Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Ep 313: Colin Jones, Timothy Clarke (November 9, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

As indicated by Lily at the end of last night's episode, today is David Astle's birthday, his fiftieth in fact.  Happy birthday, David!

Colin is back for his third night; we learn that in addition to being a keen traveller, he is also fond of many sports.  Not quite 39, though!  He describes himself more as a jack of all trades, master of none type, but does mention two activities that are presumably his current favourite: Kayaking around Manly and the Sydney Harbour, and beach volleyball.  These certainly fit in well with the fact that he lives next to a beach.

Challenging Colin today is Timothy Clarke, a secondary school English and Media teacher, whose passion is performing and singing.  So much so that he has even written a cabaret, a one-man show (well, plus a pianist) that he is presumably hoping to put on soon.

Timothy seems to have a definite word advantage over Colin, and soon forges ahead.  He struggles with the numbers, however, and Colin gains some ground back.  But Colin ends up too far behind going into a conundrum round that neither contestant solves, and Timothy wins, 34 to 19.

I had trouble getting clear of Timothy in this game, in part because of round 2 (read the details there).  It was only his failure in the numbers that gave me a commanding lead, and with a late conundrum solve the final scoreline flatters me more than it should.  This had potential to be my first 80-point game since I started this blog, but I missed the key full monty.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: Y S E U L R O I G

The Y is a mildly awkward start to things, but the rest is passable.  I had RULES / LURES, SURELY, SOURLY, ORIELS, GLORIES, and LOUSIER.  I kept cycling back to RELIGIOUSLY, despite it reusing letters, and that hampered the search for any longer words, but also pondered LURGIES.  Playing it safe, I went with GLORIES, as that had been used recently.

The fourth vowel worked out all right but a consonant instead (N) would have given the eight of LOUNGERS.  David declares LURGIES here, which is a bit of an edge case as it turns out.  LURGY (David notes that it is a word invented by Spike Milligan) is not listed with an explicit plural, so by the show's rules LURGIES would not be valid (since inflected forms that require spelling shifts must be explicitly listed).  However, the entry does list an acceptable variant of LURGI; the rules say that plurals formed by adding S or ES need not be explicitly listed.  So this scrapes through on a different technicality to the one which would have excluded it, but raises the question of what makes LURGIES all right here but CORGIES invalid.

Still, at least it wasn't LORRIES.  There's a mess waiting to happen if it ever arises.

As it turns out, there is actually an eight here: RUGOSELY.  (RUGOSE means wrinkled; I'm not sure how to construct a sentence that would use RUGOSELY in a meaningul way, but it is explicitly listed and that's what counts here.)

Timothy: GLORIES

Scores: Colin 0, Timothy 7, me 7

Round 2: N D A E C T I N O

OK, this round hurts a lot; it's actually an exact repeat (although in a different order) of one I've seen on Countdown, but I didn't recall all the key details.  This time, I found DANCE and CANTED, and when the N hit I had a problem.  The letters spell INCANTED, which I'd also found in that episode (and one of the contestants successfully declared it, too).  But I'd checked the Macquarie, and I knew that it wasn't listed.  Frustrating!  Then the O compounded the problem, because I'd done exactly the same thing with ACTIONED.

Flustered by this, I spend too much time cursing the dictionary and my search for at least a seven is unsuccessful.  (I'm apparently too at a loss to see ACONITE or INTONED, although they are easy finds afterwards.)  I toss up between declaring a six which I'm sure won't be good enough, or an eight that I know is invalid but may make me look hard done by, and decide that I might well have gone with the latter after all (silly, I know, but there it is), and select INCANTED, avoiding ACTIONED so that I don't pay off on any buzzword bingo.  All in all, this is extremely bizarre on my part.

