Thursday, 11 October 2012

Ep 68: Kathryn Jones, James Parton (October 10, 2012; originally aired November 3, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Kathryn Jones gets her turn in the champion's seat tonight, and Richard asks about her recent projects.  Kathryn says that one of the major projects that she has been working on recently is for a wind farm in south-western Victoria.  They drill down into the rock to a depth of around fifteen or twenty metres, basically making sure that the ground conditions are such that the structures will not fall over in the wind.

Taking up the challenge tonight is James Parton, a retail manager and a very keen golfer.  He is nicknamed 'Dolly' (due to the surname, of course), and so is his brother.  It is a family tradition, and he expects that his son will get the same treatment also in due course.

The game started off with two shared rounds, and then James gained the lead through superior numberwork.  A later invalid word from Kathryn (and a good find from James) allowed him to extend his lead.  He managed to get further ahead in the second numbers round, and given the relative performances on the numbers up to that point it seemed that only an unlikely full monty in the last letters round could give Kathryn a chance.  And then... it happened, with Kathryn doing extremely well to find the nine at the time she most needed it.  The last numbers round was shared -- James missed an easy chance to guarantee his win here, but equally Kathryn missed the chance to move ahead -- and he was ahead but not safe at the conundrum.  Unfortunately for Kathryn, it was too hard for them both and James had hung on to win, 44 to 41.

I started out by missing a longer word that I should have found, and then two vowel-heavy mixes offered little scope for advancement.  I followed up an invalid word in round five by just missing a better option in round seven (although the full monty was not on my radar).  The numbers behaved themselves today, but when I once again failed to solve the conundrum within time I had my worst score since episode 17 (when Andrew Fisher was playing).  I'd done enough to limp home past the contestants, but I was definitely playing below my best today.

Round 1: D H S C I A E L R

I had DISC, CHASED, and SCALIER.  I drowned in possibilities here, failing to resolve them to an eight.  I had noted that RADICALS was almost there (memories from episode 15) but it was only after time that I bothered to consider that a little more and recalled RADICLES (RADICLE: "a rudimentary root; a radicel or rootlet").  Checking up on that definition leads also to RADICELS (RADICEL: "(in botany) a minute root; a rootlet").

It's sevens from both contestants, with James finding CRASHED while Kathryn has the rather nicer HERALDS.  But once she says that I realise that she has missed an option, which David points out: HERALDIC for eight.  So close!

The other eights are DECRIALS, CHARLIES (CHARLIE being colloquial for "a fool; a silly person"), and RACHIDES (I last mentioned this in episode 426; it is one plural form of RACHIS).

Kathryn: HERALDS

Scores: 7 apiece

Round 2: O U A E G B F T A

Let's just take my complaints about too many vowels as a given.  I had AGUE, OUTAGE, and BATEAU ("a light boat, especially one having a flat bottom and tapering ends").

The contestants have both found BEGAT for five, and David opts for GATEAU as his six.

There's nothing longer to be had; the other sixes are BAGUET (variant spelling of BAGUETTE) and FUGATO ("in fugue style, but not according to strict rules").

Kathryn: BEGAT
James: BEGAT

Scores: Kathryn 7 (12), James 7 (12), me 13

Round 3: Target 363 from 50 25 75 100 9 10

I had some difficulty here, and although one can work sensibly toward the solution I really kind of stumbled across it by simply trying to get close.  I started off focused on the factorisation which is 3*121 = 3*11*11, but none of the components were particularly provocative.  The 121 can come from the four large numbers (75 + 50 - 100/25) but then there's no way to get the three.  I spent too much time on that, which is why I ended up settling and got lucky.

The way to work towards the solution, though, is to think of the target as 13 away from 350.  That's not the most formable number, but 75/25 gets the 3 and we have a 10 (similarly, 100/25 gets a 4 and we have a 9), so the question is whether the other numbers can get us to 350.  It turns out that they can, and such a line of thought could lead one to the solution 363 = 9*50 - 100 + 10 + 75/25.  This was what I ended up with, but my approach had simply been to note that 9*50 was close, subtracting 100 was closer still, and then it just worked.

Kathryn is only just within the scoring range with 353, but James has managed to get only three away with 366 = 10*25 + 50 + 75 - 9.

Lily has another solution, demonstrating that thinking of the target as 360 + 3 might be easier: 363 = (50 - 10)*9 + 75/25.  Well done, Lily!

Kathryn: 353
James: 366
Me: 363
Lily: 363

Scores: Kathryn 7 (12), James 7 (19), me 23

First break: ROOT SITE ("Beat the hare")

A reference to the famous race between the hare and the TORTOISE.

David's talk is about a riddle he posed at the beginning of the show: "Where do you find a seahorse nestled around an almond inside tree bark?"  This leads in to talking about the brain, as the objects mentioned are each meanings of parts of the brain: the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the cortex.  He also mentions the thalamus ("bedroom" or "inner chamber") and dura mater ("hard mother").

