Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Ep 62: Veronica Corrigan, Dave Wilson (October 2, 2012; originally aired October 26, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

This is Veronica Corrigan's third night, and we are informed that she is a great baker.  Richard asks what her specialty is, and Veronica responds that her brownies have developed quite a following.  Not only does she get introduced as "the girl that makes brownies", but a couple of friends of hers made a Facebook page about her brownies, and by the end of the day another twenty-five people had joined.  So she was rather literal when she said that they have a following.

Tonight's challenger is Dave Wilson, a fencing contractor with a green thumb.  Dave has built a golf course on his ten-acre property.  That's quite an endeavour!  He says that it is still a work in progress, but it has taken three years so far.  Every Australia Day he has a golf day and earlier that year (2010) 67 people turned up to play.  Impressive!

The contestants started off with the same answer in the first round, and then Veronica impressed David in the second round with a word he had not heard of before.  That gave her a small lead which she extended in the numbers round.  The middle third of the game produced matched results throughout, and then Veronica found another good word in the final letters round to get a twenty point lead.  Dave still had a chance if he could solve the final numbers round, but he was not able to do so; his actual answer was invalid, not that it made a difference to the result.  The conundrum turned out to be too difficult for them both, and Veronica ended up with a comfortable 54 to 27 win.

It was a night of really tough letters mixes, and I was only able to do better than six once.  The numbers behaved themselves, though, and a decently fast conundrum solution pushed my score up into the seventies again for another decent game.

Round 1: S F G U I O D E S

Not the most well-fitting selection; I was hoping for a final C for FUCOIDS (a FUCOID being a type of seaweed) but without it I had FUGS (FUG: "a stuffy or smoky atmosphere"), FIGS, FOGS, FUSSED, GEOIDS (GEOID: "an imaginary surface which corresponds with the mean sea level over the ocean and its extension under the continents"), FUDGES, and SOUSED.

The contestants have each found FUSSED for six.  David has opted for GUSSIED as his choice, but the way he describes it should already serve as a warning sign.  He says, "[...] as in, 'the girls are getting all gussied up for a night out' " which illustrates the point nicely: GUSSY is listed only as a phrase, its various forms always combined with UP.  Consequently, it should not be valid (and would not be in later series once David firmed up the rules a bit).

Six is the best that can be done.  The other sixes are GUIDES / GUISED (GUISE being a Scottish verb for "to go in disguise"), GUISES / GUSSIE (listed as colloquial for "an effeminate man"), DOUSES, ISSUED / DISUSE, and FOGIES.

I will note that staying with just three vowels brings in a T to replace the E, and yields a fairly easy seven of DISGUST (also STUDIOS).

Veronica: FUSSED

Scores: 6 apiece

Round 2: T B I E M S I O T

Another awkward mix, in part due to the duplication.  I had BITE, TIME, TIMES, and TOTEMS.  After time I added MOTETS and BOTTES (BOTTE being a term from fencing: "a thrust or hit") as other sixes, but could not find longer.

Dave has MOIST for five, but Veronica has found MOTTES (MOTTE: "a fort on top of a mound") for six.  David is very impressed by that, saying "wow"; he had not heard of that word before.  He said he would have played TOTEM as an anagram -- he must mean TOTEMS, just a slip of the tongue -- but says that Veronica has outshone him with MOTTES.  He is perhaps a little chagrined to be declaring BOTTIES for seven.

That's another word that no contestant would get away with these days; the Macquarie does list BOTTY as an alternative of BOT (colloquial for "the bottom; buttocks"), specifically used with children.  But it fails to list a plural form, and there's that pesky spelling shift to take into consideration...

(The Macquarie is doubly unhelpful here; it does not list BOTTY as a separate entry at all, and I almost inferred that it was not present.  Only a speculative check managed to reveal it.)

The other sixes here are OTITIS ("inflammation of the ear"), OBTEST ("to invoke as witness"), BIOMES (BIOME: "a major regional ecological community of plants and animals extending over large natural areas, as coral reef, tropical rainforest, etc."), SOMITE (""any of the longitudinal series of segments or parts into which the body of certain animals is divided"), and SOBEIT.  Inconsistent listing of plural forms strikes again, as the Macquarie does list TOBY ("a stick used to raddle sheep not shorn to the owner's satisfaction") but not TOBIES.

But there is a legitimate seven: BIOTITE is a mineral, and following the usual policy of pluralisable minerals this in fact yields BIOTITES for eight.

