Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Ep 377: Rhonda Jefferson, Andrew Krein (February 7, 2012)

Rhonda is involved in her local theatre group (the Highlands Theatre Group); she makes particular mention of playing Mrs. Squeezum in a production of Lock Up Your Daughters five years ago.  She says that it was a lot of fun and she sang some really funny songs, then adds that it was set in the 1900's and would have been very risque in those days but not so much now.  She enthuses that it had some wonderful songs, and names The Gentle Art of Seduction and When Does the Ravishing Begin? specifically.

(The play is actually set in 1735, but it was first performed in 1959; I'm guessing that this is what Rhonda meant by the 1900's, unless her theatre group put on an adapted version of it.)

Tonight's challenger is payroll manager Andrew Krein.  He describes it as a job where you're either everyone's best friend or their worst enemy, depending on whether you've got it right or wrong.  Richard suggests, and Andrew agrees, that this might mean that Andrew is better with the numbers than the letters.

I'll make an aside here that Andrew got married a month or so after this episode was filmed.  If you happen to read this, Andrew: Congratulations!

It ends up being a close game, aided by several invalid answers.  The contestants did find some good words along the way, and the net result was a slender two point advantage to Rhonda from them.  The numbers went each way -- Andrew did drop crucial points in the first numbers game when he only managed to get five away from the target -- so Rhonda carried that lead into the conundrum.  She buzzed in just after the five second mark with an invalid answer, giving Andrew a chance, but he was not able to solve it within the remaining time.  Rhonda scraped home, 39 to 37.

I felt off-balance early today, with the first round feeling like it should have produced a longer word (although it turns out I had matched David) and only just getting my second-round answer down in time.  I settled down a bit, and it was actually a decent performance except for the second numbers round where I delayed looking at the right idea for too long.  This time I was faster to the conundrum than Rhonda's buzz-in (although only just), and ended up with another comfortable win.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: L O N D E S R I E

It's a good set of letters, so it's a bit surprising how hard it is to get longer than seven.  I had LONE, NODES, LESION, LENDERS, and SLENDER.  After time I found NEREIDS as one of the more interesting sevens.  There's quite a few other sevens, but I'll only make further note of one other that is frequently available: SOLDIER.  (This used to be one of those words I would look for, but somewhere along the line it slipped off that internal list.  I didn't see it this time, for instance.)

Both contestants have sevens; Rhonda has LENDERS while Andrew has SENDERS... but he has used the S twice, and his answer is invalid.  David has also been stuck at seven, opting for LINSEED as his choice.

As usual, I'd have opted for a sixth consonant; in this case it would have been a T for an easy eight of TENDRILS.  With the actual mix there were some potential eights of LESIONED, REDLINES, and the rather more unusual ELOINERS (ELOIN being a variant spelling of ELOIGN, meaning "to remove (oneself) to a distance"; the Macquarie lists it, but not the extension to ELOINERS).  None of these are in the Macquarie, although ELOINER is in Chambers.

But there is one single valid eight here: INDORSEE, a variant spelling of ENDORSEE.  It's not surprising that no-one found that!

Andrew: [invalid]

Scores: Rhonda 7, Andrew 0, me 7

Round 2: T C A R P O U C D

From a well-fitting set to a much less so one, particularly with that repeated C.  I had CART and ACTOR, and was stuck for a long time on that; fortunately I then found PRODUCT with a little time to spare.  After time I saw CAPTOR, although it obviously does not score as well as PRODUCT.

The contestants mirror my results, with Rhonda finding ACTOR while Andrew has done well to get PRODUCT and tie the scores.  David couldn't better it, and it seems to be the only seven.  Even sixes are pretty thin, with ACCORD being another one.

Rhonda: ACTOR

Scores: Rhonda 7, Andrew 7, me 14

Round 3: Target 520 from 100 25 10 3 9 5

Richard tries to get Rhonda to choose a non-standard mix, and this causes her to become confused as she announces her choice.  I admit that I share the attitude of one of the SBS website commenters in that I'd prefer that Richard did not do this; I don't like the contestants feeling pressured to choose anything other than what they are comfortable with.

