Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Ep 37: David Jones, Beckett Rozentals (August 28, 2012; originally aired September 21, 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.

This is David Jones' fifth night, and Richard asks what prompted him to move to Australia.  David says that "apart from the obvious reasons" he met his now-wife while she was working in the UK for a couple of years.  When her visa expired he asked her if she would like him to head to Australia and see what happens; obviously that worked out pretty well.

Tonight's challenger is Beckett Rozentals, a fashion designer, art curator, and history lecturer.  Beckett rides her bike to work each day "in high fashion and in high heels".  And, well, that's about it for what we find out about her.

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

It was a rather mixed performance from David tonight; he got off to a good start in the first two letters rounds, including finding a full monty, but was only able to score four points in the next four rounds.  Beckett was not able to capitalise on this lapse, though, and David ended up ahead by enough to be safe going into the conundrum.  He solved it quickly once more to get his fifth win, 55 to 34.

I was mostly in good shape tonight, although I missed one word I should have got.  Once more I was slow on the conundrum, with David beating me to it by a second.  Against that, I managed to solve a numbers round in time that Lily did not, and that gave me a very rare solo total larger than the combined DA/Lily combination.

Round 1: B T D E A U F S P

I had BEAT, FASTED, UPDATES, and UPBEATS.  Those turn out to be the only sevens.

Beckett has a phantom C in her choice of DUCTS, but in any case David's choice of DEBUTS was longer. DA has found UPDATES for seven.


Beckett: [invalid]

Scores: David 0 (6), Beckett 0, me 7

Round 2: O N T D C E I R V

I had TONED / NOTED, NOTICED, VERDICT, and CONTRIVED.  I noted down CONVERT and CORVINE ("relating to or resembling a crow") as other sevens while I searched for the eights that I was sure were there, but it wasn't until after time that I saw CENTROID / DOCTRINE at last.  Fortunately I'd managed to skip that stage by finding the nine, otherwise I would have been rather disappointed!

Somewhat later I realised that the other eight I was missing was CONTRIVE; oh, dear.  (That was the only other one.)

This time Beckett has a valid DIRECT, but David has found CONTRIVED and that's a formidable early lead of 24 points to him.

At the end of the show DA talks about how the first seven letters gave NOTICED (I'll note that before that the first six gave DOCENT, but I did not see that in time) and then the first eight gave DOCTRINE and that was exciting because there were many possibilities for a full monty.  He points out the vowel options (A: REDACTION, E: RECONDITE, I: DIRECTION, U: INTRODUCE) or an S for DOCTRINES.  That all has the ring of familiarity about it; I've commented much the same on the similar mixes in episode 11 and episode 376.  In this instance the next vowel would have been an O, so the consonant was a very fortunate choice.

Beckett: DIRECT

Scores: David 18 (24), Beckett 0, me 25

Round 3: Target 993 from 25 3 3 6 9 10

When I saw all those small numbers divisible by 3 I was a bit worried, but the target turned out to also be divisible by 3 and that helped greatly.  My first thought was to get to 1000 as 25*40, but with a 40 hard to come by I briefly considered pulling out the factor of 3 and quickly saw that it worked.  The cofactor is 331 which is 325 + 6, and 325 is 13*25, and it all just comes together to give the solution 993 = ((10 + 3)*25 + 6)*3.  The benefits of knowing the lowish multiples of 25 off by heart are apparent here -- I could see very quickly that the approach worked, without having to labour through calculations.

Returning to my original idea, I saw that 39*25 was much more manageable and would also lead to a solution: 993 = (3*10 + 9)*25 + 3*6.  After time (a fair way after time, admittedly) I found a solution as 99*10 + 3; that was 993 = ((25 - 9)*6 + 3)*10 + 3.

Neither contestant was able to get anywhere with this one; that's understandable, although getting to 1000 as 40*25 should certainly be manageable as long as one is prepared to use up lots of the small numbers and settle for simply getting into scoring range.  (A little more experimentation with that idea could lead to a very useful one-away 994 = (3*9 + 3 + 10)*25 - 6).

Neither was Lily as it turns out, or at least she was not able to solve it exactly within time.  After the break, Lily came back with the solution 993 = ((25 + 3 + 6)*10 - 9)*3.

David: [no answer]
Beckett: [not in range]
Me: 993

Scores: David 18 (24), Beckett 0, me 35

First break: CRESS PIN ("Beatrice and Eugenie")

Beatrice and Eugenie are both PRINCESSes, of course.  Princess Beatrice was particularly well known at one point for the unusual fascinator that she wore to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

DA's talk is about three terms similar to mugging: chugging (a shortening of "charity mugging", referring to a type of street fundraising), sugging (selling under the guise of market research; i.e., pretending to be doing market research but actually simply trying to sell a product), and frugging (fund-raising under the guise of research; a similar idea aimed at getting donations instead of selling).

