Saturday, 26 May 2012

Ep 198 [SF1]: Tony Loui, Oli Bryant (May 25, 2012; originally aired May 4, 2011)

Disclaimer: I watched this episode when it first aired, and although I did not recall any of it I cannot rule out memory somehow being a factor.

There's little more to be learned about the contestants; Richard mentions that Tony found two nine-letter words during his time on the show, and that Oli had a combined score of 318 from his six main games.

There was some good play from both contestants again tonight, including them each finding the full monty.  The letters rounds went in Tony's favour -- Oli had three five-letter words, which is rarely a good sign -- and there was a bit each way in the numbers which also advantaged Tony.  But Oli had done just enough to have a chance, going into the conundrum nine points behind.  In the end Tony was the one who solved it, and his 67 to 48 win put him into the final.

I found good answers again tonight, including a risky play that worked out for unexpected reasons.  In the main rounds the only bobble was that I ended up one-away on the tough last numbers round, but everything else was optimal.  I had troubles with the conundrum again, almost buzzing in with a wrong answer and catching myself in time.  I finally saw the answer and buzzed in first, then unpaused to see Tony buzz a tiny fraction of a second later.  A close one!

Round 1: T N K U I O R L T

I'd have strongly considered a final vowel here, with an E or an A freeing the mix up somewhat.  But as it was I had KNIT, UNIT, TOUR, TRUNK, and TRITON.  After time I noted UNTIL / UNLIT as other fives.  I was rather unsure about TRITON, though.  I was thinking of a mythological meaning; not the god, but the mermaid-like race born from him.  The question was whether that would have migrated to a lower-case meaning or not, and I was hoping that it had.  My tenuous reasoning was that nymphs were definitely lower-case, and I hoped that the situation was similar.

After some vacillation I decided to chance it, in part prompted by it only costing me five points if I was incorrect.  As it turns out, I was incorrect -- that meaning of TRITON is only listed in capitalised form.  However, there is another meaning that is valid: "any of various marine gastropods [of a certain family]"; it is also the nucleus of a tritium atom.  So rather luckily I took the points in this round.

Both contestants have found five-letter words.  Oli has TRUNK, while Tony has TUTOR, and David has come through with TRITON as well.  Nice work, David!

The other six is an anagram of it: INTORT ("to twist inwards, curl, or wind").


Scores: Tony 0 (5), Oli 0 (5), me 6

Round 2: E O U M C F S I N

I had MOUE ("a pouting grimace"), COME, MOUSE, MINCES, FUSION, and CONFUSE.  As time ran out I saw INCOMES, but only noted it down afterwards, along with CONSUME.

Oli has five again with MOUSE, but Tony has found CONFUSE for seven to take the early lead.  David mentions CONFUSE, CONSUME, and INCOMES.

The other seven is CONIUMS (CONIUM being a type of plant that includes hemlock).


Scores: Tony 7 (12), Oli 0 (5), me 13

Round 3: Target 263 from 50 8 10 2 5 6

With the target odd and only one odd number present, it is tempting to preserve that 5 for a final addition or subtraction.  But then I saw the much more promising option of 6/2 to give a 3, and found 263 = 5*50 + 10 + 6/2.  After time I found a minor variation on the idea: 263 = 5*50 + 8 + 10/2.

Oli is one away with 262 -- presumably 262 = 5*50 + 10 + 2 -- but Tony has seen his way through to the first of those solutions above; this is also Lily's approach.  That puts Tony 17 ahead, which should be concerning for Oli.

A random overly-complicated solution that occurred to me just now: 263 = 5*(50 + (10 + 8)/6) - 2.

Tony: 263
Oli: 262
Me: 263
Lily: 263

Scores: Tony 17 (22), Oli 0 (5), me 23

First break: RAM UNITE ("To chew the cud")

A literal definition for RUMINATE.

David's talk is about the word grok, made up by Robert Heinlein in his book Stranger in a Strange Land.

Round 4: E E A I D R C T P

I had IDEA / AIDE, AIRED, REACTED / CREATED, and then poking at the -ATE ending led me to PREDICATE.  That was a surprise, for reasons which I'll get to in a later post.  After time I noted DECREPIT as an eight in the mix.

Both contestants have found PREDICATE.  Oli got there a little shy of the halfway mark, and did that thing I dislike of putting down his pen and basically indicating that he was done.  Tony was too busy to notice, though, and to be fair Oli did do it in a relatively unostentatious way.  But Tony found it on his own steam, getting it finished with just one second to go -- if this had been a conundrum then the points would have gone to Oli.  But it's not, and so they are shared.

