Thursday, 26 April 2012

Ep 433: Ian Phillips, Simon Walton (April 25, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

One of Ian's non-travel activities is setting orienteering courses.  As he explains, orienteering is a sport of running and navigating in the bush.  Ian used to participate competitively, but as his age increased his speed decreased... so now he sets the courses for others to follow instead.  His challenge is to set interesting courses for both elite and novice participants; this includes varying the length of the course, the terrain, and the route involved.  Competitors might take a long easy route or a short difficult route; they have to weigh their choices and wear the consequences.

Tonight's challenger is Simon Walton, a secondary school teacher.  It seems that Simon has become quite interested in statistics and would like to learn more about it.  He was not that interested fifteen years ago when he walked out of a statistics lecture (at the University of Adelaide) because he found it so boring.  I've certainly had my share of lectures like that, but a good book goes a long way.  However, since then Simon has become a teacher of mathematics and learned to appreciate how useful statistics is.  For that matter, I wish that I had taken some statistics courses when I was a university student.

A little later in the show it is pointed out that Ian is a qualified statistician.  He encourages Simon in his interest, and says that statistics is a great way to go.

There were some good words being found tonight, and Simon picked up three eights.  Two of those were better than Ian's efforts, and when Ian overlooked his 75-times tables in the second numbers round Simon was 26 points ahead and safe going into the final numbers round.  Ian solved the conundrum quickly again to make the scores look better, but this was Simon's night and he won handily by 65 to 49.

I found everything possible tonight, including the full monty and the conundrum in a second.  But on one of those rounds I took the conservative choice and lost my optimal game.  It's a bit disappointing to miss out due to making the wrong decision, but better than not seeing the option at all.  In any case, my score of 88 is the highest I've recorded on this blog.

Round 1: R C I A S T P E D

I had SCAR, STAIR, PRACTISE, and then PRACTISED before time started.  That left thirty seconds to twiddle my thumbs and worry about which of PRACTICE and PRACTISE is the verb, but fortunately I did not talk myself out of this.  (Both are listed with verb meanings in any case.)  I also wrote down SCRIPTED as another eight.

Ian has found STRIPED for seven, but Simon has found the nice TRAIPSED for eight.  David, of course, has found PRACTISED -- the second full monty for the week.

The other eights are ADSCRIPT ("written after"), PREDICTS, and PICRATES (salts of picric acid) / PARETICS (PARETIC: "someone who has general paresis", where paresis is "incomplete motor paralysis") / CRISPATE ("crisped or curled").

CRISPATE has an alternative form CRISPATED, which is thus another full monty from this mix.


Scores: Ian 0, Simon 0 (8), me 18

Round 2: U E N S O U B G S

Simon chooses a very early fourth vowel, and that second U is a bit worrying.  I had NOSE, BONUS, BONUSES, and wondered about SUBGENUS.  I had a vague recollection of looking it up once without success, but then I thought that might have been SUBGENIUS instead.  Eventually I decided to play it safe with BONUSES; a shame, as SUBGENUS is valid and would have given me another optimal game.

Both contestants have fives; Ian has chosen BONES while Simon has gone for BUNGS.  David has found BONUSES and SUBGENUS also, although he has the luxury of checking the dictionary.

Those are the only words longer than six letters long.  The sixes are BOSUNS, BOUSES (variant spelling of BOWSES, BOWSE being a nautical term: "to tighten up; secure"), ONUSES, and UNGUES (plural of UNGUIS: "a nail, claw, or hoof").  If NOUS ("common sense") is pluralisable then NOUSES would be another six.

Simon: BUNGS

Scores: Ian 0 (5), Simon 0 (13), me 25

Round 3: Target 706 from 25 4 2 6 4 5

Keeping the 6 aside means wanting 28 from the other small numbers, and that is quite manageable.  I found 706 = 4*(5 + 2)*25 + 6, as did both contestants.  Presumably Lily did also, although we never get confirmation of any of her solutions today; that is a little unusual.

Ian: 706
Simon: 706
Me: 706

Scores: Ian 10 (15), Simon 10 (23), me 35

First break: PET CRIED ("Past its prime")

A straight clue for DECREPIT.

David's talk is about the word shop.

Round 4: E A I N H L T R O

Another good set of letters; I had ALIEN, RETINAL, INHALER, ETHANOL, and RELATION / ORIENTAL.  After time I added HORNTAIL, a type of wasp that David found in episode 403.

Both contestants have found RELATION for eight, while David has opted for ANTIHERO as his choice.  Eights all round!

The remaining eight is AEROLITH (variant spelling of AEROLITE: "a meteorite consisting mainly of stony matter").  As might be expected, there are a lot of sevens here (that I will not list).


Scores: Ian 18 (23), Simon 18 (31), me 43

Round 5: M D S W A E U C S

I had DAMS, DAMES, and ASSUMED / MEDUSAS -- it looks like this has finally become part of my lexicon for the show.

Simon has AMUSED for six, and Ian has six also with MASSED.  David saw MEDUSA, and thus MEDUSAS.

There are no more sevens; the other sixes are CAUSES / SAUCES, CAUSED / SAUCED, AMUSES / ASSUME, CUSSED, MUSSED, SUMACS, and SEDUMS (both SUMAC and SEDUM being plants of some kind).


