Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Ep 194 [QF1]: Tony Loui, Jack Dell (May 21, 2012; originally aired April 28, 2011)

Disclaimer: I watched this episode when it first aired.  I recall nothing about it, as should be obvious from my results, but I cannot rule out some lingering memory assisting me in some fashion.

So, onto the season two finals.  Taking the champion's position is medical officer Tony Loui, the number one seed.  Richard notes that Tony was undefeated, and had the highest accumulated score of anyone in series two.  That's... pretty much expected from the first seed, so nothing new about this.

Tony's opponent is eighth seed Jack Dell, described by Richard as a jack of all trades; he is a school groundsman, computer technician, and teacher.  Jack solved three of the five conundrums that he faced during the main part of the series.

Jack got off to a flying start with a full monty in the second round.  That was the only round he managed to outdo Tony in, though, and Tony pegged the loss back over the next two rounds.  The remaining letters rounds provided no swing but Tony took a 17 point lead into the conundrum thanks to the remaining numbers rounds, where Jack just did not seem comfortable.  Neither was able to solve the conundrum, and Tony got through to the next round with a 53 to 36 victory.

I was all over the place tonight, with two very poor rounds where I only managed a four-letter word.  I missed the full monty, and in fact the eight-letter word I had for that round was invalid.  The second numbers round offered me a chance to almost catch up but instead I drifted even further behind.  A good word in the last letters round put me precisely ten points behind Tony, and I managed to solve the conundrum (although slower than I would have liked) to salvage a draw from this performance.

Round 1: B H N A I F A M G

Not the most auspicious start!  I would quite probably have gone chasing after another vowel, hoping for an E for FAMINE.  The actual O would not have helped me, although it would allow a pair of sevens: MAHONIA (a type of shrub) and AMBOINA (variant spelling of AMBOYNA, another name for NARRA, which is a type of tree).

As it was, I had FAIN, IAMB, and then lost a lot of time trying to make something work with -ING.  I could not do it; the only decent-sounding option was FAMING, but that would require FAME to be a verb.  As it turns out, this is the case (FAME: "to spread the fame of; make famous"), so I missed a chance there.  I wondered about FAGIN as a generic term (the Macquarie does not list it; Chambers does, but only with a capital letter: "a person who trains young thieves, receives stolen goods, etc."), and GAMIN was the other possible five I managed to find in time.

I knew that GAMINE was a word, and thought that GAMIN was just wishful thinking.  But GAMINE ("a female street urchin") is the feminine form of GAMIN ("a neglected child left to run about the streets; street urchin"), so that would have been acceptable.  This was news to me!  GAMIN also has a verb sense (amongst others) as a variant spelling of GAMMON ("to lie" plus several related meanings).  So GAMINED is a valid word that seems like it might come into play at some point.

I correctly rejected FAGIN, and incorrectly rejected GAMIN, and that left me with IAMB for four.  After time I soon found MAFIA, BAGMAN ("a swagman, tramp"), MANIA, and BHANG ("the Indian hemp plant; marijuana").

Both contestants have found AGAIN for five.  David has found BAGMAN also, and the only other use of -ING aside from FAMING: BAAING.  Nice one, David!

The other six-letter word is AFGHAN ("a kind of woollen blanket, knitted, crocheted, or woven, usually in a geometric pattern"; it is also a kind of chocolate biscuit).  The other fives are MANGA, GAMBA (I mentioned this just a few days ago, in episode 98), and ANIMA ("soul; life") / AMNIA (plural of AMNION: "the innermost of the emryonic or foetal membranes of reptiles, birds, and mammals; the sac containing the amniotic fluid and the embryo") / AMAIN ("at full speed").

There is almost a seven, and I'm honestly not sure if there should be or not.  The currency of Afghanistan is the Afghani, and the usual policy would be for currencies to be lower case entities.  The Macquarie's implicit position is that the currency must be capitalised; cursory searching on the web turns up common uses of both capitalised and uncapitalised forms.  The Wikipedia article uses the capitalised form throughout, but has a lower case version in the title and the disambiguation page.  The CIA World Factbook uses the lower case version, but the World Bank uses the capitalised one.  On balance, it seems that the capitalised version is favoured, but it would not surprise me at all if this shifted in due course.


Scores: Tony 5, Jack 5, me 0

Round 2: R N S T O E I E D

A much more compatible set of letters this time.  I had TORN, TENORS, STONIER, DESTINE, and... flailed.  With such good letters there must be eights, and possibly a nine, but I got stuck.  I ended up going with the invalid DENOTERS.

