Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Ep 297 [QF4]: Jeremy Schiftan, Brydon Coverdale (June 4, 2012; originally aired October 18, 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.

In this last quarterfinal we finally get to learn some new things about the contestants, at least of a sort.  It does make a nice change from the recital of their previous performances on the show.

In the champion's seat is fourth seed Jeremy Schiftan, a student and musician.  Since his time on the show, Jeremy has been travelling around Europe.  His highlights were the sunshine in Spain, and Ghent in Belgium; he has friends in Ghent that he met in previous travels through Europe.

In the challenger's position is fifth seed Brydon Coverdale, a cricket journalist.  Richard notes that (when this episode originally aired) the summer of cricket is about to get underway.  Brydon agrees, and says that he is about to go to South Africa to cover the Australian tour there, and that he thinks Capetown has just about the most beautiful cricket ground in the world.  (I'll make an aside here that the Australian cricket tour of South Africa started about a week before this episode first aired, but the point of filming was around two months prior.)

It was a tight game for much of it, with the contestants equal at the first break.  Jeremy scooted ahead in the second third, courtesy of a longer word and a solution to the numbers round.  The last letters game could have turned that on its head but produced no swing, and Brydon needed to outdo Jeremy on the final numbers game to have a chance.  He managed to do so, and set up a potential double conundrum round by going into it precisely ten points behind Jeremy.  But neither was able to solve the conundrum, and Jeremy made his way into the semifinals (to face Colin) with a 51 to 41 victory.

I was in decent shape, but missed a couple of trickier longer words along the way.  And then the final letters round I missed an answer I should have seen, which took the gloss off things a little.  I solved the conundrum reasonably early, and ended up an easy victor in the end.

Round 1: N A H E L I B O M

I had LEAN, INHALE, and MANHOLE.  I toyed with a few fragments like -MAN / -MEN and HELIO-, but nothing longer came of it.

Both contestants have found MOBILE for six.  David mentions MANHOLE, but then makes a comment about travel, and I curse as I see what he means; he has accurately found his way to BOHEMIA and thus BOHEMIAN for eight.  Well done, David!

That looks like the only eight; the other sevens are HAMBONE and HOBNAIL.

Jeremy: MOBILE
Brydon: MOBILE

Scores: Jeremy 0 (6), Brydon 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: S D C E R I V O M

I had REDS, CRIES, and DISCOVER.  There did not seem to be any useful way to insert the M into that for a nine, so DISCOVER was where I stayed.

Once again the contestants have six-letter words; Jeremy has MEDICS -- missing that he could insert an O for MEDICOS -- and Brydon has VOICED.  David has found the anagrammatic pair of DISCOVER / DIVORCES.

Those are the only eights (CO-DRIVES is hyphenated only); the other sevens are DORMICE, MISDOER, DIVORCE, VOICERS, CORVIDS (birds of the family that includes crows and ravens), and VOIDERS / VISORED / DEVISOR (a legal term) / DEVOIRS ("respects or compliments").

Jeremy: MEDICS
Brydon: VOICED

Scores: Jeremy 0 (12), Brydon 0 (12), me 15

Round 3: Target 858 from 100 50 3 1 8 6

The obvious iterative approach works quite well, and a quick tweak gave me 858 = 8*(100 + 1) + 50.  Then I focused on the factor of 6 and found two other solutions: 858 = 6*(100 + 50 - 8 + 1) and 858 = 6*(3*50 - 8 + 1).

Both contestants have solved this with an untweaked version of my first solution: 858 = 8*100 + 50 + 6 + 3 - 1.  Lily has used the tweaked version.

Jeremy: 858
Brydon: 858
Me: 858
Lily: 858

Scores: Jeremy 10 (22), Brydon 10 (22), me 25

First break: WEAR TOOL ("I was defeated, you won the war")

The clue is part of the lyrics to the ABBA song WATERLOO.

David's talk is about the word meander.

Round 4: T G U P A D N E I

I had PANG, PANGED (inaccurately; the Macquarie only lists PANG as a noun), UPDATE, UPDATING, and DEPUTING.

Brydon has PAINED for six, and that is somewhat self-describing as Jeremy has found PAINTED for seven to take the lead.  David has found both DEPUTING and UPDATING for eights.

Those are the only eights; the other sevens have been mentioned several times before on this blog: AUDIENT and PETUNIA.

Brydon: PAINED

Scores: Jeremy 10 (29), Brydon 10 (22), me 33

Round 5: T O F A C E H I K

Yeesh, the letters just kept on being incompatible.  I had hoped that a final N would tie most of it together with INCHOATE, but with that K instead all I had was FACT, TEACH, and HACKIE (colloquial for a taxidriver).

Both contestants have CHEAT for five, while David has also found HACKIE.

The other six is FETICH, a variant spelling of FETISH that I mentioned relatively recently in episode 421.  But there is a seven-letter word available after all: HOTCAKE, listed as an acceptable alternative to the more usual hyphenated form.

