Friday, 13 April 2012

Ep 425: Jane Taylor, Bonnie McAllister (April 13, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

There's more talk about Jane's around-Australia caravan trip tonight; it seems that things did not always go smoothly.  Jane explains that despite it being a fairly new caravan the fridge didn't work, they lost their auto electrics at one stage, and the air conditioner rattled loose around Kakadu and sheared its attachements.

But probably the worst thing was losing a wheel off the caravan as they got to Wyndham, at the upper north of Western Australia.  That's obviously not a good thing to happen, but fortunately it did so while the were going at quite low speed into a caravan park.  That was on a Saturday afternoon; they managed to locate the part in Melbourne on Monday morning and (via Australia Post) received it in Kununurra by Wednesday afternoon.

Tonight's challenger is public servant Bonnie McAllister.  Bonnie was in a beer ad once, which required her to run nude down Lydiard Street (in Ballarat).  It was apparently a cold day, and all she (and others, apparently) had were a flesh-coloured G string and socks and shoes.  She found it exhilarating, which surprises Richard, but it fits in somewhat with her personal motto of "Challenge accepted".

(That beer ad is almost certainly the 2009 VB commercial that won a Gold Lion award at the 2010 International Advertising Festival in Cannes.  It's not a bad ad.)

Jane was in fantastic form tonight on the letters, starting off with a trio of excellent eights and only dropping a single letter behind optimal on them.  She had a decent set on the numbers also, and solved the conundrum a little before the halfway point.  Bonnie essentially matched Jane on the numbers but her consistent six-letter words were not enough and Jane finished a comprehensive 64 to 23 victor.

I was somewhat off form tonight; this showed up most clearly in the second numbers round where I missed a solution that I would have seen on a better day, but also in two of the letters rounds where I found eights easily afterwards but was stuck at seven during time.  I went into the conundrum behind Jane, and perhaps feeling a bit fortunate to still be in contention, and was glad to solve it ahead of her and sneak home by four points.  A wobbly game from me, but mostly a great game from Jane.

Round 1: R S N L M U E A G

I had hoped that Jane would call a final vowel, as I wanted an I for SEMILUNAR.  (As it turns out, the only other potential nine is MENSTRUAL, and the I must be better odds than a T.)  I had RUNES, LEARNS, MANGLES, wondered about MANGLERS (later checking shows that it is all right), but made the question redundant with MENSURAL / NUMERALS.

NUMERALS was the eight that I might have seen in my first game, had I not misheard a letter.  In fact, if the vowel had been chosen tonight it would have been an E to duplicate that mix exactly.

Bonnie has chosen MANGER for six, but Jane has also found NUMERALS.  David points out that Bonnie could have pluralised MANGER to get a seven, although fortunately it made no difference here.  David's eight is GRANULES.

That's all the eights mentioned; there are many sevens, so I'll just note a few common ones: ANGLERS, MAULERS, and MANURES / SURNAME.

Bonnie: MANGER

Scores: Jane 8, Bonnie 0, me 8

Round 2: H E S O D T A C P

Unfortunately, I froze up on this round.  I had SHOE, SHOED, and PATCHES.  There were a heap of other sevens to be had (PATCHED, COASTED, POACHES, and POACHED being obvious ones), but I could not find longer -- I kept hitting my head against HEADPOST.  After time I saw CATHODES pretty quickly, and then DESPATCH (variant spelling of DISPATCH) and POTHEADS, which is what I had been trying to find all along.

Bonnie has six again with CHASTE (or maybe CHASED -- we don't find out which), but Jane has done well to find DESPATCH; David has selected CATHODES for his eight.

That's all the eights listed; once again, there are lots of sevens.  A pair which turns up on occasion is TOECAPS / CAPOTES (CAPOTE: "a long cloak with a hood").

Bonnie: CHASTE

Scores: Jane 16, Bonnie 0, me 8

Round 3: Target 378 from 50 5 7 6 10 5

The obvious first approach is via 7*50, and the difference is 28 which is also divisible by 4.  In short order I had 378 = 7*(50 + 10 - 6).  The target is very near a multiple of 25, so I had briefly considered dividing the 50 by 2 in order to try to get to 375 but put that aside since a 2 was not already there.  After time I revisited the idea and found the solution 378 = ((5 + 10)*50 + 6) / (7 - 5).

