Thursday, 26 January 2012

Ep 368: Angie Pearce, John O'Connor (January 25, 2012)

The talk with Angie is about how exciting the previous game was; we learn nothing new about her, alas.

Tonight's challenger is primary school teacher John O'Connor, but it's a previous job of his that Richard wants to talk about.  John used to be the chief purser on a cruise ship whose typical occupancy was nearly four thousand guests and over a thousand crew.  It's not necessarily the "fantasy world" that Richard suggests, but John concedes that it was like living in a village of its own.  Apparently John was often mistaken for the captain as his uniform had quite a few bars on the sleeves.

There's some excellent letter play today, including an absolutely beautiful find from Angie.  The net result is even on those, but John does slightly better in the numbers to take a slender lead into the conundrum.  He solves the conundrum very quickly, and takes the win 41 to 28.

I had a good round today but with a careless blunder that rather took the shine off it.  For the second time (when playing at home) I was just pipped to the conundrum, hearing the buzzer start to sound as I paused.  Good work from John to get that, but I still had enough leeway for a comfortable win.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: O E L S N T O C D

I had LOSE, STOLEN, COOLEST, and CONSOLED.  I noted STONE-COLD but (rightly) thought it would be hyphenated.

Both contestants have sevens -- a little amusingly, COOLEST and COLDEST -- and David has the eight.

The other eight available here is semi-related: CONDOLES.  There's a few other sevens, of which my favourite are OCELOTS and NOODLES.


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

Round 2: R C N A D U I A T

That fourth vowel was chosen too early as usual, but it was worth chasing; an E would have given CURTAINED for nine.  As it was, I had NARC, NARD, CANID, and RADIANT.  After time I saw CURTAIN.

John isn't happy with the letters, but has found the good six of INDUCT, and that beats Angie's TRAIN.  David has found a seven, as expected.

The only other seven appears to be ANTACID; UNITARD is in the mix, but that hasn't somehow appeared in the Macquarie in the few days since I last observed that it was absent.

Angie: TRAIN

Scores: Angie 0 (7), John 0 (13), me 15

Round 3: Target 264 from 75 25 1 7 9 1

Angie persists with the family mix, and my first thought (based on a couple of 268's that have shown up this season that were usefully approachable as 4*67) was to try 4*66.  The 66 was easy enough (75 - 9), but the 4 looked difficult and so I shifted tack.  Aiming to get there from 250, I almost overlooked an option (which would have left me at 265) but just in the nick of time I found the right correction: 264 = 7*(25 + 1 + 1) + 75.

After time I went back to the factorisation idea and was able to find that 4 after all: 264 = (75 - 9)*(25 - 1)/(7 - 1).  Then I took out another factor of 2 to find the much more approachable factorisation of 8*33, and hence the solution 264 = (9 - 1)*(25 + 7 + 1).

John is three away with 267; I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this was 267 = (9 - 1)*25 + 75 - 7 - 1, where he overlooked the option of using (7 + 1) instead of (9 - 1), which would have let him subtract (9 + 1) and get to 265.

Angie is closer, one away on the other side with 263 = (25 + 75)*(1 + 1) + 7*9.

Lily, surprisingly, has not found the solution within time.  She comes back after the break with the last of the solutions that I listed.

Angie: 263
John: 267
Me: 264

Scores: Angie 0 (14), John 0 (13), me 25

First break: SAGE TRAM ("Resident of Moonee Ponds")

This one defeated me.  I couldn't make anything of the letters, and all that I could think of to associate with Moonee Ponds was the racecourse there.  It turns out this was a reference to Dame Edna Everage, an undoubted MEGASTAR.

David's talk is about three words that he expected to have origins in Scottish Gaelic: 'Tartan' (which turns out to be of French origin), 'kilt' (which comes from Danish) and 'plaid' (which genuinely is of Scots origin).

Round 4: H S K I E G D A I

John chooses a fourth vowel in a very poor situation for it.  With that ill-matched bunch surely a consonant was the way to go; an N is best, giving HEADINGS or SKINHEAD for eight.  The actual T would give SIGHTED or AGISTED for seven, but the choice of a vowel pretty much limits the possibilities to six.

I had SHEIK / HIKES, IDEAS / AIDES, and GEISHA.  (I also spotted GASHED but did not bother to write it down.)  The other possible six is SIGHED.

Chambers lists DASHIKI ("a type of loose shirt worn in Africa, and also in the U.S.") but it is not in the Macquarie.

John is "just as unhappy as [he] was last time" with these letters, but he's only got himself to blame there.  He has the five of HIKED, but Angie has one better with GASHED to extend her lead.  David has also found GEISHA.


Scores: Angie 6 (20), John 0 (13), me 31

Round 5: E T A M U S C E L

A good mix for a fourth vowel, with full monties available from an A (MACULATES) or U (CUMULATES).  I struggled far more than I should have with this, finding only MATE / TEAM / TAME and TALCUMS.  (TALCUM doesn't get its own entry, but is listed as an alternative spelling for the mineral sense of TALC.)  After time -- quite soon after, so insert the usual lamentations of slowness -- I found the eight of EMULATES; a little later I found another one: MUSCATEL.

