Friday, 2 December 2011

Ep 330: Brett Edwards, Toby Baldwin (December 2, 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.

Richard asks Brett what being a navy auditor involved; Brett explains that it was about ensuring compliance with defense regulations.  No-one wants to see the dreaded auditor!  He didn't go to sea, but did have occasion to visit ships when they were in port.

Challenging Brett is Toby Baldwin, a pathology aide and former audio engineer.  Richard notes that this is an unusual transition, and asks what prompted it.  Toby responds that it was a combination of things, but mostly being very tired from working long days and being away on the road, and he wanted a bit of stability in his life.  His former job involved doing live engineering for bands, recording bands, and fixing a lot of equipment.  Richard remarks that pathology is probably a lot quieter, and Toby agrees.  He says that fixing humans tends to be a lot easier and a lot more pleasant.  I'm not sure that surgeons would agree...

As I've mentioned earlier, I met Toby during the audition, and we caught up a little during the day.  In fact, we caught a taxi to the studio together in the morning as there was some large confusion about taxi bookings which gave some extra enjoyable time to chat with him.  He just barely outpointed me in the previous game (at the time), so I was particularly keen to win this one.

It's another close game, and Brett seems back in form again, which is a relief.  Brett just barely has the better of the vowel-heavy letters rounds, while Toby fractionally outdoes him in the numbers, and the scores are level going into the conundrum.  Once again both contestants see the answer quickly and buzz in at approximately the same time, but Toby got there first and wins with a score of 59 to 49.

For my part, I did much better than both; there were plenty of longer words to be found (much like my game against Brett).  In fact, in the audience this was a game where I held my own against David and Lily in the main eight rounds; I don't recall what happened with the conundrum.  This time I get it instantly, due to its appearance on Countdown, rather than a memory of this episode.  Either way, a comfortable win to me, although I probably did a point better in the audience due to round 2.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: O P E E T A R I H

When the OPE started, I was looking for OPERA.  The second E diverted me to EPODE, but then the T had me looking for OPERATE, and it turned up.  I wasn't able to better it, finding just POET and OPERATE in this mix.

Both contestants start with sixes, and I particularly wish that I'd seen Brett's choice of OPIATE.  That has arisen a few times, and it's important to know that it is a verb as well as a noun, so either an S or a D may be appended to it.

David finds another seven, the archaic PRITHEE.  A somewhat more contemporary seven is PREHEAT.

Also, yeesh!  So many vowels.   Another consonant (L, as it turns out) would have made sevens easier, and brought an eight to the table, allowing David to make some remark about the PLETHORA of options.


Scores: Brett 0 (6), Toby 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: L M D U E C O I W

Toby also selects many vowels, and perhaps regretted it when the W showed up.  There's plenty of sixes, but spotting the seven is hard.  I found MULE, wondered about MULED (familiar to MMORPG players, but not in the Macquarie yet), CLUED, CLOUD, MODULE, MILDEW, and COILED.  After time I spotted MELODIC; pondering much later, I believe that this is what I had in the audience.

Sixes all round, and the contestants are still level.


Scores: Brett 6 (12), Toby 6 (12), me 13

Round 3: Target 854 from 100 50 4 6 9 6

Brett sticks with the familiar, and no-one is hard put to find 854 = 9*100 - 50 + 4.  There's a lot of alternatives -- such as 854 = (9 - 6/6)*100 + 50 + 4, or 854 = 6*100 + 4*50 + 6*9 -- but that first was the one that everyone uses.

Brett: 854
Toby: 854
Me: 854
Lily: 854

Scores: Brett 16 (22), Toby 16 (22), me 23

First break: TACK BEAD ("To romance in the past")

I briefly chase the -ED option (throw in an R to get BRACKETED), but then see that the "past" clues BACK, leading to BACKDATE.

David's talk is about the origins of the term "Plimsoll line" (after the politician Samuel Plimsoll), and how 'plimsolls' then became a British term for sandshoes.

Round 4: T L S A O E R K U

Still many vowels, although the extra was left to last this time; a consonant would have made the sevens easier.  This is that "olestra" mix that I mentioned in episode 317, a sign that sevens should be around but eights are likely to be difficult except for those combinations I listed.  Here I found LAST / SLAT, LEAST / STEAL/ TALES / SLATE, LUSTRE / RESULT, and TALKERS / STALKER.

Both contestants have sixes again; consistency, at least!


Scores: Brett 16 (28), Toby 16 (28), me 30

Round 5: O N S I M E I D T

Finally a case where I agree with the fourth vowel, although it was chosen too early -- an O would have allowed DEMOTIONS.  I had MINES, and was struggling a little until that final T loosened the mix up considerably, giving EDITIONS and SEDITION.

There's a split at last as Brett finds a seven, while Toby sticks with a six.  David, of course, has the eights.

Two more eights in the mix are DEMONIST, and -- using the first eight letters only -- DOMINIES.  (DOMINIE: a member of the clergy, pastor or parson; also (Chiefly Scottish) a schoolmaster.)


