Saturday, 23 June 2012

Ep 447 [M1] [QF4]: Jacob Davey, Naween Fernando (June 22, 2012)

Rounds: Here.

The final quarterfinal sees series 3 champion Jacob Davey take on Naween Fernando, the runner-up from series 1.  Jacob had that memorable comeback win against Jeremy Schiftan, but he cannot afford to get in a similar situation this time -- Naween is just too good on the letters for that.

Richard mentions that Naween has found three full monties and solved seven conundrums while on the show, which is certainly indicative of the above.  Jacob is going to need some help from the numbers, and unfortunately for him he is technically the higher seed so he only gets to choose once.

The game went pretty much as expected: Jacob started off on the back foot as Naween opened with a couple of good words, but Jacob's choice of a rat pack in the first numbers round paid off to get him back within striking distance.  Naween stretched the lead in the next round, but his mistake in the second numbers round allowed Jacob to close again.  Once more Naween found an excellent word to move into safe territory, and the final numbers round turned out to be trivial.  That guaranteed Naween the victory, but he solved the conundrum in very quick time to round out the win, 58 to 35.

I was just short of top form today, and in the end I conceded a fraction too much.  The numbers rounds gave me the expected advantage, but a couple of missed words meant that Naween was only five points behind me going into the conundrum.  That was always going to be a problem, and although I solved the conundrum in quick time, Naween had just buzzed in as I managed to pause.  That's my first loss of the Masters Series, and I am disappointed but not too surprised.

Round 1: S N R T O A I N A

I had TORN, ROAST, RATIONS, ANOINTS, and SONATINA.  I have to thank Sam for that, as he has mentioned the plural form SONATINE to me enough to make it stick in my memory.  (SONATINE has potentially been available in episodes 96, 393, and 423.)

Jacob has RATIONS for 7, but Naween has found SONATINA as expected.  David cannot better it, and it does seem to be the only eight.

This mix is very similar to the first round of the first quarterfinal of this series (which had an F instead of that A), so it is no surprise that some of the same sevens are here: NATIONS / ONANIST and NATRONS.  The other sevens are ARTISAN / TSARINA and ANTIARS (ANTIAR: "an arrow poison prepared from the sap of the upas").


Scores: Jacob 0, Naween 8, me 8

Round 2: U E I D F T S V E

I had DIEU (speculative, and it turns out not to be valid), FEUD, and FISTED.  Naween hesitated considerably before calling the last letter, and all I could think of is that an E would be handy for FESTIVE.  He ended up getting that E, and FESTIVE was the best I could do.

Naween has FESTIVE for seven, and Jacob tries to match it with the invalid DEFUTES.  That's a fifteen point early lead to Naween, and a dangerous sign for Jacob -- it is going to take gains in three numbers rounds to get safety now.  David mentions FEUDIST ("a person who fights in a feud") as another seven.

Those look like the only sevens; there are quite a few sixes: SUITED / DUTIES, √ČTUDES, DEFUSE, DEFIES, VESTED, SIFTED, SIEVED / DEVISE, DIVEST, and DUVETS.

Jacob: [invalid]

Scores: Jacob 0, Naween 15, me 15

Round 3: Target 363 from 8 3 7 2 6 4

Jacob goes for six small numbers, which is a good way to leverage his probable advantage in the numbers.  The drawback is that the target may well be unachievable, which is why three of each may be a better option in such a situation.  Still, I certainly support the rat pack, and the spread of smalls was good and the target fairly low.

I immediately recognised the target as 3*11*11, but that left me wanting to make 11 from 2, 6, 8 and I didn't like my chances with all those evens.  One thing I had noticed as the numbers went up was 6*7*8 = 336, and since that was close I decided to use that as a springboard.  The difference is 27, not manageable from the others directly, but there's lots of tweaking room.  I went with 363 = 7*(6*8 + 4) - (3 - 2).

After time I thought that 6*60 + 3 might be more approachable, and it turned out to be so: 363 = 6*(7*8 + 4) + 3.  This can be seen as just a different tweak to the previous solution.  And then I finally realised that 11 = 8 + 6/2 would have worked quite nicely in my original idea, giving 363 = 3*(7 + 4)*(8 + 6/2).  This is the solution that Lily later demonstrates; I certainly made this harder for myself than it needed to be!

