Friday, 22 June 2012

Ep 446 [M1] [QF3]: Tony Loui, Matthew Thomason (June 21, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

Tonight the seedings have worked out so that we see a repeat of the series two grand final.  That time only two main rounds distinguished the contestants, with Matthew gaining in a letters round and Tony striking back in the numbers.  It came down to the conundrum, which Tony solved to win.  How will it shake out this time?

Well, I'm about to reveal the answer, and there's not really much spoiler space here. *chuckles*  Although I shall note that Richard called it "remarkable" that the seedings worked out to have the two of them facing each other again.  It's not, really -- assuming that the runners-up are essentially randomly distributed, the chance of at least one rematch was 62.5%; it would have been more remarkable if there had not been one.

Things went a little similarly to that previous match, in fact.  Once again, Matthew took the lead in the first round, but this time he extended it in the second round.  Tony struck back in a later numbers round to get within striking distance, and either could have won at the conundrum.  But this time it was Matthew who was ahead, and Matthew who solved the conundrum first.  That gave him the victory, 65 to 50.

I did pretty well tonight, including finding the full monty.  But I had another invalid word today, and one that genuinely surprised me.  Further investigation pretty much confirms that I made up the usage that I came up with, so that was odd.  Aside from that, only one main round was non-optimal (I'd seen the best option but discounted it), and I was just pipped to the conundrum by Matthew.  I was comfortably home thanks to the rest of the good results, though, and so far the quarterfinals have been kind to me.

Round 1: T L S G E I E S P

I had LEST, STILE, STEELS, PESTLES, PIGLETS, and EPISTLES (EPISTLE: "a written communication; a letter, especially one of formal or didactic character"; incidentally, EPISTLER is valid, should that ever come up). 

Tony has found PIGLETS for seven, but Matthew has found EPISTLES for eight.  David has found another eight in ELEGISTS.

SPIEGEL is listed as an alternative for SPIEGELEISEN ("a lustrous, crystalline pig iron containing a large amount of manganese [...]"); that yields SPIEGELS as the other eight from this mix.

The other sevens are EPISTLE / PELITES (PELITE: "any clay rock"), PELISSE ("an outer garment lined or trimmed with fur"), ELEGIST / ELEGITS (ELEGIT: "a writ of execution against a judgement debtor's goods or property held by the judgement creditor until payment of the debt"), LEGISTS (LEGIST: "someone versed in law"), TIPLESS / STIPELS (STIPEL: "a secondary stipule situated at the base of a leaflet of a compound leaf"), and TELESIS ("deliberate, purposeful utilisation of the processes of nature and society to attain particular goals").


Scores: Tony 0, Matthew 8, me 8

Round 2: T D A E N C I R M

I had DATE, CANTED / DECANT, TRANCED, TRAINED, and TIMECARD; I vacillated for a bit over whether to chance it, but ended up correctly doing so.  At one point I thought that MENDICANT was there, but soon realised that I had turned the R into a second N.  After time I checked up on MIDCANTER and MIDTRANCE, but (as expected) neither is valid.

I was a bit surprised by that sixth consonant; the letters had been fitting well enough that I'd have probably tried another vowel.  It would have been a U, allowing CURTAINED for a nine (an O would allow REDACTION, and an A would allow CARINATED, variant form of CARINATE: "keel-like").  Matthew consistantly chose four-vowels in the series two finals, so this may reflect a shift in style.

Anyway, Tony has surprisingly stuck with DANCER for six; Matthew has found MINARET for seven, and that is an early fifteen point lead to him.  David has found TIMECARD, and it seems to be the only eight.

In addition to those already mentioned, there are some quite familiar (to regular readers of this blog) sevens here: READMIT, MEDIANT, DETRAIN, RAIMENT, NEMATIC.  The others are CARMINE, MANTRIC, INARMED (INARM: "to hold in, or as in, the arms"), and CERTAIN / CERATIN (variant spelling of KERATIN).