The other eights in this mix are CARPETED and DEPICTER (which was a little surprising to me, but it is definitely -ER and not -OR in the Macquarie).


Scores: Tony 35 (40), Oli 18 (23), me 41

Round 5: C H D O A R B E I

I had CODA, CHORD, BROACH, and BROACHED.  I'd seen BROCADE too, but not written it down.  After time I noted BARDICHE, but it turns out not to be listed in the Macquarie.

Tony plays it safe with CARBIDE, but Oli has found BROACHED for eight.  That is the only eight, so it is very probable that Tony's risky play was invalid and rightly avoided.  Not that it made a difference, and those eight points get Oli just barely back within striking distance.

It seems that no final letter could have produced a full monty from BROACHED.  The I failed to allow any more eights, and the sevens are BIRCHED, BRIOCHE, CHAIRED, CHOIRED, and AEROBIC.


Scores: Tony 35 (40), Oli 26 (31), me 49

Round 6: Target 670 from 75 100 3 4 9 8

True to form I started off by overcomplicating this, wanting to use the 175-times table; that gave me a fallback one-away 671 = 4*(100 + 75 - 8) + 3.  Then I returned to sensible lines of approach, and applied the standard method to get 670 = 9*75 - (8 - 3).

Both contestants have solved this; Tony has opted for the solution that I did, while Oli throws in a minor wrinkle to get 670 = 9*75 - (8/4 + 3).  This throws Lily a bit as she was expecting the former solution, but she recovers easily enough.

Tony: 670
Oli: 670
Me: 670
Lily: 670

Scores: Tony 45 (50), Oli 36 (41), me 59

Second break: MOTOR ROW ("The day that never comes")

A clear reference to TOMORROW.

Round 7: S H S E A G N S O

A rare case where I wanted to replace an S with an X, as HEXAGONS would then be there.  But with the actual letters I had SHES (plural of SHE, which is listed as a noun as well as a pronoun), SEAS, SHEAS (SHEA being a tree which produces the seeds used to make shea butter), GASHES, and SEASONS.  After time I added GOSSANS (GOSSAN: "a ferruginous deposit filling the upper parts of mineral veins or forming a superficial cover on masses of pyrite").

Oli has HANGS for five, outdone by Tony's find of SEASONS.  That really puts the pressure onto Oli for the next numbers game.  David saw GASHES, and then after a while that he could insert the N for GNASHES.  That's an excellent spot -- bravo!

That is all the sevens listed.  The six-letter words are SEASON, GOSSAN, SASHES, NOSHES, and GENOAS (GENOA being a type of sail used on a yacht).

Update: I had GASSES in that list, and while I think it should still be acceptable it does require a little clarification.  The Macquarie lists GASES as the only plural form of the noun GAS, but GAS is also a verb.  The forms GASSED and GASSING are explicitly listed, but the present tense is not shown (which is normal policy for dictionaries).  Normal rules would suggest that GASSES is the correct present tense, but a very literal reading of the rules would disallow it (since it is not formed by simply adding -s or -es to the base word).  I would hope that sanity would prevail, but there's no such guarantee.  Use with caution!


Scores: Tony 52 (57), Oli 36 (41), me 66

Round 8: Target 962 from 100 25 4 3 7 5

A large target, and somewhat difficult.  Before I got too sidetracked I wrote down a fallback 963 = (5 + 4)*(100 + 7).  I wanted to get to the target via 975, which is 13*75.  The difference is also 13, which thus gave the factorisation 13*74, or perhaps 26*37.  I lost the rest of the time trying unsuccessfully to make that work.  There's a few ways to get close to some of it, but it cannot be done simultaneously.  (My favourite partial was forming the 13 as 4*5 - 7, which would lead to a solution if that 3 were only a 1 instead...)

Oli needs unanswered points here to have a chance, so his two-away 960 must have made him a little nervous.  But Tony was only able to find his way to 955 (I'm kind of stumped on that one; best I can guess is 955 = (7 + 3)*100 - 25 - 4*5, in which case he missed some tweaking options), so Oli gets those vital seven points with 960 = (100 - 4)*(7 + 3).  That puts him nine points behind going into the conundrum, so he has a chance now.

Lily shines again as she has found the only solution.  It can be reasoned to if one finds the right starting point, which is to look at the difference from a thousand.  That difference is 38, which is fairly naturally formable as 7*5 + 3.  So either the 7 or the 5 could be used for tweaking purposes to get to that thousand, and only the 5 is likely to work since it is a factor.  That means needing to form the cofactor 200 from 100, 25, 4... and that presents no difficulties at all.  The result is the excellent solution 962 = (100 + 4*25 - 7)*5 - 3.  Bravo, Lily!

