Saturday, 25 August 2012

Ep 35: David Jones, Kiao Inthavong (August 24, 2012; originally aired September 17, 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.

David Jones is back for his third night, with a win here seeing him halfway to retirement.  Richard notes that David is a keen cricket player and asks more about that.  David responds that he has been playing for a number of years now, first in England for his school and then his local club.  Since moving to Australia it seemed like a great way to get involved in local life so he now represents Parkville District Cricket Club.  Richard checks whether David is a batter or a bowler, and David says that he is almost exclusively a bowler but concedes that he will don the pads if required.

(For those interested in statistics, here are his bowling details.)

Tonight's challenger is Kiao Inthavong, a research fellow who lived and worked in both Cambodia and Bangkok for a year.  Kiao has a PhD in computational fluid dynamics, which ties in nicely with Lily's areas of study.  Kiao's work involves using computers to try and visualise how air and particles move; he specialises in looking at how drug particles move in nasal sprays.  That line of work has led to him having the nickname of "Doctor Snot".

As mentioned before, I'll be referring to David Astle throughout as DA to avoid confusion about which David is which.

David and Kiao were pretty well matched, but Kiao risked a little more and ultimately that turned out to be unwise as he ended up with three invalid answers.  The oversight in the numbers (a miscalculated total) probably did not cost him anything, but the two letters rounds did.  David was safe after the last letters round, and when Kiao solved the conundrum first (the first losing contestant to do so in some while; the last time was in episode 12) the final score was 50 to 39 in David's favour -- the difference of 11 being exactly the amount that David scored due to Kiao's invalid words.

There were some difficult letter mixes today, although one of the rounds looked like it might finally produce a full monty (it's been a disappointing week on that front) but did not.  I mostly navigated them well, but missed one tricky maximum.  I solved the conundrum in decent time, however, and finished comfortably ahead.

Round 1: U O I O D M S R G

An unpromising initial set of vowels; I had MOOD / DOOM, MOODS, SODIUM, and GROOMS.  If that last O had been an A (the next vowel) then GOURAMIS would have been there for an eight, but it was not to be.  (GOURAMI is a type of fish; GOURAMIS is explicitly listed as the plural form.)

It's six-letter words from each, with KIAO choosing GROOMS and David opting for SODIUM.  DA mentions ODIOUS as another six.

It is the best to be done; the other sixes are ODOURS, GOURDS, ODIUMS, IODOUS ("like iodine"), DORSUM ("the back, as of the body"), and GUIROS (as I mentioned in episode 7, a GUIRO is "a percussion instrument consisting of a dried empty gourd, which has parallel notches across which a stick is drawn").


Scores: 6 apiece

Round 2: A E O L T P F A T

I had TALE, PETAL / PLATE, AFLOAT, and then the final T brough a familiar PALETOT ("a loose outer garment or coat") into play.  This marks its first appearance on the show, but it will be back in due course.  After time I noted down FOLATE as another six, and confirmed that FLAT-TOP requires the hyphen.

David has FOETAL for six, and Kiao risks FLATTOE.  That is not valid, unfortunately, and David gets an early lead.  DA has found PALETOT for seven.

The other seven is TAPETAL, the adjective derived from TAPETUM ("any of certain membranous layers or the like, as in the choroid or retina").

The plural of TAPETUM is TAPETA, giving another six.  The remaining sixes are PALATE, TEAPOT, POTTLE ("a former liquid measure equal to two quarts"), and PELOTA.

Kiao: [invalid]

Scores: David 6 (12), Kiao 6, me 13

Round 3: Target 641 from 100 5 7 9 6 5

It's obviously tempting to try and work to the target from either 600 or 700, but my brain went to a different place.  With two or more large numbers a provocative intermediate value is 625, which is 25*25.  That doesn't apply here since there is only the single large number, but the presence of the pair of 5's brought it back into consideration.  That is 16 away from the target, and 16 = 7 + 9.  If the remaining 6 had been a 4 instead then a solution would have come from (100/4)*5*5 + 7 + 9; I was able to use the 6 in more prosaic fashion, however, to get the solution 641 = 6*100 + 5*5 + 7 + 9.  A rather roundabout thought process to arrive at a solution using the standard method!

