It was really hard to resist the temptation to simply title this post "Ep 404: Not found". I hope you appreciate my forebearance. *chuckles*

Richard mentions that Norm has been pretty consistent about solving the conundrums and also finding seven letter words. Norm responds that it doesn't usually happen like that at home, although seven letter words are what he aims for.

Tonight's challenger is oceanographer Diana Greenslade. Diana works on the Australian Tsunami Warning System, an initiative started after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004; the System went operational in 2008. She has been leading the scientific development of it -- running the computer models that provide the underlying basis for the forecasters, who can then choose whether to issue a warning or not.

Diana gets an early lead, but Norm claims most of it back in the next round with a very nice word. The sevens are hard to come by tonight, but he finds another to take the lead. The contestants are matched throughout in the numbers and so it comes down to the conundrum, with Norm leading. It's a disconcerting mix but Norm sees his way through it once more to solve it and take his fifth win, 59 to 43.

I had a decent game, solving all the numbers and getting mostly maximal results in the letters; the two cases where I could have done better involved words I did not know in the first, and a word I wasn't certain of in the second. So the only negative mark here is how I froze up on the conundrum, eventually finding the solution three seconds after Norm. Still and all, a comfortable win, and a nice result after yesterday's game.

**Round 1: T I N E H O L E V**

The V and H aren't that nice, but turn out to be usable. I had TINE, THINE, and VIOLENT; I thought that I had ELEVENTH for a little while before I realised that used one too many E's. After time I added HOTLINE.

Norm has THINE for five, but Diana gets a good early lead with VIOLENT. David has also found HOTLINE.

The other sevens are VEINLET and NEOLITH (a person, weapon, or implement from the Neolithic Period).

Norm: THINE

Diana: VIOLENT

Me: VIOLENT

David: HOTLINE

Scores: Norm 0, Diana 7, me 7

**Round 2: M C T L I A U D A**

I had CLAIM, TALCUM, ACTUAL, and DICTUM. After time I saw TALMUDIC but correctly decided that it would be capitalised.

Diana has CLAIM for five, but Norm has found the nice six of CAUDAL ("of, at, or near the tail"). David has had to dig deep to beat six, eventually emerging with MATILDA ("a swag") as his colloquial seven. Nice one, David!

There don't seem to be any other sevens, but there are two eights: DALMATIC ("an ecclesiastical vestment worn over the alb by a deacon or bishop [...]") and CALADIUM, a type of plant. I did look at CALADIUM somewhere along the line (most likely after time expired) but had not known that it was a word.

So with that six Norm gets back most of the lost ground, and trails by a single point.

Norm: CAUDAL

Diana: CLAIM

Me: TALCUM

David: MATILDA

Scores: Norm 6, Diana 7, me 13

**Round 3: Target 976 from 25 9 4 8 7 1**

The target is large, but there's a good spread of small numbers to go with it. The standard method is clear here: We have the required offset of 1 from 975, which is 25*39. So it's just a question of making that 39 (or being flexible enough to find 40 and get close), and that turns out to be manageable. I found 976 = (4*8 + 7)*25 + 1, and this is Lily's solution also.

Both contestants are three away, but in opposite directions. Norm has gone with 973 = (25*4 + 8)*9 + 1, while Diana has chosen 979 = (4*25 + 8)*9 + 7. Note that Diana could have easily subtracted the remaining 1 to get only two away, and that would have stopped Norm scoring seven points. A simple oversight, explained by her writing until the last second or two. Norm, however, should have seen that adding (7 - 1) got him closer than adding 1, and he had a good many seconds left on the clock to do so.

There's a few other ways to get to 976 by using the factorisation 976 = 16*61. I'll not list them, but leave them as an exercise for the interested reader.

Norm: 973

Diana: 979

Me: 976

Lily: 976

Scores: Norm 6 (13), Diana 7 (14), me 23

**First break: DARE RANT ("Spoke over the action")**

A straight clue for NARRATED. Is it just me, or are the clues getting more sensible? I approve of this shift.

David's talk is about the phrase

*dribs and drabs*.

