Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Ep 427: Steve Hibbert, Carey McManus (April 17, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

Yesterday it was mentioned  that Steve is into plane spotting.  Richard asks him how he got into that; Steve responds that back in England he used to live near an airfield.  So he and others went and spent their weekends at the airport and collect registrations on the planes.  Steve is particularly fond of the Tiger Moth and would love to take a joy flight in one of those.

Taking up the challenge tonight is Carey McManus, a building design student.  Richard asks why Carey thinks architecture is important; Carey replies that he thinks it affects us so much -- the way light comes into buildings, the way we use spaces... it's very important in our daily lives.  He would like to start off with residential work because you get a bit more control over the project, but a lot of the most interesting stuff tends to be done in the public sphere.  So he'd love to do things like Federation Square in Melbourne, for instance.

It's another close game, with the lead changing a few times.  Honours are pretty evenly split in both facets, but Carey's risky play in the final letters round pays off; that gives him a lead that he carries into the conundrum, and with it proving too tough for both contestants he has the win, 41 to 35.

I started off well, but feeling the pressure to repeat last night's optimal result.  Then I found a better answer shortly after time in round 4 and knew that it was no longer possible, which was both disappointing and a relief.  The round after that was also challenging, but I was still scoring strongly until the conundrum.  I was probably the most lost on this conundrum that I have ever been, eventually giving up after seven fruitless minutes of searching.  It was findable, but my mind was not in the right place to see it.  Still, a good game overall, and a good start to the week so far.

Round 1: B D S T U A L E N

I had BUST, DAUBS, BLASTED, UNSTABLE, and BLANDEST.  I amused myself by pondering UNBLASTED and UNSTABLED (wild horses, perhaps?), but not seriously.

Carey has chosen BASTED for six, but Steve has inserted the L to get BLASTED and seven points.  David has opted for BLANDEST for his eight.

The other eights are UNSALTED, SUBLATED (as mentioned recently in episode 414), and ABLUENTS (ABLUENT: "a cleansing agent; a detergent").  There's a goodly many sevens that I will not list here.


Scores: Steve 0 (7), Carey 0, me 8

Round 2: V C A R I A M S O

I had VICAR, CAVIAR, CAVIARS, VICARS, and SCORIA ("the refuse, dross, or slag left after smelting or melting metals").  I was not completely certain that CAVIARS would be valid -- in the same way that I might worry about "beefs" (if not for other meanings of "beef" that make it clearly fine) -- but was confident enough in there being different types of caviar to chance it.

Steve has SCAR for four, and Carey gets some ground back with ROAMS for five.  David has found VICAR, CAVIAR, VICARS, CAVIARS (phew), and then the lovely SAMOVAR ("a metal urn [...] used in Russia and elsewhere for heating the water for making tea").  That's the standout word of the game -- well done, David!

There are two other sevens: ACROMIA (plural of ACROMION: "the outward end of the spine of the scapula or shoulderblade") and SARCOMA ("any of various malignant tumours originating in the connective tissue, attacking especially the bones").

There's a decent spread of sixes, too: RACISM, MICROS (microcomputers), CAROMS / MACROS (a computing term, and also an acceptable variant of the photograpy term "macro setting"), MOSAIC, AROMAS, the variant spelling SAVIOR, VARIAS (VARIA: "a miscellaneous collection, especially of literary works"), VOMICA ("a cavity, usually in the lungs, containing pus"; the plural form is VOMICAE rather than VOMICAS, so it does not extend to a seven in this round), and OVISAC ("a sac or capsule containing an ovum or ova").

Steve: SCAR
Carey: ROAMS

Scores: Steve 0 (7), Carey 0 (5), me 15

Round 3: Target 577 from 100 2 2 10 8 1

There's a lot of even numbers in this mix, which can be a danger sign.  There is a 1, though, and sI'm determined to keep that spare if possible.  My first instinct was to go via 600, using 8 - 2 for the 6.  But when I did not see an easy way to close the remaining gap I switched tacks and used the 10, fortunately emerging with a solution: 577 = 10*(100/2 + 8) - 2 - 1.

Steve has not been able to get within range, but Carey has managed to get three away with 580 = (2 + 2 + 1)*100 + 8*10.  That was an expensive way to make a 5; working downward from 600 would likely have let him get closer (578 = (8 - 2)*100 - 2*(10 + 1) is hopefully pretty findable).  But getting in range is important and those seven points get him into the lead.

Lily shows the tweak that I missed on my first pass: 577 = (100 - 2)*(8 - 2) - 10 - 1.  Nice one, Lily!

It turns out that these are the only two solutions.  A nice numbers round, a little challenging but manageable.

Steve: [not in range]
Carey: 580
Me: 577
Lily: 577

Scores: Steve 0 (7), Carey 0 (12), me 25

First break: LAMB HOLT ("A bug gala")

A punny clue for a MOTHBALL.

David's talk is about the phrase "the life of Riley".

Round 4: N P E I R T A Y E

I had PINE, wondered about PINER (it turns out to be acceptable: "Tasmania a timber-getter employed in the Huon pine trade"), INTER, and PAINTER.  I had a strong feeling that there was an eight without the Y, but I could not bring it to mind in time.  A little way into extra time I managed to recall it: APERIENT ("a medicine or an article of diet that acts as a mild laxative").

Both contestants have found sixes; Steve has gone for PIRATE while Carey has REPENT.  David found PAINTER very early, and says that he would have selected a final consonant (as would I, of course) since PAINTERLY is listed as a nine.  I'll note that INTERPLAY might be a more plausible nine from that set of letters, and also that a T would yield PATERNITY.  The actual D would have allowed PEDANTRY for an eight, but as it was David was unable to better PAINTER.  Obviously I can sympathise!

