Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Ep 61: Veronica Corrigan, Paolo Navidad (October 1, 2012; originally aired October 25, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Veronica Corrigan is back after the weekend, getting her turn in the champion's chair.  Veronica has a long-term goal to work as a doctor in France.  She explains that she took a year off after school finished and spent two of those months in Paris and just loved it.  It's a great place, so she would love to be able to go back and work there.

Tonight's challenger is Paolo Navidad, a project manager with a master's degree in biotechnology.  Paolo's biggest personal achievement has been getting a research paper published in a science journal.  The paper was about the method they had developed to detect developing viruses in animal cells.  In particular it was about a pig virus, so the research had implications with regard to detection and diagnosis of pig diseases.

It started off as a close match, with the first three rounds shared.  Paolo gained the lead in the fourth round only for Veronica to get most of it back in the next.  Paolo was not able to get close enough to the target in the second numbers round and Veronica claimed the lead, then ensured her win with a solution in the final numbers round.  Veronica capped it off by solving the conundrum first to make the game look much less close than it was with a 60 to 34 scoreline in her favour.

I had a reasonable game, but talked myself out of the best option in one round, thereby failing to match David.  I got to the conundrum relatively quickly, and everything else went about as well as it could have (I missed out on another tough maximum, admittedly) for a solid win.

Round 1: H R N E I L O B N

I had HIRE, LINER, HEROIN, BOILER, and BONNIER.  I wasn't entirely certain about it, but enough so to give it a go and it does turn out to be listed.

The contestants each start with five-letter words, Paolo with LONER and Veronica with BORNE.  David has found BONNIER for seven, and it seems to be the only one.

The other sixes are HOLIER, NOBLER, ONLINE, INBORN, BONIER, BONNIE (listed as a variant spelling of BONNY), and BERLIN ("a large four-wheeled closed carriage hung between two perches, having two interior seats").  The essential oil NEROLI is only listed in the phrase NEROLI OIL, so would not be valid.

Veronica: BORNE
Paolo: LONER

Scores: Veronica 0 (5), Paolo 0 (5), me 7

Round 2: E I R T V T N E U

I had RITE, RIVET, TRIVET ("a small metal plate with short legs put under a hot platter or dish at the table"), INVERT, and NUTTIER.  This mix was just a vowel substitution away from NUTRITIVE but close only counts at horseshoes, as the saying goes.  After time I saw several other sevens: UTERINE / RETINUE / REUNITE.

The contestants are matched again, but with six-letter words this time; Veronica has ENTIRE and Paolo has VENTER.  Paolo was not sure about the validity of VENTER but it turns out to be fine and the scores remain level.  David has gone with VENTURE as his seven.

The other seven is VENTURI ("a device for draining the hull of a boat, which operates on the same principal as a Venturi meter").

Veronica: ENTIRE

Scores: Veronia 0 (11), Paolo 0 (11), me 14

Round 3: Target 641 from 75 100 10 4 2 5

The standard method suggests reserving the 4 and 5 to subtract from 650, and viewed in that light the challenge is simply to make 650 without them.  I flailed around a bit but eventually settled upon the answer of 641 = 10*75 - 100 - 5 - 4.

Both contestants have solved this using the above solution, and it looks like they finished at about the same time, just over halfway through.  That may well have been faster than I managed.

It turns out that there is just one other way to do it, the rather difficult 641 = 10*(100 + 2) - 5*75 - 4.

Veronica: 641
Paolo: 641
Me: 641

Scores: Veronica 10 (21), Paolo 10 (21), me 24

First break: NICE BEAM ("There's a buzz around this one")

That buzz is supposed to translate to the AMBIENCE.

David's talk is about the puzzles Sudoku, KenKen, and Kakuro.

Round 4: D K R A E I S R I

I had DARK, RAKED, RAIDERS, and SKIRRED (SKIRR: "to go rapidly; fly; scurry").

The contestants finally separate, as Veronica has DARKER for six but is outdone by Paolo's choice of RAIDERS for seven.  David mentions DAIRIES, DIARIES, and RISKIER as other sevens.

The remaining sevens are DIARISE and DARKIES.  The show would probably prefer that the latter was not used due to its likely derogatory interpretation, but it does have an acceptable meaning as another name for the fish luderick.

Veronica: DARKER

Scores: Veronica 10 (21), Paolo 17 (28), me 31

Round 5: D E A U P G S H O

Ah, this round hurts a bit.  I had PAGED, GASPED, and DOSAGE.  I kept coming back to SOUGHED as an option but could not convince myself that I had actually heard of it, and did not even write it down.  Of course, later checking revealed that SOUGH is listed ("to make a rushing, rustling, or murmuring sound") and SOUGHED is indeed the only seven.  A little more risk would have brought handsome reward here.

Paolo has SHADE for five, but Veronica gets most of the lost ground back with HOUSED for six.  David is on target, finding SOUGHED for seven.

Veronica: HOUSED
Paolo: SHADE

Scores: Veronica 16 (27), Paolo 17 (28), me 37

Round 6: Target 576 from 100 25 50 9 4 8

I recognised the target as the square of 24, and so 9, 4, and 8 are all very useful numbers.  A quick check on factors and I had the solution 576 = 9*8*4*100/50 (with a few obvious variations).

