Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Ep 298 [SF1]: Jacob Davey, Anthony Kendall (June 5, 2012; originally aired October 19, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Disclaimer: I watched this episode when it first aired, and although I did not recall most of it I cannot rule out memory being a factor.  In one instance (to be mentioned later) I remembered a result after the fact; it is an edge case for another reason, also to be mentioned later.

A few more snippets about the competitors are revealed.  Jacob is a musical composer, and after his successful sixth episode he let out some of his emotional energy in a composition.  At the rather less pleasant end of the spectrum, Anthony has had three knee reconstructions on his left knee, due to rugby and perhaps other sporting injuries.

The contestants were locked together for the first third, and if not for one risky play from Anthony would have been matched for the first seven rounds.  However, those seven points conceded to Jacob were important, as Jacob outdid Anthony in the very tricky last numbers round to take an unassailable lead going into the conundrum.  Jacob solved it in extremely quick time to take a heartily deserved win, 70 to 46.

I had some up and down in this game, and it was not a good time for it -- both contestants were in excellent form.  I gained some advantage on the letters, but an extremely careless effort in the final numbers round saw me declare an invalid total and possibly become vulnerable again at the conundrum.  I did solve it, but much slower than Jacob did, and for all I know slower than Anthony would have solved it also.

Round 1: B S N T E I E I C

After the first four letters I thought there was an excellent chance of seeing the familiar BOTANISE / BOTANIES / OBEISANT / NIOBATES set, and the next two vowels did nothing to change that.  It took a turn away from there, though, leaving me scrambling to recover.  I had BENTS, INSECT, and INCITES (still relatively fresh in my mind thanks to episode 194, the first quarterfinal from series 2).  After time I added ENTICES as another seven.

Both contestants have found ENTICES for seven, and David has gone that one better that he often does, with NICETIES.  Nice one, David!

The other seven is STIBINE (antimonous hydride).

Anthony: ENTICES

Scores: 7 apiece

Round 2: D T P H A O U E M

I had PATH, ADOPT, HUMPED, and THUMPED.  After time I saw POTHEAD as another seven.

Again both contestants are matched, with MOUTHED for seven.  David has THUMPED for his.

The other seven is APOTHEM ("a perpendicular from the centre of  regular polygon to one of its sides").

Anthony: MOUTHED

Scores: 14 apiece

Round 3: Target 430 from 75 50 25 2 6 1

The target is clearly near 6*75, and with the difference being 20 a minor tweak and the 25 would get us one away.  But 20 is also 6*3 + 2, and that let me find the solution 430 = 6*(75 - 2 - 1) - 50/25.  A trivial variation is available by swapping the 2 and 50/25, and those turn out to be the only solutions.

Both contestants and Lily have solved this, using the first variant.  A close game!

Jacob: 430
Anthony: 430
Me: 430
Lily: 430

Scores: 24 apiece

First break: PEAK SEEK ("Something to remember us by")

Such an item would be a KEEPSAKE.

David's talk is about the rather nonstandard unit of measurement that is the smoot.

Round 4: G N S L E I O A S

This was a handy set of letters.  I had LENS, SINGLE, and then when the fourth vowel was called I thought that an A for GASOLINE would be nice.  It turned up, and at that point I realised that I did actually know this round.  The ensuing S brought GASOLINES to the table for the nine.  I also noted LASSOING and GLASSINE ("a glazed, semitransparent paper, used for book jackets") as eights, and correctly rejected SLOGANISE.

Jacob has LEASING for seven, while Anthony tries the risky LEASINGS.  Too risky, in fact, and Jacob gets a seven point lead.  David has found GASOLINES, and notes that it is the 99th full monty found on the show (whether by contestants or himself).

The other eight is AGONISES, with ANISOLES (ANISOLE being a particular chemical), SOILAGES (SOILAGE: "freshly cut green fodder for animals kept in a confined area"), and SEALINGS (SEALING: "the work or former industry of hunting seals") being plurals of uncertain acceptability.  SEA LION is only listed as two words, so SEALIONS is not valid.

This is the round that scoring is somewhat dicey on.  I found GASOLINE before I recognised the round (and definitely did not recall that it was coming up), and GASOLINES is not the largest stretch to find from that.  On the other hand, the reason that I am sure GASOLINES is valid is because I recall it from this round!  It also turned up later, in episode 374, complicating this analysis.  I do recall that when I first watched this episode I found LASSOING for eight.

