Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ep 99 [SF2]: Naween Fernando, Dom Saric (May 17, 2012; originally aired December 16, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

The pre-game chat rehashes some more past performance statistics.  Naween has a high score of 94, and over the course of his main games found ten eight-letter words (and two nine-letter ones).  Dom has solved four conundrums.

It turned out to be an extremely close game; they each declared an invalid word, and otherwise were matched in the main rounds.  Dom took a single point lead into the conundrum, but no-one expected it to go unsolved so that was not much of a factor.  Dom missed his chance to wrap up the game in the final numbers round and Naween came good to solve the conundrum a little shy of eight seconds in; he must have been relieved to win by 62 points to 53.

I am very frustrated with my performance on the letters rounds today, missing at least three better answers that I would have found easily on a better day.  In fact, I did find one of them, but talked myself out of it.  My numbers performance was good, but there's only so much poor wordwork that it can compensate for.  In the end I managed to take a lead into the conundrum but was not fast enough to solve it before Naween did (as expected), but at least I only lost to one of the contestants tonight.  This could so easily have gone much better, and I hope that I can sort out whatever my issue is before tomorrow's grand final.

Round 1: E O A E L R T D D

I had ALOE, ALERT, LEOTARD, rejected LEOTARDED (although it seems that it is legal in Scrabble), TREADLE, and TREADLED.  After time I noted other sevens of RELATED / ALTERED, DELATED (DELATE: "to inform against; denounce or accuse"), and DELATOR.  Unfortunately, I had some uncertainty about whether TREADLE was a verb, and ended up talking myself out of TREADLED.  That was an ultimately costly error.

The contestants have found sevens also; Dom has chosen ALTERED while Naween has gone for LEOTARD.  David notes the presence of TODDLER, but has found the eight of RELOADED.  He also mentions that if the final consonant had been a C then RELOCATED would have been a nine.

RELOADED and TREADLED are the only eights; the other sevens are ALERTED and REDATED.


Scores: 7 apiece

Round 2: V F I A S R E I C

I had VISA, FEARS, VARIES, and VICARS.  I just could not find a seven, but after time expired I saw FIACRES quite clearly.  (A FIACRE is a hackney-coach; I've mentioned this word a few times, most recently in episode 418.)  I had been staring at those particular seven letters in isolation too, which makes this more vexing.

Dom has VARICES for seven (plural of VARIX: "Pathology a permanent abnormal dilation and lengthening of a vein, usually accompanied by some tortuosity; a varicose vein"), but Naween declares VICARIES for eight.  Unfortunately for Naween the Macquarie does not list it; Chambers lists VICARY as an obsolete term for a vicarship.  So Dom gets out to an early seven-point lead.

David points out VISCERA as an anagram of VARICES, and the other seven of FAIRIES.  Oh, dear, missing that really hurts.  That's all the sevens listed.

Naween: [invalid]

Scores: Naween 7, Dom 14, me 7

Round 3: Target 473 from 25 9 10 6 2 7

The standard method is obviously tempting, with the offset being just two, and I soon had 473 = 25*(10 + 9) - 2.  This is also Lily's solution.

Both contestants have ended up five away with 478 = 10*2*25 - (7 + 6 + 9).  This suggests a lack of comfort with the numbers, and tweaking in particular, as there are a lot of ways to modify that basic approach in order to get closer.

Naween: 478
Dom: 478
Me: 473
Lily: 473

Scores: Naween 7 (14), Dom 14 (21), me 17

First break: CENT DEAD ("Ten years of luxury")

Of course, "ten years" refers to the DECADE of DECADENT.

David talks about the word scintilla, and digresses to scintillate, stencil, tinsel, humbug, yule, and jolly.  Along the way the word CORUSCATE is mentioned, and David suggests that it would make a good conundrum.  It would be decent, with COURT CASE as the two words, but unfortunately has the anagram ACCOUTRES (ACCOUTRE: "to equip or array, especially with military accoutrements") and its American spelling ACCOUTERS.

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

My brain just refused to work on this round.  I had RICE, TRICE, CREDIT / DIRECT, REACTED / CREATED, and TRANCED.  It was obvious that there was at least an eight, but I simply could not see one.  In desperation I wrote down CINERATE (thinking it might be a shortening of INCINERATE), then went for broke with CINERATED.  And then good sense reasserted itself and I rejected them, falling back feebly on my sevens.

This was the right decision as far as validity goes, but after time I quickly saw RETAINED / DETAINER and knew that I was sunk regardless.  As expected, both contestants had found eight-letter words; in fact, they both went for DECANTER.  David has opted for an anagram of it: RECANTED.

The other eights include two more anagrams of it: CANTERED / CRENATED (acceptable variant of CRENATE: "having the margin notched or scalloped so as to form rounded teeth, as a leaf"), plus ITERANCE (iteration) / CREATINE (a particular amino acid) / INCREATE ("existing without having been created").


Scores: Naween 15 (22), Dom 22 (29), me 17

Round 5: O U E A N P H J M

Unhelpful consonants; I had OPEN and PHONE, and wondered about UNHOME but rightly rejected it.  After time I toyed with the idea of PHENOM (but did not like it) and finally found HUMANE.