Matthew: MINARET

Scores: Tony 0, Matthew 8 (15), me 16

Round 3: Target 668 from 75 1 3 9 7 6

I got briefly distracted by the multiple of 37 here (666 = 37*18), but remembered to check the standard method first.  That led to the very easy 668 = 9*75 - 7, and it is no surprise that both contestants have also found this method.  Still within time, I revisited that factorisation to get the alternative 668 = 9*(75 - 1) + 6/3, but it just comes across as a complicated tweak of the easier way.

No word on what Lily did, and that is the case for each numbers round tonight.  It's safe to assume that she solved them all, though.

Tony: 668
Matthew: 668
Me: 668

Scores: Tony 10, Matthew 18 (25), me 26

First break: LET ARISE ("This bird gets the worm")

As the proverb goes, the EARLIEST bird gets the worm.

David's talk is about the word chicane, plus some other traffic-slowing devices.

Round 4: H S T U E A N C R

I had SHUT / HUTS, HATES, UNSEAT, and CHASTEN.  I thought that a final R would be nice for RAUNCHES, and it helpfully turned up.  But then I noticed that a final D would have been good for a combination I've found a couple of times in Countdown games: UNSCATHED / STAUNCHED.  The R fitted in nicely to that second one, producing STAUNCHER for nine (I was thinking "more staunch", thanks to the single-syllable rule, but STAUNCHER turns out to also be listed as an agent noun).  I also added UNEARTHS as another eight.

Both contestants have found CHANTERS for eight.  David notes CHUNTERS (CHUNTER: "to move in a leisurely fashion") as a similar eight, and that UNCHASTER is not valid; he has, however, found STAUNCHER after all.

The other eights are UNCHASTE, STANCHER (STANCH being a variant spelling of STAUNCH) / SNATCHER / TRANCHES (TRANCHE: "a portion or share of anything, especially a block of stocks or shares"), CENTAURS / RECUSANT, HAUNTERS / URETHANS (URETHAN being a variant spelling of URETHANE, being any of a particular type of ester), and NAUTCHES (NAUTCH: "(in India) a dance performance by professional female dancers").


Scores: Tony 10 (18), Matthew 18 (33), me 44

Round 5: D H K T I A E R Y

Some less helpful consonants this time.  I had ADIT, DEATH, DITHER, and THREAD / HATRED.  I considered DITHERY, but incorrectly discounted it.  I'd also made the poor decision not to write it down, so I did not have the option of changing my mind.  Bother.

Somewhat after time I saw DIETARY as a safe seven, and the dictionary confirmed that THREADY was also valid.  If I'd thought of that in terms of a voice I would have realised that it was fine.

Both contestants have opted for TIRADE for six, while David has found the other seven in this mix: HYDRATE.

Matthew: TIRADE

Scores: Tony 16 (24), Matthew 24 (39), me 50

Round 6: Target 660 from 100 75 7 9 4 6

When the numbers were revealed one of the possibilities that I noticed was 4*175 to give 700.  The target was nearish that, and so I was not too hard put to find the solution 660 = 4*(100 + 75 - (9 + 7 - 6)).

Matthew "completely fell in a heap", in his words.  Tony has found a nice simple solution, though: 660 = (4 + 6)*(75 - 9).  Nice one, Tony!

That puts Tony back within striking distance again; if the numbers are kind to him next time he may even take the lead at last.

Tony: 660
Matthew: [no answer]
Me: 660

Scores: Tony 26 (34), Matthew 24 (39), me 60

Second break: LENT CORE ("A particle that was voted for")

Just "particle" is enough to give away ELECTRON as the answer.

Round 7: D O E A F T B U N

Another not-so-good mix, although a final R would have allowed OBDURATE for eight.  I had FADE, FATED, FOUNTED, ABOUND, and FADEOUT.  I also noted BOUTADE, but knew that it was not valid thanks to Andrew Fisher mentioning this in his blog post about the series 1 grand final.

I tossed up between FOUNTED and FADEOUT, and opted for the former.  It turned out not to matter, as both are invalid: FADE-OUT requires the hyphen, and FOUNT is simply not a verb.  I was genuinely surprised by that; I could swear that I have read various passages in books (medieval fantasy, probably) talking about "blood founting from a body" or such, but I may have misremembered a phrase like "founts of blood" instead.  I checked Chambers and the OED, but the decision is unanimous: FOUNT is not a verb.  Bother.

