Monday, 21 November 2011

Ep 321: Daniel Chua, Philip McNally (November 21, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Disclaimer: I attended the filming of this show some months back; obviously this may lead to me recollecting some solutions that eluded me at the time, and my scoreline is not necessarily a fair one.

Tonight we find out that Daniel is hoping to major in mathematics and Japanese.  When asked why that combination, he responds that mathematics is close to his heart -- he really does like it a lot.  That certainly meets with my approval!  As for Japanese, Daniel talks about the difference in cultural perspective: Japan is a culture that really embraces maths, or as he puts it: Mathematicians are cool in Japan!  He makes mention of TV shows about physicists solving crimes using mathematics, which he says is unique; that's not the most clear-cut claim given that NUMB3RS has a very similar synopsis, but I can certainly believe that the shows are vastly different.

Challenging Daniel is Philip McNally, a logistics manager who hopes to represent Australia in lawn bowls.  He's been playing for three years now, and loves the team aspect in particular.  He tried to qualify for the Australian Open last year and only just missed out.  Richard brings up the perception that bowls is only for retirees, remarking that it's not actually the case.  Philip agrees, saying that there are many young players nowadays, and it's a good game for them because they are fearless.  Philip's son is very good at it, but won't take it up because he says it is social suicide -- Philip hopes to talk him around eventually.

As I mentioned in the post about becoming a contestant, I met both Daniel and Philip that day.  I didn't get that much of a chance to chat with Daniel once the filming started, but he did a great job of putting us new contestants at our ease, displaying a wonderful attitude.  I was able to have more of a chat with Philip, which I also enjoyed.  Overall, what characterises the show for me is how pleasant everyone was; everyone hoped to do well, but I didn't perceive any aggressive competitive streaks.

Daniel manages to outdo Philip in early letters rounds, and an invalid word can't hold him back.  With a perfect effort on the numbers Daniel is comfortably uncatchable by the time the conundrum rolls around; neither can solve it, and the final score is 56 to 30.

I have a suspicion that I might have actually done better when I was in the audience.  There was definitely an eight that I missed this time that I found then, and a more obvious seven than the disputable one that I had for one round.  Sadly, I didn't keep my jottings; I wish that I had, now.  In any case, my recollection is that I won from the audience, and I did so again this time.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: T P C I U E N W A

The consonants aren't the most meshing group, but there's a seven that comes up every so often.  I found PUCE, PETUNIA, AUNTIE, PECTIN, and would have liked to turn the W upside-down for PNEUMATIC.

Daniel and Philip start with matching fives, and David has the seven.  He notes that it comes from the Gurani language, and means tobacco, because the petunia has very similar leaves to the tobacco plant.

Another seven worth remembering in this mix is TUNICAE, plural of TUNICA, which matches the anatomic, zoologic, or botanic meanings of TUNIC (in these contexts, a membranous cover or natural integument).

Daniel: PAINT
Philip: PAINT

Scores: Daniel 0 (5), Philip 0 (5), me 7

Round 2: S E R G I U N T C

The -ING fragment pops up early here, but neither contestant uses it.  That's been disturbingly common in episodes so far; it really should just grab the attention and demand to be used.  Anyway, I found ERGS, RIGS, GUISE, INSURE, RESTING, CRUSTING.  After time I add CRESTING, and RESCUING, although I am moderately sure that I am recalling RESCUING from David noting it at the filming.

Philip has a five, while Daniel gets an early lead with a six.  David gives the expected lecture about using -ING as there are several eights to be found by using it.  He mentions RESCUING and its anagram SECURING; I'll add that there is a third anagram of it: RECUSING.

Daniel: URGENT
Philip: SURGE

Scores: Daniel 0 (11), Philip 0 (5), me 15

Round 3: Target 441 from 50 3 2 9 7 2

Daniel enjoyed Kane's "excursion" choices from last week, and continues in that vein.  The target is not challenging, but I note that 441 is 21 squared, which means lots of factors.  I start with 441 = 9*7*(3 + 2 + 2), then 441 = 9*(50 - 2/2), and finally the more prosaic 441 = 9*50 - 7 - 2.  I'm sure there's many other methods, too, but three was enough within time.

Everyone was on target, and give solutions from the above.  Daniel and Philip have the third of them, while Lily used the second.  Amusingly, we both thought that 2/2 was a more obvious way to get the required 1 than 3 - 2.

Daniel: 441
Philip: 441
Me: 441
Lily: 441

Scores: Daniel 10 (21), Philip 10 (15), me 25

First break: MINUS DOT ("To come down off your high horse")

A simple enough clue for DISMOUNT.

David's talk is about ketchup, or more specifically the origin of the word.  He gives the etymology of it coming from the Chinese kê-chiap meaning "brine of pickled fish", via the Dutch kecap.  This isn't a universally agreed-upon etymology; the Wikipedia page has some information about competing theories.  Speaking personally, I don't find the European-Arabic theory very compelling given the contexts in which the word is first cited, and the other theories may all go back to Chinese roots, so I'm happy to accept David's explanation.  It's quite a way, flavour-wise, from pickled fish to tomato ketchup, though!

