Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Ep 367: Paul Merry, Angie Pearce (January 24, 2012)

There's a little talk with Paul about the psychology of poker playing, but there's nothing of substance said.

Tonight's challenger is Angie Pearce, a retired teacher and quiz show aficionado.  She has been on The Einstein Factor, Sale of the Century (twice, which may simply mean that she won once and returned the next day), Pass the Buck, The Weakest Link, Mastermind, Jeopardy, and a couple of others that slip her mind at the moment.  Richard asks if she needed different talents or approaches to them, but as she points out they were mostly all games of general knowledge; the only other ability required was to buzz in first.

(As an aside, her appearance on The Einstein Factor was in episode ten of series two, originally aired on April 17, 2005; her special topic was "CS Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia".  I was given the show's quiz book for Christmas, so I looked up the associated questions and was able to get 11 of the 15 correct, which I'm pleased with given how long it is since I last read them.  Of course, I wasn't under the time pressure that she would have been (which was often exacerbated by Peter Berner stumbling over reading the questions), although I did aim to answer them quickly.)

Angie gets a good lead on Paul in the first two rounds -- in much the same way that Paul did to Maurie in yesterday's game -- but Paul reclaims it in the next two rounds due to good numbers work and an invalid word from Angie.  The remaining letters rounds are equal and they trade results in the numbers, so the scores are all tied up going into the conundrum.  It proves to be too difficult for them both so a second is required, and Angie solves that to take the victory, 43 to 33.

I had good letters performance today, but let myself down badly in the numbers.  I solved the second conundrum but not the first, for what ended up being a very easy win.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: R S A T M I R A L


Paul has a six, but Angie has found one of the sevens.  David has found the eight, of course.

ALARMIST seems to be the only eight; the other sevens available were LARIATS / LATRIAS (LATRIA: "(in Roman Catholic theology) that supreme worship which may be offered to God only") and AMRITAS (AMRITA being a term from Hindu mythology: "The ambrosial drink of immortality").

With the duplication in the vowels it would be perfectly reasonable to seek another; the E that it turned out to be would have allowed the full monty of AIRSTREAM.


Scores: Paul 0, Angie 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: E N M S U E C L T

Another vowel duplication; awkward!  I had MENUS, MUSCLE, and CEMENTS.  I spotted CLEMENT but did not write it down since I was chasing an eight at that point.

Once again it is six from Paul and seven from Angie, and David has found an eight.  This time it is the somewhat obscure ESCULENT; it can be either an adjective meaning 'edible', or a noun meaning something that is edible.

The other sevens are MESCLUN (a type of salad, hence it would be appropriate for someone who was ESCULENT) and ELUENTS (ELUENT: "a solvent used in eluting", where 'eluting' is a term from chemistry (and chromotography in particular) for the process of removing something by dissolving; see the Wikipedia entry on elution if interested in more details).

The similarity with the previous round continues, as with that duplicated vowel taking another one makes good sense.  Here it would have been an I, allowing SELENIUM for eight or LUMINESCE for nine.


Scores: Paul 0, Angie 7 (14), me 15

Round 3: Target 717 from 75 100 1 8 6 7

Paul declines to repeat yesterday's choice of six small, so he retreats to the family mix.  I overlooked the obvious, and ended up two away with 715 = 7*(100 + 1) + 8.  After time ran out I realised that the standard method works well (the target is 8 away from 725, and we have an 8); I really need to force myself to check that first instead of being misled by the ease of getting to 700 in this case.  Getting to 725 is easy, as it is 800 - 75, and the solutions 717 = 8*(100 - 1) - 75 or 717 = 8*100 - 75 - 7 - 1 follow directly.

Angie has made a mistake somewhere (we don't find out what she thought she had), and Paul is likewise two away with 715 = 7*100 + 8 + 6 + 1.  Lily is as accurate as ever with the first of the solutions I listed.

Paul: 715
Angie: [no answer]
Me: 715
Lily: 717

Scores: Paul 7, Angie 7 (14), me 22

First break: RAIL RINK ("Cheeky relative")

The relative being the KIN of LARRIKIN.

David's talk follows on from yesterday's mention of ragamuffin to discuss the words 'raga' and 'muffin'.

Round 4: I O A F N D E H G

At the end I was really hoping for an S to make FASHIONED, but it was not to be.  I had FIND, ANODE, and HEADING.

HEADING looks like the best to be found; Paul has found it, and so has David.  Angie has declared the seven of FENDING but realises that it is invalid as she says it.  That ties up the scores.

Angie: [invalid]

Scores: Paul 14, Angie 7 (14), me 29

Round 5: T O D S I P E C R

I had DOTS, POISED, DEPOSIT, COPIERS, and PREDICTS.  After time I added PERIDOTS (seen in the last second of regulation time), SCRIPTED, and DESPOTIC.  Two other eights available are RIPOSTED and CORDITES.

It's similar sevens from each contestant, while David has one of the several eights.

Chambers lists DEPICTORS (it allows either 'depicter' or 'depictor') but the Macquarie does not, only allowing 'depicters'.


Scores: Paul 14 (21), Angie 7 (21), me 37

Round 6: Target 957 from 100 75 6 10 8 3

Once again I overcomplicate things and miss the obvious.  I started with the idea of 8*100 + 75, but abandoned that as being far away from the target; had I calculated how far, though, I would have seen that 82 was easy and found 957 = 8*(100 + 10) + 75 + 6/3, as I did once time ran out.  Instead, I tried descending from a thousand and ended up two away once more with 955 = 10*100 - 6*8 + 3.

