Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ep 389: Katie Richer, Roman Turkiewicz (February 23, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

Katie likes to grow heirloom varieties of vegetables, or at least is trying to -- she's only just put together her garden.  She says that there is a rather interesting variety of broccoli called Romanesco broccoli that she likes to think of as fractal broccoli.  And... wow, I can certainly see why -- that is just amazing!  She also mentions a variety of tomato called the reisetomate, which is a "big knobbly tomato that looks absolutely nothing like a tomato"; she has the impression that it may taste better than standard supermarket tomatoes.

Tonight's challenger is Roman Turkiewicz, an administrator and actor.  Richard asks about Roman's favourite roles, and Roman singles out playing Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice.  That was with a young company that liked to reinterpret Shakespeare's plays for modern audiences.  It was a modern-language interpretation of the original text, in this instance.

Roman does pretty well on the letters, while Katie has some good words but really needed some less-good-but-longer ones.  Honours are mostly even on the numbers, but one invalid solution from her sees Roman's lead grow, and he is safe at the end of round 7.  Roman solves the conundrum quickly to seal the win in emphatic style, 68 to 31.

This was definitely one of my better games, ending up only two points off optimal.  Coupled with solving the conundrum very fast tonight that yields an even more emphatic win for me.  It's a good feeling after a couple of weeks of games where I have generally felt that I could have easily done better.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: N V E R I L R E S

Duplicated letters and a V besides, but it's a reasonably profitable mix.  I had VINE, LIVER, NERVES, VERNIERS, REVILES, REVILERS, and INVERSE.  After time I added SERVILE and LIVENERS.  I wasn't certain about either VERNIERS or REVILERS, but eventually went with the first.  Both are valid, so as long as I did not wimp out with seven then I was in good shape.

(The concern with VERNIERS is that VERNIER might only have been there as the phrase VERNIER SCALE.  Fortunately both forms are listed, and VERNIERS counts.  VERNIER: "a small, movable, graduated scale running parallel with the fixed graduated scale of [various instruments] [...]".)

Both contestants have found REVILES for seven.  David points out the insertion of the R to get REVILERS; it's possible that one or both of them did see this possibility but decided not to risk it.

The other eight is SILVERER; there is almost SNIVELER, but although the US spellings SNIVELED and SNIVELING are listed, the Macquarie only has SNIVELLER and not SNIVELER.


Scores: Katie 0 (7), Roman 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: D A C T I A M O P

I had ACID, DIATOM, IMPACT, and ATOMIC.  I'd written down DIATOM after the M in the hopes that an O would arrive; I'd have been tempted to take a fifth vowel in this instance, hoping for an I for DIATOMIC.  Just as well I wasn't doing so, as the actual U would have proved difficult -- I'd not heard of AUTACOID ("a hormone") before.

Roman has IMPACT for six, while Katie has "bombed" with MOAT for four.  David noted ATOMIC, but has done better to find TAPIOCA for seven.  That's good solving in a difficult mix.

Difficult mixes can be an excuse to learn new words.  In this case, other sevens are APOMICT ("an organism produced by apomixis"; that seems to be non-sexual reproduction so that genetic structure is preserved) / POTAMIC ("of or relating to rivers").

Katie: MOAT

Scores: Katie 0 (7), Roman 6 (13), me 14

Round 3: Target 924 from 75 50 25 100 10 2

Katie opts for four large tonight, a significant departure from her previous choices of a single large number.  The target is large, too, but close to a multiple of 25.  It's clear that one away will be very achievable; the final adjustment turns out to be manageable.  I had 924 = 10*100 - 75 - 50/(2*25).  Then I decided to look at the factor of 12 and found the alternative 924 = (10 + 2)*(75 + 100/50); I could equally have used 50/25 instead of 100/50.

Both contestants have stayed at 925, with the same approach: 925 = 10*100 - 75.  Lily points out the small adjustment as shown in my first solution.

Katie: 925
Roman: 925
Me: 924
Lily: 924

Scores: Katie 0 (14), Roman 6 (20), me 24

First break: POLO PILL ("Suck on this, Grandpa")

Pretty easy to find LOLLIPOP in this.

David's talk is about two words for wild horses: mustang and brumby.

Round 4: T U N M E A T I S

I had MENU, MEANT, MUTATE, and MUTATES.  After time I noted AUNTIES, TETANUS, MINUTES / MINUETS, and STANNUM (the original Latin for the element tin, which is why its symbol is Sn).  I had seen the -IUM within time and looked for elements, but the element that was there was not of that form.  Heh.  (TITANIUM was very nearly there, but not quite.)

