Monday, 23 July 2012

Ep 11: Stephen Farrelly, Dawn Tuftan (July 23, 2012; originally aired August 16, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Disclaimer: While I have not seen this episode before, I did play through the blue book (episodes 1 to 50) around ten months ago when I was scheduled to be a contestant on the show.  Additionally, I did a quick flick through it a few months back to collect words for my posts about word validity.

Richard follows up yesterday's chat with Stephen by asking him how writing a film script is different from other sorts of writing.  That does not work too well as a conversational gambit, as Stephen admits that he has not done any other writing before.

Tonight's challenger is Dawn Tuftan, a mother of two who is currently studying accounting by correspondence.  Dawn is a keen scuba diver, and in particular used to go on night dives.  Richard asks what the attraction of night diving is, and Dawn responds that they are amazing.  She imagines it is similar to the feeling one might get in space: You are weightless; it is dark; it is quiet; and you can only hear yourself breathing.  She adds that you can see some amazing marine life and it is very beautiful.  It can be a little eerie at first, but once you get used to it it is very tranquil and relaxing.

Honours were even on the first letters round, then Dawn got a minor lead in the second.  Stephen took the lead in the first numbers round, and extended it in the following letters round.  Little difference followed, and the five points that Stephen scored in the last numbers round were enough to guarantee him the win.  Neither was able to solve the conundrum, so the final scoreline was 30 to 15 in Stephen's favour.

I missed two eight-letter words today, the first of which I saw not long after time expired and the second of which would likely have eluded me for some time.  Aside from that I had optimal answers, and a decent game throughout.

Round 1: A T N I H E S U L

I had ANTI, THAN, THINE, and HAUNTS.  I was positive there was an eight here, but I was floundering to even see a seven; fortunately for my peace of mind I at least found INHAULS (recalling from investigations after episode 401 that this is "a rope for hauling in a sail or spar") before time ran out.  After time I finally considered the -ULATE ending and found INSULATE for eight.

Both contestants have found SHUNT for five; David mentions UNLEASH as a seven, but has found INSULATE for eight.

The other eight is an anagram of it: ALUNITES (ALUNITE being a type of mineral).  There's actually a fair few sevens; some of the common ones are INHALES, UTENSIL, SALIENT / SALTINE / ENTAILS, and AUNTIES (a word I found during my audition, incidentally).

Stephen: SHUNT

Scores: Stephen 0 (5), Dawn 0 (5), me 7

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


That M did not end up helping at all, alas.  An S would have been nice, or a V would have given CONTRIVED.  But the consonants were working well enough together that a vowel was very tempting; I was thinking of an I for DIRECTION, but an A would allow REDACTION or a U would give REDUCTION / INTRODUCE.  It would actually have been an E, and that would have made RECONDITE a possibility.

Stephen opts for MITRE for five, but Dawn has capped it with MITRED for six.  David has selected for DOCTRINE as his eight.

The other eights are MORTICED, INTERCOM, and DORMIENT (sleeping).

Again there's a fair few sevens: DORMICE, DEMONIC, NOTICER, MORTICE, CORDITE, INCOMER, MORDENT ("a melodic embellishment consisting of a rapid alternation of a principle note with a supplementary note a semitone below it [...]"), DEMOTIC ("of or relating to the common people; popular"), and CTENOID ("comb-like or pectinate; rough-edged").

Stephen: MITRE

Scores: Stephen 0 (5), Dawn 0 (11), me 15

Round 3: Target 575 from 50 25 75 9 6 10

Stephen continues his choice of the balanced mix, and gets a target that is a multiple of 25.  This should not be a problem, and there are a very many ways to solve it.  In short order I had 575 = 50*10 + 75, and honestly did not search for further solutions.  My favourite of the computer-generated ones is 575 = 25*50 - 9*75.

There's a bit of an oddity here; Stephen's pen was down for a long time, so Richard asks if he solved it and Stephen says that he did.  Richard then asks Dawn the same question, and she confesses that she has not solved it... but she does not say whether she got close or not.  That's the sort of thing that Richard should have prompted her about; she may have thought that her actual value did not matter at this point.

Stephen and Lily have both solved this with the same method that I did.