Then I actually thought about this in terms of the standard method and found the simpler option of 641 = 6*(100 + 7) - 5/5.  This is the solution that Lily later demonstrates.

After time I tried working from above, and found the alternative 641 = 7*100 - 6*9 - 5.  I'd tried this option within time, but had focused too much on tweaking and so overlooked this.  (Although tweaking could have led me to the solution 641 = 7*(100 - 9) + 5 + 5 - 6.)

Both contestants declare that they have reached the target, although they allow for possibly being incorrect.  David uses the approach that I found after time; meanwhile, Kiao has had a chance to check his calculations and finds that his total was actually 640.  A shame to miscalculate, but it did not cost him in this instance.

David: 641
Kiao: [invalid]
Me: 641
Lily: 641

Scores: David 16 (22), Kiao 6, me 23

First break: INPUT VIE ("A sentence, no pun intended")

The reference to "pun" indicates the starting section of the answer PUNITIVE.

DA's talk is about the word picnic.  He also points out its meaning as an acronym used by computer technicians: Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.  I'm more used to the term PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair), but the overall sense is the same.

Round 4: I A E V C F D B R

I had CAVE, FACED, CARVED, and CARBIDE.  I also wondered about VICARED, but VICAR is not listed with a verb sense.  After time I noted down ADVICE and FERVID as other sixes.

Both contestants have found six-letter words again, Kiao with CRAVED and David with FABRIC.  DA has found CARBIDE, and it does seem to be the only seven.


Scores: David 16 (28), Kiao 6 (12), me 30

Round 5: N S R I O E D S T

With such a good set of letters it felt like a nine might be available at last, but I could not find one.  I had IRONS / ROSIN, SENIOR, SENIORS, and STEROIDS.  After time I wrote down DOSSIER (seen within time) as a nice word that did not score as well.

Both contestants have the same length again, David with DOSSIER and Kiao with STORIES.  DA laments that a nine simply does not seem to be there -- turn the O into an E and TIREDNESS / RESIDENTS would be available -- and has found STEROIDS for eight.

Eight turns out to be the limit; the other is INDORSES (INDORSE being a variant spelling of ENDORSE).


Scores: David 16 (35), Kiao 6 (19), me 38

Round 6: Target 350 from 25 75 6 5 10 3

A target that is a multiple of 25 is generally easy, particularly with a good spread of small numbers like this.  I homed in on the factorisation 7*50 to find 350 = (10 - 3)*(75 - 25), then adjusted to the simpler 350 = 5*75 - 25.

Everyone else uses the latter of those solutions.

David: 350
Kiao: 350
Me: 350
Lily: 350

Scores: David 26 (45), Kiao 16 (29), me 48

Second break: EAST ITEM ("To quote without quotation marks")

From the words I thought the answer might be MEATIEST, but the clue guided me to the intended answer of ESTIMATE.

Round 7: N K B A I E P S N

Ergh, I struggled with this one.  I had BANK, AKIN, BAKE, BAKES, and SPINE.  After time I finally saw a six of PINNAE (one plural of PINNA: "a feather, wing, or winglike part").

David has PAINS for five, while Kiao goes out on a limb again with ENBANKS for seven.  That's a tricky gamble in this situation; if his word is invalid then he will lose the game.  On the other hand, if he could only match David, then he would need to beat David in the next numbers round to have a chance and he might not think he can do it.  As it turns out, though, ENBANKS is not valid (the similar EMBANKS would be) and David is now guaranteed the win.

DA has accurately found the only seven of NAPKINS.  Well done!

