Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Ep 371: Colin Shnier, Colin Mallard (January 30, 2012)

Tonight we find out that Colin is one of several teachers across the state that organise maths games days (Colin teaches at Wesley College, incidentally).  They get about two hundred students in a room and spend the day giving them maths puzzles, games, competitions, videos, and so on.  Colin says that "it's just a chance to celebrate the exploration and the puzzling and the thinking... it's a lovely day."

Tonight's challenger is Colin Mallard, a senior data analyst for the Queensland government.  In the last year Colin has managed to shed twenty kilograms of weight, which is quite impressive.  It involved a lot of watching what he ate, and doing exercise every week.  He says that the food side was easy, but the exercise was the hard part.

Obviously both contestants being named "Colin" has some potential for confusion.  I will use their second initials to distinguish them; on the show Colin M agreed to be called "Col" to alleviate this.

Both contestants do well on the letters round, matching each other on all but one round; Colin S found a good six in a tough mix to gain the advantage there.  But the numbers prove more decisive as Colin S solves all three of them while Colin M misses two completely, despite the low targets on offer.  Colin S has won before the conundrum, and with neither solving it takes the win, 63 to 37.

I had troubles in this game, as I tried for a nine that wasn't valid in the first round; that left me eight points adrift from the start.  I managed to get back in front fairly soon, but then that same good six from Colin S levelled the scores.  I missed my chance to draw away in round seven, and the numbers offered no scope for advancement, so it was level-pegging going into the conundrum.  I was slow again, but fortunately solved it to squeak home with a win.

As usual, details after the jump.

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

A promising set of letters to start with; I had ENDS, DINES, DENIALS, ENTAILED, and decided to chance DATELINES.  Alas, although various online sources allow it as a single word, the Macquarie (and my Chambers) only list it as two words.  (DATE LINE: "a line in a letter, newspaper article, or the like, giving the date (and often the place) of origin")  That's a costly bit of misfortune to start.

Both contestants have found eights -- the anagrams LISTENED and ENLISTED -- and that was the best David could do as well.  David had also thought of DATELINES, but with the dictionary in front of him was able to confirm that it was not valid.

Some other eights are ANDESITE (a type of volcanic rock), DELAINES (DELAINE being a type of fabric), LINEATED, and the American spelling TINSELED.

Me: [invalid]

Scores: Colin S 8, Colin M 8, me 0

Round 2: R Y I O R T V A U

Colin M's first mix is quite awkward; I had TRIO / RIOT, RATIO, ROTARY, and VOTARY.

I wanted him to call a final consonant, and in particular I wanted a C for VICTORY (although VORACITY is better).  The magic result would have been a B for VIBRATORY, but the actual G would have allowed GRAVITY for seven.  Presumably he was chasing after an E (which would have allowed VARIETY), but with the U sixes are the limit.

Both contestants have found IVORY for five; Colin S was playing it safe as he did so, because he wasn't sure about his alternative of VOTARY (which is fine).  David has found RARITY.

The other six from these letters is OURARI, which the Macquarie just indicates as a synonym for curare.  (Chambers suggests that OURARI may be more properly the plant that curare is derived from, but seems to be in the minority with that viewpoint.)

Colin S: IVORY
Colin M: IVORY

Scores: Colin S 8 (13), Colin M 8 (13), me 6

Round 3: Target 140 from 100 7 10 2 5 4

Both Colins go for a single large number tonight, which is a refreshing change.  The target is far too easy, unfortunately.  I had 140 = 2*7*10, 140 = 4*5*7, and 140 = 100 + 4*10.  There's many more options, but I stopped there.

Both have got to the target, Colin S using the first of those solutions while Colin M uses the third.  Lily doesn't state her approach, but it's safe to assume that she got there.

Colin S: 140
Colin M: 140
Me: 140
Lily: 140

Scores: Colin S 18 (23), Colin M 18 (23), me 16

First break: ROAST LAP ("Grazing on religion")

The religious aspect helps guide to the answer of PASTORAL.

David's talk starts with linking dinosaurs to detectives via the stegosaurus and the Latin word 'tegere', meaning to cover.  He then discusses two words for detectives: gumshoe and shamus.

Round 4: G D O E S N U R M

I had DOGE, DOGES, SOUND, and GUERDONS.  After time I noted MORGUES, although it scores less.

This is very similar to a round from episode 335, just differing in the final consonant.  That time David had hoped that a final vowel would have been called and the A that it would have been (both then and now) would give DANGEROUS for nine.  As David observed then, an E would have given UNDERGOES.  There are some consonants that yield nine (and fortunately one of them was found in that round), but an M isn't one of them.

Both contestants have sevens, and I've finally got into the lead after the problem of the first round.  David has also found GUERDONS, while mentioning that he'd hoped for a D for UNDERDOGS.


Scores: Colin S 18 (30), Colin M 18 (30), me 24

Round 5: G H B A T O S A C

What a mess these letters are; I really wanted a final E for HOSTAGE (SABOTAGE would be better) but the next vowel was an I instead (still allowing sevens of GOATISH and ISOBATH -- a line on an ocean chart showing points of the same depth).  As it was, I was only able to find BATH, BOATS, and BATCH within time, although there was that nagging feeling of something I should be seeing throughout.

