Friday, 19 October 2012

Ep 73: Dom Saric, Robert Lukunic (October 17, 2012; originally aired November 10, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Dom Saric gets his  turn in the champion's seat tonight, and Richard asks him where his studies have taken him.  Dom responds that he went to Vienna last year as an elective, where he did some trauma surgery, plastic surgery, orthopaedics, and tumour surgery.  Richard asks about differences in approach, but Dom says they did things much the same their as here; the only differences he can think of might be in the logistics and how the hospital is run.

Tonight's challenger is Robert Lukunic, who works in logistics and has a degree in architecture.  Robert is particularly interested in both astrology and astronomy, which Richard remarks is unusual.  Robert says that it started with primitive man looking up at the heavens; lacking the scientific approach of today they came up with the myths of the idea of astronomy, like dividing the sky into the 12 zodiac signs and trying to make sense of what they saw around them.  (The way he mentions astronomy here rather than astrology is a little confusing, but I think what he means is that they were attempting to do astronomy but without the right framework of scientific thought they ended up with astrology.)

Robert continues that he thinks the two subjects were blended together strongly in the beginning, one influenced by the other.  Then with the advent of the scientific method, and advances in telescopes and computers and such, astronomy "has really taken off".

Robert started off with a good word that was a little risky but it paid off.  That was, unfortunately, the highlight of the game from him.  He failed to score points in any other round, and Dom swept through them comfortably, including a fairly quick solution to the conundrum.  The final scoreline reflected the disparity, with Dom winning by 52 points to 8.

I had another good game, although I very carelessly dropped a maximum on a late letters round.  Later checking showed that it did not cost me an optimal round, atlthough it was close.  The numbers worked out pretty straightforwardly, and I solved the conundrum in rapid fashion to end up with my third score of 75 in a row.

Round 1: S P O A T S A E G

I had SOAP, PASTS, PASTA, POTAGES (POTAGE: "soup"), POSTAGE, and POSTAGES.  I was a little uncertain about this last, as POSTAGE could easily be interpreted as a mass noun (later checking showed that this would be the case for Countdown).  But I thought a case could be made for it, and so it was worth a shot.

Dom has PASSAGE for seven, while Robert has also decided to try POSTAGES.  David is called upon to adjudicate and rules that since the Macquarie's definition of POSTAGE is "the charge for the conveyance of a letter [...]" then a plural form is plausible and so POSTAGES is valid.

It is the only eight; the other sevens are SAPOTAS (SAPOTA being a type of tree also known as the white sapote), SAPOTES (SAPOTE being a type of tree also known as the black sapote), and SAPSAGO (a type of cheese).


Scores: Dom 0, Robert 8, me 8

Round 2: D E L A R T I M N

I had DEAL, TRADE, TIRADE, MINERAL, and TRAMLINE.  For a moment I thought that DERAILMENT was there, but that uses the E twice.

This time Robert has MARLIN for six but is outdone by Dom's find of MINERAL.  David has found TRAMLINE and its anagram TERMINAL.

Those are the only eights, and there are many sevens here.

Robert: MARLIN

Scores: Dom 0 (7), Robert 8, me 16

Round 3: Target 456 from 75 25 8 6 1 4

The standard method suggests making this as 450 + 6.  Getting to 450 is easy for anyone who knows their 75-times tables, but doing so uses up the 6.  It's nothing a quick tweak cannot fix, though, and I soon had the solution 456 = 6*(75 + 1).  Later investigation into untweaked solutions turned up the alternative 456 = (8 + 1)*(75 - 25) + 6.

Dom is outside the scoring range with 442 -- rather odd, and I hope that anyone familiar with the 75 times tables would at least get to 455 = 6*75 + 4 + 1 -- while Robert has not been able to come up with an answer at all.  Lily demonstrates the first solution that I listed above.

Dom: [not in range]
Robert: [no answer]
Me: 456
Lily: 456

Scores: Dom 0 (7), Robert 8, me 26

First break: RACE LAND ("Has many dates")

There are many dates to be found in a CALENDAR.

David's talk is about the word orrery.

Round 4: R J U S E X O L E

A J and X in the same mix makes it pretty clear that this is going to be tough.  I wanted a final consonant since I had hoped for a C for CLOSURE, but the vowel could have been an A for JEALOUS so it was worth a shot.  As it was, I had RUSE, ROUSE, and RESOLE.  After time I noted LEXERS, but that's a term from computing that is a bit too specialised for the Macquarie.

Robert has LOSER for five, but Dom has done well to find JOULES for six.  Nicely done!

That's the only sixes mentioned.  But there is a probable seven here; LUREX is defined as "a yarn incorporating metallic thread", so LUREXES should be an acceptable seven.

Robert: LOSER

Scores: Dom 6 (13), Robert 8, me 32

Round 5: D N I I D P O E B

I had OPINED and BONDED.  The duplication makes this tough, as it usually does.