Matthew has chosen BUNTED for six, while Tony has opted for ABOUND.  David was also tempted by FADEOUT, but had the luxury of the dictionary to check.  He has settled on DONATE for his six.

Six is the best to be done; the ones that I had seen but not written down were FONDUE, BOATED, and FANTOD ("a temperamental mannerism or affectation; performance").  The others are ATONED, TABUED, BUTANE, and OBTUND ("to blunt; dull; deaden").

Matthew: BUNTED
Me: [invalid]

Scores: Tony 32 (40), Matthew 30 (45), me 60

Round 8: Target 150 from 100 50 2 9 7 1

Matthew gets one of the most boring numbers games we've had, and no-one is troubled to find 150 = 100 + 50.  Just for fun I found a kitchen sink also: 150 = ((2*7 - 1)*100 + 50) / 9.

Tony: 150
Matthew: 150
Me: 150

Scores: Tony 42 (50), Matthew 40 (55), me 70


So this time it is Matthew leading going into the conundrum, but the match is definitely alive.  I got misled by the -LY possibility just a fraction too long; when I did see the answer and paused the video, Matthew had just buzzed in.  A great quick solve from him to take the victory, in a close mirror of his previous match against Tony.

Tony: [no answer]
Matthew: DIPLOMACY (2.5s)

Final scores: Tony 42 (50), Matthew 50 (65), me 70

Another close game, and well played by both contestants.  Tony missing TRAINED in round 2 was somewhat unusual -- first game nerves after the long break? -- but in the end it was not enough to change the result.  Matthew did well on the letters, and was very quick on the conundrum; he may have been a little fortunate that the numbers were mostly easy, minimising what I perceive as Tony's advantage there, but he definitely deserved this win.

So far, Sam is the only champion to survive the quarterfinals; Jacob takes on the formidable Naween tomorrow in hopes of becoming the other.  Can he make it?  Tune in tomorrow to find out...


Mark said...

Well done on the full monty and a great game, Geoff.

It wasn't a very good game for me.
668 = 6*75 - 7
150 = 100 + 50

Sam Gaffney said...

Nice play, Geoff.

It's interesting that the only L&N rematch resulted in a 28-point margin swing, which goes to show the difficulty of determining the better player from a single nine-round game. Also interesting: the word "rematch" had come up in the previous game, but no-one made reference to it - David is normally all over that sort of coincidence, but I suppose it was a new day of filming and they forgot.

Matthew's wordwork was great as usual, while Tony was a bit unlucky to have two easy number targets turn up, as they were his best chance of winning rounds (the first one was a visible disappointment to him at 0-15 down, a much worse position in L&N than tennis).

I thought PIGLETS was quite a good get from Tony (and Mark) in Round 1, I struggled to see anything other than EPISTLES, which I wasn't even sure was a word. A six in Round 2 was a bad result, though - like Tony's nervous start in his Grand Final.

My answers, which were unspoilt except for Rounds 8 & 9:

TRAINED (I always struggle to see TIMECARD)
668 = 9*75-7
THREAD (didn't risk DITHERY)
660 = (100+75-7-9+6)*4
FONDUE (tempted by FADE-OUT)
150 = 100+50
~2s (meaningless, as I had seen this live, where I did not solve it before Matthew revealed it)

Geoff Bailey said...

Mark: PIGLETS and UNEARTHS are both excellent finds, and you had three other maxima. I think it's a better game than you give it credit. (But you can gripe if you want -- certainly I do enough of that when things don't go perfectly. *chuckles*)

Sam: We've both got ample evidence about how little can be read into the results of a single game between us. A hundred games in and it is still pretty balanced!

(Nice tennis observation, although like tennis the lead could change from that position in two "rounds".)

Sam Gaffney said...

Perhaps only one round...

Allan S said...

Sam, the apostle Paul wrote 14 EPISTLES; it sure is a real word! :-)