Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Ep 402: Norm Do, Casey Duggan (March 13, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

Norm is asked to explain the difference between pure mathematics and applied mathematics.  He says that pure mathematics is more abstract and is motivated by ideas, whereas applied mathematics is mathematics in the field and is motivated by real-world problems.  He adds that -- despite the rivalry between the two areas -- the actual division is somewhat nebulous.

Tonight's challenger is product manager Casey Duggan.  Last year she went on a bear-viewing holiday with her husband.  This was in an Alaskan national park, and every day they would go and watch bears catching fish and doing other bear-like things.  These were big brown bears, catching salmon in the streams, etc.  At times they were only a couple of metres away, which sounds pretty worrying to me.  Their guide had a can of "bear spray" (a variety of pepper spray) as their only defense, which... well, just as well it was not needed, anyway.

Both contestants start with an invalid word (the same one, in fact), and match results a couple of later times, but mostly Norm draws steadily ahead, gaining with a couple of letters rounds and all of the numbers rounds.  He caps it off by solving the conundrum again for a 58 to 13 victory.

A somewhat mixed effort from me tonight; I did find some good words, but overreached in one round and ended up with an invalid one.  Then I got lost on what should have been a very easy numbers round, and was beaten to the conundrum.  I'd still done enough to win, but I'm disappointed about the numbers round -- I conceded far too many 10-pointers in similar fashion last series.

Round 1: N O F E S O R M A

The F is a spoiler, as is the repeated O.  I had NOSE, NOOSE, MOROSE, and MOANERS.  After time I saw FOREMAN, and the possible ROMANOS (ROMANO being a type of cheese).  I also thought that the American spelling ENAMORS would be there, but the Macquarie surprised me by not listed ENAMOUR as a verb -- it only has ENAMOURED (with acceptable variant ENAMORED).

Both contestants have tried MOONERS for seven, but end up disappointed as it is not in the Macquarie.  David has found FOREMAN and MAROONS.

The other sevens here are OARSMEN and FORAMEN ("an opening, orifice, or short passage [...]").  The plural of it is FORAMINA rather than FORAMENS, so there is no eight here.

Norm: [invalid]
Casey: [invalid]

Scores: Norm 0, Casey 0, me 7

Round 2: C L E I R D E W U

U and W together again... rarely a good sign.  I had LICE, RELIC, RELIED, and the speculative CRUELED.  There's a few other sixes; after time I noted CURLEW as one of them.

I wasn't sure about CRUELED; for it to count I'd need CRUEL to be listed as a verb (it is) and also the American spelling to be given (it is not).  I ended up risking it, and so had an invalid word.  I'm a little put out at finally finding an Americanism that is not listed.

Both contestants have found six, Norm with CURLED and Casey with WILDER.  But David has found the only seven of WIELDER, and it's always tough to know which agent nouns are going to be there.  It was definitely worth risking if I'd seen it, though -- much better than CRUELED.

Me: [invalid]

Scores: Norm 6, Casey 6, me 7

Round 3: Target 889 from 50 8 5 6 8 10

A large target, and only one odd number to use for it.  But it unravels easily with the standard method, and I found 889 = (10 + 8)*50 - 6 - 5.

Casey declares 888; this could be made a couple of ways, but I'll guess it was 888 = 10*(50 + 5*6 + 8) + 8.  However, Norm has found the same solution I had; it is also Lily's approach.

Norm: 889
Casey: 888
Me: 889
Lily: 889

Scores: Norm 16, Casey 6, me 17

First break: GOLF LEAP ("Hoist your answer up and see what happens")

A relatively direct clue for FLAGPOLE.

David's talk is about the origin of the term cabal.

Round 4: D L T E A G M I C

I had DEALT, METAL, LIGATED, and CLAIMED / MEDICAL.  After time I saw another word that I've mentioned a couple of times recently: GAMETIC.

Casey has IMAGED for six, but Norm outdoes her with CLAIMED for seven, and takes a 17 point lead.  Difficult to overcome, but not impossible.  David mentions CLIMATE, MEDICAL, CLAIMED, and CITADEL as he reports that there are many sevens but he could not find an eight.