Taking a step back, the target is 7 away from 950, or 18 away from 975.  That latter is much more promising, with the small numbers providing two very easy ways to get 18, and a solution follows directly: 957 = (6 + 3)*100 + 75 - 10 - 8.  There's another way to get an 18 which shows its worth if we try to make 975 from the 75 without the 100, and leads to the solution 957 = (10 + 3)*75 - (100 + 8)/6.

Angie has 967 -- I'm hoping this was a case of running out of time, because it feels like she should have had some small number (and possibly the 10) to subtract from it to get closer -- while Paul also has 955, with the same method that I used.

Lily is on target once again, finding yet another solution: 957 = (100 - 6)*10 + 75/3 - 8.

Paul: 955
Angie: 967
Me: 955
Lily: 957

Scores: Paul 21 (28), Angie 7 (21), me 44

Second break: POOR VEST ("A little pause in your journey")

A straight clue for a STOPOVER.

Round 7: T C U A B F I D T

Down to the final letters game, and it's an ill-fitting mix.  I had TUBA, CUBIT, TACIT, and ABDUCT.

Both contestants have fives, and pretty good ones at that, while David has found ABDUCT (it seems to be the only six).  David does comment that he wishes Paul would choose a fourth vowel more often; I can see his point, as Paul does seem to be set on only using three vowels regardless of what the letters are, but this round isn't really the right one to level that complaint at -- the first round is the bad one today, from that point of view.  (Also, we've seen what a tedious week it was last week when four vowels was the order of the day.)

Nothing extends to longer than a seven (personally, I was hoping for a V for VIADUCT), and an E merely makes the sixes more common.  The desirable vowels are O for FACTOID -- which has been on the show before -- or an I for FATIDIC (prophetic); the desirable consonants are the aforementioned V, S for ABDUCTS, or R for CATBIRD.

Angie: CUBIT

Scores: Paul 21 (33), Angie 7 (26), me 50

Round 8: Target 630 from 75 25 10 2 8 1

Once more I overcomplicate things, but the target is approachable enough that this time I get there, with 630 = (8 + 1)*(75 - 25 + 2*10).  Then I saw a slightly easier 630 = 8*75 + (2 + 1)*10.

Paul is "not even close", while Angie is four away with 626 = (75 - 10)*(8 + 2) - 25 + 1.  Lily demonstrates how the standard approach works easily with 630 = 8*75 + 25 + 10/2.

Those seven points tie the scores again, so this game is going to continue until someone solves a conundrum.

Paul: [not in range]
Angie: 626
Me: 630
Lily: 630

Scores: Paul 21 (33), Angie 7 (33), me 60


The -ING pops out, but there's too many vowels.  ERECTING is short by an E, as I noticed, so it's time to move on to other options.  I spotted GENETIC, which should have guided me to the answer but then I moved off to ponder other unprofitable lines.

Neither contestant solves it, and nor do I.  When time runs out I footle around starting the backup clock, and have to write down the letters since that involves minimising the video window (the way that I did things, anyway).  As soon as I do that the answer of ENERGETIC leaps out at me, so I'm calling this a 32-second solve.

Paul: [no answer]
Angie: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Paul 21 (33), Angie 7 (33), me 60

The three-cornered game would end here, so for my scoring purposes this is it, but the game needs at least another round to split the contestants.

Round 10: EAGLE BEAR

I'm a bit slow on this one, as the -ABLE ending stands out clearly, but I got there in three seconds.  It looks like Paul mouths something (possibly an imprecation at something not working out, rather than the answer) but just as he does so Angie buzzes in with the answer and wins the game.

Paul: [no answer]
Angie: AGREEABLE (8.5s)

Final scores: Paul 21 (33), Angie 7 (43), me 70

It was yet another close game today, with Angie generally showing superior letterwork but that mistake with FENDING allowed Paul to equalise with the numbers.  Angie looks somewhat vulnerable on the number side of things, so it will be interesting to see if tomorrow's challenger can capitalise on that.

Once again my letters rounds were good but the numbers rounds and the conundrum proved to be sticking points.  Still, tomorrow is another day...


Sam Gaffney said...

717=(100-1)x8 - 75 [b]
957=((100+3)x10 +8-6 -75 [d]
630 = (75 - 10/2) x (8+1)

[a] Changed this from MARTIALS near the end because I thought it was safer. Just as well, MARTIALS would be invalid.
[b] Just in time. Another path I nearly took, which would have been fine, is (100+7)x6 + 75 = 717
[c] My biggest clanger for some time. I didn't work on the ING enough, and when I started writing HEADING it was too late. I was probably too excited about FASHIONED almost appearing.
[d] Also subtracts 75, and has a subtotal of up to 1038.
[e] Went in early and got it wrong. Saw ENERGETIC roughly 15s through. Got AGREEABLE with a faint 2nd second light.

Great work on your letters rounds, Geoff, finding everything except for ESCULENT. The first two numbers rounds were quite tough, I was very happy to find them.

Geoff Bailey said...

My gains on the letters no match for your better performance on the numbers; nicely done, Sam!