Obviously I'm on dubious ground scoring myself at all, given that I have seen this episode already.  And particularly so trying to claim points for a word whose validity I know from having seen this episode.  Still, I found it this time, so for the nonce I'm counting it; I'll revisit the effect it has on scoring at the end of the post.

Anthony: [invalid]

Scores: Jacob 24 (31), Anthony 24, me 42

Round 5: E O E R F C W D A


The contestants are matched yet again, both finding COWERED; David is not able to better it.

The other sevens are DEFORCE (a legal term meaning "to withhold (property, especially land) by force or violence, as from the rightful owner") and WAFERED (WAFER as a verb: "to seal, close, or attach by means of a wafer or wafers").

Anthony: COWERED

Scores: Jacob 31 (38), Anthony 31, me 49

Round 6: Target 993 from 100 4 7 2 4 3

Particularly with that seven available, the idea of getting there from a thousand is very obvious.  There's a few ways to get the 10, but the one that I went with was 993 = (4 + 4 + 2)*100 - 7.

Both contestants and Lily also used this method.

Jacob: 993
Anthony: 993
Me: 993
Lily: 993

Scores: Jacob 41 (48), Anthony 41, me 59

Second break: DRIP MOVE ("The word is better than it used to be")

That word is IMPROVED.

Round 7: R G R T U A I A D

After all these sevens a rather unpromising mix.  The only word I had was GUITAR, although I did reject AIRGUARD along the way.  After time -- quite a way after -- I saw another six in GARUDA ("(in Hindu mythology) a fabulous bird, half-eagle, half-man, ridden by Vishnu").

Both contestants have essentially had exactly the same answers thus far (the only exception being LEASINGS vs. LEASING, where if Anthony had played it safe he would have matched Jacob again).  When they both declare fives Richard suggests that they say them together, expecting them to have the same one.  It turns out to be more amusing that they finally have different answers, even if they score the same.  Jacob has RADAR while Anthony has TRIAD.

David has found GUITAR for six.  The other sixes are TURGID and DATURA ("any plant of the genus Datura [...]").

Jacob: RADAR
Anthony: TRIAD

Scores: Jacob 41 (53), Anthong 41 (46), me 65

Round 8: Target 929 from 4 4 10 3 9 7

Anthony says that he might regret it, but he is going for the rat pack.  I'm often in favour of this; it certainly stands a good chance of taking the opponent out of their comfort zone.  The very large target means this is potentially quite challenging.  I noted the nearness to 910, which is 7*130, and then tweaked my way to one away with 928 = 7*(10*(9 + 4) + 4).

I passed over a couple of ways to 930 without writing them down: 930 = 10*(3*4*7 + 9) and 930 = 10*(7 - 4)*(3*9 + 4).  But it took me a good several minutes afterwards before I looked at 936 - 7 and found a solution.  One way to get there is to look at using 9 to get close; the target is 9*103 with remainder 2, but neither 103 nor 2 are particularly tempting given the numbers available.  On the other hand, going a little upward turns that into 9*104 - 7, and both of those are much more approachable.  We have the 7, and 104 is 8*13.  That led me to the solution 929 = 9*(4 + 4)*(10 + 3) - 7.

There is only one other solution, and that comes from a slightly different factorisation of 104 as 4*26: 929 = 9*4*(3*10 - 4) - 7.

However, keen-eyed readers will note that I have made an error above.  I've gotten confused and am out by 10; 7*((9 + 4)*10 + 4) is 938, not 928.  So my answer is invalid, and this is particularly vexing as I had seen different one-aways within time.

Anthony has done well to reach 932, but Jacob is just one away with 930 = (4*7*3 + 9)*10.  The rat pack has well and truly backfired on Anthony, who is now out of contention going into the conundrum.

Lily has not been able to get any closer to the target, at least not within the timeframe.

Jacob: 930
Anthony: 932
Me: [invalid]

Scores: Jacob 48 (60), Anthony 41 (46), me 65


Jacob buzzes in at the two second mark, before I've really even taken in the letters.  That's a great solve on that mix, which does not have usefully applicable fragments to build from.  It took me fifteen seconds overall to solve this.

