Sunday, 1 April 2012

Ep 415: Louise Broadbent, Craig Hill (March 30, 2012)

Louise is trying to reduce her carbon footprint.  She says that there is so much waste and that people should do a lot more recycling and reuse what they can.  She makes specific mention of there being too many cleaning products, and that a different product is not necessary for each task.  I'm happy to believe this, but using one product twice as much would seem to have essentially the same impact as using two separate products, so I'm not entirely following the reasoning here.

Challenging Louise is systems engineer Craig Hill.  He has taken flying lessons... or at least, a flying lesson.  Craig says that it unfortunately was too expensive to continue right now, but it was a great experience.  Under an instructor's guidance he did the take-off, landing, and the flying in-between; that seems impressive for a first lesson!  It was great fun, and he'd love to do it again one day.

The game twists each way; Craig wins two early letters rounds to get a potentially winning lead, but then Louise wins the last two to level the scores again.  The first two numbers rounds fail to distinguish the contestants, and although Craig gets ahead in the last numbers round it comes down to the conundrum.  Louise buzzes in with an incorrect answer, and that gives the game to Craig, 45 to 38.

I started out decently, but then had some oversights after the first third, culminating in mental shutdown on the final numbers round.  The conundrum proved too difficult for me again, and the game fizzled out in disappointment although I had done enough to win.

Round 1: R U H E I D S E M

I had HEIR, HIRED, DESIRE, DEMURE, and MUSHIER.  I kept coming back to the invalid DEMURES, but some did not see the valid anagram RESUMED.

It's fives from the contestants, with Craig having HIRED and Louise choosing HERDS.  David checks on the spelling of HERDS, noting that from the sound alone Louise may have meant HIRDS or HURDS, "neither of which exist".  I would have thought so also, but it turns out that HURDS does have an entry as a variant spelling for HARDS: "the refuse or coarser parts of flax or hemp, separated in hackling".  A surprising find!

David has found RESIDUE and MUSHIER, mentioning author Salman RUSHDIE in passing.  The other sevens are USHERED, UREIDES (members of a particular class of organic compounds), and REMISED (REMISE being a legal term meaning "to give up a claim to; surrender by deed").

Louise: HERDS
Craig: HIRED

Scores: Louise 0 (5), Craig 0 (5), me 7

Round 2: D S I A B I U L E

It takes five vowels, but Craig finally gets the E that he wanted.  I had SAID / DAIS, BIAS, BUILDS, DISABLE, AUDIBLE, and wondered about AUDIBLES (AUDIBLE is only listed as an adjective, so this is not valid) / SUBIDEAL.  That last might be a term in mathematics, but it's not listed in the Macquarie, and I correctly assumed as such.  In fact, this mix is very similar to one from yesterday, so maybe I was recollecting invalid words from there.  After time I added LIAISED and AUDILES.

Louise has found BIASED, but Craig has gone one better with AUDIBLE.  David pretends not to have heard it, and has DISABLE for his seven.

Seven looks like the best; the others are DAILIES / SEDILIA (plural of SEDILE: "one of the seats (usually three) on the south side of the chancel in Gothic-style churches, often recessed, for the use of the officiating clergy"), BALDIES, and BAILIES (plural of BAILIE: "a Scottish municipal officer or magistrate").

Louise: BIASED

Scores: Louise 0 (5), Craig 7 (12), me 14

Round 3: Target 348 from 100 25 8 10 7 9

The standard approach suggests getting to 350 and subtracting 2.  To get to 350 (an odd multiple of 50) we will need to multiply 25 by an even number that is not divisible by 4 (otherwise we'd have a multiple of 100 instead).  Only 10 fits the bill, and the rest is easy: 348 = 25*10 + 100 - (9 - 7).

Both contestants have found this solution, but Lily has used the 10 to good effect for the simpler 348 = (25 + 9)*10 + 8.  Nice one!

Louise: 348
Craig: 348
Me: 348
Lily: 348

Scores: Louise 10 (15), Craig 17 (22), me 24

First break: COIN SIDE ("a result of deliberation")

When the words were read out I thought that it was COINCIDE for a moment, but it was not too hard to find DECISION once that misapprehension was corrected.

David's talk was about margarine.

Round 4: C N A U D A R S O

I'd have loved one of those last two vowels to be an E for DURANCES.  No such luck, though, and I had RAND, ROADS, and ADORNS.  After time I saw ROUNDS, DACRONS (may be invalid; DACRON: "a strong synthetic polyester fibre resistant to creases"), and CANARDS.

Louise has CARDS for five, once more outdone by Craig who has found ROUNDS.  David has come through with CANDOUR and CANARDS for his sevens.  Presumably CANDOUR is regarded as unpluralisable (rightly so, I'd say), but maybe it would be paid -- it is in Scrabble word lists.  Not a risk I'd want to take, though.

