Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Ep 42: Ian See, James Weatherhead (September 4, 2012; originally aired September 28, 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 Ian See's third night; a win here will give him a good chance of moving to sixth position in the finals rankings.  Ian has a sweet tooth and likes to bake; his favourite thing to make is brownies -- they are really easy and everyone seems to love them.

Challenging Ian is James Weatherhead, who is studying a masters degree in teaching.  James has already completed a law and arts degree, which is a decent amount of study.  He quite enjoys the practice of law, but is particularly passionate about teaching kids and mentoring young people.  He'd like to do university lecturing as a long-term goal, but thinks that looking after a class of 25 or so will provide enough of a challenge for the near future.

The contestants were equally matched for the first four rounds, but James finished extremely strongly, finding two eight-letter words and solving the final numbers round and the conundrum.  The final margin of victory was much larger than it looked like being at the halfway mark, with James winning by 63 points to 27.

I was just one round off maximal, but my conundrum speed was very slow tonight.  James beat me to the solution, but everything else went pretty well for a comfortable win.

Round 1: D P E O S N A C U

I had DOPE, POSED, DANCES, DEACONS, and wondered about UNSPACED.  I ended up rejecting it (the correct decision), and after time noted down POUNCES and POUNCED as other sevens.

The contestants start with six-letter words, each finding CAUSED.  David has POUNCED for seven, and points out that SOUNDSCAPE was almost there (but requires duplicating the S).

The other sevens are ACNODES (ACNODE: "Geometry a node [...] at which the tangents to two curves are imaginary and distinct (opposed to crunode)") and PEASCOD (variant spelling of PEASECOD: "the pod of the pea").


Scores: Ian 0 (6), James 0 (6), me

Round 2: O I L R A I D T O

James goes vowel-fishing, and an E would have allowed TAILORED.  The drawback to going vowel-fishing happens when the right vowel does not turn up, and things can get a bit awkward under such circumstances.  I had ROIL, RADIO, TAILOR, ADROIT, and DILATOR.

Both contestants have five-letter words this time, but different ones: James has TRAIL and Ian has RADIO.  David has managed one better than me, finding the only eight of TOROIDAL.  Nice one, David!

TOROIDAL is the only eight, and DILATOR is the only seven.  The other sixes are TOROID and RIALTO ("an exchange or mart").

David makes a mention of toroidal Scrabble, and at the end of the show attempts to explain it but botches the explanation.  He says that it is like playing on a sphere, when he should have said on a torus (or doughnut).  The idea, common to a lot of two-dimensional games, is that the left and right edges are linked and so are the top and bottom edges.  The old arcade game Asteroids is an example of the concept that may be familiar to some.

James: TRAIL

Scores: Ian 0 (11), James 0 (11), me 14

Round 3: Target 733 from 25 100 2 3 7 9

Succesive approximation works quite satisfactorily here, giving the solution 733 = 7*100 + 25 + 9 - (3 - 2).  Then I figured I could save a number with 733 = 7*100 + 3*(9 + 2), and finally found a roundabout alternative in 733 = 9*(100 - 25 + 7) - 3 - 2... although in that instance I had accidentally written down 75 instead of 25.  Fortunately it was not the solution I would have declared!

The contestants continue to be closely matched, both opting for the first of those solutions.  Lily demonstrates the second of them as an alternative.

Ian: 733
James: 733
Me: 733
Lily: 733

Scores: Ian 10 (21), James 10 (21), me 24

First break: ORGAN NIT ("I don't know anything about these puzzles")

The clue-giver in the above situation is therefore IGNORANT.

David's talk is about trainspotting, which he notes is an anagram of "starting point".  He says that trainspotters are known under many different names, but one of the ones they use for themselves is 'ferroequinologists'.

Round 4: U E B S A U N C S

I had BEAUS / ABUSE and UNCASES.  After time I noted down a few sixes: CAUSES / SAUCES and ABUSES.

The contestants match again, although with different words; Ian has ABUSES and James has SAUCES.  David has found UNCASES for seven.

The other seven here is an anagram of it: USANCES (USANCE: "Commerce the length of time, exclusive of days of grace, allowed by custom or usage for the payment of foreign bills of exchange").


Scores: Ian 10 (27), James 10 (27), me 31

Round 5: G T M E I A D O R


There contestants finally split, as Ian has the invalid METRED and James has found MEDIATOR for eight.  David notes MIGRATED as another eight-letter word.

The other eight is IDEOGRAM; the other sevens are MIGRATE / RAGTIME and READMIT.

Ian: [invalid]

Scores: Ian 10 (27), James 18 (35), me 39

Round 6: Target 951 from 75 6 5 4 8 5

The standard method applies pretty clearly: The nearest multiple of 75 is 975 = 13*75, and the difference is 24.  That gives the solution 951 = (8 + 5)*75 - 6*4 reasonably straightforwardly, and this turns out to be the only solution.

Ian has not been able to get anywhere, while James is outside the scoring range with 930.  Presumably that was (8 + 4)*75 + 5*6, so he could have used the other 5 to get closer again; perhaps he ran out of time?

