Friday, 4 November 2011

Ep 310: Alex van der Kooij, Sujaya Parvathi (November 4, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

In his third night, Alex is revealed to be a keen cyclist.  He's been cycling for 70 years, and like Crockett Cooke from episode 302, has done the Great Victorian Bike Ride -- although presumably not on a tricycle!

Challenging Alex tonight is Sujaya Parvathi, a software developer with a degree in microbiology and genetics.  Richard thinks that it is an interesting combination, with software dealing with non-living computers, whereas biology by definition deals with the alive.

On the personal front, it's been a bad day today, and I'm not feeling in great form for this game.  It shows a couple of times, but neither contestant is having a very good game -- there's three invalid words declared, and only one valid target number (even that was five away from the target) -- and I run out to a comfortable victory.

Sujaya may perhaps have been a little overwhelmed by the filming process, as her only points came from two of Alex's three invalid answers.  In a low-scoring game Alex gets the conundrum to bring some respectability to his total (35 to 12), but I don't think either would be particularly satisfied with their performance.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: N S T E I O R W D

The game kicks off with a decent mix of letters, and many comparative and superlatives become available.  I've been investigating these recently, getting a bit of a better sense of which ones the Macquarie lists and which it doesn't.  It serves me reasonably here, as I find SENT / TENS, STEIN / TINES, ORIENTS, TOWNIES, DOWNIEST, WORDIEST.  There's a bunch of sevens here; my favourite is WEIRDOS, but it's also worth noting another word which comes up moderately often: STEROID, extendable to ASTEROID if an A arises.

Alex remarks that his eight is "very appropriate", because he has found WORDIEST; David then notes that it is an anagram of ROWDIEST and that he's been described as both.

Sujaya: DROWNS

Scores: Alex 8, Sujaya 0, me 8

Round 2: P S G I E A H O R

This one is a little awkward; the vowels are good, and the consonants aren't bad, but the whole is difficult to work together.  I found PIGS, GAPES / PAGES, PHAGES, PRAISE, PERISH, PARISH.  After time I noted GRAPHS, and finally found a seven: SOAPIER, a comparative instead of the superlatives from the last round.

Alex tries for HOPERS, but it's not there, so Sujaya gets on the board with HORSE.  But David has an eight to declare, and APHORISE gets the honours.  Two other eights are ISOGRAPH and ESOPHAGI.  Despite my difficulties, there were also a few findable sevens, such as GOPHERS, HARPIES, SHARPIE (a type of boat, not the marker!), and gardeners might find ROSEHIP.

(Actually, HARPIES is an edge case, and I'm not sure how the rules would handle it.  It is listed as capitalised, with the explicit plural given.  It also has a lowercase entry, but without the explicit plural.  Since the plural involves a spelling shift, it does need to be listed to be allowed.  So best to remember that SHARPIE is a valid anagram of it.)

As usual, I think that the fourth vowel was gone for too early, and a consonant would have been the way to go.  T or N would free up the mix somewhat, and in fact would give full monties of GRAPHITES or RESHAPING.  (Other potential nines, a little harder to find, are R for SERIGRAPH, and P for EPIGRAPHS.)

Alex: [invalid]
Sujaya: HORSE

Scores: Alex 8, Sujaya 0 (5), me 14

Round 3: Target 473 from 75 5 7 5 6 10

An easy exercise for a bit of tweaking -- the nearest multiple of 75 is 450, which requires adjusting by 23.  It's not hard to see that 23 = 6*5 - 7, and thus to the solution 473 = 6*(75 + 5) - 7.  Or one could go with the factorisation: it's not hard to see that 11 is a factor.  Easy way to see it: The outer two digits sum to the middle one.  In such cases, removing that middle digit gives the result of dividing by 11, so 473 = 11*43, and we can find the solution from only the small numbers: 473 = (5*10 - 7)*(5 + 6).  (Note that not all multiples of 11 have that property, but numbers with that property are all multiples of 11.)

Sujaya is unable to get anywhere, and Alex declares 473 = 6*75 + 5*7 - 5 - 7, but this uses the seven twice and does not count.  Lily demonstrates the first solution above.

Another approach tweaks downward from 525 instead: The difference is 52, which is 10 + 42, leading to 473 = 7*(75 - 6) - 10.

Alex: [invalid]
Sujaya: [no answer]
Me: 473
Lily: 473

Scores: Alex 8, Sujaya 0 (5), me 24

First break: CRUST TAB ("One of the basic principles of maths")

A simple clue for SUBTRACT.

David's talk is about rhyming slang, apparently the first of three word stories.  He says it is about the origins of rhyming slang, but mostly just gives many examples of it with their intended meanings.

Round 4: B M A O E T L I R

Another set of letters that feel like it should be more helpful than it is, particularly with the -ABLE ending there.  I get BEAM, BLOAT, TABLE, BORATE (and later, feel silly for seeing this and missing BROMATE), and consider MOTLIER and BLOATIER.  Neither feels right (later checking confirms that they aren't), so I have to settle for six here.