Jane is three away with 375 (which I admit was a relief to me); I'm going to guess that it was 7*50 + 5*5, but there are a few ways.  Bonnie is one closer, however, with 376 = 50*7 + 10 + 5 + 5 + 6.  I had not really considered starting with just 7*50, but when I see it go up another solution occurs to me: 378 = 7*50 + 5*6 - 10/5.

Lily has found another way there, although she had not finished unravelling it in her head.  It looks shaky for a moment but she brings it triumphantly home: 378 = (50 + 10)*6 + 5*5 - 7.

From a couple of those solutions I have just realised that the target is 6*7*9.  With the 6 and 7 already present the issue is just that of getting a 9, and that is easy enough.  So add 378 = 6*7*(10 - 5/5) and 378 = 6*7*(50 - 5)/5 to the list of solutions.

Jane: 375
Bonnie: 376
Me: 378
Lily: 378

Scores: Jane 16, Bonnie 0 (7), me 18

First break: FRY DRAMA ("Where did Old MacDonald spend his time?")

In the FARMYARD, of course.  Perhaps counting all those animals...

David's talk is about the word punch.

Round 4: S I R N U C E D F

I had RUINS, CRUISE, and CRUISED.  Many other sevens, but I could not see an eight.  After time I wrote some of them down: FRIENDS / FINDERS, DISCERN / CINDERS / RESCIND, FUNDIES (fund managers), and INSURED.  I briefly wondered about FUNRIDES (invalid), but not seriously.

Bonnie has FRIEND for six, once more overlooking the possibility of pluralising it.  And once more it does not matter as Jane has an eight.  I spent several more minutes trying to find it, but I could not.  Her answer was INDUCERS which is a great spot, and the only eight to be had.  Well done, Jane!

Once again there are many sevens, and some of the remaining common ones are REFUNDS, REDFINS (REDFIN being a fish), INFUSED, UNFIRED, INDUCES, and INDUCER.

Bonnie: FRIEND

Scores: Jane 24, Bonnie 0 (7), me 18

Round 5: T D M K B A E I T

Nothing very promising about these letters; I had TAMED / MATED, BAITED, and BATTED.  After time I added DIKTAT ("a harsh settlement imposed on a defeated group") as a more exotic six.

Both contestants have sixes also, Bonnie with MATTED and Jane with BATTED.  David had hoped that BATIKED would be valid, but BATIK is not listed as a verb and six was the best he could do.

Six is the limit, and in contrast to the previous rounds there's fairly few of them.  The others are KITTED, BITTED (BIT: "to put a bit in the mouth of", such as one might do to a horse), and BATTIK, a variant spelling of BATIK ("a method of printing cloth by applying wax to the fabric in a desired pattern, thus sealing it off from the dye").

Bonnie: MATTED

Scores: Jane 30, Bonnie 6 (13), me 24

Round 6: Target 763 from 50 100 8 7 7 3

Ah, dear, I made a mess of this round.  In the end I had to use the fallback one-away of 764 = 8*100 - 50 + 7 + 7.  I had noticed the factor of 7 so that 7*109 = 763, but a 9 was not easy to come by.  I spent far too much time trying to repeat similar tricks to the (50 + 4)/9 from yesterday but without success.  A moment's pause -- as happened when time ran out -- and I realised that the second 7 added a lot more flexibility in this instance, and found 763 = 7*(100 + 8) + 7.  Curses.

Just now I have seen that I did not pay enough attention to my fallback, either.  Trying to work my way up from 700 instead might have prompted me to find the right tweak to get that offset of 13: 763 = 7*(100 + 3) + 50 - 8.  Or the untweaked version 763 = 7*100 + 50 + 7*3 - 8.  I'm very disappointed with myself for missing all of these options.

Bonnie is four away with 759 -- I'm going out on a limb to guess this was 7*100 + 7*8 + 3 -- but Jane is one away with 762 = 7*100 + 50 + 8 + 7 - 3.

Lily has found a more complicated way than mine to use those two sevens and the factor of it, but I think this was her having fun with using up all the numbers.  Her solution is 763 = (100 + 50/(8 - 3))*7 - 7.

So I've missed a chance to get back in the lead, and six points adrift is not a place I want to be.

Jane: 762
Bonnie: 759
Me: 764
Lily: 763

Scores: Jane 37, Bonnie 6 (13), me 31

Second break: HIGH SOUL ("Creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky")

As Richard points out after the break, the clue is referring to the lyrics from The Addams Family, which he classes as GHOULISH.

