Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Ep 392: Roman Turkiewicz, Linda Bennett (February 28, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

This is Roman's fourth night, and Richard asks him if he has any techniques for the game.  Roman says that for the letters rounds he likes to start with a consonant and then try and space it out with vowels and consonants in equal measure.  He finds that makes the words fall into place better for him.

Tonight's challenger is Linda Bennett, a senior business analyst at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.  Linda has learned to count cards when playing blackjack to the extent that she is quite restricted in what the Melbourne casinos allow her to do.  (Minimum bet, only one box at a time.)

Roman finds some good words tonight, getting off to a flying start.  Aided by an invalid word from Linda, his advantage grows to 22 points at the halfway mark.  Linda manages to get some back in the next numbers round but thereafter they match, with neither solving the final numbers round or the conundrum; Roman wins again, 45 to 33.

I had a costly miss in the third letters round, and dropped the conundrum also -- it was a tough one tonight!  Everything else went well, including solving a numbers round that eluded Lily, and I had a comfortable win.  Just one match left before the finals start...

As usual, details after the jump.

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

I had CLEAR, CARTEL / CLARET, and RECITAL / ARTICLE.  I wondered about ACCRETAL, but fortunately rejected it.

Roman has also found ARTICLE, beating Linda's choice of CIRCLE.  That was also the best that David could do.

As usual, I'd have preferred a sixth consonant, with the N giving an easy eight of CLARINET (which was recently potentially there in episode 388).  In fact, it does one better, giving the full monty of CENTRICAL (alternative form of CENTRIC: "related to or situated at the centre").  I'll also note that going for five vowels would allow an easy eight of LACERATE.

There was actually an eight here, though: TAILRACE ("the race, flume, or channel leading away from a waterwheel or the like").  The other sevens are CIRCLET and CALCITE.


Scores: Roman 7, Linda 0, me 7

Round 2: E O E N R H T U D

Perhaps in response to Roman's comments about how he prefers to choose letters, Linda starts with a cluster of vowels.  I approve of this as a plan, although it may simply be her preferred method.  I found HERON, HEREON, THEREON, HERETO, THRONED, DETHRONE, and THUNDER.  No such thing as a TREEHOUND, alas.

Linda has HUNTER for six again, but Roman has managed to find DETHRONE; this meets with impressed sounds from David and Richard.  That's an excellent start for him.  David has matched it with the "more archaic" HEREUNTO.

THRENODE (same as THRENODY: "a song of lamentation, especially for the dead") is a valid anagram of DETHRONE, and the other eight is DEUTERON (a deuterium nucleus, deuterium being an isotope of hydrogen).

I'll note that once again staying with three vowels would have allowed a full monty, as the M would yield ENDOTHERM (a warm-blooded animal).


Scores: Roman 15, Linda 0, me 15

Round 3: Target 243 from 75 50 25 4 7 3

Richard describes Roman's number choices so far as varied, but it was really only his single round last game that was different.  Roman returns to his preferred balanced mix, and gets a low target.  I recognised the target as the fifth power of three immediately, and thought to make it from 3*81.  But I got hung up on 75 + 7 and could not adjust it, missing the obvious 243 = 3*(75 + 4 + 50/25).

Fortunately I moved on to the standard approach, and it works easily -- the question is just which of several methods to use in order to make 250.  I selected 243 = 4*75 - 50 - 7, but there are other options.  After time I found another route to 3*81 with 243 = 3*(50 + 4*7 + 75/25).

Both contestants have reached the target.  Roman has got there from 250 with 243 = 3*75 + 25 - 7, while Linda has used the slightly more roundabout 243 = 3*75 + (50/25)*7 + 4.  That's a nicely done solution.  No mention of what Lily did, but it's reasonable to assume that she got there.

Roman: 243
Linda: 243
Me: 243

Scores: Roman 25, Linda 10, me 25

First break: LOCAL EAT ("You can have some, and so can you")

I got briefly distracted by ALLOT, but adjusting to ALLOCATE was not too hard.

David's talk is about the word monger, and other words incorporating it.

Round 4: I A E M L N D T S

Once more Linda starts with the vowels, and this time a contestant stays with three of them.  I had MALE, ALIEN, DENIAL, DENIALS, and STAINED.  It felt clear that at least eights should be there on those letters, but I couldn't navigate my way to one.  After time I finally found MISDEALT and MANLIEST.

Sevens from both contestants, but Linda's choice of STAMINE is not valid.  That's unfortunate for her in a mix with very many sevens.  But David has found the nine!  DISMANTLE is there, and although it's early days I'm hoping for the grand slam to come good this week.

(I'd considered the DIS- beginning, but not manage to find this word.  Ouch.)

Linda's error gives Roman a 22 point lead, and she's going to have to work hard to overcome that.  It's more than the remaining numbers can provide, too, so she'll have to outdo him on some word (possibly the conundrum); that's a tough ask right now.

Other eights here are the US spelling MEDALIST, a familiar MEDIANTS, and AILMENTS / ALIMENTS (ALIMENT: "that which nourishes; nutriment").

Linda: [invalid]

Scores: Roman 32, Linda 10, me 32

Round 5: B I T R U E M D A

I had TRIBE, IMBRUTE, IMBRUTED, and then the A completed the repetition; this exact mix turned up last week, in episode 388 (which is where I learned IMBRUTE from, in fact).  I also noted MURIATE, READMIT, and TRIBADE (although I see that I made a spelling error on the last, which fortunately won't matter).  I saw BRUITED as well but had stopped writing them down at that point; I still didn't recall David's eight, though.

This time both contestants have sixes, and David has found DRUMBEAT for his eight, just like last time.  He also recalls that this mix turned up last week.


