Friday, 24 August 2012

Ep 33: Geoff Heard, David Jones (August 22, 2012; originally aired September 15, 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.

Geoff is back for his second night, and his first time in the champion's seat.  Richard mentions that Geoff enjoys playing golf and asks more about that.  Geoff says that golf has been a hobby of his for a number of years now; it started when he was around seven or eight and his father would pay him a dollar a round to caddy for him.  Eventually he decided that it was better to carry the bag around for himself instead of for his father.

Tonight's challenger is David Jones, a public servant who is originally from Britain and was awarded Australian citizenship in 2009 (just a year ago, at the time this was originally aired).  Richard asks about how the citizenship ceremony went, and David responds that there was a formal and an informal component to it.  The formal occasion involved being given a certificate, a gum leaf, and a soft toy koala (among other things); Richard interjects to express his belief that at one point people were given a tree, not just a leaf, and David jests that clearly times are hard.  The informal part of the evening involved an apparently time-honoured tradition of pouring beer over his head.

A David contestant always makes things a little complicated to describe.  I'll be changing my usual policy of using surname initials and instead refer to David Astle as DA throughout (his standard identifier for crossword purposes).  It would probably have made my life easier if I had adopted this policy a while ago, but nevermind.

David found an excellent word to start, and continued in that vein to soon be 21 points ahead.  Geoff was not able to keep up with him on the letters, and the numbers were mostly unchallenging.  Geoff managed to gain back some ground in one of them, but it was not enough and David was safe going into the conundrum.  He solved it quickly to round out the win, 63 to 35.

I almost played a maximal game, but one round had a hard-to-find better option; it also eluded DA, which should give a measure of that difficulty.  The net result was that I was also safe going into the conundrum, and I needed that as a mental freeze left me a second or so off David's solving pace.  I just barely scraped home, and David is certainly a contestant to watch.

Round 1: A U E D S L A R O

Geoff opens with five vowels again; I had USED, DEALS, RELOADS, and ROULADES (ROULADE: "a meat roll or galantine").

Geoff has SOURED for six, but David has found ROULADES for eight to take the early lead.  No word on DA's effort, but he did have to turn the dictionary to that word.

The other eight is AUREOLAS (AUREOLA being listed as a variant spelling of AUREOLE: "any encircling ring of light or colour; a halo").

The other sevens are ROULADE, AUREOLA, AROUSED, AROUSAL, LOADERS / ORDEALS, LAUDERS, SUDORAL (adjective derived from SUDOR: "perspiration"), and RADULAE (plural of RADULA: "a chitinous band in the mouth of most molluscs, set with numerous minute horny teeth [...]").


Scores: Geoff 0, David 8, me 8

Round 2: T G M E I U F D E

I had MITE / TIME, MIDGET, FIDGET, and saw that a final A would allow FUMIGATED.  I imagine that David did, too, as he called for a vowel but unfortunately received an E.  I added TEDIUM as another six before time ran out, and that was the best I could do.

Geoff has MUTED but is outpointed again by David's choice of FIDGET.  DA points out that GIFTED is there as an anagram of FIDGET, and also mentions TEDIUM.

The other sixes are ITEMED (ITEM as a verb: "to make a note or memorandum of") and MIDGUT.

But there is an eight to be found in this mix!  To TUMEFY is "to make swollen or tumid", and thus TUMEFIED is acceptable for eight.

Geoff: MUTED

Scores: Geoff 0, David 14, me 14

Round 3: Target 783 from 100 25 75 2 8 7

The standard method says to try and make this as 775 + 8, and everyone finds 783 = 7*100 + 75 + 8 soon enough.  I wondered if I could use 875 as a stepping stone, and also found the solution 783 = 7*(75 + 2*25) - 100 + 8.

Geoff: 783
David: 783
Me: 783
Lily: 783

Scores: Geoff 10, David 24, me 24

First break: MINE RILL ("This one has the makings of being a real fascinator")

This is referring to the hat-related sense of fascinator, and thus the answer is a MILLINER.

DA's talk is about the origins of the words slogan and motto.

Round 4: I O A I S L P T R

I had SAIL, PAILS, and TAILORS.  I noted regretfully that AIRPISTOL was not likely to be listed as a single word (it turns out not to be listed at all), and similarly for AIRPILOTS.  Note that using three vowels only would have brought in a D for some familiar eights (in light of discussion in comments on recent posts): PAROTIDS / PARODIST (and also DILATORS and TRIPODAL).

Geoff has PLAITS for six, but David extends his lead further with PORTALS for seven.  That puts him more than twenty points ahead and Geoff is in a lot of trouble.  DA has found PATROLS and TOPSAIL as his sevens.

The other sevens are APOSTIL ("a marginal annotation or note") and RIALTOS (RIALTO: "an exchange or mart").


Scores: Geoff 10, David 31, me 31

Round 5: D M H O U I T G C

A tough mix for sure; I had MOTH, MIGHT, had some doubt about DOUGHT (I seemed to recall checking up on this before and only DOUGHTY being listed; this recollection was correct), and GOTHIC.  I wasn't entirely sure that GOTHIC was safe either, but figured that the term had been in use for long enough to acquire lowercase meanings, and this turned out to be the right decision.  After time I saw DICTUM as a safer six.

Both contestants had HUMID for five, and DA accurately found DICTUM.

The other sixes are MIDGUT (again), MUCOID ("any of a group of substances resembling the mucins, occurring in connective tissue, etc."), and GOMUTI (a type of tree).

