Written by Ellis Ian Fields
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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

image for University Challenge: Worcester Sauce Too Spicy For St Andrews Oxford - a different college.

Any quiz show in which an answer is the '80's Leeds band The Sisters Of Mercy has to have entertainment value.

And last night's University Challenge, the second and final play-off between highest-scoring first round losers, was entertaining, despite the apparent disaparity in the final scores.

The eight representatives of Worcester College, Oxford, and St Andrews are clearly a smart set of cookies - as one would hope and expect from two of our most prestigious higher learning institutions.

However, this house still finds that there are too many post-graduate students taking part. And out of eight students, why was there just the solitary female participant - the Worcester skipper, Gillie?

Still, they gave us a good contest until around halfway through proceedings. At 145-80 it was not beyond St Andrews, but aided by Knapp's speedy button finger, Worcester went up a gear. The second half saw the Oxford team add 105 to their total while St Andrews garnered just 30.

Points went begging when no-one was able to recognise Lytton Strachey, Vanessa or Clive Bell of the Bloomsbury Group, from their portraits. (And who can blame them?) Though even in our house we also knew the one with the beard wasn't Virginia Woolf - so we felt pretty literary.

We also know the answer was Gauguin, though we can't remember the question - and that made us feel cleverer still!

But no... we didn't know the origins of The Sisters Of Mercy's name. Leonard Cohen's never been a staple round here - too many sharp knives.

Final score: Worcester College 250, St Andrews 110.

So, with the demise of St Andrews, there are no teams from outside England left in the competition.

(Alternative ending No 1) Tsk. That's a pity! We could do with teams from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in it.

(Alternative ending No 2) Heh heh - take that, Celtic fringe!

Teams: St Andrews - Thomas Volker, Thomas Lazarides, Doug Kennedy (c), Dustin Frazer; Worcester - Dave Knapp, Jack Bramhill, Rebecca Gillie (c), Jonathan Metzer.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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