Thursday, 9 August 2012

Ep 22: Kashi Ross, Michael Clark (August 7, 2012; originally aired August 31, 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.

Until she was about 28, Kashi rollerbladed everywhere for transport.  She does not say when this started, but does specifically single out her university days for that; she could not afford a car at the time and found walking too slow.  And, well, that's pretty much all there is to that anecdote.

Tonight's challenger is Michael Clark, a bank analyst who keeps fit by playing golf and squash; he has also recently competed in a half-marathon.  Richard asks if he plans to do a full marathon at any point; Michael responds that he is thinking about it... but not very hard.

The game started off fairly innocuously with a couple of matched rounds.  Michael drew clear in the first numbers round and then extended the lead in the next letters round.  Both contestants had invalid answers in the following round, and then Kashi struck back with four good results (including solving the conundrum) to hold Michael scoreless in the last four rounds and take the win, 46 to 28.

I was definitely playing below my best today, three times seeing a better word just a little after time expired.  It was the numbers performance that really disappointed me, though, as I missed two solutions; in fact, one of them I struggled so badly with that I did not even get anything down on paper within time.  I hope it's a long time before that happens again -- there were quite a few ways to get close and not getting something down was poor time management.  I did solve the conundrum quickly to salvage something from the day, but in terms of maxima it's one of my worst results for a while.

Round 1: D S C E A O F G U

I had DACE (a type of fish), CASED, FACED, DOSAGE, and FOCUSED.

The contestants each have five, with Michael choosing FACES while Kashi had the similar FACED.  David has found FOCUSED -- it does seem to be the only acceptable word longer than six letters -- and explains how both FOCUSED and FOCUSSED are listed as acceptable spellings.

Some dictionaries list DOGFACE as a slang term for members of the U.S. infantry, and it and DOGFACES would be legal in Countdown.  The Macquarie does not, and (perhaps more surprisingly) nor does it list DEFOCUS.

The other sixes are CAUSED / SAUCED, CADGES, FUDGES, DECAFS, ESCUDO (former monetary unit of Portugal or Chile), DAGOES, FADGES (FADGE: "a loosely filled wool bale"), GUACOS (GUACO being a plant), and FAUCES ("the cavity at the back of the mouth, leading into the pharynx").

Kashi: FACED
Michael: FACES

Scores: Kashi 0 (5), Michael 0 (5), me 7

Round 2: P T I E L R A I S

I had PILE, TRIPE, PALTER, correctly rejected LAIRIEST (LAIRY is defined with the meanings I expected -- "exhibitionistic; flashy" or "vulgar" -- but no comparative or superlative forms are given; I was intrigued to see that LAIRISE is listed as a verb, though), TRIPLES, and PARTIES.  I was sure that there was an eight there from ignoring one of the I's, and just after time I finally found it: PILASTER ("a square or rectangular pillar, with capital and base, engaged in a wall from which it projects").

Both contestants have sevens also, with Kashi choosing PLASTER while Michael successfully tries the riskier anagram of PLATERS.  David claims PARITIES as an eight, and Alan Nash might rightly feel hard done by if he watched this; the dictionary entry is even shown on the show, with no sign of the plural form.  By precedents now in use this would not be allowed.

The other eight is PLAISTER, an obsolete synonym for PLASTER.  There's a lot of sevens.

Michael: PLATERS

Scores: Kashi 7 (12), Michael 7 (12), me 14

Round 3: Target 570 from 75 25 5 9 7 1

I started down a few unprofitable lines, but then focused on that factor of ten and found the solution 570 = (9 + 1)*(75 - 25 + 7).  I then turned to the standard method and found the alternative 570 = (9 - 1)*75 - 25 - 5; it is possible to substitute (7 + 1) for (9 - 1) in that approach.  A solution I saw after time was 570 = 7*(75 + 5) + 9 + 1.

Kashi is only just within scoring range with 560, but Michael has solved this with the second of those solutions I listed.

Kashi: 560
Michael: 570
Me: 570

Scores: Kashi 7 (12), Michael 17 (22), me 24

First break: DINE HEAL ("You will hear about this in tomorrow's news")

A reasonably easy clue for HEADLINE.