Round 4: A E I E K T D T I

I had TAKE, KITTED, and DIKTAT ("a harsh settlement imposed on a defeated group").

It's fours from the contestants, with Kathryn having KITE and James having TAKE.  David has gone for DIKTAT as his six.

The other six is IDEATE ("to form ideas; think").  The only five-letter word is KITED, so Kathryn once again finds an extendable word but not the extension.

Kathryn: KITE
James: TAKE

Scores: Kathryn 7 (16), James 7 (23), me 29

Round 5: L S O E O W G P R

I had LOSE, LOOSE, GLOWS, rejected POGOES (the Macquarie does not have POGO, as I discovered recently), PROWLS, and then the dubious trio of LOOPERS / RESPOOL / SPOOLER.  I knew that GLOOP was not listed from past investigations, so GLOOPERS was never in contention.  I did not particularly like any of those sevens, but went for RESPOOL since I had heard that used before in both photographic and fishing contexts.  Unfortunately that turned out to be the wrong option; LOOPERS was the only valid one from that triple.

James has found the excellent GLOWERS for seven, although the way he says it makes it seem as if he is incorrectly thinking of "things that glow" (he does correct the pronunciation, though, so that's not entirely fair of me).  Kathryn essays SWOOPER but gets the thumbs down; David has opted for LOOPERS as his seven.

In any case, it's a good spot from James and that gets him more than a conundrum's worth ahead.  Since he seems to be doing better on the numbers than Kathryn, she is in a bit of trouble at this point.

The other sure seven is PROLEGS (PROLEG: "one of the abdominal ambulatory processes of caterpillars and other larvae, as distinct from the true or thoracic legs").  The riskier play is PLOWERS; as I mentioned in episode 334, PLOW is listed as a variant form of PLOUGH, and PLOUGHER is also given, but PLOWER is not explicitly listed.  A strict reading of the rules would disallow it, but -- as I opined in one of my posts about validity -- I hope that David would allow it.

Kathryn: [invalid]
Me: [invalid]

Scores: Kathryn 7 (16), James 14 (30), me 29

Round 6: Target 910 from 100 50 1 3 8 6

I was guided a bit by one possible solution to yesterday's last numbers round, quickly noting that 900 = 6*150 was close.  The remaining numbers lined up neatly to give an answer: 910 = 6*(100 + 50) + 8 + 3 - 1.  I spent the rest of the time trying to get any of the various factorisations to work (91 is 7*13, so the total is 7*13*10) but was not able to.  Later checking shows that it is not possible to do so.

Kathryn has not been able to get close, which feels a bit poor with formable 9's at hand to get to 900 at least.  James has ended up one away with 909 = (6 + 3)*100 + 8 + 1.

Lily has found the solution that I list above.

So James continues to outplay Kathryn in the numbers, and his policy of five vowels in the letters rounds has paid off by reducing his exposure there.  He is now a daunting 21 points ahead; if we assume that Kathryn will not outdo him in the remaining numbers game then she needs a full monty in the next round to have a chance of victory.  Not good odds!

Kathryn: [not in range]
James: 909
Me: 910
Lily: 910

Scores: Kathryn 7 (16), James 14 (37), me 39

Second break: BLUNT LIE ("On notice")

I got distracted by the almost-EBULLIENT, but after a little while managed to find BULLETIN as the intended answer.

Round 7: N S H A E I P S M

I had SANE, PAINS, and IMPASSE.  It felt like there should have been longer, but I could not find it (there are many sevens).  Then just after time ran out I found EMPHASIS as an eight -- bother!

James has SHAME for five -- missing the obvious extension to SHAMES -- but Kathryn has the makings of an unlikely comeback as she declares that she has a nine-letter word.  I stopped to give myself a further chance to find it but could not; her find of MISSHAPEN was very good, and desperately needed.  Well done, Kathryn!

David points out that it has been a couple of weeks since there was a full monty (the last being RETAILING in episode 57, although two harder ones have been missed since then), so he is very happy about this.  Then, perhaps anticlimactically, he mentions EMPHASIS as an eight.

The other eights are MISSHAPE and SHAMISEN (variant spelling of SAMISEN: "a Japanese guitar-like musical instrument, having an extremely long neck and three strings").

The sevens are the already-mentioned SAMISEN, HESSIAN, PANSIES, SHIPMAN, SHIPMEN, MISHAPS, MASHIES (MASHIE being one type of golf club that Wikipedia says is obsolete), HIPNESS, and APHESIS ("(in historical linguistic process) the gradual disappearance of an unstresses initial vowel or syllable, as in mend from amend").  There is also possibly HAEMINS (HAEMIN: "a chloride salt of haematin [...]").

That full monty brings Kathryn right back into contention, although James can still guarantee victory if he solves the next numbers round and she does not.

