Thursday, 4 October 2012

Ep 63: Veronica Corrigan, Jonathan Campbell (October 3, 2012; originally aired October 27, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

This is the crucial fourth night for Veronica Corrigan: Even a loss will get her into the finals rankings if she can score 12 points, but she'll need over 60 points or a win (the more likely option) in order to move up to seventh position.  Richard asks where her word-finding background comes from, and Veronica says that her family plays lots of word games at home; her strengths are Take Two and particularly Boggle, where she has a ten year unbeaten streak in her family.

Taking up the challenge tonight is Jonathan Campbell, a schoolteacher who enjoys writing and recording music.  Jonathan played in a band called Foregone Conclusion (I have to wonder if the name was chosen as a reference to The Office's David Brent, who used to be in a band of that name) that covered 80's love songs.  Richard asks if Jonathan sang in it, but Jonathan responds that he has a shocking singing voice and he played guitar.

Jonathan found a rather nice word in the first round to get an early lead, but Veronica overtook him in the second round with the top spot.  An error from her in the numbers round saw him get in front again; a little later two good results from Veronica saw her get more than a conundrum's worth ahead.  That could have been game to her, but she chose an unfortunately invalid word in the final letters round and that was enough to allow Jonathan back within striking distance going into the conundrum.  Veronica buzzed in early with an invalid answer and had a nervous wait to see if Jonathan would find the solution in the remaining time.  He did not, so Veronica survived with a slightly fortunate win, 35 to 29.

I had a decent game on the whole.  I dropped two maxima on the letters in the middle of the game, but I would not have found the longer options in any case.  An impossible numbers target livened things up toward the end, and I was comfortably ahead at the conundrum.  Just as well, as I also buzzed in with the same invalid answer that Veronica tried later; I could not recover in time, taking probably another five seconds to find the right answer.

Round 1: I S O T W F E M O

I had STOW, FOIST, MOIST, wondered about FOOTIES, and MOTIFS.  I'd have had an easy decision to try FOOTIES if I had not found MOTIFS, but eventually decided to try it anyway.  The concern was not whether the base form would be there -- the Macquarie is strong on Australian colloquialisms, of course -- but whether the plural form would be explicitly listed.  As it turns out it is not but fortunately the form FOOTIE is also allowed, removing the requirement for an explicit plural listing.

Veronica has SWIFT for five, but Jonathan takes the early lead with his find of MOTIFS.  David has found FOOTIES, as I rather suspected he would.

There are two other sevens here: TWOSOME and FOMITES (plural of FOMES: "a substance, as bedding or clothing (but not food), capable of transmitting infection").

The other sixes are FOOTIE, SOFTIE, SOMITE (I mentioned this in yesterday's game: "any of the longitudinal series of segments or parts into which the body of certain animals is divided"), TOWIES (TOWIE being colloquial for a tow truck or its driver), and OTIOSE ("at leisure; idle; indolent").

Veronica: SWIFT
Jonathan: MOTIFS

Scores: Veronica 0, Jonathan 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: T R S H L E I A E

I had REST, HALTERS, LEATHERS, and EARLIEST.  I wondered about EARTHLIES since I have seen EARTHLY used as a shorthand for the term "earthly notion" (e.g., "I haven't an earthly"), but it seemed too remote a chance to risk.  Maybe one day it will make it, but it's not there yet.

Jonathan has HEELS (or HEALS; there's no clarification given) for five, but Veronica takes the lead with LEATHERS for eight.  David comments that he has gone a little piratic with HEARTIES for his eight.

The other eights are ATELIERS (ATELIER: "the workshop or studio of an artist") and HALTERES ("one of a pair of modified hind wings of a fly (order Diptera) reduced to slender, club-shaped appendages, used for balancing in flight").  REALTY does not have a plural form listed, so REALTIES would not be valid -- ATELIERS / EARLIEST should be used instead.

[Update: Commenter Mike Backhouse pointed out the lovely SHIRALEE ("a burden, or bundle") as another eight.]

Veronica: LEATHERS
Jonathan: HEELS

Scores: Veronica 8, Jonathan 0 (6), me 15

Round 3: Target 542 from 100 50 3 1 7 6

My first thought was that 6*100 would get close, then I noticed that 6*7 = 42 got the last two digits correct.  A small tweak later and I had a solution of 542 = 6*(100 + 7) - (3 - 1)*50.  Then I saw that there was a more mundane and simpler approach of 542 = 6*100 - 50 - 7 - 1.  Oh, well.

Jonathan declares one away with 543, but Veronica says that she has solved this.  But as she starts to read it out she gets as far as "fif" before she realises that she has made some kind of mistake.  That brings Jonathan's result back into consideration, and he gets the points and the lead again with his answer of 543 = (6 - 1)*100 + 50 - 7.  If he'd just thought to make the 550 as 600 - 50 instead of 500 + 50 he would have had the 1 that he needed at the end and three more points.

