Saturday, 15 September 2012

Ep 50: Liam Bastick, Rachael Bausor (September 14, 2012; originally aired October 8, 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.

Liam Bastick gets his third appearance on the show, and Richard asks about the strangest job that Liam has had.   When Liam first left university he ended up in a rather unusual job: For forty hours a week he had to time how fast things like tomato sauce, salad cream, and mayonnaisse flowed down a particular ramp.  As Richard puts it, Liam was a viscosity tester.

Tonight's challenger is Rachael Bausor, a deputy CEO who works predominantly in grant and project management at a community centre.  Rachael enjoys playing electronic strategy games and spending time with her five-year-old daughter Chloe.  Richard asks about the kind of strategy games that Rachael enjoys, and she gives examples of expanding a railroad empire across the United States, or running a restaurant, or -- one of her favourites -- running a theme park and designing rollercoasters and things like that.  (I'd be willing to bet that the first and third are Railroad Tycoon and Rollercoaster Tycoon, but the restaurant one has too many possibilities.)

There was some back and forth in the letters rounds and the net result was equal scores to the contestants from those.  But Rachael was not able to get a scoring result in any of the numbers rounds, and that allowed Liam a comfortable lead.  He was safe going into the conundrum, and with neither solving it the final scoreline was 48 to 24 in his favour.

I was down on many letters maxima again, but not too far off the pace.  All in all it was an unexceptional game from me and a comfortable win.

Round 1: S F T N S C E A O

I had SCENTS, FASTENS, and SOFTENS.  I'd noted the potential for both of those after the first five letters went up, and was not able to improve on them.  After time I noted down FATNESS as another seven.

Liam has STONE for five, but Rachael gets the early lead with ASCENT for six.  David asked her to clarify the spelling in case it was ASSENT (both are valid, of course, but it's nice to know which she meant); note that both contestants overlooked appending an S to their answers.  Rather careless!

David has found the only eight here: COSTEANS (COSTEAN: "a trench or pit cut across the conjectured line of outcrop of a seam or ore body to expose the full width"; it has an associated verb sense, and also a variant spelling of COSTEEN).  Some sources list CONTESSA (an Italian countess) as an anagram of COSTEANS, but the Macquarie does not have it.  Regardless, well done, David!


Rachael: ASCENT

Scores: Liam 0, Rachael 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: R L A E Q U S N B

I had REAL, EQUAL, and SQUARE.  I rightly rejected BANQUES, but did not realise until David announced his word how close I had been to a sensible answer.  Bother!  Shortly after time expired I saw NEBULAR (adjective derived from NEBULA) and NEBULAS (both NEBULAS and NEBULAE are acceptable plural forms of NEBULA) for seven.

Both contestants have gone with SQUARE, and David has gone one better with BARQUES (BARQUE being a type of sailing vessel) and NEBULAS, and that is all the sevens listed.

Rachael: SQUARE

Scores: Liam 6, Rachael 6 (12), me 13

Round 3: Target 600 from 25 2 1 1 4 5

This pretty much boils down to "make 24 from the five small numbers", and that is straightforward enough; I went with 600 = 25*4*(5 + 1).

Rachael has nothing to report -- she says that her brain "just died" -- while Liam has solved it with 600 = (5*4 + 2 + 1 + 1)*25.  Lily mentions the existence of variations but does not say which particular way she would have done it.

Liam: 600
Rachael: [no answer]
Me: 600
Lily: 600

Scores: Liam 16, Rachael 6 (12), me 23

First break: PEAR TREE ("Oscar Wilde had one full of wit")

He was well known for his witty REPARTEE.

David's talk is about the words amethyst, onyx, and diamond.

Round 4: N T I E R B U T E

I had TINE, INTER, TURBINE / TRIBUNE, TRIBUTE, and NUTTIER.  After time I noted BITTERN (a type of bird) as another seven, but although I considered the useful -ETTE ending I was not able to use it successfully.

The contestants have each found seven-letter words; Rachael has opted for TURBINE while Liam goes with TRIBUTE.  David mentioned that he checked up on UNBITTER just in case but it is not valid, but still has found the only eight of BRUNETTE.

The other sevens are RETINUE / REUNITE / UTERINE and BURETTE (a piece of equipment that may be familiar to some from high school chemistry).

Rachael: TURBINE

Scores: Liam 23, Rachael 13 (19), me 30

Round 5: A I U C R L D P N

Bleah, I floundered here.  I had LAIR and LUCID, and that was it.  As time expired I saw DIURNAL at last, but without enough time left to get it written down.  I then saw a couple of sixes in URINAL and PLACID.

The contestants have struggled as much as I have with this, likewise emerging with five-letter words.  Liam's choice is PLAIN while Rachael's is DRAIN.  David is as on-track as ever, and has found DIURNAL.

The other seven here is related to a word I mentioned in yesterday's game: INCUDAL, the adjective derived from INCUS, one of the bones of the ear.

The other six-letter words are UNLAID, UNPAID, UNCLAD, UPLAND, RANCID, DURIAN, URACIL (one of the components of RNA) / CURIAL (adjective derived from CURIA: "one of the political subdivisions of each of the three tribes of ancient Roman citizens"), URANIC (synonymous with URANIAN: "of or relating to the heavens; celestial"), UNCIAL ("relating to an inch or an ounce"), PURLIN ("a timber or piece laid horizontally on the principal rafters of a roof to support the common rafters"), and ALDRIN (a trademarked insecticide, but allowed by the Macquarie).