John continues to be unhappy, having the six of STEALS (which is invalid, of course, as only one S is available) while Angie has found the superb CALUMETS for eight.  (CALUMET: "a long, ornamented tobacco pipe used by northern Native Americans on ceremonial occasions, especially in token of peace.")  That's a brilliant find, and everyone is very impressed.  David has EMULATES for eight as well but it feels a bit anticlimactic at this point.

That's three straight wins for Angie, and her lead is out to 15 points.  John needs to get some ground back soon if he is to have a chance.

John: [invalid]

Scores: Angie 14 (28), John 0 (13), me 31

Round 6: Target 941 from 50 100 25 1 9 1

John goes for a balanced mix, which is good for a change.  It can sometimes be very challenging, and the small numbers aren't spread very well; however, the target is extremely easy despite its size and the usual approach works with a very minor tweak: 941 = 9*(100 - 1) + 50.

Angie has 948 -- presumable 948 = 9*100 + 50 - 1 - 1, so she missed the tweak -- but John and Lily both have the target using the same solution as above.  That's ten precious points back and puts John within range once more.

Angie: 948
John: 941
Me: 941
Lily: 941

Scores: Angie 14 (28), John 10 (23), me 41

Second break: GLINT PAN ("Done with a seed or an idea")

A straight clue for PLANTING.

Round 7: O N E G I R T W A

The -ING pops up early and I accumulate letters on the side to match up with it, ending up with GONE, TOWERING, and WATERING.  The final vowel is as unhelpful as expected, but there's little damage done -- the only potential full monty here was the American spelling TROWELING.

Angie has gone for the archaic (but valid) TROWING (TROW: "Archaic to believe, think, or suppose") that I recall from poetry in school but have not encountered since.  It's outdone by John's choice of WATERING, however, and that gives him the lead in a late comeback.  He could even win the game before the conundrum now -- it's been an extremely rapid turnaround!


Scores: Angie 14 (28), John 18 (31), me 49

Round 8: Target 884 from 75 1 9 7 3 8

John changes to a single large number, and I make a terribly careless error.  I saw that (9+3)*75 left me 16 away, noted that 16 was 8*2, decided that the 1 and 7 couldn't get me the 2 and abandoned that approach.  Ouch.  I ended up having to go with 887 = (3 + 8)*75 + 9*7 - 1, having erroneously thought that it would be only one away while I was constructing it.  After time, of course, I saw the very obvious 884 = (9 + 3)*75 - 8 - 7 - 1 that I cunningly avoided.

(I also found the solution 884 = 9*(75 + 3*8) - 7, for whatever that's worth.)

John is rather unsure, but thinks he has 884; in contrast, Angie was not able to get anywhere close.  However, John has started off by thinking that 9*75 = 875, and his solution is invalid.  That keeps Angie in contention at the conundrum.

Lily has found the (first) solution listed above.

Angie: [not in range]
John: [invalid]
Me: 887
Lily: 884

Scores: Angie 14 (28), John 18 (31), me 56


The similar sound of PUNT should lead one to the solution; I think I'd have been tempted to choose TUTU PECAN as the clue words.  I was a trifle slow to get there, though, and John's buzzer had just started to sound as I paused the video.  His answer is correct and that's game to him.

Angie: [no answer]
John: PUNCTUATE (2s)

Final scores: Angie 14 (28), John 28 (41), me 56

The contestants had some good words tonight and Angie's CALUMETS in particular stood out.  The numbers performances were somewhat shakier and tomorrow's challenger may be able to take advantage of that.  John made a good comeback from 15 points down to score 28 unanswered points and what may seem like a comfortable win if one just looks at the scoreline.  I hope that he doesn't always choose that fourth vowel, though.

I was going along quite happily until I stumbled at round 5 and blundered at round 8.  That is going to sting for a while, as I've been missing some very gettable numerical targets in recent games.  Maybe next time...


Sam Gaffney said...

Well played Geoff, here are my answers:

263 = (75+25)x(1+1)+9x7
941 = 9*(100 - 1) + 50
884 = (9+3)*75 - 8 - 7 - 1

I also found your way to 264 a bit after time. Like Lily's solution, it didn't look like rocket science in hindsight, but if you waste time going down the wrong routes, finding the answer can take a while. "Snake-eyes" (double-one) mixes can often be tough, and we had two in this episode.

I had a few drinks on the night of this episode, and although I waited to watch/play it the next morning, I wonder if it affected my game. I was very careful in the days before my episodes were recorded not to have any alcohol, as traces can stay in the system for a couple of days. Mind you, I have had good games playing at home a few hours after a solitary beer, you may have just thumped me fair and square!

Geoff Bailey said...

Your speed on the conundrums continues to be good, or at least consistently faster than me which I shall pretend is an equivalent statement. *chuckles* Nice one!

Agreed that the double ones are a headache. So few options with them, the usual problem of duplicates compounded by the smallness.