Sunday, 22 January 2012

Ep 364: Maurie Williams, Matt Williams (January 19, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

There's a shake-up of the usual introductory format tonight because the challenger is Matt Williams -- Maurie's son!  Matt is a university student studying I.T., but the conversation with them both is just the usual competitive statements that you might expect in such a situation.  We do learn later (from Matt, but presumably Maurie agrees) that Maurie is better at the letters rounds, Matt at the numbers rounds, and for the conundrum Maurie "has it in the bag".

Despite those remarks, the letters are almost balanced, with each winning one round (Matt winning due to Maurie trying a risky word, admittedly).  Matt shows slightly better form on the numbers, but misses a trivial adjustment in the last round that would have seen him safe going into the conundrum.  As it goes he has a six point advantage, but Maurie lives up to expectations by solving the conundrum less than four seconds in.  That gives Maurie a lucky win, 52 to 48.

I was solid on the numbers, but wobbly on the letters tonight.  I made up for it a little by solving the conundrum effectively instantly, and combined with the last numbers round that made the margin somewhat more flattering than it probably deserved.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: N L E O G T U O A

Maurie goes a bit vowel-happy on this one, and I'm not entirely sure why.  If he was chasing the -ING option then it was already unlikely to be profitable since consonants are needed to make good use of it.

I had LONE, TONGUE, TANGLE, GLUTEN, and LOUNGE, but I couldn't find a seven.

Both contestants had sixes, but David has come through with the seven of TANGELO.  That's a good spot, and a word that arises moderately often due to those common letters.  It's clearly not a regular part of my lexicon as I've never found it when it is around, even after time.

There's two other sevens here: The mildly unusual OUTGONE (past tense of OUTGO) and the lovely LANGUET ("any part or projection shaped like a tongue").

Maurie: TONGUE

Scores: 6 apiece

Round 2: D S N I E I V R A

If only that A had been an O then DIVERSION would have been there for nine.  I had DINS, DINES, INSIDE, VARIED, and INSIDER.  After time I found SARDINE and INVADERS.

It's likewise sevens from both contestants, but Maurie's choice of DIVINER could have been pluralised.  That costs him eight relative points against Matt, and in a close contest like this one turns out to be such a slip can be very costly.


Scores: 13 apiece

Round 3: Target 122 from 50 75 10 7 6 2

Maurie sticks with the familiar numbers choice, and it's an easy target.  I went with 122 = 75 + 50 - 6/2, and then experimented with the factor of 2 to find 122 = 2*(50 + 10 + 7 - 6).

Everyone else used 122 = 75 + 50 + 10 - 7.

Maurie: 122
Matt: 122
Me: 122
Lily: 122

Scores: 23 apiece

First break: RENT SLIP ("Gets under your skin")

A straight clue for SPLINTER.

David's talk is about eponyms, people's names that have their own dictionary definitions.  He gives examples of Mae West, Shirley Temple, Don Juan, and Annie Oakley.

I'll note that Don Juan is slightly different from the others, as it still refers to a person with much the same characteristics as the original Don Juan.  This is the kind of generalisation that has already happened (as we've seen in the show before) to goliath, adonis, and jonah, but it hasn't gone on for long enough for the capitalisation to be lost.

The other three are items named for people which were in some way associated with a characteristic of them.  A Mae West is a type of life jacket, named by association with the star's large bust; a Shirley Temple is a non-alcoholic cocktail, as suitable for the child star (that she was at the time the term came into currency); and an Annie Oakley is a complimentary ticket, so named because they typically had a hole punched in them, reminiscent of the playing cards that she shot to demonstrate her accuracy.

Round 4: M D N E U A S T U

I was hoping for a final R for MAUNDERS / SURNAMED or UNDREAMT, but no such luck.  As it was I had MEND, NAMED, STAMEN, UNTAMED, and DUSTMAN / DUSTMEN.  I wasn't sure about UNTAMED since the UN- words aren't always there, but it turns out to be OK.

The contestants have the amusing combination of Matt with MASTED and Maurie with UNMASTED.  Which demonstrates my UN- concern quite nicely, as UNMASTED is not listed; neither is MASTED, but fortunately MAST is a verb so Matt gets the points and we finally have a split.

David has found the UN- word that counts, though: UNAMUSED.  Which may well describe Maurie at this point.

Some other sevens here are TANDEMS, AUTUMNS, and MEDUSAN.

Maurie: [invalid]

Scores: Maurie 23, Matt 23 (29), me 30

Round 5: H R G E I M S O A

I struggled with this one; I really wanted a final M for a similar round to one in episode 345, leading to MEMOIRS or MEGRIMS.  (Although in that case SHIMMER would probably have been a much easier find for contestants.)  As it was, I had HEIR, GRIME, GRIMES (wasn't certain, but GRIME is given a verb sense which makes this unquestionably allowable), MOREISH, and HOMIES.  I wasn't completely sold on MOREISH but decided to try it.  Unfortunately, while the Macquarie does list the term, it only lists it as hyphenated (MORE-ISH).  Chambers gives the non-hyphenated version, alas.