Stephen: 575
Dawn: [no answer]
Me: 575
Lily: 575

Scores: Stephen 10 (15), Dawn 0 (11), me 25

First break: EMBER REM ("If you solve this you'll never forget it")

Very hard not to solve this when the words are read out; just placing them in the other order gives REMEMBER.

David's talk is about antigrams, which are anagrams whose meaning is the opposite of the original word.  This was prompted by the appearance of inferno in episode 10, which has an antigram of nonfire.  The other examples he mentions are adultery / true lady, restful / fluster, and violence / nice love.  He then adds the longer options forty-five / over fifty and within earshot / I won't hear this.

Round 4: K S R E B O S I D

I had BERKS (I wasn't sure about this, but it is acceptable), BROKE, wondered about BROKES in the sense of what a broker might do (it is not valid), BIKERS, a speculative BOSSIER, and finally the safe seven of DOSSIER.

Dawn has BROKE for five, outdone by Stephen's choice of BOSSED for six.  David mentions BOSSIER as a seven, but has found DISROBES for eight.  Nice one, David!

The other sevens are BIDDERS, DISROBE / BORIDES (BORIDE: "any hard, heat-resistant compound, usually containing two elements only, of which boron is the more electronegative"), SKIDDER / KIDDERS, and KIDDOES.

Stephen: BOSSED

Scores: Stephen 10 (21), Dawn 0 (11), me 32

Round 5: A P E N H Y I E F

A mess of ill-fitting letters, although after the first few I hoped for EPIPHANY and it almost appeared.  As it was, I had NAPE and PEAHEN (a female peacock).

Dawn declares what sounds like either FANE or FAIN for four, but David checks the spelling and it turns out she has found an invalid option of FEIN.  Meanwhile, Stephen declared PENNY for five but has fallen victim to the phantom extra N and so that's invalid answers from both contestants.  (For a brief while I thought he might have meant PENIE which Chambers -- but not the Macquarie -- lists as a Spenserian spelling of PENNY.)  David has found PEAHEN for six.

That does seem like the only six; the fives are HYENA, PAYEE, and PINEY.

[Update: Commentor Victor points out HINEY, listed as an American colloquialism for the buttocks, as another five.]

Stephen: [invalid]
Dawn: [invalid]

Scores: Stephen 10 (21), Dawn 0 (11), me 38

Round 6: Target 930 from 25 75 7 1 10 6

With a 10 handy on that target, trying to use it is natural.  Making the 93 is easy enough, and I had 930 = 10*(75 + 25 - 7) soon enough.  This is also Lily's solution.

Dawn is a fair way off the pace with 908; there's only two ways to make this, and I have to guess that hers was 908 = 10*75 + 6*25 + 7 + 1, which seems like a very complicated way to go about things.  I think it's maybe more likely that she has made an arithmetic error somewhere.  Stephen is closer with 942 (which was almost certainly 942 = (10 - 1)*(75 + 25) + 7*6), but still outside the scoring range.

So for the second round in a row there is no score from either contestant.

Stephen: [not in range]
Dawn: [not in range]
Me: 930
Lily: 930

Scores: Stephen 10 (21), Dawn 0 (11), me 48

Second break: PAUSE CAN ("This will help you get a handle on your cooking")

Swapping the consonants around easily yields SAUCEPAN.

Round 7: U T U M R C W I A

The early pair of U's is a bad sign.  I ended up using them both with CURIUM (the element) as my only answer.  After time I saw ATRIUM as another six, and those turn out to be the only ones.

The contestants each have four-letter words, Dawn with WRIT and Stephen with WARM.  David has gone with ATRIUM for his six.

The five-letter words are AURUM (another term for gold), AURIC ("of or containing gold [...]") / CURIA ("one of the political subdivisions of each of the three tribes of ancient Roman citizens"), and MICRA (one plural of MICRON, a unit of measurement equal to a millionth of a metre).

Stephen: WARM
Dawn: WRIT

Scores: Stephen 10 (25), Dawn 0 (15), me 54

Round 8: Target 336 from 75 100 25 6 1 9

Dawn is precisely ten points behind at this stage, and cannot afford to let Stephen outscore her on this round.  Rather oddly, then, she goes for his favourite three of each mix.  Admittedly, she will not have seen his other games, but there was still the evidence of that first round.

