Thursday, 15 December 2011

Ep 338: Hiep Do, Camilla Horn (December 14, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

The pre-game chat seems a bit light today.  Hiep is asked about what sports he plays, and mentions that he used to play soccer but has been injured for the last three years (ouch), so he's taken up badminton.  Then Richard and David talk about the origins of the word for a bit, as it was the subject of one of David's talks a while back.

Tonight's challenger is Camilla Horn, a personal assistant and karaoke enthusiast.  There's some general poking of fun at karaoke, and Camilla plays up to that.  Apparently she only wheels it out at the staff Christmas party, but then there's no stopping her.

It's a pretty shaky start from both contestants, with several invalid selections or just not having an answer at all.  At the second break it looks very plausible that we could be in for a new record lowest winning and/or combined score.  Fortunately the final numbers game is very easy and saves them from this fate, otherwise it would have been a new record for both, with the conundrum proving elusive.  Hiep hangs on to win, 32 to 23.

I missed some words that I should have seen (and that I did see not long after time was up), but I still feel much better about today than recent games, courtesy of solving all the numbers tonight.  They were easy, admittedly, but it's still nice to be back on track in that regard.  Now if I can just get it together on the letters again...

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: P C L I U N H O E

Not the most auspicious of starts; I found CLIP, UNCLIP (with slight concern, since UN- words can be a gamble), PINCH, POLICE, and POUNCE.  After time I found PINHOLE, and PHENOL.

Hiep has the rather unusual five of PLUNE which... I don't know where that came from; PLUME perhaps?  It's not valid, anyway.  Camilla has UNCLIP, and we find out that I was rightly suspicious of it -- the Macquarie lists UNCLIPPED, but not UNCLIP.  This is surprising to Richard, and David effectively acknowledges that it's an omission in the Macquarie but they have to stick with the dictionary as their authoritative source.

So no points for either contestant in the first round, which I don't recall happening before.  David mentions a couple of valid sixes in passing, but then wheels out an eight: EUPHONIC ("pleasant-sounding").

Another seven from those letters is HELICON (a type of tuba), and there are two other eights that are anagrams of each other: PHENOLIC (which I overlooked when I found PHENOL), and PINOCHLE; this latter is both a card game and a point-scoring combination within that game, so it is pluralisable if required.

Hiep: [invalid]
Camilla: [invalid]

Scores: Hiep 0, Camilla 0, me 6

Round 2: R A S I W T D E O

Camilla's first go at the letters turns up some very familiar combinations.  I found AIRS, WAITS, STRAW, WAITERS (inevitably), ROASTED, ROADIES, and ASTEROID.  WAITERS and ASTEROID in particular have turned up on the show many times.

The contestants go six-seven, and David notes WORDIEST as well as ASTEROID.  Another eight is an anagram of WORDIEST: ROWDIEST.

Camilla: WAITERS

Scores: Hiep 0, Camilla 0 (7), me 14

Round 3: Target 343 from 75 6 8 10 5 1

The target is instantly recognisable as seven cubed, but it's not so easy to use that to advantage (it would have been quite easy if that 75 had been a 50).  So instead I go with more traditional approaches, finding 343 = 5*75 - 8*(10 - 6).  This is Lily's solution, too.

After time I do find a way to make that factorisation work: 343 = (6*8 + 1)*(75 - 5)/10.

Both contestants are one off the target, Hiep with 342 and Camilla with 344.  Hiep starts off by saying 75 - 6... but then realises that he's made a mistake.  I'm going out on a limb to guess that he was one away, but got confused as to which direction that was, and that he actually had 344 = (75 - 6)*5 - 1.  That's pretty big speculation, I know; in any case, his idea was easily salvageable to a full solution: 343 = 5*(75 - 6) - (10 - 8).  So close!

Camilla, meanwhile, has realised that she has used the five twice.  So no points for her, either, and after three rounds the score is a surprisingly low 7 to 0.

Another solution that I found just now: 343 = 6*(75 - 10 - 8) + 1.

Hiep: [invalid]
Camilla: [invalid]
Me: 343
Lily: 343

Scores: Hiep 0, Camilla 0 (7), me 24

First break: SNEAK SEW ("Seven days of feebleness)

Easy to find WEAKNESS from those letters and the clue.

David's talk is about how some words have a personal connection, and in particular about the French diplomat Jean Nicot de Villemain, and how the tobacco chemical nicotine came to be named after him.

Round 4: A I N F E R C I T

It's a decent looking mix, and I found FINE, FINER, FANCIER, and CITRINE.  If only that last vowel were an E then INTERFACE would have been there.  I have a moment of silliness here -- I am reminded of ARTIFACT from an earlier episode, but that's obviously not a match.  But a small pause would have shown me ARTIFICE for eight; I find it afterwards, of course.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I'll take a moment to note that CANTREF (aka CANTRED: "a division of a county", from the Welsh) is not listed in the Macquarie and so cannot score.

Camilla has declared a six of SATIRE, which uses an S that isn't there.  That's three invalid declarations in four rounds for her; not good at all and she's very lucky to somehow not be behind at this point.

Hiep thinks that his seven of FAINTER is risky, but it's quite solid and we've seen it many times before.  He is presumably thinking of it as "someone who faints" and unsure as to that meaning being valid.  It is, however, but the other meaning of "more faint" is also guaranteed to be safe due to the single-syllable rule.  Either way, it's seven points for him and a tied game.

David is on target again, finding the eight.