After time I saw DESERTION at last for nine.  I had looked at the -TION and -SION fragments during time but not managed to extract anything useful from them.  I also found the pair of eights SINTERED (SINTER: "Metallurgy to bring about the agglomeration of particles of a metal [...] by heating, usually under pressure, to just below the melting point of the substance[...]") / RESIDENT.

My attempted eight was invalid, and I'm not at all surprised that both contestants have better answers than my best valid sevens.  Tony has found ORIENTED for eight (and if I had seen ORIENTS in STONIER I might have found that), but Jack has found the full monty of DESERTION.  Well done, Jack!

The other eights are INDORSEE, TRENDIES / INSERTED, and SEROTINE (a European bat).  There are very many sevens, of course.

Me: [invalid]

Scores: Tony 5, Jack 23, me 0

Round 3: Target 906 from 25 9 6 7 1 2

Tony goes for a single large number and gets a reasonable spread of small numbers to go with it.  The target is large but not that challenging; the standard method works quite easily to give 906 = 9*(7 - 2 - 1)*25 + 6.  A little after time I wondered if I could use the factor of six directly, and some fiddling produced an answer based on that: 906 = 6*(7*(25 - 2) - 9 - 1).

Jack has seen the solution but too late to get it down.  He does not end up declaring anything, so it sounds like he did not have a fallback in place.  Tony has found the minor variant solution 906 = (6 - 2)*9*25 + 7 - 1, and this is also Lily's solution.

Tony: 906
Jack: [no answer]
Me: 906
Lily: 906

Scores: Tony 15, Jack 23, me 10

First break: GREET SIP ("Push to achieve good reputation")

The "push" is cluing the sound of "press" for PRESTIGE.

David's talk is about the number forty.  He mentions some phrases that use it, but the main reason that he likes it is because it is the only number that has its letters in alphabetical order.

Round 4: H T R E O A P S E

I had OTHER, HEART / EARTH, and stalled for a bit until the final letter.  I was hoping for an E for OPERATES / PROTEASE ("any enzyme that degrades proteins"), and it turned up, and that was where I stayed.

Jack is displeased with his six of POSTER; Tony is not sure about PROTEASE being valid but it is, and in just two rounds he has recovered from Jack's full monty to tie up the scores again.  David has found OPERATES as the easier anagram of PROTEASE.

The other eight is PREHEATS.  Some dictionaries (but not the Macquarie or Chambers) list EPHORATE as a noun derived from EPHOR (one of the leaders of ancient Sparta); such sources would allow EPHORATES as a full monty.


Scores: Tony 23, Jack 23, me 18

Round 5: B C T I E I M N T

I had BITE.  Yes, that was it.  I was really hoping for a final vowel, expecting a U (somewhat overdue) for BITUMEN but perfectly happy with an A for CABINET; or, as it turns out, AMBIENT, NEMATIC ("of or relating to one of the forms of liquid crystals"), and INTIMAE (plural of INTIMA: "the innermost membrane or lining of some organ or part [...]").

After time I finally saw BITTEN (particularly embarrassing to miss that since I had BITE) and MITTEN.

Both contestants have found six-letter words; Jack has BITTEN and Tony has INCITE.  That is all the sixes listed, but David has come through with the only seven: TITMICE, the plural of the bird TITMOUSE.

The fives here are MINCE, TINCT ("to tinge or tint, as with colour"), NIMBI (plural of NIMBUS), and IMINE ("a compound containing the C = N group").


Scores: Tony 29, Jack 29, me 18

Round 6: Target 986 from 100 25 4 5 3 9

Jack opts for the family mix, and gets a very large target.  Getting in range should be manageable, but I got distracted by unprofitable lines for a bit too long.  In the end I was two away with 988 = 9*(100 + 4 + 3) + 25.

A bit after time I saw that the target was 36 away from a multiple of 25, and that led to the solution 986 = 9*(100 + 4) + 25*(5 - 3).  I also noted a relatively easy one-away 985 = 9*100 + 4*25 - 3*5.  A bit disappointing to miss both of those within time.

Jack declares 986, but he realises that he has 886 instead.  Presumably he had 886 = 9*100 - 25 + 3*5 - 4.  Tony is only one away, with a minor variation of the 985 above: 985 = 9*4*25 + 100 - 3*5.

