Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ep 57: Peter Stegelman, Rolli Pick (September 25, 2012; originally aired October 19, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

SBS has switched how the online video is delivered yet again, resulting in somewhat glitchy viewing for me.  Fortunately it only impacted the game seriously once, costing me about five seconds in a round where I found a best answer early.

Peter Stegelman gets his turn in the champion's seat, and Richard informs us that Peter is a keen traveller.  Peter likes visiting other cultures and seeing other places around the world.  He also likes to watch the football (soccer) where possible; he has been to a few games in Australia and also some in the English Premier League, which he says was quite an experience -- they have to segregate the crowds and such.

Challenging Peter is Rolli Pick, a financial services student and part-time travel sales and product manager.  Rolli wants to own a bookkeeping business; this is because his son Max (six years old at time of filming) has Asperger's Syndrome and a love of numbers.  Rolli would really love for Max -- assuming that he is interested! -- to be able to walk into a family business when he is old enough.

The game opened with a very helpful mix that neither contestant made much use of but which Rolli handled slightly better.  Several of the remaining rounds were shared, but the general trend was that Rolli did a touch better in the letters and Peter managed to stay in touch thanks to the numbers rounds.  Rolli was ahead but not safe going into the conundrum; Peter buzzed in first but without a valid answer, and Rolli was not able to solve it either but won the game, 39 to 33.

I had quite a good game tonight, just dropping the one letters maximum.  I was pretty sure the longer answer was available but it took me a while after time to find it.  My conundrum speed was a bit slower than I would have liked but still decent, and I managed to find a good solution to a numbers round that eluded Lily, meaning that my solo total was better than David and Lily's; that is always treasured.

Round 1: I G A E N L I R T

The -ING arrived early and I scowled when a fourth vowel was called.  I was not surprised, mind you -- Peter has shown a tendency to go vowel-heavy -- just disappointed.  I had GAIN, ALIEN, REALIGN, TRIANGLE, and RETAILING.  I guess that fourth vowel worked out in this case, but the sixth consonant would have been a D for TREADLING.  (Two other vowels would have worked, incidentally: U for GRANULITE and A for ANTIGLARE; I would not have found those, though, unlike TREADLING.)

Peter starts with a fairly tame five of GLEAN, while Rolli is only a little better with TRIAGE.  A nice word, but six is rarely a good result when -ING is around.  David has found RETAILING as expected.


Peter: GLEAN

Scores: Peter 0, Rolli 0 (6), me 18

Round 2: A E D C U R S I B

I had DACE, CRUDE, CRUSADE (I had hoped for an S in order to produce that), BRUISED, and wondered about AIRBEDS but it turns out to be two words.  With many sevens around it seemed likely that there was longer to be had but I could not find it within time.  Afterwards I noted down other sevens of SUBERIC ("of or relating to cork") and SIDECAR, and consideration of that latter led me to CARBIDES at last.

Both contestants have CURSED for six, and David has found an anagram of CARBIDES: ASCRIBED.

The other possible eight is CUDBEARS (CUDBEAR: "a violet colouring matter obtained from various lichens [...]").  The Macquarie does list DAUBRY as a variant spelling of DAUBERY ("unskilful painting or work"), but does not list plural forms for either; thus DAUBRIES would not be allowed.  (It is unclear if this is the Macquarie taking a position on DAUBERY being a mass noun or simply omitting the plural form.)


Scores: Peter 0 (6), Rolli 0 (12), me 25

Round 3: Target 872 from 25 50 9 9 2 2

The duplicated numbers mean that this could be very tricky.  I spotted the factor of 8 immediately; the cofactor of 109 is clearly manageable, but the 8 is a bit more challenging.  25 - 2*9 is 7, which is close but not correct... but fortunately I saw the right technique before abandoning this, emerging with the solution 872 = (2*50 + 9)*(25 - 9)/2.  A very pleasing result!

Both contestants are one away with 873; Peter's version is 873 = 2*50*9 - 25 - 2, while Rolli says that he has done it slightly differently but has just done the initial multiplication in a different order.  Lily has not been able to do better than one off (presumably 873) either, so I am doubly pleased by my solution.

