Friday, 6 January 2012

Ep 355: Kerin White, John Day (January 6, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

The SBS website continues to be fast for me today; this is reassuring!

Tonight it's mentioned that Kerin makes platelet and plasma donations regularly.  Unlike whole blood donations, the red blood cells are returned during the process which enables donors to give much more frequently; Kerin donates every fortnight.  More information about the different types of donation may be found on the Red Cross blood donation website.

(I could swear that one of the contestants that I met during my time on the show also talked about this, but it may not have made it to air.  I think it was Tim Clay, if so.)

Tonight's challenger is John Day, an analyst for a national food company who loves "the great outdoors".  He had an unusual experience a few years back when he was scuba diving in New Zealand.  The group he was in surfaced, and about a hundred metres from the boat was a pod of killer wales that just swam past them.  That sounds awe-inspiring, and perhaps somewhat frightening.

It's another very close game tonight; the contestants each concede a round of each type to the other, but the difference is in the details: Kerin came out the better in the exchanges, giving her a precious four point lead going into the conundrum.  The conundrum eludes both contestants, and Kerin survives to play another day, with a winning score of 46 to 42.

I had a shocking game tonight, missing several easily found words and deciding against the full monty.  Combining those with an accidental early buzzer press on the conundrum made it a dire day for me on the words.  The one small positive was getting the numbers correct each time, and that enabled me to limp home safely for an unconvincing win.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: D F C G E A U R S

The early alphabet letters keep coming, and that's kind of a bad sign -- that's the sort of thing which people have studied, and there just aren't that many long words using the early letters of the alphabet.  Fortunately the B stays away, or it would have been very awkward indeed.  I had FACED, GUARDS, and CRUSADE; afterwards I found SUGARED and (finally) SURFACED -- that was a bad miss.

I'd normally have been all for the last consonant (the rule of thumb suggests doing so), but the exception is for seeing a potential full monty.  In this case the chance of FACEGUARD makes it hard to go past the vowel option.

John has a six, but Kerin has found her way to the eight -- well done, Kerin!

Another couple of sevens here are SCARFED and CADGERS.


Scores: Kerin 8, John 0, me 0

Round 2: L E O T D M I Z A

That Z looks like a problem for an otherwise promising set of letters, but appearances are deceiving.  Despite those other eight meshing well they won't produce more than six, and only the Z allows higher.  I had DOTE, MODEL, and ATOMIZED.

It's sixes from each contestant, and from David as well.  That's a little surprising, as he is clearly aware of ATOMISED and must know that the -IZE variant is also allowed.  It could be part of what I perceive as his avoidance of Americanisms, but the -ISE/-IZE debate isn't nearly so simple.

Aside from ATOMIZE, the only other seven appears to be DIAZOLE, a chemistry term (one of two possible compounds).  It's really surprising that LEOTDMIA has nothing longer than six from those letters; there's a great many sixes, though, of which I'll only mention MELOID (the blister beetle).

Finding ATOMIZED puts me actually a point ahead of David, and I'm briefly excited.  The remaining letters rounds will see me crashing painfully back to earth, however.


Scores: Kerin 8 (14), John 0 (6), me 8

Round 3: Target 261 from 100 75 10 5 3 8

I made heavy weather of this; early investigations were not promising, so I wrote down one away with 260 = 100 + (5 - 3)*75 + 10.  With time running out I noticed that 3*75 was close and tweaking might get the rest, and just managed to get the solution written down in time: 261 = 3*(75 + 100/5 - 8).

John is one away with 260, while Kerin has found the simpler way to 3*87 with 261 = (100 - 8 - 5)*3.  It's no surprise that Lily also used this.

I can't help feeling that applying the standard approach was simpler again, though: 261 = 10*(100 - 75) + 8 + 3.  I got lost in more complicated approaches, as is often the way.

Kerin: 261
John: 260
Me: 261
Lily: 261

Scores: Kerin 18 (24), John 0 (6), me 18

First break: IDEA SLUR ("Twice the leftovers")

"Twice" is cluing the DUAL of RESIDUAL.

David's talk starts from Twitter, and digresses to talk about the words 'twitter', 'twit', and 'twerp'.

Round 4: B C E I S H A M U

The theory calls for a consonant at the end here, and I was hoping at the time for an R for CHAMBERS.  It would have been, too, but with the U instead getting past six is difficult.  I found ICES, BASIC, BEACH, CUBISM, and IAMBUS.

Both contestants are filled with SHAME, but David has found the seven of CAESIUM.  And... gah.  Once again I didn't even notice the -IUM option, which is particularly bad since I had IAMBUS.  Whoops!  The handy hint for future players: If you see -IUM, do a quick check for the name of an element.  CAESIUM (or CESIUM) is the one which has come up most often, but ERBIUM and TERBIUM are other likely enough options.

There is one more seven in the mix, the rather unexpected BEAUISH.

Kerin: SHAME

Scores: Kerin 18 (29), John 0 (11), me 24

Round 5: R W B S E I A T L

Lots of potential in this mix, but I go into a fugue and only manage to emerge with BREWS and BRAISE.  (Well, discarding WRISTABLE along the way, but that hardly counts.)  With a couple of seconds left I see a slew of sevens but without enough time left to write them down.  Some of them were BLISTER, BLASTER, and STABILE.  A couple of other sevens that I like from this are WARBLES and WASTREL.

