Thursday, 27 October 2011

Ep 304: Shaun Ellis, Kate Philip (October 27, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Win or lose, Shaun will be heading home after this game.  Asked about moments that stand out for him, he is embarassedly amused about trying GASHEAD on his first night.  (It's not valid, I should add, which is part of the amusement.)  In an amusing reference to round two of episode 302, he adds that he has a new life mission now: To write a screenplay wherein a character says "I'm just going to go and re-lock the door".

The challenger tonight is former air traffic controller Kate Philip, who is now studying for her bachelor of science.  Richard tries to draw some connection between being an air traffic controller and playing the game, and Kate helps the link by saying that being able to form patterns out of disparate information should be useful.  Richard follows up on her use of 'disparate', using it to segue into noting that she's involved in the business of vintage clothing.  She responds that she's always loved the style, fit, and form of vintage clothes, and she's started a plus-size vintage clothing store online called Curvy Vintage.

I had a much better relative performance this game -- I came close to keeping both contestants scoreless. On the other hand, I missed some of the higher scoring options, including a full monty.  There's something to be said for the French version's more generous time limit of 45 seconds per round...

Shaun cruised to an easy 44 to 6 victory over Kate, and retires undefeated with a total of 280 points.  The season starts off with someone going the distance, which is hopefully a sign of good things to come.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: A I A S P C D E N

Duplicated A's in the early vowels, and by the sixth letter I was trying to recall how to spell CAPSAICIN; fortunately it was not required!  Found ASPIC, SPACED, CANAPÉS and CANDIES.  A little thought afterwards failed to turn up a longer word, although AIDANCE is in the OED, which would give an eight for AIDANCES.  Also in the OED is the rather specialised CISPADANE, meaning "On this side of the river Po", which would be nine.  Sadly, the Macquarie fails to include either of these highly important and useful words.

Shaun declares a six, Kate gives a little shake of her head as she has "just a four", and David remarks that the only seven he could find was CANDIES -- so he missed CANAPÉS.  Perhaps the purist in him rejects the accented E, although I'm of the belief that it would be acceptable.  (The rules are admittedly silent on this point, and I cannot recall an instance of it offhand; Countdown has definitely allowed it several times.)  More likely he was concentrating on trying to find an eight- or nine-letter word, though.

Kate: DICE

Scores: Shaun 0 (6), Kate 0, me 7

Round 2: R L S O I E F D A

This round hurts, as it contains two patterns that I had mentally marked as things to look for.  What I actually found was ROILS, OILERS, and some flirting with FOILERS and FOALERS that I (sensibly) rejected.  Something about the way it came out just threw me, as I missed one of the eight letter words I have made special note of: DARIOLES.  The other feature that I failed to locate was the FORE- beginning, which yields FORESAIL and FORESAID.  Had I found any of these eights (or a seven, for that matter -- LOADERS seems pretty obvious), I would have kept Shaun and Kate scoreless until the final numbers round.

David laments the fact that FLORIADE is capitalised, depriving him of the full monty FLORIADES.


Scores: Shaun 6 (12), Kate 6, me 13

Round 3: Target 213 from 7 4 8 3 8 3

Some merriment as Shaun a little sheepishly decides to go for six small numbers.  A small target and good mid-range numbers makes this look very possible, but alas I went astray; 213 = 3*71 is clear from the start, but somehow I failed to see an easy route to 71.  (Found later: 213 = 3*(8*8 + 7), which is annoyingly simple.)

Running out of time, I went to 72, which at least I could see, and was able to write down 216 = (7 + 3 + 8)*4*3.  I failed to find a way to adjust it in time, but afterwards found a couple of routes via 216 and subtracting 3: 216 = (7 + 3 + 8)*(4 + 8) - 3, and 216 = (7 + 8/4)*8*3 - 3.  And much later, the multiple-of-ten approach yielded an answer, although forming the ten from the required numbers is not entirely straightforward: 213 = 3*7*(8 + 8/4) + 3.

More good-natured amusement as Shaun admits that his choice did not work out at all well and he is not within range.  Kate is likewise far from there, and Lily steps in to demonstrate a route via 224: 213 = 8*7*4 - 8 - 3.

Shaun: [not in range]
Kate: [not in range]
Me: 216
Lily: 213

Scores: Shaun 6 (12), Kate 6, me 20

First break: LAMB TALE ("Eat it, don't play with it")

A bit of an odd clue for MEATBALL, but the first part should lead one there.

David's talk is about three words often used in westerns: sheriff, posse, and lynch.

Round 4: I R N E O C R S U

I found IRON, CORNER, CORNIER, CORNERS, CURIOS (which I see I wrote down as CURIOUS, so it's a good thing I wouldn't have declared it), and CRONIES.  I thought that SINECURE was there for a moment, but then realised there was only one E.  A minute or two after time ran out I found the full monty: RECURSION.  As a computer programmer, I clearly should have seen this earlier.  Oh, the shame...

