Friday, 10 August 2012

Ep 23: Kashi Ross, Robin Wedd (August 8, 2012; originally aired September 1, 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.

It gets mentioned that Kashi has travelled to over thirty countries.  Richard asks if she has a favourite destination, and Kashi responds that New York City is definitely one of the most exciting places on earth.  She has also spent a lot of time in India and says that it is very fond in her heart.  That is certainly a contrast!

(At the end of this piece Richard twice calls her Kushi rather than Kashi; I guess it was not considered worth a reshoot over.)

Tonight's challenger is Robin Wedd, an oceanographer with a PhD in physics.  Robin's job involves predicting the climate up to a year ahead, using all the observations they can get from the ocean and the atmosphere.  They combine that with a model of the oceans that they have developed, feed it all into a supercomputer, and analyse what comes out; the hope is that they can predict the ocean state about a year ahead.  So far it's OK to about two or three months with general climate results, but it gets pretty fuzzy by the year mark.

It was a close game that had the potential for a first; Kashi got out to an early lead in the first two rounds but Robin closed the gap to a single point in the numbers.  Kashi pulled clear a bit more in the next letters round, then an invalid attempt from her allowed Robin to get closer again.  Robin could have taken the lead in the second numbers round but made an error, and the net result was that Kashi was ahead by precisely ten points at the conundrum.  That could have led to a tiebreaker conundrum if Robin solved it first, but neither was able to and Kashi ran out the winner, 34 to 24.

My performance was a little mixed again, as I overcomplicated a numbers round and failed to solve it.  On the other hand, I did find the full monty on offer tonight, and that is always enjoyable.  I finished up with a conundrum solution in decent time, and overall it was a decent game.

Round 1: S A R C E I Y N A

I had CARS, ACRES, CARIES ("decay, as of bone or teeth, or of plant tissue"), and CANARIES.

Robin tries RACEY for five, but it would have been ruled invalid; it makes no difference as Kashi has CRANES for six.  David draws the connection of birds, going from CRANES to CANARIES.

The other eight is CESARIAN a variant spelling of CAESAREAN which, although the main entry is listed in uppercase explicitly mentions that the lowercase version is appropriate for the noun sense of a caesarean section.

The sevens are ARSENIC / CARNIES (CARNIE: " a person who works in a carnival"), CARNEYS (CARNEY: "any of various lizards, especially the bearded dragon"), ARNICAS (ARNICA being a type of plant), and CARINAE (plural of CARINA: "Botany, Zoology a keel-like part or ridge") / ACARINE (adjective derived from ACARID: "any animal belonging to the Acari (or Acarina), an order of arachnids including the mites, ticks, etc.").

Robin: [invalid]

Scores: Kashi 0 (6), Robin 0, me 8

Round 2: B O S I A P C U E

I had BOAS, BIAS, ASPIC, wondered about CAPOES (CAPO: "a leader in the Mafia organisation"; also "a device which holds a bar across the fingerboard of a guitar [...]"; however, with no plural form specified I have to assume that the correct plural form is CAPOS), COUPÉS (a word with some history for me), and SPICAE (in my memory recently due to episode 20, it is the plural of SPICA: "an ear of grain").  After time I wondered about BIOSCAPE, but it is not listed.

This time Kashi has a five with CUBES and Robin has the six... but his choice of SCABIE is invalid.  SCABIES is a disease of sheep, but it does not have a backformed singular as he hoped.  David has found the excellent AUSPICE for seven -- well done, David!

The other seven is PICEOUS ("of, relating to, or resembling pitch").  The other sixes are COPIES, BICEPS, APICES, and COBIAS (plural of COBIA, which is a type of fish).

Kashi: CUBES
Robin: [invalid]

Scores: Kashi 0 (11), Robin 0, me 14

Round 3: Target 563 from 75 9 3 8 9 1

The first instinct is to descend from 600, but the difference of 37 looked a bit awkward at a hasty glance.  37 is provocative, being close to half of 75, so the target is (15*75 - 1)/2... but I could not get this to work.  One thing I had noted while the numbers went up was that 9*9*8 = 648, and I modified that to an overcomplicated one-away 564 = 9*(9*8 - 1) - 75.

After time I realised that the 37 was fairly formable after all, and found the solution 563 = 8*75 - 3*9 - 9 - 1.  I was too hasty to reject that idea, and got myself all tangled up in unhelpful lines as a result.  Oh, well.

Kashi is two away with 561, but Robin has solved this exactly with the above solution.  That tightens the scores right up, with only a single point separating the contestants.

Kashi: 561
Robin: 563
Me: 564

Scores: Kashi 0 (11), Robin 10, me 14

First break: LIE COMMA ("A soothing distance")

We see the start of a later trend in clue formation, with "distance" cluing the MILE of CAMOMILE.

David's talk is about the words quarantine and triage.

Round 4: H O E D B I O R L

I had HOED, BODE, HOODIE, and BLOODIER.  I amused myself by wondering if Star Trek ever had a HOLOBRIDE, but not seriously.  After time I noted BROILED as a fairly findable seven that I had skipped over.

Robin has ROILED for six but Kashi has found BLOODIER for eight to extend her lead once more.

The other seven in this mix is BOODLER (agent noun derived from BOODLE: "to obtain money dishonestly, as by corrupt bargains").


