Sunday, 22 January 2012

Ep 365: Maurie Williams, Raluca Dorobantu (January 20, 2012)

The chat with Maurie tonight is essentially just a comment about him playing against his son in the previous game.  So far, all we've really heard about him is that he likes fishing; surely that's not the extent of things?

Challenging Maurie is Raluca Dorobantu, described simply as a student.  She speaks several languages: Romanian (her native language), English, French, and she's studying Spanish at the moment.

It's an unusual performance from both contestants, with only five- or six-letter words being found in some reasonably cooperative mixes.  Maurie has just slightly the better of it -- I can't help but wonder how difficult it is for Raluca to play this game in a non-native language, particularly with three others to ignore at the same time -- and neither shows convincing form in the numbers but again Maurie comes out ahead.  That gives him an unbeatable lead going into the conundrum, and with neither solving it the final scoreline is 46 to 27 in his favour.

I had a great letters performance today, including finding a full monty that David missed.  My numbers performance let me down, however, as I ended up quite far from the target in one round and missed an easy minor adjustment in another; in both cases a little more time would have improved matters markedly -- I was just too slow, alas.  Still, the power of a full monty is large, and gave me my third (and largest) win over the David + Lily combination (in solo scoring, that is).

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: R D A U T N S I E

With all the consonants meshing well, a final vowel is definitely the right choice and not just because an E was lacking (although it certainly tips the scales further in its favour).  Note that an O would have given DURATIONS (and an I would give the rather more obscure SATURNIID, a type of moth, but I'd be impressed if a contestant ever found that).

I had DART, DAUNT, DAUNTS, wondered about UNITARDS (later checking shows that the Macquarie does not have it, although Chambers does), then the E completed the retsina mix and gave STRAINED / DETRAINS and URINATES / URINATED.

Then I stopped to think for a moment, since I'd considered this option (STRAINED plus a vowel) idly in the shower the other day.  An O gave ORDINATES, and E was good for RESINATED (known courtesy of watching Countdown, it means "treated with resin") or DETAINERS.  I hadn't been able to find words for the others, but later checking had determined that a U had one match: INDURATES (INDURATE being a verb which can either mean to make hard, or to become hard).  So with plenty of time left on the clock I had a full monty, which was very nice.

It's sixes from both contestants.  Raluca thinks her choice of DAUNTS is risky, and a partial explanation for that seems to be that she only knew of the word 'daunting' and so was inferring 'daunts' from it.  It's fine, of course, and so is Maurie's choice of STRIDE; David notes that an A could simply be placed at the beginning to give ASTRIDE for one better.

David grimaces as he explains that it really looked like there should be a nine here, but he couldn't find it.  The best he could get was INTRUDES for eight.  That means I've (in this one instance) outdone the master and makes me very happy indeed.

I'll note a few other eights that have been mentioned before in this blog: SINUATED, TRANSUDE, and DENARIUS.

Maurie: STRIDE
Raluca: DAUNTS

Scores: Maurie 0 (6), Raluca 0 (6), me 18

Round 2: F L O M E A T L O

The high of the previous round is followed by this unhelpful mix.  I had MOLE, FLAME, and FOLATE.

Raluca has METAL for five, but Maurie has gone one better with MALLET for six.  That was David's six, too; he tried FLOATEL (a floating hotel) but the Macquarie does not list it, so MALLET was his fallback.

A couple of other sixes here are FOETAL and FOOTLE.

Maurie: MALLET
Raluca: METAL

Scores: Maurie 6 (12), Raluca 0 (6), me 24

Round 3: Target 940 from 50 25 8 1 8 3

I'm still on a high, but this round brings me crashing back down.  The target is awkward (and actually reaching it turns out to be impossible) and the numbers not great to work with.  My first approach only gets me to 924 = (50 + 25 + 8 + 1)*(8 + 3).  Amusing that it uses the numbers in the same order as presented, but not nearly good enough.  My second try is to get to 950 and then do something from there; I'm running out of time, though, so all I can write down is 931 = (8 + 8 + 3)*(50 - 1).  That's nine away, but an easy modification (which I saw but did not have time to write down) was four off: 944 = (8 + 8 + 3)*(50 + 1) - 25.

After time I managed to get to two away by descending from 1000 with 942 = 8*((8 - 3)*25 - 1) - 50; I was unable to better that.

Neither contestant has anything within the scoring range, and the best Lily could manage was 941.  That is the best possible, so well done, Lily!

(One method of getting that is 941 = 3*(25 + 8)*(8 + 1) + 50, but there are others; it would have been interesting to see which way Lily went.)

Maurie: [not in range]
Raluca: [not in range]
Me: 931
Lily: 941

Scores: Maurie 6 (12), Raluca 0 (6), me 29

First break: GENRE EAT ("They can make it a trying time for parents")

I solved the anagram to get GENERATE, then realised that this made no sense with the clue.  Thinking a little about it produced the intended answer of TEENAGER.

David's talk continues yesterday's theme of eponyms, but with two Australian ones today.  He starts with the Granny Smith apple, which I had not realised was of Australian origin, and then moves on to Stephen Bradbury's memorable skating gold medal in 2002.  From this he says that the phrase "to do a Bradbury" has acquired a meaning; I can't find it in the Macquarie, though, despite his earlier implication.  I agree that it had a certain usage at the time, but I don't think it has lasted as a phrase.