Jeremy: CHEAT
Brydon: CHEAT

Scores: Jeremy 10 (34), Brydon 10 (27), me 39

Round 6: Target 171 from 75 1 8 7 2 1

The target is 21 away from 150, but forming the 150 uses up the 2 which would be needed for the 3 to make 21.  That prompted me to instead consider addition only, noting that the target is 75 + 96 and thus finding the solution 171 = 2*(7 - 1)*8 + 75.  After time I realised that I could still make the original idea work since the 2 would be available for tweaking; that led me to 171 = 2*(75 + 7) + 8 - 1.

Brydon is not too happy about declaring 167 -- presumably 2*75 + 8 + 7 + 1 + 1 -- and less so when Jeremy turns out to have a solution: 171 = (75 + 8)*2 + 7 - 1 - 1.

That puts Jeremy 17 points ahead, so Brydon needs to get some ground back very quickly.  He certainly cannot afford to fall further behind in either of the next two rounds.

Jeremy: 171
Brydon: 167
Me: 171

Scores: Jeremy 20 (44), Brydon 10 (27), me 49

Second break: COST MICE ("No deeper than the surface")

A relatively straightforward clue for COSMETIC.

Round 7: G A S E R O S I N

I had SAGE, GEARS, SEARING, and GORINESS.  After time I noted down ENGROSS as a possibly interesting seven, and then saw that I had missed ORGANISES for nine.  Bother bother bother.

That full monty has the potential to shake up this game entirely, shooting Brydon into the lead if he finds it and Jeremy does not.  But both have sevens, Jeremy with SOARING and Brydon with SEARING.  David has accurately found ORGANISES.

The other eights are ORGANISE, REASSIGN / ASSIGNER / SERINGAS (SERINGA being one of a few types of tree), AGONISES, ASSIGNOR (a legal term, otherwise similar to ASSIGNER), ERASIONS / SENSORIA (plural of SENSORIUM: "the supposed seat of sensation in the brain, usually taken as the cortex or grey matter"), and ARGOSIES (plural of ARGOSY: "a large merchant ship, especially one with a rich cargo").


Scores: Jeremy 20 (51), Brydon 10 (34), me 57

Round 8: Target 659 from 50 25 8 5 9 4

Brydon must score unanswered points here to have a chance.  I toyed with the idea of 9*75 - 2*8, but could not form the requisite 2.  Fortunately I reverted to considering the more conventional standard approach, since the target is 9 away from 650 and we have the 9.  The 650 is easy enough from the remaining numbers, and my solution was 659 = (8 + 5)*50 + 9.

Jeremy has ended up 4 away with 663, and I'll guess this was 663 = (9 + 5)*50 - 25 - 8 - 4.  But Brydon is just one away with 658 = (9 + 4)*50 + 8.  Oh, dear, he made the 13 the less helpful way; if he had reasoned backwards he might have seen the solution.  Lily has used the same solution that I did.

Those seven points put Brydon precisely ten points behind going into the conundrum; we could have a double conundrum on our hands!

Jeremy: 663
Brydon: 658
Me: 659
Lily: 659

Scores: Jeremy 20 (51), Brydon 10 (41), me 67


I was slower than I should have been on this; I started off by considering CALCULATE, but realised that it was not there (and besides, we've had that as a conundrum in another episode).  But there was a small gap before I looked at what was left over with the -ULATE ending, and found the answer.  Neither contestant manages to solve it, however, and that is game to Jeremy.

Jeremy: [no answer]
Brydon: [no answer]

Final scores: Jeremy 20 (51), Brydon 10 (41), me 77

It was a close-ish game, but there were lots of chances for improvement.  I don't think that either contestant was playing at their best this game, but Jeremy had the better of it and will get another chance.  This game had the potential of going to a second conundrum, and that would have been exciting if so.

The first of the semifinals is tomorrow, with Jacob taking on Anthony.


Anonymous said...

Hi Geoff, roman here...have just stumbled across your (very comprehensive) blog and am pleased that I have. I too would have won last night picking up a couple of 8's and one number solution where the finalists didn't solve the answer. I ended up with a score of 58 including the conundrum which I got a the very last second with the nearest to me being Jeremy on 37, based on my words and solutions outstripping their scores. Will now keep a daily vigil of the Blog for certain. Incidentally, had I got the conundrum in my series 4 qf, I would have gone on to win the lot based on my results at home admittedly without the added pressure of being on the spot. There's always the one that got away...

Sam Gaffney said...

I always took a keen interest in Brydon's games, as his play was solid, and I am familiar with his cricket writing on the Cricinfo website. I didn't think he went as well in this episode as he did in his main run, but the pressure of a finals game against a strong opponent doesn't make the job any easier.

I got everything but Round 5 last night, but this is probably because I watched the episode last November, some mixes felt really familiar. First time around, I didn't get BOHEMIAN or ORGANISES.

P.S. I believe Jeremy's surname is spelt Schiftan.

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks for the correction about Jeremy's surname, Sam -- I made the mistake of going by the Letters and Numbers facebook post where they listed the finalists. Corrected now, and apologies to Jeremy for not checking more carefully.

Great to hear from you, Roman! I'm deeply sympathetic to "the one that got away", but it is almost certainly easier at home and without the must-win pressure. Congratulations on your performance last night, and I hope to hear more from you about your results.

And great stuff from you, Sam. BOHEMIAN is a difficult get even if it's in the regular vocabulary -- it's not really got those useful affixes to work with.