Monday, 16 January 2012

Ep 361: Trevor Armstrong, Chris Miller (January 16, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

Richard talks a bit more about Trevor's swimming, and how he does it all over the world.  He asks why Trevor does that, and more or less gets a rehash of the first night's comments about what Trevor likes about swimming.  Trevor says that recently he went to Vanuatu, and at the capital (Port Vila) he swam around the Iririki island (a distance of about 3.2 kilometres).  Trevor adds: "29, 30 degree water temperature, coral fish, what more could you ask for?"

Tonight's challenger is Chris Miller, an accountant and keen traveller.  Chris hails from London, and did about two months of travelling around Australia when he first arrived here.  He spent a lot of time on the east coast of Queensland; in particular, driving from Brisbane to Cairns and swimming along the Great Barrier Reef.  He describes the experience as fantastic and amazing, and says that he met a lot of great people.

It's a very close game from both contestants: They have identical results in three of the five letters rounds, and anagrams in another.  They each get one of the numbers rounds, and then both miss the last completely, meaning that it's just a single round of difference going into the conundrum.  Trevor was ahead, and solves the conundrum quickly to get his third win, 53 to 37.

I did OK, but stumbled in the second round and then was just a touch slow on the conundrum so that Trevor just beat me to it.  The rest was good (just one letter short of optimal) and strong numbers results in particular saw me comfortably home.

As usual, details after the break.

Round 1: G S N O E A R D E

Good letters to start with, and I had SONG, GONE, ORANGES, and GRENADES; I wrote down DRAGONESE just for fun, but it was never a serious guess.

Both contestants found DANGERS, while David has found GRENADES.

Like myself, David had been hoping that the final vowel would have been an I for the familiar ORGANISED / GRANDIOSE / ORGANDIES triple.  But a U would also have been good, yielding DANGEROUS.  Even an O works, with the previously-unfamiliar-to-me GOOSANDER ("the European subspecies of the common merganser, Mergus merganser merganser"... which I'm sure explains it all to your satisfaction; or you could read the Wikipedia article about it).

That final vowel is too tempting to ignore, but had the consonant been chosen it would have been a T for DRAGONETS.  Such is life.

Some other eights here are GRANDEES / DERANGES and REASONED.


Scores: Trevor 0 (7), Chris 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: T C M U I E B L U

I had a mental block here; I found CUTIE and MULCT, then tried to get the -IUM ending to work.  The only element that was close to working was LUTETIUM, but another T was needed.  I ended up spending far too long chasing after that and ended up with only fives.  After time ran out I saw TUMBLE, but then had BULEMIC... which is incorrect, of course (should be BULIMIC), so it's just as well I didn't see that in time.  Not sure I would have done the mental checking to catch that error in a live situation.

I really dislike that last vowel choice, admittedly partly influenced by it working so badly.  Three distinct vowels including an E is great working material; asking for a fourth vowel when the consonants aren't quite fitting together is low percentage.  (Sure, an O for COLUMBITE is the magic result, but I'm betting that the possibility hadn't been seen.)  The H instead of the U gives THIMBLE for seven.

This position of mine is somewhat undercut by an alternative spelling that I wasn't aware of: LUTECIUM listed as an alternative for LUTETIUM.  Bother.

Chris has a five, but Trevor has found TUMBLE.  David has also found a six, CUMULI (plural of CUMULUS, meaning a heap or pile, or a particular type of cloud).

Trevor: TUMBLE
Chris: CLIMB

Scores: Trevor 6 (13), Chris 0 (7), me 8

Round 3: Target 751 from 25 50 100 75 1 6

Trevor persists with the four-large mix -- this time he calls it a "dysfunctional family mix" -- and the target is very friendly (although at least it wasn't small).  Keeping the 1 for the offset, the aim is to get 750 with the rest and this is not too hard.  I went with 751 = 6*(75 + 50) + 1.

Trevor has found 750 -- I'll guess this was 750 = (6 + 1)*100 + 50 -- but Chris has shown good manipulation of the large numbers to get there with 751 = (100/25 + 6)*75 + 1.  Lily shows the more prosaic solution 751 = 6*100 + 25 + 75 + 50 + 1.

Trevor: 750
Chris: 751
Me: 751
Lily: 751

Scores: Trevor 6 (13), Chris 10 (17), me 18

First break: LIME TALC ("Don't taste it -- it's not nice")

With METAL sitting in the middle of the words, finding METALLIC should not be a stretch.

David's talk is about the word 'potato'.  (The opening chat included a mention of David being called a POTATO recently when he tried to use a RipStik.  In this case it was an acronym meaning "Person Over Thirty Acting Twenty-One".)

Round 4: H A N I D E L S A

I had HAND, HANDLE, and HANDLES.  (Looking at the letters laid out like that, finding HANDLES is not the greatest feat.)  I also speculated about NAILHEADS, but correctly decided that it would not be listed.  (Chambers does list it, but hyphenated.)

Both contestants have found HANDLES also; David notes that he was hoping for a final E for HEADLINES, but has still bested us with HEADSAIL.  (Ouch; I did flirt with HANDSAIL but did not correct to HEADSAIL.)

Note that once again choosing a consonant (M) instead of the fourth vowel would have given a full monty: MISHANDLE.

