Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ep 442: Rob Fischer, Paul Bishard (May 8, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

It's the almost-obligatory fourth-night question about strategy for Rob.  It really does make me wonder whether people provide the requested six interesting points of information about themselves; we seem to run out of talking points fairly quickly.  On the other hand, maybe I'm just bitter because I did not last long enough to get to my Dalek impression.  Anyway, back to Rob; apparently he looks for affixes on the letter rounds, and tweakage on the numbers.  That's not really a surprise.

Challenging Rob tonight is wine manager Paul Bishard.  Paul is principally responsible for arranging all the wines in a particular store, as well as driving the core wine sales through the outlet.  He has been working with wine for seventeen years; he remarks that it has been quite fun and -- without a pun intended -- fruitful.

It proved to be a very close game tonight, and I'd have to say that Rob did not show those flashes of excellence that we have seen on previous nights.  Paul got off to an early lead with a great word, and extended it in the first numbers round as Rob's weakness there was exposed.  Rob hung in there, though, relentlessly clawing back the lost ground in the letters rounds where Paul was often just a letter short of where he needed to be.  The final two numbers rounds proved to be far too easy and that was Paul's advantage gone -- I can certainly sympathise there.  Rob took a slender one-point lead into the conundrum, but solved it first in any case to get the win, 56 to 45.

I was in much better form tonight, with only one round thwarting my optimal game aspirations.  A couple of risky plays came off -- including the full monty -- and I wrapped it up with a quick solution to the conundrum and an emphatic win.

Round 1: F L M I E A P T N

I had FILM, EMAIL, and IMPALE.  I struggled to find a seven here, although it felt like there should be one, but then I leapfrogged that to find the eight of FILAMENT.  Somewhat surprisingly, as I had looked explicitly at the -MENT ending but only saw FILAMENT after I had moved on.  After time I noted INFLAME as a seven.

Rob starts rather uncharacteristically with a five of PLANT -- notice that he could prefix it with IM- for IMPLANT and seven -- while Paul serves early notice of his intentions by finding FILAMENT.  Game on, as they say.  David says that it was the best that he could do, also.

The other sevens are LIFTMAN, LIFTMEN, FLEAPIT, INFLATE, AILMENT / ALIMENT ("to sustain; support"), IMPANEL / MANIPLE ("a subdivision of the Roman legion, consisting of either 120 or 60 soldiers"), and PANTILE ("a roofing tile straight in its length but with an S-shaped cross-section so that the downward side of one tile overlaps the upward side of the adjacent tile").


Scores: Rob 0, Paul 8, me 8

Round 2: I O R N E B O S C

I had IRON, BORNE, BONIER, and CORBIES.  I could not better it within time; after time I noted down some other sevens that I had seen: CRONIES and BOONIES.  I had also written down BORONIC, but was quite surprised to find that it is not listed.  I also noted BRONIES, but fully aware that it would not yet be in the Macquarie -- although it would not surprise me if it ended up in there at some point.

Paul has BONES for six, but is outdone by Rob's choice of SENIOR.  David has selected BRONCOS as his seven.

Sevens are the best; the others are EROSION and COINERS.  ORCEIN is "a red dye obtained by oxidising an ammoniacal solution of orcinol [...]"; if that is pluralisable then ORCEINS is another seven (but COINERS is much safer).


Scores: Rob 0 (6), Paul 8, me 15

Round 3: Target 447 from 75 5 1 9 7 8

The first (and least easy) of a fairly bland set of numbers; with the target being so close to 6*75 it is just a question of how to make the 6 and 3 at the same time.  That is not too hard, and I soon had 447 = (7 - 1)*75 - (8 - 5).

After time I amused myself with the kitchen sink solution 447 = 9*8*(7 - 1) + 75/5.  A little more thought about what that solution was doing let me find what feels like a nice solution: 447 = 5*75 + 9*8.

