Monday, 5 March 2012

Ep 396: [QF3] Kerin White, Daniel Chua (March 5, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

Still nothing much to the pre-game chat.  I can't decide if the contestants have exhausted their interesting facts about themselves, or if the producers think that it's better to just get straight into the show.

This final is certainly a contrast to the previous two, and ends up being a somewhat low-scoring but close-fought affair.  Aside from one good eight-letter word the longest is six, and an early invalid choice by Daniel has him trailing.  Kerin simply can't get into the numbers, though, and that gives Daniel just enough leeway to take the lead, helped along by an invalid word from Kerin.  Once again it is anyone's match on the conundrum, but tonight it eludes them both; Daniel gets through, 32 to 26.

I was feeling much better about things today.  Although I missed a word that I should have seen and was slow at the conundrum yet again, the rest I'm fairly happy with.  I'd say this was the result of being better rested, but my sleeping problems of the last few weeks have persisted.  Oh, well.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: P M C L I A I S E

Amusingly, the last six letters spell out LIAISE, so this should be the minimum found.  That said, my style is to write down the letters in a different fashion, so I did not observe LIAISE until afterwards.  I had LIMP, CLAIM, CLAIMS, SPECIAL, and MISPLACE.  I was a bit disappointed that the second I was not an A, as I'd spotted the almost-appearance of ECLAMPSIA ("a form of convulsions, especially of a recurrent nature, as during pregnancy or parturition").

Both contestants have six-letter words, Daniel with CLAIMS and Kerin with CLAMPS.  Kerin mentions that she saw SPECIAL but too late to write it down.  Richard points out that LIAISE was there in the last six letters, and we get an insight into David's anagramming methods.  David responds that he did not see LIAISE because he puts the letters into a circle; that's a common technique -- it keeps the letters clustered near to each other which is usually helpful in forming new combinations.  David has also seen SPECIAL and MISPLACE.

Other sevens are PLASMIC (adjective derived from PLASMA), IMPALES, IMPLIES, MALICES, and LAICISE (recently spotted by David in episode 386).

Daniel: CLAIMS

Scores: Kerin 0 (6), Daniel 0 (6), me 8

Round 2: O A G R M T E A D

Very nearly ended up with MORTGAGED, but not quite.  I was briefly tempted by it, but caught the lack of a second G in time.  As it was, I had ROAM, DOGMA, wondered about DORMAGE (rightly rejected), and ROAMED.  Embarrassingly, I looked at TOREADOR and saw that it re-used letters, but did not spot MATADOR until afterwards.  I also found DAMAGER after time, and checked what I should have considered within time: One of the allowed plurals of DOGMA is DOGMATA.  (I think that is what led me to consider DOGMA in the first place, but the thought got lost somewhere along the line.)

Kerin has six again, with GRATED, while Daniel has MORTAGED for eight.  He was confident when he declared eight, but by the time he says the word his attitude is somewhat more worried.  He has realised what David points out: MORTGAGED has two G's in it, and Daniel's word is invalid.  (It's an interesting error to make; the T is silent, so the common misspelling would be without T, rather than without G.)  David is on-target again with MATADOR, referring back to his find of CORRIDAS in episode 388.

The other sevens are GRADATE and REGMATA; both of these (and DAMAGER) I mentioned in the almost-identical mix in episode 377, but it seems the knowledge did not stick.

First blood to Kerin; can Daniel get it back in the numbers?  Both contestants had good numbers results in their main rounds.

Daniel: [invalid]

Scores: Kerin 6 (12), Daniel 0 (6), me 14

Round 3: Target 860 from 75 50 3 4 8 1

A big target, but I quickly noted that it was 15 away from 875, and with 15 being 8 + 7 and 875 being 7*125, a little tweakage gets me home: 860 = (3 + 4)*(75 + 50 - 1) - 8.  After time I saw a similar approach utilising 11*75: 860 = (8 + 3)*(75 - 1) - 4 + 50.

Kerin has 842, which is outside the scoring range.  I'm at a loss on this one; I can't see an easy way of making it that isn't simply modifiable to get much closer.  Daniel has made it into the scoring range; he is six away with 854 = (8 + 4)*75 - 50 + 3 + 1.  A little tweaking would have seen him only one away, and two points richer: 859 = (8 + 4)*(75 + 1) - 50 - 3.

Lily has found a way to use the tempting factor of 10 with 860 = (75 + 8 + 3)*(50/(4 + 1)).

Daniel gets back some of the ground lost in the previous round, but is still a point behind.

Kerin: [not in range]
Daniel: 854
Me: 860
Lily: 860

Scores: Kerin 6 (12), Daniel 0 (11), me 24

First break: RAGE VEND ("Written beneath the surface")

Richard tries to tie in GRAVE to this (something that is beneath the surface) but the clue works on its own for ENGRAVED.