Lily has solved this, finding 986 = 9*100 + (25 + 5)*3 - 4.  Nice one, Lily!

Jack was the one who found the unanswered full monty, but it is Tony who I am eighteen points behind.  I'm going to need the conundrum at this point, plus at least one good result in the remaining games.

Tony: 985
Jack: [invalid]
Me: 988
Lily: 986

Scores: Tony 36, Jack 29, me 18

Second break: TINY BOIL ("Royal with no talent")

The intended answer is NOBILITY, striking out the A from NO ABILITY.

Round 7: Y N D R A L U E T

I had YARD, RANDY, LAUNDRY, UNDERLAY, and ADULTERY.  After time I noted a couple of other sevens in LAUNDER and TRUNDLE.

Both contestants have found LAUNDRY for seven; David has found the only other eight of ARDENTLY, and mentions ADULTERY as well.

The other sevens in this mix are NEUTRAL, UNREADY, UNRATED, LUNATED (acceptable variant of LUNATE: "crescent-shaped"), and TREADLY (colloquial for a bicycle; I mentioned the plural form TREADLIES way back in episode 332) / LYRATED (acceptable variant of LYRATE: "lyre-shaped, as the tails of certain birds").


Scores: Tony 36 (43), Jack 29 (36), me 26

Round 8: Target 114 from 75 10 7 6 2 8

The target is very low, and my first instinct was to get there via 2*75.  Since the 2 is a factor, it seemed easiest to pull that out and that led to the solution 114 = 2*(75 - 10 - 8).  I also looked at getting there from 75, and that was a little more work but yielded the solution 114 = 75 + 7 + 8*(6 - 2).

After time I tried using the factor of 6 and found the alternative 114 = 6*(10 + 7 + 2).

Jack is one away with 115, but Tony has found his way to the target with 114 = (6 - 2)*10 + 75 - (8 - 7).  Lily's solution is the same as my first one.

That makes Tony safe going into the conundrum -- quite a surprising result giving that he was down eighteen points after the second round!  The previous round has given me just enough gain that I could eke out a tie if I can get the conundrum first.

Tony: 114
Jack: 115
Me: 114
Lily: 114

Scores: Tony 46 (53), Jack 29 (36), me 36


Many common letters, and it is a bit hard to know which way to turn.  I started out looking at OUT- and -OUS, but without success.  The -ATE fragment was worth a look, but it was not until I decided that -ULATE was an ending worth investigating that I saw the answer.  Trying for the CON- start might have gotten me there sooner.  In any event, neither contestant solves the conundrum within time and I scrape home with a tie, which is arguably a better result than tonight's performance deserves.

Tony: [no answer]
Jack: [no answer]

Final scores: Tony 46 (53), Jack 29 (36), me 46

So that's the first of the quarterfinals down.  Jack's full monty find almost kept him in contention all the way to the conundrum, but he needed to score some points on one of the numbers rounds for that to happen.  They proved the difference with Tony scoring 27 points to 0 from them, and that is too much ground to give up for all but the best of wordsmiths.  Tony looks in good form with both facets of the game, which is always nice to see in a champion.


Mark said...

My answers:
906 = (7-1-2)*9*25 + 6
113 = 75 + (6/2)*10 + 8

Laura S said...

I won't be commenting every time, but these are my results from last night's game.
3. 906=(6-2)*25*9+7-1
6. -
8. 114=(6-2)*10+75-(8-7)
9. -

Sam Gaffney said...

Your variations in form are worthy of scientific study, Geoff. Nice wordwork, Mark, and it's good to see Laura again.

I must have seen this episode, as I remembered David's talk about "forty" being alphabetical. Jack was a fun contestant, with some great words. Tony looked like he was feeling the pressure after Jack's full monty, but did well and kept producing good answers.

I didn't remember any of the rounds, but still have to treat my score with a grain of salt, due to subconscious memory aid.

My answers:

MAFIA (considered MANGA)
906 = (7-2-1)*9*25+6
986 = (100+(25+5)/3)*9-4
114 = (75-7-8)*2-6

Geoff Bailey said...

Sam: I know! The variability in my performance is frustrating on occasion. (i.e., on occasions where the variance produces bad results. *chuckles*)

Nice game from all, and congratulations to both Sam and Mark for getting that full monty.

Thanks for joining in, Laura -- always nice to hear from more players!