Cambridge law student Ted Loveday has become a bit of a legend after his bravura performance in the final of University Challenge, in which he answered ten starters for ten correctly and propelled his team to victory over Oxford's Magdalen College. Clips of his lightning quick responses have been awing the twittersphere, as has his impressive knitwear wardrobe.
I caught up with geek chiq's real deal to find out about his famous fans, what he doesn't know and how the University Challenge champions got trounced in a pub quiz.
Ok, first things first, there's been a lot of commentary on your knitwear: where did you get that superb jumper?
I can't even remember where the jumper was from - and I'm surprised about the fuss people have made about it! I think it was a hand-me-down from my dad but I'm not sure where it came from originally.
Did you find Mr Paxman intimidating?
We were scared at first - we thought he was going to be terrifying. But, when you get onto the actual set, he tries his best to put everyone at ease. He was nothing but civil to us - there's a big difference between the way he treats students and the way he treats politicians. Maybe because, unlike politicians, we're actually happy to answer his questions! Having said that, his put-downs to losing teams can be pretty harsh.
What's the response been like back at university - have you had any messages of congratulations from celebrity fans?
Everyone's been really, really supportive - we're really lucky to have such great friends who have rallied round. We woke up to loads of notifications from well-wishers in college. (I guess the real challenge will be seeing if we can convert all the goodwill into free drinks over the next few months!)
In terms of celebrities, er, Richard Osman sent us a tweet. That was a highlight for Anthony
[Martinelli, the team captain], since he's a huge fan of Pointless.
How many requests to be on pub quiz teams have you received since the final - or are you still available?
We're all still available, but I'd warn you that it might not be a great idea! A week after we filmed the final, the four of us had a little reunion at a local pub quiz to celebrate. We were destroyed - we came 5th out of 7 teams! It definitely took us down a few pegs.
What's your weakest area of knowledge?
Sport. But the rest of the team are brilliant at sports questions. We were a strong team because we played to each other's strengths and covered each other's weaknesses.
You drank quite a lot of water - was it because you were on fire?
Probably nerves. I didn't really realise I was doing it. We were all really focussed on the questions and didn't really give much thought to presentation or being on TV.
I have to ask this given it was raised in the show: Are you in Mensa?
Does your family make you play Trivial Pursuit with a handicap?
Haha! We don't really play Trivial Pursuit at home. But I'm sure they'd all be able to compete on level pegging - I'm good at academic knowledge but not necessarily general knowledge. On the other hand, Michael
The winning team: Loveday's quick to point out that it was a group effort
[Taylor], Anthony and Jeremy
[Warner] are all quite well-rounded - their families might be a bit more afraid to pit their wits against them.
Finally, do you employ any techniques other than being bright to amass that amount of knowledge?
It's absolutely not about being bright - it's about memory, quick recall and working as a team. Anthony was a great captain because he made us do loads of preparation. We practised together regularly, we watched dozens of old episodes together on YouTube and we binged on Wikipedia. Everyone on the team put in loads of hard work and it paid off.
So there you have it, it's not heresy to revise using Wikipedia after all. Big thanks to Ted for taking the time to chat.
Here are those starters for ten. How many can you answer within five seconds of reading them? The RoF team managed *cough
. “This long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we’re all dead.” These are the words of which economist?
“They illustrate the temper of a pre-revolutionary age, when there is widespread desire for moderate reform.” These words of Bertrand Russell refer to which two figures of the northern Renaissance born respectively in London and Rotterdam?
. What five-letter word means a stupid or silly woman in Mexican Spanish, a university canteen in German and in the English-speaking world an organisation founded in 1946 for people with high IQs?
During the 20th century, which Conservative Prime Minister’s cabinet included that party’s previous and subsequent Prime Ministers, both of whom served for the whole of its period in office, the former as foreign secretary and the latter as secretary of state for education?
“The first known instance of the application of algorithmic thinking to a field outside logic and mathematics.” These words refer to a grammar of which language by the Gandharian scholar Panini?
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter is an autobiographical work by which French author? It recounts her stifling and respectable upbringing and how she revolted against it at the Sorbonne with Jean-Paul Sartre.
Inspired by the artworks of Viktor Hartmann, ‘The Gnome’, ‘The Hut on Fowl’s Legs’ and ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’ are among the 10 movements that comprise which suite by Mussorgsky?
John F Kennedy’s statement that “mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind” is an example of what figure of speech named after the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet?
From the Greek for 'unguent', what five-letter term denotes a complex of molten silicates with water and gases formed within the upper mantle of the earth?
Meaning ‘said only once’, what two-word Greek term denotes a word or word-form that is recorded only once in a text, in the work of a particular author, or in a body of literature?
1.John Maynard Keynes 2. Erasmus and Thomas More 3. Mensa 4. Ted Heath (the previous and subsequent Prime Ministers were Alec Douglas-Home and Margaret Thatcher) 5. Sanskrit 6 Simone de Beauvoir 7. Pictures of an Exhibition 8. Chiasmus 9. Magma 10. Hapax legomenon
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