Friday, 30 March 2012

Ep 413: Margaret Zimmer, Vishal Gandhi (March 28, 2012)

Margaret likes train travel, but somewhat longer than normal commuting journeys.  She recently took the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin with a friend.  They had a fantastic time; it took two and a half days to make the trip, and since they were in economy class the cabin was just big enough for them to put the bunks down in order to sleep at night.  Margaret calls it an "interesting time", adding that it was really great and they met lots of interesting people.

Tonight's challenger is civil engineer Vishal Gandhi.  Apparently he has quite a good memory; at work there are monthly meetings, and he is able to recall the contents of them from a couple of years back.  That could be very helpful on occasion, for sure.

Margaret got off to an early lead, and kept extending it in the ensuing rounds.  Vishal scored only twice overall, once with a just-barely-in-range answer in the last numbers round, and even though the conundrum proved to be too difficult for them both Margaret cruised to a 37 to 10 victory.

I had another pretty good game, including finding a full monty at last.  The rounds I missed were difficult finds, and although I also missed the conundrum that full monty kept me happy.  Another comfortable win, and a pretty decent week so far.

Round 1: D O C E R A M D E

I had CODE, DECOR, CAROMED, and CREAMED.  After time I added COMRADE to the list.

Vishal had DECOR for five, but Margaret has found DREAMED for seven.  David checks up on DREAMED to be sure that it is listed as well as DREAMT, and it is.  David has found COMRADE and DECODER.

The other sevens are AMERCED (AMERCE: "to punish by inflicting a discretionary penalty of any kind") and COMADRE (variant spelling of KUMARE, from Philippine English: "a woman who is a co-godmother, with another, of a child").

Margaret: DREAMED
Vishal: DECOR

Scores: Margaret 7, Vishal 0, me 7

Round 2: S N I B O I T M A

I had BINS and BISON, then was floundering for a bit until the final A turned into the magic of AMBITIONS.  It is almost there backwards, and I've finally found a full monty this series.  After time I noted OBTAINS and (incorrectly!) BOTANISM -- just as well that the nine was there, or I might have declared an invalid word.  Although I like to think that I would have caught myself on that one.

Both contestants have fives; Margaret has learned from yesterday's episode and chosen STOMA, while Vishal has chosen MOIST.  David has found AMBITIONS, his second full monty for the week.

There are no eights; other valid sevens are INTOMBS (variant spelling of ENTOMBS), BASTION, BIOTINS (BIOTIN being part of the vitamin B complex), and ANIMIST.

[Update: Of course, I mean no eights aside from AMBITION.  Thanks to Sam for the nudge in the comments.]

Margaret: STOMA
Vishal: MOIST
Scores: Margaret 7 (12), Vishal 0 (5), me 25

Round 3: Target 461 from 100 50 25 2 5 10

Margaret chooses three of each, and those small numbers are very unhelpful -- with so many common factors, it is going to be hard to make adjustments.  One away is pretty easy, and I wrote down the fallback 460 = 5*100 - 50 + 10.  And there was where it had to stay.

I spent a good deal of time trying this one, since it looked tantalisingly close at points.  After several minutes I resorted to a technique which can help when there are lots of common factors -- multiply by the smallest one, then try and make the new target with the rest.  This can be much easier because the new target is a multiple of the common factor of everything.

In this case, multiplying by 5 produced 2305, and once I saw that 23 was easily manageable the solution fell out at last: 461 = ((25 - 2)*100 + 50/10) / 5.  I was pretty pleased about finding that!

There's a minor variation through swapping the 5 and the 50/10, but that is otherwise the only solution.  A tough one!

Vishal has 465 -- this could be 5*100 - 25 - 10, but he'd still have a 2 to subtract if so -- but Margaret has the same 460 that I had.  Lily was unsurprisingly stumped, and the break was not enough thinking time for her to find the solution.

Margaret: 460
Vishal: 465
Me: 460

Scores: Margaret 14 (19), Vishal 0 (5), me 32

First break: SONIC FAT ("Small numbers within a larger number")

A neat clue for FACTIONS.

David picks up after yesterday's talk of the Hawthorne effect to talk about some other effects: Sound effect, domino effect, bandwagon effect, butterfly effect, lipstick effect, and the cocktail party effect.

Round 4: L C S U N E H D E


Margaret has HEEDS for five, while Vishal has LEANED for six.  That uses an A that is not available, and his answer is invalid.  David saw LUNCHES, but did manage to go one better with the eight of SCHEDULE.

A good find from David, and I'm not that vexed at missing it -- it was a tough find.  The other seven is SECLUDE, but there is one other eight: ELENCHUS ("a logical refutation; an argument which refutes another argument by proving the contrary of its conclusion").

Margaret: HEEDS
Vishal: [invalid]

Scores: Margaret 14 (24), Vishal 0 (5), me 39

Round 5: T I N O W A T H E

A very troublesome set; it looks like it should be a bit more fruitful than it is.  I had TOWN and NOTATE.  After time I amused myself and wrote down WHITE ANT, which turns out to be listed as either two words or a single hyphenated one, but not a single word (conforming to expectations).

Margaret does not seem keen on her six of WHITEN, but it outdoes Vishal's four of... well, my hearing isn't the best, but it sounded like AIN'T to me.  If so, it would have been invalid -- the Macquarie only lists it with an apostrophe.  David has dug deep and somehow found WHATNOT for seven; he notes that it is not just "a thingummyjig", but also a stand of shelves.  A great find from David!

That looks like the only seven; chemists might find THIONATE for eight, but it is not listed in the Macquarie (nor my Chambers).  The other sixes are TONITE (an explosive, rather than poor spelling of TONIGHT), TOWNIE, HOTTIE, and WAHINE (from New Zealand: "a Maori woman, especially a wife or girlfriend").

