Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ep 324: Daniel Chua, Karla Treves (November 24, 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.

Win or lose, this will be Daniel's last night (except for the finals series, which he seems likely to make).  Richard asks about the highlights for him, and Daniel responds that it has been meeting the contestants, and that they've all been worthy opponents.  Particularly Mitchell from last night, in that very close game.

Challenging Daniel is secondary school teacher Karla Treves.  She is described as an animal lover, and if she had not become a teacher she might well have chosen zookeeping as a profession.  She says that she "loves all creatures, great and small".  Richard asks if this extends to both domestic and wild creatures; she remarks that her domestic Jack Russell is pretty wild.

My recollection of Karla is that she was fairly vivacious.  She had just come back from France, where some of her schoolkids had been on a two-week (I think) excursion to various places there, although Lourdes is the only one I recall.  Field trips have certainly changed since I was in school!  She hadn't even had time to go home yet, which suggests that she might have been jetlagged but was bearing up pretty well.

It's yet another close game to finish things off.  Daniel drops behind in the first letters round by missing a word he should have seen, but gets some back in the numbers to stay in touch.  It's matching performances from each until the final numbers game, where Karla oddly misses and allows Daniel to get 9 points ahead.  But she finds the conundrum quickly, and squeaks home with a victory, 53 to 52.

I was mostly on target here; I got thrown by one set of tricky letters in round 2, and beaten to the conundrum, but superior results in other rounds saw me comfortably home.

On another note, it looks like SBS has updated their video player; I hope this one manages to buffer data better, although to be fair I've had much less troubles recently than at times in the past.

As usual, details after the jump.

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

I found SNAKE, SNAKIER, RETINAS, and STRAINED / DETRAINS.  After time, I wondered what word might be formed from mixing that K into the retsina, and found KERATINS.

Karla has an eight, but Daniel has only the seven of STRIKED.  This is doubly surprising; firstly because it is invalid, but secondly because he found STRAINED just two games ago against Sandy Clarke in round 1 of episode 322.  Final show nerves, perhaps?

Richard pleases David by having spotted that this is a retsina mix.  No sense of whether he saw an eight, mind you.

Daniel: [invalid]

Scores: Daniel 0, Karla 8, me 8

Round 2: L W E U C R A O P

Karla's first selection is not very promising; not surprisingly, I think she should have gone fishing for a better consonant here, rather than that fourth vowel, and definitely should have taken a consonant first in case it changed her mind.

I struggled horribly with this one, not able to see any of the several sixes and writing down just CLUE and CRUEL in time.  After time I see CAROLE (which is not valid, and I know that because I'd looked it up not so long ago -- I'd always thought it was a verb to describe a sing-song way of speaking, but it seems that any such meaning is ascribed to CAROL instead), PLACER / PARCEL, ORACLE (a valid anagram of CAROLE), and OCULAR.

Both contestants have fives, so at least I don't fall behind, but David has found an excellent seven of COUPLER.

Two other obscure sevens here are the related pair of COPULAR and COPULAE.  And there's even an obscure eight: OPERCULA, a plural of OPERCULUM ("A part or organ serving as a lid or cover", in botanical or zoological contexts).

Daniel: POWER
Karla: POWER

Scores: Daniel 5, Karla 13, me 13

Round 3: Target 576 from 8 9 2 5 6 4

Daneil celebrates his last time choosing numbers by going for six small.  The target is familiar, being the square of 24, and I found solutions easily: 576 = 8*9*(2 + 6) and 576 = 2*4*8*9.  There's several other ways there once the factorisation is realised -- Lily used the second of those.

Karla has nothing within range, and Daniel has 572 = 2*5*6*9 + 4*8; a bit of tweaking would have seen him to the target with 576 = 9*(2*5*6 + 4).  In any case, those five points get him back to within one of Karla.

Daniel: 572
Karla: [not in range]
Me: 576
Lily: 576

Scores: Daniel 5 (12), Karla 13, me 23

First break: RADAR OIL ("You might work here just to pass the time away")

I struggled with this word mix, but did manage to get there in the end.  And once I'd found RAILROAD I understood the song reference in the clue.

David's talk is about three words stemming from the Greek word dendron, meaning 'tree'.  He starts with the plants philodendron ("tree loving") and rhododendron ("red tree"), and finishes with the word 'dendrochronology', the method of dating archeological material by comparison with the ring patterns in the wood.  He asks Richard if he can guess what it might mean, and is impressed as Richard works his way there -- between this and spotting the retsina mix earlier, David's happy with Richard.

