Thursday, 5 January 2012

Ep 353: Mark Arnold, Kerin White (January 4, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

Richard asks about Mark's sporting activities tonight; Mark notes that, coming from England as he does, the sport in question is football (the soccer variety).  He has played indoor soccer for eleven years, and outdoor for seven.  He has coached and refereed junior soccer for a year, and also refereed indoor soccer; it's not clear if this last is at the junior level or not.

Challenging Mark tonight is legal secretary Kerin White.  Back in year twelve she won a book voucher as a prize for maths and used it to buy a dictionary.  As you might imagine, this endears her immensely to David.  In fact, the dictionary was a first edition of the Macquarie so that ties in nicely to the show.

It's a pretty good game from both contestants, with some decent finds in the letters rounds and nice close results in the numbers.  Kerin gets a bit of a break in rounds five and six, but Mark gets some of it back on the final numbers round.  Either contestant can win it going into the conundrum but it's Kerin who solves it, and takes the victory 55 to 40.

I had a good game too, with my solo score outpointing the David & Lily combination for the first time in a long while (courtesy of a missed numbers solution from Lily).  The two longer words that David found were not ones I would necessarily have risked (I saw one of them, in fact), so I'm pretty satisfied with this result.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: U E T F B O I D S

I had TUBE, BEFIT, BUSTED, STUDIO, and FOISTED.  I toyed with OUTBIDES but discarded it; I also noticed (as I'm sure David did) the combination of DEBT and IOUS from those letters.  After time I played more with the OUT- beginning, getting OUTSIDE and OUTBIDS, but nothing longer.

Everyone has sevens; it's the best to be done and not too hard to find them in this mix.  Some other sevens that could have been used are TEDIOUS (an anagram of OUTSIDE), SUBEDIT, and FEUDIST (someone who participates in a feud).


Scores: 7 apiece

Round 2: T R M Z A E I G P

That Z really does spoil the party, but the rest provides decent fodder.  If only we could turn that G into a U for TRAPEZIUM...

I had TRAM, TAMER, MIGRATE, EPIGRAM (David has used this several times in the past, often where a MAGPIE is involved; looks like it finally 'stuck' in my memory), and PRIMATE.

Mark has found a seven, while Kerin drops behind with a six.  David has found a different seven of RAGTIME, which he comments makes him think of Cinderella at around midnight.  Heh.


Scores: Mark 14, Kerin 7, me 14

Round 3: Target 367 from 75 10 4 5 4 9

If you know your 75-times tables, it's really hard to miss the first step of this solution.  I made it slightly harder for myself than I needed to with 367 = 5*75 - 9 + 4/4; everyone else used 367 = 5*75 - 4 - 4.

Mark: 367
Kerin: 367
Me: 367
Lily: 367

Scores: Mark 24, Kerin 17, me 24

First break: DASH VINE ("Disappeared via truck")

The truck being the VAN of VANISHED, of course.

David's talk is about the terms 'port' and 'starboard'.

Round 4: R S N C E U E R A

I'm still undecided about that last letter, but on the balance I'd probably prefer a consonant.  (Only an S holds out hope for a nine, as it turns out.)  I had CURES, ENSURE, CENSURE, then three words that I regarded as increasingly dodgy: CENSURER, UNCREASE, and UNCREASER.  I thought that CENSURER might have a chance but played it safe and stayed with CENSURE.  After time I found the other sevens of ERASURE and SECURER.

This time it's Mark with the six and Kerin with a seven, so the scores are level again.  David has seen RESCUE and thus RESCUER and -- perhaps with the luxury of the dictionary to check its validity -- has settled on CENSURER which turns out to be valid.  Oh, well.

Another eight here is ÉCRASEUR, a surgical instrument.


Scores: Mark 24, Kerin 24, me 31

Round 5: N C T I E A S F I

I was mentally pleading Mark to choose that final vowel, hoping for an A and FASCINATE.  Alas, it was not to be, and it did throw me for a while.  I ended up with NICE, ANTIC, ANTICS, and FANCIEST.

Mark has a "safe" seven, but he may wish that he risked a bit more as Kerin has successfully tried FANCIEST also.