Other sevens here are anagrams of those already said: DECIMAL / DECLAIM, and DIALECT / DELTAIC / EDICTAL.

Seven does seem to be the best.  Chambers lists MALEDICT (as both an adjective and verb) but the Macquarie does not.


Scores: Norm 23, Casey 6, me 24

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

I had NEAR, RAINED, TRAINED, TRIBADE, INDURATE, and URINATED.  I mentioned INDURATE ("to make hard") back in episode 365, and it has clearly stuck since.

Both contestants have selected BRAINED for seven, while David has found URBANITE and TURBANED for eight; he had to check TURBANED to be sure about it.

The other eight is a mineral: BRAUNITE.


Scores: Norm 23 (30), Casey 6 (13), me 32

Round 6: Target 237 from 100 75 50 4 6 8

Casey goes for three of each and only gets even small numbers.  She turns up a small target which should make this fairly approachable, but I wandered off on a line of very limited usefulness, eventually emerging one away with 238 = 4*(50 + 8) + 6.

After time I actually think about things instead of simply pushing numbers around, and subtract that 75 to get an even subtarget.  The solution falls out, embarrassingly simple as only addition is involved: 237 = 100 + 75 + 50 + 8 + 4.  If I'd just looked for the standard method this would have been an easy spot.

Casey is just outside the scoring range with 248 -- presumably 248 = 4*50 + 6*8 -- while Norm is seven away with 244 = (8/4)*100 + 50 - 6.  A touch of tweaking could have seen him get the target exactly: 237 = (8/4)*(100 + 6) + 75 - 50.

Lily is on track as usual, with 237 = 6*50 - 75 + 8 + 4.

Norm: 244
Casey: [out of range]
Me: 238
Lily: 237

Scores: Norm 23 (35), Casey 6 (13), me 39

Second break: TINY TIDE ("No-one else should have yours")

A little thinking turned up IDENTITY from this.

Round 7: D I J E T O G R A

I had DIET and GOITRE, then spotted a classic word from this game: GODETIA, a type of flower.  I've mentioned this before in episode 323 and episode 381; this is the first time I've spotted it within play, I believe.  It turns out to be a pretty good time to have done so, since this is the only seven to be had.

Casey has DOTER for five, but Norm has GRATED for six and -- for the third game in a row -- has guaranteed his win by the end of round 7.  David has accurately found GODETIA and notes it as one of those useful words that keeps turning up on the show.

Casey: DOTER

Scores: Norm 23 (41), Casey 6 (13), me 46

Round 8: Target 853 from 75 100 25 5 5 1

Casey persists with the balanced mix, and those small numbers make it likely to be difficult -- so many factors of five!  I ended up one away with 854 = 5*(100 + 75) - 25 + 5 - 1.

Casey has not been able to get anywhere near; one way to at least get close is to note that 850 is 5*170, and the 170 is not so bad.  That could lead to 851 = 5*(100 + 75 - 5) + 1; the 854 that I found in a sense uses a slight rearrangement of this to save the 5 and so get closer.

Norm has got to 851 a different way: 851 = (5 + 5)*75 + 100 + 1.  Meanwhile Lily has been unable to get closer than 854; it turns out that 854 is the closest one can get and there's only that single way of doing it, so good solving from Lily tonight.

Norm: 851
Casey: [not in range]
Me: 854
Lily: 854

Scores: Norm 23 (48), Casey 6 (13), me 53


I got briefly distracted by VICTOR, then chased some other unprofitable lines.  Norm buzzed in at the seven second mark, and as I was about to start a backup timer I also saw the solution.  Call it eight seconds, but it might have been quicker.  Although I'll note something that Sam has pointed out to me on occasions before: By the time the letters actually rotate into view a second has already elapsed on the clock; that feels a little unfair to the home viewers playing along.

Norm: VITRIOLIC (7s)
Casey: [no answer]

Final scores: Norm 33 (58), Casey 6 (13), me 63

Consistent solving from Norm, who would have had another mid-sixties score if MOONERS had been valid (or if he had stayed with a six).  If Casey had been able to get closer in the numbers rounds she might have managed to take it to the conundrum, but the 22 points she conceded there instead made things very difficult for her.