After time I added CHAOS, GHOST, TACHOS (TACHO being slang for a tachometer), and finally found AGHAST for a satisfactory six.  (TACHOS would be valid, I should add.)

Colin M has found COAST, but Colin S has done well to find AGHAST.  That finally splits the contestants, and brings Colin S level with me.  This is proving to be a tough game!

David has managed to go one better, finding that TABASCO is acceptable in lower case.  The other seven here -- the word that had been nagging at me all along -- is GOTCHAS, and the other sixes are CASBAH (alternative spelling of KASBAH: "the older quarter of a Middle Eastern or North African city, often containing the marketplace") and BATHOS ("insincere pathos" being one of the definitions).

Colin M: COAST

Scores: Colin S 24 (36), Colin M 18 (30), me 24

Round 6: Target 151 from 75 2 6 10 4 6

The target is small, which is perhaps fortunate as the lack of odd small numbers could have otherwise been troublesome.  I found 151 = 2*75 + 6/6 (there's several variants in how to get that final one) and experimented with using the 75 to get the odd component, finding 151 = (6 + 2)*10 + 75 - 4.

Colin M was not able to get within range, which is very odd given that 2*75 is only one away, but Colin S has got there (using the first of the solutions I listed) to extend his lead to 16.  Once again we don't find what Lily did, but it's highly likely it was the same as that solution.

Richard generally takes his cue as to how difficult the problem is from how quickly Lily solves it; in this instance he expected it to be easy and was a little embarrassed when Colin M turned out not to have solved it.  That wasn't aired, but can be seen in the bloopers footage.  (Thanks to Sam Gaffney for reminding me about this.)

Colin S: 151
Colin M: [not in range]
Me: 151
Lily: 151

Scores: Colin S 34 (46), Colin M 18 (30), me 34

Second break: LIT USING ("An expert in tongues")

An easy clue for a LINGUIST.

Round 7: I U E P D N T A S

I had PIED, PINED, UNTIED / UNITED, UPDATES, and PAINTED.  I kept searching after time, convinced there should be an eight.  There's a great many sevens in this mix, and I found PUNDITS, PEDANTS, PUNIEST, STAINED, and STIPEND before I finally found what I was looking for: PETUNIAS.

Both contestants have found sevens.  There's a familiar pair of eights in this mix that I overlooked (AUDIENTS / SINUATED), but it is an anagram of PETUNIAS that proves more useful: SUPINATE is a verb meaning "to render supine", and David has realised that he could tack on the D to get SUPINATED for nine.  Well done, David!


Scores: Colin S 41 (53), Colin M 25 (37), me 41

Round 8: Target 238 from 100 1 6 3 3 1

Colin M is still sixteen points behind, so must win this round to have a chance.  It's yet another small target, but a potentially tricky one.  I started off with the right approach then got distracted by others, fortunately returning to it just in time to get the answer written down: 238 = (3 - 1)*(100 + 3*6 + 1).  It's a good thing my first instinct wasn't to get the 2 via 1 + 1, as that would not have led to a solution; I got lucky here.

Colin M has unfortunately not been able to get within range again, which guarantees Colin S the win.  In any case, Colin S has found that solution and so has got there on his own merits.  Lily has also found it, as expected.

Colin S: 238
Colin M: [not in range]
Me: 238
Lily: 238

Scores: Colin S 51 (63), Colin M 25 (37), me 51


I'm tied with Colin S going into the conundrum, which is far closer than I would like.  The saving grace is that my impression from the previous game is that he may struggle with the conundrum, and so it proves here.  I'm much slower than I'd wish -- the final two letters really should help guide one there sooner -- but solved it thirteen seconds in to get the win.  Neither contestant was able to get there.

Colin S: [no answer]
Colin M: [no answer]

Final scores: Colin S 51 (63), Colin M 25 (37), me 61

Colin S had a really good game tonight; only the conundrum posed him difficulties.  He found good six letter words in the two tricky mixes (although he didn't risk one of them), and longer words in the others.  The numbers posed some minor hurdles that he easily overcame; if he can keep up this form he stands a good chance of making the finals series (although I would not be at all surprised to see him lose an upcoming game due to the conundrum).

Colin M managed almost as well in the letters, but the numbers proved his downfall; on another day he might have prevailed.

I got home luckily due to the conundrum.  If I had not overreached in the first round then it would have been enough for Colin S to not solve it; on the other hand, if he'd chanced VOTARY then it would have been him ahead in the conundrum round.  Either way, I'm hoping that I can do a bit better tomorrow.

1 comment:

Sam Gaffney said...

More good play from Colin Shnier tonight. My answers:

140 = 2*7*10
151 = 2*75 + 6/6
238 = (3 - 1)*(100 + 3*6 + 1)

I found GOTCHAS, but thought it might not be in the Macquarie, so I went with AGHAST.

GUERDONS doesn't ring a bell for me, but I would like to have done better than PAINTED in Round #7.