Another possibile approach for those familiar with powers of two is to note that 121 = 128 - 7, with lots of powers of two already handy.  That could have led to 363 = 3*(8*4*(6 - 2) - 7) or 363 = 3*(8*(2*6 + 4) - 7), for instance.

Naween has "bombed out", while Jacob has got three away with 360 = (4 + 2)*6*(7 + 3).  Those seven points get him back within range, but if he had focussed on saving the 3 he might have gained three more points.  One more option is 363 = 6*4*(7 + 8) + 3, which could have been findable with that mindset.

Jacob: 360
Naween: [not in range]
Me: 363
Lily: 363

Scores: Jacob 0 (7), Naween 15, me 25

First break: DEVIL BEE ("Had faith in honey makers")

The mention of "honey makers" seems redundant with BEE in the words, but the faith clearly leads to BELIEVED.

David's talk is about "shoefiti", the practice of tossing shoes so that they hang from overhead wires.  He moves on to mention graffiti (singular graffito) and finishes with yarn bombing.

Round 4: O U A S D L P I I

Those vowels cause me a lot of trouble; I had SODA, LAUDS, PLAIDS, and DOULAS (I knew this thanks to episode 440; DOULA is "a woman experienced in childbirth, who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to a new mother [...]").  Along the way I had managed to confuse myself, wanting SOLIDII but knowing that there weren't enough I's for it.  Of course, the plural of SOLIDUS is just SOLIDI, which would have been another acceptable six; I had managed to mix SOLIDUS with DENARIUS as far as endings went.  Careless!

Not that it mattered that much, since I could not find a seven.  After time I wondered about LAPIDOUS, but there's no such word.

Jacob has DIALS for five, but Naween has found that seven of UPLOADS.  That cuts into my lead, and I'm going to need another numbers win if I hope to get safe.  David also found UPLOADS.

The other sevens are LIPOIDS (LIPOID: "one of a group of fats or fat-like substances such as lecithins, waxes, etc.") and SIALOID ("resembling saliva").

The other sixes are PILOUS ("hairlike"), PILAUS, LIPOID, UPLOAD, LIPIDS, AUDIOS, AIOLIS, and DULIAS (DULIA: "veneration and invocation given to saints as the servants of God and friends of God").

Jacob: DIALS

Scores: Jacob 0 (7), Naween 22, me 25

Round 5: R L D B E A E O A

Looks like vowel fever is catching.  I had BRED, BREAD, DEALER / LEADER, and ADORABLE.

Jacob has found READABLE for eight -- he finished writing so early that it is clear he was angling for this -- and Naween has matched that with ADORABLE.

The other eight is LEEBOARD ("a flat board let down vertically into the water on the leeside of a ship or boat to prevent leeward motion").

The sevens are AREOLAE (plural of AREOLA: "a small ring of colour, as around a pustule or the human nipple"), EARLOBE, LABORED (variant spelling of the adjective LABOURED), and BLEARED (BLEAR: "to make (the eyes or sight) dim, as with tears or inflammation").


Scores: Jacob 8 (15), Naween 30, me 33

Round 6: Target 485 from 100 75 6 1 7 5

Not surprisingly, Naween aims for an easier mix; what he gets is potentially challenging, though.  My first thought was that the target was 5*97, and I lost quite a bit of time considering ways to make the 3 to subtract from 100.  Reverting to trying to get nearby, I realised that I could get the 15 that I wanted after all, and found the solution 485 = (6 - 1)*100 - 75/5.  Phew!

After time I saw the somewhat simpler 485 = 6*75 + 7*5; this turns out to be Lily's solution.  Just now I have noted the kitchen sink approach of 485 = 5*(75 + 1 + 7 - 6) + 100.

Both contestants have reached the target, but Naween's solution gets as far as 75 + 6 before he realises that he has made a mistake.  Presumably he used the six twice with (75 + 6)*6 - 1.  Jacob has swapped the fives in the approach I had, getting 485 = 5*100 - 75/(6 - 1).  Ten much-needed points for him closes the gap to just five points.

Jacob: 485
Naween: [invalid]
Me: 485
Lily: 485

Scores: Jacob 18 (25), Naween 30, me 43

Second break: STALL FEE ("Informative foliage")

There's a decent attempt at a double definition there, for LEAFLETS.