David's talk is about the possibly related words borzoi and bistro.

Round 4: M V U O N E T B I

I had MUON, OMEN, MOVIE, ENTOMB, INTOMB, and MOTIVE.  After time I wrote down MINUTE / MINUET that I had seen within time, and then immediately noticed BITUMEN for seven.  That kind of thing is why I do sometimes write down alternatives, as it can help to find other words; if only I had done that earlier this time!

This time Kashi has MOVIE for five but is outdone by Michael's choice of MINUTE for six.  David has accurately found BITUMEN.

That seems to be the only seven; the remaining six is BOVINE.

Kashi: MOVIE
Michael: MINUTE

Scores: Kashi 7 (12), Michael 23 (28), me 30

Round 5: R U E N O L H E C

I had RUNE, LONER, rejected LUNCHER, OUNCE, and CREOLE ("a language which has developed from a pidgin to become the primary language of a community"; I mentioned this recently in episode 19, although I actually played this episode first due to the SBS episode mixup).  Immediately after time I saw ECHELON for seven -- the third time this game that I was just a bit too slow.  Frustrating!

Michael tries CLONER for six, but it is not valid.  Nor is Kashi's attempt of LUNCHER -- she did think it was not that likely but tried it anyway -- so no score from either contestant this round.  David is on target again with ECHELON -- well done!

The other seven is LUCERNE (a type of plant, which I seem to recall was often used as fodder for livestock and is also known as ALFALFA).

The sixes are ENCORE, COHERE / ECHOER, HEREON, LECHER, EUCHRE, UNREEL, CHOLER (bile), CRENEL ("one of the open spaces between the merlons of a battlement"; that surprised me -- I'd heard of crenellations, but had not thought that there would be an underlying noun of CRENEL for that), LOUCHE ("sinister; disreputable; devious"), COULEE ("a stream of lava"), CORNEL (a type of tree), COHUNE (another type of tree), and COLURE ("either of two great circles of the celestial sphere intersecting each other at the poles, one passing through the equinoctial and the other through the solstitial points of the ecliptic").

Kashi: [invalid]
Michael: [invalid]

Scores: Kashi 7 (12), Michael 23 (28), me 36

Round 6: Target 547 from 75 25 7 8 4 8

Bleah, I made a mess of this.  The temptation is to keep the 7 and 4 aside for the final offset of 3 applied to the standard method, but that did not seem to lead anywhere useful.  I commented in episode 21 (final numbers round) how I had ignored one of my precomputed totals that wasn't close enough and complicated my life; this time I was determined not to repeat that mistake, although it was not as useful.  I had noted as the numbers went up that 8*8*7 was 448, which gave me a one-away 548 = 8*8*7 + 75 + 25.

My attempts to find another solution within time just led me to one away in the other direction with 546 = 8*(75 - 7) + 8/4.  After time I finally tried the standard method without preconceived notions of what numbers to keep and found a solution at last: 547 = 7*75 + 25 - (4 - 8/8).  This time, trying to decide which numbers to keep to make that final three led me astray.

Michael is one away with 548, but Kashi has made up for her previous numbers round by finding that solution.  Well done!  The difference is back to six points, and the game is alive again.

Kashi: 547
Michael: 548
Me: 548

Scores: Kashi 17 (22), Michael 23 (28), me 36

Second break: EAR SHOES ("A wet equine")

An easy clue for SEAHORSE.

Round 7: B A O E S T P R A

I had BASE, BOAST, PROBATES (PROBATE having both noun and verb meanings; the verb sense, marked as American, is "to establish the authenticity or validity of (a will)"), BOASTER, and PROBATE.

Michael has STROBE for six, but Kashi has BOASTER for seven and takes the lead for the first time.  David has found PROBATES for eight.

PROBATES looks like the only eight; some sources would allow AEROBATS by analogy with acrobats, but the Macquarie only lists AEROBATICS.

The other sevens are ABREAST / ABATERS, ABATORS (ABATOR is listed as a legal term with the same meaning as ABATER), BORATES / SORBATE / BOATERS, SEAPORT / PROTEAS / ESPARTO (a type of grass), and SAPROBE ("an organism that derives its nourishment from dead and decaying organic matter").