Note that staying with three vowels would have brought in an R to replace that O, allowing the fairly easy seven of TIMBERS (and the somewhat more difficult eight of METRITIS: "inflammation of the uterus").

Veronica: MOTTES

Scores: Veronica 12, Dave 6, me 12

Round 3: Target 638 from 25 75 8 9 6 6

I started by looking at getting close, and found that I had stumbled upon an answer of 638 = 9*75 - 25 - 6 - 6; I wasn't really working to a plan there, it just happened to fall into place.  Then I tried working up from 600, and with a bit of tweaking found another solution of 638 = 8*(75 + 6) - (25 - 9 - 6).

Dave is three off the pace with 635 (which is a bit bemusing, actually; the only plausible line for that I can think of is 635 = 8*75 + 25 + 9 + 6/6, in which case there were a couple of minor adjustments to get closer), but Veronica is only one away with 637 = 8*75 + 25 + 6 + 6.  That extends her lead to 13, and Dave has some catching up to do.

Lily demonstrates the first of the solutions that I listed above.

Veronica: 637
Dave: 635
Me: 638
Lily: 638

Scores: Veronica 12 (19), Dave 6, me 22

First break: GATE TUBE ("How  the French roll")

A French roll is a BAGUETTE.

David's talk is about palindromes.

Round 4: A O R G T E Z C A

Another surprisingly difficult mix!  I had ARGOT ("the peculiar language or jargon of any class or group") / GROAT ("an English silver coin, issued 1351-1662, worth four pence") and ACTOR.  After time I checked up on COATER, but it is not valid (nor is RECOAT).

The contestants are matched this time, with Veronica having AORTA for five and Dave having GREAT (or maybe GRATE; he was not asked to clarify).  David points out that Veronica could have pluralised AORTA to get AORTAE for six, but has gone one better with CARTAGE ("the act or cost of carting") for seven.

David does seem to have found the only seven; the other sixes here are AGORAE (plural of AGORA: "(in ancient Greece) a popular political assembly") and ORGEAT ("a syrup or drink made from almonds (originally from barley), sugar, and a water prepared from orange flowers").

To continue the running theme of tonight, observe that choosing only three vowels here would have replaced that last A with an S for an easy seven of STORAGE and a trickier eight of ESCARGOT.

Veronica: AORTA

Scores: Veronica 17 (24), Dave 11, me 27

Round 5: E A S B E T F N O

Once again a set of mostly reasonable letters proves difficult to make anything out of.  I had BASE, BEAST, SENATE, and ATONES.  I might well have tried that final vowel also, as I was hoping for an I for BETAINES.  But to flog a dead horse, a sixth consonant would have brought in an H for sevens of BENEATH or BANSHEE.  After time I noted ABSENT as another six, but could not find longer.

It's six from each contestant this time, with Veronica choosing ABSENT and Dave going with BATONS.  David admits that he could not do any better, mentioning FASTEN as another six.

It does seem like six is the limit here; the other sixes are BEATEN, SOFTEN, BEANOS (BEANO being a shortening of BEANFEST: "a festivity; celebration; a lavish feast"), and SATEEN ("a cotton fabric woven in satin weave and resembling satin in gloss") / ENATES (ENATE: "someone who is related on the mother's side").

Veronica: ABSENT

Scores: Veronica 23 (30), Dave 17, me 33

Round 6: Target 673 from 50 25 100 4 6 7

Kudos to Dave for shaking up the status quo with a balanced mix.  The standard method seems clear, and we want to preserve the 4 and 6 for the final offset of 2.  The rest is pretty straightforward, and everyone finds the solution 673 = 7*100 - 25 - (6 - 4).

There is a trivial variant of this solution that replaces 25 by 50 - 25, but aside from that there is only one other solution, and it's a mite complicated: 673 = (50 - 4)*(7 + 6) + 100 - 25.

Veronica: 673
Dave: 673
Me: 673

Scores: Veronica 33 (40), Dave 27, me 43

Second break: MAIN GOLF ("Bird on fire")

The fire clues the FLAMING of FLAMINGO.

Round 7: H M P R A E O D L

I had RAMP, HAMPER, and ARMHOLE.  I had wanted a final T for METAPHOR, but no such luck.  After time I noted PAROLED as another seven, and wondered about POLEARM; it turns out not to be listed.

Dave has HAMPER for six, but Veronica extends her lead even further with her seven of PAROLED.  David points out that LEOPARD is an anagram of it, as is the famous EL PRADO museum (even though it is not valid for the show's purposes).