The other sixes are NAPKIN, INSANE / SIENNA / INANES (INANE as a noun: "that which is inane or void"), PINNAS (other acceptable plural of PINNA), PANNES (PANNE being "a soft, lustrous, lightweight velvet with flattened pile"), and KINASE (a particular enzyme).

David: PAINS
Kiao: [invalid]

Scores: David 31 (50), Kiao 16 (29), me 53

Round 8: Target 546 from 100 75 8 1 3 9

Again I got to a solution a little unusually.  I noted that 546 was near 525, which is 7*75 but also 3*175 (one of those little facts that stick in the mind after enough numbers rounds).  The difference is 21 which is also divisible by 3, and so I found the solution 546 = 3*(100 + 75 + 8 - 1).  Then I noted the obvious factor of 6 and found the alternative solution 546 = (9 - 3)*(100 - 8 - 1).

If I had stopped to think about the 7*75 above I might have found the simpler 546 = (8 - 1)*(75 + 3); that was a careless oversight.  Oh, well, no harm done this time.

Neither contestant has been able to get anywhere with this, presumably paying the price for trying to get to the target exactly and not quite managing it.  Lily has found the solution which is the first of those listed above.

David: [no answer]
Kiao: [no answer]
Me: 546
Lily: 546

Scores: David 31 (50), Kiao 16 (29), me 63


I had a momentary mental block, but then the letters resolved themselves into the answer.  No doubt this was helped by a couple of useful fragments in -AGE and AD-.  A bit later Kiao got the consolation prize of solving the conundrum before David.

David: [no answer]
Kiao: ADVANTAGE (10s)

Final scores: David 31 (50), Kiao 16 (39), me 73

The letter mixes were not that cooperative today, and David's conservative line turned out to have the edge over Kiao's risky plays.  It's reasonable to assume that Kiao could have matched David in at least the second of those two rounds, and maybe the first... in which case, more conservative play by him could have taken this game to a tiebreaker conundrum.  All very speculative, of course.

What is clear is that David is a strong player and has won his third game.  That means the crucial fourth game hurdle is on Monday.  Tune in then to see how he fares!


Sam Gaffney said...

I thought I'd found a nine a minute after time in Round 5, but while DISSENTER is valid, you cannot spell it with the -OR suffix. SPINNAKER nearly came up in Round 7.

My answers were suspiciously like those of the hosts here, though the only thing that seemed familiar with the episode was Kiao. On the balance of probabilities, I would guess that I did see the episode in 2010.

Lily's way
Kiao's way
Lily's way (quite quickly, had thought of 3*175 = 525 before the target appeared)

Jan said...

I had one numbers game that I really stuffed up on, and I got the conundrum after Kiao, but who knows if David would have beaten me to it. It might have been a tie

6*100 + 7*5 + 5 = 640 (0)
After time saw the tweak 6*(100+7) - 5/5 = 641
6-5= 1. 1+3+10 = 14. 14*25=350 (10). A very long way to get a simple answer!
Stuffed it up
ADVANTAGE - about 20 secs

Geoff Bailey said...

Wow, DISSENTOR and the almost-SPINNAKER are both great spots, even if not actually there. Nice work, Sam!

*chuckles* That numbers solution was a bit roundabout, Jan, but it got you where you wanted to go and that's the important thing. (Note that 6 + 5 + 3 = 14 also.) TINDERS is an interesting one; I think you would get away with it on L&N but Countdown would almost certainly declare TINDER to be a mass noun.

Mike Backhouse said...

My attempt:

(75/25)/3=1+6=7x(5X10)=350 (just over time not surprisingly!)
BANKS (can't believe I got points for a 5!)
Didn't get conundrum

JT said...

David J cricketing probably is in the similar vain of Chris Martin that Kiwi cricketer who can't bat for his life, I suspect I can bat better than this two getleman ;) it did seem Kiao had some finger injury although it shouldn't of stopped his ambitious FLAT-TOE..

My Answers
- (had 547-(75-3)*9-100-1 a little ater time