Saturday, 12 May 2012

Ep 95 [QF2]: Naween Fernando, Veronica Corrigan (May 11, 2012; originally aired December 10, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

No mention of the original airdate this time; maybe someone caught the error.  Tonight is the second quarterfinal of series one and pits second seed Naween Fernando against seventh seed Veronica Corrigan.  Naween has a reputation essentially equal to that of Andrew Fisher from my perspective; I gather that they have been rivals for some time.  So again I am in a position of hoping for the same things I wanted from the previous game: Challenging numbers rounds, and perhaps some overreaching on the word front.  Last night I got lucky; can it happen again?

Richard introduces accountant Naween Fernando as the second seed for the finals series.  Richard points out that Naween successfully retired after winning six games, and that in one particular game Naween scored three eight-letter words and two nine-letter ones.  Wow!  Throw in the conundrum and perfect numbers results and that would be a hundred point game.

Taking up the challenge is seventh seed Veronica Corrigan, a third year medical student.  Veronica won her first game by a single point and then "went on to win convincingly over the next three nights".  That sounds like she got to play five games, so the first series seems to have similar results to the fourth one on that front.

In contrast to yesterday's tight game this one was a very one-sided affair.  Naween was never outpointed on the letters (and found a full monty early to take a commanding lead), and Veronica was consistently further away on the numbers.  Naween had wrapped up the victory by the second break, and solved the conundrum first to round out his 75 to 13 win.

I did poorly on the first round, throwing away seven points that I would often have gained.  Naween's full monty then made the lead commanding, and the numbers rounds ended up being somewhat too easy for me to gain anything back there.  I did manage to get some back in one letters round thanks to the Scrabble-vs-Macquarie difference, and the last numbers round had just enough challenge for me to finally gain some ground there.  That actually left me in contention at the conundrum, which is again better than I expected to be doing.  It proved to be too difficult for me, and although Naween seemed to dawdle a little over it he still comfortably solved it and had the victory.

Round 1: A E A I R T S K F

I had AREA, TIARA, TIARAS, STREAK, and FREAKS.  I simply could not see a seven, but after time I tried -EST and found FAIREST directly.

Veronica has found FREAKS for six, but Naween accurately has FAIREST for seven.  David has found the alternative unusual seven of FRISKET ("an iron frame to hold in place a sheet of paper to be printed").

The other sevens are the ATRESIA / ASTERIA / ARISTAE trio that I've mentioned a few times before (most recently in episode 435), and possibly KARATES.

Veronica: FREAKS

Scores: Naween 7, Veronica 0, me 0

Round 2: S E C D I R A B G

I had SIDE, RIDES, SCARED, BRAISED, wondered about CABRIDES (not valid), and BRIGADES / ABRIDGES.  After time I noted DISGRACE and ASCRIBED (the safe anagram of CABRIDES) as other eights.

Veronica has also found ABRIDGES for eight, but Naween has a full monty!  I paused and spent some more time looking for it, but it eluded me.  His nine was BIRDCAGES, which is excellent vision.  (I'll note that he does not actually do any writing while the camera is on him in this round; perhaps he had it before time even started?)  David notes that CAGEBIRDS is another nine from that mix.

The other eights are the singulars: BIRDCAGE / CAGEBIRD.

At this point it feels safe to say that Naween is going to win, but I can still hope for the numbers to save me.  Twenty-five points is a lot to make up, though, especially as I am assuming that he will solve the conundrum first.

Veronica: ABRIDGES

Scores: Naween 25, Veronica 0, me 0

Round 3: Target 818 from 75 7 4 6 10 6

The standard method looks promising, with the target near 825, which is 11*75.  I start to make that 11 from 7 + 4, then I note that the difference would be 7 so I want to preserve that 7.  Fortunately there is an alternative, and I had 818 = (10 + 6/6)*75 - 7.  I thought that might put me in with a chance, but still within time I saw that using the 10 is enough to get close and then to solve it, with 818 = 10*(75 + 7) - (6 - 4).  Bother.

Veronica was not able to get within range, but Naween has solved it with the second of those solutions.

Naween: 818
Veronica: [not in range]
Me: 818

Scores: Naween 35, Veronica 0, me 10

First break: EARL PALL ("What skiing, parking, and some universes have in common")

They can all be PARALLEL.

David's talk is about the terms berserk and run amok (or run amuck).

Round 4: D D L E I A C N N

I had IDLED, LANCED, CANDLED, and CANDIED.  After time I added ANNELID (a member of the Annelida phylum of worms) as another seven.

Both contestants declare sevens, but Veronica's choice of DANDLED uses a phantom third D.  Naween's selection was INLACED, which sounds like the kind of archaism that the Macquarie might reject... and indeed that is the case.  No points for either contestant this round; David has found CANDLED for his seven.

The other seven here is LINDANE, an insecticide.

Naween: [invalid]
Veronica: [invalid]

Scores: Naween 35, Veronica 0, me 17

Round 5: E I O E H D T R S

I had HIDE, OTHER, and SHORTED.  I could not better it within time; after time I noted down some of the other sevens: SHIRTED, HOISTED, EDITORS, and DITHERS.  I also speculated about REHOISTED, but was fairly confident that it would not be listed (and I was correct about this).  Some dictionary trawling turned up OTHERSIDER (referring to someone who lives on the other side of something to the speaker -- either the Nullarbor Plain or Bass Strait, depending on the speaker's state)... but no matching OTHERSIDE, alas.

