling Cooper?
2a Donated to the National Portrait Gallery by Lord Ellesmere on its founding in 1856, who is the supposed subject of the Chandos portrait?
2b A bust of which historian, the author of Lays of Ancient Rome, is located over the main entrance of the National Portrait Gallery?
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY (alongside busts of co-founders the 5th Earl of Stanhope and Thomas Carlyle)
3a Which US TV series centres on the company Dunder Mifflin?
3b Which cut and recipe for steak is thought to have been invented for the French ambassador to England by his chef Montinireil in 1822?
CHATEAUBRIAND (named for Vicomte Francois Rene de Chateaubriand (1768-1848))
4a Which style of pizza is named for the Queen of Savoy who was presented with one in the colours of the Italian flag on a trip to Naples in 1889?
4b Who reached no.3 with their one-hit wonder 'Joe Le Taxi' in 1988?
1a Galileo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Rossini are all buried in the Basilica di Santa Croce. It is in which city?
1b Which Canadian pianist is remembered for his recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach, his first major recording being The Goldberg Variations in 1955?
2a Which famous grey gelding was foaled in 1979 by Grey Mirage out of Flower Child?
2b Which future US president fought 13 duels, but only killed one man - Charles Dickinson in 1806?
3a Which Austrian-born pianist and UK resident retired from the concert platform after a concert in Vienna on December 18, 2008?
3b Verdi, Vladimir Horowitz, Arturo Toscanini and Alberto Ascari are buried in in the Cimitero Monumentale. It is in which city?
4a The Duke of Wellington fought a duel with which Earl in Battersea Park in March 1829?
4b Which famous bay gelding was foaled in 1957 by Archive out of Bright Cherry?
1a How many bones are there in a human hands, as in the three groups: carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges?*
1b How many bones are there in a human foot, as in the three groups: tarsals, metatarsals, and phalanges?*
2a Who played Jack Ryan in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October?
2b Which Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills resigned as Paymaster General after he was accused of rigging evidence in the "Cash for Questions" scandal?*
3a Which former MP for North Wesy Leicestershire resigned in 1994 as Parliamentary Private Secretary when he was "outed" by his wife for sleeping with men?*
3b The Super 10 is the highest tier of national rugby union competition in which country?
4a Which alcoholic drink brand sponsors what was originally rugby union's Celtic League?
4b Who played Jack Ryan in the 2002 film The Sum of All Fears?
1a Which English artist was inspired to paint his 1851 work Ferdinand Lured by Ariel by Shakespeare's play The Tempest?
JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS
1b In the Trojan War, Hector was killed by Achilles to avenge whose death?
2a Which 1,800-mile river enters Bangladesh where it merges with the Ganges to form the world's largest river delta?
2b The title for which American artist's 1947 painting Full Fathom Five comes from The Tempest?
JACKSON POLLOCK (Ariel: "Full fathom five thy father lies; / Of his bones are coral made; / Those are pearls that were his eyes; / Nothing of him that doth fade, / But doth suffer a sea-change / Into something rich and strange")
3a Standing for Bardeen, Cooper and Schrieffer, BCS theory explained which phenomenon that occurs in certain materials at very low temperatures for the first time in 1957?
3b The Swiss astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky is believed to have provided the first evidence for what phenomenon, which is undetectable by its emitted radiation, in 1933?*
4a Another son of Priam and Hecuba, which priest of Apollo was killed by two sea serpents along with his two sons?
4b The capital cities of Vientiane and Phnom Penh are located on which river?
1a Which Swiss city's film festival awards the Leopard of Honour and gave its name to a series of agreements signed in 1925?
1b Which number is assigned to a "Child" in the title of a Booker-longlisted thriller by Tim Rob Smith?
2a In the Old Testament, which nephew of Abraham drunkenly impregnated his two daughters and began the nations of Moab and the Ammonites?
2b Which tree of the genus Juglans derives its name from an Old English word meaning 'foreign nut'?
3a What nut is produced by the plant Corylus avellana, a close relative of the Filbert?
3b Known in Basque as Donostia, which Spanish city's film festival awards the Golden Shell?
4a What year in the future gives the title of a novel by the late Chilean novelist Roberto Bolano, which was published this January?*
4b Which Old Testament figure tricked Jacob into marrying Leah, before his other daughter Rachel?*
1a Shami Chakrabarti is the director of which human rights pressure group that was founded in 1934?
LIBERTY (founded by Ronald Kidd and Sylvia Crowther-Smith)
1b Who was British Prime Minister at the turn of the 19th century?
WILLIAM PITT THE YOUNGER
2a What three-word phrase described the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics imposed by the Spanish Inquisition?
AUTO DE FE
2b What sport is played by the Perth Wildcats, Canberra Cannons and North Melbourne Giants?*
3a What sport is played by the Perth Orioles, AIS Canberra Darters and Melbourne Kestrels?*
3b Who was British Prime Minister at the turn of the 20th century?
MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
4a It is believed that which method of execution was sanctioned by Henry III and first used on the pirate William Maurice in 1241?
HANGING, DRAWING & QUARTERING
4b The human rights activist Peter Tatchell is associated with which direct action group that was formed in 1990?
Which jockey, who shot himself in 1885, was nicknamed "The Tin Man"?