Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Ep 307: Nick Terry, James Godfrey (November 1, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Nick returns for his third night, and it is revealed that he used to be an aeronautical engineer.  He joined Rolls Royce in the UK for a while, working on engines for the Tornado aircraft, before "turning to the dark side and becoming an accountant".  But he says that the best job he ever had was probably a summer spent working in a toy shop.

Facing Nick tonight is keen water polo player James Godfrey, who is currently studying for his masters of social development.

It's a very close game tonight, with James pushing Nick all the way, and they were tied going into the conundrum round.  With six seconds left Nick found the solution, giving him his third win in a row and a healthy scoreline of 55 to 45.  Could we have two retiring champions in a row?  If he does make it, he is very likely to overtake Shaun on aggregate.  We'll know by the end of the week, at any rate.

As for me, I had a flawed performance today.  I got off to an early lead and then took my eye off the ball at the end when I was almost uncatchable, failing to find one of several eights in the letters, and flubbing the numbers round.  But with Nick not spotting the full monty I was safe, and I solved the conundrum comfortably ahead of him to finish 35 points ahead.

Looks like I continue to struggle with the numbers; having to write down a close answer for safety interrupts the thinking process!

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: F S T I A E D G A

Lots of sixes here, but only two sevens (David is the only person to find one), getting the round off to an even start that will be typical of proceedings.  A shame about that final vowel; if it had been a U then FATIGUES or FATIGUED would have been available for eight.

Found FATES, FIESTA, AGATES, TAIGAS, STAGED.  Pondering further after time turned up DIGEST, FADGES (FADGE is an Irish potato bread, but that's not the meaning in the Macquarie, which has it as a loosely-filled wool bale), GAITED, ADAGES.

The contestants declare DIGEST and GIFTED, and David notes that GIFTED anagrams to FIDGET, giving the seven-letter word FIDGETS.  (The other available, that he did not note, is AGISTED -- past tense of AGIST: To take in and feed or pasture livestock for payment.)


Scores: 6 apiece

Round 2: O I N M C K U E A

James pulls at least one more vowel than expected; I'm not sure what he was aiming at here.  It limits both contestants to five-letter words, although there are longer to be found.  For my part, COIN, OUNCE, MANIOC were all that I had within time, but in extra time I found CINEMA, and ENCOMIA for 7 -- a rare case of finding a longer word than David, although taking longer about it, of course.  Other possible sixes include ANEMIC (an acceptable variant spelling of ANAEMIC), INCOME, and ACUMEN.

James: MANIC

Scores: Nick 6 (11), James 6 (11), me 12

Round 3: Target 901 from 25 75 7 9 3 5

Getting to 900 is easy in a few ways, and it turns out that the final adjustment by one is easy enough with the simplest way to 900: 901 = 9*(25 + 75) + 3 + 5 - 7.  Ironically, both contestants pay the price for knowing their 75 times tables, getting to 900 via 75*12 and then being unable to get closer.  Nick uses 900 = (7 + 5)*75 and James uses 900 = (9 + 3)*75.  It's a little odd that they didn't successfully investigate the alternative approach -- it would have only taken a couple of seconds to write down those 900s, could even be done before the clock starts.  Lily, of course, finds the same solution that I did.

Nick: 900
James: 900
Me: 901
Lily: 901

Scores: Nick 6 (18), James 6 (18), me 22

First break: BURST NUN ("Australia is often described as this")

A reference to Dorothea Mackellar's poem, and the answer is SUNBURNT.

David's talk is about foreign words which don't have direct English equivalents yet, although he hopes that they will one day.  Reminds me a bit of The Meaning of Liff.

Round 4: E E O T D R P E Z

Again James picks out an extra vowel a touch earlier than I probably would have; I wonder if, like me, he was hoping for an O for TORPEDO, or perhaps he had better vision at the time and wanted an A for OPERATED.  The final Z demonstrates quite well why I like to see the fifth consonant before taking a fourth vowel -- if an uncooperative consonant turns up, its usually better to seek another consonant than a vowel.

I saw DOTE, TREED / DETER, PORTED... with this last, I was thinking of the computer science meaning, where PORT means to make software designed for one system run on a different one.  With time running out I had some doubts about whether this meaning would be present (it is, by the way), saw that I could anagram it to DEPORT, and then saw DEPORTEE.  I wasn't completely certain it would be in the dictionary, but decided to risk it anyway and was happily rewarded.

There was also ZEROED to be found, and in the card game bridge to PETER is to make a high-low signal in a suit over two tricks.  The Macquarie lists this sense of it, although in the context of whist rather than bridge, and so PETERED would be a valid seven.

Both contestants continue being closely matched as they find the same six-letter word.


Scores: Nick 6 (24), James 6 (24), me 30

Round 5: N T L I O G A S B

LINT, LION, and then the G showed up suggesting that long words would abound.  GLINT, LASTING, BLASTING, OBTAINS, STABLING, ALBINOS.  Found just now: BLOATING, BOASTING -- I confess I didn't check too hard at the time, feeling good about those eights and not thinking a nine likely.  Note another interesting eight: BILTONGS (an Afrikaans word that has made it into English; it seems not dissimilar to jerky, if I understand it aright).

I think, in amusing contrast to my normal stance, that I would have wanted a vowel for the last letter, hoping for an E for LEGATIONS -- every time I see a movie with a LIONSGATE opening credit I think of this anagram; I was quite pleased when I first found it while sitting in a cinema many years ago.  (There's also GELATIONS, incidentally.)  In fact, an I (LIGATIONS) or an A (NOSTALGIA) also lead to full monties, making a vowel the preferred choice.  It would have been an E, as it turns out, so a full monty goes begging.