I recognised the number immediately as one of my prepared combinations; 336 is 6*7*8.  Unfortunately I then went the wrong way by tring to make 56 from the rest of the numbers, and that took me nowhere useful.  I ended up flailing around for a bit before settling on using 75/25 to get the 3 to multiply 100 by in order to simply get close, and was fortunate enough to be able to scramble a solution to it just in time: 336 = (75/25)*(100 + 9 + 1) + 6.

After time I paid a bit more attention to the 6*7*8 option, and realised how it practically solves itself when presented like that: 336 = 6*((100 + 75)/25)*(9 - 1).  That would have been nice to notice within time, and would have saved me considerable struggle.

Dawn is just outside the scoring range with 325, but Stephen is just that one closer with 326 = (9 - 6)*100 + 25 + 1.  That makes all the difference, and gets him five points that seal the match for him.

Lily has made it look simple once again, finding the solution 336 = (100/25)*(75 + 9).  Well done, Lily!

Stephen: 326
Dawn: 325
Me: 336
Lily: 336

Scores: Stephen 10 (30), Dawn 0 (15), me 64


The -ATION in the middle practically leaps out, and while it took me worryingly long to resolve the rest of the letters into the answer I still had it less than three seconds in.  Neither contestant was able to solve it, though, so the scores remain unchanged.

Stephen: [no answer]
Dawn: [no answer]
Me: OPERATION (2.5s)

Final scores: Stephen 10 (30), Dawn 0 (15), me 74

Another very low-scoring win for Stephen, with his average (valid) word length today being five letters and his average distance from the target a bit over 7.  It's going to be tough for him to get many more wins if he maintains those statistics.  Dawn matched him in the letters but was not able to score in the numbers at all, and those fifteen points proved to be the difference at the end.


Sam Gaffney said...

I had a good game here, but I don't know if I saw the episode when it first aired. Seven of my answers/methods were the same as David and Lily's (all but PEAHEN), so it does beg the question.

My answers:

575 = 5*100+75
DISROBES (near the end, thought I should try ignoring the K)
HYENA (also distracted by EPIPHANY)
930 = (75+25-7)*10
ATRIUM (couldn't find a five)
336 = (75+9)*100/25

Jan said...

I had a reasonable game, but again would have beaten Stephen.

THINE (5) Saw HAUNTS just after the 30 secs
MINDER (6) saw DORMIENT too late
5*100+75=575 (19) I felt really sorry for the challenger there
HEAP (4)
(6+7-1)*75 = 900+25=925 (10)
9*25=225 +100=325+6+1=332 (7)
Missed the conundrum

Victor said...

EMBERREM + clue was a lamely easy word mix - second only to LOCKSNUB + clue in my opinion.

Not much to bring to the table except maybe round 5, here are my answers:

575 = 50*10 + 75
HINEY (speculative but appears to be valid)
930 = 10*(75 + 35 - 7)
336 = 75/25*(100 + 9 + 1) + 6
8s - hesitated a bit as it seemed overly easy

JT said...

My Answers

575-9*75-((10-6)X25) bit embaressed after seeing the much easier solution
(invalid-HEAPEN-had nothing so hope it was valid pretty ambitious)
-(tried too hard at the factor of 6)
About the same time as you Geoff

Geoff Bailey said...

Three excellent eights from you, Sam -- definitely a good game! But I'll assume that "5*100" was a typo on your part. (And similarly for Jan.)

Well done on seeing DORMIENT, Jan, even if it was after time. I've mentioned it many times on this blog and I've still never seen it when it comes up. BOSSIER is also a good find. I'll have to nitpick on round 6, though -- the target was 930, not 925.

Thanks for pointing out HINEY, Victor -- I've added it to the post. Some very good results there from you, and I certainly understand the hesitation on the conundrum.

I like your solution for the 575, JT -- it's a very natural approach to take since you can tell from the first step that it's going to be solvable and it's just a question of how. Bold try with HEAPEN, I can picture it being Shakespearean or somesuch. Hopefully you'll remember next time that you can swap the P and the H to get PEAHEN!