In the opening match of the quiz series for students, the University of Edinburgh takes on Ulster University for a place in the second round. Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.
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Asking the questions, Jeremy Paxman.
Hello. Welcome to the 2017-18 University Challenge.
About 130 institutions applied to take part,
and we'll be meeting 28 teams who acquitted themselves well
on our test paper over the next few weeks.
They do it for a few fleeting moments of fame,
a year's stewardship of the University Challenge trophy,
and whatever soggy crisps are left in the laughingly-named
Each first round winner goes through to the next
stage of the competition, and the four teams with the highest
losing scores will also come back in play-offs.
Now, Edinburgh University is a 16th century foundation whose alumni
have included the politicians Gordon Brown, Amber Rudd and Ruth Davidson,
the philosopher David Hume, and the writer Sir Walter Scott.
Conan Doyle studied there and modelled Sherlock Holmes on
Joseph Bell, a surgeon and lecturer in the university's medical school.
More recently, its Roslin Institute saw the cloning of Dolly the Sheep,
and in 2013 its Emeritus Professor, Peter Higgs,
was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.
With an average age of 22, and representing around
36,000 students, let's meet the Edinburgh team.
Hi, I'm John, I'm from Edinburgh,
and I'm studying Russian and History.
Hi, I'm Stanley, I'm from Edinburgh,
and I'm studying for an MSc in Speech and Language Processing.
And their captain...
Hi, I'm Innis, I'm from Glasgow,
and I'm doing a PhD in Chemistry.
Hi, I'm Philippa, I'm from Oxford, and I'm studying Biology.
Ulster University's origins lie in the mid-19th century with
the Belfast School of Design,
and the present institution received its Royal Charter in 1984.
With 27,000 students, it is Ireland's largest university,
and the team's members are drawn from its four campuses
in Belfast, Jordanstown, Coleraine, and Derry/Londonderry,
where the university's conflict resolution centre, INCORE, is based.
With a mixed blessing of being the most senior team in the
competition, with an average age of 50, let's meet the Ulster team.
Hello, I'm Cathal McDaid from Buncrana in County Donegal,
and I'm studying for a Masters in English Literature.
Hi, I'm Kate Ritchie, I'm from Waringstown, County Armagh,
and I'm studying Fine Art.
And this is their captain...
Hi, I'm Ian Jack. I'm originally from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire,
and I'm reading for a PhD in Pharmacy.
Hi, I'm Matthew Milliken, from Cumber in County Down,
and I'm studying for a PhD in Education.
Right, the rules are the same as ever.
Starter questions are solo efforts,
they're worth 10 points, you answer them on the buzzer,
and bonuses are worth 15 points, and you can confer on those.
There's a five-point penalty
if you interrupt a starter question incorrectly.
Fingers on the buzzers, here's your first starter for 10.
The white witch moth, at up to 30 centimetres,
the large flying fox at 1.5 metres or more,
the wandering albatross at 3.63 metres,
and the Hughes H-4 Hercules Spruce Goose...
Wingspan is correct, yes.
The first set of bonuses are on travel guides, Ulster.
"All you've got to do is decide to go
"and the hardest part is over - so go."
This is the self-stated philosophy of which travel guide publisher,
founded in the 1970s by Maureen and Tony Wheeler?
Er, Lonely Planet? Lonely Planet?
Rough Guide? Lonely Planet?
Lonely Planet, maybe?
Lonely Planet is right.
Secondly, the choice of name for which series of
boutique hotel guides was described by one of its founders as, quote,
"A sort of two fingers up at the other guidebooks,
"which were all a bit 'No sex, please, we're British'"?
The, erm, the Blue Guide, is it?
Which one? I never get to these places now.
Er, what do you think? No idea.
The Blue Guide?
No, it's certainly not, it's Mr Mrs Smith!
And finally, founded in Germany in 1827, the name of which
publisher is synonymous with early 20th century European travel?
Nominate Milliken. Baedeker?
Baedeker is correct, yes.
Right, 10 points for this.