**Round 4: W N R O C U E R M**

W and U in the same mix again... rarely a good sign. I had WORN, CROWN, and MOURNER.

Both contestants have aimed for sevens, with Norm selecting MOURNER while Diana is rightly unsure about her choice of RECROWN. David expresses his sympathies to Diana, as RECROWN is not valid but CROWNER would have been.

Those seem to be the only sevens; the sixes are CORNER, COWMEN, and WORMER.

That gives Norm the lead again, by six points.

Norm: MOURNER

Diana: [invalid]

Me: MOURNER

David: CROWNER

Scores: Norm 13 (20), Diana 7 (14), me 30

**Round 5: D O F I T E G N P**

A troublesome mix! I had FIDGET, and then tried to make something useful out of the -ING fragment. I just couldn't do it with those letters, but once I abandoned that plan I found POINTED. After time I noted FOETID as one of the other sixes.

Both contestants have gone with DOPING, and David mentions the same difficulty with using -ING. He has found GIFTED and POINTED for his words.

The other possible seven is INGOTED (INGOT having a verb sense of making something into ingots).

Norm: DOPING

Diana: DOPING

Me: POINTED

David: GIFTED, POINTED

Scores: Norm 13 (26), Diana 7 (20), me 37

**Round 6: Target 603 from 50 100 3 10 4 10**

Diana chooses the family mix, and gets a very easy result. The aim of forming it as 600 + 3 is pretty clear, and there's a lot of ways to do it. I wrote down 603 = 10*50 + 100 + 3, then 603 = 10*(50 + 10) + 3 -- correctly predicting that this would be Lily's solution -- followed by 603 = 4*(100 + 50) + 3 -- which turns out to be Norm's solution. For a final twist I decided to use the factor of 3, getting 603 = 3*(4*50 + 10/10), and then time ran out and I stopped looking.

Diana has found yet another alternative: 603 = (10 - 4)*100 + 3.

Norm: 603

Diana: 603

Me: 603

Lily: 603

Scores: Norm 23 (36), Diana 17 (30), me 47

**Second break: NOT EAGLE ("Stretch... and shut it behind you")**

So much for my previous comment about the clues for these word mixes. The second part clues the GATE of ELONGATE.

**Round 7: S A T E Y U R I S**

I had SATE (duh) / TEAS, SAUTE, SATYRS, and STAYERS. I had a bit of a mental block here, as I had ruled out SATIRISE since there was only one I, but did not see SATIRES which would have been a preferable seven. After time I saw ESTUARY -- there in the first seven letters -- and then ASSURITY ("certainty"). For some reason I was doubtful about it at the time, thinking that 'assurance' was more appropriate for the concept, but later reflection did get me past that confusion. Checking on it in the dictionary reveals that ASSURETY is an alternative spelling, and could also have been formed from these letters.

Both contestants have six-letter words; Norm has SUREST while Diana has SAUTÉS. David has progressed along essentially the same lines of thought as me (but much faster, of course), finding ESTUARY, ASSURITY, and ASSURETY.

Those look like the only eights; there are a few other sevens, but none of them seem very common: AURISTS (AURIST being listed as another term for OTOLOGIST: "a physician specialising in diseases of the ear"), ESTRAYS (amongst other meanings, ESTRAY is an archaic verb meaning "to stray"), EUSTASY ("a worldwide change in sea level due to an increase or decrease in the volume of water in the seas, as caused by the melting of ice sheets"), and SAURIES (SAURY being a type of fish).

Norm: SUREST

Diana: SAUTÉS

Me: STAYERS

David: ESTUARY, ASSURITY, ASSURETY

Scores: Norm 23 (42), Diana 17 (36), me 54

**Round 8: Target 422 from 75 100 3 2 10 1**

Diana is behind but within striking distance. She can't afford to concede points but would really like to gain some. In such circumstances (and indeed in most) one should probably go with the mix that works best for you, and she persists with the family option. The standard method looks to be worth a go again, with the target just 3 away from 425. Since the 1 is present there are tweaking options which allow the 3 to be used for multiplication, and I quickly found 422 = 3*(75 - 1) + 2*100.

