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There were several PhDs on the panel, several Masters students and only one undergraduate. Lancaster’s star player was undoubtedly Ford, while McEwan’s lightening answers secured many points for the White Rose.
York stormed ahead in the first part of the game. But Lancaster rallied, and succeeded in answering four medical questions in a row.
The topics ranged across science, culture and Rose themed diversions. A music round was introduced, all featuring the theme of a Rose: sadly no appearance from Seal, but instead a large amount of classical and fifties music. An honourable mention must go to Lancaster’s Lawton, who absolutely crushed the musical round.
At half time York had eked out a small lead. Lancaster pushed forward with a string of named physicists, bringing them level as the game resumed after the break. Three questions in a row pushed the panellists on their knowledge of shades of brown (the answers were beige, Khaki, Tuscany). The questions are a mystery to me at this point looking back.
The crowd was surprisingly packed, and very engaged: a rolling whisper went around the auditorium as they quietly offered their own answers to the questions posed. Your correspondent played along; the only round where I was mildly successful was on misquotation: where “elementary my dear Watson”, white heat of technology, green shoots of recovery.
A Bavarian themed round stumped the White Rose, with York answering Munich to all three queries on Bavarian cities; fortunately, their last attempt was correct.
The final score saw both teams draw even on 265 points apiece. The atmosphere was electric, as the judges conferred and decided that a tiebreaker would be necessary. York’s Williams won it, with an answer on Kubrick’s classic Doctor Strangelove, and the crowd erupted. Certainly the most intense university challenge I have seen.