Hapax Legomenon: A Second-By-Second Deconstruction Of 'That' University Challenge Vine

Loveday FTW
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I was pretty excited when I first downloaded Vine because I have the attention span of a gnat and sometimes stop halfway through cleaning my teeth in order to look at Twitter. For me, the promise of an infinitely-updating feed of six-second videos sounded exactly like something I could get on board with. Sure, I know everyone’s into Netflix but I don’t have the time, I’m too busy crushing f5 on about seven tabs at once looking for my next sweet content-fix. Anyway, it turns out I soon got bored of Vine too and used it for about three days before dumping it into the great app graveyard in the cloud.

But then this video loop was retweeted into my feed and my world turned upside down. Taken from last week’s episode of University Challenge, it is a six-second humour fractal, becoming exponentially funnier the more you watch it. Here is my second-by-second analysis:

Second 1

The scene is set with Oxford’s Magdalen College taking on Cambridge’s Gonville and Caius College. A quick Google check confirms that yes, that is apparently a real college. The former team have a stuffed monkey as a mascot, a time-honoured tradition stretching back to the Bob Holness era and clearly de rigueur for any self-respecting Oxbridge team.

Second 2

The two teams settle in and wait for Paxman to fire a shot across the bows. Politics? Geography? Classics? Mythology? Oxford’s Savory stoops down lower into the desk, lower, lower.

Second 3

“Said only once, what two-word Greek term denotes a –”


Second 4

Wut? Has Savory fallen asleep on his buzzer or something? Paxman hasn’t even got halfway through the question and you’ve just bundled him over with your big fat buzzer. You disrespectful oik. No elevenses for you next week.

Wait. It isn’t Savory at all. Who’s this chap all lit up in the corner? Gonville and Caius’s Loveday? Hadn’t even noticed this guy – what’s his game?

Second 5

The camera awkwardly zooms in the bottom-left corner as Loveday – wet-look curtains and knitted cricket-whites – seems to be about to say something, but it’s not quite clear that he really know what he’s talking ab-

“Hapax Legomenon”


WHAAAAAAAAAA???? This guy’s essentially chained a hundred million mic-drops into one concentrated second of near-spiritual wisdom. Hold this second right here, because in this moment he is Kanye West x Jesus x Chad Kroeger x Stone Cold Steve Austin – HAPAX LE WHAT? WHAT???

Second 6

“Correct” chirps Paxman. Before just tossing the card to one side. Tossing it to one side like it ain’t no thing. Tossing the card aside like we haven’t just witnessed the birth of a God. Paxman, your loss is our gain. So this is to you Loveday – you are my hero now. I will follow your lead in life, wherever that may take me. Teach me the way of the Greek and the stuff. Goodnight, God bless, God bless you all.