Naween has found HUMANE for six, and his declaration of six prompted Dom to risk PHENOM in order to match it.  PHENOM is not valid, however, and Naween closes the gap to a single point.  David has found PNEUMA ("Greek Philosophy, etc., the vital spirit; the soul"), and it is the only other six.

Naween: HUMANE
Dom: [invalid]

Scores: Naween 21 (28), Dom 22 (29), me 17

Round 6: Target 716 from 25 100 6 2 9 9

I've failed to score in the last three letters rounds and desperately need some help from the numbers.  But this particular target is too easy, with everyone finding 716 = (9 - 2)*100 + 25 - 9.

Naween: 716
Dom: 716
Me: 716
Lily: 716

Scores: Naween 31 (38), Dom 32 (39), me 27

Second break: POUR VERY ("Has got the goods")

The person with the goods is a PURVEYOR.

Round 7: O E U A S N C P S

I had SANE, CONES, and POUNCES.  That seemed very likely to be a flat result, so I also wrote down SOUPCANS in the spirit of hopefulness, but it just was not plausible.

As expected, everyone has found POUNCES.  The other sevens are SCAPOSE ("(of a plant) having scapes", where in this context a 'scape' is a leafless flower stalk rising from the ground), UNCASES / USANCES (USANCE: "Commerce the length of time, exclusive of days of grace, allowed by custom or usage for the payment of foreign bills of exchange"), and CASEOUS ("of or like cheese").


Scores: Naween 38 (45), Dom 39 (46), me 34

Round 8: Target 365 from 75 50 4 9 7 9

Dom has managed to retain that one-point lead; if he can solve this round without Naween doing so then he guarantees his win before the conundrum.  It is a low target, but although it is easy to get close some care may be needed to get there exactly.  The standard method would suggest trying 375 as the first approach, which is tempting as it is 5*75 or 3*125.  But the offset is 10, which looked awkward, and I liked my odds better with an offset of 15 from below.  That turned out to work, giving me the solution 365 = 7*50 + 75/(9 - 4).  Again, this is also Lily's solution.

After time I tried exploiting the factor of 5, and this produces what feels like the most natural solution: 365 = (9 - 4)*(75 - (9 - 7)).

Both contestants are one off the target with 366, but in different ways.  Dom has 366 = (9 - 4)*75 - 9, while Naween has 366 = 75*4 + 50 + 9 + 7.

So the match is alive going into the conundrum, but Dom had his chance to seal the victory here, if he had just seen the tweak.  I'm finally in front of both contestants -- having thrown away 23 points, that is quite the relief! -- but based on my conundrum form this week that just means that I will lose to only one of them.

Naween: 366
Dom: 366
Me: 365
Lily: 365

Scores: Naween 38 (52), Dom 39 (53), me 44


I got completely hung up on the -ABLE fragment, and was not able to see the right answer until twenty seconds were up.  That turns out to be insufficient as Naween found it a bit over seven seconds in, to get the come-from-behind victory.

Naween: BALLERINA (7.5s)
Dom: [no answer]

Final scores: Naween 48 (62), Dom 39 (53), me 44

A close game, coming down to the conundrum.  Good word skills from both contestants on display, but the numbers could use some work.  Naween makes it through to face Andrew in the final, and since Andrew is similarly biased towards the words this could be a nailbiter.  I feel a bit silly making predictions about an episode that is a year and a half old, but since I have not seen it I'm OK with that; I am predicting that it will come down to the conundrum and Andrew will solve it first.

Those first four letters rounds killed my chances.  Better results in any one of them would have given me the win; all were findable, and talking myself out of TREADLED snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  (As it turns out, I would have won against Naween alone, but then again he might not have risked VICARIES against my six on that round.  A rich tapestry, and all that.)

First grand final tomorrow, and then on to the series two finals next week.


Mark said...

I thought Naween had a full monty in Round 4, because he seemed to stop looking quite early.

473 = (10+9)*25 - 2
716 = (9-2)*100 + 25 - 9
365 = (9-4)*(75-9+7)

Laura S said...

I've not commented before, but was pleased with myself in two rounds here: I found RELOADED in Round 1, and I also got the conundrum - after Naween buzzed, but before he announced what it was.

Mark said...

Well done Laura!

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice to hear from you, Laura, and very well done on both counts!

And nice work, Mark -- like me, you'd have beaten either contestant individually, but thanks to Dom's find in round two you'd go down narrowly to Naween in the three-cornered game.

Sam Gaffney said...

I think I'd seen this episode before, though I don't remember anything. In a real game I would probably not have tried the ludicrous REDOLATED.

- (REDOLATED is not a word! Had ALTERED).
VARIES (just late on FAIRIES)
473 = 25*(10 + 9) - 2
716 = (9 - 2)*100 + 25 - 9
365 = (50-9)*9-4
14s (I too got hung up on -able, along with -ible.)

Sam Gaffney said...

Also, nice to hear from Laura S.