Monday, 5 December 2011

Ep 331: Toby Baldwin, Tom Museth (December 5, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Toby returns as the carry-over champion, and we learn that he's still very much involved with music.  He considers it more of a passion now than a career, but he is actively involved with bands, doing live sound and studio recordings.  He also plays instruments, usually in other people's bands; mostly heavier rock and punk rock, but he's "been known to dip [his] feet into the waters of country and pop music occasionally."  Richard jokes that the punks might think those were pretty muddy waters, and I can't tell whether he intended that pun or if it was just coincidence.  Toby grants that it is somewhat damaging to his street cred.

Tonight's challenger is Tom Museth, a technical editor, web developer, and former journalist.  Richard asks more about the journalism; Tom started off with feature writing in magazines -- he mentions finance and horticultural ones specifically, but adds that it was "all kinds, really" -- and after a while migrated to newspapers, mostly doing investigative journalism.  Then he moved into the production side of things, becoming a subeditor, so he's really covered quite the range of possibilities in journalism.

The contestants start off equal, but Tom mostly ends up a letter behind in the letters rounds, and somewhat worse off in the numbers rounds.  Neither contestant got to the target in any of those, so there was certainly room for improvement.  Toby is safely ahead going into the conundrum that neither of them solve, and takes the victory 48 to 13.

I was so glad to have unseen episodes to watch again after two weeks of familiar ones.  This was tempered somewhat by the SBS video player being extremely uncooperative tonight.  In fact, it took me somewhere around four hours of attempts before I was able to view the entire episode; at the worst parts, I would get maybe 30 seconds of new footage, then it would stall, and eventually say that "The selected item is not currently available".  It is mind-boggling just how poor this is; properly buffering data is not hard!

Aside from that, this was a decent game for me.  I finally found a nine within time (actually before it, since I was anticipating the final letter), and mostly optimal results for the rest.  A missed numbers target and one shorter word than I would have liked are the only blemishes here.  (And I'm putting the latter down to the frustrations of thee hours fighting with the website.)  A comfortable victory, and my highest score of the series to date. 

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: R T C I O E F S A

I couldn't get these letters to gel for a while; I had RIOT / TRIO, then nothing new until SECTOR (overlooking TRICE, FORCE, etc.)... but I spotted a possibility and was mentally pleading Toby to pick a final vowel to get an A.  He did, and I had my dual nines before time even started: FACTORIES / FACTORISE.  Some more searching turned up an eight of FORECAST, and that was all that I found of note within the time.

Both contestants had sevens -- there are several around -- while David has found the nines.

I note that even if Toby had chosen a consonant, the ensuing N would still have given a nine: INFECTORS.


Scores: Toby 0 (7), Tom 0 (7), me 18

Round 2: E N A I D G S E H

Another case where things didn't fall into place for me until the end.  I had DINE, then the -ING came up and I was waiting for decent letters to combine with it.  That fourth vowel certainly didn't help, but the H brought HEADINGS into play, and I could not better it within time.

Tom has a six, not using the -ING, but Toby and David have found HEADINGS.  David is amused that HEADINGS was found by the pathologist rather than the journalist.

There's a few sevens that use the -ING, but I'll note some of the ones that don't: GNASHED, NEIGHED, ANISEED, and DASHEEN (another name for taro).


Scores: Toby 8 (15), Tom 0 (7), me 26

Round 3: Target 356 from 100 25 10 6 1 9

Obviously one wants to keep that 6 aside and get to 350, but without that 6 the manoeuvring room is limited.  I found 356 = 10*25 + 100 + 6 within time, and afterwards two other approaches: 356 = 6*(100 + 1) - 10*25, and 356 = 10*(25 + 9 + 1) + 6.  While writing this up just now I found the somewhat unusual 356 = (6 - 1)*(100 - 25) - 10 - 9.

Tom is not within range, while Toby declares 359.  He starts out jauntily with (10 + 6 - 1), presumably going to multiply it by 25 to get 375 and then subtract 16... but he must have re-used some number in the process, either the 10 and 6, or the 25 (with the 9).  He realises this and claims the error.

Lily demonstrates the first of the solutions above.

Toby: [invalid]
Tom: [not in range]
Me: 356
Lily: 356

Scores: Toby 8 (15), Tom 0 (7), me 36

First break: ANTI ROBE ("Not the lowest, but certainly not high")

I solve this one before the clue is announced, as it's a combination that has turned up a few times on the show -- once it was combined with an S for a nine-letter word.  The clue serves to distinguish the desired answer of BARITONE from OBTAINER.

David's talk is about "cloud" in the computing sense.