Kate goes for a risky six, that is certainly risky: RE-RUIN.  David is amused by wondering how something that was ruined could then be re-ruined, but it seems to me that it could apply to places that have been destroyed, rebuilt, and then destroyed again.  Do Troy or Jerusalem count?  In any case, it's not an acceptable word for the purposes of this game.

Update: Trevor Halsall points out that COINSURER is another full monty in this mix.  Nicely spotted, Trevor!

Kate: [invalid]

Scores: Shaun 6 (18), Kate 6, me 27

Round 5: W N H A E T L O N

WANE, THANE, NEWTON (wasn't sure about this, but the SI unit has lost the capital letter), TALON, WHOLE, and just before time ran out, a Countdown classic: ETALON.  (It's a type of interferometer used in optics, in case you were wondering.)  After time I was able to add WANTON and LOATHE, but David was there to point out the seven in the mix: ETHANOL.

Shaun: THANE
Kate: WEAN

Scores: Shaun 6 (23), Kate 6, me 33

Round 6: Target 136 from 75 25 4 6 1 4

Kate says that she's going to choose the easy option, but turns up a surprisingly tricky mix for such small numbers.  I noted 136 = 100 + 36, but got fixated on 36 = 6*6 instead of 4*9 (which Lily later shows leads to a solution).  So abandoning that approach I found 136 = 6*(25 - 1) - 4 - 4.

Kate declares 131 but has made an error ("4*6 = 26", apparently), while Shaun has 141 = 6*25 - 4 - 4 - 1.  With just a little "tweakage", he'd have had the target number.  That's something he needs to work on, if he (as seems extremely likely) makes it to the finals.

Lily notes that 36 is one of her favourite numbers ("besides 57") due to the many factors, and demonstrates that here: 136 = 75 + 25 + (4 - 1 + 6)*4.

Shaun: 141
Kate: [invalid]
Me: 136
Lily: 136

Scores: Shaun 6 (30), Kate 6, me 43

Second break: ACID OMEN ("Paid to make you laugh")

A straightforward clue for a COMEDIAN.

Round 7: R D T I E O M B E

Richard reminds Shaun that it is his last letters round, which Shaun says is sad.  After eight letters have been called, Lily asks him for his "last letter... ever".  Amusing, but given how likely he is to make the finals, probably inaccurate.

I found DIRT, TIRED, EDITOR, BROMIDE, ORBITED, and TIMBERED.  I vacillated a little over the last, but decided to declare it, which is just as well since it is happily valid (and the best that David found).


Scores: Shaun 6 (37), Kate 6, me 51

Round 8: Target 342 from 75 50 10 1 6 9

Oh, dear, looks like I got flustered again; I knew 342 = 18*19 at the start, but then failed to spot 19 = 10 + 9 helpfully present (not the first time I've done that), failed to find 19 = (75 - 50 - 6) either, and eventually flailed my way to declaring 341 = (6 + 1)*50 - 9.  Once time is up I easily find 342 = (10 + 9)*(75 - 50 - 6 - 1) and its counterpart 342 = (10 + 9 - 1)*(75 - 50 - 6), and the perhaps simpler 342 = 6*(75 - 10 - 9 + 1).

Kate declares 300, which is considerably out of range, and Shaun has the same 341 that I do.  As expected, Lily easily gets to the target, using 342 = (10 - 6)*75 + 50 - (9 - 1).

Shaun: 341
Kate: [not in range]
Me: 341
Lily: 342

Scores: Shaun 13 (44), Kate 6, me 58


A handy -ATION ending, and 4 seconds to buzz in with PROBATION.  Neither Shaun nor Kate find the solution, so the final results are:

Shaun: [no answer]
Kate: [no answer]

Final scores: Shaun 13 (44), Kate 6, me 68

Shaun looks very pleased to have made it through to six wins, and maybe a little relieved that it's over for now.  (That said, with his opponents in the last three games only scoring 13, 7, and 6 points he was hardly pushed in the home stretch.)  But as he says, perhaps aside from the first five minutes of the first game, he's loved every moment of it.  And, of course, as a retiring champion he gets a dictionary.  Amusing to the end, he gives an exaggerated fist pump at the news.


Mike Backhouse said...

4*8*(8-(3+3))=210 (3 off)
4*(25+(6+4-1))=136 (went over)
x presumably invalid TOMBED and then DEMOTER? just after time
(6+1)*50-9=343 (1 off)

Geoff Bailey said...

Good news! TOMB is listed with a verb sense ("to place in or as in a tomb; bury") so TOMBED is fine. DEMOTER would not have been valid.

Trevor Halsall said...

In round 1, INCASED is another anagram of candies.

Trevor Halsall said...

And in round 4, there's COURIERS which I find a bit hard to see. But better than that, recursion has an anagram. COINSURER.

Geoff Bailey said...

Oh, well spotted with COINSURER and COURIERS, Trevor! INCASED also turns out to be valid (from the Macquarie's point of view), although it's an annoying case where it is only listed under the entry for ENCASE. No doubt I have missed several instances of it on this blog over the years as a result.