An Ancient Greek word meaning "a steersman"
is the source of what five-letter prefix, now commonly used in
words relating to computers and virtual reality,
and specifically forming terms relating to the internet?
Cyber is correct, yes.
These bonuses are on fate, fortune and destiny.
In each case, identify the tragedy by Shakespeare
in which the following lines occur.
Firstly - "An admirable evasion of whoremaster man,
"to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"
Tragedies, tragedies... Tragedies. Lear?
Sure? King Lear?
Secondly - "Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well
"when our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us
"there's a divinity that shapes our ends.
"Rough-hew them how we will."
Julius Caesar, or... Will we try that, then? Yeah.
No, it's Hamlet.
And finally - "Men at some time are masters of their fates.
"The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves,
"that we are underlings."
So, it's tragedies...
Troilus and Cressida?
Troilus and Cressida.
No, that's Cassius to Brutus in Julius Caesar. 10 points for this...
"If I had been rich,
"I probably would not have devoted myself to mathematics."
These are the words of which French scientist,
the author of Analytic Mechanics?
A contemporary of Laplace and Lavoisier,
he gives his name to an equilibrium point in astronomy.
Lagrange is correct, yes.
So your first set of bonuses, Edinburgh,
are on Britain and Australia.
Firstly for five, in 1908
the Summer Olympics were held in London for the first time.
In which year did Melbourne become the first Australian city to
host the Summer Olympics?
'60s or something, or...? I'm not sure. Not sure.
Try '60, yeah. Erm, shall we just try...?
Do you have any idea? I don't know. 1960.
No, it was 1956.
On February 14th, 1966, Australia replaced pounds, shillings
and pence with dollars and cents.
To the nearest year, how many years
elapsed before the introduction of decimal currency in the UK?
Well, that was what...? '70... It was 1973, wasn't it?
I thought '71. Oh, go with '71. So, five, then.
Correct. How many full decades passed between the appointment
of Margaret Thatcher and Julia Gillard as the first
women to become Prime Minister of their respective countries?
So, '79, and then probably about 2009, roughly.
I would say three decades. Three decades.
Did he ask decades or years? Decades. Decades, right.
Full decades. Three.
Three is correct. 10 points for this.
In the 1870s, the Governor-General of India, Lord Lytton, described
which country as "an earthen pipkin between two metal pots"?
British forces made two interventions there...
Your bonuses this time are on biochemistry.
Firstly, which molecule is the basic building block for
fatty acid synthesis?
Er, glycerol? Yeah. Is that...? That's right. Is that right?
No, it's acetyl coenzyme A. Oh, OK, fair enough.
And secondly, the first reaction of the fatty acid biosynthetic
pathway involves the carboxylation of acetyl-CoA to form malonyl-CoA.
Which B vitamin acts as a coenzyme in this reaction?
I really don't know. Erm, do you have any ideas? No.
It's down to guessing. 12, erm... I don't know.
No, it's B7, Biotin.
The elongation of the fatty acid chain to 16 or 18 carbons
occurs with the help of the protein cofactor ACP.
For what do the letters ACP stand?
Erm, is it going to be acetyl-Co-something?
Protein...! It doesn't sound right.
Erm... Sorry, don't know.
Shall we just guess something? Go for it.
No, no, it's acyl carrier protein.
OK. Right, we're going to take a picture round now.
For your picture starter, you'll see a map
marked with a simplified route of an outbound notable expedition.
For 10 points, I want you to name either of the people
principally noted for making this journey in the 1830s.
Charles Darwin, and he was on the ship the Beagle, of course,
captained by Robert Fitzroy.
So following on from the Beagle's expedition to the Galapagos,
your picture bonuses are three more maps
showing the routes of significant expeditions.
Again, I want you to name
the person or persons noted for making the journey.
Firstly, for five, I want the group of people
who set out on this journey in 1846.
Was it the...
settlers for the Wild West, for the West? What were they?
What were the people called? People heading to...
Klondikers, maybe? The Klondikers?
No, those are the Donner Party, or the Donner-Reed Party.
Secondly, who led this expedition, which ended in mutiny in 1611?
