Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ep 200 [GF]: Tony Loui, Matthew Thomason (May 29, 2012; originally aired May 6, 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.

It was a very close game tonight, as is fitting for a grand final.  Matthew took the early lead when Tony had a surprising stumble in the first round; then they matched each other in the next six rounds.  On the final numbers round Tony saw his way to a solution to snatch the lead, but it was still either contestant's game to win on the conundrum.  Tony got there first, just under six seconds in, and became the second series champion with a 64 to 51 victory.

I was in good form tonight, and while there's the issue of possible foreknowledge that only seems plausible to apply to the conundrum.  I did solve it very quickly this time, but I don't recall it from before, so I'm not sure how much last year's viewing is a factor.  In any case, with only one round less than optimal, I ended up with a comfortable victory.

Round 1: N S R B A O E S H

I had BARNS and BARONS, and then when the E went up I was hoping for a T for BARONETS.  No such joy, although the S brought -NESS into play and I then hoped for a D for BROADNESS.  Disappointed again, but that was actually lucky for me -- the Macquarie does not list BROADNESS, for some reason.  I found BASHERS, and then realised that both my previous anticipations could be combined to give BARONESS.  I took the long way around, but I got there.  Along the way I had observed HARNESS as another seven, but not written it down.

Tony, rather oddly, has just the five of SHARE -- he did not even extend it to SHARES -- and Matthew gets the early lead with his seven of BASHERS.  Tony did look a bit sheepish as he declared the five, and understandably so.  Finals pressure?  Maybe.  David, of course, has found BARONESS for eight.

The other eight is HOARSENS, and the other sevens are HOARSEN, BORANES (BORANE being "a hydride of boron [...]") -- I'd just like to note that saying BORANES out loud makes me think of zombies -- and REASONS / SEƑORAS.

There's another possible seven, in BRASHES.  BRASH has two noun senses: "loose fragments of rock" and "small fragments of crushed ice collected by winds or currents near the shore".  Both of those sound like mass nouns to me, but possibly there could be more than one brash in different locations?  It's a bit iffy, but it might be acceptable.  The safe course is to choose BASHERS instead.

Matthew: BASHERS

Scores: Tony 0, Matthew 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: I A U T C S R E M

I had CAST, CITRUS, and MURIATES.  I also noted CAESIUM, a word that I've sometimes had trouble seeing, but it does not score as well as MURIATES.

Both contestants have found sevens; Tony has CURATES while Matthew has MATURES.  David refers back to a word once found by Tamara, as he has seen MATRICES for eight.

The other eights are CERAMIST, MURICATE (I mentioned this back in episode 383: "shaped like the murex"), SURICATE (a meerkat), and AUTECISM (American variant of AUTOECISM: "the development of the entire life cycle of a parasitic fungus on a single host or group of hosts").

This was the round which might have produced a full monty; the unlikely choice of a fifth vowel would have added another E for CAUTERISE / CAUTERIES (plural of CAUTERY: "an escharotic substance or a hot iron used to destroy tissue").

Matthew: MATURES

Scores: Tony 0 (7), Matthew 0 (14), me 16

Round 3: Target 160 from 50 1 10 7 2 9

A trivial mix, and everyone goes with 160 = (9 + 7)*10.  After time I amused myself by finding the kitchen sink approach of 160 = 7*(2*9 + 50/10) - 1.

Tony: 160
Matthew: 160
Me: 160

Scores: Tony 10 (17), Matthew 10 (24), me 26

First break: BIG ADDER ("The shortened version")

The shortened version is ABRIDGED.

David's talk is about the word stamina.

Round 4: E I O T L C F E T

I had TOIL, TELIC ("tending to a definite end"), ELECT, and TOILET.

Both contestants have six-letter words; Tony has TOILET also, while Matthew has FETTLE.  David has found the only seven, assisted a little by being able to check that it is a single word in the Macquarie: ICEFLOE.  Well done, David!

The other six is CITOLE, another name for one of two musical instruments: the cittern or the kithara.

Matthew: FETTLE

Scores: Tony 16 (23), Matthew 16 (30), me 32

Round 5: Y S D R O A G N O

I had RODS, ROADS, DRAGONS, and DRAGOONS (DRAGOON: "a cavalryman of certain regiments"; it is also a verb, meaning to set dragoons upon, or more generally to harass).

Sevens one more from the contestants; Tony has found DRAGONS, while Matthew has ORGANDY, the American spelling of the fabric ORGANDIE.  David makes Matthew sweat for a bit as he looks it up, but it is valid.  David has found DRAGOONS for eight.

The other eight is an anagram of it: GADROONS (GADROON being an architectural term: "an elaborately carved or indented convex moulding").  The sevens are DRAGOON / GADROON and DRONGOS.

Matthew: ORGANDY

Scores: Tony 16 (30), Matthew 16 (37), me 40

Round 6: Target 742 from 25 100 6 3 10 9

The first instinct was to get there from 750, but the offset of 8 is a bit tricky to come by.  Then I spotted the factor of 7, and -- after a short period of overcomplicating the search for a seven -- emerged with 742 = (10 - 3)*(100 + 6).  This is also Lily's solution.

