Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Ep 27: Naween Fernando, Jim Bailey (August 14, 2012; originally aired September 7, 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.

The chat with Naween boils down to "you did well yesterday".  That feels like a waste of an opportunity, quite frankly.

Challenging Naween is Jim Bailey, a self-employed executive recruiter (or headhunter, less formally).  Jim enjoys skiing, swimming, and golf, and once came within a hundred metres of enjoying -- or at least experiencing -- bungee jumping.  He was in Queenstown with the family for skiing and thought he'd look it up, but was not able to bring himself to go through with it.

A tough opening round saw the contestants share points, then Naween moved ahead in the next letters round.  He extended that lead in the numbers round, and continued to forge ahead in several ensuing rounds.  He was safe before the last letters round with Jim never managing to score unanswered points off him, and although the conundrum proved too tough for both contestants Naween still scored well in a 60 to 21 victory.

I had a good game tonight, although I did miss a couple of longer options that I feel I should have found.  Against that, I found a full monty tonight and got to the conundrum first, ending up with a comfortable win that made me pretty happy.

Round 1: O A I F B T H A L

A troublesome set of letters, and uncooperative vowels.  I saw FABIO in the first five but would have been rather surprised if that were valid (it is not, as expected); aside from that I had BOAT, HABIT, and that was it.  After time I noted BLOAT and BIOTA as two other fives in the mix.

The contestants each have five-letter words also, Jim with FAITH and Naween with HABIT.  David was able to go one better, finding a depressingly straightforward AFLOAT for six.

The other six is HIATAL, the adjective derived from HIATUS.  There are a few other fives, with some of the more common ones being FILTH, FATAL, and ALOFT / FLOAT.

Naween: HABIT

Scores: 5 apiece

Round 2: E U O E M N A D S

Jim shows that he likes vowels even more than Naween does, but at least he gets a better selection of them.  I had MOUE ("a pouting grimace"), DAEMON (a term from Greek mythology: "a subordinate deity [...]"), DAEMONS, and then saw the possible extension to EUDAEMONS.  I wrote down EUDEMONS also, so that I would have the leeway to decide between them; I was pretty sure I'd looked up one of them before and found it, but I could not recall which one.  Eventually I correctly decided that both spellings were probably valid and opted for the longer one.  (The Macquarie lists EUDEMON as the main spelling, with EUDAEMON as the variant, but both are there: "a good demon or spirit").

(This round is arguably dodgy; I'm pretty sure that the time I looked up EUDAEMONS was due to seeing it mentioned in the blue book for this episode.  On the other hand, I had not remembered that until after finding the word.)

Jim has DEEMS for five but Naween has found DEMEANS for seven.  David mentioned UNSEAMED as an eight, but has found EUDAEMONS for the full monty.  Bravo!

The other eight is EUDAEMON, of course.  The other sevens are EUDEMON, MASONED, MEDUSAE (one plural of MEDUSA, a jellyfish), and MEDUSAN ("a medusa or jellyfish").


Scores: Naween 5 (12), Jim 5, me 23

Round 3: Target 559 from 75 3 6 5 5 1

I flailed around unprofitably for a little while, then saw that 560 - 1 was a useful way to approach it.  I managed to turn that into the solution 559 = (5 + 3)*(75 - 5) - 1, and then a kitchen-sink variation of 559 = (6/3 + 5)*(75 + 5) - 1.

Jim has not been able to get within range, while Naween is five away with 564 = (5 + 3)*75 - (5 + 1)*6.  A little tweak would have led him to the first solution above, which Lily demonstrates.

Naween: 564
Jim: [not in range]
Me: 559
Lily: 559

Scores: Naween 5 (19), Jim 5, me 33

First break: MINE DICE ("A spoonful of sugar helps...")

That spoonful of sugar helps the MEDICINE go down.

David's talk is about the word phishing.

Round 4: T E I E I P S O L

A lot of vowels again!  I had PITIES, PETIOLES (I mentioned PETIOLE ("the stalk by which a leaf is attached to the stem") in the definition of STIPULE yesterday; it's a word that has come up in Countdown episodes reasonably often, which has helped me spot it), and POLITIES (plural of POLITY: "a particular form or system of government [...]").

Jim tries ELIPSE for six, but that is a misspelling of ELLIPSE and so is invalid.  Naween has found PETIOLES for eight, and David was unable to better it.

The sevens here are PETIOLE, PIETIES, POETISE, EPISTLE / PELITES (PELITE: "any clay rock"), and OILIEST / IOLITES (IOLITE being another name for the mineral CORDIERITE).

There's even another eight: PISOLITE is "a sedimentary rock containing spherical or subspherical concretions more than 2mm in diameter".

But that is outdone by the nine in the mix: SEPIOLITE, another name for the clay mineral MEERSCHAUM.  Well done to anybody who found that!

Jim: [invalid]

Scores: Naween 13 (27), Jim 5, me 41

Round 5: E U A E D R C N P

I had DEAR, CRUDE, DURANCE, and PRUDENCE.  I toyed with UNCAPERED, but not seriously.

