Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Ep 366: Maurie Williams, Paul Merry (January 23, 2012)

It's Maurie's fourth night, and the conversation is back to fishing.  Richard asks what Maurie's "best version of fishing" is, and Maurie doesn't really answer that but does get to talk a bit about his various fishing activities.  Where he lives ("in the bay" -- presumably Hervey Bay from later remarks) there's quite a long pier and they get some good mackerel and giant trevally there.  But he and his kids like to go out to the reefs in his "small tinnie" (a boat with a lightweight metal hull, for any non-Australians who end up reading this) and catch some reef fish; every now and then they make it over to Fraser Island to catch some mud crabs and fresh prawns.

Tonight's challenge is Paul Merry, a mechanical engineer and poker player.  He's been in Las Vegas as a professional poker player; he notes the benefits of being able to set your own hours, but the important (more profitable) games are on the weekend so that you have to work very hard then.  A poker player's weekend is during the week, as he puts it.

Paul gets off to a flying start with fifteen unanswered points from the first two rounds.  Maurie manages to gain back the ground in numbers rounds and the scores are tied at the second break.  Maurie gets ahead in the letters, only for Paul to outdo him in the final numbers round.  The one-point advantage that this gives Paul proves decisive as neither is able to solve the conundrum.  Paul wins, 34 to 33.

I was slightly off the pace on the early letters rounds, and slow on the conundrum. although I got it; solid numbers play and a good final letters round saw me home for a comfortable win.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: T D L A I N E A R

I had DIAL, DENIAL, RETINAL, and TRAILED; after time I added RADIATE and RADIANT.  There's several more sevens, as might be expected with such good letters; two that I am fond of are TENDRIL and ADRENAL.

It's sevens from both contestants, but Maurie's choice of TRAINER is invalid since only one R is available.  David has found what seems to be the only valid eight here: ARALDITE.

It's a familiar refrain by this point, but Maurie definitely went for that fourth vowel too early.  As it turns out, once the R went up then a vowel was the better choice -- with E giving TAILENDER or I giving INTERLAID -- but note that staying at three vowels only would have brought in the G and TREADLING for nine.

Maurie: [invalid]

Scores: Maurie 0, Paul 7, me 7

Round 2: G U M S E N O T D

I had SMUG, MUSE, MUNGES, TONGUES, MOUNTED, and DUSTMEN.  Just as time expired I saw DEMOUNTS; I had to think for a bit to convince myself that it was valid, but I decided it was (and later checking agreed).  Not that it mattered too much since I hadn't had enough time to write it down.

Maurie has a valid seven this time, but Paul has an eight.  He makes reference to some earlier horse remarks, and I want to penalise him points for confusing DISMOUNTS and DEMOUNTS.  The eight still counts regardless of whether he can use it correctly, though.  David mentions another eight that is an anagram of it: MUDSTONE.

That puts Maurie 15 points behind after only two rounds; he's going to have to make up some of that ground soon or be in big trouble.


Scores: Maurie 0, Paul 15, me 7

Round 3: Target 921 from 100 50 5 6 1 3

Seeing that 6 times 150 is 900 gets one most of the way there, and a little tweakage gets the rest.  I had 921 = 6*(100 + 50 + 1) + 3*5, which is also the solution that Lily later demonstrates.

Paul hasn't managed to get within range, while Maurie has managed to get seven away with 914 = (6 + 3)*(100 + 1) + 5.  (Note that if he'd replaced the 5 with 50/5 he would have ended up only two away, and gained two more points.  This is the difference between defeat and victory.)

[Update: A friend of mine in email sent the alternative solution 921 = 6*3*50 + 100/5 + 1.  Dividing by 5 shows its worth again!]

Maurie: 914
Paul: [not in range]
Me: 921
Lily: 921

Scores: Maurie 0 (5), Paul 15, me 17

First break: EASE TOLD ("Wasteland not arriving on time")

The clue indicates the LATE of DESOLATE.

David's talk is about the poem Piers Plowman, and how the name of a demon from it ended up giving rise to the word 'ragamuffin'.

Round 4: C S A R I L H A N

I had SCAR, RAILS, CHIRAL, and CHAINS.  After time I found a word mentioned recently -- ASHLAR -- and finally the seven of CRANIAL.

Sixes from both contestants, and David has also found CRANIAL.  The only other sevens -- that the Macquarie allows -- appear to be CARINAL (an adjective derived from CARINA, a botanical and zoological term for a keel-like part or ridge) and ARNICAS (ARNICA being a type of plant).