No more sevens to be found; I'll note ACORNS and AROUND as findable sixes.

Craig is now thirteen points ahead; danger territory for Louise!

Louise: CARDS

Scores: Louise 10 (15), Craig 23 (28), me 30

Round 5: V E I C N E L A R

I had VICE, EVINCE, CLEANER, and CLAVIER ("any musical instrument with a keyboard, as a harpsichord, clavichord, piano, or organ").  After time I added CLEAVER and VALENCE to the list.

Craig has LANCE for five, but Louise has CLEANER for seven to get back within striking distance.  David has found ENCLAVE for seven, but then gone one better with the eight of RELIANCE.

Other sevens in this mix are RECLINE, LIVENER, VALERIC ("relating to or derived from valerian"), CARLINE (a plant, also Scottish for an old woman, or perhaps a witch), CERVINE ("deer-like"), and CAVILER (American spelling of CAVILLER, the agent noun from CAVIL: "to raise irritating and trivial objections; find fault unnecessarily").

There is one other eight; VERNICLE is listed as a synonym for the second definition of VERONICA.  That definition reads:
-phrase 2. the Veronica, a. the representation of the face of Christ which, according to a legend, was miraculously impressed on a cloth which St Veronica offered to him to wipe his brow as he carried his cross to Calvary. b. Also, sudarium. the cloth itself.  Also (for def. 2), vernicle.
I wrote a little spiel about the question of whether this definition implied that VERNICLE would similarly have to be capitalised, or if it could only appear in the phrase "the Vernicle"; then I realised that these questions were implicitly answered and also rendered irrelevant because VERNICLE is its own uncapitalised headword listing (pointing at this definition).  So it is definitely valid.

(I'll note that Chambers and online sources define VERNICLE as a generic term for a cloth printed with the face of Christ; the Macquarie does not, so presumably VERNICLES would be invalid as whichever sense is intended the vernicle is unique.)

Craig: LANCE

Scores: Louise 17 (22), Craig 23 (28), me 37

Round 6: Target 798 from 50 100 75 8 6 3

Craig tries the balanced mix, and gets another easy target -- it's just a question of how to get that final 2.  I went with 798 = 8*100 - 6/3, as did Louise.  Craig complicated it a bit more with 798 = 8*100 - 50/(75/3).

No word about Lily's approach, but it's likely she chose Louise's way.

Louise: 798
Craig: 798
Me: 798
Lily: 798

Scores: Louise 27 (32), Craig 33 (38), me 47

Second break: METAL PET ("A tardy casual worker")

A charade clue for TEMPLATE (TEMP LATE).

Round 7: S P O D E T G I N

I had PODS, DOPES, DEPOTS, wondered about SPIGOTED (correctly rejected), DEPOSIT, and then fell into the -ING hole.  I rejected DEPOSTING, but could not see longer than POSTING from the -ING.  Then time ran out, and that felt unsatisfactory.

After time I added POSTING, POINTED, DINGOES, and SPONGED.  I checked and rejected PONGIEST and PISTONED, and then finally saw DEPOSING.  Ouch; that was a bad miss, considering I had been looking quite hard at -ING words.

Craig has only managed a five from this mix: NODES.  That does feel somewhat light on what is a good set of letters, really.  Louise has DOPING for six, and that levels the scores.

David had hoped that DEPOSTING might mean "pinching mail", but it is not there.  He has correctly dropped the T to find DEPOSING for eight.

There are a fair few sevens, but the other eight here is PODGIEST.

Louise: DOPING
Craig: NODES

Scores: Louise 27 (38), Craig 33 (38), me 54

Round 8: Target 224 from 25 75 5 7 3 10

Whatever happens the conundrum will decide, but meanwhile Craig chooses the easier family mix.  It is not nearly as straightforward as it should be, with 225 = 3*75 being the obvious one-away fallback.  I then blanked completely, trying to get that remaining 1 on its own, or with some tweaking.  Time ran out with me still unsuccessful, and one away was where I had to stay.

Jarred out of my incorrect path, I looked back at it and saw an obvious factor of 8 -- the target is 28*8, in fact, and a solution followed quickly: 224 = (25 + 3)*(10 + 5 - 7).   Since 28 is divisible by 7, the alternative factorisation of 7*32 is easy to see, and that led me to 224 = 7*(25 + 10 - 3).  Almost immediately thereafter I saw -- perhaps due to the 25 + 10 in that last solution -- how to get the 1 after all, giving the solution 224 = 3*75 - (25 + 10)/(5*7).

Later still, I found the tweak that I had been looking for: 224 = 3*(75 - 7) + (25 - 5).

So many solutions, three of which were easily found as soon as I stopped my unproductive pattern of thought.  This was a bad miss on my part.

