Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Ep 41: Ian See, Brian Lynch (September 3, 2012; originally aired September 27, 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.

Ian See gets his first night in the champion's chair.  As we found out yesterday, Ian is a fiction editor; Richard asks him what sort of work he focuses on.  Ian responds that the next project that he will be editing is an anthology of short stories, and he also hopes to edit some novels next year.  Richard checks where Ian would like to be doing that work; Ian says that the big publishing dream is to work in a publishing house in New York, have the big expense account, and all that.  "Maybe one day," he finishes.

Tonight's challenger is Brian Lynch, and I.T. consultant who works in banking during the week, plays soccer on weeknights, and performs in pubs on the weekend.  Brian expands on that last item: He mainly does traditional Irish music at some of the Irish bars around Melbourne.  He plays the guitar and sings, and there is a girl who performs with him who plays the fiddle.

Ian got off to an early lead in the first letters round, but Brian overtook him on the first numbers round.  Ian got ahead again in a later letters round, and then two invalid answers from Brian stopped any comeback he might have mounted.  Ian guaranteed his win by solving the last numbers round, and then capped it off by solving the conundrum to reach the fifty mark, and a final scoreline of 51 to 24.

I was in good shape tonight except for a very careless miss on one letters round, where I ended up with an invalid answer.  There were a couple of reasonably obvious alternatives that I somehow overlooked in time, and that was disappointing.  The rest was reasonable, but that round cost me the chance to equal David and Lily.  Maybe next time...

Round 1: H T M A E O C I R

I had MATH (I was a little unsure, but figured that the Macquarie would list this Americanism, and it does), THEMA (which turns out not to be listed), ATOM, MATCH, THERIAC (from frequent finding on this blog), CHAROITE, and RHEMATIC (remembered from episode 397: "relating to the formation of words").  After time I noted down CHIMERA as one of the more interesting sevens.

Brian has MOTHER for six, but Ian gets the early lead with REMATCH for seven.  David has gone with CHROMATE as his eight, and I'll note that the next consonant was an S so that staying with three vowels would have allowed CHROMATES for nine.  (And also STOMACHER: "an ornamented article of dress for covering the stomach and chest, formerly worn by both men and women, especially one worn by women under a bodice".)

The other eights are CHROMITE / TRICHOME ("an ourgrowth from the epidermis of plants, as a hair").



Scores: Ian 0 (7), Brian 0, me 8

Round 2: S P A E U R T M A

Another decent set of letters, which is nice.  I had PEAS / APES, PAUSE, SUPER, PASTURE, TEMPURAS, and AMATEURS.  I knew there was an anagram of TEMPURAS that avoided the mass noun possibility -- I imagine that TEMPURAS would be fine in any case -- but I did not find it until after time: UPSTREAM.

The contestants both have seven-letter words this time; Ian has TAMPERS while Brian has PASTURE.  David has gone with AMATEURS for his eight.

That looks like all the eights listed; the other sevens are TEMPURA, AMATEUR, MATURES / STRUMAE (plural of STRUMA: "a cushion-like swelling on an organ [...]"), TRAUMAS (TRAUMATA is also an acceptable plural form of TRAUMA), STUMPER / SUMPTER ("a pack or saddlebag"), and STAMPER / RESTAMP.


Scores: Ian 0 (14), Brian 0 (7), me 16

Round 3: Target 760 from 100 9 5 4 1 2

I first looked at the target as 4*190, and then tweaked my way to that 190 for the solution 760 = (100 - 5)*2*4.  Approaching it more traditionally I also managed to tweak my way there from 700, with the solution 760 = (5 + 2)*(100 + 9) - (4 - 1).

Ian is four off the pace with 764; this seems likely to have been 8*100 - 9*4, with some minor variations in the components.  Most likely that 8 was 5 + 2 + 1, as otherwise he might have managed to subtract 5*8 instead.  Not that this speculation matters much, as Brian has solved it exactly, using the second of the solutions offered above.  I think this makes Brian only the second contestant (after Andrew Fisher) to demonstrate any ability to tweak the numbers.

Lily also used that approach.

Ian: 764
Brian: 760
Me: 760
Lily: 760

Scores: Ian 0 (14), Brian 10 (17), me 26

First break: PALE BATH ("Yet another place where you will find letters")

A fairly straightforward clue for ALPHABET.