Katie has STAMEN for six, but is outdone by Roman's choice of MINUTES.  That segues well into the eight that David found (which does seem to be the only one), as he has tacked a T onto the end for MINUTEST.

Some dictionaries list NUTMEATS, but the Macquarie does not.  There's a few other sevens here; I'll mention MITTENS, TSUNAMI, INMATES, ATTUNES, and SINUATE.


Scores: Katie 0 (14), Roman 13 (27), me 31

Round 5: W D R G E O U C A

I had DREW, DOWER, ROUGED, COURAGE, and wondered if verbing of nouns had become pervasive enough to allow COURAGED or COUGARED.  Fortunately I correctly decided that it had not.

Both contestants have likewise found COURAGE, while David has taken the route less travelled with DOWAGER.  An anagram of it that might appeal to him is WORDAGE, and the other seven is CORDAGE.

Roman announced his word as a "safe seven", so perhaps he was thinking along similar lines as I was.  Or perhaps he had seen something more interesting.


Scores: Katie 7 (21), Roman 20 (34), me 38

Round 6: Target 912 from 100 25 75 2 5 10

Richard says, "Roman: Time for your numerals".  Heh!  Roman goes for the balanced mix, and it's another large target.  Once again, though, it is divisible by 12 and with my alternative solution from the previous numbers round still in mind I was able to get to the target with 912 = (10 + 2)*(75 + 5 - 100/25).  This is the solution that Lily demonstrates later.

Roman declares 915, but Katie believes she has 912.  Alas, her method starts with 10*100 - 75 - 10, and she has used the 10 twice.  That brings Roman's answer into play, and he makes no mistake with 915 = 10*100 - 75 - 5*2.

Katie: [invalid]
Roman: 915
Me: 912
Lily: 912

Scores: Katie 7 (21), Roman 20 (41), me 48

Second break: ROOK DRAM ("You can't see much in here")

A straight clue for a DARKROOM.

Round 7: N I T E X S A O R

Katie is 20 points behind and must at least equal Roman on this round to have a chance.  The letters are a good lot aside from that X, and the final R completes the retsina mix.  I had TINE, TINES, TISANE, and NOTARISE / SEÑORITA.

Katie declares six and doesn't look happy about it; her choice of SORTIE is a fine word, but she definitely needed to do more with those letters.  And so it proves, as Roman has found RETINAS for seven and is guaranteed the win.  David prompts Richard to notice that RETINAS is an anagram of RETSINA, and David has found the eights (of course!).

Lots of sevens here, with some of the more findable ones being RATIONS, STONIER / ORIENTS, TREASON / SENATOR, and RETINAS / RETSINA / NASTIER / RETAINS.


Scores: Katie 7 (21), Roman 20 (48), me 56

Round 8: Target 903 from 25 100 50 1 2 6

Roman stays with the balanced option, and for the third time the target is in the 900's.  A challenging night for contestants, although this mix proves easy.  Everyone finds 903 = 6*(100 + 50) + 2 + 1.

Katie: 903
Roman: 903
Me: 903
Lily: 903

Scores: Katie 17 (31), Roman 30 (58), me 66


M and P go well together, and with these letters both IMP- and COMP- are very plausible fragments.  With the letters grouped the way they were I went the right way first, and had the answer two seconds in.  I'd paused to write down a bunch of details, and had barely started the video again when Roman buzzed in with the correct answer -- that's a good fast solution from him.

Katie: [no answer]
Roman: COMPOSITE (2.5s)

Final scores: Katie 17 (31), Roman 30 (68), me 76

It was a fairly comfortable victory to Roman in the end, as would be expected in a game where he scored points in every round.  Katie had some good words but wasn't able to find the longer ones that she needed.  The numbers honours were evenly split, with Katie's error costing her; in the end she can hopefully take some consolation from Roman's fast conundrum solution -- she'd have had to do a lot better to overcome his gain from that, so it wasn't a case of a single oversight (or even two oversights) costing her the game.

Roman had good results tonight, including a great fast solution of the conundrum, but just stopped short of hitting the best answers.  With four more games left in the series before the finals, he has a chance to move into the rankings; it would take three more wins and a good scoring loss to do it.  Of course, four more wins would see him carry over to the next series.  I'll be interested to see what tomorrow brings, anyway.

1 comment:

Sam Gaffney said...

Katie seemed very disappointed when she went irretrievably behind here, I like that competitive spirit. She was unlucky to get a contestant as strong as Roman so soon.

My answers:

924 = 10*100-75 - 50/25/2
912 = (100+75)*5 + 25+10+2
903 = (100+50)*6 + 2 + 1