Scores: Roman 32 (38), Linda 10 (16), me 40

Round 6: Target 167 from 50 100 25 75 6 10

Linda goes for four large, but turns up a pretty small target.  Getting there from 175 is the standard approach, and I had 167 = 100 + 75 - 6 - 50/25.  After time I amused myself by getting there from a thousand, with 167 = (10*100 + 50/25)/6.

Roman is one away with 166 (presumably 166 = 100 + 50 + 10 + 6) but Linda has reached the target with a minor variation on the solution above: 167 = 100 + 75 - 10 + 50/25.  This is also the method that Lily used.

Those ten points give Linda a chance in what was looking like a pretty dire situation.  She'll need to follow it up with more gains somewhere, though.

Roman: 166
Linda: 167
Me: 167
Lily: 167

Scores: Roman 32 (38), Linda 20 (26), me 50

Second break: SEEN WARM ("Foul-mouthed male clothing")

The first part of the clue indicates the SWEAR of MENSWEAR.

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

That W is a spoiler in a familiar mix.  I had NOTE, TOWNS, SENIOR, and then the retsina mix was completed and the familiar NOTARIES / NOTARISE / SEÑORITA trio was there.

Both contestants have sevens, which is bad news for Linda.  Learning a few of the retsina combinations is definitely worthwhile for every contestant -- it would have given her a chance of leading going into the conundrum if she had got an eight here.  As expected, David points out the standard triple.

There's a goodly many sevens, as expected from retsina.  In addition to the RETSINA anagrams, some of the more common ones are WAITERS, TAWNIER, WARIEST, SENATOR / TREASON, and SNOWIER.


Scores: Roman 32 (45), Linda 20 (33), me 58

Round 8: Target 437 from 25 75 100 50 2 1

Linda now needs unanswered points to have a chance, and goes with the same four large option.  That seems like good strategy at this point, although an impossible target does her no good either.

My first thought was to double the target, turning that 37 into a 74, which is much more approachable.  That would mean wanting (875 - 1)/2; we have the 1 and the 2, but it's not possible to get to 875 from just the large numbers alone.  Knowing this kind of thing is a huge advantage, and one of the benefits that studying the four large mix can provide.

That kind of knowledge reminded me that 450 could be made from the four large numbers (and that 425 can not).  That seemed like a reasonable starting point, and I just had to remember how to make that 450.  With a little more thought I recalled that it was 75*6, and then the correct tweakage was clear: 437 = (75 - 2)*((100 + 50)/25) - 1.  Whew!

Neither contestant has managed to get within range, and that's game to Roman.  Linda says that she is "just outside the scoring range", which I'll guess was one of 448 to 450 via 2*(100 + 75 + 50) to get to 450 and then possibly subtracting the one (doing so inside the brackets to get 448).  If she did have 448 that would hurt, just one crucial number away from scoring points and having a chance of winning.

Another route to 450 does allow closer, though: 450 = (2 + 1)*(100 + 50), with the 75/25 left to subtract a crucial 3 to get to 447, and barely within range.  Although pushing that subtraction of 3 inside the brackets gets to a much healthier 441 = (2 + 1)*(100 + 50 - 75/25).  There were definitely options here for getting close, but they weren't easy spots.  Her bold gamble did not pay off this time.

It turns out that Lily wasn't able to get to the target either.  With no break time to think about it, it becomes a website challenge.  I think that the solution I found turns out to be the only one.

Roman: [not in range]
Linda: [not in range]
Me: 437

Scores: Roman 32 (45), Linda 20 (33), me 68


 A tough conundrum tonight, or at least I found it so.  No easy hooks to it, although it is likely the L is doubled.  The -OID ending is not useful, and I floundered for the thirty seconds; the best I could come up with was ADMIRAL, but sevens count for nothing in the conundrum.

Neither contestant was able to solve it either, and the game fizzles out a bit with two non-scoring rounds to end it.  Many minutes later I finally found ARMADILLO -- another animal to follow up CROCODILE from yesterday.

Roman: [no answer]
Linda: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Roman 32 (45), Linda 20 (33), me 68

Roman's wordfinding was just too good for Linda today, and she was always struggling to catch up.  The numbers gave her some chances, but the last one was quite hard; it was a good gamble from her, but it did not pay off.  That gives Roman four wins, and the finals situation has become very interesting all of a sudden: If Roman wins, then he returns next series for his final game and will likely make the finals of series five.  If he loses, however, then it all depends what score he gets.

Roman's current total is 214.  If he loses in a whitewash, then Christopher's total of 218 is enough to keep him in the eighth spot.  Obviously this is extremely unlikely; a single easy numbers round (and Roman gets to choose one of them) could give Roman 10 unstoppable points and bump Christopher out.

The other vulnerable player is Sebastian, who is on a total of 231 points.  If Roman scores 18 points but still loses then Sebastian will get knocked down to eighth place.  With eighth spot playing Sam, there's a lot at stake in this position juggling!

Which way will it go?  We'll have to see tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

Round 1: CAELIAC
Round 2: UNDERTOE (that's a joke)

Geoff Bailey said...

Welcome, anonymouse commenter. The Macquarie does not list CAELIAC; it does list CELIAC as an alternative spelling for COELIAC ("of or relating to the cavity of the abdomen", also someone afflicted with coeliac disease). Was that the meaning you were thinking of?

Sam Gaffney said...

I was watching at the ABC studios for at least the last two rounds (from the make-up chair), my responses below are what I had then. DETHRONES rings a bell, too, though I didn't get it.

Lily did end up working out 437 after a short while, though it didn't make it to air.

BITER in Round #5 was not my finest moment, I blame ill health.

My answers:

243 = 4*75 - 50 - 7
167 = 100+75-10 + 50/25
437 = (75-2)*(100+50)/25-1