Rachael: DRAIN

Scores: Liam 28, Rachael 18 (24), me 35

Round 6: Target 380 from 25 75 6 10 8 1

The factor of 10 is immediately tempting, and the cofactor is 38.  I noticed that it was near to 75/2, and that let me find the solution 380 = ((75 + 1)/(8 - 6))*10.  Then I looked at more standard approaches, and as time ran out I saw 380 = 6*(75 - 25) + 8*10 (but did not get it down until after time expired).

Rachael is outside the scoring range with 369, but Liam has managed to get three away with 377 = (6 - 1)*75 + 10 - 8.  Note that adding 25 - 10 - 8 would have let him get one closer, but the seven points put him just over a conundrum's worth ahead regardless.

Lily has an easier version of 10*38, with 380 = (25 + 6 + 8 - 1)*10.

Liam: 377
Rachael: [not in range]
Me: 380
Lily: 380

Scores: Liam 28 (35), Rachael 18 (24), me 45

Second break: KNOT PLAN ("Tiny seafood")

Food for animals at sea, that is: PLANKTON.

Round 7: D C S O I A M T D

I've yet to get a letters maximum -- it's been a bad trot recently for those -- but there's always this chance.  I had DISCO, MOSAIC, SOMATIC ("of the body; bodily; physical"), and ADDICTS.  After time I noted DIATOMS and ATOMICS (the field of study) as other sevens.

Rachael has DISCO for five, but Liam has managed to extend his lead with MOSAIC for six.  David has ADDICTS for seven.

Seven is the best possible, which is a relief to me.  The others are DACOITS (Indian bandits) and MASTOID.

The magic result in this round would have been a final G for DOGMATICS.  No such luck, and no G at all this game.

Rachael: DISCO

Scores: Liam 28 (41), Rachael 18 (24), me 52

Round 8: Target 672 from 25 75 5 7 10 4

The target is very near 675 = 9*75; I briefly confused myself by miscalculating the difference as 2 instead of 3 and was about to head off into unhelpful territory, but caught that error and found the solution 672 = (5 + 4)*75 - (10 - 7).  Then I spotted the factor of 7 to get the alternative solution 672 = 7*(75 + 25 - 4).

Rachael is outside the scoring range again, having 687.  That means that Liam is going to win the game, and he extends his lead with 675 = (5 + 4)*75, missing the obvious adjustment that Lily demonstrates.

Liam: 675
Rachael: [not in range]
Me: 672
Lily: 672

Scores: Liam 28 (48), Rachael 18 (24), me 62


I was a fraction slower than I would have liked but still got it quite quickly.  Rachael buzzed in just over halfway with the invalid TRACEABLE and the countdown continued.  Liam buzzed in with less than half a second left but said that he just did it for effect and has no idea what the answer is.

Liam: [invalid] (29.5s)
Rachael: [invalid] (18s)

Final scores: Liam 28 (48), Rachael 18 (24), me 72

The contestants were well-matched in the letters rounds but Liam was consistently better in the numbers and that was too great a hurdle for Rachael to overcome.  Liam gets to face that crucial fourth game on Monday, and we'll see how he goes.

That's the show's fiftieth episode complete, a minor milestone that must have made the cast happy.  It also marks a point that I'm glad of: The end of the blue book, meaning that the next 43 games will be completely new to me.  I'm looking forward to that, and it will be interesting to see if there are any signs that having read through the blue book helped me more than I realised in the previous fifty episodes.


Jan said...

I got off to a flying start with wins in the first two rounds.

(5*4+2+1+1)*25=600 (10)
(6-1)*75 + (10-8) = 377 (7)
(4+5)*75 - (10-7) = 372 (10)

Sam Gaffney said...

I felt that I hadn't seen this episode before, unless this is the only time that Liam buzzes in without knowing the answer.

CONFESS/OCTANES (didn't know about COSTEAN)
600 = 25*4*(5 + 1)
380 = 6*(75 - 25) + 8*10
672 = 7*(75 + 25 - 4)

Enjoy playing the untainted games ahead, Geoff. There are still plenty that I haven't seen, but I can't identify them in blocks.

Jan said...

Oops-last numbers round, I have a typo - 672 not 372!

Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

BASQUE (took a risk on their being a lower case version)
Lily's way
(25+75)*7-(5*4+10)=670 (2 off)
Missed conundrum

Despite an ordinary game, I think I actually beat the contestants (but not you lot!). A glimmer of hope, given it is pretty daunting being surrounded by the calibre of contributions to this site!

Mike Backhouse said...

I wish there was a way to correct typos. In this case, 'their' to 'there'!

JT said...

Liam's shannigans probably won't be Charlie Reams GANDISEEG but funny notheless


Geoff Bailey said...

Congratulations to all on some pretty good results, and particularly to Sam and JT on getting the conundrum.

Sorry my schedule has been so erratic lately; I'm hoping to get back on track at some point. But when I go out on a night there's not really enough time left to get a post up.