Jacob: SCAPEGOAT (2s)
Anthony: [no answer]

Final scores: Jacob 58 (70), Anthony 41 (46), me 65

So an exceptionally close game comes to an end.  If Anthony had played it safe in round four then the contestants would have had identical results for the first six rounds, and been still tied after seven.  A gripping contest, but the backfiring rat pack cost Anthony a chance to steal victory on the conundrum.  Both contestants were in excellent form tonight, and Jacob's conundrum form was brilliant.

Those same keen-eyed readers who noted my invalid answer in round eight may have also noticed that only the full monty kept me in front.  If, quite reasonably, that round were instead scored with my original find of LASSOING then I would lose by three points.  Further, against Anthony alone I'd have been only seven points ahead, giving him those fifteen seconds to solve the conundrum and likewise beat me by three.  Certainly this all fits well with my dim recollection of losing both semifinals, but I'll be trying to break that pattern tomorrow.

Congratulations again to both Jacob and Anthony, who were in sterling form tonight.  My commiserations to Anthony, who might well have won through on another day.


Sam Gaffney said...

I thought this was Anthony's best performance of his eight episodes; unfortunately for him, it was also Jacob's best (of the Series 3 finals, at least).

Jacob did very well on that last numbers round, the 930 region is brutal in a six small selection - there are no easy factorisations. Anthony might have been unlucky to grab 9 as a multiplier instead of 10; there's an element of luck in which divisor you select in a rat pack, as there isn't really time to investigate every approach.

Here are last year's answers from home, where I was tied with Anthony and 24 points behind Jacob:

430 = 6*(75 - 2 - 1) - 50/25
993 = (4 + 4 + 2)*100 - 7
932 = ((7+3)*10+4)*9-4
(don't know, Jacob buzzed in)

Anonymous said...

I too thought Anthony played well. I was pipped by 5 in the end as I parallelled both contestants answers bar one number result which left me out of the range. I should point out that my being five behind was only due to me solving the conundrum at the same time as Jacob. The gap would otherwise have been greater. Kudos to those who would have beaten them both. Roman

Jacob D said...

Hi Geoff,
I've been particularly looking forward to/enjoying your series 3 finals' commentary!

Honestly it was a big relief that a conundrum finally jumped out at me (a previous 2 out of 7 not the best record!) But very true that Anthony could've easily beaten me on another day. He told me afterwards that with the 'leasings' round; had I declared first with a 7 he also would've declared the safe 7! In addition had he spotted 'GASOLINES' that would've been a 25 point turn-around, giving Anthony a 1 point win.

It never ceases to amaze me how many matches are decided by one game, and finals are no exception. Of course full monties make a big difference, but just to name a few: if Tina had found PORTION, had Esther found (75+4)*10=790, had Oli solved the conundrum DOMINANCE in <19 seconds, and if Alan had not risked *IMPACTER and stuck with a safe 7 (e.g. PRIMATE/COMPARE) we’d have 4 different series winners (assuming this alteration didn’t impact other rounds). I’m fairly sure over half of all the (28) finals episodes have been decided by the conundrum.

Jacob D said...

...It also amazes me how many commenting viewers believe that 9x10 = 900!!! It happened when the episode first aired and it's happened again. If the 10 was a 100 I'm fairly certain it would've been a conundrum decider.

Geoff Bailey said...

Well played Roman and Sam, and thanks for the insight into your original performances, Sam. I imagine that, like me, you've become somewhat better since then.

Great to hear again from you, Jacob, and I'm glad that you are enjoying the coverage. *chuckles*

Totally agreed about the potential for a single round to change the result of a game; while at times this frustrates me (i.e., when I throw away an otherwise good game on such a result), I think it is a crucial part of the scoring system that keeps the games almost always interesting. It takes a lot of effort to be safe from even a single turnaround.

You're right about the conundrums: Only 12 of the 28 games were won before the conundrum round. Of the 16 games where the conundrum mattered, it was solved 11 times; only four of those were won by the trailing contestant, but that does include one instance of the trailing contestant solving one conundrum to tie, and then a second to win.

I am likewise aghast at the number of people who think that 9*10 = 900. At least this time around a couple of them recognised this error themselves. It's still hugely puzzling how they can make such elementary errors, though.