Friday, 27 July 2012

Ep 13: Sudesh Piyatissa, Tanya Ithier (July 25, 2012; originally aired August 18, 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 notes that Sudesh has been the host of a TV show before, so perhaps the studio environment is more familiar to him than to most contestants.  Sudesh explains that a friend of his is in the film industry and has a show on community television called The Melbourne Update; Sudesh was offered and accepted the chance to co-host it a few years back.  Richard suggests that this gives Sudesh a third string to his bow, if he decides against the comedy and neurosurgery careers.

Tonight's challenger is Tanya Ithier, a student in the first year of her social work and psychology degree.  Tanya was once ranked third in Mauritius at table tennis; she explains that she started playing at the age of ten, just after school for fun.  At some point she got noticed by a national trainer who took her under his wing and has trained her since, helping her get to that level.

Tanya started off with an early lead, but a phantom letter in the fourth round led to an invalid word from her and Sudesh narrowed the gap, then took the lead in a later numbers round.  Two shared rounds followed, and Sudesh was ahead but vulnerable going into the conundrum.  He solved it at the halfway mark to get his second win, 57 to 41.

I started off in reasonable shape, matching David and Lily for five rounds.  Then I did somewhat poorly on the second numbers round, only just avoiding declaring an invalid answer.  It was still good enough for points, but was a worrying lapse.  The last numbers round also proved to be too tough for me to solve, but later checking revealed that it was genuinely unsolvable.  I finished with a quick solution to the conundrum to poll another score in the seventies despite that wobbly period later on.

Round 1: D I N E A C R B I

Richard explains at the start of this round that nine-letter words score double -- the first time it has been mentioned so far.  Is that a sign of nines to come?  We'll have to play through and find out...

I had DINE, DANCE, CRANED, CARBINE ("a short rifle for cavalry use"), and BRAINED.  After time I wrote down another seven I had seen within time: CARBIDE ("a compound of carbon with a more electropositive element or radical").

Sudesh has BRACED for six but Tanya gets the early lead with BRAINED for seven; she seems a little unsure about it, but it is fine.  David has opted for CARBINE as his seven.

The other sevens are CAIRNED, CABINED, and DENARII (plural of DENARIUS, an old Roman coin).  But there is an eight: the chemical ACRIDINE ("[...] part of the anthracene fraction of coal tar"; apparently it is a source of synthetic dyes and drugs).

Sudesh: BRACED

Scores: Sudesh 0, Tanya 7, me 7

Round 2: F E M T A O S R I

I had TEAM, ATOM, FOAMS, MOISTER, ATOMISER / AMORTISE, and FOAMIEST.  After time I found FORMATES as another eight; FORMATE is a chemical, but it also has a verb meaning ("(of aircraft) to group in formation").

Sudesh has six again with STRIFE, and Tanya has matched that with STREAM.  David has gone with FOAMIEST for his eight.

The other eights are FOREMAST (I'd seen the almost FOREMOST, but not thought of this: "the mast nearest the bow of a ship") and SETIFORM ("bristle-shaped").

Sudesh: STRIFE

Scores: Sudesh 0 (6), Tanya 7 (13), me 15

Round 3: Target 643 from 75 4 8 10 6 9

The target is bracketed by 8*75 and 9*75, so it is a question of which to use.  The offset from 675 is 32 which was handily formable, giving me the solution 643 = 9*75 - 4*8.  Then I tried getting there from below, and found 643 = 8*75 + 4*10 + 9 - 6.

After time I saw a tweaked version of that second solution to save a number: 643 = 8*(75 + 6) - (9 - 4).  I also saw that the target was almost 6*107, leading me to the solution of 643 = 6*(75 + 4*8) + 10 - 9.

Both contestants have solved this; Sudesh used the second of those solutions, while Tanya went with the first.

Sudesh: 643
Tanya: 643
Me: 643

Scores: Sudesh 10 (16), Tanya 17 (23), me 25

First break: WHISK CAR ("Transported by people power")

A reasonably clear association for RICKSHAW.

David's talk is about three Frenchmen whose surnames have all given us words in the dictionary: Colonel Jean Martinet, Dr Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, and Jules LĂ©otard.

Round 4: D K E U O S L M E


Sudesh has MOULDS for six, but Tanya has fallen victim to a phantom letter with her invalid declaration of LOCKED; that narrows the gap to a single point.  David mentions MODELS for six and then MODULES for seven.

The other sixes are MODULE, SMOKED, SELDOM, MOUSED, ELUDES, LOUSED, and possibly OLEUMS (OLEUM being a name for fuming sulphuric acid).

Sudesh: MOULDS
Tanya: [invalid]

Scores: Sudesh 10 (22), Tanya 17 (23), me 32

Round 5: Z T O A P I E B H

I had TOPAZ, PATIO, OPIATE, BAPTIZE, and PHOBIA (scoring less, but I liked it enough to write it down).  I briefly wondered about PHOBIATE, but fortunately not seriously.

The contestants each have four-letter words, Sudesh with POET and Tanya with HEAT.  David mentions TOPAZ and BAPTIZE, explaining that many of the -ise words allow -ize variants.