David does comment that a fourth vowel would have been nice on that mix; I agree that it's very tempting since that A is duplicated and there is no E, but it can go either way.  There's no full monty possible and an E would allow CHARLIES for eight, but many consonants would also lead to eights.  In any case, after last week I'm certainly glad to have a contestant who will stay at three vowels.

Maurie: CHAIRS

Scores: Maurie 6 (11), Paul 21, me 23

Round 5: T B C E O G R U T

It seems to be catching, as Maurie has departed from his usual choice and taken only three vowels.  The consonants are an ill-fitting assortment, though, and there's not much to be done here.  I had COTE, COURT, and CUTTER.  After time I noted BROGUE as another six, but no sign of a seven.

Unsurprisingly, both contestants have sixes -- there's a few common ones -- and David cannot do better.

After the first five letters I had hoped for a J for OBJECT, and that word kept intruding while I was searching for others.  It turns out that the very similar OBTECT would have been another valid six.  (OBTECT is an adjective "denoting any insect pupa in which the antennae, legs, and wings are glued to the surface of the body by a hardened secretion".  Congratulations to anyone who saw that!)

Maurie: BUTTER

Scores: Maurie 12 (17), Paul 27, me 29

Round 6: Target 311 from 6 1 5 10 4 8

Paul is asked if he has a favourite combination and surprises everyone when he reveals that he does, and it is six small.  The target is small enough to be very approachable, with a decent spread of numbers; I found 311 = 10*(8*4 - 1) + 6 - 5 and 311 = 6*5*10 + 8 + 4 - 1 within time.

Maurie made up some needed ground on the last numbers round; can he do it again this time?  It seems so, because Paul has 310 but Maurie has found the target with the second of those solutions.  That levels the scores and greatly improves his chances.

Lily used the first solution that I found.

Maurie: 311
Paul: 310
Me: 311
Lily: 311

Scores: Maurie 22 (27), Paul 27, me 39

Second break: INFER RYE ("Do it again dressed up to the nines")

The fancy dressing being the FINERY of REFINERY.

Round 7: Y N I A D S E O W

Maurie draws a Y early, yet persists with four vowels and any hope of better than seven is lost with that.  I had DAISY, ANODES, and ANODISE.

It has paid off in one way, though, as Maurie's SWAYED is better than Paul's DAISY.  That puts Maurie 6 points ahead, and if he outdoes Paul in the next numbers round then he will win the game.

David has found a seven of ENDWAYS; other sevens available were WAYSIDE / SIDEWAY, and ANYWISE.

Maurie: SWAYED

Scores: Maurie 22 (33), Paul 27, me 46

Round 8: Target 434 from 75 100 6 8 1 4

Paul is understandably less keen on six small at this point, and reverts to the traditional mix.  There's a little work to be done, but it's an approachable target.  I started with one away via 433 = 4*(100 + 8) + 1, then realised that pushing the 1 inside the brackets and using the 6 would sort out the required final adjustment.  I had some brief confusion about whether to add or subtract, but found my way to 434 = 4*(100 + 8 - 1) + 6 in the end.

Paul is one away again with 433 = (100 + 6)*4 + 8 + 1, while Maurie is somewhat further out with 428.  That means the lead has changed again, with Paul now one crucial point ahead going into the conundrum.

Lily has tweaked her way there from 450, with the solution 434 = (75 - 4)*6 + 8.

Maurie: 428
Paul: 433
Me: 434
Lily: 434

Scores: Maurie 22 (33), Paul 27 (34), me 56


I was very slow on this one, not being able to slot that V into anywhere useful.  I was briefly tempted by UNAVERTED before better sense asserted itself, and eventually found the solution after fourteen seconds.  Neither contestant does, and thanks to the seesawing results of the previous two rounds Paul has the win.

Maurie: [no answer]
Paul: [no answer]

Final scores: Maurie 22 (33), Paul 27 (34), me 66

A very close game tonight, and Paul's letters performances were good.  The numbers were a mixed bag with only one exact solution but a few near ones.  Maurie would have survived if he'd just gone for the similar TRAINED in the first round, although there were other places to have made progress.  Similarly, Paul could have done better in the numbers to make the victory that much clearer.  I'm glad that he went for six small; hopefully he will try that again tomorrow.

I don't mind missing ARALDITE, and the other three issues today were all matters of time.  That's hopeful in one way but it would be nice to get there faster, particularly in the conundrum that continues to be difficult for me to get quickly.

1 comment:

Sam Gaffney said...

My answers:

921 = (100+50+1)x6 + 3x5
311 = 5x6x10 + 8+4-1
434 = (75-4) x 6 + 8

I wasn't sure if ARALDITE was just a brand, but I went with my gut, fortunately. I didn't remember it had been in one of my episodes until you mentioned it, I guess that gave me an advantage in finding it.