Margaret: WHITEN
Vishal: [invalid]

Scores: Margaret 20 (30), Vishal 0 (5), me 45

Round 6: Target 657 from 25 50 5 8 10 8

I considered the standard method here, and decided that 18 away from 675 was easier than 7 away from 650.  The numbers fell nicely for that, and I soon had 657 = (5 + 8)*50 + 25 - 10 - 8.  This was also Lily's solution.

Vishal was not able to get within range, and Margaret did not manage to finish her calculations, so neither scores this round.  I hope this was a case of them trying too hard to get exactly right, since 658 = (8 + 5)*50 + 8 should be relatively easy to see if one is prepared to simply get close.

Margaret: [not in range]
Vishal: [not in range]
Me: 657
Lily: 657

Scores: Margaret 20 (30), Vishal 0 (5), me 55

Second break: CORNY AIM ("All the rage")

A nice misdirect in that clue; the answer is ACRIMONY.

Round 7: L A S U D I U C E

I had LAUDS / DUALS, USUAL, CLADES / DECALS, and SLUICED.  After time I pondered DUALISE but was pretty sure I'd checked on it before and that it was not valid.  Checking again confirmed this belief.

Vishal tried LICES for five -- SLICE would have been a much safer option -- and it is not valid, of course.  It made no difference as Margaret did well to find SLUICED; she thought it was risky, but it was perfectly fine.  SLUICED was also the best that David could do, although he notes that if the last vowel had been another I then it could have given "I, CLAUDIUS".

The other sevens are ACULEUS ("a prickle or thorn, especially one growing from the stem of a rose tree"), AUDILES (I mentioned this in episode 379), and CAUDLES (CAUDLE listed as obsolete, meaning "a warm drink for the sick, as of wine or ale mixed with eggs, bread, sugar, spices, etc.").

At this point Margaret has won, but Vishal can still hope to increase his score.

Margaret: SLUICED
Vishal: [invalid]

Scores: Margaret 27 (37), Vishal 0 (5), me 62

Round 8: Target 951 from 100 25 4 9 9 4

A large target and nasty duplication in the small numbers make this very challenging.  I fiddled around a bit and ended up one away with 952 = 9*(100 + 9) - 25 - 4.  It turns out that the target is impossible and one away is the best one can do.  That said, if I'd had the tiles to manipulate I could have "solved" it by turning one of the nines upside-down: 951 = (100 - 25)*(9 + 4) - 4*6.

Vishal is just barely in range with 941, which turns out to be better than Margaret who has only managed 940.  I'm not sure how that 940 was gained, but I'm willing to bet it could have been improved with the numbers left over.  In any case, Vishal's solution is 941 = 100*9 + 4*4 + 25; note that he could have simply added the remaining 9 to get only one away, and the best possible.  That cost him two points.

Lily was able to get to 950 -- presumably with the modified version of Vishal's answer, but for fun I'll note that 950 = (100/4)*(25 + 9 + 4).  This is the best possible, but it's been a tough day for the numbers.

Margaret: [not in range]
Vishal: 941
Me: 952
Lily: 950

Scores: Margaret 27 (37), Vishal 0 (10), me 69


I could not get anywhere with this conundrum; the C and K seemed like they should go together, but then so did the C and H.  I failed to properly resolve the difficulty until some minutes had passed.  Neither contestant could solve it either, and I do feel that ARTICHOKE is a hard conundrum to solve.

Margaret: [no answer]
Vishal: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Margaret 27 (37), Vishal 0 (10), me 69

Vishal only had valid answers in four of the rounds (assuming that I am correct about round five -- five rounds, otherwise) which was always going to make winning difficult.  Margaret had some good finds tonight but did leave opportunities to catch her.  Will her form be sufficient to get her through tomorrow?  We'll have to wait and see..

The best results I missed were all quite hard finds: 461, SCHEDULE, WHATNOT, and ARTICHOKE.  Obviously I'd prefer to have seen them, but I don't feel bad about missing them.  Plus I finally have a full monty for the series, so that makes me happy.  A good week so far, and I hope I can keep it up tomorrow.


Sam Gaffney said...

There is an eight in Round 2, see if you can find it...

Sam Gaffney said...

I got the full monty quite quickly, I think that having it almost spelt backwards made it easier. The -ION suffix also helped.

I made a mistake writing down my safety answer in Round 6, which I didn't check, because I almost had 657 solved. Just after time: 657 = (50/10*25+8)*5-8. There are a surprising number of possible approaches to solve this one successfully.

My answers:

460 = 5*100-50+10
invalid, wrote: (50+25+5)*8=10+8=658
952 = (100+9)*9-25-4

Anonymous said...

Well done Geoff and Sam, and nice first comment from Sam!

3. 460 = 5*(100-10+2)
6. 658 = 50*(5+8) + 8
7. SLICED (I didn't know "sluice" could be a verb)
8. 950 = 9*100 + 25 + 4*4 + 9
9. -

Because I watch on TV, I can't keep working on the Conundrum after time ends, but I suspect it would have been a very long time before I got this one.

Mark said...

Sorry, the above "Anonymous" was me.

Geoff Bailey said...

Another good game from you, Mark -- you'd have crushed both contestants!

And an excellent game from you, Sam; finding SCHEDULE was very impressive! A shame about the numbers round, but solving that difficult conundrum gave you a comfortable win over me.

And heh, yes, I have found that eight after all. Post updated to reflect that, and thank you for the correction. *chuckles*

David_Brewster said...

3. 460 = (5*100)-50+10
6. 657 = (8+5)*50 + (25-10-8)
8. 952 = (100+9)*9 - 25 - 4