Rob is three away with 444, but Paul has reached the target with the same solution as I used; this is also Lily's method.  That puts Paul twelve points ahead, and is dangerous for Rob.

Rob: 444
Paul: 447
Me: 447
Lily: 447

Scores: Rob 0 (6), Paul 18, me 25

First break: TEND VEIN ("What the bell did for the telephone")

The "bell" here is Alexander Graham Bell, who INVENTED the telephone.  Or at least, is generally credited with doing so; I don't have a grasp of the level of controversy about this, but you can read more about matters between Elisha Gray and Bell here, and about the general history of the telephone here.

David's talk is about some skiing terms: piste, slalom, stem Christie, and wedeling.

Round 4: S A E D A R G I U

Paul pulls at least one more vowel than I expected; was he hoping for an E for DISAGREE (or maybe simply GREASED)?  In any case it does make long words difficult.  I had READS, GRADES, SUGARED, and GAUDIER.  After time I added GUIDERS and GARUDAS as alternative sevens, although I was not certain about GUIDERS.

Paul has SURGED for six, but Rob does one better again with his risky play of GUIDERS.  It pays off for him, and the gap closes to five points.  David has gone with SUGARED for his seven.

The other sevens are RESIDUA, GAUDIES (plural of GAUDY: "British a festival or merrymaking, especially an annual college feast"), and SUDARIA (plural of SUDARIUM: "a cloth for wiping the face; a handkerchief"; readers with keen memories may recall SUDARIUM getting a passing mention in episode 415, in the discussion about VERNICLE in round five).

Note that a final consonant would have been a B, giving ABRIDGES / BRIGADES for easy eights.


Scores: Rob 7 (13), Paul 18, me 32

Round 5: B M C E I A F S O

Ergh, a set of consonants that do not play that well together.  I had MICE, COMES, COMBS, and with time running out resorted to COMBIS for six.  After time I found the safer sixes of FIASCO and CAMEOS; I'm particularly annoyed about missing that last, as I have found it many times before in similarly troublesome mixes.

Paul has COMES for five, but Rob has pipped him once again with CAMEOS, and takes the lead by a single point.  An excellent comeback from him!  David is accurate as ever, finding AMOEBIC for seven, and also FOAMIES (FOAMIE: "a surfboard made from plastic foam").  Nice work, David!

Those look like the only sevens; the other sixes are the variant spelling AMEBIC, MOSAIC, COBIAS (COBIA being a fish), COMBES (COMBE being a variant spelling of COOMB: "a narrow valley or deep hollow, especially one enclosed on all sides but one"), AMICES (AMICE: "a furred hood or hooded cape with long ends hanging down in front, formerly worn by the clergy"), BIOMES (BIOME: "a major regional ecological community of plants and animals extending over large natural areas, as coral reef, tropical rainforest, etc."), FACIES ("a general appearance of something naturally occurring, as a particular flora, fauna, or ecological community"), and FICOES (plural of FICO: "the merest trifle").


Scores: Rob 13 (19), Paul 18, me 38

Round 6: Target 938 from 100 8 1 9 10 3

Boringly straightforward: 938 = 9*100 + 3*10 + 8.  I experimented a bit to add 938 = 10*(100 - 8) + (3 - 1)*9, and then after time 938 = 10*(100 + 1) - 9*8.

Both contestants have reached the target with the first of those solutions; Lily demonstrates the alternative 938 = 9*(100 + 3) + 10 + 1.

Rob: 938
Paul: 938
Me: 938
Lily: 938

Scores: Rob 23 (29), Paul 28, me 48

Second break: HIDE SLOP ("A shiny performance")

It is shiny because it has been POLISHED.