It turns out that there are only two other solutions, both solving it as 2*436: 872 = 2*(9*50 - (25 - 9 - 2)) and 872 = 2*((25 + 2)*(9 + 9) - 50).

Peter: 873
Rolli: 873
Me: 872

Scores: Peter 0 (13), Rolli 0 (19), me 35

First break: DONE MEAL ("Sounds like fruity assistance")

The assistance is "aid", sounding like the ADE of LEMONADE.

David's talk is about the words hieroglyphics, pharaoh, and mummy.

Round 4: E O E T H T S A C

I had THEE, TEETH, and ESCHEAT ("(formerly) the reversion of land to the feudal lord or the Crown in the absence of heirs of the owner") / TEACHES.  I also saw CHEETOS, but was not surprised to find out that it is not considered a word.

Peter has COAST for five, outdone by Rolli's choice of SACHET; that gets Rolli a lead of more than the conundrum's worth.  David had hoped that the fourth vowel would have been yet another E for TEETHES, but has settled on TEACHES as his seven.

The other sevens are CASETTE, COSTATE ("bearing ribs"), ACETOSE (variant form of ACETOUS: "sour; vinegary"), and THECATE ("having, or contained in, a theca" -- such a helpful definition; a theca is "a case or receptacle").

Peter: COAST

Scores: Peter 0 (13), Rolli 0 (25), me 42

Round 5: L K O U R P E O C


The contestants each have six-letter words, and each could have been turned into a seven by insertion of a letter.  Rolli had COUPLE and Peter had PUCKER.  David points out PLUCKER as the adjustment from Peter's word, and also another seven that he dislikes: PRECOOK.

That's all the sevens; there's a few sixes, but I'll just mention the more common options of LOCKER and RECOUP.

As an aside, I am now guaranteed to beat both contestants; this is the earliest it is possible to be guaranteed to win.


Scores: Peter 0 (19), Rolli 0 (31), me 49

Round 6: Target 423 from 75 50 7 7 8 5

More duplicated numbers, but at least a little variety.  The target is 2 away from 425, so setting aside the 7 and 5 for that purpose seems the obvious step.  The remaining numbers can be massaged into yielding 425, and the solution that follows is 423 = 7*50 + 75 - (7 - 5).

After time I experimented with complicated options, eventually finding the solution 423 = (50 - 7)*(75 + 5)/8 - 7.

Rolli is five away with 428; this may have been 428 = 8*50 + 5*7 - 7, but if so note that just adding those last three small numbers instead would have reached one closer with 419.  Peter is just two off the target with 425 = 5*75 + 50.  Since he used up the 5 he could not get the final offset by two, but he could have subtracted (8 - 7) or 7/7 to get one closer.  But he still gets the seven points and reduces the gap to five.

Lily demonstrates the first of the solutions above.

Peter: 425
Rolli: 428
Me: 423
Lily: 423

Scores: Peter 0 (26), Rolli 0 (31), me 59

Second break: ACUTE CAR ("Right on the money")

A straight clue for ACCURATE.

Round 7: N I O F S H A I S


Peter has just FISH for four, but Rolli has found FASHIONS for eight.  David had that too, and it is the best to be done.

That extends Rolli's lead to more than a conundrum again, and finally gets one of the contestants on the board against me.  I thought I had a chance of keeping them both scoreless this time.  Oh, well.

The sevens are FASHION and FISSION.  The other six is OAFISH.

Peter: FISH

Scores: Peter 0 (26), Rolli 8 (39), me 67

Round 8: Target 652 from 75 1 7 9 10 8

Rolli only needs to match Peter on this round to get the win, which is the perfect time for what he asks for: A single large number.  The target is actually somewhat challenging, though.  I could not decide whether to try and approach this from 600 or 675, as neither seemed particularly helpful.  I was able to get to one away with those ideas via 651 = 9*75 - 10 - 8 - 7 + 1, but not closer.  Fortunately my change of tack to consider 660 - 8 bore useful fruit, and just in time I managed to get a (mostly legible) solution down: 652 = 10*(75 - 9) - 8.  This turns out to be the solution that Lily found also.

