Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Ep 323: Daniel Chua, Mitchell Fly (November 23, 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.

I suspect Daniel was running short of things to talk about, as Richard asks him if he has picked up any techniques from his previous four appearances.  Daniel responds that he hasn't in the letters rounds, but for the numbers rounds he's come to like the "classroom" mix because the five small numbers provide some intricacies, while the large number helps get to larger targets.

Mitchell Fly is today's challenger, a year 12 student who is also studying mathematics part time at university.  He is asked how he balances that workload, and says that it was difficult at first because he was trying to keep up with all the work from school and university; then he learned just to do the assignments for university and that was much easier.  I admit to being a bit bemused by this statement, as I'm not sure whether he is saying that he has avoided some schoolwork, or some non-assignment university work.  It seems to be working out for him, anyway.

Mitchell was pleasantly engaging during the group conversations in the green room.  My memory of conversational specifics is long gone, alas.

It's a fairly close game, although low-scoring.  The lead switches back and forth, with Mitchell's superior performance in the numbers giving him an edge; Daniel proves slightly more adept at the letters, however, and manages to solve the conundrum for a narrow 36 to 33 victory.

I definitely had some strong memories of this episode, but nothing that is likely to have affected the scoreline (except possibly avoiding an eight not listed).  It was another case of solving a conundrum more quickly than I did at the time, but my recollection again is of solving it ahead of Daniel during the filming.  With perfect numbers rounds, and letters rounds going as well as they could, this was a very easy victory.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: R H M D O E I F C

I found HOMED, HOMER, FORMED, CHOIRED, HEIRDOM, CHROMED, and pondered CHIEFDOM.  This pretty much matches my audience effort, except that I hadn't heard of HEIRDOM back then, which is the seven that David found.  During a break when he asked the audience if they had anything better I suggested CHIEFDOM, which he agreed was a word but turned out not to be in the Macquarie (it is in the Chambers).  So this time I definitely knew to avoid it; I may or may not have settled on it originally.

Mitchell starts off with a five, and Daniel is relatively confident about a comparative that seemed risky to me.  It gets the nod, though, and he starts off ahead.

Another seven in this mix is DORMICE.

Daniel: HOMIER
Mitchell: CRIED

Scores: Daniel 0 (6), Mitchell 0, me 7

Round 2: O A D G T B E I R

A great many sevens in this mix.  I probably spent too long writing them down and not enough time looking for longer, but fortunately seven was the limit.  GOAD, TOAD, BOATED, DOTAGE, BRIGADE / ABRIDGE, BORATED / ABORTED, ORBITED, TRIBADE.

This time it's Daniel with the five and Mitchell with a six, and the scores are tied.

Some other sevens to be found are BIGOTED and GODETIA.  There's a contemporary slang usage that hasn't made it into the Macquarie yet, but would yield an eight: BOGARTED.  (BOGART: To selfishly or greedily keep something to oneself.  e.g., "Stop bogarting the chips."  I first encountered this usage in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, although I'd be hard put to say which one.)

Daniel: TRIAD
Mitchell: BADGER

Scores: Daniel 0 (6), Mitchell 0 (6), me 14

Round 3: Target 344 from 100 6 7 1 7 6

Daniel sticks with his newly-favourite choice, but repeated small numbers signify danger.  And it does turn out to be a pretty tricky task, but manageable.  I found the solution that Lily later used: 344 = 7*100/(7 + 1 - 6) - 6.  If you know your powers it's pretty easy to get one off; 343 is seven cubed, and thus 343 = 7*7*(6 + 1).  Both contestants are defeated by it, though, ending up well away from the target.

Daniel: [not in range]
Mitchell: [not in range]
Me: 344
Lily: 344

Scores: Daniel 0 (6), Mitchell 0 (6), me 24

First break: OBOE RAFT ("Naked imperial length")

Cluing each half of BAREFOOT.

David's talk is about words that are essentially used only by Tasmanians.  He cites "yaffle" (to talk quickly and meaninglessly), "nointer" (a brat, someone who deserves anointing -- in this case a euphemism for being hit on the head), "dobble" (to walk along a riverbank trawling a fishing lure), "badger box" (vernacular for a rough shack), and "inchmen" (stinging ants).

Three of them are in the Macquarie: yaffle, nointer, and badger box.  No sign of dobble or inchmen, although I wonder if that last is a corruption of ichneumon.

Round 4: U A E S M P T F I

I'm glad to see that fourth vowel this time, as it frees things up somewhat.  AMUSE, IMPASTE / PASTIME, UPTIMES / IMPUTES.  (There's another nice anagram of that: IMPETUS.)

It's another six-five round, with Daniel having the six.

Daniel: FIESTA
Mitchell: TAMES

Scores: Daniel 0 (12), Mitchell 0 (6), me 31

Round 5: O E I S C L R S A

Richard notes that the words have been pretty short so far, and predicts that a full monty is clearly about to happen.