After time I found HOAGIES (not listed, to my surprise, but given that it is a regionalism within America it makes sense that it is not) and OGREISH.  I'd actually seen this latter before time ran out but wasn't certain that the E would be retained and did not bother to write it down.  As it turns out, both OGREISH and OGRISH are listed as acceptable variants, and it would have been the seven I was seeking.

It's fives from the contestants (so six would have been good enough -- bother) and David has found a valid seven that is an anagram of MORE-ISH: HEROISM.

Some other sevens are MISHEAR, ISOGRAM, MIRAGES, and HOMAGES.  As mentioned before, the Macquarie does not list HOMAGE as a verb while Chambers does, so it is no surprise that Chambers would allow the eight of HOMAGERS.

Maurie: MARSH
Me: [invalid]

Scores: Maurie 28, Matt 28 (34), me 30

Round 6: Target 989 from 100 50 1 3 3 1

The standard mix again, but those low duplicated small numbers and the large target make this very awkward.  I found 990 = (3*3 + 1)*(100 - 1), and pretty much convinced myself that getting to the target was impossible.  Later checking shows that this is correct, and 990 is the closest one can get.

Matt has 990 in the same way (presumably so did Lily, since she said that 990 was the best she could do), while Maurie was only able to get to 999.  It seems likely that Maurie had the very similar (3*3 + 1)*100 - 1 and didn't push the 1 inside the brackets.

That puts Matt 13 points ahead, so Maurie is behind by more than a conundrum's worth.

Maurie: 999
Matt: 990
Me: 990
Lily: 990

Scores: Maurie 28, Matt 35 (41), me 37

Second break: HYMN POSY ("An unreal piece of music")

Cluing the PHONY of SYMPHONY.

Round 7: Y E C D I O N L C

That Y is a troublesome sight when a gain is required, but it turns out to be rather useful.  I found DICE, DECOY, CYCLED, and CLOYED.  After time I found CYCLONE and CYCLOID (it has a mathematical meaning that I was thinking of, but it is also a type of fish).  Another seven is CONDYLE ("a rounded protuberance on a bone, serving to form an articulation with another bone").

Matt has found CLONED, but Maurie has come through with CYCLONE to get back inside the conundrum's range.


Scores: Maurie 35, Matt 35 (41), me 37

Round 8: Target 268 from 75 3 2 9 5 8

A low target and a very useful spread of small numbers means that this should be quite manageable, and so this game is likely to go to the conundrum for all of us.

I found 268 = 3*75 + 9*5 - 2 at first, then played around with the 2 to also get 268 = 2*((75/3)*5 + 9).  After time I used the 32-away-from-300 approach (which effectively is the divisibility by 4) to find 268 = (9 - 5)*(75 - 8).

Both contestants surprise me by having 270.  Matt goes first with 270 = 3*75 + 9*5... and how did he miss subtracting that final 2?  Oh, dear.

Maurie has done essentially the same thing but in a bit more convoluted fashion: 20 = (8 - 5)*75 + (2 + 3)*9.  So he has carelessly used up numbers that he did not need to, leaving him without that final 2 to adjust by.

Lily has a solution, with 268 = (75 - 3 - 5)*8/2.

So with Matt making that careless oversight, Maurie stays in touch going into the conundrum and I have scooted clear.  Matt is understandably regretful about that lapse.

Maurie: 270
Matt: 270
Me: 268
Lily: 268

Scores: Maurie 35 (42), Matt 35 (48), me 47


I see this as soon as it goes up; I guess it must have been the similarity between FACE and the start of the answer, but I really don't know.  Matt has a very resigned mien going into the conundrum, as he knows he's given away a winning lead.  And his expectations are fulfilled as Maurie finds the conundrum solution in under four seconds to take the win.

Maurie: FASCINATE (3.5s)
Matt: [no answer]

Final scores: Maurie 35 (52), Matt 35 (48), me 57

A pretty close game between father and son, which is nice.  They both had their chances to win it, although Matt's was the better.  Oversights from each cost them crucial points and brought it down to the wire where Maurie's touted conundrum skill saw him safely through.  Some good words from Maurie tonight, but his numbers results could stand to be better.  We'll see how that goes tomorrow.

Conversely, my numbers were fine tonight, as was my conundrum, but the letters rounds were not so good.  It's never a happy round if I can't match David at all, although arguably there was only a hyphen in it for round 5.  Hopefully tomorrow shall be better.


Sam Gaffney said...

No HOAGIES - what an outrage! The Macquarie continues to defy me. My answers:

122 = 75 + 50 - 6/2
[invalid] HOAGIES
997 = 100/(3+1+1)x50-3
268 = (5+3)/2 x (75-8) [d]

Geoff Bailey said...

Some good wordplay from you on this one, Sam. Shame about HOAGIES, as you say, but you're clearly paying the price for being steeped in American culture. :)