Round 7: C S T D A U E W R

I had CATS, DUCTS, WASTED, CUSTARD, and CRUSADE.  I was sure there was an eight -- my "seen this before" sense was nagging strongly at me -- but it was not until a couple of seconds after time that I saw TRADUCES (TRADUCE: "to speak evil or mailiciously and falsely of; slander, calumniate, or malign").  That's a costly miss -- a few seconds quicker, and I would be confident of going into the conundrum safe.

Jacob has CUSTARD for seven, but Naween continues his excellence with TRADUCES.

That is the only eight; the other sevens are STEWARD, TRADUCE / CURATED, CURATES, CRUDEST / CRUSTED, and REDACTS.


Scores: Jacob 18 (25), Naween 38, me 43

Round 8: Target 526 from 100 75 7 1 1 6

Naween finally gets that easy numbers game he is looking for; everyone finds 526 = 7*75 + 1 in short order.

That's bad news for Jacob, who has now definitely lost.  If he had managed to find 363 in the first numbers round then he would be in the very interesting position of precisely ten behind, raising the remote chance of another epic comeback.

Jacob: 526
Naween: 526
Me: 526

Scores: Jacob 28 (35), Naween 48, me 53


Naween has won the game, but that doesn't mean he'll be slow on the conundrum.  I saw it almost immediately and paused... but the sound of Naween's buzzer reached my ears as I did.  He had solved it just that fraction quicker, and I am pipped by a slim margin once again.

Jacob: [no answer]
Naween: IMPATIENT (1s)
Me: IMPATIENT (1.5s)

Final scores: Jacob 28 (35), Naween 58, me 53

The game went mostly along expected lines: Naween was flawless on the letters, and Jacob regained some ground on the numbers but it wasn't quite enough.  The conundrum was very nearly significant, but not quite so; one more maximum from Jacob would have put the pressure on Naween.

Jacob goes down fighting, and that means that Sam is the only undefeated player of the game (well, aside from Rob Fischer, who is sitting at five wins in the middle of series five).  But Sam is up against Naween in his semifinal, so he is going to need to be in top form to keep that record intact.  Between now and then Toby takes on Matthew for the other grandfinal position.

[Update: Of course, I had forgotten the retired champions from series five; my apologies to Norm Do, Simon Walton, and Ann Russell.]

I so nearly had this one... if I'd just been a few seconds faster with TRADUCES I would have had it.  Ah, well, it just goes to show the level of the competition right now.


Mark said...

Well done, Geoff.

My answers:
485 = (6-1)*100 - 75/5
526 = 7*75 + 1

I can't wait to see Sam vs Naween - my money's on Naween (sorry Sam), especially if Sam only gets one number choice.

Anonymous said...

Very sorry to read today that no more L & N after the masters series...feel like I've lost a family member...


Sam Gaffney said...

Nice answers, Geoff & Mark.

I take it that you two haven't seen the depressing announcement on the SBS L&N web page - there may never be an episode 451, as SBS is "resting" L&N in favour of UK Countdown episodes, to be screened at 5:45pm weeknights.

Mark, no offence taken, Naween probably would have beaten me in this episode. Jacob made good decisions, and had some great answers, but Naween played seven perfect rounds (tarnished only by the two bomb-outs).

I saw the first two and last two rounds of this on the day, on which I got the same answers as Naween except for the conundrum. I was frustrated that when watching bits of this game (and Andrew vs Toby) in the contestant room, my letter performance was better than in my quarter-final, but that's pressure (or coincidence).

David actually said that he'd gotten the word SONATINA from me telling him about SONATINE just before the Series #4 finals, so Geoff isn't the only one that I successfully brainwashed.

My answers:

SONATINA (got on the day)
FESTIVE (got on the day)
363 = (8*7+4)*6+3, alternate: ((4+2)*8+3)*7+6
PILAUS (didn't think of pluralising PLAID)
LABORED (rats, didn't think of -ABLE)
485 = 6*75 + 7*5
526 = 7*75+1
(Remembered IMPATIENT, didn't beat Naween on the day)

JT said...

Like sam and Roman I'm very sad that L+N is gone. (hopefully for the time being but that's optimistic at best)It's heartbreaking for Rob Fisher who may never get the chance to retire.
I played alright, with the exception of round 3 where I tried too hard on the factorisian of 3, but Naween's superior vocabulary would of beaten easily (Jacob played very well against stiff competition)

My Answers
-(Explained above)
During the time Naween buzzed and said the answer which appropriately was a long time!!!

