Thursday, 31 May 2012

Ep 294 [QF1]: Jacob Davey, Tina Rose (May 30, 2012; originally aired October 13, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

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

On to the series three finals!  First up in the champion's seat is arts and science student Jacob Davey, the number one seed.  He had a high game score of 72, and Richard notes that Jacob's average score was 58.8 over his six games, so his cumulative total was 353 points.  Jacob turned 19 just a little before these finals.

In the challenger's position is fine art teacher Tina Rose, the number eight seed.  During her time on the show she solved four conundrums in a row, and on her first showing she also had a 72-point game.

The game went back and forth, with Jacob taking a good early lead in the first third only to see Tina battle back in the second third.  Tina emerged a single point ahead at the second break, but an invalid numbers round from her saw Jacob just safe going into the conundrum.  Neither solved it, and Jacob took the first semifinal spot with a 44 to 32 victory.

I was two rounds off optimal again, for a pretty good game overall.  One of those missed optimal answers was a full monty that eluded David's eagle eye, so I'm not too put out over that.  I solved the conundrum in decent time to run out comfortably ahead, and a good start to this finals series for me.

Round 1: T N M S A O I E C

I had MAST, MASON, MATINS, ATOMISE, and (thanks to Kashi in episode 96) ACONITES.  I knew from that episode that there was a more common anagram of ACONITES, but I could not recall it.  After time I found SEMANTIC, and then much later the anagram that I was looking for: CANOEIST.

The contestants start with a pair of seven-letter words; Tina has SECTION and Jacob has CATIONS (positively charged ions).  David has found MASONITE and SEMANTIC for eights.

The other eight is MONASTIC.  There is a nine, however: ENCOMIAST ("someone who utters or writes an encomium; a eulogist").


Scores: Jacob 0 (7), Tina 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: D R G L A E U I P


Tina has PURGED for six, but Jacob gets the early lead with PLAGUED for seven.  David has found the only eight of EPIDURAL.

The other sevens are UPGRADE, PUDGIER, PLAGUER / EARPLUG / GRAUPEL (also known as soft hail: "hail comprising easily compressed, crisp, opaque pellets of ice"), PAGURID (one of a particular family of hermit crabs), GUILDER (former currency of the Netherlands), GLAIRED (GLAIR as a noun is "the white of an egg"; GLAIR as a verb is "to coat with glair"), and PREDIAL.  I thought that I had mentioned this last word before, but it seems not; it is not "to dial before", but an alternative spelling of PRAEDIAL: "of, relating to, or consisting of land or its products; real; landed".


Scores: Jacob 7 (14), Tina 0 (7), me 15

Round 3: Target 740 from 100 4 4 1 10 8

As the numbers go up I don't particularly like the look of them -- the only odd number is the 1 and there's not really that nice of a spread.  Fortunately the target is even, and moreover divisible by 10, so it is more approachable than it might otherwise be.

I got hung up on the option of 10*74 for a long time, and making a 74 was too difficult without the 10 since it is not a multiple of 4.  With time running out I shifted tacks to just trying to get close and started with 8*100, then tweaked it closer with 8*(100 - 10), and was extremely surprised and happy to see that the final offset could be made.  I'd taken a very scenic route, but stumbled upon the solution 740 = 8*(100 - 10) + 4*(4 + 1).

After time I was able to think about things more clearly, first finding a different adjustment for that 60 away from 800 with 740 = 8*(100 - (10 - 4 + 1)) - 4, and then pulling out the factor of 4 for a relatively easy 740 = 4*(100 + 8*10 + 4 + 1).  But only just as writing this up did I see what feels like a very obvious 740 = 8*(4 + 4)*10 + 100.  And another variant working down from 800 was 740 = 8*100 - 4*(10 + 4 + 1).

Tina is four away with 744; I'm going to guess this was 744 = 8*(100 - (4 + 4 - 1)).  If so, then she was close -- if she'd seen the option of making the 7 the other way she could have found the second of the solutions that I listed.  Jacob has accurately solved this with the first solution that I had.

Lily shows how very easy it should have been, with 740 = (8 - 1)*100 + 4*10.  Oh, dear.

Jacob: 740
Tina: 744
Me: 740
Lily: 740

Scores: Jacob 17 (24), Tina 0 (7), me 25

First break: TENOR SUN ("These are neither positive nor negative")

A reference to the uncharged NEUTRONS.

David's talk is about the terms "all singing, all dancing" and "bells and whistles".

Round 4: T N Y S D E O U A

It look likes Tina is chasing that I for DESTINY / DENSITY, but perhaps her vision was more accurate all along.  I had DENTS, STONED, ASTOUND, SOUTANE (a type of cassock), and UNSTEADY.  I also wondered about UNSTAYED, but it turns out not to be listed (Chambers has it, though).

Jacob has DONATES for seven, but Tina has found UNSTEADY to get back within striking distance.  David has not been able to better it.

UNSTEADY looks like the only eight; the other seven is SNOUTED.

It is not in the Macquarie, but Chambers lists AUTODYNE as an adjective ("in radio, of an electric circuit in which the same elements and valves are used both as oscillator and detector").  Some sources (and in particular the Scrabble list) admit a noun sense also, and thus would allow AUTODYNES for nine.  Not that this matters since the Macquarie does not have it.


