Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Ep 448 [M1] [SF1]: Toby Baldwin, Matthew Thomason (June 25, 2012)

A reminder to go and support Letters and Numbers at if you have not already done so, and to also follow the other suggestions there to promote the show.  It's gathering momentum, but still needs a lot of help to spread the word.

Rounds: Here.

So, onto the first semifinal, where Toby Baldwin takes on Matthew Thomason.  Both contestants defeated series champions in order to make it this far, with Toby pulling off the upset of the series when he played very well to beat the formidable Andrew Fisher in the first quarterfinal.  Matthew faced Tony Loui in his quarterfinal -- a rematch of the series two grand final -- and prevailed in mirror fashion to Tony's earlier win in that grand final.

The match started with a surprisingly difficult letters round, and Matthew did well to take an early lead there.  He extended it in the second round when Toby fell victim to a phantom letter, but thereafter the contestants kept pace with each other for a while.  Toby gained back some crucial ground in the second numbers game to get within range, and with the remaining main rounds shared the game was alive at the conundrum.  Matthew solved it very quickly once again to ensure his place in the grand final with a 63 to 47 victory.

I had a poor start to the game, and I was not quite able to recover from it.  I picked up enough to be just a little ahead of Matthew going into the conundrum, but for the third game in a row I was just beaten to the solution, pausing as the contestant's buzzer sounded.  That's my second loss of the Masters Series, and the games are only getting tougher at this point.

Round 1: M T N C O E U H I

There's some pretty decent letters here, but somehow they just weren't coming together.  The CON-, OUT-, and -TION fragments were not productive, and in the end I had COMET and TOUCH as my only finds; I did notice that if the T had been a second N then that would have allowed ICHNEUMON to be made, but it would be a very different game if you could replace letters.

After time -- but it wasn't that close -- I finally found TECHNO for six, and then CHITON ("(in ancient Greece) a garment for both sexes, usually worn next to the skin").

Toby has COMET for five, while Matthew has done very well to find TOUCHÉ for six.  But David has somewhat fortuitously found a seven -- he looked up MUNCHIE as a possible backformation as the singular of MUNCHIES, and discovered that MUNCHIE has its own entry as a colloquial term for a shark.

That does seem to be the only seven; some dictionaries would allow CÉNTIMO, but the Macquarie does not list the word.

The other sixes are ETHNIC, INHUME, INCOME, MINUTE / MINUET, NOTICE / NOETIC ("of or relating to the mind"), NEUMIC (adjective derived from NEUME: "any of various symbols used in medieval music notation, and still used for noting Gregorian chant, etc."), CONIUM (I mentioned this in episode 198; it is any plant of  a particular genus that includes hemlock), COHUNE (found by David in episode 95; it is a type of palm tree), and CENTUM ("relating to those Indo-European languages which retained the velar [k] from primitive Indo-European, in contrast to those which changed the [k] to [s]").

Matthew: TOUCHÉ

Scores: Toby 0, Matthew 6, me 0

Round 2: M D E A N O P L E

Still a bit off-balance after the last round, I struggled here.  I had MADE, NAMED, MOANED, and POMADE ("a scented ointment, used for the scalp and hair").  MOANED did sum up my reaction to not being able to better a six here, particularly as the second that time ran out I saw LEMONADE for eight.  (I've found that before, in episode 379, which makes it particularly frustrating to miss this time.)

Some hours later and somewhat out of the blue, I thought of EMPLANE / EMPANEL, which led to both DEPLANE as another seven, and EMPLANED as another eight.  It's safe to say I was not close on this one.

Toby declares ANEMONE for seven, but he has fallen victim to the phantom second N and that is invalid.  Matthew has tried the American spelling of PANELED for his seven, and that is allowed.  David has found LEMONADE for his eight.

That's all the eights, and the only other seven is EMPALED (variant spelling of IMPALED).

But there is a nine!  Sam Gaffney found it and pointed it out to me, which was especially fortunate as it was not listed in the Scrabble list I usually use to check.  Not that surprising as it is an Australian word: PADEMELON, one of a class of small wallabies.  Not only that, but Sam found it within time -- magnificent solving, Sam!

It's a pretty rough start for both Toby and myself; in particular, 15 points of relative difference between Matthew's score and mine hinged on LEMONADE.  That could well be significant...

Toby: [invalid]
Matthew: PANELED

Scores: Toby 0, Matthew 13, me 0

Round 3: Target 115 from 25 75 50 100 5 2

Toby aims to get some back in the numbers again, and Matthew is well-known for sticking with the family mix.  So Toby tries four large, which is a good idea.  Unfortunately he gets a very easy result, although one can always overcomplicate it.