David's talk is about the phrase "yeah... no", which -- as he notes -- is reasonably familiar in Australian speech.

Round 4: O D S N E A W S R

I had DONS, NODES, ANODES, RAWNESS (which would have been invalid, as it turns out; fortunately I am a bit suspicious of -NESS words and prefer other options in general), WARDENS, and ANSWERS.  After time I noted DROWSES and DOWNERS as other sevens.

Both contestants have WANDERS for seven (it may actually have been WONDERS -- the pronunciation is not really enough to tell -- but David's comments indicate that he thinks they chose WANDERS).  David expresses his surprise that such a decent-looking mix did not seem to have an eight, and has been limited to WANDERS, WONDERS, and ANSWERS as his sevens.

It does, indeed, look like there are no eights here.  The other sevens are DOWSERS, ONWARDS, WORSENS, REASONS / SEƑORAS, SANDERS, and REDOWAS (REDOWA: "a Bohemian dance in two forms, the more common resembling the waltz or mazurka, the other resembling the polka").


Scores: Ian 7 (21), Brian 17 (24), me 33

Round 5: U L N O I T D T A

I had LION, wrote down a speculative OUTLINE but an E never arrived, UNTIL, OUTLAIN, and UNTOLD.  I was a bit unsure about OUTLAIN, but I knew that I had looked up a -LAIN word for Countdown a few weeks back in circumstances where both -LAID and -LAIN turned out to be acceptable, and I thought it was for that.  This recollection turned out to be half correct; the word I had looked up was UNDERLAIN (which is valid), and OUTLAIN is invalid.  Bother.

What makes this particularly careless, as I noted after time, is that the much safer (and valid!) OUTLAID was also there to be made.  I should not have overlooked that.  I noted OUTLAND as another seven, also.

This would not have been a bad round to go vowel fishing on -- after the first seven letters an E for OUTLINED is rather tempting.  With an A instead the situation gets a bit better, with the E still allowing OUTLINED but an A making ADULATION possible (or the similar LAUDATION).  With an I yielding DILUTION (or AUDITION), such an approach was probably worth a try.

Brian has LAND for four -- he is not particularly thrilled by that -- while Ian has managed to get one better with UNTIL.  David mentions that ADULATION was almost there, but does not make any mention of any word he found; that suggests that he was not able to better five, rather surprisingly, and makes me all the more annoyed about overlooking OUTLAID.

OUTLAID and OUTLAND seem to be the only sevens.  The other sixes are UNLAID, UNLOAD, TALION ("retaliation as authorised by law [...]") / LATION (an Aboriginal English shortening of RELATION), DALTON (another term for the atomic mass unit), INDULT ("Roman Catholic Church a general faculty granted for a specific time or a specific number of cases by the Holy See to bishops or others, of doing something not permitted by the common law of the church"), LADINO ("an uncontrollable horse, steer, etc.; a stray"), and TOLUID (variant form of TOLUIDE: "an amide which contains a methylphenyl group united to the nitrogen").

Brian: LAND
Me: [invalid]

Scores: Ian 12 (26), Brian 17 (24), me 33

Round 6: Target 920 from 75 4 2 9 10 9

I pulled out the factor of 10 to start with and the cofactor of 92 was easy enough to obtain, giving me the solution 920 = 10*(75 + 9 + 2*4).  In the remaining time I played around with similar approaches, finding the alternative solution 920 = (9*9 - 4)*10 + 2*75.

Ian has nothing to declare, while Brian declares 919 but his answer would actually have given 918; (10 + 2)*75 is as far as he reached before realising that, but presumably he would have added the other two 9's.

Lily has solved this in the same way as the first of the solutions that I found.

Ian: [no answer]
Brian: [invalid]
Me: 920
Lily: 920

Scores: Ian 12 (26), Brian 17 (24), me 43

Second break: DIET SCAN ("From here to there")

Between here and there is a certain DISTANCE.

Round 7: C G S E I O L C E

Bleah, what a mix to end on.  I had ICES, COILS, and SLICE.  Most of the way through time I recognised this as a round where David declared a word which would not be accepted under later rules, but that did not help me.