Sevens again from the contestants, but this time they are valid: DITHERS for Veronica, and HOISTED for Naween.  David has found a nine!  I spent ages trying to work out what it could be, but was not good enough to find THEORISED.  Well done, David!

The eights are the trio THEORIES / THEORISE / ISOTHERE ("a line connecting places on the earth's surface which have the same mean summer temperature").

Veronica: DITHERS

Scores: Naween 42, Veronica 7, me 24

Round 6: Target 155 from 75 100 50 10 4 8

Veronica goes for the potentially tricky three of each option, but the target is a little too small to prove a problem.  I had 155 = 100 + 75 - 10*8/4, and then 155 = 8*10 + 75.

Veronica has ended up one away with 154, which presumably was 100 + 50 + 4.  Naween has reached the target, though, with 155 = 100 + 50 + 10/(8/4), and this is also Lily's solution.

Naween: 155
Veronica: 154
Me: 155
Lily: 155

Scores: Naween 52, Veronica 7, me 34

Second break: ACRE TEND ("Movement of a horse and holding liquor")

The first part of the clue made me think they wanted CANTERED, but the second part makes it clear that DECANTER is the intended answer.

Round 7: O U E A C W S N H

An unpromising bunch; I had CAUSE, SHOWN, CHOSEN, and CASHEW.  After time I wondered about SEACOW, but it is only listed as two separate words.

Both contestants have gone with CHOSEN for their six, although Naween says that he is playing it safe so I wonder what his risky option was.  Presumably it is the seven that David has found: COHUNES (plural of COHUNE, which is a type of palm tree).

That seems to be the only seven; there are a decent set of sixes, more than I feel like listing.

Naween: CHOSEN
Veronica: CHOSEN

Scores: Naween 58, Veronica 13, me 40

Round 8: Target 317 from 50 100 75 6 7 8

Veronica persists with three of each, and gets another low target.  The standard method works easily here, indicating that we want to get to 325 then subtract that 8.  That simplifies matters substantially, and I had 317 = 6*50 + 100 - 75 - 8 in short order.

There's many variations, such as 317 = 7*50 - (100 - 75) - 8, or 317 = (7 + 6)*(75 - 50) - 8, or even a little tweakage with 318 = 8*(50 - (7 - 6)) - 75.  (A kitchen sink approach: 317 = 7*75 + 100 - 6*50 - 8.)

Veronica is only just in range with 307, which I guess was 6*50 + 7.  It seems odd that she did not then add the 8 to get closer, which is Naween's declaration: 315 = 6*50 + 7 + 8.  That has him two away from the target, and so I am finally back within conundrum range... not that I expect this to be useful.  On a better day I would have found the seven in round one to be only a point behind at this stage, not that it can affect the outcome at this point.

Lily has solved this, using the first of the solutions that I listed.

Naween: 315
Veronica: 307
Me: 317
Lily: 317

Scores: Naween 58 (65), Veronica 13, me 50


I was tempted to buzz in instantly and hope to solve it in the second that I have for a declaration (the GANDISEEG gambit), but I'm pretty sure that the conundrum is going to be tough.  That proves to be the case, and I was not even close to getting a solution.  Naween doodles on his pad for a bit and solves it a bit over ten seconds in, so I had more time than I thought, but it was not enough -- it actually took me a minute and twenty seconds before I found the solution.

Naween: PYROMANIA (10.5s)
Veronica: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Naween 68 (75), Veronica 13, me 50

Naween was just too good today, at least for Veronica and myself.  Perhaps warned by watching Andrew's game earlier, he avoided most risky plays on the letters, only tripping up on INLACED.  Although admittedly there was not that much scope for risk here, so it was perhaps more circumstance than policy.  The numbers were much friendlier this game, and Naween was able to mostly take advantage of that.  Veronica tried to get some bite into the numbers but it just was not happening, and the game was pretty much lost after the first three rounds in any case.

This was more the kind of scoreline I anticipated from yesterday's game.  The full monty was not so expected, and in the end it was the difference in the scores.  My first round was quite disappointing but the rest was pretty reasonable.  If the numbers had been more challenging I could have really had a chance here; on the other hand, if the letters had been more challenging I might have lost by a lot more.  *chuckles*

Two quarterfinals down, with the rest of season one next week.  So far I'm in better shape than expected, although I've also been a bit lucky.  Fingers crossed for the next two games!


Mark said...

Well done Geoff. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of Naween and Andrew.

819 = (7+4)*75 - 6
154 = 100 + 50 + 4
315 = 6*50 + 7 + 8

Sam Gaffney said...

DISCLAIMER: I saw this episode when it first aired, and explicitly remembered BIRDCAGES (I only got an eight at the time), to say nothing of subconscious memories.

Naween "the anagram machine" Fernando was in full flight here, the fetching Veronica was unfortunately a lamb to the slaughter.

Regarding the "GANDISEEG gambit", Andrew Fisher had an extra six seconds of thinking time after he buzzed in for VELODROME in Ep94, as Richard spoke. Though Andrew seemed to genuinely have the answer, he nearly could have ridden a lap in an actual velodrome before having to declare it! I'd like to see the conundrum answers spoken within a second of buzzing, a la the old Sale of the Century game show, so that it is more of a genuine contest of who can unscramble the word first.

My answers (add grain of salt here):

BIRDCAGES (I remembered this)
818 = (10+6/6)*75-7
317 = 6*50+100-75-8
11s (got it in between Naween buzzing and declaring)