Scores: Mark 24, Kerin 32, me 39

Round 6: Target 761 from 75 50 4 10 6 4

After the numbers went up, but before the target had been revealed, I'd done a little test-multiplication (Lily suggested this a few games back, and it was helpful this time).  I noted that 75 + 50 was 125, so checked the multiples I could easily make: 4*125 = 500, 6*125 = 750... and then the target turned out to be very close to the latter, and I had an easy solution of 761 = 6*(75 + 50) + 10 + 4/4.

Both contestants have 760, with Kerin declaring 760 = 75*10 + 6 + 4.  Mark, however, has made a mistake -- we don't find out what it is -- which is a shame for him, as that 760 was fairly easy.

Lily turns out to likewise struggle with getting that final adjustment by one, and needs the break to think about it.  While that's happening I see if it is easier to get the 11 than the 1, and it is, yielding the solution 761 = 75*10 + (50 - 6)/4.  After the break Lily comes back with my first solution.

A commenter on the SBS website shows how to get that adjustment by 10 despite multiplying by it, with the neat solution 761 = (75 + 6)*10 - 50 + 4/4.

Mark: [invalid]
Kerin: 760
Me: 761
Lily: 760

Scores: Mark 24, Kerin 32 (39), me 49

Second break: WARD WITH ("To pull out, or take out")

A straight clue for WITHDRAW.

Round 7: L K S E A E N D O

Mark continues his vowel-happy ways, and I really dislike it on this mix; I was hoping the final letter would be a C for CLEANSED (but SLACKENED would have been even better).  As it was sevens are the limit and even getting one of them is difficult.  I had LEAKS, EASEL, SNAKED, and SOAKED.  There's lots of other sixes, too.

Sixes from both contestants, and David has come through with SNEAKED, the correct past tense of SNEAK (SNUCK being colloquial).  Huh.  I'm not sure I'd have been comfortable trying that even if I'd seen it; I guess the colloquialism is somewhat entrenched.

Some other sevens are ALKENES (I wish I'd seen that), KALENDS (also spelled CALENDS, the first of the month in the Roman calendar), and KEELSON ("a strengthening line of timbers or iron plates in a ship, above and parallel with the keel").


Scores: Mark 30, Kerin 38 (45), me 55

Round 8: Target 680 from 25 50 9 3 6 5

Again the pre-multiplying comes in handy, as 675 was one of the targets I noted.  Thus I easily had the solution 680 = 9*(50 + 25) + 5, which is the solution also used by Mark and Lily.  I played around with other options with the remaining time, finding 680 = (9 + 6)*50 - 3*25 + 5.

Kerin declares 681, which I'll take a guess was 681 = (9 + 5)*50 - 25 + 6.

That's ten precious points for Mark, putting him into contention going into the conundrum.

Mark: 680
Kerin: 681
Me: 680
Lily: 680

Scores: Mark 40, Kerin 38 (45), me 65


I can't pinpoint anything which helped me on this one, but I solved it four seconds in.  It's a word that I've had occasional trouble in the past when I've tried to think of words with a double 'h'.  This isn't one of those, although it feels like it should be, whereas 'withhold' is (also 'fishhook' and 'hitchhike').

Mark: [no answer]
Kerin: THRESHOLD (7s)

Scores: Mark 40, Kerin 38 (55), me 75

Between them they did well in the letters rounds, with some good finds such as PRIMATE, CAREERS, and FANCIEST.  The numbers were almost as good, with neither contestant being more than one away from the target (aside from Mark's unfortunate invalid declaration).  In the end, the difference in scores was equal to Kerin's gains in rounds five and six; Mark may well be ruing having played it safe in round 5, and whatever his arithmetic slip was in round six.

I'm happy with my performance, having seen CENSURER even if not willing to risk it.  It was an interesting set of numbers rounds, with the 75-times tables coming into play in all cases, and the premultiplying technique paying large dividends for me.  It will probably be a while before it ends up being as helpful again.


Sam Gaffney said...

Great standard of play from the contestants (and Geoff) these last two nights.

My answers:

367 = 5x75-4-4
761 = 75x10 + (50-6)/4
680 = (50+25)x9 + 5

Geoff Bailey said...

Ooh, RECURSE is a lovely find in round 4. And getting that 761 within time is excellent.