Friday, 25 November 2011

Ep 325: Karla Treves, Geoff Bailey (November 25, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Disclaimer: I was a contestant on this episode.  Obviously there are some parts I will remember strongly and my scoreline cannot remotely be considered a fair representation.  I'll frequently refer to my past self in the third person, to avoid having to clarify all the time whether I mean my current or past performance.

Richard returns to the topic of zookeeping when he talks to Karla.  She reveals that she loved visiting the zoo as a child and still does so today.  She loves seeing the conservation and preservation efforts.

Challenging Karla tonight is, well, me.  I'm described as a software engineer who loves participating in and creating puzzle hunts.  I'm asked to explain them a bit better, and give a somewhat garbled explanation -- loosely speaking, events with puzzles designed to be solved by teams, usually over the course of a week.  It's common these days for part of the puzzle to be working out what the puzzle is, to have to find and make sense of the hidden structure within the puzzle.

The puzzle hunt I have helped create is the CiSRA Puzzle Hunt, and I've enjoyed teaming up with the CiSRAns to take on the MUMS Puzzle Hunt and the SUMS Puzzle Hunt.

It's a bit of a nervous start for Geoff, as he misses an easy numbers get and mishears a letter to end up with an invalid word.  Aside from that, his letters performance was generally better and he managed to solidify a lead by choosing less comfortable numbers selections (the advantage of the challenger), which is just as well as Karla solves the conundrum in double-quick time.  Geoff wobbles home victorious, 55 to 37.

Things go much better the second time around, as you would expect.  I still won't claim the conundrum because I recalled it so vividly, and Karla was so very fast.  It's only by my previous mistakes that I beat myself, which is appropriate enough, although it was possible to do better.

The video player was quite uncooperative at first, but then settled down.  Might have been congestion as many people tried to watch at once?  I can hardly claim that my fan base is large enough for that.  *grins*

... actually, I've had a few problems with it, including it tending to reset after a pause, which is very annoying.  *sighs*

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: G S E I A D M O P

Plenty of sevens to start with.  This time, I find SAGE, IMAGES, IMAGOES, IMPOSED, DOSAGE, and ADIPOSE.  Later checking reveals that IMAGOES is not considered a valid plural by the Macquarie (it is by Chambers), which only allows IMAGOS or IMAGINES.  There's a delightfully unexpected double meaning.

David is unable to find an eight but does find the possibly hard-to-spot seven of MAGPIES.  A couple of other sevens available here are POMADES and MEGAPOD (an adjective, not a noun, so not pluralisable).


Scores: Karla 0, Geoff 7, me 7

Round 2: R E H D A C B U T

HERD, HEARD, ARCHED, BREACH, BUTCHER, BATCHED, and CHARTED.  There's a few sevens again, and it really looks like there should be more but seven is the limit.  After time I add DEBAUCH to the mix.


Scores: Karla 7, Geoff 14, me 14

Round 3: Target 219 from 100 10 9 4 7 9

This round is burned into my memory, but I'll take the result anyway.  When this was filmed, after the time expired Richard started out by commenting that it was a fairly easy numbers round and asked how we did.  He looked a little chagrined when neither of us had the target exactly (although we should have); it looks like none of that made it to air, probably just as well.

Karla has 218 = 100 + 10*9 + 4*7, while Geoff has the overcomplicated 220 = (9 + 9)*7 - (10 - 4) + 100.

This time around, I already recalled the missed obvious solution of 219 = (9 - 7)*100 + 10 + 9, which Lily ends up using.  At the time, I had noted that 219 = 100 + 119, and 119 = 7*17, so I had  been trying to get that 17.  I wasn't able to in the 30 seconds, which is why I ended up one away when I had to resort to 7*18 instead.  If I'd taken a step back I would have hopefully seen the easy solution.

Later that day, I realised that I could have found that 17 after all: 219 = 100 + 7*(4*9 - 9 - 10).  Oh, well.

Lily is rightly bemused by the convoluted approach of each contestant as she demonstrates that simple solution.  A friend emailed me to point out another option of 219 = (7 - 4)*100 - 9*9.

Karla: 218
Geoff: 220
Me: 219
Lily: 219

Scores: Karla 7 (14), Geoff 14 (21), me 24

First break: STORM CUE ("A person who is always right")

The reference to the familiar adage clues CUSTOMER, and not a COSTUMER (an alternative spelling of 'costumier').

David's talk is about words stemming from the Greek word philos that was mentioned yesterday.  He lists several -phile words, and finishes up with the word 'philosophy'.

Round 4: L E N G I O C W T

The -ING comes into play.  This time, I find GLEN, COWLING, and the speculative TOWELING.  Now, I know that the Macquarie allows many American spellings, and I also know that I've looked this one up in the past... I just can't remember what the result was!  This time, I settle for seven, allowing a friend to outpoint me in our unofficial challenge.

Both contestants have sevens, although David is unsure about Geoff's choice of TOWLINE.  It is fine, however, and all is well.

As I recall it, I had written down WELTING, COWLING, and TOWLINE, and wasn't completely comfortable with any of them.  They're all valid, though.

Some other sevens that could have been found here are WINGLET, LECTION, LENTIGO, and CLEWING.


Scores: Karla 14 (21), Geoff 21 (28), me 31

Round 5: R E E A L S N U M

Ah, this infamous (in my memory) round.  I was busy writing down letters and going by ear, and misheard that N as an M.  That limited me to seven, and when trying to decide which to declare of MAULERS and SLAMMER I went the wrong way.  (This decision was prompted in part by 'MAULER(S)' being a fairly common find; the aim was to not always be recycling the same old words, if possible.)  Of course, as soon as I actually looked at the letters, NUMERALS leapt out.

