Friday, 28 October 2011

Ep 305: Nick Compton, Nick Terry (October 28, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

In the early banter, David reveals that he likes typewriters, particularly the percussive aspect, and also fonts.  He mentions the book Just My Type by Simon Garfield, which is all about the origins of different typefaces.  This prompts Richard to note that he was slightly disturbed to discover that there is a font called "Poor Richard", which his partner (Alison Mackay) found and loves to use.

There are two new contestants today, after Shaun's retirement, and both called Nick.  Joining us in the champion's seat is Nick Compton, a French teacher who now manages a bakery cafe.

Facing him in the challenger's position is "daredevil accountant" Nick Terry -- he's an accountant and a daredevil, not an accountant to daredevils.  When asked about his adventurous exploits, he noted that in his younger days he jumped out of a plane (with a parachute), did some helicopter flying, has flown a plane, and also done some rally driving.  Top of his wish list to do, if it becomes possible in his lifetime, is to go into outer space.

Referred to throughout the show as Nick C and Nick T, they prove formidable competition, but a failed numbers round early on leaves Nick C trailing by too much to recover; Nick T takes the victory, 71 to 44.

I struggled to better either of them, with Nick T and I particularly being on each other's wavelength.  I fell behind in one letters round, managed to get it back in the next, and ended up equal with him going into the conundrum round.  I got it comfortably ahead of him on time (3-4s, compared to 21s), just squeaking through to victory.

I've still got some work to do, clearly, as I missed some words and fragments I should have found, and a numbers game that was a little difficult but very gettable.  Time to put in some more practice on the numbers, I think.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: H U I S T E P R D

That early U saved me from having to note an undesirable four-letter word.  SHUT, SUITE, SPITE, PRIEST, STRIPED, PRUDISH.  A little after time, DUSTIER and HIRSUTE.  (I'll also note TUSHIE in the first six letters.)  The R opened things up here, with PRIEST having many anagrams.

Nick C has a six-letter word, Nick T matches my seven, and David, with reassurance from the dictionary, finds that DISPUTER is valid for eight.  The DIS- beginning is something I need to get better at spotting and using; note that DISRUPT is also here for a seven.


Scores: Nick C 0, Nick T 7, me 7

Round 2: G M A F I S C E O

There's several sixes here, but nothing longer.  MAGI, COMAS, CAMEOS were all I found in time (desperately trying for a seven), but while searching afterwards I also came up with MAGICS, EGOISM, MOSAIC.  And while writing this up I finally resolved the niggling in the back of my mind that was trying to draw my attention to FIASCO, although it's still only six.

The Macquarie doesn't allow it, but Chambers has IMAGOES as an alternative pluralisation of IMAGO.

That last vowel feels like it was unlikely to help; I'd have chosen a consonant (no surprise, I know -- my tendency towards the 6-and-3 mix is well-established).  In this case the T instead of the O would have allowed a common Countdown word: CAGIEST, and many other common letters lead to a seven or longer.  (My favourite being an R for GRIMACES.)

Everyone finds sixes, with Nick T and myself matched again, while David has an anagram of Nick C's answer.


Scores: Nick C 6, Nick T 13, me 13

Round 3: Target 934 from 50 100 7 6 1 5

Looks like we're back to the traditional two large and four small mix.  Oh, well, I guess the days of variation couldn't last.  The mix proves to be too challenging for Nick C, but Nick T continues to match me exactly, with 934 = (100 + 50)*6 + 7*5 - 1.  Lily did it the same way, and it is pretty straightforward.  I had enough time left over to experiment with using the multiple-of-ten approach, finding another kitchen-sink solution: 934 = (100 - 6)*(50 / 5) - (7 - 1).

Nick C: [not in range]
Nick T: 934
Me: 934
Lily: 934

Scores: Nick C 6, Nick T 23, me 23

First break: CURE MANY ("Speedy ability with digits")

A direct clue to NUMERACY.

David talks about "nano-" words.

Round 4: T L B A O E R D U

Ah, bother.  Here's where I faltered, getting lost in the myriad of sevens, but not finding my way to an eight.  BLOAT, BORATE, BORATED / ABORTED, OUTBRED (wasn't sure about this one, but it is valid), READOUT (still smarting from Shaun's find of this to outpoint me back in episode 302), BOULDER.  With more thought after time ran out: BLOATED, DOUBLET, DOUBLER, DURABLE (finally seeing the -ABLE ending, not that it would have helped, but I should have seen it earlier), DOUBTER / REDOUBT, ROULADE, and that old standby, LEOTARD.  I should have seen that earlier, too, but I guess in my defense I wanted eights by that point.