Tony: 955
Oli: 960
Me: 963
Lily: 962

Scores: Tony 52 (57), Oli 36 (48), me 73


I spotted DAEMONIC / DEMONIAC early, but those were only eight.  I very nearly buzzed in at about the ten second mark with COMEDIAN, but stopped myself just in time.  Looking at the -ANCE ending led me to the solution at last, and it turned out to be just in time -- once I unpaused the video Tony buzzed in almost immediately afterward!  His answer was correct, giving him the win.

Tony: DOMINANCE (19s)
Oli: [no answer]
Me: DOMINANCE (18.5s)

Final scores: Tony 52 (67), Oli 36 (48), me 83

With nineteen points the final difference, Oli needed to do better in three of the main rounds to overcome that gap.  A tough ask, but those five-letter words did come back to haunt him.  Tony did well on the words to only concede that one round, and likewise on the numbers.  Overall a very solid performance from him, and it looks like his numberwork might prove the difference against whoever wins the other semifinal.


Mark said...

Well done, Geoff. In Round 6, I was even less direct then Oli.

263 = 5*50 + 10 + 6/2
670 = 9*75 - 100/(4*3 + 8)
963 = (4+5)*(100+7)
20 seconds

Geoff Bailey said...

Heh! Nice one, Mark. Solid numberwork from you today, and you'd have beaten Oli and made Tony nervous.

Also, thanks for indirectly making me think more carefully about GASSES. I think it is still acceptable as a verb form, but it warrants further clarification, which I shall add.

Jacob D said...

Hi Geoff,
very strong recent performances. I think the masters finalists will have some tough competition from you in the upcoming series!

I liked your comment about Oli's relatively unostentatious demeanour when finding the 9 letter word. Albeit in slightly different circumstances, don't expect such subtle behaviour the next time a contestant finds a 9-letter word in the letters game! (No prizes for guessing who that contestant is :P)

EG said...

Hey Geoff,

Just noticed this L&N tweet:
*Minor Spoiler Alert*

It's also on the FB page. About 3 weeks early methinks!

Victor said...

I noticed that one too, EG, but at least it's relatively innocuous, though I don't like SBS's lackadaisical attitude and dislike spoilers.

For anyone else who cares about spoilers, be wary of straying into the "Highlights" section as I don't recall seeing some of those rounds on TV yet...

Sam Gaffney said...

Curious spoiler, EG, unfortunately I didn't find out in time to watch it.

Jacob D, I remember a young contestant getting a nine in the finals once, I hadn't seen such smirking since the previous Treasurer of Australia was in government.

Interesting to see that triple-S come up in Round 7.

I was faster and more decisive than you on the conundrum here Geoff - I saw COMEDIAN in about two seconds, and buzzed in to declare it. I eventually saw the correct answer in a similar time to you and Tony, noticing CONDAMINE along the way.

I knew PREDICATE would be in tonight's episode, and I remember David talking about I grok Spock, so I definitely saw it when it first aired. That notwithstanding, here are my answers:

263 = 5*50 + 10 + 6/2
670 = 9*75 - 3 - 8/4
961 = (5 + 3)*(100 + 25 - 4) - 7
- (wrong word first)

Sam Gaffney said...

And Mark, nice to see you nailing a conundrum and having a good numbers game. That 670 showed real panache, I like needlessly elaborate solutions.

Geoff Bailey said...

*chuckles* Nice to hear from you, Jacob. And I can understand a certain amount of ostentation about it -- I just think that it can backfire. Then again, I never found a full monty on the show... perhaps I would have been equally obvious about things if I had.

Also nice to hear from EG and Victor; I don't follow the SBS tweets, but I did happen to see that Facebook post while watching the video on the SBS page. Irritating that they cannot get the basic timing right, but at least they did not give away the result of that game.

Thanks for the Highlights warning, Victor; I'd also heard the same from Sam, fortunately. I share your distaste for the spoilers, I should add.

Good game from you, Sam, and a case of your speed working against you! I'll happily take the Steven Bradbury win under such circumstances.

And I belatedly echo Sam's sentiments, Mark: Very nice to see you get a conundrum, and may there be many more ahead.

Mark said...

Thanks Sam and Geoff.

Mike Backhouse said...

After the great play above, I will quietly slip in my answers while no one is looking.

5*(50+2)+(10-8)=262 (1 off)
9*75-8+3=670 (went over)
HANGS (grrr...)
(5+4)*(100+7)=963 (1 off)