Round 7: R F S N T O E A R

I had FRONTS, FOREST, ATONERS / SENATOR / TREASON, RAFTERS, and wondered about FORTEANS.  I figured that if the latter were even valid it would require capitalisation, so had to stay with seven.  After time I added SNORTER, then looked back over my list at FRONTS and immediately saw SEAFRONT.  Another careless miss.

For the fifth time Bonnie has a six, although she is not sure if her choice of STONER will be allowed.  I don't know if this is because she thought it would not be listed (it is) or whether the show would prefer not to have drug references.  In any case, it would have been allowed, but Jane has found TREASON for seven and is guaranteed the win at this point.

David has found TRANSFER for his eight.  There is one other, and I'm a bit disappointed as it is one of those pet words I had noted back before going on the show -- not so much because it was likely to turn up, but because it had turned up while I was practicing and seemed like an interesting word.  It is ANTRORSE: "Botany, Zoology bent or directed forwards or upwards".  (The corresponding "turned backwards" word is RETRORSE.)

Again, a fair few sevens that I will not list.

Bonnie: STONER

Scores: Jane 44, Bonnie 6 (13), me 38

Round 8: Target 613 from 50 25 7 6 7 5

With the misses so far I am in a fairly shaky position.  I ideally wanted to outpoint Jane so that I could be ahead going into the conundrum, and I certainly could not afford to drop points.  But whatever happens I won't be safe before it, and that always makes me nervous.

And oh, dear, I overcomplicated this.  The target is 12 or 13 away from a multiple of 25, and the 12 seemed more useful since 50*12 is 600.  A little tweaking saw me home, with 613 = (7 + 5)*(50 - (7 - 6)) + 25.

For a brief moment I thought that this might elude Jane and stand me in good stead, but then I noticed that she had put her pen down early.  I was right that she had not seen that approach, because what I then saw, and everyone else used, was 613 = (7 + 5)*50 + 7 + 6.  Whoops!

Jane: 613
Bonnie: 613
Me: 613
Lily: 613

Scores: Jane 54, Bonnie 16 (23), me 48


I need to solve this first to win.  The Y is likely to go at the end, but there's no -ITY and the -ARY option does not look promising.  Falling back to -LY -- which should have been the first thing I tried, really -- I found the solution, eight seconds in.  And just as well, since Jane finds it a mere five seconds later.

Jane: GENERALLY (13s)
Bonnie: [no answer]

Final scores: Jane 54 (64), Bonnie 16 (23), me 58

A great game from Jane tonight, and I'd rate it as better than Ben's recent excellent performance in episode 420.  Three excellent eights to start off, and she could only have done better on the letters by finding SEAFRONT, TRANSFER, or ANTRORSE.  She was always close on the numbers, and solved the conundrum also.  Bonnie's numberwork was of similar standard, but tonight six-letter words just were not good enough.  Missing the plurals turned out not to cost her, but it is something that every contestant should keep an eye out for when there is an S in the mix.

I'm relieved to have still won this game, and I feel a bit lucky in that regard.  I should definitely have done better on round six, but the eights in rounds two and seven were also quite findable.  On the other hand, INDUCERS from Jane in round four was just too good for me.  Can Jane keep up this standard next week?  If so, we're in for some interesting games!


Mark said...

Well done, Geoff. It was a mediocre game for me.

378 = (50+10-6)*7
762 = 7*(100+7+3) - 8
613 = 50*(7+5) + 7 + 6

Geoff Bailey said...

Mind you, Mark, it was good numbers work from you on this game. I'm a little amused that you also found LEARNS in the first round -- shades of the previous game? :)

Mark said...

Shades of the previous game or not, it was disappointing to have missed NUMERALS, because I'm pretty sure I got it in your first game.

Sam Gaffney said...

Jane put in one of the best word performances I've ever seen on L&N, and I don't mean that as hyperbole. Both contestants were vowelophobes, it was like two Geoffs playing.

Good work on the numbers tonight, Mark, even if it wasn't your night on the letters.

Round 7 was a funny mix for me, as only last night my brother had told me an anecdote about having to find words in primary school with the letters in RAINFOREST (I found SERRATION, and there is another findable nine for the keen). If a tenth letter had come up, and it had been an I, I would have nailed this round.

My answers:

378 = 7*(50 + 10 - 6)
763 = (100+8)*7+7
613 = (7+5)*50 + 6 + 7
too slow (~34s)

Geoff Bailey said...

*chuckles* With no duplication of the vowels, sticking with three was mostly right.

I'd noted the almost-RAINFOREST! And the other nine you are referring to... not that it was useful. Oh, well.