Further word-finding after time gives RAMBLE, MORALE, BLOATER (a herring or mackerel prepared in a certain way, apparently; not being aware of that definition, I wouldn't have chanced it), BOILER, TAILOR, RETAIL, MOBILE, and finally a seven I'm OK with -- another comparative: BALMIER.

Sujaya declares a seven, but her choice of BIOLATE bemuses everyone, and is not valid.  Some online compilations of current slang suggest that it might mean "to violate someone with your biological fluids", but it's not in regular dictionaries at this point.  Or perhaps this was a simple case of a mishearing and she had declared VIOLATE, but there is no V, of course.  Either way, it's not allowed.

Alex gets the point with another six, and David finds ORBITAL, remarking that "what goes around, comes around".  Two other nice sevens are EMBROIL and TEMBLOR.

Sujaya: [invalid]

Scores: Alex 14, Sujaya 0 (5), me 30

Round 5: S X D M U E A S U

Yuck, two U's and an X.  MUD, DAMES (missing MUSED), EXAMS, MASSED.  After time I add AMUSED, but fail to find sevens.  One of the words David points out has come up a few times, and I've yet to spot it: MEDUSAS (MEDUSAE is also an acceptable pluralisation), which are jellyfish.

Sujaya: USED

Scores: Alex 14 (19), Sujaya 0 (5), me 36

Round 6: Target 435 from 25 75 1 6 4 1

With the nearest multiple of 75 being 450, the question is how to get that remaining 15.  Using the 25 and a little tweaking gives one solution: 435 = 6*(75 + 1) + 4 - 25.  Pulling out factors (3 and 5 are easy to spot) tells us that 435 = 29*15, and a little thought leads to an alternative solution: 435 = (25 + 4)*(75 / (6 - 1)).

Alex declares 432, but his solution of 432 = (25 + 75 + 6)*4 + 4*(1 + 1) uses the 4 twice and is invalid; putting the 1's inside the brackets would have saved him, alas.  With that approach invalid, Sujaya scores with her 430 = 75*6 - (25 - (4 + 1)).

Lily uses the same approach as my first solution.

Alex: [invalid]
Sujaya: 430
Me: 435
Lily: 435

Scores: Alex 14 (19), Sujaya 0 (12), me 46

Second break: DEPOT COS ("It can tell you where you live")

Not too hard to find POSTCODE in that mix.

Round 7: P R C D A E A N O

CARD, CARP, CARPED, PARADE, OPERAND, and considered its anagram APRONED (not valid, as it turns out).  After-time thinking produced DEACON, PARDON, and another anagram of OPERAND: PADRONE.

Alex finds a six, and Sujaya's choose of NODER would have been invalid even if it had counted.  David finds the eight of ENDOCARP, helpfully noting that it is "the inner layer of the pericarp".

Another nice seven is PANDORA (with alternative spelling PANDORE also allowed -- yet another anagram of OPERAND), being itself an alternative spelling of BANDORE, a type of lute.

Sujaya: [invalid]

Scores: Alex 14 (25), Sujaya 0 (12), me 53

Round 8: Target 861 from 100 75 7 3 4 7

I fall into the trap of fixating on working down from 875, since it is 14 away from the target and there's a pair of sevens, and also because 875 can be easily formable (I've remarked about this before in round 6 of episode 308); in this case I'd hoped to be able to use 875 = 5*175.  But getting a five proves difficult, and my attempt to rescue it uses up a precious 7, leaving me three away: 864 = (75/3 + 100)*7 - 7 - 4.

In post-time consideration I see the multiple-of-ten approach gets me to 860 = (3 + 7)*(75 + 4 + 7).  If only I had thought more carefully about what I was doing there I might have found Lily's excellent solution of 861 = (7 + 3)*75 + 100 + 4 + 7.

Sujaya only has "close to 900", and Alex has nothing to declare either, rounding out a pretty unfortunate set of number rounds for this game.

Alex: [no answer]
Sujaya: [not in range]
Me: 864
Lily: 861

Scores: Alex 14 (25), Sujaya 0 (12), me 60


Alex finds the solution to the conundrum this time; I pause the video and continue.  I think I got it just barely before time ran out, but I can't claim it with certainty.  Regardless, Alex comfortably got there first.

Interesting choice of words -- I'd be tempted by CRAVE IRON, but perhaps a little too hinty.

Alex: CARNIVORE (12s)
Sujaya: [no answer]
Me: CARNIVORE (~28s)

Final scores: Alex 24 (35), Sujaya 0 (12), me 60

No full monty in this game, so the Clayton's grand slam goes begging, alas.  I don't feel too happy with how I went, but an easy game was what I needed today so that was a relief.  Not sure how long I'll be able to keep this winning streak up but I'd hate to lose it due to personal events.


Margaret Backhouse said...

Mike here.

6*(75+10-7)+5=473 (bit over time)
TIMBER and did not risk BLOATER sadly
4*(25+75+6+1+1)=432 (4 off)
4*3*75-7*7=851 (10 off)

Trevor Halsall said...

Round 4 has LABORITE.

Geoff Bailey said...

Although LABORITE is in the Macquarie, it is only listed with a capital letter (and thus ineligible).