(There's no excuse for this lapse -- the monitors are right there for a reason, clearly displaying the letters.  A moment's checking would have gained eight points.)

This time around I remember the answer, of course, but going through the motions I found REAL, ERASE, LEARNS, MAULERS, NUMERALS, MEASURE, and MENSURAL.

Karla has a six, and Geoff declares the invalid seven of SLAMMER.  David points out that it's wise to look at the monitors, and that this mix has two ties to Lily: Firstly, the word NUMERALS, and the other eight that he found is the only word to include her surname (SERNA) as a substring: USERNAME.

Update: After this episode aired, I had a few people congratulate me on my composure during the show.  I guess they must be referring to this moment, but I have to confess that this was the second take -- in the first one, I tried to remark that I had missed an eight as a result, but David had already started speaking.  I also imagine I looked somewhat more surprised and/or upset.

Geoff: [invalid]

Scores: Karla 14 (27), Geoff 21 (28), me 39

Round 6: Target 425 from 50 100 75 25 7 3

Wanting to get some distance from Karla, Geoff makes the uncommon choice of four large numbers.  It turns up the sadly easy target of 425, however.  Two easy solutions are 425 = 7*75 - 100 and 425 = 7*50 + 75.

Karla is unable to get within range, while Geoff uses the first of those solutions.  Lily demonstrates another approach with 425 = (7 - 3)*100 + 25.

From conversation with Karla during a break, she'd starting off jauntily with 7*75 thinking it was 425.  Then she'd realised that was not right, but her concentration was thrown enough by that error that she was unable to recover in time.  A shame, although fortunate for me.

Karla: [not in range]
Geoff: 425
Me: 425
Lily: 425

Scores: Karla 14 (27), Geoff 31 (38), me 49

Second break: IRATE SPA ("A freeloader you might never know is there")

No, it's not a reclusive teenager -- it's a PARASITE.

Round 7: D I O T N E O R B

I find INTO, NOTED, EDITOR, and ORBITED.  This last was helped along by the ORB at the end.

Karla has another six, while Geoff consistently declares yet another seven.  It's valid this time, though.  David notes the Western Australian dialect word BOONDIE, a medium-to-large stone or rock.

Those who've studied minerals may find another seven here: BORNITE.


Scores: Karla 14 (27), Geoff 38 (45), me 56

Round 8: Target 324 from 5 1 3 1 8 9

Intent on preserving a lead (and also liking some variety), Geoff moves to the other end of the spectrum with six small numbers.  Again the target is unchallenging if you recognise that 324 is the square of eighteen, and he gets it while Karla does not.

There's a lot of factorisations from that knowledge; I found 324 = 9*(8 + 1)*(3 + 1), the minor variant 324 = 9*(8 + 1)*(5 - 1), and 324 = 3*9*(8 + 5 - 1).  Geoff used the first of these, as did Lily.  Karla is not within range.

Karla: [not in range]
Geoff: 324
Me: 324
Lily: 324

Scores: Karla 14 (27), Geoff 48 (55), me 66


I remember this round clearly; Karla buzzed in before I even had taken the letters in.  My jaw figuratively hit the floor -- I knew I was weak on the conundrums, but that was a blitzing.

Karla: GYMNASIUM (1.5s)
Geoff: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Karla 24 (37), Geoff 48 (55), me 66

Karla had six- and seven-letter words today, which would have worked in some other rounds.  Her weakness in the numbers was her undoing, and David's comment yesterday about her needing a copy of the 75-times table was sadly correct.  Geoff started out nervously with a couple of errors, but used the numbers to secure an unbeatable lead before the conundrum round.  A lead very much needed, as Karla blitzes the conundrum in the fastest we've seen for a good while.

Overall, this was lucky for Geoff; if Karla had been just a little bit better on the numbers she could have solved all three, winning 60 to 48.  On the other hand, since we're playing counterfactual games, if on top of that Geoff had not misheard the letter (or noticed before declaring his word) in round 5, he would have then won 55 (or 56) to 54.

I obviously did much better this time around, although there was some memory involved.  At the time, I had deliberately chosen difficult numbers combinations since I was fairly sure that Karla was weak on them.  (Well, also I'd practiced a lot with all mixes, and I wanted to stay away from the boring standard choice.)  This is the challenger's advantage -- getting to select two numbers rounds, late in the game, to suit their needs.  I might ramble more about that another day.

David notes that it has been a dismal week for him, with not a single full monty to be had.  If only I'd chosen a fourth vowel in round two he could have had DEBAUCHER... apologies, David!  On the flip side, Lily has solved every single numbers round this week.


Anonymous said...

Is medigaps good?

Geoff Bailey said...

Greetings, anonymous poster! MEDIGAP is not listed in the Macquarie 5th edition, which was the show's reference work at the time. I don't know if it has made it into the 6th.

Mike Backhouse said...

Great to see you on the show at last Geoff.

Lily's way
TOWING, considered COWLING but was not confident enough to declare.
(8+5-1)*9*3=324 (went slightly over)

Wombat50 said...

Yep, I enjoyed seeing you too.
(9-7)*100 + 10 + 9 = 219
(7-3)*100 + 25 = 425
(3+1)*8 x (9+1) + 5 = 325
GYMNASIUM - just before Carla

Wombat50 said...

BTW - I used to post here a few years ago as Jan

Mike Backhouse said...

Hi Jan

Good to hear from you again. Miss your excellent games. Cheers


Geoff Bailey said...

Welcome back, Jan! Great to hear from you again, and impressive conundrum speed!