Friday, 12 October 2012

Ep 69: James Parton, Desire L'Etang (October 11, 2012; originally aired November 4, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

James Parton gets his turn in the champion's position and thus three picks at the letters.  Brace yourselves for a vowel storm... but first, we find out that about five years ago James had his greatest golf moment, shooting seven under par.  That's seriously impressive!  He jokes (or so I hope) that in the last five years he has told that to everyone he has seen every day.

Tonight's challenger is Desire L'Etang, a fleet manager with a bachelor of business administration and a master's degree in public policy and government; he is currently undertaking a doctorate in business administration.  As Richard says, that's quite the amount of qualifications he is building up.  Eventually, Desire hopes to set up his own business and do some consultancy, liaising with small or medium businesses with the aim of reducing their costs or finding ways to give them a business advantage.

Desire seems to share James's penchant for vowels, so it's a tough night on the letters front.  The contestants started out with a matched word, then James won the next three rounds to take a lead of over twenty points.  Desire gained some back on the second numbers round, but when James won again in the last letters round it was all but over.  Desire still technically had a chance, but a shared numbers round put paid to that.  Neither solved the conundrum, and James got his second win, 44 to 25.

I had a good enough game, missing two maxima at the beginning but otherwise doing as well as could be done.  There was a little finesse required in the numbers -- particularly the last numbers round -- so I was pleased to get them sorted out satisfactorily.  And even more pleased to solve the conundrum again, after three unsolved ones in a row.  A much improved performance over yesterday, and that was a relief.

Round 1: E U A O R N T R D

James surprisingly chooses only four vowels this time, and perhaps ironically I would not have minded another one with an I (which it would have been) yielding ANTERIOR.  As it was, I had ROUÉ, NATURE, wondered about NATURED (not valid), READOUT, and ROTUNDA.  After time I noted RONDEAU as another seven, and saw ROTUNDER but correctly figured that it would not be listed.

Both contestants have found RANTED for six.  David has found the only eight here: UNTARRED.  I... completely missed the UN- fragment (which often plays well with a -ED ending), although I did spend a little while looking at UNDER-.  Bother.

The other sevens are ROUNDER, ADORNER, UNRATED, and READOUT.

Desire: RANTED

Scores: James 0 (6), Desire 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: I E A O T C K P I

Oh, dear, it looks like Desire is similarly vowel-inclined.  This could be a long game... I had COATI, PICKET, and OPIATE.

Desire had PATIO for five, while James gets an early lead with PACKET for six.  David could not better it, mentioning PACKET, POCKET, and POETIC as his sixes.

The other sixes are TOECAP / CAPOTE and ATOPIC (adjective derived from ATOPY: "a genetic tendency to develop allergic reactions").  But there is a seven, and one that I've mentioned a few times before on this blog: ECTOPIA ("the morbid displacement of a bodily organ or part"), which in fact was available twice the first time that I noted it, in episode 314.

Desire: PATIO

Scores: James 6 (12), Desire 0 (6), me 13

Round 3: Target 545 from 50 75 1 3 3 8

The standard method suggests an offset of 5 from 550; there's an easy one-away 11*50 - 4, but there are two ways to make the 5 and one of them bears fruit: 545 = 8*75 - 50 - (3 + 3 - 1).  To be honest, I think I found this simply by wanting to use 8*75 instead of reasoning it out.

Desire has nothing to declare, and both James and Lily have solved this using the above solution.

There are only two other solutions; one is a tweaked variation of the above: 545 = 8*(75 - 1) + 50 + 3.  The other makes it as 470 + 75, an interesting technique: 545 = (50 - 3)*(8 + 3 - 1) + 75.

James: 545
Desire: [not in range]
Me: 545
Lily: 545

Scores: James 16 (22), Desire 0 (6), me 23

First break: TOAD TOTE ("Inked")

To be inked is one description of being TATTOOED.

David's talk is about some words related to trench, including one of my favourite terms: The ha-ha.

Round 4: T H O R E C A J E

I had OTHER, TEACHER / CHEATER, and TROCHEE ("(in prosody) a metrical foot of two syllables, a long followed by a short, or an accented followed by an unaccented").  This is another case where I might have gone vowel-diving in search of an I for THERIAC (as I thought at the time) or CHAROITE (as I realised later).

Desire has RACE for four, but James gets the points again with CHORE for five.  That puts his lead out to twenty-one points, and Desire is in a lot of trouble.  David mentions many sevens: TEACHER / CHEATER / RETEACH / HECTARE and EJECTOR.

The other seven is OCREATE ("having an ocrea or ocreae; sheathed").  An ocrea is "a sheathing part, as a pair of stipules united about a stem"; the plural form is ocreae, and it has a variant spelling of ochrea.  Under the rules as I would like them to be, OCHREAE should also be allowed as another seven.

Of course, if one takes that reasoning further one might also argue for OCHREATE for eight.  I'd probably come down against it since OCREATE is a separate entry from OCREA, but I'd feel a bit bad about doing so.

James: CHORE
Desire: RACE

Scores: James 16 (27), Desire 0 (6), me 30

Round 5: A I O E N P N S I

I really wanted a final X for EXPANSION, but obviously that was unlikely.  (It would have been a Q, as it turns out; just as rare, but not as useful.)  I had AEON, PINNAE (one plural form of PINNA: "a feather, wing, or winglike part"), PINIONS, and PINNIES (I was think of this as the plural form of PINNY, colloquial for a pinafore; the Macquarie lists PINNY but not a separate plural (sigh), but fortunately it also lists PINNIE as colloquial for a pinball machine).