I started off with 115 = 100 + 5*2 + (75 + 50)/25 -- see what I mean about overcomplication? -- and then simplified it a little to 115 = 100 + 5*(75/25).  Then I found the two nicer solutions 115 = 5*(25 - 2) and 115 = 100 + 75/5.

Both contestants have solved it; Matthew used the second of those solutions that I listed, while Toby went with 115 = 100 + 25 - 2*5.  No word on how Lily did it.

Bad luck for Toby, who could reasonably have hoped for a tougher round than that!  With Matthew getting to choose the other two numbers mixes, it is going to be hard to get much traction there.

Toby: 115
Matthew: 115
Me: 115

Scores: Toby 10, Matthew 23, me 10

First break: KNIT SEAM ("When the young lady is wrong")

When she is wrong then the MISS is MISTAKEN.

David's talk is about the word horror.

Round 4: C S I E D R A P I

Another mix where I could not get that settled, although there were enough familiar sevens that it was not a problem.  I dislike the fourth vowel, of course, and selecting a consonant instead would have yielded a T and thus PRACTISED for nine.  As it was, I had SIDE, SCRIED (past tense of SCRY: "to perceive, especially by crystal-gazing"), SIDECAR, and PRAISED / DESPAIR / ASPIRED.

Both contestants have found PRAISED for seven; David mentions that DESPAIR is an anagram of that, and then that there was a small connection to drinking with CIDERS in the first six and SIDECAR in the first seven.  But he has accurately seen his way to the only eight of PIRACIES.

There was potential for two other eights, but PER-ACIDS (PER-ACID: "an acid formed by the oxidation of a normal acid by hydrogen peroxide or electrolytic oxidation") requires the hyphen, and the Macquarie does not list PRESIDIA as a plural of PRESIDIUM.  So PIRACIES seems to be the only one.

Lots of sevens here, as might be expected: CRISPED, SCRAPED / SCARPED (SCARP as a verb: "to form or shape into a scarp"), SPICIER, DAIRIES / DIARIES / DIARISE, DIAPERS, SCRAPIE (a disease affecting sheep and goats), RADICES (plural of RADIX: "a number taken as the base of a system of numbers, logarithms, or the like"; it also has botanical and linguistic meanings the same as "root"), and PERIDIA (plural of PERIDIUM: "the outer enveloping coat of the fruit body in many fungi [...]").

Matthew: PRAISED

Scores: Toby 17, Matthew 30, me 17

Round 5: T L S E I G T A O

I had LEST, STILE, LEGIST (courtesy of Friday's quarterfinal: "someone versed in law"), TOTALISE (I found this back in episode 442, so it was nice to find it again), and LITOTES, one of my favourite words even if it scores less than TOTALISE.  It is "a figure of speech in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in not bad at all"; I have heard it said that Australians are particularly prone to use litotes, and I know that I am no exception.

I also contemplated but correctly rejected GLOATIEST and GELATOIST.

Both contestants have found sevens again, with Matthew opting for LIGATES (LIGATE: "to bind, as with a ligature; tie up, as a bleeding artery") and Toby choosing GLOTTIS ("the opening at the upper part of the larynx, between the vocal cords").  A minor coincidence here: As I mentioned back in episode 329, Toby found LIGATED from the audience in one round.

David has found TOTALISE for eight, even if it pains him to declare a mathematical word.

That is the only eight again; the other sevens are ISOLATE, TOILETS, GELATOS (accepted as a plural of GELATO, as is GELATI), EGOTIST, GOALIES / SOILAGE ("freshly cut green fodder for animals kept in a confined area"), GESTALT ("an organised configuration or pattern of experiences or of acts" -- the main entry is capitalised, due to its German origina, but the lowercase form is also listed), and AIGLETS (AIGLET being a variant spelling of AGLET: "a metal tag at the end of a lace").

Matthew: LIGATED

Scores: Toby 17 (24), Matthew 30 (37), me 25

Round 6: Target 866 from 50 75 5 2 10 6

The standard method would suggest getting to 850 or 875 and then adjusting; the former is easier to do the adjustment with the 10 and 6 handy, but reaching it may use them up.  I went from above instead, writing down a quick one-away 865 = (5 + 2)*(75 + 50) - 10, and spent the rest of the time fruitlessly trying to get 86*10 + 6 to work.

After time I did consider trying to get to 850, eventually finding 866 = 2*(5*75 + 50) + 10 + 6.  I wasn't close to solving this within time, though.

Matthew declares a six-away 860, but Toby is one better with 861 = (10 + 2)*75 - 50 + 5 + 6.  Lily shows a simpler way to get to that 850, involving the handy "divide by five" technique that is easily overlooked: 866 = (75/5 + 2)*50 + 10 + 6.  Well done, Lily!