Lily demonstrates the second of the solutions that I listed.

Veronica: [invalid]
Jonathan: 543
Me: 542
Lily: 542

Scores: Veronica 8, Jonathan 0 (13), me 25

First break: RADIO SET ("Celestial body")

Any player of the game should be pretty familiar with those letters by now, as ASTEROID is a high-probability eight.

David's talk is about WWOOFing.

Round 4: T J G B M U I O I

Gah, a mess of ill-matched consonants and unhelpful vowels.  I had BIGOT and then fairly late in the piece JUMBO, leaving me without time left to get GUMBO down.  I noted it after time, and then also BIJOU ("something small and choice"); I lost a bet with myself here, as I was sure that would be David's choice if he had a five.

The contestants have each found five-letter words, which is decent going in this round; Veronica has BIGOT and Jonathan has JUMBO.  David could not do better, also opting for JUMBO.

That's all the fives listed, in fact, but there is a six: GOMUTI is a type of palm tree.  A tough find!

Veronica: BIGOT
Jonathan: JUMBO
David: JUMBO

Scores: Veronica 13, Jonathan 5 (18), me 30

Round 5: R C S T O A E D A

Some good letters at last, although that final A was not too helpful.  I'd have probably tried it myself, though, as I had seen the potential for DECORATES.  On the other hand, there had been a few E's already and not that many A's, so the actual result is not a surprise.  I was perhaps fortunate nonetheless, as the next consonant would have been an N and I might have erroneously tried NOTECARDS (valid in Scrabble but not listed in the Macquarie) or DRACONETS (my own invention, it appears -- applying the DRACO- spelling shift to DRAGONETS).

Anyway, I had COST, COAST, ACTORS, and COASTER.  I was not able to improve on that; after time I wrote down some of the other sevens that I had seen: COASTED, ROASTED / TORSADE ("a twisted cord"), and ARCADES.

Jonathan has TRACED for six, but Veronica has found COASTED for seven and the lead changes hands one more.  David has found REDCOATS for eight (REDCOAT being an old term for a British soldier).

There is one other eight: CADASTRE ("an official register of property, with details of boundaries, ownership, etc.").

The other sevens are REDCOAT / CORDATE ("heart-shaped, as a shell"), REDACTS, ROSACEA ("a skin condition of the face characterised by redness caused by enlargement of the blood vessels under the skin, combined with acne-like eruptions"), and OSTRACA (plural of OSTRACON: "a pottery shard used in antiquity as a means of casting a vote").

Veronica: COASTED
Jonathan: TRACED

Scores: Veronica 20, Jonathan 5 (18), me 37

Round 6: Target 748 from 100 50 8 6 9 5

The standard method suggests holding back the 8 and 6 to make the offset of 2, and a solution quickly followed: 748 = 5*(100 + 50) - (8 - 6).  Then I noticed that 6*8 was 48 and found another solution of 748 = (9 + 5)*50 + 6*8.

Jonathan is two away with 750, but Veronica has solved this exactly with the first of the solutions I listed above.  Lily had a different approach of 748 = 8*100 - 50 - (6 - (9 - 5)).

So Veronica manages to stretch her lead to more than the conundrum's worth; all she needs to do is hold on from this point and the win is hers.

Veronica: 748
Jonathan: 750
Me: 748
Lily: 748

Scores: Veronica 30, Jonathan 5 (18), me 47

Second break: RAIN TOOT ("Take this one for a spin")

An easy referenece to ROTATION.

Round 7: I E U N G D S A P

The -ING arrived pretty early, but I was tantalised by other possibilities from those letters.  They looked like they should form something useful, but with time running out I had to buckle down on the -ING as my best chance for a seven (or longer) and ignore those other avenues.  I had GUIDE, GUIDES, and PAUSING.  After time I wondered about UNPAGED and UNSPIED, but neither turns out to be listed.

The contestants each declare six-letter words, Jonathan with GUIDES and Veronica with PANGED.  Unfortunately for Veronica, PANG is only listed as a noun and her choice is invalid; this means that Jonathan is back within striking distance again.  David points out that PAINED is a related word to PANGED that would have been valid, and has selected GUINEAS as his seven.

The other sevens are SPADING, AUGENDS (AUGEND: "a number to which another number, the addend, is added"), and GAUDIES (GAUDY: "British a festival or merrymaking, especially an annual college feast").

Veronica: [invalid]
Jonathan: GUIDES

Scores: Veronica 30, Jonathan 5 (24), me 54

Round 8: Target 866 from 75 25 50 100 3 5

Jonathan now has an unexpected chance as long as he does not lose points here; he tries the heavyweight mix and gets a challenging target.  I feel obliged to try to get there from 875, of course, and a bit of tweaking gets me to one away with 865 = 5*(100 + 75 - 50/25), but no closer.