Both contestants surprise me by finding TROUBLED and as I'm ruefully acknowledging that, David points out LABOURED and OBDURATE.  Remember back in episode 301 when I commented about the OB- beginning being worth looking at?  Good for you, then, because I forgot about it here. *chuckles*  Note that I didn't find OBTRUDE, either.


Scores: Nick C 14, Nick T 31, me 23

Round 5: H N I T O S E R G

The G stops me floundering a bit here, bringing -ING into play.  HINT, HINTS, HOIST, TENORS, SHORTING.  (I didn't find SHORTEN / HORNETS / THRONES before the G showed up; hopefully I would have!)  I can imagine that some years in the future REHOSTING (switching web host providers) will enter the dictionaries, but it's not there yet.

Both contestants get sevens, and I claw back the lost ground.


Scores: Nick C 14 (21), Nick T 31 (38), me 31

Round 6: Target 709 from 25 100 2 3 5 6

There's really nothing much to say about this one.  Everyone finds 709 = (2 + 5)*100 + 3 + 6.  It looks like neither contestant is going to aim for interesting number choices; a shame.

Nick C: 709
Nick T: 709
Me: 709
Lily: 709

Scores: Nick C 24 (31), Nick T 41 (48), me 41

Second break: SMILE SET ("This word never goes out of style")

Often heard preceding "elegance" in the descriptions of the watch prizes on Sale of the Century and other game shows of the era, it can only be TIMELESS.

Round 7: N L I A F D E A R

LAIN, FINAL, FAILED, DENIAL, FRIEND, DERAIL.  But even after time (when I added FINALE and LANDIE) to the mix, I could not find a seven.  Ford enthusiasts might wish for FAIRLANE, but no joy there.

David comes through with the seven of ADRENAL, but it was possible to do better: FAIRLEAD for eight (a fitting on a ship that rigging passes through, keeping it clear of obstructions).


Scores: Nick C 30 (37), Nick T 47 (54), me 47

Round 8: Target 538 from 50 75 4 6 6 10

This mix proves a little trickier than the contestants were probably hoping, and everyone finds 536 = 50*10 + 6*6.  Just after time I had slightly closer with 539 = 4*(50 + 75 + 10) - 6/6, and once the time pressure was off I felt free to step back and consider the offset of 12 from 550, leading to the solution 538 = 75*10 - 4*50 - 6 - 6.

Lily, as ever, is on target with that solution.

Nick C: 536
Nick T: 536
Me: 536
Lily: 538

Scores: Nick C 37 (44), Nick T 54 (61), me 54


And so we come to the conundrum, and I'm tied with Nick T.  It's nice to see both contestants having scored well this time, although a shame that the early missed numbers game has put Nick C out of contention.  Spotting the -ING within the mix gives me the solution after 3-4 seconds, and I squeak through with the victory.  Nick T finds it some 17 seconds later, for an excellent round of 71 for him.

Nick C: [no answer]
Nick T: EDUCATING (21s)

Final scores: Nick C 37 (44), Nick T 54 (71), me 64

A close match today; I'd prefer not to have to beat a contestant to the conundrum, but I definitely had chances to avoid that.  Nick T already seems like a possible contender, although there was perhaps a slight weakness to seeing all the options with ING.  I'll be interested to see how he fares if he faces some more challenging number mixes.

David remarks at the end that at the end of this great game he's feeling just a little worthless, because he's "next to Nicks".  Heh.


Mike Backhouse said...

Happy to get a few 8s.

CAGES then FIASCO just after time
6*(100+50+5)+7-1=936 (2 off)
10*(50+4)-6/6=539 (1 off)

Trevor Halsall said...

STUPIDER is a more likely anagram of disputer.

Geoff Bailey said...

Yes; however, the Macquarie does not explicitly list that form (it mostly omits the comparatives and superlatives, except where spelling shifts would be involved; this is pretty much limited to the -Y adjectives). The show's policy was to only allow automatic -ER and -EST forms when the adjective had a single syllable.