Erm, what's the name of that bay?
Hudson Bay. Henry Hudson. Hudson.
So, Hudson? Hudson?
It is Henry Hudson, yes.
And finally, I want the person famous for this journey,
which began in 1577.
Oh, er... Is it, er, right round the world, that's Magellan, isn't it?
No, it's from Britain, though. 1577...
Sir Francis Drake. Francis Drake.
Sir Francis Drake.
It was Sir Francis Drake, yes.
Right, 10 points for this.
Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, and the British artist
Winifred Knights are among those who've painted which Biblical feast?
The Last Supper?
I'm afraid you lose five points.
It is the occasion of the first miracle attributed to Jesus
in St John's Gospel. BUZZ
Wedding Day at Cana.
The Wedding at Cana is correct, yes.
Ulster, these bonuses are on works composed
while their author was in prison.
In each case, name the work and the author.
Firstly, a Latin work translated into English by both
Alfred the Great and Elizabeth I,
and written when its author was imprisoned by Theodoric the Great.
No, no idea.
Sorry, no idea.
It's The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.
Secondly, an English prose narrative printed by Caxton in 1485
and believed to have been written by
an incarcerated Warwickshire knight before 1470.
Was that, erm...?
No, no, no, erm, Miller's Tale and all that.
Was it Geoffrey Chaucer? Chaucer?
Is it the author? Geoffrey Chaucer.
No, it's Malory's Morte d'Arthur.
And finally, an English prose work published posthumously in 1905.
It takes its title from the first two words of a psalm in the Vulgate.
THEY CONFER QUIETLY
A psalm in the Vulgate.
When did Wilde die?
Is that it? De Profundis? Try it anyway.
De Profundis. By Oscar Wilde? Yeah.
OK, 10 points for this.
The wide tract of forest and saltwater swamp known as
the Sundarbans forms the lower part of the delta of which river?
The Ganges Brahmaputra?
The Ganges is correct.
Right, these bonuses are on Mexico.
Coahuila, the third largest Mexican state,
is about twice the size of Scotland and similar in size to which
Asian country, one of the most densely populated in the world?
Bangladesh. Bangladesh. Yeah? Er, Bangladesh?
Correct. What is the second largest Mexican state?
It shares its name with a major desert
and is bounded to the west by the Gulf of California.
Do you have an idea?
Sono... Sonora? Yeah, that's it. Is that, yeah, Sonora? Try it.
Is that how you say it? I think that's right.
OK, er, Sonora.
Sonora is correct.
And finally, situated between Sonora and Coahuila,
what is the largest state of Mexico?
It's about the size of the UK.
Is it Chihuahua? That was one that I had in my head.
Yeah, come on, let's see. I'll try it. Chihuahua.
Correct. 10 points for this.
In mathematics, what six-letter term is
defined as the attribute of being either odd or even?
In economics, the same term is denoted by one of the letters
in the abbreviation of the theory of exchange rates known as PPP.
Parity is correct, yes.
You get a set of bonuses, Edinburgh, on football and poetry.
In 2010, who wrote the poem Achilles,
after David Beckham sustained an injury to his Achilles tendon
that kept him out of that year's World Cup?
Is it Pam Ayres or something?
It's the kind of thing she might write about. Is it Carol Ann Duffy?
Does she not write about...? I think it might be, unless she's dead.
Do you want to try that?
She isn't dead, no, you're OK. Carol Ann Duffy.
Correct. Which Scottish poet tells the story of a declining football
club in his 1993 collection Nil Nil?
His other works include God's Gift To Women and The Book Of Shadows.
No idea, sorry.
The Book Of Shadows...
Did you have an idea? The year, what was the year?
Oh, I can't even remember. '93, '93. Sorry, I don't know. Fielding?
Come on. Fielding.
No, it's Don Paterson.
Finally, who said, "I liked the idea that poetry was unpopular,
"that it was like being the goalkeeper..."?
In 2015, he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford.
I have really no idea, sorry, I don't know any poetry.
Any living poet?
I don't think there's any point, we'll just pass. Sorry.
