Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Ep 391: Roman Turkiewicz, Craig Woodward (February 27, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

Richard mentions that Roman has a couple of big ambitions.  The first is that Roman would like to be a chess champion one day.  He's starting from basic levels, apparently, so I'd imagine it would take some time to get there.  Roman's other ambition is to write a symphony.

Tonight's challenger is Craig Woodward, a mathematics and chemistry teacher.  Before he was a teacher he was a religious minister.  Richard describes this as quite a transition, but Craig notes that most of his focus as a minister was on youth and young adults, so he doesn't feel it was that big of a jump to high school teaching.  The same sort of clientele, just teaching them different things.

Over the course of 2009, Craig was interviewed a few times for ABC radio about his teaching.  You can listen to those conversations here.

There's some tricky letter mixes tonight; Roman manages slightly the better of them to gain twelve points there.  Craig has a chance to get some of them back in the numbers rounds, but overlooks an easily-correctable mistake and cannot do so.  Roman is safe going into the conundrum and solves it quickly to increase the margin, winning 57 to 35.

I felt out of form tonight, and made some poor decisions in both letters and numbers rounds.  I was way off the pace on the conundrum, needing almost two minutes before I finally saw the answer.  But I'd done enough to take the win, to my relief.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: T E C R A U L T I

I had CATER / TRACE / REACT, CURATE, and CLUTTER.  After time I noted some other sevens: RECITAL / ARTICLE, CURTAIL, and TITULAR; then I saw the eight of RETICULA that I mentioned back in episode 383.  I wasn't that far off the time for it... just an issue of speed.

Craig has CRATE for five, outdone by Roman's six of RATTLE; David has settled on CLUTTER.

The other eights here are URTICATE ("to sting or whip with or as with nettles"), CULTRATE ("sharp-edged and pointed, as a leaf"), and TRACTILE ("that may be drawn out in length; ductile").  Note that dropping the R gives the nice seven of TACTILE.

There's a few other sevens, but I'll just note CLATTER, LATTICE, and AURICLE (mentioned in episode 363).

Craig: CRATE

Scores: Roman 0 (6), Craig 0, me 7

Round 2: N D E A B L O T E

I had DEAN, BAND, BLAND, LOANED, wondered about ENDTABLE (rejecting it as it should be two words; although the Macquarie does not list END TABLE either), OBLATE, and BLOATED.  Just as time expired I went back to the -ABLE ending that I had briefly considered and then abandoned, and found DENOTABLE.  I wasn't sure about it so the timing saved me some mental anguish, but it was worth risking and turns out to be valid.  I also saw NOTABLE and TENABLE.

Both contestants have sevens, although Craig is not sure about his choice of NOTABLE.  It's fine, as is Roman's choice of ENABLED.  David has found the nine, of course.

Two other sevens are BLEATED and TALONED; I mentioned TALONED in just the previous episode.


Scores: Roman 7 (13), Craig 7, me 14

Round 3: Target 592 from 100 75 3 10 1 7

Roman adopts a different approach on the numbers today, going for the more traditional two large option.  One away is pretty easy, and I wrote down a backup 593 = (10 - 3 - 1)*100 - 7.  I wasn't able to get to the target within time, so that was what I had to stay with.  After time I actually paid attention to getting there from 625, an option which I'd been implicitly rejecting as unlikely to work due to being so far from the target.  But the offset turns out to match splendidly, yielding the solution 592 = 7*75 + 100 - 3*(10 + 1).  This is the solution that Lily found.

Going even further away (although in practice it ends up being the same thing) the target is 108 away from 700.  That leads to the similar solution 592 = 7*100 - 75 - 3*(10 + 1).

Roman has nothing to declare; this feels odd, because (as noted) getting close is fairly easy.  The importance of having a fallback!  Craig is one away with 593 = (7 - 1)*100 - 7... but he has used that seven twice.  If he'd written down 10 - 3 = 7 anywhere on his page he could have claimed this, but presumably he had not.  That's unfortunate for Craig, and a let-off for Roman.

Update: While reviewing this much later during the re-runs, I found the short solution of 592 = 7*(75 + 10) - 3.

Roman: [not in range]
Craig: [invalid]
Me: 593
Lily: 592

Scores: Roman 7 (13), Craig 7, me 21

First break: AFRO STEW ("Clothing for your computer")

Should be easy to get SOFTWARE from that.

David's talk is about three laid-back words: nonchalant, insouciant, and lackadaisical.

Round 4: D R U C A I Y S R

I had CURD, CARD, DAIRY / DIARY, SCARY, and SCURRY.  After time I saw CIRRUS as well.

This was a case where I'd be very tempted to try for an E with that last letter, even with the Y in play.  It's a mix where nothing is fitting well but the E would give several easy sevens that we've seen before, such as SIDECAR, CRUSADE, and CRUISED.

Once more Craig's five is outdone by Roman's six, and that puts Craig more than a conundrum's worth behind -- always a worrying place to be!  David has also stayed with six, and it's no wonder on this mix; it really doesn't come together nicely at all.  Another six is RADIUS

There are some sevens, though: CURARI is given as an alternative spelling for CURARE, the well-known poison.  It is also the name of the plant yielding that poison, and thus definitely pluralisable, so CURARIS would count.  And DYSURIA is also there ("difficult or painful urination"); some sources would also allow the adjective form of that (DYSURIC), but it is not in the Macquarie.

