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University Challenge viewers gripped as UCL makes ‘comeback of the century’

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University Challenge viewers seized on as UCL made ‘comeback of the century’ racking up 120 points in under 10 minutes – only to lose by five to Cambridge

  • BBC2 show saw St John’s College Cambridge take on University College London
  • Both teams were the top scoring losers of the first round of the academic quiz
  • After a slow start, UCL made a quick comeback within ten minutes and scored 120
  • But Cambridge was ultimately crowned the winner with 175 points against UCL’s 170










University Challenge viewers were glued to their screens after a heart-pounding episode in which St John’s College defeated Cambridge University College London by just five points.

The teams were both returned to the second round of the BBC2 quiz show, hosted by Jeremy Paxman, as they achieved the highest losing score, which in some cases exceeds the winning scores in other matches.

The UCL fought for a place in the penultimate second round of the academic program but got off to a slow start, but made a quick comeback towards the end of the show – scoring 120 points in ten minutes.

But in the end Cambridge were the winners, with 175 points from UCL’s 170, and viewers praised the losing team’s performance – calling it the ‘comeback of the century’.

University Challenge viewers were glued to their screens after a nerve-wracking episode in which St John’s College defeated Cambridge University College London (pictured) by just five points

The teams were both returned to the second round of the BBC2 quiz show, hosted by Jeremy Paxman, and Cambridge was the winner, taking 175 points ahead of UCL's 170 points.

The teams were both returned to the second round of the BBC2 quiz show, hosted by Jeremy Paxman, and Cambridge was the winner, taking 175 points ahead of UCL’s 170 points.

How many Starter For Ten questions can you answer?

Each of these questions is worth 10 points and must be answered by one player without consultation. The team that wins a Starter For Ten then gets three bonus questions, each worth five points.

  1. In which city were the Olympic Games held, which began at 8:08 AM local time on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008?
  2. Karen Uhlenbeck and Robert Langlands are one of the winners of which research prize?
  3. Which middle letter is common among five-letter words with these meanings: Fat in the case of body tissue, milky liquid in rubber trees?
  4. The gray areas continue with the mainland of a sovereign state, the other colors surround the overseas territories of different nations. Name the country whose non-continuous territorial waters are shown in dark blue.

  5. Which American crime novelist wrote all or part of the scripts for Double Indemnity, The Blue Dahlia and Strangers on a Train?
  6. Which last name connects these all in the sport: former England women’s cricket team captain Charlotte, triple jump champion Jonathan and champion ski jumper Michael?
  7. Based on mitochondrial DNA research, masai, Southern, Northern and Reticulated have been suggested from separate species of which animal?
  8. Which three-word rhyming phrase, appearing in the subtitle of journalist Sam McBride’s 2019 work Burned, describes the scandal over renewable heat in Northern Ireland?
  9. From the Latin for olive tree, what adjective can be applied to something that produces oil as well as to someone who is exceedingly mild?
  10. Walter Burley Griffin won a 1911 competition to design which capital city?

“Impressed with UCL going from 50 to 170 in minutes #UniversityChallenge,” wrote one viewer.

‘Wow. What a poignant #UniversityChallenge – UCL from 65 to 170 in the closing minutes but lost by 5 points. Well played, good luck! ‘ said another.

A third wrote: “Don’t think the last two minutes of #UniversityChallenge have ever been so tense.”

Comedian and host Richard Osman even took to Twitter to praise both teams after the show, writing: “That has to be one of the best episodes of #UniversityChallenge ever.”

With condolences to the losing team, St John’s College Cambridge said: ‘Well, that was close! Well done to the St John’s #UniversityChallenge team for advancing to the next round just five points ahead of @ucl who were great opponents.”

Viewers including presenter and comedian Richard Osman praised the losing team's performance, calling it the 'comeback of the century'

Viewers including presenter and comedian Richard Osman praised the losing team’s performance, calling it the ‘comeback of the century’

The UCL team included Hugo Fleming, from Surrey, who is studying for his PhD in neuroscience, team captain Koshiro Kiso, who is studying for a PhD in cell biology, and Humaira Maka, from London, who is studying medicine, and Max Traeger, who is studying History and Politics. from America.

They last appeared in July, where they were beaten by St Hilda’s College Oxford – again by just five points.

The teams were neck and neck during their final episode, with UCL only 10 points behind in the closing minutes of the game.

UCL fought for a place in the penultimate second round of the academic program but got off to a slow start but made a quick comeback towards the end of the show - with 120 points in ten minutes

UCL fought for a place in the penultimate second round of the academic program but got off to a slow start but made a quick comeback towards the end of the show – with 120 points in ten minutes

But in the closing seconds of the show, St John's College defeated Cambridge University College London by 175 points

But in the closing seconds of the show, St John’s College defeated Cambridge University College London by 175 points

Despite a late attempt to win, St Hilda’s eventually defeated their opponents by 140 points to 135.

The winning team included Thomas Clark, from the US and Japan, who studies linguistics, Louis George, from Dorset, who studies human, social and political skills, Jonathan Chan, from Cambridge, who studies veterinary medicine, and Kyanna Ouyang, from New Jersey, the natural sciences.

In their final episode, St John’s College Cambridge went up against Imperial College London, losing by 155 points from their 210.

Check your answers now!

  1. Beijing
  2. Abel Prize
  3. t
  4. USA
  5. Raymond Chandler
  6. Edwards
  7. Giraffe
  8. Cash for Ash
  9. oily
  10. canberra

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