Both contestants have declared 420, and in fact the same way: 420 = (3 + 1)*100 + 2*10. Lily has found a tweakless way to get the standard method to work: 422 = (10/2)*100 - 75 - 3.

Norm: 420

Diana: 420

Me: 422

Lily: 422

Scores: Norm 23 (49), Diana 17 (43), me 64

**Round 9: MILL ABACK**

Down to the conundrum, and either could win. I found it very difficult to get started on this, with nothing coalescing out of the mix. Norm gets it at the 11 second mark to solve his fifth conundrum in five games -- a very impressive record! I found the solution three seconds later, after finally thinking of the right fragment for the start.

Norm: BLACKMAIL (11s)

Diana: [no answer]

Me: BLACKMAIL (14s)

Final scores: Norm 33 (49), Diana 17 (43), me 64

Some good words from both players tonight -- I particularly liked CAUDAL -- with each getting the longest possible in one round. The numbers were where this game could have been won by either, with the first and third numbers rounds offering definite room for outdoing the other player. A tight game, but Norm's excellent conundrum solving skills see him home. He must make the finals at this point, and his five-game tally is 307; that stands him in quite good stead to end up being the number one seed, in fact. Can he successfully retire tomorrow? We'll find out!

## 7 comments:

I don't remember any contestant getting their first five conundrums before, Norm is doing great on them. Diana was stiff opposition.

Very good number work, Geoff, you thumped me almost as badly as you did on Monday. I started the same way as the contestants in Round 3, then got stuck trying for 8*122. I was also a little too slow to see Lily's method to 422 in Round 8. My answers:

VIOLENT

ACTUAL

983 = (25+7-1)*4*8-9

CROWNER

POINTED

603 = (10-4)*100+3

SATIRES

421 = (2*75-10)*3+1

25s

I thought you might have mentioned Lily's examples of mathematical royalty, Geoff. I was surprised that she included Einstein.

1. HOTLINE

2. CLAIM (I thought MATILDA was unlikely to be valid)

3. -

4. CROWN (I thought CROWNER was unlikely to be valid)

5. DOTING

6. 603 = (50 + 10)*10 + 3

7. SURETY

8. 420 = 100*(3 + 1) + 2*10

9. Got it well before Norm; I'd estimate a time of 5 seconds.

MACULA is another nice 6 in round 2.

Thanks, Sam. I admit to being very surprised about that -- I think anyone who has watched you knows that your number work is superb. 8*122 is so tempting on that first one! It's a mini-trap that it does not work; kind of like LOTHARIO from before...

Mark: I admit that I'd not class Einstein as a mathematician as such. I was more put out by her pronunciation of Euler, though. And the omission of Gauss. But it was a subjective list, after all, and there's not much point arguing over those.

Also, this looks like your best night yet -- well done! By my reckoning you would have beaten Diana 51 to 48, and only just gone down to Norm 46 to 49. Nice work!

And particularly so since you saw two of the longer words and just were not sure about them. Seeing them is usually the harder part -- great vision on your part for MATILDA in particular.

And I agree, anonymous commentator: MACULA is a nice word.

Thanks Geoff. I think the main reason I did better was that the numbers were a bit easier in this game.

I'm impressed that this page comes up third in a google search for

"Diana Greenslade". Not that I ever do that, of course. Anyway, nice commentary! I am certainly not ashamed about losing to such good opposition.

On another note, since you seem to be pretty in tune with what's going on (used to go on) with L+N,do you happen to know what happened to series 5 finals? Did they just decide not to do any? I was looking forward to seeing Norm romp it home, thus allowing me to feel even less bad about not winning.

G'day, Diana, and nice to hear from you. As I understand it, the last episode produced of series five was episode 443. The next day and a half of filming was the Masters Series, and there have been no further episodes filmed since then.

Obviously I hope that they will "unrest" the show, in which case we can hope to see a completion of series five. If you have not done so already, I encourage you to go and vote and/or comment at http://lanfans.org/

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