David's talk is about the urban legend of George Turklebaum, and suggests that 'Turklebaum' is acquiring meanings from it.

Round 4: E U E H F D S R F

The first four letters look unpromising, and appropriately enough they spell EHEU, a word I remember from some overly dramatic Latin texts in high school.  It looks even less promising when the F turns up, but then things get much better.  I had FEUD, DEFUSE, USHERED, and then the second F brought surprisingly good results with SUFFERED.  Quite an unexpected turnaround from what could be awkward options otherwise.

Daniel has seen a risky seven, but stays with RUFFED (in bridge and similar card games, RUFF is a verb meaning to play a trump on a non-trump lead) for six.  The seven that he had seen was DUFFERS, which turns out to be perfectly acceptable.  Fortunately for his peace of mind it does not matter as Kerin has found SUFFERED for eight, as has David.

Other sevens here are EFFUSED and REFUSED.

That good eight-letter word has given Kerin a nine-point advantage -- just short of safety.

Daniel: RUFFED

Scores: Kerin 14 (20), Daniel 0 (11), me 32

Round 5: T Y S C I U O L E

Amusingly the first four consonants turn up a word (CYST -- and yes, I know that Y is a vowel in that word).  I had CYST, CITY, CUTELY, CUTIES, and LOCUST.  After time I added COSTLY and SLUICE, but could not see longer.  It really looked like there should be one, but short of considering OUTSLICE to describe two golfers comparing their bad shots (it's not valid, which I know will not be a surprise) I couldn't see it.

Both contestants have also gone for LOCUST, but David has found SOCIETY for seven.  Well done, David!

Other sevens are OCULIST and CITOLES (CITOLE being given in the Macquarie as a variant name for two different instruments, the cittern and the kithara).

Daniel: LOCUST

Scores: Kerin 20 (26), Daniel 6 (17), me 38

Round 6: Target 583 from 25 7 4 10 8 5

Daniel goes for the classroom mix, and gets a middling target.  I noticed the target was 8 away from 575, so the standard method looked promising.  That requires getting 23 from the other small numbers, and with a little fiddling I had 583 = (4*5 + 10 - 7)*25 + 8, then saved a number with 583 = (4*7 - 5)*25 + 8.

Daniel declares 585, one closer than Kerin's 580.  He could certainly use these points!  But he starts with (10 + 4)*25 which he hopes is 600.  He trails off as he says that, and has clearly realised that is not correct.  His attempt is invalid, and that's very bad news for him -- seven points to Kerin will give her a 16 point lead which would be hard to overcome.

However, Kerin starts out by saying 4*5*20... and there is no 20, of course.  Lily checks whether she meant 25, and Kerin did but admits that she wrote down 20 on her pad.  That's an unfortunate slip, and a very luck let-off for Daniel; her intended solution was presumably 580 = 4*5*25 + 8*10.

Lily shows a different use of the standard method with 583 = (7 + 4)*5*10 + 25 + 8.

I really wanted to be able to make this as 11*53, particularly with 53 = 25 + 4*7 so temptingly there, but I don't think it can be done.

Kerin: [invalid]
Daniel: [invalid]
Me: 583
Lily: 583

Scores: Kerin 20 (26), Daniel 6 (17), me 48

Second break: BORN IDEA ("A ball on oxygen")

The mention of oxygen is intended to clue the AIR of DEBONAIR.  The "ball" part is less convincing; going via 'debutante', perhaps?  I don't think it really works.

Round 7: B S W D A I A G R

It would be natural to go hunting an E with that set of vowels on the board, but it wouldn't really help and Kerin shows good judgement to try for a useful consonant.  Best result would be an N for WINDBAGS, but the R is pretty handy also.  I had WADS, GRABS, WADIS (invalid, as it turns out; the Macquarie lists WADIES as the only allowed plural of WADI), and BRAIDS.

Daniel has GRABS for five, and Kerin is not able to declare anything at all.  She thought there was an N in the mix, and all her words use it.  Ouch.  That's good news for Daniel, who closes the gap to four points.

David found AWARDS which was quite a satisfactory six, but his investigations of compound words let him find the seven: AIRBAGS.  Another excellent solve from him on a tricky mix.

The other sixes are WASABI and DISBAR.

Kerin: [no answer]
Daniel: GRABS

Scores: Kerin 20 (26), Daniel 6 (22), me 54

Round 8: Target 198 from 50 9 3 8 1 1

Daniel stays with the classroom option, and that pair of ones could prove difficult.  The target is very low, however, and quite manageable.  I started with 198 = (9 + 3 - 8)*50 - 1 - 1, then used the factorisation to get 198 = (8 + 3)*9*(1 + 1).  After time I played around with the factor of 3, getting 198 = 3*(50 + 9 + 8 - 1) and 198 = 3*(50 + (1 + 1)*8).

