Friday, 1 June 2012

Ep 295 [QF2]: Colin Turnball, Paul Breen (May 31, 2012; originally aired October 14, 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.

Occupying the champion's seat in this second quarterfinal is second seed Colin Turnball, and actuary and adventure seeker.  During his run in the regular part of the series Colin solved five conundrums in a row.  But more importantly from his point of view, he got married a few months ago.  And, as he notes, they are still together.

Taking the challenger's position is magazine imaging specialist Paul Breen, the seventh seed.  When he was last on the show it was mentioned that he hoped to solve one of David's crosswords some day.  He is still trying, but is not there yet.

Paul gained an early lead over Colin in the first letters round, but Colin found the optimal results in the remaining letters rounds and Paul was just off the pace each time.  That was a major advantage to Colin, and when the contestants matched each other on the numbers rounds there was not enough chance for Paul to get back into contention.  Colin was safe going into the final numbers round, which was a testing one, and he solved the conundrum first also to record a 65 to 34 win and only two non-opimal rounds.  That's a high standard, for sure.

I was also in good form, fortunately for me.  In fact, only that last numbers round proved a stumbling block, and I solved the conundrum in good time.  (Bearing in mind that I would have seen it during the original airing, and I'm not sure how fast I found it then.)  Colin did not leave much room, but just enough for me to get home even if the conundrum result were reversed, so it's a good result for me.

Round 1: F E C R A D R I T

I had FACE, FACED (overlooking FARCE and FARCED along the way), CARRIED, CRAFTER, rejected CARTRIDE, and then found CRAFTIER for the legitimate eight.

Colin has CREDIT for six, but Paul has found DRIFTER for seven.  David mentions CARRIED and TARRIED as alternative sevens, but has also found CRAFTIER for eight.

There's no other eights (in an odd omission on American spellings, DRAFTY is not listed as an alternative for DRAUGHTY, so DRAFTIER is not valid).  The other sevens are REFRACT, DRAFTER / REDRAFT, TARDIER, and ERRATIC / CIRRATE.


Scores: Colin 0, Paul 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: L S H M E O U R D

I had HELMS, HOLES, SOURED, MODULES, and SHOULDER.  After time I found MOULDERS as another eight.

Paul has MOULDER for seven, oddly missing the opportunity to append the S.  Colin has found SHOULDER for eight, and takes the lead.  David points out that the S could have been added to the start of Paul's word to give SMOULDER.

That is all the eights listed (Chambers would also allow MUDHOLES, but the Macquarie does not).  The other sevens are MOLDERS / SMOLDER (American spelling), HOLDERS, HURDLES, and HUMORED (American spelling).


Scores: Colin 8, Paul 0 (7), me 16

Round 3: Target 202 from 100 2 3 5 7 10

An excellent spread of small numbers is a hopeful sign, but the target is too small to be challenging.  Everyone has 202 = 2*100 + 5 - 3 in short order.

Colin: 202
Paul: 202
Me: 202

Scores: Colin 18, Paul 10 (17), me 26

First break: LOCK SNUB ("This cream stops burning from above")

Straightforward to get SUNBLOCK from this.

David's talk is about the words adventure and accident.

Round 4: T G B K E E O T I

After two fruitful letter rounds we end up with something much less friendly.  I'd have opted for a final consonant, hoping for an N for BETOKEN, but the actual G would not have helped me.  I had BEGET, and that was it.

Paul has GEEK for four, but Colin extends his lead with BIGOT for five.  David humorously suggests that the contestants are insulting him with their selections; he mentions BEGET and BEIGE as alternatives, and could not find longer.

The other fives -- the best to be done, it seems -- are BEGOT and BOGIE.

Colin: BIGOT
Paul: GEEK

Scores: Colin 23, Paul 10 (17), me 31

Round 5: G R A E S T I M O

I had RAGE / GEAR, RAGES / GEARS, GRATES, wondered about STAGIER (it is valid), and then a spread of eights: MIGRATES, ERGOTISM ("a disease due to eating food prepared from rye, etc., affected with ergot"), and ATOMISER / AMORTISE.