Round 4: B R P E I D A N E

I had RIPE, BRIDE, PAIRED, BRAINED, and INBREED.  After time I added RIPENED to that list.

It's another five from Raluca and six from Maurie; that puts Raluca in trouble at 12 points behind.

David has found RIPENED for seven.  There's a few others, but I'll just note PREBEND (not about bending; it's actually a noun: "a stipend allotted from the revenues of a cathedral or a collegiate church to a canon or member of the chapter").

Maurie: PANDER
Raluca: BRIDE

Scores: Maurie 6 (18), Raluca 0 (6), me 36

Round 5: D T A I H D U N E

I had ADIT, DAUNT, DAUNTED, and HAUNTED.  I couldn't better it, but I did amuse myself by inventing definitions for HANDITUDE.

Both contestants have found HIDDEN, while David has found sevens.  Two more not mentioned are UNAIDED and AUDIENT (a listener).

Maurie: HIDDEN
Raluca: HIDDEN

Scores: Maurie 6 (24), Raluca 0 (12), me 43

Round 6: Target 758 from 100 75 1 5 2 3

A case of the large numbers being too large, cutting down manoeuvring options -- if the 100 had been a 25, for instance, I had an easy way to the target.  In any case, getting to 750 was easy, but I overlooked basic lessons in tweakage and only managed one off with 757 = 2*5*(75 + 1) - 3.  After time I easily found the adjustment 758 = 5*(2*75 + 1) + 3; in my head I'd only considered the 2*5 as a 10, which was a very careless error, and moved onto more convoluted approaches instead of paying this more attention.

Raluca declares 754 -- presumably 2*5*75 + 3 + 1 -- but Maurie is closer with 760 = (75 + 1)*(5 + 3 + 2).  There's shades of the previous game in that, as he's cut himself off from some valuable options by making that 10 inefficiently.  Still, it gets the points here and the margin is now out to 19 and that's very problematic for Raluca.

Lily has found a solution, with the other tweak on the approach: 758 = 2*(5*75 + 3 + 1).

Maurie: 760
Raluca: 754
Me: 757
Lily: 758

Scores: Maurie 6 (31), Raluca 0 (12), me 50

Second break: AMONG AIL ("Tom Cruise made this flower a little famous")

From "flower" it's easy to get to MAGNOLIA.  I've not seen the movie.

Round 7: R M C U O G I A S

This starts out awkward, but the last two letters improve it dramatically.  I had COUGAR, COUGARS, CARIOUS, and GRACIOUS.

The contestants are only able to find fives, but David is on target with the eight.

I'll note ISOGRAM making another appearance for seven, and ORGASMIC and GOURAMIS (a GOURAMI is a type of fish) for eight.

Maurie: SCOUR
Raluca: CARGO

Scores: Maurie 6 (36), Raluca 0 (17), me 58

Round 8: Target 250 from 100 75 50 25 10 1

Raluca switches it up by going for four large numbers; the target is extremely unchallenging, sadly.  I had 250 = 25*10, and 250 = 100 + 75 + 50 + 25.

As it turns out, Maurie used the first of these while Raluca used the second.  David pops up to suggest 250 = 25*10*1, and Lily ripostes by claiming to have done 250 = 25*10/1.

Maurie: 250
Raluca: 250
Me: 250
Lily: 250

Scores: Maurie 16 (46), Raluca 10 (17), me 68


I'm slightly slow off the mark here -- I saw OVER very early, but got distracted by DROVE for some reason -- but then correct and get the solution in around four seconds.  Neither contestant manages to find it.

Maurie: [no answer]
Raluca: [no answer]
Me: OVERHEARD (4.5s)

Final scores: Maurie 16 (46), Raluca 10 (17), me 78

Raluca was not able to beat Maurie on any round, which obviously makes winning difficult.  There were some difficulties with the numbers tonight, so it's understandable that not much progress was made in those (aside from the trivial final round).  The letters rounds, however, had a lot more potential than either was able to realise.  The first round in particular had such very helpful letters that only managing six on it is a very poor result.  Still, Maurie survives, and can make it into finals contention with a win in his next game.  This is obviously of keen interest to me!

As said before, I had a great set on the letters today, but should have done better with the numbers (particularly round 6).  Still, the net result due to the full monty is a solo score five points higher than David and Lily combined, which I don't expect to happen again for a very long time, if at all.  A high point of the series so far for me -- it just could have been higher. *chuckles*


Karen Anderson said...

Geoff, good to see that you are back on deck and still scoring highly! You have certainly put in the hours over the weekend to get things back on track with last week's episodes. Thank you, also, for the care and additional links you add in reference to each contestant that fleshes out their backgrounds. Much appreciated! Cheers.

Sam Gaffney said...

My answers:

944 = (8+8+3)x(50+1)-25
758 = (75x5+3+1)x2
250 = 25*10

[a] I came across INDURATES while learning RETSINA words for the finals series. CHANTRIES in my Ep342 is another good example of an obscure but useful one, which I had never heard of when David mentioned it.

Geoff Bailey said...

Thank you, Karen; I'm feeling much better, although still with several symptoms to deal with. Hopefully this ailment does not drag on!

I'm glad you enjoy the extra links, and appreciate you saying so. Some occasionally interesting snippets to be found in them.

Sam, you continue to amaze me in the amount of work you put into the game. I though I might have had you with INDURATES, too... *chuckles* Congratulations on yet another very good round!