Round 4: G D O R M S E A R


Beckett has DREAMS, but once more David has the longer word of GOADERS.  Except that GOADERS is not valid, so Beckett is finally on the scoreboard.  DA has GRADERS / REGARDS as his sevens.

The other sevens are ADORERS, ROAMERS / REMORAS, ARMORED, DORMERS (DORMER being a projection built out from a sloping roof, and also a term for the window often found in such a projection), RAMRODS, and RADOMES (RADOME: "a domed cover over an aerial system designed to allow the free passage of radio waves").  Some sources list DROSERA as the genus of sundews, but not the Macquarie.

But there is an eight here!  It's entirely possible that DA saw it but decided that discretion was appropriate, as it is ORGASMED.

Note that a fourth vowel in this case would have been an I, allowing IDEOGRAMS (IDEOGRAM being a synonym of IDEOGRAPH: "a written symbol representing the idea of something directly, and not its name or sound").  That (especially in conjunction with the previous observation) reminded me of this Countdown story.

David: [invalid]
Beckett: DREAMS

Scores: David 18 (24), Beckett 0 (60, me 42

Round 5: F M H I A I E B P

Wow, what a mix.  I think this may well be the hardest mix I have yet encountered on the show, as I struggled to even find a four-letter word.  (Admittedly, there were a couple of common ones that I should have seen.)  I had IAMB ("a metrical foot of two syllables, a short followed by a long [...]") and that was it.  I thought I saw MAFIA at one point, but caught the vowel reversal quickly.

After time I found FAME, BEAM, and HAEM ("a porphyrin containing iron, the non-protein portion (prosthetic group) of haemoglobin") as other fours.  I also checked up on HIFI, but it requires a hyphen.

The contestants have also found four-letter words, David with HEMP and Beckett with FAME.  DA mentions HEAP but has also managed to find the only five, and it's one that hurts a little: IAMBI, one plural form of IAMBUS, which is synonymous with IAMB.  I knew of IAMBUS, but I had thought that the plural form was IAMBUSES.  It turns out that both IAMBUSES and IAMBI are acceptable plural forms.

David: HEMP
Beckett: FAME

Scores: David 22 (28), Beckett 4 (10), me 46

Round 6: Target 317 from 25 75 5 3 8 2

I immediately concentrated on the standard method, since the offset was 8 and an 8 was already present.  That just makes it a question of how to get to 325, and there are many ways.  Within time I wrote down three of them: 317 = 2*5*25 + 75 - 8, 317 = (2*5 + 3)*25 - 8, and 317 = 5*75 - 2*25 - 8.

Once again David has not been able to declare anything, which means that he has only scored four points in the last four rounds.  Not a circumstance which would happen very often!  Beckett has managed to get just one away, with 316 = (75 + 25)*3 + 8*2.

Lily's solution is 317 = (8/2)*(75 + 3) + 5.

David: [no answer]
Beckett: 316
Me: 317
Lily: 317

Scores: David 22 (28), Beckett 4 (17), me 56

Second break: VACUA TEE ("This is not a drill")

Seriously, using VACUA?  That makes it kind of trivial to find the intended answer of EVACUATE, or indeed kind of hard to not find it.  (VACUA is one plural form of VACUUM.)

Round 7: J R T N U A E K S

I had RUNT / TURN, JAUNT, wondered about JAUNTER, NATURE, NATURES, wondered about JAUNTERS, and JUNKETS.  After time I noted JUNKERS and RANKEST as other sevens.  I angsted a bit over whether to risk JAUNTERS, but made the right decision to avoid it -- the Macquarie does not list it.

The contestants each have seven-letter words; David has JUNKETS while Beckett has TANKERS.  DA has nothing better to offer.

The other seven is SAUNTER.

Beckett: TANKERS

Scores: David 29 (35), Beckett 11 (24), me 63

Round 8: Target 646 from 50 100 6 8 5 1

Heh, I originally overlooked the easy way to make a 4 and looked at more complicated options first.  That gave me a one-away 647 = 6*(100 + 8) - 1.  With more time spent on that approach I might have found the solution 646 = 6*(100 + 1) + 8*5, but in the meantime better sense had reasserted itself and I found the much simpler approach of 646 = 6*100 + 50 - (5 - 1).

Both contestants have solved this; Beckett used that last approach, while David took a scenic sidetrip when making the final offset of 4, as his solution was 646 = 6*100 + 50 - (8 - 5 + 1).  That keeps David 11 points ahead going into the conundrum, so he is guaranteed to win.