APERIENT was the only eight; the other sevens are REPAINT / PERTAIN, TRAINEE / RETINAE (alternative plural of RETINA), PERINEA (plural of PERINEUM, as I mentioned in episode 420), and YPERITE (another name for mustard gas, due to its use in Ypres).


Scores: Steve 0 (13), Carey 0 (18), me 32

Round 5: D S M B O U A A T

Yeesh, what a mix.  I got mostly nowhere with this, having MOBS, DAUBS (again), MOATS / ATOMS, and wondering about SUBATOM.  It turns out that Chambers does list that ("a constituent part of an atom"), but the Macquarie does not; in any case I had decided not to risk it.  I spent a goodly while looking for longer without success; I thought I had found one in MUSTABA, but I was thinking of MASTABA.

Both contestants have settled on BOAST for five, but David makes it seem simple with DOUBTS for six.  An excellent find in that mix, but I do wish I'd seen it.

There are three other sixes: DUMBOS (DUMBO being colloquial for "a stupid person"), SOMATA (plural of SOMA: "the body of an organism as contrasted with its germ cells"), and AMADOU ("a spongy substance prepared from fungi [...] used as tinder and in surgery").

AMADOU may be pluralisable, in which case AMADOUS is the only seven.

Steve: BOAST
Carey: BOAST

Scores: Steve 5 (18), Carey 5 (23), me 37

Round 6: Target 707 from 5 7 4 10 2 3

Carey chooses six small, and gets a good spread of numbers.  The target is obviously divisible by 7, and the rest of the number lend themselves well to this.  I had 707 = 7*(10*5*2 + 4 - 3), and the minor variation 707 = 7*10*5*2 + 4 + 3.

Carey has 700; it's a little hard to see how he could have done this without having small numbers left over to get closer.  My best guess is that he went with 700 = 7*10*(5 + 4 + 3 - 2), but it's only speculation, of course.  Steve is closer, though, with 704 = 10*7*(5 + 3 + 2) + 4.  If he'd just formed that other 10 as 2*5 instead he would surely have found a solution.  But those seven points get him back into the lead, which is obviously where he would prefer to be.

Lily has shifted the sevens around to get 707 = 5*(4 + 3)*2*10 + 7.

Steve: 704
Carey: 700
Me: 707
Lily: 707

Scores: Steve 5 (25), Carey 5 (23), me 47

Second break: INFO REAP ("A musical garment")

A reference to the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta H.M.S. PINAFORE.

Round 7: G N L E I R F E S

With G and N early, and few I's so far, -ING was always likely to be in play and I was not disappointed.  I had GLEN, INGLE ("a household fire or fireplace"), LINGER, FEELING / FLEEING, FEELINGS, and FLINGERS.  I was not at all sure about the latter, so was happy to have FEELINGS in its place.

Steve has found LINGERS, but Carey has risked putting the F at the front for FLINGERS.  He is rewarded for his gamble as FLINGER is listed, and he retakes the lead.  David has chosen FEELINGS as his eight.

The other eights are FEIGNERS and FLEERING (FLEER: "to grin or laugh coarsely or mockingly").


Scores: Steve 5 (25), Carey 13 (31), me 55

Round 8: Target 253 from 25 10 8 7 3 7

Carey opts for a safer mix since the previous one did not work out that well for him.  The target is unchallenging, and everyone has 253 = 25*10 + 3.

Steve: 253
Carey: 253
Me: 253
Lily: 253

Scores: Steve 15 (35), Carey 23 (41), me 65


I was so very lost on this conundrum -- too many U's!  The -OUS fragment seemed plausible, but I could not make anything from the rest.  I did find TONSURES for an eight, but that's a rather pointless (literally) endeavour in the conundrum.  Nobody managed to solve it within time, and I kept looking.

But seven minutes later I still had not solved it, and decided to give up.  I did resort to checking that OUTNURSES was not listed somewhere along the line, but that was not it, of course.  The key factor that I missed was considering not just -OUS, but -UOUS.  Had I done so I might have managed to reorganise the other letters and find the answer of STRENUOUS.

Steve: [no answer]
Carey: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Steve 15 (35), Carey 23 (41), me 65

There was very little between the contestants tonight, and either could have won it.  Steve may be particularly ruing not having anything to declare in the first numbers round; even just matching Carey's 580 would have allowed him to win.  Carey gets home on the strength of FLINGERS, but will he manage to defend this tomorrow?


Sam Gaffney said...

Solid game, Geoff, one can't expect a perfect game every night. I guess APERIENT was just a little bit too hard for you to find.

I did get UNSTABLE after a little while, but 30 seconds was not enough time for me. The near-appearance of the word ASPERITY distracted me at first in Round 4. I nearly preferred (the invalid) ABOUTS to DUMBOS in Round 5. I had a similar struggle with the conundrum to Geoff, trying the -OUS, but still coming up short.

Incidentally, does anyone else have trouble with the comment verification on this blog, when typing in the two words correctly to prove that they are "not a robot"? I seem to get my first attempt wrong every time. If this was Blade Runner, I'd be in a world of trouble.

My answers:

577 = (8-2)*(100-2)-10-1
707 = (5*2*10+4-3)*7
253 = 25*10+3

Geoff Bailey said...

Yes... just as UNSTABLE was a little bit too hard for you, Sam. *chuckles* Good game from you tonight, and you're a worthy victor.

I'd not realised there was comment verification, since it does not ask me for it. *wry smile* I'll try disabling it for the time being, but if we end up with lots of spam I'll have to re-enable it.

Mark said...

I missed this episode. I hadn't been having any trouble with the verification.