Round 7: T D T I E A L S O

I had TIDE / DIET, DETAILS, speculatively wrote down IDOLATES (it is invalid) before correcting it to the more sensible ISOLATED, and then TOTALISED.  I was not certain about this word; it was a guess based off the knowledge that TAB stands for Totalisator Agency Board, and inferring the existence of TOTALISE as a verb.  (Aside: TOTALISATOR is the origin of the word TOTE in betting contexts.)  I liked it enough to try it, although the decision was a close one, and it was fortunately the right decision: TOTALISE is "to make total; combine into a total".  That's my first full monty for a couple of weeks -- my last was PRACTISED in episode 433 -- and it is always a nice feeling to get one.

Both contestants have found seven-letter words; Rob has TOILETS and Paul has SLOTTED.  David has continued his excellent form by finding TOTALISED as well.

The other eights are TOTALISE and SODALITE (a mineral) / DIASTOLE ("Prosody the lengthening.of a syllable regularly short, especially before a pause or at the ictus"; it also has a meaning from physiology).


Scores: Rob 23 (36), Paul 28 (35), me 66

Round 8: Target 605 from 100 8 6 1 9 4

Bleah, another boring numbers round.  I went with 605 = 6*100 + 4 + 1.  So did Rob, while Paul had the minor variation 605 = 6*100 + 9 - 4.

Lily indulges in some tweaking, just because, to get 605 = (100 + 1)*6 - (9 - 8).

Rob: 605
Paul: 605
Me: 605
Lily: 605

Scores: Rob 33 (46), Paul 38 (45), me 76


Rob has a single point lead, but it's decidedly not a comfort.  Both contestants must feel the need to solve this conundrum.  When it goes up there are many L's, which certainly constrains things.  Just "hearing" the words as written pretty much gives the answer away, and I buzzed in at the one second mark or thereabouts.  Rob is the first of the contestants to get there, though, and gets that precious fourth win.

Rob: ILLEGALLY (11.5s)
Paul: [no answer]

Final scores: Rob 33 (56), Paul 38 (45), me 86

Good back-and-forth in this game, with Paul's early find of FILAMENT giving him a great chance.  His remaining letters rounds were not quite where they needed to be, though, and that lead ebbed away.  Rob was probably a bit lucky that the final two numbers rounds were not more difficult; it looked to me like Paul had the upper hand there.  Perhaps Paul should have gone for a more difficult mix, like three of each.  Either could have won it at the conundrum, but it was Rob who did so.

That is Rob's fourth win, and he is quite likely to make the finals at this point.  Can he make it to retirement?  His run is rudely interrupted by the Masters series if so, but that is arguably the case for anyone so we'll just have to see how tomorrow pans out.


Mark said...

Congratulations Geoff. Rounds 2, 5 and 7 were all risky plays for me.

447 = (7-1)*75 - 8 + 5
938 = 9*100 + 3*10 + 8
605 = 6*100 + 4 + 1

Sam Gaffney said...

Great play Geoff & Mark, you both outscored me. Paul was unlucky that the numbers were so easy, as he seemed pretty comfortable with them.

I got TOTALISED, but right after David mentioned he had a nine. I remembered COMBIS was a valid word, but not that it has no E, sadly.

My answers:

447 = (7-1)*75-8+5
- (invalid: COMBIES)
938 = (100+3)*9+10+1
605 = 6*100+4+1

Geoff Bailey said...

Another excellent game from you, Mark -- nothing risky about AMOEBIC, but I can understand your concern about the other two. It's always good when the risky plays come off!

Bad luck on COMBIES, Sam -- I think I ran into a similar issue trying to play CORGIES once, and the memory has stuck.

I'll note that my conundrum might be a 1.5 seconder, it is a bit hard to tell the finer gradations on the browser window. I tend to save the half second increments for when the hand is obviously near the next tick, or the light has just barely started to come on.

Sam Gaffney said...

Geoff, your comment has solved something I was thinking of last night: GRADATES - a word that almost came to mind in Round 4, but not quite.

Mark said...

Thanks Sam and Geoff. Now that I think about it, I've heard of "amoebic dysentery" before, but at the time I wasn't sure about "amoebic".