In any case, her choice is the standard family mix.  I noticed immediately that the target was near 525, which is 7*75, and found the solution 520 = (10 - 3)*(100 - 25) - 5 in short order.  I then experimented with other approaches; trying to get there via 10*52 is a very tempting option, as is 5*100 + 20.  They both proved somewhat harder than one might expect at first glance, although within time I did get the second to work with 520 = 5*100 + (3*9 - 25)*10.  After time I got the first option to work, also, with 520 = 10*(9*5 + 3 + 100/25), although 520 = 10*(25 + 3*9) would have been simpler.  Finally I contemplated tweaking to get that adjustment by 5, finding 520 = 5*(100 - (10 - 9)) + 25.

Andrew is five away with 515 -- it's hard to speculate how, since everything I can think of has easy extensions to get closer -- but Rhonda is only one off with 519 = 5*100 + 10 + 9.  That should have been very easy to see so that's a bad miss from Andrew and Rhonda takes the lead again.

Lily has used the last of the approaches that I listed.  For good measure, I'll note the alternative tweak of 520 = 5*(100 + 10 + 3 - 9).

Rhonda: 519
Andrew: 515
Me: 520
Lily: 520

Scores: Rhonda 7 (14), Andrew 7, me 24

First break: STRUM SIT ("You can rely on this young lady")

The clue indicates the two sub-fragments of MISTRUST.

David's talk is about golf variants: Ambrose, Stableford, and Nassau.

Round 4: N A L T I O N R E

I had LATIN (wasn't certain it would be all right, but the Macquarie does note that a lower case version is acceptable in some contexts), LAIN, ANOINT, and RELATION.  I briefly pondered INTERLOAN, but not seriously.  (Checking now, I see that some online sources use INTERLOAN as a synonym for "interlibrary loan", which was even the sense I would have ascribed to it.  It is not to be found in the Macquarie, which conforms to my expectations.)  After time I saw ANOINTER as well, which reminded me that NOINTER is one of the Macquarie's more unusual inclusions -- a Tasmanian dialect word for "a spoiled or difficult child".  Just now I have seen INTERNAL.

Andrew has the six of NATION; it does somewhat stand out from those letters when written that way.  If he had seen it during letter selection, as well he may have, then it would have been worth taking two more vowels to search for an A and NATIONAL.  As it was, the R and E were quite handy, and Rhonda has also found RELATION.

David has likewise found eights, noting that an anagram of RELATION is ORIENTAL, and that ANOINTER is also there.  There's a good spead of sevens, including TOENAIL / ELATION, AILERON, LATRINE, LANTERN, and ENTRAIN as some of the more common ones.

Andrew: NATION

Scores: Rhonda 15 (22), Andrew 7, me 32

Round 5: G T A E K D A R M

The G and the K don't often go well together, and the duplicated A could be a problem.  I found GATE, GATED, AGATE, GRATED, and MARKET.  After time I saw DEKAGRAM, but my experience with the Macquarie and SI prefixes correctly led me to believe that it would not be listed.  Longer than six is very hard to come by, but just now I have seen GRADATE.

Andrew declares six, while Rhonda says seven.  But they've both gone for MARKED and so Rhonda cannot take the points; that is a very careless loss of six points for her.  David has done well to find DAMAGER for a genuine seven.

There is one other seven here, the somewhat obscure REGMATA.  It is the plural of REGMA: "a dry fruit consisting of three or more carpels which separate from the axis at maturity".  I'm sure that you are now at least as enlightened about this as I am.

Sixes aren't too hard to find, but I feel like noting the presence of KARATE and DREAMT.

Rhonda: [invalid]
Andrew: MARKED

Scores: Rhonda 15 (22), Andrew 13, me 38

Round 6: Target 218 from 75 50 9 10 5 1

I made a mess of this one by ignoring the standard approach.  That wouldn't necessarily have been so bad if I had seen a way to get to 200 and work up, but I didn't see that either.  I ended up one away with 219 = 75 + 50 + 9*10 + 5 - 1.

After time I paid more attention to the possibility of 9*25, and found the solution 218 = 9*(75 - 50 - 1) + 10/5.