Had Geoff persisted with his usual strategy of five vowels then MIAOUED would have been available for seven.

Geoff: HUMID
David: HUMID

Scores: Geoff 10 (15), David 31 (36), me 37

Round 6: Target 112 from 50 7 5 4 3 5

I recognised the target as 7*16, so that guided me quickly to the solution 112 = 7*(3*5 + 5 - 4).  As time was running out I spotted a variation, although I did not finish getting it down within time: 112 = 7*4*(3 + 5/5).  Somewhat later I saw that I could save a number with the solution 112 = 4*(5*5 + 3).

David is two off the pace with 114 -- I'm not sure how, as most methods I can think of have enough small numbers left over to get closer with -- but Geoff gets some precious ground back as he has found the solution 112 = (5 - 3)*50 + 7 + 5.

Lily shows a variation of that idea: 112 = (7 - 5)*50 + 4*3.

Geoff: 112
David: 114
Me: 112
Lily: 112

Scores: Geoff 20 (25), David 31 (36), me 47

Second break: SOLVE TIN ("A real page-turner")

I can sense Ryan Sutton muttering about this answer of NOVELIST.

Round 7: A E I S O N B X E

Geoff is back to his vowel-heavy ways.  I had NOISE and EBONISE / EBONIES.

Geoff has BONES for five, but is once more outdone by David's choice of BEANIES.  DA has managed to use the X with his seven of INBOXES.

That's all the sevens; the sixes are BEANIE, BONSAI / SABINO ("a horse with minimally one white leg on which the marking spears upwards and a white chin spot, but with other possible white splashes"), IBEXES (IBEX being a type of wild goat), AXONES (AXONE being a variant spelling of AXON: "the appendage of a neuron which transmits impulses from the neuron to other cells"), BEANOS (I mentioned this recently in episode 26; BEANO is listed as a colloquial form of BEANFEAST: "a festivity; celebration; a lavish feast"), EOSINE (variant spelling of EOSIN, a red dye), and XENIAS (XENIA: "the immediate influence or effect on the seed or fruit by the pollen other than on the embryo").

Geoff: BONES

Scores: Geoff 20 (25), David 38 (43), me 54

Round 8: Target 316 from 50 3 8 6 5 1

David rather amusingly says that he will stick with the "tried and failed" single large option.  The standard method has many ways to make it work; I first went with 316 = 6*50 + 3*5 + 1, then wrote down alternatives of 316 = 6*50 + 8 + 5 + 3 and 316 = 6*50 + 8*(5 - 3).  In search of more interesting solutions I also noted 316 = 5*50 + 6*(8 + 3), and then time expired.  A bit later I saw yet another solution of 316 = 8*50 - 6*(3*5 - 1).

Both contestants have solved this, Geoff with the first of those solutions above and David with yet another answer: 316 = (50 + 3)*6 - 8 + 5 + 1; David is now guaranteed the win.  Lily has used the third of the solutions listed above.

Geoff: 316
David: 316
Me: 316
Lily: 316

Scores: Geoff 30 (35), David 48 (53), me 64


I looked at the words and thought, "Oh, of course, there's an obvious nine there".  Sadly, I didn't actually see what the word was. *laughs at self*  While I was waiting for it to surface in my mind David buzzed in; I would have been better served by actually trying to unscramble the letters.  I found it a second later, but this ends a pretty good run for me of conundrum solutions -- the last contestant to beat me to a conundrum solution was Andrew Fisher in episode 20.

Geoff: [no answer]
David: CHOCOLATE (3s)

Final scores: Geoff 30 (35), David 58 (63), me 64

Really good play from David tonight, and he's definitely a contestant to watch.  A slight bobble in the numbers today gives hope for catching him in future games, but already the signs are here that he will give up very little on the letters.  Maybe Geoff could have challenged him more if the numbers rounds were a bit harder, but maybe not; we didn't really get too much of a sense of Geoff's ability there.  In any case, I'm looking forward to see more of David in action.


Sam Gaffney said...

Geoff H showed aptitude in both letters and numbers across his two nights, but David J was too strong.

LAUDERS/AROUSED (both words beat me in my Masters games)
783 = 7*100 + 75 + 8
112 = (50-5+4)*3 - 7*5
316 = (50+1)*6 + 8+5-3
1.3s (I had just been eating chocolate)

Jan said...

Thanks for your answer to my question last night Geoff. That cleared it up.

I missed some obvious words here. It is so frustrating when they stick out like a sore thumb when somebody mentions them!

7*100 + 75 + 8 = 783 (10)
(5*3*4) + 50 + 7 - 5 = 112 (10)
BOXES (0). Wish I had seen inboxes!
6*50 + 3*5 + 1 = 316 (10)

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice game, Sam -- just pipped me at the conundrum. I wish I'd just been eating chocolate. *chuckles*

You're welcome, Jan. I know what you mean -- sometimes a mix is a horrible struggle to make anything from and then a common word is pointed out and you can't work out how you missed it. Happens to me a lot. :)

JT said...

I remember David J having said he got ROULADES in his first game, so I won't claim it, but it defintely calmed him down and he was pretty good with the exception of the round 6 blip. It was not a good game from me in the letters game.

My Answers
SLIT-brain fade
112-(7-5)*50+4*3 AND (50+7-5+4)*(5-3)
1.8s -I wasn't eating chocolate ;)