{a}I actually saw my answer first and then wrote down what everyone else had except I had written 7*75-1 which is 524 luckily I wrote down this answer avoid an invalid answer!!

Hope you win Sam, I think it would be fitting for you to be in what possibly could be the final L+N game ever

Jacob D said...

'One-off' blog number 2:

Like Geoff, this was also my first loss of the masters series! The first 2 matches I saw for the first time this week (I knew the winners due to a lack of Andrew and Jeremy on the second filming day!) I saw Tony v Matthew from the studio audience, and Matthew drew level with me with his conundrum solve, so we'll call that one a draw. Watching from home this week, Sam was a second or 2 from overtaking me with PERPETUAL, as I was 5 ahead going into the conundrum!

Admittedly, I think my letters/vocab have improved in the last 7 months since filming the masters (partly due to semi-regularly reading this blog!) This week I found RESIDUAL, DECIMALS/MEDICALS, SERAPHIC, MEDUSAS/ASSUMED, possibly none of which I would've found 7 months ago (obviously studio pressure plays a large role too!)

Round 1: Interestingly, a final choice of a consonant may have tempted Naween into the invalid ORDINANTS (which I wouldn't have seen!) but SONATINA is a great find Geoff and Sam!

Round 2: I still DEFUTE any claim that I made up that word! I had plenty of safe 6's, but had to play the 7.

Round 3: Relied on my previously trusty factor 10 method. Tried to make 36*10 while preserving the 3, but should have tried 60*6 instead.

Round 4: While UPLOADS was staring back at David, the two I's were staring back at me (no pun intended...) I've found UPLOAD(S) on other occasions but couldn't see past those two I's! Clever tactics by Naween there.

Round 5: Yes, fishing for an A (the '5th vowel' selection elicited a little noise of surprise from some in the studio!) Fairly confident no nines were present, but David apparently looked up AEROBLADE when I put my pen down!

Round 6: Finally used a 'large number divided by 5' to help me!

Round 7: Knew I had to match Naween here, but had never heard of TRADUCES before that day! I've found it each time that it's come up since.

Round 8: This is where a second choice of numbers would've been nice! I'd forgotten Richard had pushed for a 'wild' choice from Naween, but he made the right choice and was rewarded with an easy target.

Round 9: I was no where near this. In a way, I'm glad Naween got it so quickly, it meant the match wasn't decided by 1 game.

Producers let me know several weeks earlier I was versing Naween, and I feared I would be the only series winner that would be knocked out in the first round! It was very kind of Andrew and Tony to join me in the quarter final departure! :P

In some ways, it was the best loss I could've hoped for! Naween won predominantly from his skill rather than from my oversights. He was a truly nice, humble guy as well.

Sam Gaffney said...

Cheers JT, I will do what I can (retrospectively).

Enjoyed the details, Jacob. Though if I was 5 behind you for real on Wednesday, I would totally have buzzed in at 29.9 seconds to buy myself more time, and would already have gotten every single other answer perfectly (including 849). Actually, make that full monties on every single letters round. Not to mention how off-your-game I would have put you with my foul-mouthed sledging.

How many weeks of notice did you get about the Masters? I think I only got told a few days before the Series #4 finals, which was a distraction, worrying about potential humiliations to come...

Jacob D said...

I would've found out about the masters at the same time as you, Sam. I'd already booked audience tickets with friends to see the last 2 episodes of the series 4 finals, and it was a little extra bonus when I found out about the masters as I could suss out my potential competition!

On another note, I figured Naween must like quarter finals as he won his original by a whopping 62 points! Hence, I've come to the conclusion I would've had a much greater chance against him if it was a semi or grand final!

I also feel for the series 5 contestants that would've played in finals if the show hadn't cancelled. They may be invited back in a few years if it returns, but if not at least the 3 retiring champs (+Rob) get to keep the badge of 'undefeated'! 6-0 is not quite as impressive as Sam's 10-0 so far (and obviously remaining undefeated is harder when you've got Naween coming up against you, and then the potential of Toby/Matthew!)

Geoff Bailey said...

Apologies to all for the silence about the sad news (but hopefully you'll have seen my response by the time you read this comment).

Some good performances all round on this episode, impressive stuff. Thanks to Jacob in particular for further insights into the episode.