Craig: DAISY

Scores: Roman 13 (19), Craig 7, me 27

Round 5: G M E A C F O N A

What a mess of incompatible letters, although if that last vowel had been an I then several sevens would be there.  Of course, going for a consonant would have given a T and also a few sevens.  In any case, the A was not very helpful; I had GAME / MAGE, CAGE, FAME, CAMEO, and wondered about FOEMAN.  After time I also wrote down the OCEAN / CANOE pair that I had seen within time.  Somehow I talked myself out of FOEMAN -- I'm not sure why -- and so I stayed with five.  Of course, FOEMAN is fine and would have been a good six.

It's fours from the contestants, while David has found MANAGE for six.  There is one more six, the somewhat obscure CAEOMA.  It is something to do with fungi, but after having to look up the definition of a word in the definition of a word in the definition of it and being none the wiser, I've decided to leave its description at that.

Roman: CAFE
Craig: GAME

Scores: Roman 13 (23), Craig 7 (11), me 32

Round 6: Target 131 from 100 10 2 1 8 7

A very low target, and lots of ways to get there.  I wrote down 131 = 100 + 10 + 7*(2 + 1), 131 = 100 + (2+1)*8 + 7, and 131 = (8 + 7 - 2)*10 + 1.

Everyone else went with 131 = (1 + 2)*10 + 100 + 8 - 7.

Roman: 131
Craig: 131
Me: 131
Lily: 131

Scores: Roman 23 (33), Craig 17 (21), me 42

Second break: MORAL LOB ("A place to put your sports gear")

 It's not necessarily a clue that will help get the answer, but it should confirm BALLROOM once you see it.

Round 7: T E K N I G D E S

That K is a bit of a spoiler, although I was pleased to see Roman stayed with only three vowels once the -ING appeared.  I had KINE, SEEDING, INGESTED, and wondered about STEEDING.  Fortunately I had INGESTED, as there's no suggestion that STEED could be anything other than a noun.

Both contestants have used the -ING well, Roman with SEEKING while Craig has SEEDING.  David is on track with INGESTED.

The other eight here is SIGNETED, as SIGNET ("a small official seal") may also be a verb ("to stamp or mark with a signet").


Scores: Roman 23 (40), Craig 17 (28), me 50

Round 8: Target 995 from 50 25 100 4 10 4

Craig needs unanswered points here to have a chance -- that error back in round three is looking significant! -- and goes for three of each.  This is Roman's usual choice, so that may be a bit unfortunate for Craig; he had no way of knowing that, since this is the first game of the week.

One away is easy, and I wrote down 996 = 10*100 - 4.  Then... I just failed to get anywhere.  Once time expired I took a mental step back and thought more clearly about how to get the 5.  Using 50/10 seemed most obvious, and the question is if the other numbers can get to 1000.  It turns out they can, the solution unfolding neatly: 995 = (4 + 4)*(100 + 25) - 50/10.  Easy to see if one starts from 50/10, but I got myself mode-locked.  Lily demonstrates this solution later.

Both contestants are one away.  Craig has taken the same approach as me, while Roman has subtracted an extra 50/25 to end up one off on the other side.  That means that Roman will win regardless of how the conundrum goes.

Update: While reviewing this much later during re-runs, I found another solution of 995 = 10*(100 - 4 - 4) + 50 + 25.

Roman: 994
Craig: 996
Me: 996
Lily: 995

Scores: Roman 30 (47), Craig 24 (35), me 57


Wow, I was nowhere near this; I kept circling back to CIRCLED.  Roman spots the answer just over five seconds in to seal the victory in emphatic style; it took me almost two minutes to finally see the answer.

Roman: CROCODILE (5.5s)
Craig: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Roman 40 (57), Craig 24 (35), me 57

Some good finds from Roman, and a great conundrum solution.  Craig had chances but just drifted too far out of contention, although he would have needed a lot to overcome the advantage that the conundrum gave Roman.  At this rate, Christopher could have a very short-lived stay in the finals rankings, although Roman would have to lose on Wednesday to avoid carrying over to next series.

Only two more games until the finals start... I'm looking forward to it!


Victor said...

The first numbers round has an easy solution, namely 7*(75 + 10) - 3, which I'm surprised Lily didn't see (though I also only saw it a few seconds after time was up). Another numbers "oddity" I guess, like round 6 of Ep372.

It seems Lily's had a few slip-ups lately - last Tuesday's 673 was indeed tough, but 558 on Friday was achievable in time. I was hoping she might slip up on the 995 - a chance to beat the David/Lily combo! - given the similar theme to the 673 solution but she certainly lived up to her reputation to solve it.

Geoff Bailey said...

That's a very nice alternative solution, Victor. I guess the reason that Lily did not see it in time is that it doesn't feel entirely right to approach from so far away -- the eventual 592 solution was thought of as 33 away from 625, rather than 67 away from 525.

And if her slipping up on 995 would have let you beat the combo, it sounds like you comfortably crushed me. Well done!

Sam Gaffney said...

Roman seems like a real renaissance man in terms of interests. He is great on conundrums, this was his third fast solve in a row.

I struggled in the middle letter rounds tonight. My answers:

592 = (75+10)*7 - 3
131 = (7+8)*2 + 1 + 100
996 = 10*100 - 4 [a]
CROCODILE (17~18s)

[a] I spotted Lily's solution with a second to go.