Colin declares a six, so I would have been better off taking the six against him; Timothy declares an eight of ACTIONED, and I prepare to feel smug for at least knowing that my eight was invalid.  And then... David says that the verb sense is listed, and ACTIONED is fine.  Colour me gobsmacked.  I check more thoroughly than I did last time, apparently, and find the verb entries (17 and 18 out of 22, about four and a half inches down from the start in the six inches of definition) lurking there after all.  So not only had I checked those two eights ahead of time, and remembered the results, but I'd also failed to properly check when I did that.  Furthermore, I'd gone with the one which I knew wasn't even an entry, rather than the one which at least had its stem word listed.  All because I didn't want to use a buzzword.

But wait, it gets worse.  David remarks to Richard that it's his birthday and he couldn't contain himself on this round, and I mentally head-desk as I see what David is alluding to, and recall that, why, yes, that round did have a full monty found by the dictionary corner: CONTAINED.  This is a mess completely of my own making, and I'm fortunate that it only puts me eight points behind.

As an aside, there are some other eights in this mix: CANTONED, ANOINTED, and ANTINODE.

Me: [invalid]

Scores: Colin 0, Timothy 15, me 7

Round 3: Target 988 from 100 8 8 1 1 3

Ouch.  Huge target, and the duplication of the numbers (including two ones) is going to make this very difficult.  It would be nice to preserve one 8 and make it as 98*10 + 8, but the numbers just don't work out for that.  There's an easy 990 = (100 - 1)*(8 + 3 - 1), though.  I go with multiplying by ten to get one off, with 989 = (8 + 1 + 1)*100 - 8 - 3.

Colin finds that 989, and Timothy has 992.  That suggests that he went via 10*100 and subtracted 8, and depending on how he formed the 10 he should have had a 1 or a 3 left over to further subtract.  Perhaps he just ran out of time?

Lily says she also got to 989.  Further tinkering afterwards fails to turn up an exact match, and a later computer search shows it to be impossible.  We have our first impossible numbers of the series!

Colin: 989
Timothy: 992
Me: 989
Lily: 989

Scores: Colin 7, Timothy 15, me 14

First break: CLUB PAIN ("He's able to serve you drinks")

Legally able, that is: a PUBLICAN.

David's talk is about names for winds, and in particular for a hot drying wind that Melbourne has during summer.  It used to have no name, and then the Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society held a competition to come up with a name for it.  The eventual winner, as a counterpart to Sydney's southerly buster, was the northerly duster.

Round 4: E F R O H A K P U

Yeesh, what a mix.  FORE (preparing for it as a prefix, but this one time I see it there's no use for it), FAKER, OPERA.  No-one can do better than five, and I really don't understand what Timothy was doing choosing a vowel.  Was he hoping for an E and FOREPEAK?  Good vision if so, but otherwise... this gets back to an issue I've had with contestant choices before when the consonants get awkward: The cure for unhelpful consonants is not more vowels; it is better consonants.  (The next consonant, T, would have at least allowed an easy six of FATHER.)

After time I find POKER, but no six.  If that K were a C (an odd counterfactual, really, but bear with me) then there'd be a nice eight of FAROUCHE (meaning fierce).  The Macquarie does list PHREAKER, but not PHREAK, which seems a little inconsistent.

There is one valid six, though: The very obscure UPHROE, an alternative spelling of EUPHROE, a Dutch nautical term for a piece of word with holes in it for small lines to be drawn through, supporting an awning.  An esoteric word to be sure, and anyone who found that in this mix would surely intimidate their opposition.

Colin: FREAK
Timothy: POKER

Scores: Colin 12, Timothy 20, me 19

Round 5: T S D R E M I A B

A much more cooperative set of letters this time.  REST, MERITS / TIMERS (looks like I overlooked TERMS), and when that A appeared I had that nagging feeling that I'd seen that combination before and it formed a word.  The B brought a familiar BRAISED into play, and I could concentrate on searching for an eight, but I couldn't get it.

In extra time I find some other sevens -- TIMBERS, SMARTED, MAESTRI -- and finally twig to the eight that I was trying to recall: READMITS.  Later searching turns up another 8 that I am annoyed at missing, as it's a word I mentally noted a while back for its potential: TRIBADES (lesbians).

David notes that if the final letter had been an M instead then another full monty would have been available: MIDSTREAM.  Even so, he finds another eight, while Colin drops worryingly far behind with a six-letter word.