That was Simon Armitage. OK.
Right, we're going to take a music round now.
For your music starter you're going
to hear a version of a theme song of a television show.
10 points if you can tell me its composer.
JAUNTY FLUTE TUNE PLAYS
Howard Goodall. Yes.
The theme from Blackadder.
So, Ulster, you get a set of music bonuses.
Three more of Howard Goodall's themes for television.
This time for the points I'll need the title of the programme
each was written for.
Firstly for five...
# The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want... #
It's the Vicar of Dibley.
It is. Very enjoyable. Secondly.
Mr Bean. Mr Bean is correct.
# It's cold outside... #
Red Dwarf. Red Dwarf is right.
10 points for this.
After a long-legged and long-necked bird,
what name is given to the dwarf shrub Vaccinium Oxycoccus?
Crane. No. You lose five points.
Originally known in England as marshwort or fenberry.
It is cultivated commercially for its dark red acidic fruit.
Right, these bonuses are on animals whose common name closely
resembles their scientific name,
for example the Western gorilla known as Gorilla gorilla.
In each case identify the animal from the description.
A single word answer is sufficient in each case.
Firstly, the largest land mammal of North America,
hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century?
I need a precise five-letter name.
It's five letters.
What's another... Bison? Bison.
Bison. Bison is correct.
Secondly, a common green lizard of Central and South America,
mostly herbivorous, they may grow to over two metres in length?
How close is chameleon? I don't think they are really...
Try it. Shall we just try that?
Chameleon. No, it's iguana.
And finally, a medium-sized cat with distinctive tufted ears,
native to the forests of Europe and Asia?
Lynx? Yeah. Lynx.
Lynx. Lynx is correct.
10 points for this.
Born in 1772, the utopian thinker
Charles Fourier made many unusual predictions,
among them that, once the rain of universal harmony began,
the seas would lose their salinity...
Lemonade? ..and turn into pink lemonade. You are right.
Right, your bonuses this time, Edinburgh, are on physics.
In each case I will read a fragment of the full
definition of an SI base unit, simply name the unit, please.
Firstly, between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the
caesium 133 atom.
Next, a force equal to 2 x 10 to the -7 Newton per meter of length.
There is a very discrete number for base units, I can't really think.
Erm... Ampere perhaps.
Ampere is correct.
And finally, 1/683 watt per steradian.
The others don't seem to have much relevance.
10 points for this, that gives you the lead.
Fingers on the buzzers, please.
In biology, what term describes a solution that has the same
osmotic pressure as another particular solution...
These bonuses could let you retake the lead.
They are on the US Nobel laureate Jody Williams.
Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for her
work in the ICBL, the international campaign to ban what?
Land mines. Correct.
From 1986 to 1992, Williams was deputy director of a medical
aid organisation in which Central American country?
In 1999, 120 states signed a convention banning the use,
production, sale and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines.
After which Commonwealth capital is it named?
Yeah, try that.
Ottawa. Ottawa is correct.
That gives you the lead. 10 points for this.
Literally meaning to show a fig,
what word for a type of informer in ancient Athens entered
English in the 16th century with the meaning of a false accuser?
It has since come to mean a servile flatterer...
Sycophant is correct, yes.
You retake the lead
and your bonuses this time are on a Yorkshire landowning family.
Born in 1826, Sir Tatton Sykes is described as an inveterate
restorer of what?
He spent much of his own money on projects for which
his employees included GE Street and Temple Moore.
I'd be guessing, I don't know.
Any sensible guesses? Furniture? No. Erm...
Castles. No, they were churches, mainly in the East Riding.
Sykes's son Mark was a diplomat who give his name, in part, to
a secret accord of 1916 concerning the dismemberment of which Empire?
Sir Mark Sykes's son Christopher produced the authorised biography
of which major novelist, born in London in 1903?
Somerset Maugham, I don't know.
Do you have any idea? No.
Let's have it, please.
No, it's Evelyn Waugh.
Right, we're going to take a second picture round.
For your picture starter you'll see a photograph of an actor,
10 points if you can give me his name, please.