Kerin is one off with 197; I'll guess this was 197 = 50*8/(1 + 1) - 3.  Daniel has got to the target, however, with a variant of my first solution (just swapping 9 - 8 with 1): 198 = (3 + 1)*50 - (9 - 8 + 1).  Lily has also got there, with a similar but unmentioned method.

(Looking at how the writing goes, Daniel gets there with only a few seconds left on the clock.  A close one!  I'm also interested in how he prefers to look at the board across the room instead of the small monitor in the desk.)

That's a welcome result for Daniel, who takes the lead for the first time.  It's going to be another game resolved in the conundrum!

Kerin: 197
Daniel: 198
Me: 198
Lily: 198

Scores: Kerin 20 (26), Daniel 16 (32), me 64


I got distracted by the -ING ending for far too long, but managed to untangle myself from it and get the answer eight seconds in.  Neither contestant solves it, and Daniel holds on for a close win.

Kerin: [no answer]
Daniel: [no answer]

Final scores: Kerin 20 (26), Daniel 16 (32), me 74

It was certainly a close game, although marred a bit by invalid answers.  Both contestants had two of them, and any one could have made the difference between victory and defeat.  The one which has to hurt most for Kerin is writing down 20 instead of 25 in round 6; those 7 points would have given her victory.  Or if she'd just been a little faster to see SPECIAL in the first round...

Daniel kept his head after his error in round 2 and managed to get the points back in numbers rounds.  He was a little lucky to win in the end, and he's going to need to do better when he faces Sam in the first semi-final on Wednesday.  But before then is the remaining quarterfinal, with what should be another close game: Toby vs. Shaun.  I'm looking forward to it!


Mark said...

I was disappointed that Kerin lost. Despite not doing well in this game, I think she would have been much better competition for Sam than Daniel will be.

Sam Gaffney said...

I hadn't seen this match, but when I arrived at the studio it had just finished and I saw the strangely low scoreline. It looked like Kerin was nervous and/or had an off day, she was great in her regular series episodes. I don't know that we saw Daniel's best, either; Mark might be in for a surprise...

Here are my answers:

858 = (75/3*4+1)*8 + 50
[invalid] OUTLIES
583 = (4*5+10-7)*25 + 8
198 = (3+9-8)*50 - 1 - 1
[invalid] (CEILINGED - 8s)

You would have thumped me in this game, Geoff - the weekend rest must have brought your form back!

I couldn't get 860 in time, though I found your second way before long.

I had CUTELY in Round 5, but couldn't resist trying for one more (OUTLIER is not an extension of "outlie").

I thought of DILIGENCE after checking the dictionary for CEILINGED (as in high-ceilinged). In hindsight, even if CEILINGED was valid (ceiling is only a noun), it was way too obscure to be chosen as a conundrum. L&N uses ING words occasionally (RESOLVING, LECTURING) , but I think much less often than they would appear at random (which is about 80% of nine-letter words that have an I,N,G).

Geoff Bailey said...

Mark: I think we'll have to see about that; we've already seen two other contestants rise to the occasion in the first two quarterfinals. It's been a great start to the series!

One thing I think is interesting about this match: Ignoring the invalid words from each, both contestants' letters round played very close to their averages from before. Kerin was averaging 6.6 on the letters, and today was 26/4 = 6.5. Daniel was averaging 5.7, and today was 23/4 = 5.75. That difference ended up being a nine point advantage to Kerin.

Both contestants had numbers performance below their usual results. (Although if Daniel's 585 had been valid his average would have been 22/3 = 7.33, very close to the 7.39 that he usually had.) And the conundrum was not that far off their usual performances, either.

Overall, Daniel played closest to his average performance, while Kerin clearly had a bad round. But there's something to be said for consistency... although I can't wheel out any Stephen Bradbury analogies yet. :)

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks, Sam. It could easily have gone the other way, of course. OUTLIES was an excellent spot, and you were unfortunate that the Macquarie does not list it. My Chambers does, giving "outlie" meanings of "to surpass in telling lies" or "to lie beyond".

*mutters about -ING conundrums*

Mark said...

Sam - I hope Daniel does better than I think he will, because I like to see close games, but I'll be surprised if you haven't got it won before the conundrum.

Geoff - your comments about the averages are interesting.

"To surpass in telling lies" as a dictionary definition for "outlie" seems far-fetched to me.

Geoff Bailey said...

Mark: I believe that that sense of OUTLIE goes back to days when lying had a more acceptable use. What we might call yarn-spinning or tall tale telling was sometimes referred to somewhat straightforwardly as lying, and two people trying to outdo each other in the tales they told would indeed try to outlie each other. (And such events were sometimes called "lying competitions".)

There's still such events today, in fact, like the World's Biggest Liar.

Mark said...

Thanks for educating me, Geoff.