Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Ep 333: Toby Baldwin, George Solomos (December 7, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Richard mentions that Toby has an electronic interest, and asks him how he applies those electronic skills.  Toby responds that he (not surprisingly) does so mostly in musical ways, and in particular is a fan of the "black arts" of valve amplifiers.  He justifies that description by saying that it involves high voltages, high danger, and hasn't really been understood since the sixties.  He thinks it is worth it, though, as they produce better sound, are more stable, and have greater longevity.

Going up against Toby is George Solomos, a transactional banker and business owner.  Apparently George (together with his business partner) has developed a new social network.  Although that's not necessarily concept-new, as he says that they have "basically re-created Facebook", making it a bit more user-friendly and with more of a business networking aspect.  Richard observes that existing social networks are huge businesses, and asks if George thinks that they can match that success.  As you would imagine, George is hoping that they will.

It's an odd game tonight: George is off the pace on the letters, consistently behind.  Toby is even further off on the numbers, invalid twice and eight away on the third.  With the letters rounds being of limited gain -- nothing more than sevens to be found tonight, which doesn't happen very often -- Toby is ahead but vulnerable going into the conundrum.  He does well to find it, though, and takes a slightly shaky win, 43 to 24.

I was a bit off the pace here also, being beaten in two of the letters rounds and ending up with my lowest score since the 38 back in episode 314.  I just barely scraped past 50, breaking the long run of 60+ scores.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: L J S I E R C E A

That second E put me off a little.  I ended up with ISLE / LIES, RILES, RELICS... and just could not find a seven within time.  Afterwards it took me far longer than I would like before finally finding SCALIER.  Two other fairly findable sevens are REALISE and JAILERS.

George has a six, but Toby has found a seven of CEREALS -- well spotted!  David starts off what will be a recurring motif by finding ECLAIRS, which prompts Richard to suggest that there should be a food theme for the night.

George: CLEARS

Scores: Toby 7, George 0, me 0

Round 2: N I G U H O D T E

Sigh... that extra vowel again.  The consonant choice of B would have given an eight of DOUBTING, but as the letters stand the -ING can barely raise a seven; I found HOUND, NOUGHT, and TONGUED, which could be considered to continue the eating theme.

The contestants go five/six -- amusingly, NOUGHT gets points -- while David rises to Richard's challenge with DOUGHIE, which is slang for a stupid person, or for a doughnut.

Some other sevens are HOGTIED, TOUGHEN, HINDGUT, and THOUING (THOU as a verb: To address someone using 'thou').  Unfortunately, HIDE-OUT is only listed as a hyphenated word.

George: NIGHT

Scores: Toby 7 (13), George 0, me 7

Round 3: Target 244 from 75 50 25 3 5 7

Toby departs from his usual choice and selects the balanced mix.  This may be prompted by his successfully solving two of them in the previous game, while the standard mix has not always workd out for him.  Having three large numbers often brings the division-by-25 into play, which is a good feature of them; I still prefer four large to three, though.

Here I start with the 75 and tweak my way to a solution: 244 = 3*(75 + 7) - 50/25.  After time I note that 250 would have been closer, leading to another solution: 244 = 5*50 - 3 - 75/25.

George declares 247, while Toby has 244... but his solution turns strange indeed.  He gives: 3*75 + 25 - 7 + 50/5... which is 253.  He seems to have transmuted 50/5 into 1 in his head, instead of 10.  A little tweaking would save his solution, incidentally: 244 = 3*(75 - (7 - 5)) + 25.

So we get to see George's effort; he has 247 = 5*50 - 3; it looks like lack of familiarity with the potential of the large numbers prevented him from finding my second solution.  Lily demonstrates the final required adjustment, as was expected.

Toby: [invalid]
George: 247
Me: 244
Lily: 244

Scores: Toby 7 (13), George 0 (7), me 17

First break: DAWN FILL ("A benevolent breeze")

It's generally to one's advantage to have a WINDFALL.

David's talk is about two words relating to bonus stories: rumour, and roorback.

Round 4: B I T E P A S T O

The letters are trying hard to stay on-theme -- if only that final vowel had been an A -- and I found BITE (duh), BAPTISE, TOASTIE (a toasted sandwich, but oddly not listed as slang or colloquial), and TEAPOTS.  That's two arguably thematic words, but I go with TEAPOTS as the safer one.