Round 4: O P I M R U N E S

By the time I finally coaxed the website into playing this round for me, three hours had passed and my mood was sour.  I'd like to attribute overlooking the sevens to that.  In any case, I found PRIM, MOURN, and PRUNES within time.  After time, and enough after that my blaming it on website frustrations is suspect, I found PROMISE and PURINES.  Two other sevens available were IMPOSER and UMPIRES.

Both contestants have sixes, so I still get to score.  David has found a seven, though, and then an eight.  I regret missing the seven, as evident above, but I doubt I'd have risked his eight of MONSIEUR.


Scores: Toby 14 (21), Tom 6 (13), me 42

Round 5: T R W A O E C G I

Again nothing seems to come together.  WART, ROTA, WATER... I ponder COATER, but am rightly dubious of it.  Then the nagging "seen this before" feeling finally coalesces to reveal EROTICA.

It's five/six from the contestants -- oh, dear, I should have seen WAITER -- and David has likewise found the seven.


Scores: Toby 14 (27), Tom 6 (13), me 49

Round 6: Target 607 from 50 1 6 3 1 2

A little tweaking sees one to the target: 607 = 6*(50*2 + 1) + 1.  The tweaking can go the other way, too, with 607 = 2*(6*50 + 3) + 1.

Tom declares 607 and starts off with 2*50*6, at which point he's clearly in trouble -- without the tweaking he can't get there from that position.  This means that Toby's 606 comes into play; he had 606 = (1 + 1)*3*2*50 + 6.

Lily uses the second solution that I listed.

With three rounds to go I've got an unbeatable lead.  I don't expect that to happen very often in the future!

Toby: 606
Tom: [invalid]
Me: 607
Lily: 607

Scores: Toby 14 (34), Tom 6 (13), me 59

Second break: PAIL RUDE ("Takes the edge off hard labour")

I'm a little lost on this one, until I think about what "hard labour" might mean and quickly realise that an EPIDURAL might be desirable.

Round 7: D N T E A U X E L

The video -- which had behaved itself for a little while -- stuttered quite badly at this point, which gave me somewhat too much time to write down words.  I definitely found the first seven within time, however, so I'm comfortable claiming it.

I found DENT / TEND, AUNT, TUNED, EXTEND, EXULTED, UNTAXED, LUNATED (I wasn't sure about this, but it is listed explicitly as an alternative to LUNATE), EXEUNT, and TELEDU (a stinking badger from southern Java).  Afterwards I add DELUXE to that list.

Tom has six, but Toby (and David, of course) have sevens.  That makes Toby uncatchable, but Tom can still aim to get some more points on the board.

Some dictionaries may list UNEXALTED, but the Macquarie isn't one of them, and I'm OK with that.


Scores: Toby 21 (41), Tom 6 (13), me 66

Round 8: Target 214 from 50 7 10 8 6 10

The lack of small numbers makes adjustments a little difficult.  I started out with one away: 213 = 6*50 - 8*10 - 7, then went one off the other way with 215 = (10 - 6)*50 + 7 + 8.  I couldn't get there within time, however.

Afterwards I found 214 = 7*(50 - 10 - 8) - 10, and just now 214 = (10 + 7)*10 + 50 - 6; it feels like I should have seen that more easily.  Bother.

Tom has 207, but Toby has 217 = (10 - 6)*50 + 10 + 7.  He could have gotten two closer by just replacing the second 10 with the 8, which seems like an odd miss.  On the other hand, Lily demonstrates that there was an even better adjustment: 214 = (10 - 6)*50 + (10 - 8)*7.  Whoops!  Guess I can hardly cast aspersions about missing the obvious in this case.

Found much later while reviewing this post: 214 = (8 - 6)*(10*10 + 7), which I somehow overlooked at the time.

Toby: 217
Tom: 207
Me: 213
Lily: 214

Scores: Toby 21 (48), Tom 6 (13), me 73


The presence of -ING is a little distracting, but there's too many vowels for it to be plausible.  After double-checking that, trying another useful fragment of -AGE leads me to the solution, eight seconds in.  Neither contestant finds it, and the scores are unchanged.

Toby: [no answer]
Tom: [no answer]

Final scores: Toby 21 (48), Tom 6 (13), me 83

Both players had a fondness for vowels this game, and I think it hurt their chances of finding longer words.  The numbers games were somewhat trickier than might be expected from the targets, but Toby weathered them slightly better.  It was quite a comfortable victory for him in the end, with Tom never able to better him.

It was likewise a comfortable round for me, finding the nine and not bettered by either contestant in any round.  I could have been a little faster on the conundrum, and I should have found a solution to that last numbers game, but all up I'm reasonably happy with how this went.  And very much looking forward to the next game.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

Toby's way (1 off)
Lily's way