Seven is the limit here; the others are MORPHED, EARLDOM, and RALPHED (with RALPH being a colloquial term for "to vomit").

Veronica: PAROLED

Scores: Veronica 40 (47), Dave 27, me 50

Round 8: Target 873 from 50 25 75 100 4 5

Dave is in an interesting position here; he is exactly twenty points behind and it is still technically possible for him to win.  To do so, he needs to solve this round exactly without Veronica doing so, then get the conundrum first to force a second conundrum, and then solve that first.  Not easy going at all!  He chances four large numbers, a bold move and I salute it.

The target is large enough that it could cause some problems, although I noted that it was very close to 875 which is a handy number for the four large mix since it is both 5*175 and 7*125.  In short order I had the solution 873 = 5*(100 + 75) - 50/25, and then looked for more mundane approaches.  It is possible to get to 900 fairly clearly, and a quick tweak leads to another solution of 873 = (5 + 4)*(100 - 75/25).

Veronica declares a two-away 875 and that gives Dave a chance.  Unfortunately, he has only been able to get one away with 874, and that guarantees Veronica the win.  Even more unfortunately, Dave's solution starts 9*100... he clarifies that the 9 is 4 + 5 without real issue, but then realises that he has used the 4 and 5 twice.

Veronica's answer is 875 = (4 + 5)*100 - 25.  Lily demonstrates the first of the solutions that I listed above.

Veronica: 875
Dave: [invalid]
Me: 873
Lily: 873

Scores: Veronica 40 (54), Dave 27, me 60


The -ING was tempting, but I'd played through an old game of Countdown a day or two back with a similar mix (RE replaced by WY, as it turns out).  That got me to FOREIGN very quickly, and to the solution a moment later.  (I was pretty happy about finding FOREIGN during that playthrough, too, until FOREWING was revealed to be there for eight.)

Dave buzzes in at the six second mark with REFERRING, but he knew it was wrong as soon as he did so.  Veronica gets an extra 14 seconds of thinking time as a result, but it's not enough and the conundrum remains unsolved.

Veronica: [no answer]
Dave: [invalid] (6s)

Final scores: Veronica 40 (54), Dave 27, me 70

Tough letters rounds made it hard to really get much gain, but Veronica still managed to come out ahead of Dave twice on that front.  She was able to similarly outdo him on the numbers, in a good display of the importance of getting close even if you cannot solve it exactly.  Of course, Dave also generally got close but not quite close enough.

Veronica faces the fourth-game hurdle tomorrow.  Can she overcome it?


Jan said...

I love that you often post in the early hours of the morning! When I have trouble sleeping, it's good to be able to post here too.

I had a pretty good game, with a score in the 60’s.

BOTTIES (7) I was really surprised David went with that
8*75 + 25 + 6 + 6 = 637 (7)
7*100 - 25 - (6-4) = 673 (10)
5*(100+75) - 50/25 = 873
25 seconds

Sam Gaffney said...

More frustrating letter mixes tonight.

GUIDES (tempted by GUSSIED, perhaps I faintly remembered it)
638 = 9*75 - 25 - 6 - 6
673 = 7*100 - 25 - (6 - 4)
873 = (100+75)*5-50/25 or (100-75/25)*(5+4)

Mike Backhouse said...

Despite starting out well with GUSSIED, it was all down hill from there!

8*75+25+9+6=640 (2 off)
6*100+50+25-7+4=672 (1 off despite Lily commenting that the solution was straightforward which it was if I had started with 7*100...)
simple multiplication error
missed conundrum -spent all my time looking for an '-ING' suffix. Well done Jan and Geoff for getting what was for me a difficult to see word!

Mike Backhouse said...


Just realised I had an extra R in RAZOR.

Geoff Bailey said...

*chuckles* It's not trouble sleeping, it's that I generally don't get the post started until midnight. Well done on finding the 873, Jan; forming 875 in that way is not part of most people's toolbox.

Interesting to see that others found BOTTIES; good thing this is series one and you get away with it. *chuckles*

(That said, I think that there really needs to be an exception for plural forms of words ending in Y -- the Macquarie fails to list enough of them that requiring it is not feasible. If the show ever comes back -- pretty unlikely at this point, I fear -- then I might suggest that to David.)

Thanks, Mike. As I said, I had an advantage this time (although I like to think I would have found it anyway). My condolences on your dissatisfaction, but the letters rounds were pretty hard going today.

JT said...

This episode seemed familar, i'm not sure how though...

BOTTIES-suprised this is allowed
673-7*100-25-(6 - 4)