It's a pair of sixes from the contestants, with Naween choosing REAPED while Jim has DANCER.  David has found PRUDENCE for eight.

That looks like the only eight.  The other sevens are UNDRAPE, and the related pair of PRANCED and CAPERED.

Naween: REAPED

Scores: Naween 13 (33), Jim 5 (11), me 49

Round 6: Target 183 from 25 100 50 5 1 9

Jim tries the balanced mix but gets an easy target.  I had 183 = 100 + 75 + 9 - 1 in short order, and with plenty of time left I played around with alternative approaches and found the kitchen sink 183 = 9*(25 - 5) + 100/50 + 1.

Jim is surprisingly one away with 184 -- did he use up the 1 in getting to 175, or just not think to subtract it at the end? -- while Naween has found the first of those solutions above.  Lily shows the minor variation 183 = 5*25 + 50 + 9 - 1.

Naween: 183
Jim: 184
Me: 183
Lily: 183

Scores: Naween 23 (43), Jim 5 (11), me 59

Second break: RAP ASIDE ("A place where some surfers live")

Richard confuses things a bit by pronouncing this as RAPA SIDE, but in any case it is easy to figure out the reference to Surfer's PARADISE.

Round 7: O A I E S B H T M

I'm safe as long as there's no full monty here, which is something.  But I struggled on this mix, finding only BASE, HABITS, and BATHES.  Immediately after time I saw ATOMISE as a seven, and then ISOBATH ("a line drawn on a chart of the oceans, connecting all points having the same depth") as another.

Jim has BOATS for five but Naween has found ATOMISE for seven.  David has gone one better by finding BOHEMIA and thus BOHEMIAS for eight.  Well done, David!

The other sevens are ATHEISM, HOMIEST, ATOMIES (plural of the obsolete ATOMY which has a couple of meanings, including "a skeleton"), and BOTHIES (plural of BOTHY, a Scottish word meaning "a hut or small cottage, especially for lodging farmhands or workers").

[Update: Thanks to commenter Jan for finding BOATIES as another seven.  BOATIE: "a person who owns and runs a small craft".]


Scores: Naween 30 (50), Jim 5 (11), me 59

Round 8: Target 180 from 100 25 75 1 9 6

Jim stays with the balanced mix, but again the target is low and easy.  Everyone had 180 = 100 + 75 + 6 - 1 in short order; I wrote down two other solutions also: 180 = 9*(25 - 6 + 1) and 180 = 100 + 75 + 9 - (25 - 1)/6.

Lily also searched for a more interesting solution; her take on it was 180 = (75/25)*6*(9 + 1).

Naween: 180
Jim: 180
Me: 180
Lily: 180

Scores: Naween 40 (60), Jim 15 (21), me 69


Another round where the answer leapt out at me, with my eyes drawn immediately to the start of the answer reversed in the words.  A little surprisingly to those of us familiar with Naween's efforts, neither contestant is able to solve this one within time.

Naween: [no answer]
Jim: [no answer]

Final scores: Naween 40 (60), Jim 15 (21), me 79

Naween was surprisingly off the max in many letters rounds, but still had good results that were too much for Jim.  Naween also was able to make good progress on the numbers in each round whereas Jim was somewhat further away, and the final scoreline reflected this disparity.  Naween does look catchable on the numbers as long as the targets are challenging, but will he face a contestant who can expose that weakness?  Time will tell.


Jan said...

I had a better game against Naween this time, and was about 2 seconds off getting the conundrum in time.

(6+1)*75 = 525. (5+5)*3=30. 525 + 30= 555 (7)
100+50+25 + 9 - 1 = 183 (10)
100+75+6-1=180 (10)
About 32 secs for democracy

Geoff Bailey said...

Ooh, good find with BOATIES, Jan -- I've updated the post to include this. By my reckoning you would have only just lost to Naween, 46 to 47. Well done!

Sam Gaffney said...

Not sure if I had seen this episode before or not, I saw DAEMONS, but EUDAEMONS didn't ring a bell at all, nor did anything else.

559 = (5+3) * (75-5) - 1
183 = (25-5)*9 + 100/50 + 1 (did boring way first)
180 = 100+75+6-1

JT said...

Jim did not help himself at all by glutting the word mixes with vowels espically against a player who is known to pick a lot of vowels.
Naween wasn't at his best in this game but I'm thinking this the calm before the storm...

My Answers
FLOAT (can't believe I missed AFLOAT)
559-same as Geoff and Sam
183-100+50+25+9- 1

Geoff Bailey said...

I agree, JT, although to be fair Jim would not have had much chance to observe this behaviour on Naween's part. It's a bit vexing, given my normal complaints, that the two five-vowel mixes both produced full monties!

Collin said...

My Answers

569= 25*(5+3) - (6*5) -1
183= 100+50+25+9-1
180= 75+6-1+100

I knew DEMOCRACY because I cracked it before on an old version of Countdown. I'll try and find it if i can.