James: SHAME

Scores: Kathryn 25 (34), James 14 (37), me 39

Round 8: Target 134 from 50 75 4 3 7 1

With such a low target the standard method seems surely the right idea.  The target is 9 away from 125, and since that can be formed from the large numbers alone getting the 9 from the smalls is the only wrinkle.  I saw two options right away, opting first for 134 = 75 + 50 + 3*(4 - 1) and then for 134 = 75 + 50 + 7 + 3 - 1.  This second one was the solution that Lily used.

Both contestants surprise me by ending up one away from the target.  James was close but surprisingly deficient in technique with his answer of 133 = 50 + 75 + 7 + 1, while Kathryn limited her options by taking a circuitous route to the 125 and ended up with 135 = (75 - 50)*(4 + 1) + 7 + 3.

A bad miss from both contestants; James could have guaranteed his win, and Kathryn could have gained the lead going into the conundrum.

Kathryn: 135
James: 133
Me: 134
Lily: 134

Scores: Kathryn 25 (41), James 14 (44), me 49


Down to the conundrum, and again I had problems.  I spotted SECLUDED for eight, but that was not good enough, of course.  I was not able to manipulate the rest into anything sensible within time, and as it turns out neither were the contestants.  After time I decided to focus more completely on the option of the -ED ending, and found SCHEDULED after around twenty seconds of extra time.

Kathryn: [no answer]
James: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Kathryn 25 (41), James 14 (44), me 49

It could have been a runaway to James after that start, but Kathryn did well to find the full monty when she needed it and peg him back.  It seemed to me that he (correctly) fancied his chances on the numbers and so chose five vowels in the letters rounds to limit any damage there.  If so, I would have to admit that it was a strategy that worked for him in this game.  I really hope that it does not continue, though, as it generally does not produce interesting letters rounds.


Sam Gaffney said...

Looks like vowels, vowels, vowels until James gets knocked out.

DECRIALS (wondered about HERALDICS at the end of time)
363 = 9*50 - 100 + 10 + 75/25 (tried a bunch of other approaches first)
x (KITTIED, selected over DIKTATE. Would have gone with KITTED had I thought of it in time)
910 = (100+50+3)*6 - 8
134 = 75+50+7+3-1 (diabolical misses here)
1.45s (Then a second of thinking time to check whether it had the D at the end or not. I think I'd had the word in a crossword recently, which never hurts)

Mike Backhouse said...

Here is my last for a week. Got a few sevens, and 2 of the 3 numbers games which is good for me!

Geoff's way, which I stumbled into and was lucky that the 75/25 got me there in the end
KITTED (happy to get that one)
GLOWERS (ditto)
James' way (1 off)
Lily's way
missed conundrum

Not sure what the stats you have Geoff, but this must surely be one of the few instances where someone getting a full monty does not win.

Sam Gaffney said...

I noticed that as well, Mike: DESERTION and RELATIONS were two others that weren't enough to seal wins.

Geoff Bailey said...

Another dominating display, Sam, even with the two invalid words. Plus a nice alternative way to 910 -- you're still the Master.

Another solid win from you, Mike -- well done! And thanks for the reminder; I had intended to mention the rarity of a full monty from the loser (even had a note on the paper to do so, but still forgot). Thanks to Sam for finding those two others; I'll add FUMIGATES from episode 15, but that doesn't really count as both contestants found it.

Sam Gaffney said...

I did see most of these episodes two years ago, which doesn't hurt. It takes much of the satisfaction out of any good results!

I have been doing a lot of cryptic crosswords, which seems to help the brain with anagrams. By contrast, a lack of numbers practice has led to a few numbers rounds where I felt I should have found the answer in time.

Jan said...

Thanks Sam for the info about the tiebreakers. Wow. 10 times!

Grrrr - too many vowels by James

CHILDER (7) old fashioned term for children, so presuming it can't be pluralised.
Invalid word. Tried too long to find an 'out' word, and missed outage
9*50 - 100 + 10 + 75/25 = 363 (10)
(6+3)*100 + 8 + 1 = 909 (7)
PAINS (0) great full Monty by Kathryn
50 + 75 + 7 + 3 - 1 = 134 (10)

Jan said...

PS today I got Bk 8 of the L&N book.

On the back cover it stated... "it's the new, fun family quiz on SBS that everyone is playing". Hurumph. Published in 2012, presumably after the last of the series games.

It feels a bit of a kick in the guts to say that on the cover, when it probably was published after they had decided to 'rest' the show

Geoff Bailey said...

Yes, I know what you mean, Jan. Presumably it was all prepared before the decision was finalised, though. What I want to know is if there will be a book nine or not -- it would be irritating for it to not be complete.

CHILDER is a nice find! The Macquarie has it marked as a plural noun, so indeed it cannot be further pluralised.

Anonymous said...

Swooper is a word as someone or something that swoops

Geoff Bailey said...

Anonymous: However, SWOOPER is not in the Macquarie fifth, which is the criterion used for the show. In general, the Macquarie will only list agent nouns derived from verbs if they show up in its source corpus of literature. Presumably that was not the case for SWOOPER.