Thursday, 30 August 2012

Ep 38: David Jones, Brendan Murphy (August 29, 2012; originally aired September 22, 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 the sixth and final night for David Jones, at least until the finals series.  Richard asks whether David is more comfortable with the letters rounds or the numbers rounds; the answer to that is pretty obvious from anyone who has been following the play.  But David still manages to add a twist to it, saying that nine conundrums would suit him best.  Heh!  That's fairly true, as he has solved four of the five so far (Kiao Inthavong beat him to the other one).

David does then grant that the letters have been much better for him than the numbers, and Richard reminds us that David found a nine-letter word yesterday.  David goes too far when he states that it proved the difference in that game; the winning margin was greater than that, so he would have had to actually give up points to Beckett to have lost.  Since that would have required either an invalid word or at most a five, it was highly unlikely.

Tonight's challenger is Brendan Murphy, an I.T. manager at a secondary college.  Brendan has travelled extensively within Australia; one of his favourite spots is the Gold Coast, which he says is a great place to take the family and have a really relaxing holiday.

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

David got off to an early lead, then several shared rounds followed (including a numbers round that neither was able to make any progress on).  Then David extended his lead in the next three rounds, and was safe going into the final numbers round.  Both shared points in that, but the conundrum was too difficult for either of them -- David buzzed in halfway through with an incorrect answer -- and David became the show's fourth retiring champion with a 53 to 22 win.

I had a reasonable game -- the only maximum I missed in the main rounds was rather obscure and I was not prepared to risk it -- but the conundrum was also too difficult for me.  I finished comfortably ahead, but was disappointed to break what has been a pretty good streak on the conundrums -- 17 in a row solved within regulation time, even if contestants have beaten me to them sometimes.

Round 1: U O E G N D H R A

I had GONE, NUDGE, GUERDON (a reward), and AGROUND.  I was a bit disappointed to see that final A, as until that point GUERDON looked like it might be hard to match.  After time I noted UNDERGO (a more common anagram of GUERDON) as another seven and wondered about HOUNDER, but that latter is not listed in the Macquarie.

Brendan has GROUND for six -- missing that he could prepend the A for a seven -- and pays the price for that lapse as David has found ROUGHEN for seven to take the points.  DA mentions ROUGHED and UNDERGO as other sevens.

The remaining sevens are UNHEARD, GROANED, and RONDEAU.

Brendan: GROUND

Scores: David 7, Brendan 0, me 7

Round 2: E I A T B L U T L

Duplication often makes things difficult, as I've commented many times.  The fourth vowel did not do any favours either; an S instead of the U would have brought easy sevens into play, and the eight of BASTILLE as a generic term for a prison.

As it was, I had BEAT, TABLE, TABLET, and BULLET.  After time I checked up on BULLATE, which had been the only plausible seven I could see; I had not even written it down during time as I would not have risked it in any case.  It turns out to be valid, and means "having the surface covered with irregular and slight elevations, giving a blistered appearance".

As an aside, changing one of those T's into an N would allow EBULLIANT for nine.

Both contestants have found BATTLE, and DA has done well to come up with BULLATE; it is the only seven.

Brendan: BATTLE

Scores: David 13, Brendan 6, me 13

Round 3: Target 522 from 50 2 6 8 1 5

I noticed the factor of 9 early on, and the cofactor was a provocative 58.  That led me to the solution 522 = (6 + 2 + 1)*(50 + 8) relatively quickly.  Then I looked at more standard approaches; the nearby 500 is 2*5*50 and that leads to many tweaking opportunites.  I found 522 = 2*(5*50 + 8) + 6 within time, and just now I have seen the alternative of 522 = 5*(2*50 + 6) - 8.

Neither contestant has been able to make anything of this, which does feel a little odd.  Trying for too much?  515 = 2*5*50 + 8 + 6 + 1 feels like it should have been manageable.  Lily demonstrates the solution 522 = ((50 + 1)*5 + 6)*2.

David: [no answer]
Brendan: [no answer]
Me: 522
Lily: 522

Scores: David 13, Brendan 6, me 23

First break: DRIER COT ("The person who points us in the right way")

That person would be the DIRECTOR (not a CREDITOR).

DA's talk is about words derived from gods: saturnine, martial, jovial, mercurial (and commerce, mercantile, merchant), and panic (from Pan).

Round 4: E I A S N E S C X

I had SANE, ANISE, and ENCASES / SEANCES.  I'd also wondered about CASSEINE because I knew there was something like that, but was also pretty sure it was not actually that.  This was correct; I believe that what I was trying to remember was actually CASEIN ("the major group of proteins in milk [...]").

The contestants have each found six-letter words again, David with SCENES and Brendan with CEASES.  DA has found SEANCES and EXCISES as sevens.

The other seven is CASEINS.

Brendan: CEASES

Scores: David 13 (19), Brendan 6 (12), me 30

Round 5: S P T O I E M R D

I had POST, POSIT, IMPOST ("a tax, tribute, or duty"), RIPOSTE, RIPOSTED, and IMPORTED.  After time I noted down PERIDOTS and PROMISED as other eights.

Brendan has DESPOT for six, but David has found STEROID for seven to take the points.  Perhaps he was helped by the appearance of STEROIDS in an earlier game that he played (episode 35).  DA has opted for IMPORTED as his eight.

The other eights are MORTISED and DIOPTRES (DIOPTRE: "a unit of the refractive power of a lens [...]") / DIOPTERS (American spelling of DIOPTRES).

Brendan: DESPOT

Scores: David 13 (26), Brendan 6 (12), me 38

Round 6: Target 228 from 100 75 5 2 7 10

Heh, I made my life more complicated than it needed to be, although it always looked like it should be pretty achievable.  I first saw the target as 225 + 3, which is 3*75 + 3, but then I tweaked too early to turn that into 3*76.  I could not see an easy way to get that to work, so I went rather overcomplicated to find 228 = 100 + 75 + 5*(10 + 2) - 7.  I followed that with a cleaner tweak based on the observation that 28 = 4*7, to get the solution 228 = 2*(100 + 7*10/5).

After time I saw that the solution 228 = 3*75 + 3 was quite achievable in that form, with the two threes arising from 5 - 2 and 10 - 7.

Brendan is six off the pace with 222 -- I'll guess this was 222 = 2*100 + 10 + 7 + 5 -- but David has solved this using the solution 228 = (5 - 2)*75 + 10 - 7.  That pushes his lead to 24 points, so Brendan has to beat him in the next letters round to even have a chance of winning.

Lily has solved it in the same way that David did.

David: 228
Brendan: 222
Me: 228
Lily: 228

Scores: David 23 (36), Brendan 6 (12), me 48

Lily gets another mathematical chat, following on from the talk in episode 36 about Fibonacci numbers.  Both contestants' scores in yesterday's game were Fibonacci numbers, and Lily points out how (because the ratios of adjacent terms are a bit over 1.6) the sequence can be used to approximately convert between miles and kilometres.  She illustrates with 5 miles being approximately 8 kilometres, as those are adjacent terms of the sequence.  Of course, this only works easily if the value being converted is a Fibonacci number, and it's a bit off, but in very rare circumstances this may be useful.

Second break: COOL PORT ("Follow the guidelines here and you should be fine")

In other words, follow the PROTOCOL.

Round 7: N D F A O E R B K

I had FOND, ANODE, FONDER, FEDORA, FORBADE, and BANDORE (a type of musical instrument that I have mentioned several times before on this blog).

Brendan has BREAK for five, but David has found BROADEN to guarantee his victory.  DA selects FRANKED as his seven.

That is all the sevens listed, and there is nothing longer.

Brendan: BREAK

Scores: David 30 (43), Brendan 6 (12), me 55

Round 8: Target 525 from 25 75 7 1 7 6

A sadly trivial affair; everyone has 525 = 7*75 in rather short order.

David: 525
Brendan: 525
Me: 525

Scores: David 40 (53), Brendan 16 (22), me 65


A tough conundrum!  The -ING and OVER- fragments were both red herrings, although I did get briefly distracted by OVERSEEING (which, as Sam would say, scores 20).  David buzzed in at the halfway mark but then realised he was mistaken; we don't find out what his incorrect word was, but it could well have been OVERSEEING.  I started the backup timer, but it took me a little over a minute in total to find SOVEREIGN from that mix.  Even with the fifteen seconds of extra time due to the interruption I was far too slow.

David: [invalid] (15s)
Brendan: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: David 40 (53), Brendan 16 (22), me 65

Brendan was not able to find the seven-letter words that he needed to at least be competitive, and with the numbers also going David's way the final margin was reasonably large, even without the conundrum.  David successfully retires with an impressive average of almost 58 points a game, which moves him to a well-deserved third place on the finals rankings.  We'll see him back then; in the meantime, tomorrow brings two new contestants to the game.


Sam Gaffney said...

522 = (50*5+8)*2 + 6
CEASES (started writing INCASES within time, but finished too late to claim it with a clean conscience)
228 = (7*10/5 + 100)*2 (did the boring way first)
525 = 75*7

JT said...

Stock standard from David J, a shame for him he was in the same season as Andrew F and Naween.
I suspect the reason we don't get more maths explinations is that many will be re-hased like the Fibannoci numbers.

My Answers
SPORTED-(I think it's ok)
Nowhere near this

Mike Backhouse said...

(8+2)x50+(6-1)x5=525 (3 off)
(100X2)+5+7+10=222 (6 off)
Missed conundrum

Jan said...

6-5=1. 1+1=2. (50+2)*(8+2) = 520 (7)
(100+5)*2 + 10 + 7 = 227 (0)
7*75 = 525 (10)

Geoff Bailey said...

JT: Yes, SPORTED is fine (and a popular choice, by the looks of it).

Kudos to Sam for solving this conundrum.