Scores: Jacob 17 (24), Tina 8 (15), me 33

Round 5: I A E C T W R M N

I had CITE, WAITER, and floundered for a bit before the -MENT ending led me to a familiar retsina pair (but without the S): RAIMENT / MINARET.

Both contestants have found seven-letter words; Tina has MINARET while Jacob has opted for TAWNIER.  David selects CARMINE as his seven.

The other sevens are TINWARE, WARTIME, CERTAIN / CERATIN (variant spelling of KERATIN, a protein found in hair and nails amongst other places), MANTRIC (adjective derived from MANTRA), and NEMATIC.  I mentioned NEMATIC in episode 194; it means "of or relating to one of the forms of liquid crystals".


Scores: Jacob 24 (31), Tina 15 (22), me 40

Round 6: Target 213 from 75 25 4 2 1 5

The factor of 3 was pretty clear, and the cofactor was a very makeable 71.  In short order I had 213 = (2 + 1)*(75 - 4), which was also Lily's solution.

Jacob has ended up one away with 212, but Tina has solved this with 213 = (75 + 25 + 5)*2 + 4 - 1.  That gives her the lead by a single point.

There's a variety of tweaks involving the 2, but another approach to this problem is to observe that the offset of 13 (or 12) is essentially at the halfway point between two multiples of 25.  That means that multiplying by 2 will produce a target just one away from such a multiple, and with both a 1 and a 2 in the mix this is a little tempting.  Applying that idea yields the kitchen sink solution 213 = (5*4*25 - 75 + 1)/2, or alternatively 213 = (4*75 + 5*25 + 1)/2.

Jacob: 212
Tina: 213
Me: 213
Lily: 213

Scores: Jacob 24 (31), Tina 25 (32), me 50

Second break: TRIO TRAP ("Sounds like a cheap painting")

I saw sevens of PATRIOT and AIRPORT, but then the clue made finding PORTRAIT easy.

Round 7: T P N R O U O I D

I had PORT, TROOP, and PORTION.  I really wanted a tenth letter and a C for PRODUCTION, but that's not how the game works.

Tina has POINT for five, but Jacob retakes the lead with OPTION for six.  David is on target with PORTION for his seven.

The other sevens are DROPOUT and OROTUND ("(of the voice or utterance) characterised by strength, fullness, richness, and clearness").  There's quite a few sixes, with some of the more common ones being PUTRID, TORPID / TRIPOD, PROTON / PRONTO, TURNIP, INDOOR, UPROOT, and POTION.


Scores: Jacob 24 (37), Tina 25 (32), me 57

Round 8: Target 267 from 25 75 10 8 2 4

The standard method suggests using the offset of 8, so the aim is to get to 275 with the rest of the numbers.  There's a few ways to do this -- I think that Lily finds the simplest -- but the ones I found within time were 267 = 2*4*25 + 75 - 8 and 267 = (10 + 4)*25 - 75 - 8.

Both contestants declare a one-away 268.  Tina goes first with 10*25 + 10 + 8... but has reused that 10, and her attempt is invalid.  Jacob has made no mistake, and his 268 = (25 + 2)*10 - 8/4 gets him seven points and an unbeatable lead going into the conundrum.

Lily once again makes it all look easy; her solution is 267 = 4*75 - 25 - 8.

Jacob: 268
Tina: [invalid]
Me: 267
Lily: 267

Scores: Jacob 24 (44), Tina 25 (32), me 67


I was somewhat slower on this than I should have been; I spotted COURAGE but got tangled up and lost a couple of seconds before I saw what was left over and thus found the solution.  Tina buzzes in at the eleven second mark with the invalid guess of CONGRUENCE, and the rest of the time runs out without Jacob able to find the answer.

Jacob: [no answer]
Tina: [invalid] (11s)
Me: ENCOURAGE (6.5s)

Final scores: Jacob 24 (44), Tina 25 (32), me 77

A see-sawing game that kept things alive until the final numbers round.  Tina found the best word of the night with UNSTEADY, although I did like Jacob's choice of TAWNIER in round 5.  Neither really mastered the numbers, and there were enough points on offer in those rounds to sway the course of the game if they had been up to it.  In the end Jacob did a little better in each facet of the game, and that translated to a winning margin.

My possibly-flawed recollection is that the first time I played this finals series I won all the quarterfinals but lost both semifinals, which is a little amusing if so.  It certainly highlights the variability that the short form of this game produces; I would very much enjoy it if the show managed to migrate to a longer form at some stage (although getting the balance right could be difficult).


Mark said...

Well done, Geoff. My letters answers have been very disappointing recently.

740 = (8-1)*100 + 4*10
213 = 2*(75+25+5) + 4 - 1

Sam Gaffney said...

I didn't bother watching this last night, as I have seen it too recently, but I skimmed through this blog post line-by-line and might just have gotten ENCOMIAST in time (an obscure word, but I remembered that it can be formed by CANOEIST+M).

Sam Gaffney said...

I dug up my answers from playing this last year. I watched these finals after the Series 4 finals, as part of preparing for the Masters.

What frustrated me watching this was that three of my prepared words came up (CANOEIST, DONATES, MINARET), but I only had two or so come up in my nine pre-Masters episodes, which rendered much of my practice useless.

Here are last year's answers, for all interested parties:


CANOEIST (wasn't aware of ENCOMIAST back then)
740 = (100-10)*8+4*(4+1)
213 = (2 + 1)*(75 - 4)
267 = 4*75-25-8
(solved, but no record of time)