Rolli has ended up six away with 658, which I can only guess was 658 = 9*75 - 10 - 7.  Subtracting the remaining 8 would have let him get much closer, if so, and as it turns out that would have been enough to guarantee the win.  But Peter gives himself a chance by finding his way to four off the target with 656 = 9*75 - 10 - 8 - 1.  That's also a bit unusual, as subtracting the 7 instead of the  would have let him get closer, and should have ended up leading him to the 651 that I first found.  This seems surprisingly common, contestants getting somewhere close but missing the small adjustments to get even closer.

Those seven points put Peter back within striking distance, so the conundrum is going to matter.

Peter: 656
Rolli: 658
Me: 652
Lily: 652

Scores: Peter 0 (33), Rolli 8 (39), me 77


I balked at this one at first, but although the -NESS fragment was not correct the euphony of it guided me to the right solution.  Peter buzzes about twenty seconds in with the incorrect guess of SCENERIES -- surely he knew that it was not right -- and Rolli will win.  The remaining time ticks away with no answer from Rolli.

Peter: [invalid] (20s)
Rolli: [no answer]

Final scores: Peter 0 (33), Rolli 8 (39), me 87

This game was another letters vs. numbers battle, with Rolli generally picking up the letters points and Peter countering in the numbers.  Usually that equation favours the letters, and this was such an instance.  Rolli's find of FASHIONS was the best of the day -- the only maximum from the contestants -- but otherwise it seemed like they really weren't doing enough with what they had to work with.  That said, Rolli did always manage to get within scoring range with the numbers; that's important to be able to do.

Peter's body language when he buzzed in on the conundrum said that he did not believe he was right.  Surely he should have saved that buzz for the last moment when there was actually nothing to lose; he might still have seen the answer in the remaining ten seconds.  Or, like some lucky contestants, be gifted it by the opponent's incorrect guess that makes the right answer clear.  Not that either was likely to occur, I'll grant, but still...

Rolli looks like he will be in trouble against a contestant who is better in either facet of the game (and I guess this is generally a true statement about anyone); given the Scrabble-heavy nature of the first series, it seems a little more likely that words will be his downfall.  We'll have to see how it plays out, however.


Jan said...

I achieved something in this game, that I have never achieved before! Of the five letters games, I got the maxima in each one. I was thrilled about that. One numbers game I stuffed up, and that was my only loss. But I missed out on the conundrum.

(2*9)*50 - 25 - 2 = 873 (7)
8*50 + 7 + 7 + 5 = 419 (0) saw Lily's way after time
9*75 - (8+10+7-1) = 651 (7)

Sam Gaffney said...

Very good game, Geoff, particularly getting Round 3 in time. I was nearly there, making the 8, but I got stuck making 59 instead of 109, and tried to work something out of that. I was still pleased to crack it just after time, it was a neat solution.

Have you omitted your conundrum time?

Very good letter rounds from Jan.

873 = (2*9)*50 - 25 - 2
invalid: TEACHEST (I couldn't resist, but it is only listed in hyphenated form)
423 = (75+8-7)*5 + 50 - 7
652 = 75*8 + 9*7 - 10 - 1

Mike Backhouse said...

My answers:

TEARING (saw RELATING just out of time, but not RETAILING)
BRAISED (not up with you all, but beat contestants)
Peter's way (1 off)
5*75+50-(8-7)=424 (1 off but beat contestants)
used 7 twice - invalid
missed conundrum

Geoff Bailey said...

Congratulations, Jan -- getting maximum letters is a wonderful result! If you want a little perspective on that, the last time I managed to do so was six weeks ago. That's really good solving to do that.

Thanks for the catch on the conundrum speed, Sam -- I've updated the post to include it. It was five seconds, for the record. And, heh, I thought about TEACHEST but assumed it would be two words.

Also well done to both of you on finding CARBIDES; I kept seeing CAB RIDES but did not manage to swap the B and R. Whoops!

Some nice solving from you, Mike -- I particularly like FISSION, which I did not see at all within time. A lovely find!

Jan said...

Thanks Sam and Geoff. Wow Geoff, when you put it in perspective I am even more amazed I did it!

Sam, I couldn't work out teachest to start with

And I loved Mike's fission too