This round's result brought Toby back within range of Matthew, and I've finally got a narrow lead at last.  But we'll both want another tricky numbers round if possible.

Toby: 861
Matthew: 860
Me: 865
Lily: 866

Scores: Toby 17 (31), Matthew 30 (37), me 32

Second break: ACED EDIT ("This one's for you, Catherine")

I wondered who Catherine was, but it turns out that it was cluing the CATE of DEDICATE.

Round 7: N H B I A D E N U

I had BAND, ABIDE, BANNED, DUENNA, and UNHAND.  Another awkward letter mix, and no sign of a seven.

Matthew has BINNED for his six, while Toby has BANNED for his.  David could not better it, and points out that AFL players might take issue with a BEHIND scoring six.  (Well, strictly speaking he says that it should score only one, so I am extrapolating a little.)

The other sixes are UNBEND, UNBIND, and UNDINE ("one of a class of mythological female water-sprites").

Matthew: BINNED

Scores: Toby 23 (37), Matthew 36 (43), me 38

Round 8: Target 380 from 100 75 2 8 3 10

I started off by considering 5*75 + 5, 5*76, and 38*10.  But then a bit of sense asserted itself and I found 380 = 3*100 + 8*10.  I'll note that the first of those ideas could have worked, with both 10/2 and 8 - 3 providing fives, but I did not see this at the time.  Still within time I finally managed to get 38*10 to work, with 380 = (100 - 75 + 2 + 8 + 3)*10 -- a solution that uses the numbers in the order presented.

Both contestants have solved this; Toby used the first solution that I had, while Matthew opted for 380 = 3*100 + 10/2 + 75.  No word on Lily's approach.

Toby: 380
Matthew: 380
Me: 380

Scores: Toby 33 (47), Matthew 46 (53), me 48


Down to the conundrum, with either contestant able to win it, and I'm also in need of solving it to be safe.  The ending practically leaps out, but I hesitated for a check and that pause proved fatal: Just as I paused, Matthew's buzzer sounded.  He solved it to take the win, and make it through to the grand final.

Toby: [no answer]
Matthew: ASTROLOGY (2s)
Me: ASTROLOGY (2.5s)

Final scores: Toby 33 (47), Matthew 56 (63), me 48

Well played by both contestants, and particularly Matthew who navigated those first two rounds much better than either Toby or myself.  That gave him a solid springboard for victory, and with the numbers rounds mostly favouring him he was able to get home with that excellent conundrum solution.  He'll play the winner of tomorrow's semifinal between Sam and Naween, and he'll need to be in top form to overcome whichever of them it is.


Victor said...

I'll post my "armchair" answers for these last few shows of the masters series, since it may be the last chance to do so.

1. COMET [a]
2. DEPLANE [b]
3. 115 = 100 + 5*75/25
4. DRAPES [c]
6. 866 = (5*75 + 50)*2 + 10 + 6
8. 380 = 3*100 + 75 + 10/2
9. 1.5s [d]

[a] Check ENTOMIC for seven here Geoff. A slow start for me, my brain was fixated on UNCOUTH despite knowing it had the wrong letters. Saw INCOME just after time.

[b] I discovered this word when investigating DETRAIN whose meaning I didn't know. Just like the opposite of DETRAIN is ENTRAIN, the opposite of DEPLANE is ENPLANE. There's also DEBUS but no ENBUS.

[c] This was a fallback I got down while the letters were being put up. I misheard the last letter as A instead of I and wrote down PARADISE without bothering to check the screen and didn't leave myself enough time to fix the error.

[d] Just buzzed as soon as I saw -OLOGY, and gave myself 2 seconds while Richard would have asked me what my answer was, which was more than enough to get the answer out.

Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

Victor said...

Also in round 1, since you mentioned what other dictionaries would allow, there is a possible 8 of CENTIOHM which has an obvious meaning but no definition in the Macquarie (although I got this from their Targeter strangely enough!)

Sam Gaffney said...

This was my last mostly unseen L&N game that I could play at home (hopefully not forever), as I think I only saw the conundrum for this one in the studio. It was about as good an armchair game as I've had, especially with the full monty that everyone missed.

Toby was quite unlucky with those two easy number games. Also, it would have been his fastest conundrum by far if Matthew hadn't beaten him to the buzzer.

My answers from home:

PADEMELON (woo-hoo!)
115 = 100+75/5
PRAISED (started with RADICES)
866 = 75*10 + (50+5)*2 + 6
380 = 3*100 + 8*10
(1.4s, but this is meaningless, as I saw it live)