One way to get an offset of 8 is as 6*3 - 10.  That uses up most of the small numbers, but does leave the 6 available for tweaking.  A couple of solutions follow from that: 742 = 6*(100 + 25 - 3) + 10 and 742 = 9*100 - 6*(25 + 3) + 10.

Both contestants are one away with 741.  Matthew's method was 741 = 25*3*10 - 9, and Tony's was 741 = (100 - 25)*10 - 9.

Tony: 741
Matthew: 741
Me: 742
Lily: 742

Scores: Tony 16 (37), Matthew 16 (44), me 50

Second break: MOAN CHIP ("We'll have one of these tonight")

Indeed, the purpose of tonight's game is to find the CHAMPION of the series.

Round 7: R J C P A E O M T

After the first four letters PROJECT seems like the obvious word to hope for.  I had CARP, CAPER, COMPARE, and then the T appeared at last to allow PROJECT as another seven.

Both contestants have found COMPARE, and David has opted for PROJECT.  Those are the only sevens, and there's nothing longer.

Matthew: COMPARE

Scores: Tony 23 (44), Matthew 23 (51), me 57

Round 8: Target 431 from 75 100 2 8 9 3

The contestants have matched each other for the last six rounds; Tony has been doggedly hanging in there seven points adrift, and cannot afford to slip further behind on this round.  Matthew has not been able to get clear of Tony, and is guaranteed to at least have a chance going into the conundrum.

The target is on the low side, but not necessarily easy.  The standard method suggests getting to 425 and then adding six; the 6 is available in a few ways (2*3, 8 - 2, 9 - 3), but uses up enough small numbers that the 425 can then be hard to form.  I flailed around for a bit before deciding to use 8*9 as "kind of" 75, and that let me find a decent tweak and a solution: 431 = 8*(75 - 9) - 100 + 3.  That felt like a scenic route, but it did the job.

It is also tempting to try to get to the target from 450, which is 6*75.  The offset of 19 is awkward, but after time I saw that it was 3*9 - 8, and another tweak gives 431 = 3*(2*75 - 9) + 8.  Then I finally pondered what multiple of 25 was involved; 425 is 17*25, and once that is considered the solution falls out pretty simply: 431 = (9 + 8)*(100 - 75) + 2*3.  Sometimes it pays to use those large numbers to make smaller ones!

Matthew is two away with 433; I'll guess this was 433 = 2*3*75 - 9 - 8.  But Tony has seen his way to the target with the last of those solutions I presented, and those ten points push him into the lead after having trailed all game.  Lily said that she knew Tony had solved it as soon as he subtracted 75 from 100, so that must have been her solution too.

Tony: 431
Matthew: 433
Me: 431
Lily: 431

Scores: Tony 33 (54), Matthew 23 (51), me 67


It's anyone's to win at this stage, but Tony has the advantage.  It feels like a relatively easy conundrum for a final, but I cannot rule out lingering memories helping me on this one.  The vowels were all in the right order and roughly the right position, and I think this was a very helpful factor.  I had it three seconds in, and Tony got there just a few seconds later.

Tony: MOUSTACHE (5.5s)
Matthew: [no answer]

Final scores: Tony 33 (64), Matthew 23 (51), me 77

So like the last series, this final is decided by the conundrum.  There's something a bit satisfying about that, even if I am not overly fond of that in all cases.  It was a game which had a good deal of potential in it, with three eight-letter words lurking and a couple of decent challenges posed by the numbers.  There were some satisfactory finds by each contestant, but aside from that last numbers solution from Tony they weren't really hitting the high notes.  Good play, but I don't think we saw their best tonight.  On the other hand, it was an interesting tussle and that potential meant that the match could have swung at almost any point.

The series three finals start tomorrow; those were the last seven episodes aired before I started this blog.  I imagine I was playing somewhat seriously at the point they aired, so I may well have some recollections from that.  I definitely recall some aspects of the grand final, which I'll mention at the time.


Mark said...

Well done, Geoff.

160 = (7+9)*10
741 = 6*(100+25) - 9
427 = (8/2)*100 + 3*9

Sam Gaffney said...

I had seen the last three rounds of this episode on Youtube, but not the first six. There were two frustrations here: I didn't see Lily/Geoff's way to 742 until just after time, and ICEFLOES was a word that came up in one of my episodes, but I still missed it here in singular form.

Because I remembered the winning approach to 431, I tried to find a different way this time. My answers:

160 = (7+9)*10
741 = (100+25)*6-9
431 = (100/2-3)*9+8
(already knew the answer)

I might not post much until the Masters, as I have seen all but one of the Series 3&4 finals too recently. Or I might just dig up my original Series 3 answers and post those (I will change my Jacob vs Anthony answers to make it look like I flogged both of them).

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks, Mark. And it would be interesting to see those original results, Sam; I kind of regret not keeping my ancient scribblings.

Mike Backhouse said...

10*(100-25)-9+6/3=743 1 off