Friday, 28 September 2012

Ep 59: Yolanda Sztarr, Mark Mota (September 27, 2012; originally aired October 21, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Yolanda Sztarr gets her first turn in the champion's seat, and presumably hopes to break the run of short-lasting champions.  Yolanda first learnt to ride a bike during her university years, which is unusually late, but she has since embraced riding with a lot of enthusiasm.  She thinks it has been wonderful in a lot of ways, and in particular she met her boyfriend eight years ago on a bicycle ride.  She uses her bike for transport, on holidays, cycle touring... she even rode it to the studio today.

Tonight's challenger is Mark Mota, an accountant who made a new year's resolution some years back to run a marathon.  And last year (2009, that would be) he did manage to do so.  Mark was living in London at the time, so he took part in the London Marathon.  Not the best time, he says, but he did finish it, and that's all he was trying to do.

Yolanda got an early lead in the first round, and then a couple of shared rounds followed.  She forged ahead with three excellent words (even if not the best possible) in the remaining rounds, and the numbers went a bit each way.  Yolanda was safe going into the conundrum (indeed, safe going into the final numbers round) and it proved to be a tough one.  Neither was able to solve it, but Yolanda broke the recent losing streak of champions with her second win, 49 to 22.

I found some a couple of good words today, but missed another tough one that feels like it was findable.  The numbers posed no problem but the conundrum was too hard for me; still, I'd done more than enough and overall it was a decent game.

Round 1: N U T A E O D S I

Oh, my, so many vowels.  I had AUNT / TUNA, DONATE, DONATES, and SEDATION.  After time I wrote down a couple of the sevens that I had seen -- ASTOUND and SOUTANE -- and then found the other pair of eights: SINUATED (variant form of SINUATE: "bent in and out; winding; sinuous") / AUDIENTS (AUDIENT: "a listener").

Mark starts off with DONUTS for six, but Yolanda has found STAINED to go one better.  David is one better again with SEDATION.

That is all the eights listed, and there are a lot of sevens.

Yolanda: STAINED

Scores: Yolanda 0 (7), Mark 0, me 8

Round 2: X E S T A E B N C

I had TAXES, STANCE, EXACTS, and wondered about BETANES.  I came to the correct conclusion that I was thinking of BETAINE, which left me with six.  After time I noted SENATE and ASCENT as some other sixes, but could not better that.

The contestants have each found five-letter words this time, Yolanda with BASTE and Mark with TEENS.  David notes BEATEN as a six, but has found the nice seven of ABSENCE.  Not the easiest to spot, but it was findable.

The other sevens are TENACES (TENACE being a bridge term for a two-card holding such as king and jack that is missing a card between them; I should have found that!) / CETANES (CETANE being an alkene found in petroleum; I was kind of close with BETANES after all).

Yolanda: BASTE

Scores: Yolanda 0 (12), Mark 0 (5), me 14

Round 3: Target 742 from 25 100 1 2 7 8

I started to consider the standard method -- the target is 8 away from 750 and we have the eight -- but when considering the approximation 7*100 I realised that the remainder was also divisible by 7, and switched tacks to get the solution 742 = 7*(100 + 8 - 2).

Still within time I revisited the previous idea, finding a couple of other solutions: 742 = 7*100 + 2*25 - 8 and 742 = (7 - 1)*(100 + 25) - 8.

Both contestants have solved this; Yolanda opts for the first of the solutions that I found, while Mark has a different approach with 742 = 7*100 + 8*2 + 1 + 25.

Yolanda: 742
Mark: 742
Me: 742

Scores: Yolanda 10 (22), Mark 10 (15), me 24

First break: ALGAE GUN ("If you listen closely to David, this is likely to develop")

Hopefully, you will acquire a better appreciation for LANGUAGE by doing so.

David's talk is about the words cliché and stereotype, which are surprisingly linked.

Round 4: R D S O A P I O T

I had RODS, and ROADS, and was hoping for a T for one of my pet words.  It turned up and so I had PAROTIDS (PAROTID: "either of two saliva-producing glands situated one at the base of each ear") / PARODIST for eight.  Note that using only three vowels would have brought in an S to replace the second O, giving the full monty of PARODISTS.

This time Mark has DROOPS for six but Yolanda has found the excellent seven of TRIPODS.  David has found PARODIST for eight.

The other sevens are PAROTID, TOROIDS, DISPORT ("to divert oneself"), and SPAROID ("resembling or related to the Sparidae, a family of deep-bodied marine fishes, as the Australian snapper and bream").

There is another eight, though: PAROTOID turns out to be an adjective meaning "resembling a parotid gland".  It is also a noun, though, referring to a parotid gland, and that means that PAROTOIDS is the unfound nine available in this mix.

Yolanda: TRIPODS

Scores: Yolanda 10 (29), Mark 10 (15), me 32

Round 5: S U F E I C M A S


Mark has FACES for five, and Yolanda has FACIES for six.  She's not sure that it will be listed, but it is: "a general appearance of something natually occurring, as a particular flora, fauna, or ecological community".  Nice spot!  David has found the good seven of FASCISM, but then beaten it with CAESIUMS.

That seems to be the only eight; the other sevens are CESIUMS / MISCUES and FICUSES.

That result puts Yolanda twenty points ahead, and Mark will have to do very well from this point to win.