It looks like Louise does not know her 75-times table, as she declares 217, which is most likely (5 - 3)*(75 + 25) + 10 + 7.  Craig does, though, one away with 225 = 3*75 and that gives him the lead once more going into the conundrum.  If he'd found one of the sixes in the previous letters round he would have an unbeatable lead.

Richard says that Lily looks like she is still searching, and she is.  But she has just found the answer as she says that, coming up with a variant of my second solution: 224 = (25 + 7)*(10 - 3).  Richard notes that David is looking interested, and it turns out that David has found a variant of my third solution: 224 = 75*3 - ((25 + 10)/7)/5.  Bravo, David!

Lily feels obliged to respond with another solution, using the same 7*32 factorisation that she used in her previous one: 224 = (3*10 + 5 - 75/25)*7.

For statistics, I'm counting this as Lily solving it within time.  I'm not completely happy about that, since she clearly indicated that she had only just solved it when she was asked (very much after time expired), but it seems comparable to those other times when she has said that she thinks she has a solution and it turns out that she does.

Louise: 217
Craig: 225
Me: 225
Lily: 224

Scores: Louise 27 (38), Craig 40 (45), me 61


Lots of common letters again.  Early on I saw CARRIONED but correctly thought it would not be valid.  I played with -ED, -ANCE, CON-, and perhaps other fragments, but did not solve it.  Louise buzzed in at the eight second mark with the incorrect guess of ACCORDION (she gives an exclamation of surprise when she is told that it is not correct), handing Craig the win.  I think I very briefly considered that at some point.  Craig was not able to solve the conundrum within time, but the lead gained in the last numbers round sees him home.

I started the backup clock when Louise buzzed in, and my overall time was just under a minute and a half to find CORIANDER.  A tough one with only the -ER fragment of much use.

Louise: [invalid] (8s)
Craig: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Louise 27 (38), Craig 40 (45), me 61

A good close game tonight, with equal blows being traded in the letters rounds.  Both had chances to take this; if Louise had reached the very findable 225 in round eight then the scores would have been tied at the conundrum so one of them would have had to solve it.  On the other hand, if Craig had found one of the many sixes (or better) in round seven then he would have been safe going into the conundrum.  This could have easily gone either way, but in the end Craig did enough to take the win.

A couple of poor misses for me tonight, with DEPOSING and 224.  The week petered off somewhat after a good start.  Still, there's always next week!


Mark said...

3. 351 = (10-7)*(100 + 25 - 8)
6. 798 = 8*100 - 6/3
8. 225 = 3*75
9. -

I really should have done better in Round 3.

Geoff Bailey said...

Round three was a tough one, and I see that I did not really convey this in my post -- apologies! The lack of any truly small numbers makes manoeuvring quite difficult, and unless one hits a profitable approach even just getting near can be quite the challenge.

Sam Gaffney said...

Hi Mark, you might have already realised this, but if you had used the 9 in place of your 8 in Round 3, it would have been a very good solution. I struggled until just after time on that one.

I did answer CANDOURS, I wish there was some way of getting a definitive answer on whether plurals like these are acceptable. If you check the shifted endings of CANDOUR's listed synonyms, the Macquarie lists SINCERITIES but not HONESTIES or PURITIES. I'm not sure if I can remember a noun with no spelling shift being rejected on L&N that had an S on its end, but that is not to say there haven't been, or won't be. Not that many words without a spelling shift have their plural listed (SHEEP is one that does, you can't have SHEEPS).

This was part of the reason that in Round 7 of my quarter-final against Sebastian, I didn't pick any more consonants after TINWARE came up - I was worried that an S would come up, and I could make a mistake on TINWARES. Funnily enough, I had asked David about that very word before that episode, it did seem like it would be a tough one to rule on.

My answers:

350 = 7*(10+8)/9*25
798 = 8*100 - 6/3
224 = (25+10-3)*7

Mark said...

No apology necessary, Geoff. My comment that I should have done better on that round was because the solution seems so simple after having seen it. I feel a bit better seeing that Sam didn't get it either, although he was closer than I was.

Sam, no I hadn't realised that, so thanks for pointing it out. I did look to make 16 from 25, 8 and 9, but failed to do so because of the time pressure. Looking at it now, it's hard to believe I missed it.

Sam, nice work on getting the Conundrum - I thought it was a really difficult one. My gut feeling, not that it counts for anything, is that CANDOURS should be invalid.

Geoff Bailey said...

It looks like MUSHIER and DEPOSIT were our common words. And wow, subtracting 9 instead of 8 -- I completely missed that also. *forehead slap*

Thanks for the insight into your selection strategy on TINWARE, Sam. Although by that point the U had already come up, so an S would have allowed URINATES (or TAURINES) for a different valid eight. On the other hand, you might then have incorrectly tried UNWARIEST, so best avoided after all.