Norm has won three in a row, but with his opponents scoring 16, 10, and 13 it has to be said that he has not been at all pushed yet.  It will be interesting to see how he handles it if he is.

I should have seen 237 -- that was a very bad miss from me -- but the rest was good.  It's still a decent start to the series so far.


Tim Curtis said...

I think it would be great if you kept a count of the number of Macquarie dictionary fails that seem to happen every second episode.

Mark said...

3. 890 = 8*8*10 + 50*5
6. 233 = (6-4)*100 + 75 - 50 + 8
8. 851 = 75*(5 + 5) + 100 + 1
9. Got it about a second before Norm buzzed in.

Disappointed not to have at least got a six in Round 2.

Victor said...

I'd like some advice from someone who's been on the show;

In round 5 I chose to cheat; I declared URINATED but had made a spelling error while writing it down in a scramble. Since there would have been no need to check my notepad, would I have gotten away with this on the show?

In round 8 I had a small typo in my equation (a plus instead of a minus sign in one place), which I didn't pick up until after the show and which I doubt would have been picked up if checked either (given the pressure). I would have just declared 854 and said my solution without looking at the paper and seeing my mistake. Would this honest error have been fine or is there actually some arbiter who checks your notepad? (Kerin White vs. Daniel Chua comes to mind).

Lastly, just how much do you need to write down for the maths rounds? A whole equation or just an expression? These are precious, precious seconds of difference.

Geoff Bailey said...

Another very creditable performance, Mark. You'd have beaten Casey 37 to 20, and just lost out to Norm 37 to 43. A six pointer in the second round would have seen you take Norm to a second conundrum.

Victor: There is no checking done on the show, except in cases where the contestants declare the same answer (where they verify with each other as seen). But you are supposed to play by what is written down; if you become aware of an error you should mention it, or substitute a different answer if you catch it in time.

Kerin is the most recent example that we saw of this, and it cost her a game. High marks to her for that behaviour. Brett Edwards (commenting about the PARISH/PERISH confusion that he drew to the show's attention to his detriment in episode 329) expressed it best on the SBS website when he said, "When you cheat you only cheat yourself."

For the maths rounds: You must write down an expression, or series of expressions, that produces your target, and the target itself. (This last point is not very well explained within the rules, incidentally, and there might be some room for argument about it... but if you end up having to argue about the rules then you have already lost.)

I commented on this in round eight of the grand final, where my answer could not count because I had not written down (or even computed) the target before time ran out. I seem to recall another contestant running afoul of this once, as when Richard asked what they got they were obviously still trying to work out what it was. They got cut short and told that it could not count unless it was written down.

So: In practice you might have got away with both, but if your opponent had the same to declare then checking would occur and you would not. Everyone understands that mistakes occur, particularly in the numbers where your brain can skip a step and write down the wrong thing without you noticing at any point... but if you notice then it should be mentioned.

Geoff Bailey said...

Tim: I was tempted to produce a summary post for the series of words that a more extensive dictionary might have allowed. But I decided against it, in part because I am lazy but also because it is of dubious value. Instead I confine myself to grumbling at the time. :)

Victor said...

Cheers Geoff!

Sam Gaffney said...

Some more great answers from Stormin' Norm(an). Casey had some good words and seemed very nice, most defeated players don't think to praise their opponent.

I was wondering if TURBANED was a word, I also got URBANITE and INDURATE that round, which was very pleasing, if no extra point value.

VITRIOLIC was a fairly obscure word to have as a conundrum.

My answers:
889 = (8 + 10)*50 - 6 - 5
237 = 6*50-75+8+4
854 = 5*(100 + 75) - 25 + 5 - 1
5 seconds

To add to Geoff's answer to Victor's question about cheating on L&N, it is in the rules that the producers can boot you off the show if they catch you. Also, one of the Series 4 finalists told me that they had caught an opponent cheating once, and it did not go over well. Personally, I think someone should just come check the answers every round after the cameras stop rolling, people are certainly aware it is a loophole.