The other sixes here are OPHITE ("a greenish altered diabase", which is a type of rock) and EPIZOA (plural of EPIZOON: "an external parasite").

Sudesh: POET
Tanya: HEAT

Scores: Sudesh 10 (26), Tanya 17 (27), me 39

Round 6: Target 733 from 100 50 2 1 10 6

Gah, I got badly lost on this one.  Offsets of 17 and 33 aren't that promising, and although I saw several ways to two away (such as 735 = (6+1)*100 + 50/2 + 10) I spent too long searching for exact solutions by increasingly confused methods.  In the end I had to write down something close, and ended up three away with 736 = (6 + 1)*(100 - 2) + 50.

In fact, it's worse than that because I had miscomputed it as one away, taken a guess at the direction and written down the total as 732.  A check revealed the correct total and I scribbled the corrected 6 over the 2 as time expired.  All in all, a rather rocky round.

After time I wrote down one of the two-aways: 735 = (6 + 1)*(100 + 10/2), and then realised that using another way to make that 5 would leave the 2 handy, and yield a solution: 735 = (6 + 1)*(100 + 50/10) - 2.  Bother.  Somewhat more fiddling around after time revealed that an approach that I had discarded -- the descent from 800 -- would in fact have worked out, with the solution 733 = (10 + 6)*(50 + 2) + 1 - 100.  Double bother!

Tanya is five away with 738, which was presumably 738 = (6 + 1)*100 + 50 - 10 - 2.  Sudesh is just three away, though, with 730 = (6 + 1)*100 + 50 - 2*10.  Those seven points put him into the lead at last.

Lily as deftly solved this round, using the first of the solutions that I found above.  Well done, Lily!

It was quite a tough round, in fact.  Aside from those two solutions, there is only one other: 733 = ((100 - 10)/6)*(50 - 1) - 2.

Sudesh: 730
Tanya: 738
Me: 736
Lily: 733

Scores: Sudesh 17 (33), Tanya 17 (27), me 46

Second break: MOVE RANG ("Adam in front of the trees")

Richard gives a warning about the clue being a bit cryptic; Adam is the MAN and the trees are a GROVE, yielding MANGROVE.

Round 7: G N O A R S N U D


Both contestants have found GROUNDS for seven, but David has found the only eight: GRANDSON.  Well done, David!

That's all the eights and sevens listed.


Scores: Sudesh 24 (40), Tanya 24 (34), me 53

Round 8: Target 533 from 100 50 25 5 1 4

The target is near 7*75, but without a 7 that seems less useful.  I wrote down a fallback one-away 534 = 5*(100 + 1) + 4 + 25, and in the end that was where I had to stay.

Both contestants have found 530 = 100*5 + 25 + 4 + 1.  Lily was able to get to 534, but not to the target.  With good reason, as it turns out -- the target is unachievable, the first time that has happened this series.

Sudesh: 530
Tanya: 530
Me: 534
Lily: 534

Scores: Sudesh 24 (47), Tanya 24 (41), me 60


Down to the conundrum with either able to win.  The -ABLE fragment got me to the solution in a couple of seconds, but it took around fifteen seconds for Sudesh to solve this one and get his second win.  (I'll note that the clock started pretty early on this one, with the letters only fully revealed at the one second mark.)

Sudesh: MEMORABLE (15s)
Tanya: [no answer]

Final scores: Sudesh 24 (57), Tanya 24 (41), me 70

There was not a lot to separate the two contestants; in fact, if Tanya had found a valid six-letter word in round four then they would have been tied going into the conundrum.  She had just slightly the better of the words thanks to BRAINED, and Sudesh the advantage in the numbers, but it was his solution to the conundrum that got him home.  I'll note that this was the highest combined total of the series so far.


Victor said...

That was a neat numbers solve from Tanya in round 3. I was a little hesitant about BAPTIZE actually, but "risked" it. Is there a general rule for which verbs take -ize as well as -ise? Or is it pretty much all of them?

643 = 8*75 + 4*10 + 9 - 6
734 = 6*(100 + 50/2 - 1) - 10
534 = 5*(100 + 1) + 25 + 4

Sam Gaffney said...

My answers:

643 = 9*75-8*4 (8*81 way first)
MODULES (seemed safer than DELOUSE)
734 = (100+50/2-1)*6-10 (then found Geoff's 832 way a touch after time)
GRANDSON (just in time)
534 = 5*(100+1)+25+4

Geoff Bailey said...

Wow, good games from you both, and GRANDSON was a particularly good find, Sam. Well done!

The -ise/-ize situation is a bit complicated, but basically for words of Greek origin the -ize form should always be allowed. (And, arguably, preferred. The OED has a bit of a diatribe about this somewhere, if I recall correctly.)

... yes, Wikipedia includes part of that in it's section on the difference.

Jan said...


Had a reasonable game, but really stuffed up in the last numbers game, and yet again did not get the conundrum. I wish I could get that more often.

9*75 - 4*10 = 635 +8 = 643 (10)
Invalid word
50-(10*2)=30. 700+30=730. (7)
Stuffed that one up

Geoff Bailey said...

Believe me, Jan, I can certainly sympathise on the conundrum front -- it's definitely the weakest part of my game.

(I deleted your double post and comment about it, but no worries in any case.)