Scores: Brett 16 (35), Toby 16 (28), me 38

Round 6:Target 873 from 25 75 8 3 4 9

Toby also sticks with the traditional mix, and serves up a reasonable set of numbers.  The target is close to that 900 figure, and starting with 12*75 is the obvious first step.  I started by using 8+4, then realised that I wanted them for the 2 and went the other way: 873 = (9 + 3)*75 - 25 - 8/4.  Then I noted that the 25 could be avoided entirely, with 873 = (4 + 8)*75 - 3*9.

Brett has 875, but Toby is one closer with 872 = (25 + 75)*9 - 3*8 - 4.  A touch of tweaking would have seen him get to the target with 873 = 9*(25 + 75 - 3).  Still, it's seven points for him, and scores are level once more.

Lily uses the first of the solutions I found.

Brett: 875
Toby: 872
Me: 873
Lily: 873

Scores: Brett 16 (35), Toby 16 (35), me 48

Second break: CENT NOVA ("A pact with an insect")

The insect is clearly ANT, leading easily enough to COVENANT.

Round 7: O A P S I G N D A

The -ING makes a welcome appearance, but all I find is SOAP and SOAPING.  After time I find PAGODAS (which I believe I found in the audience).  If that final vowel had been an E then DIAGNOSE/AGONISED would have been there, as well as DEPOSING -- perhaps Brett had been angling for this.  As I've expressed before, once -ING is in play my feeling is that more consonants are better, but I'll admit that the E was worth chasing after if he had one of those words specifically in mind.

Everyone has SOAPING, although neither contestant seems very confident in it.  David finds PAGODAS also, remarking that PAGODA is one of his favourite words since it is a sacred building, and it contains A GOD inside it.

Some other sevens in this mix are ADAGIOS, SPADING, and DOGNAPS -- not sleeping, but acts of theft.  (It's amusing to contrast DOGNAP and CATNAP, and says somewhat about the two animals.)

There is an eight in this mix, though: DIAPASON, a melody or strain.


Scores: Brett 23 (42), Toby 23 (42), me 55

Round 8: Target 521 from 50 9 7 7 8 10

Toby changes it up a little, and the small numbers are all large meaning that middling adjustments will be difficult.  It's possible, though; I found 521 = 9*50 + 7*10 + 8 - 7, and then 521 = 10*(50 + 9 - 7) + 8 - 7.  After time I found a way to use one less number, with 521 = 9*(50 + 8) - 7/7.

Both contestants are one away; Toby has 522 = 50*10 + 7 + 7 + 8, while Brett has 520 = (9 - 7 + 50)*10.  Brett's approach is just short of the second solution that I gave -- all he needed to do was add the (8 - 7) to get it.  Lily points this out for her solution, acknowledging that Brett has clearly realised now that he could have done it.

Brett: 520
Toby: 522
Me: 521
Lily: 521

Scores: Brett 23 (49), Toby 23 (49), me 65


Scores tied going into the conundrum, although Brett could have been ten ahead if he'd seen the adjustment on the previous round.  Either way, it's definitely a crucial conundrum.

I hadn't remembered this one from the filming, but I got it almost instantly nonetheless because I'd seen it on Countdown while checking through those conundrums recently.  It's a pretty easy spot in any case, I should add, and Toby finds it within four seconds.  I don't recall if I beat him to it from the audience.

I didn't notice it until a second viewing (even though Richard draws attention to it), but Brett also attempts to press the buzzer at the same time.  I admit to a certain petty satisfaction at seeing him ousted in the same way that he defeated me, but I shall try to let go of that.

Brett: [no answer]
Toby: OVERJOYED (3.5s)
Me: OVERJOYED (1.5s)

Final scores: Brett 23 (49), Toby 23 (59), me 75

I guess you have to say that Brett ended up playing at the level of his opposition, with the conundrum being crucial in each of his games.  It's a dangerous way to be, though, and tonight his luck ran out.  Toby had a good start, and it will be interesting to see how he fares next week, with those first game nerves out of the way.

In the audience at the time this was the first game where I'd matched David and Lily throughout, at least that I recall.  This time I didn't find MELODIC so I cannot claim that distinction.

I will note that David was suffering the effects of a cold or flu or something at the time, and was looking particularly downtrodden in the last two episodes when not on camera.  It's to his credit that he continued finding excellent words under such circumstances.

Next week: Episodes I haven't seen yet.  Hooray!


Mike Backhouse said...

9*(100-6)+6=852 (2 off) and saw easy way after time
(8+4)*75-25-3=872 (1 away)
10*50+7+7+8=522 (1 off) and Lily's way just over time

Geoff Bailey said...

Bad news about SMITED, Mike: The past tense of SMITE is SMOTE (or, very archaically, SMIT).

Mike Backhouse said...

Thanks Geoff. I thought I had seen SMITED used elsewhere. I also saw the anagram of MISTED and I would have used that instead had I known! Such is life....