Round 4: I E T A N R D O F

We almost picked up the retsina mix again, which would have been amusing.  That O brings the -ATION ending into play but it's been surprisingly un-useful in the last 30 games or so; I think I'm becoming disillusioned with it.

In any case, I have NEAT, RETINA, TRAINED, and RATIONED / ORDINATE.  (It's important to remember that second anagram in case the last letter is an S.)  Experimenting with the INTER- and FORE- beginnings doesn't lead to a nine, so it stays at eight.


Scores: Daniel 5 (19), Karla 13 (20), me 31

Round 5: I A E T S T H F S

A final E would have brought HESITATE into play, but that S is just as good.  SEAT, TASTE, ATHEIST, ATHEISTS.  I don't find anything better after time, but note that an anagram of ATHEISTS is HASTIEST.

Karla has FEASTS; David notes that if you drop the E from FEASTS you get FASTS, which is what you have to do to recover from one.  Daniel has FAITHS, which David thinks is ironic given that his eight was ATHEISTS.

Daniel: FAITHS

Scores: Daniel 5 (25), Karla 13 (26), me 39

Round 6: Target 108 from 50 25 5 2 8 6

Karla angles for easy numbers with the four small mix, and certainly gets it.  Everyone finds 108 = 2*50 + 8 and waits for time to run out.

Daniel: 108
Karla: 108
Me: 108
Lily: 108

Scores: Daniel 15 (35), Karla 23 (36), me 49

Second break: GIN MARCH ("Cinderella's prince")

A straightforward clue for CHARMING; presumably they wanted to exclude MARCHING, but I think I'd still have gone with INCH GRAM as the keywords instead.

Round 7: I U A C L G D E S

With the difference still only one point, Richard asks Daniel if he's going to shake things up with the letters like he did with the numbers.  There's not really much scope for it, but he notes that the letters tend to provide enough challenge anyway, and I certainly agree about this mix.  I found CAUL and only when the final letter came out did I improve it to SLUICED.  No progress over that in the rest of the time.

Both contestants find the excellent spot of CUDGELS, and David seems as impressed as I am.  I think this pretty much matches what happened when I was in the audience.


Scores: Daniel 22 (42), Karla 30 (43), me 56

Round 8: Target 225 from 75 25 3 1 7 6

Karla tries for easy numbers again, and this should be easy: 225 = 3*75.  There's other ways to get there, such as 225 = 6*25 + 75, or 225 = (6 + 3)*25, but this is a complete gimme for those who know their 75-times tables.

Karla surprises by not being in range, while Daniel (and Lily) have the first solution.  Richard reveals that he had assumed this was difficult because he was watching Lily who kept staring at the board.  It turns out that Lily had been trying to find an interesting kitchen sink of it (but did not succeed, it seems).

From one behind Daniel goes to nine ahead.  It's still anyone's to win in the conundrum...

Daniel: 225
Karla: [not in range]
Me: 225
Lily: 225

Scores: Daniel 32 (52), Karla 30 (43), me 66


Karla sees this one very quickly, and I pause the show.  It takes me longer to fiddle with the clock to find out how long I take than it does to solve it after that point.  Maybe it was the extra implicit thinking time, or memory, or just something clicked.  In any case, I'm not that much behind her, but fastest is all that counts in the conundrum round.

It's been twelve episodes since I was last beaten to the conundrum (only three -- four now -- times this series, in fact), which surprises me.  I know from watching Countdown episodes that I'm weakest in the conundrums, and I never like having to rely on one for victory.

Daniel: [no answer]
Karla: MARSUPIAL (3s)

Final scores: Daniel 32 (52), Karla 40 (53), me 66

Daniel bows out with a one-point loss, and a six game performance that is likely to see him returning in the finals.  Karla has a good letters performance, but looks to be weak in the numbers; David rubs this in a bit by suggesting that she put a 75-times table in her pocket for the next game, although it was said in more friendly fashion than that might imply.

Aside from struggling in round 2, things went pretty much as well as they could for me.  Karla was very fast on that conundrum, though.  Definitely have to watch that.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

Geoff's second solution
everyone's solution
easy way
x well done getting that one so quickly Geoff!