Timothy: BRAISED

Scores: Colin 12, Timothy 27, me 26

Round 6: Target 768 from 100 5 9 1 10 1

Richard makes a pun about musical numbers, and Timothy, like Adrian back in episode 309, feels that a teacher should choose the "classroom" mix of 1 small and five large.  The target is a little high, and those double ones make another worrying appearance.  This could be my chance to take the lead, as the early indication is that Timothy is not solid on the numbers.

The computer programmer in me notices that 768 = 3*256, but that doesn't seem to lead to a solution.  (Turn a one into a two and it would, as 3*256 = 6*128 = (5 + 1)*(100 + 2*9 + 10).  Yes, I know this is wishful thinking.)  Instead, I decide to work there from the nearest multiple of 100 and am a little surprised that it falls out very neatly: 768 = (9 - 1)*(100 - (5 - 1)).

Neither Colin nor Timothy is able to get anywhere on this one, which is bad news for Colin.  A little surprising, too, since he's usually decent at getting in range.  It feels like 760 = (9 - 1)*100 - (5 - 1)*10 should have been findable, and those five points would have given him the barest of chances going into the conundrum.

Lily, reliable as ever, has the above solution.

Colin: [not in range]
Timothy: [not in range]
Me: 768
Lily: 768

Scores: Colin 12, Timothy 27, me 36

Second break: BASIN OAR ("Grazed atom")

Atom is a pretty weak clue for the ION part of ABRASION.  Richard sells it convincingly, though.

Round 7: G I E A R L F B D

This was short enough: RAGE / GEAR, LARGE / REGAL, and FRAGILE.  Further searching gave ABRIDGE, and I should note that BRIGADE and FRIABLE are also there for seven.

Colin errs with the non-word FLAIRED, and the Timothy becomes uncatchable when GARBLED proves to be anything but.

Colin: [invalid]
Timothy: GARBLED

Scores: Colin 12, Timothy 34, me 43

Round 8: Target 835 from 25 75 3 10 9 5

Timothy remarks that the students were a bit rebellious last time, so he'll try a safer "family" mix this time (two large and four small).  I'm hoping to outdo him this round so that I'll have a safe conundrum, and when I see the mix I like my chances.  As devotees of the show know, 75*11 is 825 so it's just a matter of saving the 10 and forming the 11.  In short order I have 835 = 75*(9 + 5 - 3) + 10.  There's an alternative 835 = 75*(25 - 9 - 5) + 10, too.

Timothy has nothing to declare again, while Colin finds 830 = 10*75 + 3*25 + 5.  This was a bit of a roundabout way to get to 11*75, making another 75 from 3*25.  But oddly he overlooked that he could add 9 instead of 5 to be a mere one off: 834 = 10*75 + 3*25 + 9.

Lily finds a solution that probably has them both thinking they should have seen it: 835 = (75 + 9)*10 - 5.

Colin: [not in range]
Timothy: [not in range]
Me: 835
Lily: 835

Scores: Colin 12 (19), Timothy 34, me 53


Down to the conundrum, and I've got my safe margin.  Just as well, I feel, because I struggle to get anywhere with this mix.  Ironically, focusing on the awkward letters finally gets me there: GHP can be merged into GRAPH, and the answer falls out, quite late.  Neither contestant finds it, however, and Timothy wins his first game with 34 points.

Colin: [no answer]
Timothy: [no answer]

Final scores: Colin 12 (19), Timothy 34, me 63

This wasn't a great game for me, but at least I kept my head after the schmozzle that was round 2, and gained it back in the numbers rounds (unlike some of the early episodes, 301 in particular).  Timothy's points only came from the five letter rounds; it seems likely that he'll have to do better than that if he is to continue on.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

Started off ok and then went downhill from there.

CONTAINED (a rare fully monty from me)
(8+1+1)*100-8-3=989 (1 off)
(9-1)*(100-5+1)=768 (went over time)
9*(25+75-5-3)+10=838 (3 off)