Lily has found the solution.

Ian: [no answer]
James: [not in range]
Me: 951
Lily: 951

Scores: Ian 10 (27), James 18 (35), me 49

Second break: MANOR HAT ("The final event in ancient Greece")

This is clearly referring to the MARATHON, but the pedant in me notes that the marathon was not part of the ancient Olympic games.  The tradition of it being the final event of the Olympic games is purely part of the modern Olympic games.

Round 7: H T C A E I M L S

I had CHAT and TEACH / CHEAT, then stalled for a bit (missing HEMATIC and CLIMATE).  I spotted the potential for a nine, though, and hoped that a final S would appear.  It did, and ALCHEMIST was my reward.  I further noted down MATCHES, LATCHES, CHEMIST, and MISTEACH as other words, not that they would figure into matters.

Ian has MATCHES for seven, but James continues his late-game form with CLIMATES for eight.  A nice word -- and one I did not see! -- but David has found the full monty also.  He reminds us that it was the conundrum from a few weeks ago (episode 26, as it turns out).

The other eights are CLEMATIS (a type of plant) and HEMATICS (HEMATIC being a variant spelling of HAEMATIC, a medicine that acts on the blood) / TACHISME ("a style of action painting of the post-1950's [...]").

[Update: Thanks to Sam Gaffney for indirectly pointing out CAMELISH in a comment.]


Scores: Ian 10 (27), James 18 (43), me 67

Round 8: Target 259 from 75 25 5 5 9 4

I noted that the target was 7*37, but that was no obvious help and the standard method looked much more sensible.  There's a few ways to make the required 250, but I went with 259 = (5 + 5)*25 + 9.  I wondered if it was possible to get there from 275, and just managed to finish getting such a solution down before time ran out: 259 = 4*(75 + 5 - 9) - 25.

Ian is three away from the target with 256, which I will guess was 256 = 4*75 - 25 - 9 - 5 - 5.  That was perhaps a little careless if so, as not subtracting one of those 5's would have left him one closer at 261.  Of course, I could be quite wrong about his approach.

Seven unanswered points for Ian would put him nine points behind going into the conundrum, making it important.  But James scuppers Ian's chances as he has solved this one, with the same solution that I first found.

Lily shows another way to the 250, and hence another solution: 259 = (75 - 25)*5 + 9.

Ian: 256
James: 259
Me: 259
Lily: 259

Scores: Ian 10 (27), James 28 (53), me 77


I kept getting distracted by CATARACT, which cannot be formed from those letters and is too short beside.  James found the solution just over the halfway mark, and it took me another ten seconds to figure out what it was.

Ian: [no answer]
James: CATHARTIC (15.5s)

Final scores: Ian 10 (27), James 38 (63), me 77

James started off a bit slowly, but kicked into high gear in the second half of the match with thirty-six unanswered points.  Ian needed to do a lot more in the numbers to have a chance in this game, and was not able to.  James has an impressive debut score of 63; the only other contestants so far to score this or more on their first game are the current top three in the finals rankings.  Can he keep this form up?  I look forward to finding out tomorrow.


Jan said...

I was beating James, until the conundrum. I was pretty sure there was a good word, that we had had before, in Rd 7, and annoyed that I couldn't find ALCHEMIST. I remember you talking about it being an anagram of St Michael.

7*100 =700, 9-3=6. 6+2=8. 700+25+8= 733 (10)
(8+5)*75 = 975. 5*6-4=26 975-26=949 (7) cranky that I missed the way to make 24
25*(5+5) + 9 = 259 (10)

Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

MICHAEL (not the name)
missed conundrum

Sam Gaffney said...

I definitely saw this episode in 2010, as I remember getting ALCHEMIST, and that it had been a recent conundrum.

733 = (100+2)*7 - (9-3) + 25
951, Lily's way
259 = (75-25)*5 + 9
~ a minute, after going in at 10s with ARTHRITIC

JT said...

My Answers:

GRATED (missed the chance MI on it :/)
951-the only solution
I needed google to tell me what this word meant!!!!

Geoff Bailey said...

My condolences over missing the way to make that 24, Jan. You were ahead of James going into the conundrum, but he did well to get it.

*blinks* Interesting find of MICHAEL in round 7, Mike. I had not been aware it had a meaning as other than the name, but I think it's safe to say that the show would not let that one go to air.

Some pretty solid results from all here; I admit to being a little glad that I was not the only one to struggle with the conundrum.

Jan said...

Mike - I had to look up what michael meant too. And wish I hadn't bothered! Geoff, good to hear they would not have let that go to air

Sam Gaffney said...

I didn't know MICHAEL was in the dictionary, I guess MICHAELS would also be acceptable. The Macquarie lists a clean anagram of MICHAELS that Geoff's anagram solver didn't seem to pick up; it arguably fits in with the theme (don't say you weren't warned).

Geoff Bailey said...

Good catch, Sam. I've updated the post to include mention of the word.