Camilla: [invalid]

Scores: Hiep 7, Camilla 0 (7), me 31

Round 5: B O E D G O E H T

Hiep doesn't look thrilled when that second O turns up, and he takes the fourth vowel somewhat early.  It isn't helpful (duplication rarely is), while the S instead would have given a few easy sevens.  In any case, I found BODE, BODGE (invalid, although BODGER is all right), GEODE, HOOTED, and BOOTED.  After time I add HOTBED to that list.  I did wonder about BOOTHED, but it is not valid.

Hiep has nothing at all to declare, while Camilla has a six.  David lists a few other sixes, including HOTDOG which is a listed alternate form for both HOT DOG / HOT-DOG (the food item) and HOT-DOG (the skiing or surfing manoeuvre).

Hiep: [no answer]
Camilla: BOOTED

Scores: Hiep 7, Camilla 6 (13), me 37

Round 6: Target 123 from 75 50 25 5 1 8

Camilla goes for the balanced mix, and a small target is unlikely to trouble.  Then again, this target tripped up Shaun Ellis way back in episode 301, so anything is possible.  I found 123 = 75 + 50 - (8 - 5 - 1) at first, then went for factorisation with 123 = (50 - 8 - 1)*75/25, and finished up with a kitchen sink for good measure: 123 = 75 + 50 - 5 + (25 - 1)/8.

Camilla surprises by not having anything to declare, while Hiep has 119 = 75 + 25 + 50/10 + 8 + 1.  In a round where one away was almost trivial with 124 = 75 + 50 - 1, those results are very odd.

Lily has another variant with 123 = 75 + 50 + 8/(5 - 1).

The scores are 14 to 13 after six rounds, courtesy of five invalid answers and two non-answers.  (Admittedly, Camilla was unlucky with UNCLIP.)  This is on track for a record low, and I'm already uncatchable despite a mildly flawed performance.

Hiep: 119
Camilla: [no answer]
Me: 123
Lily: 123

Scores: Hiep 7 (14), Camilla 6 (13), me 47

Second break: BAD CLEAN ("How you want your books to be")

From an accountancy perspective, one would want books to be BALANCED.

Round 7: S M A T N I U D S

I was a little surprised that Hiep didn't ask for a final vowel here, but perhaps he was feeling a bit burned after the previous round.  I found MAST, STAIN, MATINS (although I'm unsure if it will be acceptable uncapitalised; later checking reveals that it is), DAUNTS, STANDS, and NUDISTS.  After time I try using the -MAN and find DUSTMAN.

I'm pretty happy with that seven, but there's this moment about 18 seconds in where Hiep pretty much sets down his pen in a "I'm done for this round" way, suggesting that I may have missed something.  And he declares the eight of STADIUMS, so it seems that I have.  I doubt that I'd have risked it if I'd seen it, but both plurals (STADIUMS and STADIA) are explicitly allowed, and that's eight much-needed points to Hiep.

A less risky eight (but not an easy spot) is TSUNAMIS.

Camilla: MINDS

Scores: Hiep 15 (22), Camilla 6 (13), me 47

Round 8: Target 141 from 75 50 25 100 5 4

Camilla goes for four large and two small, and it's not clear if this is just for a bit of fun, or if there is strategy behind it.  She could think she is better at the numbers (although the current evidence would suggest otherwise) or perhaps she wants an impossible target to ensure that she's still in touch going into the conundrum.  Whatever the reasoning, I always like to see this option chosen, but the target is sadly trivial.

I first found 141 = 50*75/25 - 5 - 4, then adjusted it to 141 = 100 + 50 - 5 - 4; this is the solution that everyone else used.  Experimenting a bit -- four large offers so many options for play -- I also found 141 = (75 - 50 + 100/25)*5 - 4.

Everyone gets ten points, and the game escapes lowest score territory.  If the target had completely defeated both players, it would have ended up being a new low, though -- what a difference the target can make!

Hiep: 141
Camilla: 141
Me: 141
Lily: 141

Scores: Hiep 25 (32), Camilla 16 (23), me 57


Oh, dear... I was completely lost on this conundrum.  Hiep buzzed in at the 13 second mark, and I paused it.  But even running way over regulation time I couldn't see the answer.  I did find MEDICAL, mind you, but seven is not nine.

Eventually I give up, and look to see what Hiep has found.  He goes for MANDICLE (at least, that's what it sounds like; was this an internal mangling of MANACLED?) which is invalid and gives Camilla a chance.  But she can't solve it, so Hiep clings on to victory.

I gave it one final shot before letting the answer be revealed, and finally found MEDICINAL.  Why it was so hard to stick that IN inside MEDICAL eludes me now, but hindsight is always 20/20.

Hiep: [invalid]
Camilla: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Hiep 25 (32), Camilla 16 (23), me 57

Fortunately Camilla lost by more than the difference that UNCLIP would have made; that would have really hurt, otherwise.  It was a pretty patchy performance from both contestants, including some very surprising results in rounds 5 and 6.  Hiep looks extremely relieved to have gotten through that game with the win, and comments about how hard his heart is beating.  (Well, he actually says that it won't stop beating -- which Richard observes is just as well! -- but his meaning was clear.)

I'm glad to be back on decent ground with the numbers again, although they were a pretty easy bunch tonight.  It looks like I'm slipping a bit on the letters, with a missed eight and seven that I should have found.  (I don't mind missing EUPHONIC and STADIUMS, though it would have been nice to see them, of course.)  Still, a win is a win and it's been a good run overall.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

easily salvageable solution
BOOTED (wondered about the invalid BOOTHED)