Ian has SLICE for five, while Brian's attempt of SOLICE is deemed invalid.  From his pronunciation, it is likely that he was thinking of SOLACE.  David has gone with LECCIES as his seven, the plural of LECCY: "a device powered by electricity".  The show even helpfully shows us the dictionary entry for it, and we can see that the Macquarie has had one of its moments of inconsistency again: No plural form is listed.  In later seasons this would have been ruled invalid, but things were somewhat looser at the beginning.

Six-letter words appear the limit; the available ones are LOGICS, COLICS, LIEGES, and ECESIC (adjective derived from ECESIS: "the establishment of an immigrant plant in a new environment").  There should be another, as COLY is a type of bird, but again the Macquarie does not list the plural form of COLIES.

Brian: [invalid]

Scores: Ian 17 (31), Brian 17 (24), me 48

Round 8: Target 765 from 75 2 10 8 4 1

The first step to getting close is pretty clear, and any computer scientist should recognise that the remaining numbers provide the difference, giving the solution 765 = 10*75 + 8 + 4 + 2 + 1.  My first instinct had been to tweak it and save a number with 765 = 10*75 + 2*8 - 1, but I liked the binary nature of the first option.

Somewhat after time I looked at the factor of 9 and saw that it allowed saving yet another number: 765 = (8 + 1)*(75 + 10).

Brian says that he "got pretty close but did not quite get there", which is a bit of a strange thing to say.  Did he not write down anything at all?  By inference he must not have; that is going to cost him the game if Ian gets close.  It is mostly irrelevant, though, as Ian has found the first of those solutions above and that guarantees him the victory.

Lily shows the alternative which is the second of those above solutions.

Ian: 765
Brian: [not in range]
Me: 765
Lily: 765

Scores: Ian 27 (41), Brian 17 (24), me 58


This was a quick solve from me, obviously helped along by the ending being in the right spot and the sound of the phrase being a decent match.  Ian is the contestant who gets to this first, at around the twelve second mark.

Ian: CELEBRITY (12s)
Brian: [no answer]

Final scores: Ian 27 (51), Brian 17 (24), me 68

Some good results from each contestant in various facets of the game.  It looked like Ian would pick up some points on the letters and Brian would get back the ground in the numbers, but Brian's invalid declaration in the second numbers round appears to have thrown him a little.  If he had declared the correct total in that round he could have still had a chance going into the conundrum.

Ian will push Stephen Farrelly out of finals contention if he scores a single point tomorrow, and needs 43 points or a win to move ahead of Sudesh Piyatissa.  We'll see how that goes.


Sam Gaffney said...

I'm not sure if I'd seen this episode before, but David's vignette seemed vaguely familiar. He wore an unusually sedate shirt tonight.

I think the conundrum lights may have been slightly flattering to home viewers - the letters spun well before the clock hand began turning.

CHROMATE (from my Masters QF)
UPSTREAM (variant of MIDSTREAM, from my Finals QF)
760 = (100-5)*(9-1)
OUTLAND (was unsure, only knew OUTLANDER)
921 = (75+9*2)*10 - 9 (saw the solution a little after time)
765 = (75+2)*10 - 4 - 1

Jan said...

A mixed game from me, with a couple of easy answers missed. And I got the solution for the first numbers game after time. Spent too long trying to come down from 800.

(2+5)*(100+9) - (4-1) = 760 - after the buzzer (0)
TAINT, DONUT (5) I saw OUTLAID, but wasn't sure it would be valid
(10+2)*75 + 9 + 9 = 918 (7)
(10*75) + 8 + 4 + 2 +1 = 765 (10)

Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

COMETH (as in the Iceman..)
STREAM (missed upstream - grrrr)
out of range
(75+9+9)X10=930-(4X2)=922 (2 off)

JT said...

It looks like Sam and I work in similar ways with our numbers completly the same, which means my letters round while solid wouldn't of beaten him or Geoff...

My Answers
REMATCH-(also had CHIMERA but knew REMATCH was a word I knew)
760-Same as Sam
921-also same as Sam
DALTON-rembered this from series 5
765-ditto Sam!

Sam Gaffney said...

Let's see you do it on the heavyweights too, JT!