Yul Brynner is correct.
No-one is saying anything.
Yul Brynner was one of a select few to have won both a Tony
Award and an Academy Award for playing the same role on stage
and then on screen.
For your bonuses, three more actors who achieved the same
distinction, five points for each you can name.
Joel somebody... Oh...
I can't remember his name. No.
It was Joel Grey, I'm afraid.
Secondly, the actor on the right in this picture.
A Man For All Seasons.
No, that's Paul Schofield.
And finally, the actor on the right here.
Rex Harrison, indeed. He played Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.
Right, 10 points at stake for this.
Known in English by a two-word name, which historical German
province was divided between the Soviet Union and Poland in 1945?
It's capital was...
East Prussia is correct, yes.
You take the lead and your bonuses are on the films of Martin Scorsese.
Which 1974 comedy drama concerns a widow who heads to California
with her young son in search of a better life
but ends up waitressing in Arizona?
Ellen Burstyn won the Best Actress Academy Award for her
I don't know. Does anyone know?
Quiz Show, did you say? Yeah.
No, it's Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More.
Secondly, in Scorsese's controversial film adaptation of
Nikos Kazantzakis's book, The Last Temptation Of Christ,
which British singer songwriter
and actor played Pontius Pilate?
No idea. Does anyone have any ideas?
Pass. It was David Bowie.
Finally, Scorsese's first film to be shot in 3D,
what is the title of the 2011 story of a boy who
lives in the Gare Montparnasse in Paris in the 1930s?
Hugo? Are we happy with that? Yep.
Hugo. Hugo is correct.
10 points for this.
Minor characters in which Victorian novel include the auctioneer
Borthrop Trumbull, Mrs Cadwallader,
wife of the Rector of Tipton and Freshitt,
the Tory lawyer Frank Hawley and the lady's maid Tantrip?
Anyone like to buzz from Ulster?
Middlemarch is correct, yes.
These bonuses could give you the lead again.
They are on words that contain the Latin word "ergo"
For example, undergod, overgoes and ergophobia.
In each case give the word from the definition.
First an arbour or covered walk
formed of horizontal trellis work supported on columns.
Secondly, one who squanders money on possessions,
a wastrel or spendthrift.
Sorry, we don't have it.
That's a scattergood.
And finally, a disease of cereal grasses,
it's particularly associated with rye.
Yes, ergotism, correct.
10 points for this.
The reign of which British monarch
saw the publication of Robinson Crusoe
and Gulliver's Travels, the death of Sir Isaac Newton
and the bursting of the South Sea Bubble?
No, anyone like to buzz from Ulster?
You may not confer.
No, it was George I. 10 points for this.
What Greek derived term
describes a fast heart rate above 100 beats a minute?
Tachycardia is correct.
These bonuses could give you the lead again.
They are on the seven summits as defined by the Italian
mountaineer Reinhold Messner.
That is the highest mountain on each continent.
In each case, name the peak from it's geographical coordinates.
First, 3.06 degrees south, 37.36 degrees east.
Secondly, 32.65 degrees south, 70.02 degrees west.
Finally, 27.99 degrees north and 89.93 degrees east.
Correct. 10 points for this.
"Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas, only
"I don't know exactly what they are."
In Through The Looking Glass, Alice says this of which poem?
Jabberwocky is correct. GONG!
Who knows, if we'd had another five minutes you might have
gone on to answer all the bonuses correctly
and take the lead again, but 160,
I would guess, is probably one of the highest-losing scores
and you will probably come back, I would have
thought, for one of the play-offs, so congratulations to you.
Edinburgh, it was pretty tight. Yeah.
Nip and tuck all the way, I thought, but you did it in the end,
congratulations. I hope you can join us next time for another first-round
match, but until then it's goodbye from Ulster University... Goodbye.
It's goodbye from Edinburgh University... Goodbye.
And it's goodbye from me, goodbye.
In the opening match of the quiz series for students, the University of Edinburgh takes on Ulster University for a place in the second round.
Jeremy Paxman asks the questions.