Yolanda: FACIES

Scores: Yolanda 10 (35), Mark 10 (15), me 40

Round 6: Target 462 from 25 100 3 2 1 7

I was interested in multiples of 75 since the target was near 6*75.  The offset was also divisible by 6, giving a factorisation of 6*77 and thus the solution 462 = (7 - 1)*(100 - 25 + 2).  This turns out to be the same solution that Lily used.

There are some fairly clear alternative factorisations as a result of that; within time I noted down one using 7*66: 462 = 7*(100 - 25 - 3*(2 + 1)).  Somewhat later I found another version of that which I rather like: 462 = 7*2*(100 - 1)/3.

Mark is just within the scoring range at 472, but Yolanda has got closer with her five-away 457 = (1 + 3)*100 + 25*2 + 7.

Yolanda: 457
Mark: 472
Me: 462
Lily: 462

Scores: Yolanda 10 (42), Mark 10 (15), me 50

Second break: MEATY DIN ("Goes off with a bang")

A fairly straight clue for DYNAMITE.

Round 7: T O E I G N A B L

Mark needs to outpoint Yolanda in this round to still have a chance; it's not as bad as needing a full monty, but it's close.  The -ING and fourth vowel go up together, suggesting that sevens or eights should be there but a nine is unlikely.

I had TOEING, BEATING, BLEATING, and LEGATION.  After time I noted OBLIGATE as another eight.

Mark has blanked on this one with just the four of GOAT -- this means that Yolanda is now guaranteed to win -- while Yolanda has found yet another nice word in IGNOBLE.  David mentions that there are many eights here, listing BLEATING, BLOATING, TAILBONE, OBLIGATE, and TANGIBLE.

David also mentions that BLOATING is an anagram of TALBINGO, a small town in New South Wales that was the birthplace of author Miles Franklin.

The remaining unmentioned eight is GELATION ("solidification by cold; freezing").

Yolanda: IGNOBLE
Mark: GOAT

Scores: Yolanda 10 (49), Mark 10 (15), me 58

Round 8: Target 679 from 100 1 8 10 4 3

The standard method is worth a look, with the offset from 700 being 21.  That is also divisible by 7, leading to the factorisation 7*97 and thus the solution 679 = (8 - 1)*(100 - 3).

Yolanda is well outside the scoring range with 640 (she says that she did not finish her answer), while Mark is just two away with 681 = (3 + 4)*100 - 10 - 8 - 1.

Lily has found a way to descend from 800 with the solution 679 = 100*8 - 4*3*10 - 1.

Yolanda: [not in range]
Mark: 681
Me: 679
Lily: 679

Scores: Yolanda 10 (49), Mark 10 (22), me 68


Whoo-eee, I was stuck on this one.  I kept cycling back to the incorrect -ITY fragment, and the only other candidate I could think of (-INY) was also wrong.  Neither contestant was able to solve this within time, and it took me a total of just over three and a half minutes to find TESTIMONY.

Yolanda: [no answer]
Mark: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Yolanda 10 (49), Mark 10 (22), me 68

Yolanda breaks the champion losing streak, and did it with some pretty nice words, too.  She still looks a bit shaky on the numbers, but Mark was not able to make much headway there tonight and would have to admit that he was outplayed today.  Can Yolanda last out the week?  We'll find out tomorrow...


Mike Backhouse said...

A pretty ordinary game for me, particularly in the numbers. I did get an 8 however,which is rare for me.

Yolanda's way
out of range
BLOATING (wrote BOATING, but saw the L before time)
(8-1)*100-(3*10)=670 (9 off)
missed conundrum, even though I saw the -IMONY suffix!

Jan said...

I agree with you, Geoff, about the vowels. Yuck. I had another win, but missed some obvious words.
Well done Mike on your 8.

OUTSIDE (7) annoyed I missed SEDATION
(100-25)*(8+2) - (7+1) = 742 (10)
(3+1)*(100+7+2) + 25 = 461 (7)
(100-3)*(8-1) = 679 (10) I am. Really pleased I am spotting tweaking solutions now fairly easily
About 1 minute for the conundrum.

Sam Gaffney said...

Nice letter rounds, Geoff, I thought you would get CAESIUMS. TRIPODS was a good find from Yolanda, that was an awkward mix.

Some nice tweaking to be seen from everyone, and I see that Jan smashed Geoff on the conundrum. I managed to reach all three targets by multiplying by 7.

Richard's outfit was outrageous here.

742 = 7*(100 + 8 - 2)
462 = 7*(100-25 - 3*(2+1)) Saw the simpler 6*77 after writing this.
679 = (8-1)*(100-3)

Geoff Bailey said...

Congratulations on finding that 8, Mike. I particularly like the way you got there, as being able to find small adjustments for a longer word is a very valuable skill in the game.

Good tweaking from you, Jan -- it really is a matter of practice making it much easier, isn't it? A fine winning game from you, and you comfortably beat me to the conundrum -- well done!

Thanks, Sam, and amusing consistent use of the 7 by you. Fantastic speed on the conundrum -- great stuff!

Not sure what you are on about with Richard's outfit; we hardly can see the floral print underneath the jacket. *chuckles*

(Also, nice work finding OBLIGATE within time. Not the easiest of finds, really.)