Scores: Ian 18 (29), Simon 18 (37), me 50

Round 6: Target 527 from 25 50 75 7 2 6

Simon decides to try and take Ian out of his comfort zone, and chooses the perfect match.  That will take most contestants out of their comfort zone, but this was not the most challenging example for people who recall their 75-times table.  I had 527 = 7*75 + 2.

Simon also uses that solution, and his tactic appears to have worked as Ian has a rather unusual 530 to declare.  It took me a while to work out something plausible for that, but I think it must have been 530 = (7 - 2)*(75 + 25 + 6)... or maybe 530 = (50 + 75/25)*(7 + 6/2).

Lily points out that she noticed David looking happy; David has also found this solution, and it is implied that Lily did also.  Richard must have found it too, judging by when he put his pen down.

This miss puts Ian 18 points behind, which is decidedly dangerous, particularly at this late stage.

Ian: 530
Simon: 527
Me: 527
David: 527
Lily: 527

Scores: Ian 18 (29), Simon 28 (47), me 60

Second break: ELBOW LID ("The result of a bought dinner")

I solved the anagram instantly to get BILLOWED, but it took me somewhat longer to see that the clue was getting at BILL OWED.

Round 7: H R N A I E T B O

I had HAIR and RETINA, and was hoping that a final G would turn up for BREATHING.  However, Ian called for a vowel and I hoped for an O for BARITONE, which it was.  I also wrote down its valid anagram OBTAINER.

There's no nine to be had, but towards the end of time I noted that I should have wanted an E for HIBERNATE.

Ian has a good HAIRNET for seven -- maybe he recalls that from the retsina mixes? -- but Simon has found BARITONE and is guaranteed to win.  David notes that BARITONE turns up on the show fairly often, then adds dryly that another word that turns up often is ANTIHERO.  Amusing to have the same eight available in two rounds of the same game!

The other eight is REOBTAIN, and the remaining sevens are ANOTHER, NIOBATE (a chemical), BORNITE (a mineral), TABORIN ("a small tabor", which is a type of drum), and REBOANT ("resounding loudly").


Scores: Ian 18 (29), Simon 36 (55), me 68

Round 8: Target 200 from 25 75 50 10 10 8

Simon persists with the balanced mix, and gets a trivial target.  There's a lot of solutions, but I avoided my usual tendency toward overcomplication and went with 200 = 8*25.

Both contestants have solved this, with somewhat different means.  Simon went with 200 = 10*25 - 50 and Ian chose 200 = 10*10 + 75 + 25.  Richard chimes in with the solution 200 = (10 - 8)*(75 + 25), although he starts off saying "eight minus ten" and has to be corrected by Lily.

Ian: 200
Simon: 200
Me: 200
Richard: 200

Scores: Ian 28 (39), Simon 46 (65), me 78


The -LY stands out, and with -OUS in the middle there it is not too hard to unscramble this.  I solved it in a second, and once again Ian was only just behind, with a two-second solve.

Simon: [no answer]

Final scores: Ian 28 (49), Simon 46 (65), me 88

There were some good finds by both contestants tonight, but Simon managed to do better on both fronts.  Ian needed to match Simon on those last two main rounds to have a chance going into the conundrum, but it's just as well for Simon that Ian did not.  Ian goes down gallantly in his third game, and Simon looks like he has some potential.  It's hard to judge his numbers performance from tonight, though, as the targets were pretty friendly.

I had the optimal game there for the taking, and while I regret not getting it I am mollified because I did see the best result -- just  faulty memory standing in the way, and that's OK.  Plus finding a full monty always puts me in a good mood.  This score of 88 is my highest of the blog so far, I believe, and continues a very good week for me.


JT said...

Hello Geoff, I've been following your blog for a while though never having the courage until yesterday to tell you about the typo in yesterday's blog. I vaguely remeber you being on the show, most notably was your choosing of various mixes lol. I consider myself stronger on numbers then letters as probaly seen by my answers (although they probaly weren't the hardest combos we've seen on the show :))

Instantly after Ian buzzed estimate 3.2

JT said...

*various NUMBER mixes

JT said...

*Courage to post (sorry about this I really should check what I write next time) d:

Mark said...

Congratulations on your great game, Geoff. JT, it's nice to see you here.

706 = (5+2)*4*25 + 6
527 = 7*75 + 2
200 = (50/25)*10*10
3 seconds

Sam Gaffney said...

Nice to see you on the blog, JT. Don't feel self-conscious, Geoff's answers are making everyone look second-rate this week.

My answers:

PICRATES (the wrong word to spot)
BOSUNS (had BONUS, *sigh*)

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks, JT, and welcome to the blog. I'm glad that my choice of different mixes was somewhat memorable -- it was one of my minor gripes going into the show that I'd watched a lot of people choosing the same mix all the time, and thought that the numbers game had more to offer than was being shown.

Hopefully there will be some more interesting numbers mixes for you soon. :)

I'm amused that you also found the pair of ANTIHERO's, Sam. It's still not part of my show lexicon, I think, so I may have been a bit fortunate that there were other eights in each case.

And yet another different way to 200 from you, Mark. Heh. Looks like you'd have taken Ian to a tiebreaker conundrum, but Simon's pair of eight-letter words were just too powerful today.