Scores: Kashi 8 (19), Robin 10, me 22

Round 5: T E U I R F G A S

I had RITE, FRUIT, FIGURE, and noted that an A would give FIGURATE ("of a certain determined figure or shape").  It turned up, and then the S posed the question of whether FIGURATE had a noun or verb sense.  I let that question rest while I noted FATIGUE and FATIGUES, rightly ignored FATIGUERS, and finally wrote down FIGURATES as a safety policy.  Then I spotted FRUITAGE ("1. the bearing of fruit. 2. fruits collectively. 3. product or result.") and finished it all off with FRUITAGES as another possible nine.  Quite the eventful mix!

I decided against FIGURATES -- which was the right decision; only an adjective sense is listed -- and with a little trepidation risked FRUITAGES.

Robin was surprisingly short of the mark with FURS for four, while Kashi oversteps by trying FURIATES.  That is not valid and Robin gets the points, closing the gap to five.  David confirms that FRUITAGES is an acceptable plural form -- phew!

The other eights are ARGUFIES (ARGUFY: "to argue or wrangle") and FRIGATES.

Kashi: [invalid]
Robin: FURS

Scores: Kashi 8 (19), Robin 10 (14), me 40

Round 6: Target 873 from 25 50 5 2 4 4

The target is 2 away from a multiple of 25, so the aim is clear.  Getting to that 875 is not as easy as it might seem, and there is essentially only one way to use this idea (although there are other approaches that work); fortunately I found it: 873 = 5*(4*50 - 25) - 2.

Kashi is outside the scoring range with 852, while Robin declares 875 but starts off with (4 + 4)*50 and states that this is 800.  Presumably he meant 4*4*50, but that's not what he said; by inference his full answer should have been 875 = 4*4*50 + 25*(5 - 2).

Lily turns out to have been stumped by this one, letting me get back some ground from the previous numbers game.

Kashi: [out of range]
Robin: [invalid]
Me: 873

Scores: Kashi 8 (19), Robin 10 (14), me 50

Second break: LET ORATE ("We will put up with this one if we have to")

A reasonably straight description of TOLERATE.

Round 7: E A T P N M O T A

I was hoping for a final I for PTOMAINE -- I might even have gone vowel-diving instead of taking that fifth consonant -- but as it was I had TAPE and TAMPON.  After time I saw TEAPOT as another six, and noted that POTMAN is legal in Countdown but not here.

Robin has NEAT for four, but Kashi has found TEMPO for five.  That gives her a lead of precisely ten points, possibly setting up for a tiebreaker conundrum.  David has found POTENT and TEAPOT as sixes.

There's quite a few other sixes, but I'll only mention PATENT, NOTATE, and APNOEA.

But there is a seven: TOMENTA is the plural of TOMENTUM ("pubescence consisting of longish, soft, entangled hairs pressed close to the surface").

Kashi: TEMPO
Robin: NEAT

Scores: Kashi 8 (24), Robin 10 (14), me 56

Round 8: Target 183 from 50 25 100 1 8 2

Robin switches it up with three of each, but gets a very low and easy target.  Everyone has 183 = 100 + 50 + 25 + 8 in short order, although I also noted the solution 183 = 2*(100 - 8) - 1.

Kashi: 183
Robin: 183
Me: 183
Lily: 183

Scores: Kashi 18 (34), Robin 20 (24), me 66


A bit of synchronicity here, as I'd found the answer in a main round of a game of Countdown (series 61, episode 44) that I had played through a few days prior.  I did not recognise that at the time, but it must have helped me and I had the answer fairly quickly.  If Robin solves this first then we will need a second conundrum, but neither manages to and Kashi has the win.

Kashi: [no answer]
Robin: [no answer]

Final scores: Kashi 18 (34), Robin 20 (24), me 76

A low-scoring but tightly-contested encounter; Kashi definitely had the better of the letters while Robin looked to have the better of the numbers, but three invalid answers from him was always going to make winning a difficult proposition.  Kashi gets through to face the fourth-game hurdle tomorrow.


Jan said...

I think I did better this game, and was pleased to get the conundrum.

8*75 - 9*3 = 573 - (9+1) = 563 (10)
100+50+25+8 = 183 (10)
REPLICATE (about 20 secs). (10)

I think a score of 66, which is one of my best.

Mike Backhouse said...

My attempt:

Round 6 - didn't get there
Missed conundrum

I'm not great at getting 7s and 8s in the letters. However I was happy to get 'fatigues' (I hope it's ok) and it was one which presented itself as I wrote down the letters in an order of my choosing as Lily was reading them out.

Geoff Bailey said...

Wow, great game from you, Jan! Getting three eights is always a good sign. If not for the full monty we'd have been tied going into the conundrum (make of that what you will).

Sam Gaffney said...

My answers:

562 = (75-9+3)*8 + 9 + 1 (took at least another minute to see Robin's way)
873 = 5*(4*50 - 25) - 2
183 = (25-2)*8 - 1
~2.5s (I think, don't have paper with me here)

Geoff Bailey said...

Mike: The sevens and eights come in time -- it's all a matter of practice. And yes, FATIGUES is fine; FATIGUE is a noun and a verb, and additionally FATIGUES has a meaning as a type of soldier's uniform.

Strong game from you, Sam. Looks like we played very similarly today!

Mike Backhouse said...

I realise that my writing down of the first numbers solution did not reflect my intent. Obviously I meant -(9+1).

JT said...

Great solve in Round 6 from both Geoff and Sam, that was a stinger.

My Answers
MOAT-most regrettable

Collin said...

My answers

183 (100 + 25 + 50 + 8)

Sam Gaffney said...

Cheers JT, I think the trick for me in round 6 was that 5*175 (or 7*125) is so useful in heavyweights that I spent a while trying for it. I know Geoff has also mentioned 5*7*25=875 being useful on the blog previously.