Sunday, 23 October 2011


Airing on SBS, Letters and Numbers is an Australian version of the long-running UK game show Countdown (which in turn is based on the original French show Des chiffres et des lettres).  Contestants aim to find long words from nine letters, or reach a target number from 6 starting ones; if you're not familiar with the show, there are more details on the Wikipedia page.

I discovered this show by accident about midway through the second series, and have been hooked ever since.  It's great fun to play along with at home, and starting with the fourth series I've decided to record my progress, and possibly the odd piece of commentary along the way.  If anyone else out there stumbles on this and does something similar, I'd love to hear about it.

A couple of points of procedure:
  • The official dictionary used for the show is the Macquarie Dictionary (5th edition); only words appearing in it, or standard inflected forms thereof, can be scored.  It is possible I may note non-scoring words of interest.
  • I'll be attempting to work under the same restrictions as the contestants: Thirty seconds on the clock, everything must be written down in order to count.  The video on the website has a tendency to undergo long pauses sometimes, so this may be approximate, but the results will represent a good-faith effort on my part to meet those conditions.
  • I'll score the games as though I was a third contestant.  This will lead to scores differing from the match result in those cases where I find a better solution than either contestant.  When this occurs, actual scores shall be noted in brackets.
  • I tend to pause the game when the time runs out in each round, to see what I can find with more thought (and before I am exposed to the answers of contestants or presenters).  After that I sometimes use programs to search for answers, in case something interesting has been overlooked.  I will try to be clear about which category answers I list fall into.
  • The show only displays the contestants' first names, so often I have to guess at the spelling of the surnames.  It is very likely that some will be incorrect, and I welcome corrections.
  • The detailed gameplay will be behind jump cuts.  So if the summaries all look a little sparse, just click on the "Read more" links.
If you're interested in the show, I heartily recommend going along to a filming.  Audience members are always welcome, and a good time is had by all.  (As of the time I write this post, filming is only in Melbourne studios, but I was informed that they might be filming in Sydney at some point.  Hopefully the L&N team will keep us updated about this possibility.)

Similarly, if you're interested in being a constestant, then you should definitely send in an application.  Auditions are held in Melbourne and Sydney, and I think Brisbane either has had auditions, or is planned to.  And who knows, this blog might just have the odd bit of advice for you if you make it onto the show.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Geoff, I auditioned from Adelaide around the same time as the Brisbane auditions, so if Adelaide potentials are interested, I'm sure there'll be other auditions here again at some stage.

Cheers, Roman