I found CLOSE, RECOILS, CARIOLES / CALORIES, and CLASSIER.  CARIOLES (which has an accepted variant with a double-R, incidentally) was one of those words I'd especially noted not long before the filming -- it had come up on a Countdown episode and seemed quite handy.  (When I asked David about it during a break, he wasn't sure it was in the Macquarie but invited me to look it up -- I'm afraid I may have made a nuisance of myself with several word queries at a time when he just wanted to go and get lunch -- but he noted that CALORIES would be fine.  Clearly I remembered this remark, and CARIOLES is valid.)

So I was pleased to see that A turn up, but note that choosing a consonant instead would have given a D for DISCLOSER.  Richard's prediction very nearly came true!

Both contestants step up a notch with the seven of SCALIER and David has another eight of LACROSSE, which makes me think of Enid Blyton's "The Naughtiest Girl" series; reading those was the first time I'd heard of the sport, I think.

Another eight worth noting here is SOLARISE.

Mitchell: SCALIER

Scores: Daniel 0 (19), Mitchell 0 (13), me 39

Round 6: Target 172 from 50 2 8 8 3 5

Mitchell also sticks with the five small option; the very low target is much more approachable.  I start with 172 = 2*50 + 8*3*(8 - 5), and then shift tacks with 172 = 3*(50 + 2) + 8 + 8.  After time I list another of 172 = 3*(50 + 8 + 2) - 8.

Daniel has 166 -- I can only guess that he ran out of time, as 166 = 3*50 + 2*8 is easily improved upon (not that we know if that was what he did) -- but Mitchell has the target, with 172 = (8 - 5)*50 + 3*8 - 2.  A little tweaking would save a number with 172 = 3*(50 + 8) - 2, but the important thing is that Mitchell has ten points and moves ahead again.

Lily and I are on the same track, as she uses the first solution I had.  That 72 really did stand out to our eyes.

Daniel: 166
Mitchell: 172
Me: 172
Lily: 172

Scores: Daniel 0 (19), Mitchell 10 (23), me 49

Second break: GRIN HEFT ("To cook your nerves")

Richard explains that the 'cook' part of the clue was meant to indicate the 'fry' sound of FRIGHTEN.  Note that the -ING does not yield the longest word here; -IGHT is a worthwhile fragment to keep in mind.

Round 7: O E O D N T G D E

The repeated letters are an indicator of trouble ahead.  I find DONE / NODE, NOTED / TONED, and DENOTED.  That's basically all there is, but Daniel finds it while Mitchell sticks with six and the lead shifts once more.

Mitchell: DENTED

Scores: Daniel 7 (26), Mitchell 10 (23), me 56

Round 8: Target 522 from 25 50 6 3 9 8

I spot the divisibility by 9, and the solution is easy: 522 = 9*(50 + 8), with 58 making another appearance.  Not surprisingly, Lily also finds this, and impresses the show with her brevity.

After time I looked for a more traditional approach (get to 525, then subtract the three).  I found 522 = 25*(6 + 8 + 9) - 50 - 2, but just now it occurs to me that 525 should be recognised from the 75-times tables, and so 522 = (50 + 25)*(6 + 9 - 8) - 3.  It feels a little familiar, so it's possible that this was the solution I came up with while in the audience.

Daniel has 519 this time, but Mitchell is on target again, finding 522 = (9 - 6 + 8)*50 - 25 - 3.  The lead changes once more, and Mitchell takes a seven-point advantage into the conundrum.

Daniel: 519
Mitchell: 522
Me: 522
Lily: 522

Scores: Daniel 7 (26), Mitchell 20 (33), me 66


I spot this one pretty quickly, which does suggest that my conundrum memory is kicking in again.  In the event, my recollection is of finding it first during the filming, so I'm OK with claiming it.  As time goes on, it looks like Mitchell might win, but Daniel finds the answer just over halfway through time, and the lead changes for a final time.

I've just noted as I'm writing this that Mitchell is left-handed, freeing him up to both write and hover his hand over the buzzer at the same time.  Not that it assisted him in this instance.

Daniel: CAPTIVATE (17s)
Mitchell: [no answer]

Final scores: Daniel 7 (36), Mitchell 20 (33), me 76

A very close game, with only two rounds not leading to a change in placings.  When it came down to it, though, marginally better word performance beat out superior number performance, although it wasn't a night of long words from either contestant.  Daniel gets his fifth win, and has a chance to become the second retiring champion of the series so far.

As for me, it was clearly a case of memory affecting some things, but with enough alternatives around that the only change to the scoring might have come from knowing that CHIEFDOM is not listed in the Macquarie.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

out of range
Geoff's way but went over time
(9-6/3)*(50+25)=525 (3 away and went over)