Both contestants have ended up nine away with 875 = (3 + 5)*100 + 75.  If they were more familiar with the proper manipulations of large numbers they could have subtracted 50/25 at the end to get closer.

Lily was not able to get any closer than 865 herself, and it turns out that that is the best possible -- the target is not achievable.

Veronica: 875
Jonathan: 875
Me: 865
Lily: 865

Scores: Veronica 30 (35), Jonathan 5 (29), me 61


I thought I saw the answer and buzzed in after a couple of seconds, but realised that my choice of DEPICTION was wrong as soon as I did.  I was not able to recover within time -- it took me probably another five seconds or so before I saw the actual answer -- and that is my first invalid conundrum for the series.  Bother.

Veronica buzzed in at the eight-second mark with the same wrong answer that I had, then has to endure the nervous wait to see if Jonathan will solve it or not.  The interruption gives Jonathan an extra eleven seconds, but he is not able to find DECEPTION and Veronica gets the win.

(Veronica says that she saw the actual answer just afterwards, but it was too late by then.)

Veronica: [invalid] (8s)
Jonathan: [no answer]
Me: [invalid] (2s)

Final scores: Veronica 30 (35), Jonathan 5 (29), me 61

An exciting game with the lead changing many times, and it was never clear who was going to win.  Veronica's invalid guess might have handed victory to Jonathan, but he was not able to find the adjustment.  A bit each way in the letters tonight, but Jonathan's MOTIFS was the word of the day for me.

Veronica had three invalid answers tonight, a statistic I am sure she will be keen to avoid repeating.  Still, she makes it to seventh position in the rankings, and needs to get to a sixth game to have a chance of moving further up.  We'll have to see how she goes tomorrow.


Jan said...

Hi Geoff. I had a pretty good game tonight, another one in the 60's, and close to getting 70. If I hadn't done badly on one letters game, I would have cracked the 70.

FOOTIES (7) so glad that was ok
6*100 - 50 - 7 - 1 = 542 (10)
BOUT (0)
8*100 - 50 = 750. 9-6=3 5-3=2. 750-2=748 (10)
5*(100+75) = 875. 50/25 = 2. 2*3=6. 875-6=869 (7)
15 seconds

Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

SHIRALEE (over the moon about getting this eight-loved the original movie!)
Jonathon's way (one off)
8*100-50-6+5=749 (1 off)
(5+3)*100+75-50/25=873 (7 off)
wrote down wrong word DEPICTION just before Veronica, who also erred similarly.I'm in good company with you as well Geoff!

Sam Gaffney said...

That conundrum was a real trap with the "EPIC" fragment, it reminded me of the ALIENATED/DELINEATE pitfall in Ep 399. I probably solved it about the same time as Geoff, but had buzzed in at around 1.2 seconds with the popular DEPICTION.

FOOTIES (WOOFIEST, as in most smelly?)
542 = 6*100 -50-7-1. Another way to use the 42 is (50+7)*6 + 100*(3-1)
COASTER (I really struggle to spot REDCOATS)
748 = (100-6)*8 - 9 + 5, another way is (9+5)*50 + 6*8
SINGED (these looked like more fertile letters than they were)
865 = 5*(100+75 - 50/25). Very similar to the previous Round 8. A few ways to get 865 here.
Wrong conundrum answer

Geoff Bailey said...

Some good results all round here -- always nice to see. Jan: Great game from you, and you're really making good use of 5*175 in recent times. *smiles* Congratulations on being the only one of us (so far) to solve the conundrum correctly!

Mike: Oh, SHIRALEE is a great find -- I've updated the post to include it. I had heard of the movie but never read it.

Sam: I have the same problem with REDCOATS; it's not the first time I've missed it, but it does not "stick". Agreed about round 7, too; there's a lot of provocative fragments (I wanted PENGUINS) but nothing better than seven as far as I can tell, and even with the -ING they aren't the easiest sevens.

I hadn't really thought about the EPIC being the reason that DEPICTION became so much more common a guess than DECEPTION, but I think you're right about that. Tricky!

JT said...

Looks like i wasn't the only one to fall for the DECEPTION/DEPICTION conundrum

HAILERS? (I haven't seen any acknowlegment on the net so I suspect this is invalid)
Amazingly I buzzed exactly the same time as Veronica and only realised it was invalid when Richard said it was wrong, immadeltly recognised the trivial answer after this :/

Geoff Bailey said...

HAILERS is fine JT, and a good spot. I recall this being on the show at least once, and some searching turns up a contestant declaring HAILER in episode 311.

Well played today, with good results in both facets of the game. One more victim to DEPICTION... *chuckles*