Neither contestant uses the -ING, which surprises me and harks back to something I felt at the time of episode 305: I don't think Nick is as comfortable as he should be with that ending.  It showed up twice in that game, in round 5 and the conundrum, and he failed to use it to best effect in the letters round, and took longer than I thought he should have in the conundrum.  I admit that the evidence is slim, but this time it was such a friendly mix for the -ING that the theory is at least plausible.

In fact, it's worse than that here; he falters quite badly, going for a "risky seven" of STALION.  With the episode broadcast on Melbourne Cup day, was he channelling the vibe?  It's clearly invalid, anyway.  David decides to go with the theme as he declares STABLING.  James finds the lovely word BASTION.

On the show's webpage, a comment by Altaf Malik draws my attention to what I had neglected to check: BLOATING is explicitly listed as a noun (an alternative for BLOAT, in the sense of a distension of the rumen in livestock caused by gases arising from fermentation), which -- provided that it is not considered a mass noun -- means that BLOATINGS is a valid nine-letter word!  (And so my earlier comment about it going begging was inaccurate.)

Nick: [invalid]

Scores: Nick 6 (24), James 6 (31), me 38

Round 6: Target 782 from 50 75 100 25 10 4

James goes for four large, which is always nice to see -- I think this is the most underappreciated of the options.  Richard notes that this mix has been chosen a few times recently. 

It turns up a tricky one, though, and James only manages to find 790.  Nick and I both have 784, the same way in fact: 784 = (75 + 4)*10 - (100 + 50)/25.  Lily says that she "couldn't do much better", leaving it unclear as to whether she got to within one or not.  With the seven points that Nick gets from this, he draws back level with James again.

It takes considerable fiddling around much later before I manage to find that dividing by ten is the key: 782 = 75*(100 + 4)/10 + 50/25.  Definitely a tough one to spot, but a technique that I've seen a few times with this mix and need to remember.

Nick: 784
James: 790
Me: 784

Scores: Nick 13 (31), James 6 (31), me 45

Second break: CULT POET ("I am just one; look for the seven others")

This clues OCTUPLET, which was particularly easy for me to find since I played along with a game of Countdown on YouTube earlier today, where the anagrams COUPLET/OCTUPLE were found by the contestants.

Round 7: T D R E I O S P E

I should have done better in this round -- certainly I was getting that nagging feeling about those first eight letters.  Alas.  Found TRIED, EDITOR, EDITORS, and RESPITE.  Wondered about RESPITED, but wasn't prepared to risk it; however, it is a verb as well as a noun, and RESPITED would have been 8.

Other words noted in extra time: EPODES, POISED, REPOSED (another noun/verb combination), and I finally put that nagging feeling to rest with RIPOSTED.  It has an anagram PERIDOTS, and I should also mention PERIODS as a decent seven in the mix.  (You'll see that each contestant found different seven-letter words again; it's a decent mix, really.)

The Macquarie doesn't accept REPOSTED, although it seems like a typical Internet word.  Maybe it will make an appearance in a future edition.  (It doesn't have POSTER as a verb, either, so POSTERED is out.  Chambers would allow it, however.)

David notes that Nick played STRIPED in an earlier game (his very first letters round, in fact).  And then reveals that he has found a nine in this mix, which I don't feel bad about missing: REPOSITED.


Scores: Nick 20 (38), James 13 (38), me 52

Round 8: 456 from 100 25 50 10 4 2

James shakes it up again, with three large this time -- definitely worth a shot.  But it fails to distinguish between them as they both get to one off with the same method: 455 = 4*100 + 50 + 10/2.

I got lost in various unprofitable lines, which basically boiled down to trying to get 456 = 6*76 to work.  No joy, and with time running out I fall back on the rather poor 460 = (4 + 2)*(100 - 25) + 10.

In extra time I go back to the nearby-multiple-of-ten approach that Lily espouses, and easily find the solution that she later demonstrates: 456 = (50 - 4)*10 - 100/25.  And just now, I see what is painfully obvious in hindsight: 456 = 4*(100 + 10 + 2 + 50/25).

Nick: 455
James: 455
Me: 460
Lily: 456

Scores: Nick 27 (45), James 20 (45), me 52


With the contestants locked together, this conundrum will decide their fate.  I'm a little slower than I feel I should have been on this, but I get the answer in around 8 to 9 seconds.  I thought it was going to go to a second conundrum, but with six seconds to go Nick finds the answer and makes it through to the next round, and he'll surely have been relieved about that one.

Nick: DESPERATE (24s)
James: [no answer]

Final scores: Nick 27 (55), James 20 (45), me 62

Some good and some bad here for me, but in the end a relatively comfortable victory.  I'll need to do better at the numbers if I want to deserve that, though.

Nick continues on strongly, with an average of just over 60 points a game.  If he can do that well on tomorrow's game, that might even be enough to see him through to the finals.


Mike Backhouse said...

COIN then OUNCE just after time
Lily and Geoff's way
PETERED (was not thinking about bridge but petered out. In any case, I'll take it!)
10*(75+4)-100/25=786 (4 off)
went straight for the 4*114 route : 4*(100+10+2+50/25)=456

Geoff Bailey said...

Oh, nice work to find PETERED there, Mike, even if it was not the intended sense.