Both contestants rise to the theme, with PASTIE and PATTIES.  It's food themes all round!

David has TEAPOTS as well.  Some other (but not thematic) sevens are BAPTIST, TIPTOES, and OPIATES.

George: PASTIE

Scores: Toby 14 (20), George 0 (7), me 24

Round 5: W R C U E A R I D

W and U rarely go well together.  I found CREW, RACER, RACIER, CARRIED, and -- yet another theme word -- CURRIED.

The contestants are off-theme with five and six, but David is still on track with CURRIED.

Another seven in that mix is AIRCREW.

George: CURED

Scores: Toby 14 (26), George 0 (7), me 31

Round 6: Target 375 from 75 9 9 10 8 8

George goes for one large and the duplication in those small numbers could make this very awkward.  But the target and the large number combine to make this just barely possible; the basic idea is to multiply that 75 by 5, so we need a 5 from the small numbers.  I found 375 = 75*10/(9 + 9 - 8 - 8), and after time I found the alternative 375 = 75*(8 - (10 + 9 + 8)/9).

Both contestants declare 375; George goes first with what turns out to be Lily's solution also: 375 = (10/(8/8 + 9/9))*75.  Toby turns out to have made a mistake in his solution, so it doesn't count.

Richard notes that this is a "kitchen sink" solution, and tries to tie it into the food theme, as "the washing up afterwards".

Toby: [invalid]
George: 375
Me: 375
Lily: 375

Scores: Toby 14 (26), George 10 (17), me 41

Second break: CALF OMEN ("Hot Latin music")

Simple cluing for FLAMENCO.

Round 7: S M N E O F G A P

I'm off-kilter on this round; there was OMENS in the first five letters but I really had trouble finding anything longer.  Eventually I found MANGES, and then time ran out.  After time I find the seven, and (would you believe it?) it's another theme word: MANGOES.

A five from George, and Toby has found the seven.  There is amusement all around at the theme continuation; David found it also, and notes that the six of SPONGE ties in with both food and the kitchen sink.

It's really quite amazing; sevens the best to be found in each letters round, and a food connection always available.  It will be a long time before there's such a thematic round again, I'll wager.

George: MEANS

Scores: Toby 21 (33), George 10 (17), me 41

Round 8: Target 320 from 25 7 1 9 6 7

As the numbers went up I was looking for something around 400, since 400 = 25*(7 + 9).  The 16 was thus fresh in my mind when the target was revealed to be 320, leading to the solution of 320 = (9 + 7)*(25 + 1 - 6).

Toby is fairly far away with 328; I can only speculate that this was 328 = (7 + 1)*(25 + 7 + 9), but he would then have had a leftover six to get to 322.  George is only one off, with 319 = (6 + 7)*25 - (7 - 1), and those seven points put him just within striking distance for the conundrum.

Lily makes it look oh-so-easy with 320 = (25 + 7)*(9 + 1).

Another solution is 320 = 7*7*6 + 25 + 1.

Toby: 328
George: 319
Me: 320
Lily: 320

Scores: Toby 21 (33), George 10 (24), me 51


Anyone's game, but Toby buzzes in at the nine second mark.  I pause the video, and search for the answer, but I get nowhere with it -- completely lost.  Eventually (and way past the thirty second mark) I have to give up; kudos to Toby for solving this one!

Toby: PORCUPINE (9s)
George: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Toby 31 (43), George 10 (24), me 51

George really wasn't in the hunt here on the letters, while Toby did poorly on the numbers again.  The net effect wasn't an equal result (the game is biased towards letters), but it did keep George in contention.  Toby wins his fourth game, which means that he has pushed me down to fourth spot in the finals rankings.

Not one of my better nights, although there was very little in it.  Still, those sevens, particularly in round 1, were findable and would have kept my scoreline above 60.  As it is, we have (I think) my fourth-lowest score of the series so far.  Not terrible, but certainly below standard.  Here's hoping for a regression to the mean tomorrow...


Mike Backhouse said...

3*(75+5)+7-50/25=245 ( 1 off and went just over)
PASTIE and just over BOATIES?

Geoff Bailey said...

Yes, BOATIES is valid (and a good spot); BOATIE is "a person who owns and runs a small craft".