Round 4: G E D I L A S T S

OK, this round is definitely evidence that I haven't been completely influenced by attending the filming.  I found GLIDE, GLIDES, SAILED, SILAGES, and GLASSED.  I have a niggling feeling that GLASSED was a word I was recalling rather than finding, though, so I declared SILAGES.  After time I find the much more straightforward DETAILS, GLISSADE (definitely a memory, that one), and DELISTS.  I'm pretty sure that at the filming I used DETAILS.

Philip has a safe six, but Daniel has the risky seven of GLASSED.  It's not risky, though, as GLASS is a verb with a couple of meanings (to cover with glass, or to attack someone with a broken bottle).  David mentions "glassed ceiling", but I think he'd have trouble defending that under the shows restrictions as GLASSED is not explicitly listed as an adjective.

David points out the ballet term here, which always makes him think of his daughter: GLISSADE.

I'm not sure if SILAGES would have been accepted; a surface reading is that SILAGE should be a mass noun, but the Macquarie isn't that good at labelling them and the show has a very lenient attitude to pluralisation.  I'm scoring it as though it counts; fortunately it does not affect any results.

Some other valid sevens are GLASSIE (an anagram of SILAGES), LIGATES, LIGATED, DIGESTS, and DILATES.

Philip: LASTED

Scores: Daniel 17 (28), 10 (15), me 32

Round 5: H O E E B N P R H

This round goes counter to my claim that the cure for bad consonants is more consonants; the I would have allowed PHONIER or HIPBONE for seven, for instance.  Then again, a second H was quite bad luck.

It was no surprise to struggle with these letters.  I had HONE, BONE, PHONE, toyed with PHONER (rejected, and rightly so), PROBE, OPENER, and rejected REPHONE.  I think the only reason it came to mind at all was a hazy memory of Daniel selecting it as his very risky guess.  Tactically, it was an excellent time to do it -- he was only likely to lose five points, and might have gained seven.  I think it was still too risky to try, but hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

In any case, Daniel's choice of REPHONE is deemed invalid and Philip gets five points.

A couple of other sixes available were REOPEN and HEREON.

Daniel: [invalid]
Philip: PHONE

Scores: Daniel 17 (28), Philip 10 (20), me 38

Round 6: Target 800 from 25 50 8 2 4 4

Wow, that has got to be one of the easiest multiplicative targets ever.  So many ways to get the 8, 16, or 32 that one wants to multiply by.  Everyone has 800 = 8*2*50 in some order; I wrote down some alternatives, but I won't even bother listing them here.

Daniel: 800
Philip: 800
Me: 800
Lily: 800

Scores: Daniel 27 (38), Philip 20 (30), me 48

Second break: TEAM DASH ("Found in a newspaper, not in a ship")

Reasonably direct to get MASTHEAD from this.

Round 7: I A O T R N M T C

Oh, dear.  This is definite evidence about me not remembering everything.  I see RATIO, RATION, and ACTION.  I think about TRACTION, but somehow mentally declare it invalid -- maybe it was the two T's?    So I end up with just a six to declare.  After time runs out I re-check and see that TRACTION is fine; a shame I didn't at least write it down.  I also see what I'm sure I had in the audience: ROMANTIC.

Daniel has found the confident eight of TRACTION, leaving Philip and myself languishing on six.

Philip: MATRON

Scores: Daniel 35 (46), Philip 20 (30), me 48

Round 8: Target 326 from 4 5 4 6 10 2

Philip needs to get seven or ten unanswered points here, so he tries to shake things up with six small.  A worthy attempt, but the target is a bit low to pose a challenge with such mid-range numbers.  I start by tweaking my way there with 326 = 6*(5*10 + 4) + 2, and then find the perhaps simpler 326 = 4*4*2*10 + 6.

Both contestants declare 326, which leaves Philip needing Daniel to have an invalid answer.  But it's Philip with the error, as he re-uses the six, trying 326 = (6*5 + 2)*10 +... six.  Daniel is on target with my second solution, as is Lily.

Seen while writing this up is a more complicated way to get that needed 32 without the 6: 326 = (4*(5 + 2) + 4)*10 + 6.

Daniel: 326
Philip: [invalid]
Me: 326
Lily: 326

Scores: Daniel 45 (56), Philip 20 (30), me 58


I find the answer in 8 seconds, although the disclaimer kicks in seriously here.  On the other hand, thinking about it afterward I am fairly sure that I did get it at the time, and neither contestant does.

Daniel: [no answer]
Philip: [no answer]

Final scores: Daniel 45 (56), Philip 20 (30), me 68

Two fairly easy numbers rounds made it hard to compensate for difficulties with the letters, and Philip succumbs piece-by-piece to Daniel's longer words.  Aside from round 2, where the -ING was shamefully underused, it was a particularly good performance from Daniel.

It's hard to know how to judge this effort on my part.  Somehow thinking that TRACTION was invalid was a big error, and stopped another score in the 70's.  On the other hand, SILAGES might not be OK, which would also limit it.  Overall I'll call it a passable result.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

everyone's way
Lily's way