Michael: STROBE

Scores: Kashi 17 (29), Michael 23 (28), me 44

Round 8: Target 436 from 100 25 3 1 2 8

I got badly sidetracked by a lot of options here, with 4*109 being the biggest time sink.  In the end I resigned myself to having to just write down something close, but ran out of time with (3 + 1)*100 + 25 + 8... written down.  This should have been completed by adding 2 for a one-away 435, but I mismanaged my time completely.

After time I saw how to get to the solution by descent from 450 with a bit of a tweak: 436 = 2*3*(100 - 25 - 1) - 8.  And then a bit later it occurred to me how to make 4*109 work after all, leading to the solution 436 = (3 + 1)*(100 + 25 - 2*8).  Bother.

Michael is four away with 432, but Kashi is just one away with the 435 that I was trying to get down: 435 = (3 + 1)*100 + 25 + 8 + 2.  That gives her an eight point lead going into the conundrum; if she had solved this one exactly then she would have been guaranteed the win.

Lily shows another approach, which can be considered as a tweaked standard method: 436 = (8/2)*(100 + 3) + 25 - 1.  Nice one, Lily!

Kashi: 435
Michael: 432
Me: [no answer]
Lily: 436

Scores: Kashi 24 (36), Michael 23 (28), me 44


The ending is almost spelled out in the start, which may have been what guided me to the solution very early.  Kashi gets there just short of the halfway mark to complete a good comeback and take the win.

Kashi: TREACHERY (13s)
Michael: [no answer]

Final scores: Kashi 24 (46), Michael 23 (28), me 54

Michael got out to a good lead relatively early, but was not quite able to capitalise on that as Kashi held her nerve to mount a strong comeback at the end, including two good results on the numbers.  It went down to the conundrum, and that seems fitting on the performance we saw.


Sam Gaffney said...

Kashi did well to nail 547.

My answers:

CAUSED (I thought I remembered DOGFACE being invalid)
570 = 7*75 + 5*9
547 = 8*75 - 25 - 4*7
436 = (100-25-1) * 3*2 - 8

Anonymous said...

Hi there guys my name is Collin I've been watching the show for a while so I thought I post my answers and join in on the fun.

My Answers were:

75X(7+1)= 600 - 25 – 5
75X7= 525 + 25 – ((4-(8/8))
100X(3+1) = 400 + 25 + 2 + 8

Geoff Bailey said...

Welcome, Collin -- great to hear from you! Solid numbers work from you tonight, comfortably outpointing me on that front.

And even better results from you, Sam; great stuff -- congratulations!

Mike Backhouse said...

I had pilates for round two, but was not sure if it was allowed?

Jan said...

Hi there. I didn't have a really good game, fell short of it being a 50 pointer, but Wednesday's game was much better.

PLAITER (7) I will have to remember PLAISTER
7*75 + 9*5 = 570 (10)
LURCH (5) I did think of LUNCHER too, but wasn't sure if it was valid
7*75 + 25 = 550 - (8-4) = 546 (0). Annoyed I didn't see Kershi's way
(3*1)*100 + 25 + 8 + 2 = 435 (7)

Geoff Bailey said...

Mike: PILATES is only listed as capitalised, so would not be allowed. Bad luck!

(A safe anagram of those letters is TALIPES, the condition of being club-footed.)

Sorry to pull you up on a couple of points, Jan, but firstly PLAITER is not valid (otherwise PLAITERS would have been another eight). Also, there was only one T in round seven, so BOASTER would be OK but not BATTERS or PATTERS.

I like your solution for 570!

Jan said...

Geoff, I am not surprised I got these things wrong. I had been in hospital a few hours earlier having a procedure under a general anaesthetic. They tell you not to make decisions for 24 hours!

Geoff Bailey said...

Oh, my. I hope it all went well, Jan, and that you are feeling the better for it.

JT said...

When Michael Clark was annouced by Eichard, I was half expecting the great homphone to come up on this episode but alas it wasn't... I bet his name gets a lot of nicknames..

My Answers
570-(9 + 1)*(75 - 25 + 7)
435-(3 + 1)*100 + 25 + 8 + 2
bit over 30 sec