Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Ep 322: Daniel Chua, Sandy Clarke (November 22, 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 a twin, and when he and his twin were babies they were apparently able to communicate in their own babble that they understood.  (Or, the cynical part of me says, they believed that they understood.)

The challenger for this episode is Sandy Clarke, a statistical consultant; this means that she helps to interpret data from various projects, determining what results are meaningful.  She gives an example of a recent project on music therapy, where they were looking at physiological changes in response to musical stimulus and deciding if outcomes were likely to be more than just chance.

I got to interact with Sandy somewhat at the filming, too.  My recollection is that she was personable and pleasant to chat with, and she certainly seemed to enjoy her work.

It's a very close game tonight; in fact only the first round separated the contestants.  If Sandy had been a bit more familiar with the "retsina mix" then she would probably have tied that one up as well.  There was another chance to get clear, in a numbers round that oddly neither contestant managed to get anything for, but the opportunity was lost and Daniel was ahead going into the conundrum.  It was still anyone's game, but with the conundrum proving elusive Daniel lived to play another day, 53 to 45.

Obviously my performance is suspect here, but I think that only shows up in the conundrum.  If memory serves me correctly I managed it relatively quickly back then, but not nearly as quickly as this time around.  Aside from that, I'd managed to get ahead in enough rounds for a comfortable win, which again matches my recollections of performance on the day.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: N Q E I A R S T D

The Q turns up early, but the rest of the letters are helpful.  Daniel pauses for a little on the last letter, perhaps contemplating seeking a U, but decides to go for a consonant -- with the retsina in play, probably the right move.  As it turns out, the next vowel is a U, but with ANTIQUERS not being in the Macquarie eights were always the limit.

I found RAIN, ARISEN, RETSINA, STRAINED, DETRAINS, and there wasn't much impetus to search further as a nine was clearly impossible.

Daniel finds the eight while Sandy has a seven, and this round ends up being the difference in the match.  First-round nerves?  A shame, anyway.


Scores: Daniel 8, Sandy 0, me 8

Round 2: U O A L M K E D O

We follow up the easy letters with an ill-matched set, and definitely too many vowels.  MAUL, MAULED, LOOKED... after time I add MODULE and LOOMED, but that's the extent of it.

Sandy tries a risky six of LOAMED, and is no-doubt happy to hear that LOAM is a verb and all is well.

There is a medical term LEUKOMA, but it's not in the Macquarie, so sixes are the limit.

Daniel: LOOMED

Scores: Daniel 14, Sandy 6, me 14

Round 3: Target 699 from 100 8 10 4 3 5

Daniel returns to that classroom mix that he has found suits him.  With the target so close to a multiple of 100, this poses no real challenge -- the only way to get tangled up here is to try and make the seven from 3 + 4.  I go with 699 = (10 - 3)*100 - (5 - 4).  This turns out to be the same method that Sandy and Lily use, while Daniel has the alternative 699 = (10 + 5 - 8)*100 - (4 - 3).

Daniel: 699
Sandy: 699
Me: 699
Lily: 699

Scores: Daniel 24, Sandy 16, me 24

First break: FOWL LAND ("Happens after an uprising")

Counterpoint to an uprising is a DOWNFALL.

David's talk is about some pirating terms: Swashbuckling, buccaneers, and the Jolly Roger.

Round 4: E I A C H T F E P

It starts out a little awkward, and again I think that Sandy chose too many vowels, but it ends in familiar territory.  ACHE, TEACH / CHEAT, FACET, and HEPATIC.  Indeed, this mix is very close to round 5 from episode 320, just with that extra E instead of an N.  If Daniel had recalled HEPATIC from that he could have moved safely ahead.  (And if Sandy had stayed with three vowels, the S would have meant much more findable sevens, plus the eight of PASTICHE.)

I'll note that an anagram of HEPATIC is also valid: APHETIC.

Daniel: PATCH
Sandy: CHAFE

Scores: Daniel 24 (29), Sandy 16 (21), me 31

Round 5: U I A S C R D N O

I got interrupted by a phone call after six letters, but I do recall thinking that an O would give CARIOUS as I picked up the phone.  I'm pretty sure that's what I had during the filming too.  I only wrote down CARDS and CARIOUS, but just after time runs out I see (or remember?) DINOSAUR.

Both contestants have the same six, and David is on target with a nice pair of eights.

I'd have probably chosen that fourth vowel this time, too.  But note that if a consonant were chosen, the ensuing G would have given CRUSADING for nine.

Daniel: DRAINS

Scores: Daniel 24 (35), Sandy 16 (27), me 38

Round 6: Target 907 from 25 1 5 7 4 8

Sandy goes with the classroom mix also, and it's fairly easy to work backwards for this.  We want to keep the seven to add to 900; we want to multiply the 25 by 36 to get the 900; and we can get 36 as 4*9; thus 907 = 4*(8 + 1)*25 + 7.  I also had a more complicated way of getting to the 36: 907 = (4*8 + 5 - 1)*25 + 7.

Neither contestant has a total to declare, which honestly surprises me; this was where Sandy had her chance to get a winning lead, but it was not to be.

Lily's solution shows another way to get that 36: 907 = (8*5 - 4)*25 + 7.

Daniel: [not in range]
Sandy: [no answer]
Me: 907
Lily: 907

Scores: Daniel 24 (35), Sandy 16 (27), me 48

Second break: DEMO TORE ("Mechanically measures your distance")

A straightforward clue for ODOMETER.

Round 7: O A E G S N T I B

Once the -ING shows up long words are easy.  SAGE, SETON (I missed ATONES at the time), then SEATING, wondered about BIGNOTES (later checking shows that this requires a hyphen: BIG-NOTES), and found BOASTING.  After time I saw BEATINGS as well.

Both contestants have found eights, and it's a relief to see the -ING used to full value for a change.  David has the lovely eight of OBEISANT (which is an anagram of BOTANISE and BOTANIES); one more eight lurking in the mix is BEGONIAS.


Scores: Daniel 32 (43), Sandy 24 (35), me 56

Round 8: Target 804 from 100 1 8 6 2 5

Richard suggests that Sandy choose six small numbers -- Lily later calls him a troublemaker -- but Sandy wants to try that classroom mix again.  The result is sadly unchallenging, as does happen with the numbers rounds moderately often.  Everyone has 804 = 8*100 + 5 - 1; I'd also noted down 804 = 8*100 + 6 - 2, which Lily has also seen, and I imagine the contestants likewise.

Lily pretends to have had trouble with it, to mild amusement.

Daniel: 804
Sandy: 804
Me: 804
Lily: 804

Scores: Daniel 42 (53), Sandy 34 (45), me 66


Down to the conundrum, and it could go either way.  But neither contestant sees it and Daniel's lead sees him through, on the strength of STRAINED in the first round.  I buzzed in this time after 1 second, but that was definitely a memory-aided recollection.  While I did get the conundrum within time during the filming, it was nowhere near that fast.  At the time, I got there by seeing OPTIC, then OPTICAL, then rearranging to include the remaining LI.

Daniel: [no answer]
Sandy: [no answer]

Final scores: Daniel 42 (53), Sandy 34 (45), me 76

That was a tight game, with the two contestants definitely closely matched.  Just that first round the difference, and that could have been settling-in nerves.  Still, Sandy had her chances to catch up in the second numbers round and the conundrum.  Decent performances from both, but Daniel is the winner.

I'll blame the phone call for me not seeing DINOSAUR in time, although that's probably not accurate.  Aside from that, things went as well as possible; can't rule out any of it (particularly the conundrum) being due to memory, though.

No comments: