Saturday, 1 September 2012

Ep 40: Rob Mould, Ian See (August 31, 2012; originall aired September 24, 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.

Rob Mould is back for his second night, and his first in the champion's seat.  Rob has a golf ambition for his retiring years: He would like one day to score less than his age.  Currently his best effort is 76, so he has a few years to go yet.

Tonight's challenger is Ian See, a fiction editor with a double degree in arts and pharmacology.  Ian learned to speak English in Singapore, learned French in Australia, and then went to France and taught the French to speak English.  He has had a fascination with languages since he was small, and French in particular he has always found to be a beautiful language.  Naturally he seized those opportunities when they arose.

Ian got the early lead, then Rob drew level again in the second round.  Ian had slightly the better of the next numbers round, and then there was another exchange of points in the next two letters rounds.  Then Rob was the one to get points in the numbers, and then the margin was unchanged going into the conundrum.  Ian was ahead but solved it first in any case to seal the win, 35 to 22.

I had a decent game for the most part, with two words I was pleased to spot in time.  Against that I made a mess of the last numbers round, but otherwise it was all pretty reasonable.  A comfortable and almost complete victory as I nearly held both contestants scoreless.

Round 1: I O A T C S L U E

Rob continues his standard pattern of three vowels, four consonants, and another two vowels.  Sigh.  I had IOTA, COATI (an animal of the raccoon family), COATIS, ISOLATE, LACTOSE, and SOCIETAL.  That last came fairly late in the piece and I was glad to find it -- the letters were good enough that an eight was highly likely, even with all those vowels.

After time I found OSCULATE ("to kiss") as another eight.

Rob has SLATE for five, and Ian takes the early lead with LOCUST for six.  David has found OSCULATE as his eight.

The other eights are LACTEOUS ("of the colour of milk") / LOCUSTAE (plural of LOCUSTA: "the spikelet of grasses").

There was almost an obscure nine here; taking only four vowels would have replaced that final E with an R and allowed SUCTORIAL ("relating to or characterised by suction").


Scores: Rob 0, Ian 0 (6), me 8

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

I had RORT, INTER, EDITOR, and TORRID.  Lots of sixes to be had here, but although the letters are decent finding a seven is difficult.

This time Ian has the five of INTRO and Rob has ROOTED for six.  That ties up the scores again, and early signs are that there is little to choose between these two contestants on the letters.  David has somehow found the only seven here of ROOTIER.


Scores: Rob 6, Ian 0 (6), me 14

Round 3: Target 642 from 75 25 4 6 2 9

The standard method applies fairly easily, with the target being 8 away from 650.  That 8 can be made as 2*4 leaving tweaking options open, but they aren't needed; I had 642 = 9*75 - 25 - 2*4.  Then I looked at the factor of 6 and found the alternative solution 642 = 6*(75 + 25 + 9 - 2).

Rob is four away with 638, which I'll guess was 638 = (6 + 2)*75 + 25 + 9 + 4.  Ian has managed to get 2 closer by making the 8 a bit more efficiently: 640 = 75*4*2 + 6 + 9 + 25.  That gives him the lead again.

Lily demonstrates the second of the solutions that I listed above.

Rob: 638
Ian: 640
Me: 642
Lily: 642

Scores: Rob 6, Ian 0 (13), me 24

First break: EPIC HOUR ("It would be hard to top the feeling of solving this one")

Such a feeling might well be EUPHORIC.

David's talk is about two terms arising from advertising campaigns: Clayton's and moxie.

Round 4: A O M S C I E M J

I had SOMA, COMAS, MOSAIC, COMMIES, and JAMMIES.  It turned out to be fortunate that I found them in that order, as COMMIES is good but JAMMIES is not (and COMMIES was my declaration).  The Macquarie lists JAMIES as the spelling of the concept (a colloquialism for pyjamas), which I can also see but in my opinion both should be acceptable.  Note that JAMIES is good for six here, and I also wrote down CAMEOS after time as another six.

Rob has COMES for five, and Ian falls into the trap by trying JAMMIES.  Richard and David are both somewhat surprised that this is not listed, and that's bad luck for Ian.  David has found COMMIES and it does seem to be the only seven.

The other sixes are COMMIE, COMMAS, MIMOSA, and AMICES (AMICE: "an oblong piece of linen worn by the clergy around the neck and shoulders under the alb, or, formerly, on the head").

Ian: [invalid]

Scores: Rob 6 (11), Ian 0 (13), me 31

Round 5: U E A T S P N E U


Rob has SPATE for five, but Ian extends his lead with UNEASE for six.  David is on track as usual with his find of PEANUTS.

The other seven is PENATES ("tutelary deities of the ancient Roman household and of the state, worshipped in close association with the lares").


Scores: Rob 6 (11), Ian 0 (19), me 38

Round 6: Target 417 from 100 50 4 1 2 1

I remembered a tricky 417 turning up on the show once before (it turns out to have been episode 450, the grand final of the Masters Series); the key observation in that case was that 417 = 2502/6.  That would have required some adjustment to work here, with 5004/12 being tempting but the 12 being too large to make.  1251/3 was another option, but somewhere along the line I stumbled upon the alternative of 417 = 4*100 + (50 + 1)/(2 + 1).

Somewhat later I saw that 1251/3 could be made to work after all, giving 417 = (50*100/4 + 1)/(2 + 1).

Ian has not been able to get anywhere with this one, but Rob has got within six with 423 = 4*100 + 50/2 - 1 - 1.  After he explained his answer I saw that he was just a short tweak away from another solution: 417 = 4*(100 - 1 - 1) + 50/2.

Those turn out to be all the solutions (well, there is a minor variation in the last one by swapping 1+1 and 2).  Lily has found the first of them that I found.

Rob: 423
Ian: [no answer]
Me: 417
Lily: 417

Scores: Rob 6 (16), Ian 0 (19), me 48

Second break: BALDY RID ("A lady, but not a woman, and a bird, but no feathers")

After yesterday's DELICATE, it feels like the clues are simply stating the components of the answer.  In this case, a LADYBIRD.

Round 7: O A I D T H R A E

I had IOTA, ADROIT, and then recognised some words from yesterday: THEROID ("having animal propensities or characteristics") / THORIDE.  I also found AIRHEAD within time, and RADIATE just after it.

The contestants have six-letters words this time, Ian with THREAD and Rob with DITHER.  David has found AIRHEAD as his seven.

The other seven also turned up yesterday: HETAIRA (variant spelling of HETAERA: "one of a class of cultivated courtesans in ancient Greece").


Scores: Rob 6 (22), Ian 0 (25), me 55

Round 8: Target 687 from 25 75 2 6 2 8

Bleah, I went in completely the wrong direction on this one.  After the observation from the 417 round, similar reasoning led me to note that doubling the target would get very near a multiple of 25.  I spent far too long trying unsuccessfully to get something along those lines to work, and that left me little recovery time when it did not.  In the end I was seven away with 694 = 6*(75 + 25 + 2*8) - 2; pushing the 2 inside the brackets would have got me closer with 684 = 6*(75 + 25 + 2*8 - 2), but I did not have enough time to compute the total for that and get it down.

After time expired I finally saw what I should have been doing; I'd abandoned the standard method because forming a 13 from all those even small numbers was a tough ask, but there's always two directions to approach it from.  Coming from below the offset is a very manageable 12, and eventually that led me to the solution 687 = (25*8/2 + 2)*6 + 75.  Somewhat later I saw how to better utilise the 25 as a de facto small number for the solution 687 = (25 - 2*8)*75 + 2*6.

Rob is a little outside the scoring range with 675, while Ian declares one away with 686.  But his answer is 75*8 + 25*2*2 - 6 - 8... and he has used the 8 twice.  An unfortunate oversight on his part.

Lily has not been able to solve this one within time, and we don't find out how close she managed to get.

Rob: [out of range]
Ian: [invalid]
Me: 694

Scores: Rob 6 (22), Ian 0 (25), me 60


The solution to this leapt out at me, with very little rearrangement required.  Ian got there a couple of seconds later to become the new champion.

Rob: [no answer]
Me: SWALLOWED (1.5s)

Final scores: Rob 6 (22), Ian 0 (35), me 70

The contestants were fairly evenly matched, just like last night.  Neither managed to find a valid word longer than six letters, and I'll put part of that down to Rob's predilection for vowels.  I confess that I will be glad to see less vowel-happy contestants next week.


Jan said...

I had a good numbers game, and was really pleased to remember HETAIRA - learnt from you! Thanks. I got the conundrum, but took about a minute. I was disappointed that JAMMIES wasn't accepted. I had written it down, but not sure I would have declared it if I had been on the show.

Outcase - invalid. Was trying to find an OUT word for too long.
75*9 - 25 - (6+2) = 642 (10)
(2+1+1)*(100+4) = 416. (7)
(4+6+75)*8 = 680 (5)
SWALLOWED - about a minute

Sam Gaffney said...

Nothing personal against Rob, but I am glad to see the back of his vowelphilia. Though I think I'd seen this episode before, I still managed two invalid answers.

The COMMIES/JAMMIES bit rang a bell for two reasons: I remember Kym Gyngell (Col'n Carpenter) on the Full Frontal TV show as John Laws, saying "If you have reds under your beds, does that mean you have commies in your jammies?". Prescient.

x (INROOTED: INCASED and INCLOSED made me think it was worth a shot)
642 = 6*(75 + 25 + 9 - 2)
Lily's way quickly, and (100-1-1)*4 + 50/2
Nothing, arrgh! Was writing down 687 = (8*25/2+2)*6 + 75, then lost it, and wrote my scrambled 677 wrong.

JT said...

I'm not sure to think about vowelmania, it probably reduced the losing margin but signifficantlly reduced longer words...
The numbers were weird I thought round 6 was impossible hence I only wrote a 1 away thinking that was the optimal, only to see the answer immadetely when Lily wrote her answer and I also got Round 8 in time suprisingly where it seems no-one else could including Lily whose underdevelopment of tweaking may of caused her not to get this (having said that if I saw the orignal air time of this, I defintely would of not got it in regulation)


Geoff Bailey said...

Well done on finding HETAIRA, Jan -- I missed it! *laughs*

My condolences about losing track of the 687, Sam -- it would have been a very worthy find. A quick caution: SAUTEE is not valid (although SAUTEED would be), so you were right to avoid that.

Great numberwork from you, JT -- congratulations in particular on the 687, which as you've noticed eluded all of us as well as Lily.

Sam Gaffney said...

Thanks for the info on SAUTEE, Geoff. And yes, good work by JT on 687.

Mike Backhouse said...

Not my best game:

Lily's way
out of time
error in calculation
Missed conundrum