Some of the other sevens here are INHALES, INHALED, HALIDES, DAHLIAS, DENIALS, and an anagram of HANDLES that has better potential for expansion: HANDSEL, a good luck token.  It's also a verb (to give someone a handsel) with the US spelling of HANDSELED allowed.  Not that I'll remember this if it comes up...


Scores: Trevor 13 (20), Chris 17 (24), me 25

Round 5: M D O E T R A I N

I had MODE, DOME, ROAMED, READMIT, RATIONED / ORDINATE, and MEDIATOR.  After time I added DOMINATE.  Another eight -- one mentioned before on this blog -- is DORMIENT.

Both contestants had TRAINED -- not surprising, with TRAIN up there on the board -- while David has DOMINATEd as expected.  It's a friendly mix, but the nine just isn't there; had the I been an E then EMENDATOR would have been available for nine.


Scores: Trevor 13 (27), Chris 17 (31), me 33

Round 6: Target 417 from 100 8 5 2 2 9

This is pretty easy to work towards; the target is 17 away from a multiple of 100, and we can easily find that 17.  Finding the requisite four is also pretty easy, leading to the solution 417 = 2*2*100 + 9 + 8.  (Of course, the same could have been said about the 219 that was my first numbers game; sometimes your mind just goes down unhelpful paths.)

Chris has stopped at 416; I'm assuming this was 416 = (9 - 5)*100 + 8*2.  Trevor has found the solution, though, as has Lily (with the minor variation of using 2 + 2 instead of 2*2).

Trevor: 417
Chris: 416
Me: 417
Lily: 417

Scores: Trevor 23 (37), Chris 17 (31), me 43

Second break: GORY MEET ("Found in all shapes and sizes")

It took me a little while to realise that this clue was for GEOMETRY, but I solved the anagram to get there.

Round 7: T C E O F D A I R

Once more it's a pretty good set of letters, although the F can be a spoiler at times.  I had COTE, COATED, and FACTORED.

It's very similar sixes from each contestant, while David has the eight.  Another eight here is CERATOID ("hornlike; horny"), which I've mentioned before under the spelling KERATOID.  Oddly, the Macquarie does not link from either to the other; that seems liks an oversight.

Trevor: CARTED

Scores: Trevor 23 (43), Chris 17 (37), me 51

Round 8: Target 584 from 25 8 3 2 5 1

Chris sticks with the single large number, which I think is a good policy for him, given that Trevor keeps choosing four large.  Chris can't afford to lose ground on this game.

For once I remember to check the desired multiple of 25, finding that 23 and 24 bracket the range.  24 is particularly easy, and the difference of 16 is helpfully also a multiple of eight.  This leads me to the solution 584 = 8*(3*25 - 2).

Chris gets his chance as Trevor fails to get within range; in fact, Chris has declared that he thinks he has 584.  His solution starts with (5*3 + 8)*(25 + 1) which he hopes is 582 (so he can add the remaining 2)... but that is actually 598 and his attempt is invalid.  He is fortunate that Trevor had nothing to declare, so that he still has a chance going into the conundrum.

Lily shows a slightly more complicated way to get there from 600, using 584 = (25*8 - 5)*3 - 1.

Trevor: [out of range]
Chris: [invalid]
Me: 584
Lily: 584

Scores: Trevor 23 (43), Chris 17 (37), me 61


And so to the conundrum, with Trevor having the lead but either being able to win.  Trevor solved it very early, and I found the answer as I paused the video in response, just that crucial fraction behind.  I was briefly confused by the B but slotting it into the correct place made it all clear.

Trevor: EQUITABLE (2.5s)
Chris: [no answer]

Final scores: Trevor 33 (53), Chris 17 (37), me 61

It was nice to see some good word plays today.  There was very little to choose between the contestants, but Trevor's speed in the conundrum saw him home.  A little more deftness with the numbers could have seen either contestant take a winning margin into the conundrum.  Trevor has his third victory with over 50 points; 59 points or a win tomorrow will see him move into the rankings.  I'm looking forward to seeing how that goes.

There were some nice letter mixes in this game, with eights being the rule rather than the exception.  (In fact, each round could have produced an eight, although LUTECIUM is an unexpected variant spelling.)  I had a bad miss on the second round but otherwise was pretty happy about it all; I'm a bit resigned to being slow on the conundrum, but I still saw it quickly today which was nice.


Sam Gaffney said...

You've had some fast conundrums, Geoff, don't beat yourself up! It's great to see tonight's blog post up so early. My answers:

751 = 6*(75 + 50) + 1
417 = 2*2*100 + 8 + 9
584 = 8*(3*25 - 2)

DOMINATE comes up a lot on L&N. I was tempted to try DOMINATER or FACTORIED, but thought the better of it.

I like Trevor as a contestant, especially how he is continuing with the heavyweight selection. A tip for players on four-large targets like the 751: when the target is one small number away from a multiple of 25, keep that small and try to make the multiple of 25 out of the rest - if you've done some practice, you usually can.

In fact, with the four large numbers and any single small from 3-10, you can get to any multiple of 25 (up to at least 1000), and most of them are straightforward.

(25x100+75+50) / 3 = 875 is an example of a less simple one.

You can get to a lot with the 1 or 2, but not everything.

Geoff Bailey said...

Heh -- I knew his insistence on four large would endear him to you, Sam. And wow, that's a great tip!

I'd make 875 differently in that example, mind you, with either (100 + 75)*(3 + 50/25) or (75 + 50)*(3 + 100/25).