David: 646
Beckett: 646
Me: 646

Scores: David 39 (45), Beckett 21 (34), me 73


I boggled for a bit over the V and W that don't necessarily play well together.  I saw the almost-presence of AIRWOMEN, and got briefly distracted by CAVE and then David buzzed in.  I saw the answer before I could start the backup timer, so there was probably less than a second in it.

David: MICROWAVE (5s)
Beckett: [no answer]

Final scores: David 49 (55), Beckett 21 (34), me 73

A good start and finish from David, but that middle period was dangerous and could have allowed Beckett to get right back into the game.  She managed some gain there, but wasn't quite able to use the numbers to full potential; even five points on the first numbers round would have given her a chance going in to the conundrum.

David will have his last game (until the finals) tomorrow.  Here's hoping he can successfully retire -- he certainly deserves it.


Sam Gaffney said...

David Jones beat Beckett 55-34 in this episode, but which of the two won the contest for most eccentric manner of speaking?

Although I was excited to get the nine quite quickly in this game, I believe the word was mentioned in Jonesey's finals introduction at some point (along with ROULADES), so that would be a recent subconscious aid (along with possibly watching the episode in 2010).

994 = (9*3+3+10)*25-6 After time: 993 = 3*(25*(10+3)+6)
The eight! I wonder what the show would have done had a contestant declared it?
317 = 5*75 - 2*25 - 8
6*100 + 50 - (5 - 1)
Got it just after David buzzed, probably a similar time to Geoff.

Jan said...

Thanks to David not having such a good game, and me having a pretty good numbers game, I beat him, without getting the full monty (although I was very close to getting it in time) and not getting the conundrum.

I was really chuffed in getting the first numbers solution in the 30 seconds, using the same method as you Geoff, and beating Lily to it.

(3*10 + 9)*25 + 6*3 = 993 (10)
GRADES (6) I was trying so hard to find a longer word that I missed the obvious GRADERS. Doh!
FAME (4)
(8/2 x 75) + 25 - 8 = 317 (10)
Also got in the time (25 + 75 + 5)*3 + 2 = 317
6*100 + 50 = 650. 5-1=4. 650-4=646 (10)

Geoff, thanks for linking me to the pages of how to work out valid words.

Geoff Bailey said...

Congratulations on a fine game, Sam, including getting that eight. I don't know what the show would do; I think on the balance they would not want the word to go to air, which leaves the options of offering the contestant a seven-letter word or scrapping the round. (If the other contestant also had a seven, they might have to be bumped down to six, but they may feel it is cleaner to simply scrap that round under such circumstances.)

And congratulations, Jan -- some excellent results from you, and beating Lily to a solution is a very rare thing for any of us. Definitely worth being chuffed about!

I will point out the fly in the ointment, though: Your second numbers game used the 8 twice. If you declared that solution instead of the alternative (as you implicitly did here) then I'm afraid you'd have lost out. *grimaces*

Sam Gaffney said...

I thought DA deliberately avoided saying that seven was the best to be found in Round 4. The omission was in line with tamer reproductive words that went unmentioned in past episodes (MENARCHE, ABORTION). It would have been quite unfortunate if someone had found it and they decided to redo the round. Kids are going to learn what those words mean sooner or later!

Nice work on Round 3, Jan & Geoff, whether you had been exposed to it before or not.

Jan said...

Geoff, I am not with my book, but I also had a second option for that numbers round. I'll check it when I get home later. Thanks

Jan said...

Geoff - just worked out what I did. Had 5 + 3 on the next line, to make the 8

And thanks Sam too, for your nice comment

Jan said...

My alternative solution for rd 6 was
(25+75+5)*3 = 315. 315+2 = 317

Sam Gaffney said...

Incidentally, THRENODIC is another nine-letter word to be made from DOCTRINE (+H).

JT said...

David J probably showed his biggest vunrability in this game, particually the numbers round, I could only wonder what would happen if contenstants maybe threw down the gutlent with theie numbers selection rather than pick the family mix...

My Answers
invalid-JAUNTERS (it seems JAUNT can take -ed and -ing but not -er!!)
Best part of 2 minutes

Mike Backhouse said...

I might just sneak my answers in after everyone has gone!

missed conundrum (again!)

Geoff Bailey said...

JT: As we've seen, the family mix is often enough to cause problems for David; but I suspect most contestants are not overly comfortable with the more extreme options and risk shooting themselves in the foot if they make things too tricky.

Bad luck on JAUNTERS -- good vision to see it in the first place. And VECTION is a new word to me, but alas one that the Macquarie does not list. (I can find meanings for it in some online sources.)

Mike: I love JUNTAS!