Both contestants declare one away.  Andrew has found 219 = (5 - 1)*50 + 10 + 9, while Rhonda has 217 = (9 - 5)*50 + 10 + 7... but she's turned the 1 into a 7 to make that, and her attempt is invalid.  That's two mistakes in two rounds, allowing Andrew to get back within two points of her.

Lily has tweaked her way there from 200, with the solution 218 = (75 + 9)*10/5 + 50.  Nicely done, Lily.

Rhonda: [invalid]
Andrew: 219
Me: 219
Lily: 218

Scores: Rhonda 15 (22), Andrew 20, me 45

Second break: ANTI BLUR ("Attempt a resolution")

The "attempt" is cluing the 'try' sound of TRIBUNAL.

Round 7: C M O E A S G N I

Like the first round, this is a case of many sevens available, while eights are somewhat harder to find.  I had COME, CAMEO, CAMEOS, and MANGOES.  I spent some time afterward unsuccessfully searching for an eight, finding these sevens in the process: ENCOMIA, CEASING, SEAMING (I'd looked for -ING during time, but concluded that I couldn't beat MANGOES with it so did not write them down then), AGONISE / AGONIES, ANOMIES, ACINOSE, and ENIGMAS.

Each contestant has found a seven (there's several more than the ones I've listed), while David has come through with COINAGES for eight.  Nice find!

Fortunately for my good humour the Macquarie does not list CAMEO as a verb, so CAMEOING (which I didn't even see the possibility of) is not valid.  The other eights here are GENOMICS (the study of genomes), COAMINGS (COAMING: "a raised border round an opening in a deck, roof, or floor designed to prevent water from running below"), and MAGNESIC (the adjective form of MAGNESIA).


Scores: Rhonda 22 (29), Andrew 27, me 52

Round 8: Target 506 from 100 8 5 3 5 1

Richard tries to get Andrew to choose something a bit more adventurous, which I still dislike even if it is good advice at this point.  Andrew goes for the single large mix, which doesn't really qualify as adventurous but is at least different.  The result is very easy and everyone finds 506 = 5*100 + 5 + 1.

Rhonda: 506
Andrew: 506
Me: 506
Lily: 506

Scores: Rhonda 32 (39), Andrew 37, me 62


With the contestants doing equally well on the previous two rounds, Rhonda has managed to keep her lead going into this conundrum -- which is always preferable to the alternative.  It also means that, whatever happens, her error on MARKED will not cost her.

As soon as the words went down I "heard" SEMBLE in my head.  For some reason I ignored that, and investigated -ABLE for a bit before coming back to the original idea and immediately finding the answer.  Whoops!  Fortunately I got it before Rhonda buzzed in, although she recognised that her guess of BLAMELESS was invalid even as she said it.  That gave Andrew around 25 seconds to solve the conundrum and win the game, but he wasn't able to do so and Rhonda squeaked home.

Rhonda: [invalid] (5.5s)
Andrew: [no answer]

Final scores: Rhonda 32 (39), Andrew 37, me 72

A somewhat flawed game from the contestants today with a few invalid answers.  The clearest of those was Rhonda declaring the incorrect length for MARKED, which unquestionably cost her six points.  There were some good finds -- PRODUCT and RELATION in particular -- and one contestant always managed to equal me on the letters rounds, indicating that they were keeping up pretty well.  The numbers were where either could have won this, in particular the first numbers round where there were many routes to 520.  As it was they ended up doing equally well from them and Rhonda's find of RELATION proved the eventual difference.  A slightly fortunate win, but a bit of luck is often needed in this game.

Although I felt off the pace early on, I was actually tracking well.  It was really only that second numbers game where I let myself down today, and to be fair it was deceptively tricky.  A reasonable game after all, as should be expected from a score in the 70's.

1 comment:

Sam Gaffney said...

I am all for Richard pressuring contestants away from two large and four small, which I call the "wuss mix". One large and five small is barely any better.

520 = (100+10+3-9) * 5
218 = (75-50-1)*9 + 10/5
506 = 5*100 + 5 + 1

AGONISE would be a good one to read out after pausing, and with a pained face, leading to much hilarity.