Paul has MASTER for six, outdone again by Colin's choice of MIGRATES for eight.  That puts Colin more than a conundrum's worth ahead, so Paul has some catching up to do.  David speculates, correctly as it turns out, that Colin was hoping that the final vowel would be an E for EMIGRATES.  He adds that a consonant instead might have been an N (and it would have been, too) allowing MASTERING / STREAMING as full monties.  I'll note that it would also allow EMIGRANTS.

The other eight is RAGTIMES.


Scores: Colin 31, Paul 10 (17), me 39

Round 6: Target 859 from 75 100 8 6 3 2

My first thought was that 875 was very formable, and with the difference being 16 a quick tweak gave a solution: 859 = 8*(100 - 2) + 75.  Then I observed that the 16 could also be made without tweaking, yielding the alternative solution 859 = 8*100 + 75 - 3*6 + 2.

Both contestants have found this second solution, as has Lily.

Colin: 859
Paul: 859
Me: 859
Lily: 859

Scores: Colin 41, Paul 20 (27), me 49

Second break: IRATE MAN ("Soak in seawater")

The seawater is a reference to the "marine" sound of MARINATE.

Round 7: N L E A F H E S I

I had LANE and INHALES.  I played around with FISH, but nothing seemed to match.  The -LINE fragment was also there, but neither SAFELINE nor SHEAFLINE were plausible, so INHALES was where I stayed.  After time I noted FINALES and FELINES as alternative sevens.

Paul has SHEEN for five, outdone once again by Colin's find of INHALES.  That puts Colin 21 points ahead, and guarantees him the win.  David has opted for FINALES as the appropriate seven.

Seven is the best to be done, and that's all of them.


Scores: Colin 48, Paul 20 (27), me 56

Round 8: Target 431 from 75 25 50 100 8 2

Paul shakes things up with the heavyweight mix, and gets a lowish but challenging target.  The best I could do was get one away with 432 = 8*(50 + 100/25).  The basic idea of getting close with 8*50 was clear, and the rest was a matter of tweaking.  After time I saw that -- if the show allowed non-integral intermediate results -- an interesting answer would be 431 = 8*(50 + 75/100) + 25.  I was not able to twist that into a valid solution, alas.

Both contestants have found 427 = 8*50 + 25 + 2.  The best Lily has been able to manage is 430, which I'll guess was 430 = (8 + 2)*(50 - (100 + 75)/25).

Belatedly, as I played around with the numbers some more, I recalled this numbers game and the brilliant solution that Lily found after the conundrum: 431 = (75*(50 - 100/25) - 2)/8.  Bravo, Lily!  She was rightly proud of that, and that solution has been available on YouTube since late in 2011.

The only other solution is a variant of this approach: 431 = (75*50 - 100 - 2)/8 - 25.

Colin: 427
Paul: 427
Me: 432
Lily: 430

Scores: Colin 48 (55), Paul 20 (34), me 63


I spotted a familiar TRIBUTE in this mix, and then the remaining letters made the conundrum obvious.  I had the solution two seconds in, and Colin rounded out an excellent game from him to solve it a few seconds later.

Colin: ATTRIBUTE (6s)
Paul: [no answer]

Final scores: Colin 48 (65), Paul 20 (34), me 73

Colin was in great form today, with six optimal results from the main rounds.  That was always going to prove a formidable challenge to overcome, and although Paul had some decent results he just was not able to match that tonight.  Paul could have edged a little closer if he had thought to make MOULDERS in round 2, admittedly, but Colin is undoubtedly the worthy winner of this game.


Sam Gaffney said...

I looked up last year's answers, they are quite similar to Geoff's. I played along with this game again today, and got basically the same answers that I did the first time I watched, which is interesting.

Last year's answers:

202 = 2*100+5-3
859 = (100-2)*8+75
432 = (50+100/25)*8
2s (watching again, original time not recorded)

Mark said...

Nice work, Geoff and Sam.

202 = 2*100 + 5 - 3
859 = 8*100 + 75 - 6*3 + 2
432 = 8*(50 + 100/25)
4 seconds