The contestants each have five-letter words this time, James with SPINE and Desire with PANES.  David has gone with PENSION as his seven.

The other sevens are ASININE (which David mentioned at the end of the show), SAPONIN ("any of a group of glycosidic compounds of steroid structure obtainable from many plants.  Their aqueous solutions foam like soap on shaking and are used as detergents and dispersing agents"), and SINOPIA ("a red-brown earth pigment").

James: SPINE
Desire: PANES

Scores: James 16 (32), Desire 0 (11), me 37

Round 6: Target 941 from 100 25 9 2 6 7

The target is 9 away from 950, which is provocative.  I was first tempted by making it as 900 + 25 + 9 + 7, but would have needed the 9 twice for that.  But the 950 - 9 approach worked out after a little tweak: 941 = 9*(100 - (7 - 6)) + 2*25.  After time I investigated other tweaks and found another solution: 941 = 9*(100 + 7) - 25 + 6/2.

James is two away with 943, presumably 943 = 9*100 + 2*25 - 7.  But Desire gets some ground back at last by being only one away with 942 = 9*100 + 7*6.

Lily demonstrates the solution that I found within time.

James: 943
Desire: 942
Me: 941
Lily: 941

Scores: James 16 (32), Desire 0 (18), me 47

Second break: LIFE GENT ("You might only glimpse this")

And it would be a FLEETING glimpse at that.

Round 7: I A O E I Q D B F


Desire has BEAD for four, but James pushes his lead out to nineteen with ABIDE for five.  David cannot better it, with his selections being ABODE / ADOBE.

The other five in this mix is BIFID ("cleft into two parts or lobes").

James: ABIDE
Desire: BEAD

Scores: James 21 (37), Desire 0 (18), me 52

Round 8: Target 543 from 50 100 2 8 8 5

Desire needs to solve this without James doing so in order to have a chance of winning.  It's actually a pretty good round for someone in that situation, with a solution possible but not the easiest to find.  The 5 being the only odd number is the stumbling block here, as it is difficult to get close without using it up.

I played around with a few options without getting closer than 542, then decided that I really wanted a one in order to do some tweaking, getting double value out of the 5.  That could be formed from 8/8, and a solution followed: 543 = 5*(100 - 8/8) + 50 - 2.  Whew!

After time, consideration of tweaking options with the even small numbers led me to find another solution: 543 = 8*(50 + 8 - 2) + 100 - 5.  This turns out to be Lily's solution, and these two solutions are the only ones.

Both contestants are one away with 542 = 5*100 + 50 - 8.  James is now guaranteed to win.

James: 542
Desire: 542
Me: 543
Lily: 543

Scores: James 21 (44), Desire 0 (25), me 62


I spotted the correct ending pretty early on, and unravelled the remainder to get a solution three seconds in.  Neither contestant was able to solve this within time.

James: [no answer]
Desire: [no answer]

Final scores: James 21 (44), Desire 0 (25), me 72

Lots of vowels tonight made longer words difficult, but James generally had the better of it.  Honours were close to even on the numbers, although Desire really should have managed to get somewhere within range in the first numbers round.  In the end it was a solid victory to James, so we'll see more of his vowel-heavy ways tomorrow.  (Not that Desire would have been any better on that front.)


Jan said...

The vowels are driving me a bit silly!

Even so, I had a fairly good game, and got the conundrum. You beat me by 2 seconds for that.

8*75 - 50 - 3 - 3 + 1 = 545. (10)
PANINI (6) plural form of PANINO - Italian bread roll
(100+2)*9 + 25 - (7-6) = 942 (7)
5*100 + 50 - 8 + 2 = 544 (7)
5 secs

Geoff Bailey said...

You and me both, Jan. *chuckles* And yes, another nice game from you -- I particularly like PANINI. Well done!

JT said...

I'm back!! Like Dolly Parton herself James is making me and I suspect a lot of people work 9 to 5 with his regular vowel selections!!

OPINES-pretty sure it's alright
invalid- don't remember what i decleared but it was clearly incorrect

Geoff Bailey said...

Welcome back, JT! More quality numberwork from you (I'm assuming that you had the 7 and 9 around the right way in your notes), and yes, OPINES is fine. To OPINE is to express an opinion.

JT said...

Yes that is correct Geoff, bit too quick for my own good again

Sam Gaffney said...

By the last letter of Round 7, I wanted to open a trap door under the consonant-phobes.

I was quite annoyed to miss out on two numbers rounds, solving one just after time. I haven't done much number work recently, I find it striking how performance drops away without practice. More of the usual numbers excellence from Geoff & JT.

On the plus side, the cryptic crosswords I started a year ago definitely help anagram solving; I get almost every DA out now (with only dictionary confirmation), so that is a minor comfort. Note to those venturing into cryptics: don't make the mistake I did of starting out with DA crosswords, he is a sadist.

545 = 8*75-50-3-3+1
942 = 9*100 + 6*7
ABIDE (The Dude does not abide these vowels)
542 = 5*100+50-8 (Lily's way just after time)
1.1s (the fast board turn leads to a flattering time here)

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice work on the crossword solving, Sam. Once you get into them it's hard to turn back; you may enjoy David's blog a bit more these days. My condolences on the uncharacteristic numbers difficulties, although those rounds were definitely a bit tougher than they might seem at first.

I will note, however, that PANINI is already plural (as Jan mentioned), so PANINIS would not be valid. Just as well you had PENSION instead.

Sam Gaffney said...

PENSION was my nominated word, but that is quite a surprise about PANINIS!