Sevens from each contestant, while David has come through with the eight that looked like it should be there: LIBRATES (LIBRATE: "oscillate; sway"); that's an excellent find.  David ties this in to Tuesday's appearance of OSCULATES.


Scores: Kerin 25 (36), John 7 (18), me 24

Round 6: Target 903 from 50 2 7 8 9 5

A very easy target from that mix, and everyone finds 903 = 9*2*50 + 8 - 5.  I'd noted the divisibility by seven, and after time expired found a way to make it work: 903 = 7*(8*9 + 5 + 2 + 50).

Kerin: 903
John: 903
Me: 903
Lily: 903

Scores: Kerin 35 (46), John 17 (28), me 34

Second break: DEED GRAB ("Annoyed by an animal")

An easy clue for BADGERED.

Round 7: R G T N E O U D A

I'm still behind at this stage, and with very little time to make up the ground; this made me counterproductively cautious.  I found TERN, ROUGE, TONGUE, TONGUED, AGROUND, OUTRANGED, and RAGOUTED.  I angsted for far longer than I should have over whether to try OUTRANGED (the OUT- words are a bit of a gamble; OUTRANGE is not listed in Chambers, for instance), and taking the game situation into account I should have gone for it.  The usual rule applies, that trying it and failing would not cost the game, but not trying it could well do so.  However, I riskily "played it safe" by sticking with RAGOUTED.

(Note that a final I would have given DETOURING, so there were two chances at the full monty here.)

The contestants go six and seven, with John having the seven and clawing back some precious ground; it leaves him eleven away and still needing to beat Kerin in this next numbers round, but has improved his chances greatly.  David confirms the validity of OUTRANGED, applying in the contexts of missiles or sailing ships.

Another eight in this mix that I like is DRAGONET.


Scores: Kerin 35 (46), John 17 (35), me 42

Round 8: Target 915 from 100 5 3 1 7 4

It looks like this should be easy, but it's just a touch trickier than might be expected and a bit of tweaking helps.  I went with 915 = 3*((7 - 4)*100 + 5).  Much after time, I managed to get the divisibility by 5 to work, with 915 = 5*(100 + 7*3*4 - 1).

Neither contestant has seen the tweak, and it looks like they both got hung up on using 5+4 for the 9, leaving them with difficulties getting to the target.  Kerin declares 911 -- presumably 911 = (5 + 4)*100 + 7 + 3 + 1 -- while John has manipulated his way closer with 914 = (5 + 4)*100 + 7*(3 - 1).  That's a good result from him, and leaves him just four points short going into the conundrum.

Lily shows essentially the same solution as I gave, but using 4 - 1 to get the other three: 915 = (3*100 + 5)*(4 - 1).

Kerin: 911
John: 914
Me: 915
Lily: 915

Scores: Kerin 35 (46), John 17 (42), me 52


I was keyed up for this conundrum, hoping to salvage something from the unsatisfactory letters rounds today.  Unfortunately, that caused me to buzz in at the one second mark, without anything to declare.  (I had had WHIPPOORWILL flutter through my mind, but it was obviously too long to be a serious contender.)  It was concern over the possibility of exactly this sort of thing which was why I kept my hand off the buzzer when I was a contestant!

I found the actual answer of WHIRLPOOL at around the seven second mark.  Neither contestant finds it, however, and Kerin survives to play another day.

Kerin: [no answer]
John: [no answer]
Me: [invalid] (1s)

Final scores: Kerin 35 (46), John 17 (42), me 52

Kerin got off to a flyer with SURFACED, but James responded in kind later with GRANTED beating her DETOUR.  Similarly, her 261 beat John's 260, but later his 914 was better than her 911.  The difference was that she gained each time (8 to 7, 10 to 7), carrying that precious four point advantage into the conundrum round.  Decent results from each, with John holding his nerve when eighteen points behind to mount a good comeback, giving him a chance in the conundrum.

I've already expostulated about my performance enough.  Suffice to say, I'm not thrilled by my letters performance today, with rounds 4 and 5 in particularly standing out as disappointing.  Let's hope that next week brings happier results.


Sam Gaffney said...

My answers:

261 = 3 x (100-8-5)
903 = (9x50+5) x 2 - 7
915 = ((4-1)x100+5) x 3

I had different scores to you on every non-number round, funnily enough. I found CHAISE too late to write it down in round #4, and really should try to learn CAESIUM, it is quite a useful word.

Bad luck with your conundrum, I once called out "GLADIATORIAL" at home when the answer was "GLADIATOR".

Geoff Bailey said...

*winces about GLADIATORIAL* Ouch, that must have hurt. Great work finding SURFACED, OUTRANGED, and WHIRLPOOL!

Mike Backhouse said...

As usual, well done Geoff and Sam.

Lily's way
Everyone's way
(5+4)*(100+1)+7=916 (1 off. Still enough to beat contestants but not Geoff and Sam)
x started on POOL fragment just as buzzer went but don't know if I would have got it.