Paolo is a bit disappointed with his result of 550, which is outside of the scoring range.  Veronica compounds that unhappiness by demonstrating that it was pretty easy to get just one away with her answer of 575 = 9*50 + 100 + 25.

Lily has found a way to get the standard method to work: 576 = (100 + 50)*4 - 25 + 9 - 8.

Veronica: 575
Paolo: [not in range]
Me: 576
Lily: 576

Scores: Veronica 16 (34), Paolo 17 (28), me 47

Second break: FOIL CELL ("Hair source")

Hair grows from a FOLLICLE.

Round 7: R N A I P T E A C

I had RAIN, PAINT, PAINTER, and CAPTAIN.  I had been hoping for a final S for SEPTARIAN, but no such luck.

The contestants match once again with six-letter words, Paolo having PIRATE and Veronica having CANTER.  David has found CERTAIN as his seven.

There are a few other sevens here (such as PICRATE), but there are two eights: CRANIATE ("having a cranium or skull") / CARINATE ("formed with a carina; keel-like"); I mentioned the possibility of CARINATE once before in episode 446, but it's not part of my vocabulary.

Veronica: CANTER

Scores: Veronica 16 (40), Paolo 17 (34), me 54

Round 8: Target 643 from 25 75 2 9 6 7

Paolo is still six points behind and cannot afford to drop further back here.  A single large number may have served him better, but taking two is generally a reasonable option.  The target is clearly 7 away from 650 and it is hard to look past that line of thought.  I went with 643 = 9*75 - 25 - 7 as my solution.

Paolo has a rather surprising 635, which I think must have been 635 = 9*75 - 6*7 + 2.  That puts him out of contention as Veronica has solved this with the solution that I listed above; this was also Lily's approach.

Somewhat later I noticed the alternative solution 643 = (9 + 6 - 2)*(75 - 25) - 7, although I inaccurately wrote down 50 instead of 75 - 25.  Just as well that did not happen within time!

Veronica: 643
Paolo: 635
Me: 643
Lily: 643

Scores: Veronica 26 (50), Paolo 17 (34), me 64


With so many common letters it can be hard to know where to start.  I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the right answer fairly early; Veronica got there a little later to seal the win in fine style.

Veronica: DETERMINE (11s)
Paolo: [no answer]

Final scores: Veronica 26 (60), Paolo 17 (34), me 74

It was close throughout, but Veronica dealt with the numbers more deftly and that was Paolo's undoing.  It looks like she would still have won due to the conundrum, but the game could still have been alive at that point.  I want to note that Paolo displayed particular good spirit about the result, and that's always nice to see.


Jan said...

It was nice to have a reasonable number of vowels again!

I was pleased with my game, except for the first numbers round. Went with the wrong option, and then couldn't get a one to get to the target.

5*100 + 2*75 - 10 = 640 (0)
8*(50+9) = 472 + 4 = 476 (10) - I think that is right. Can you please check it Geoff?
9*75 - 25 - 7 = 643 (10)
about 20 secs

JT said...

It may well of been I started watching the show at this point as Veronica's travel adventure seemed familiar, I couldn't get off sixes for the most part but the numbers and condundrum saved my bacon...


Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

(9-4)*100+50+25+575 (same result as Veronica but different method)
Veronica's way
DETERMINE (20s) my first conundrum within time!

Jan said...

Well done Mike!

Jan said...

Sam - if you watch the episodes through your computer, you won't see the ad for Bk 8, in which you make a brief appearance, and it might be a maths solution of yours that stars!

Geoff Bailey said...

Jan: Hear, hear! And your second numbers round is almost right, but I assume you intended to add 100 to end up with 576. Otherwise, it's a very nice solution!

Nice work on the numbers and conundrum, JT. With nothing longer than seven on offer (except for the last letters round where the eights were not that findable) sixes can be reasonable. So it proved here.

Congatulations on your first conundrum solution, Mike -- may there be many more to come!

Jan said...

Yes Geoff, I did add the 100 in my book, just it got missed here! Oops

Sam Gaffney said...

I found words nicely in the letter rounds, but other than that, I was disappointed, I feel a bit out of practice with the numbers.

640 = (100+75-10-5)*4 Got lost down the wrong rabbit holes here
RAIDERS (tempted by DIARISER - there appears to be only one word possible from DIARISE + blank)
576 = (100+50)*4 - 25 + 9 - 8
x (CAPTAINER - couldn't resist. Had heard of CARINATE, but was stuck working on PAINTER+C)
643 = 9*75 - 25 - 7
~90s, too many possibilities for me. My wife beat Veronica to this.

Sam Gaffney said...

Hi Jan, I watch the episodes on SBS HD, and have been on TV every day for a while now. I am not sure how this has affected book sales.

Geoff Bailey said...

Sam: Re. DIARISE + blank, you seem to be ignoring DIARISES and DIARISED. *chuckles* (It's a flaw in the mostly American word lists, they generally don't handle the -ISE endings.)

I spotted PRESIDIA but recalled from one of the blog posts that this plural form is not listed. After a bit of headscratching I cheated, and probably just as well; even if I'd known to try DIARIES + M I doubt I'd have solved it. Add a further N, on the other hand...

Sam Gaffney said...

Got the M+N one straight away, I've probably seen that one before.

I'm not sure why DIARISE+S/D didn't turn up, and am rather embarrassed not to have thought of them!