Robert has BINDI for five; it is listed as a synonym for the bindi-eye, a plant familiar to people who run barefoot across lawns.  (David also mentions the meaning of the Hindu forehead decoration, but oddly the Macquarie does not list that sense of the word.)  Dom continues to do one better, though, with his find of BIDDEN.  David has OPINED and suggests PONIED as an anagram of it, in the sense of "ponying up" money for gambling purposes.  But that very phrasing suggests the catch here, and indeed the verb sense of PONY is only listed as part of the phrase "pony up", meaning that it should be invalid.

The other sixes here are BODIED, IODINE, and IODIDE.

Robert: BINDI

Scores: Dom 12 (19), Robert 8, me 38

Round 6: Target 465 from 50 100 75 4 7 8

Robert goes for the balanced mix, and it is definitely growing on me as an option.  I was not sure for a bit how to go about this but then saw that the offset of 15 could be made from 7 + 8.  The other numbers can combine to give 450, and the solution that follows is 465 = 4*100 + 50 + 8 + 7.

Robert is two away with 467, presumably 467 = 4*100 + 75 - 8.  Dom has solved this exactly, however, using the solution above.  That was also Lily's method.

Dom: 465
Robert: 467
Me: 465
Lily: 465

Scores: Dom 22 (29), Robert 8, me 48

Second break: LARVA POP ("Given the go-ahead")

That's another way of saying that APPROVAL has been given.

Round 7: T C A I T N O I H

I had TACIT / ATTIC, ACTION, and TITANIC.  After time I finally thought to look at the -ATION ending (I had bypassed it with ACTION) and saw CITATION as an easy eight.  Bother!

Robert has TACIT for five, but once more Dom gets the advantage with ATONIC (a term from phonetics for "an unaccented word, syllable, or sound") for six.  David mentions that ACTION is an anagram of it that requires less checking, and then that he has found CITATION for eight.

The other sevens are CHIANTI, THIONIC ("of or relating to sulphur"), and TACTION (an obsolete term for "touch; contact").

Dom now finally has a winning lead; he has consistently been just a bit better than Robert, but it has taken surprisingly long for that to be definitive.

Robert: TACIT

Scores: Dom 22 (35), Robert 8, me 55

Round 8: Target 792 from 100 50 1 3 9 9

I immediately noted that the target was 72*11, which meant it was also 9*8*11 = 9*88.  That very quickly led to the solution 792 = 9*(100 - 9 - 3).

Robert is outside the scoring range, but Dom is just one away with 791 = (9 - 1)*100 - 9.  Lily has found the same solution that I did.

There's only one other solution, the rather hard to find 792 = (50 + 9*3)*9 + 100 - 1

Dom: 791
Robert: [not in range]
Me: 792
Lily: 792

Scores: Dom 22 (42), Robert 8, me 65


The solution just leapt out at me, and no doubt to others.  Both contestants pressed the buzzer at approximately the same time, but it was Dom who got there first.

Dom: EMERGENCY (5.5s)
Robert:  [no answer]

Final scores: Dom 22 (52), Robert 8, me 75

Robert started with a well-risked eight, but thereafter just was not able to match Dom's efforts.  Dom was consistently one letter better in the remaining letters rounds, and closer in the numbers also.  Dom is looking pretty comfortable so far, finding good results in both aspects of the game.  He looks like he could be in trouble against someone in top form on either, though.


Jan said...

Nice of you Geoff, to give me something to do around 2am! Thanks to health issues, sleep is sometimes hard.

Going into the conundrum I was level with Dom, but it took me 75 secs to get it, so that means my first loss for quite a while. EMERGENCY certainly did not stand out for me like it did for you.

6*(75 + 1) = 456 (10) still slow at tweaking, but I am getting there.
8*50 + 75 - 7 - 6 = 464 (0)
9*100 - (3-1)*50 - 9 = 791 (7)
75 secs

Sam Gaffney said...

You're certainly in good form Geoff - the last time I can remember you playing this well was the other puzzle week.

I'm pretty sure I saw this episode in 2010, POSTAGES rang a bell.

I felt a bit of sympathy for Robert on the conundrum. Neither player had bad buzzer technique.

456 = (75+1)*6
465 = 4*100 + 50 + 8 + 7
X botched, saw Lily's way just after time.

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks, Sam -- I'm still vexed about missing CITATION, though. Strong start from you, and the conundrum speed is as excellent as ever.

Jan: Glad to help (but sorry that it's been rather erratic this week). Nice work getting to 791 in the last numbers round. (I'll note that you've written 6 instead of 4 in your second numbers round.) Bad luck on the loss to Dom, but he's certainly a good competitor.

Jan said...

Oops - typo. In my book I had 4 not 6. So much for my checking before I hit publish!

Robert Lukunic said...

Robert Lukunic responding. A nice summation of Ep 73, brought back memories of the show. I'm actually amazed that people take L & N so seriously!
A comment in order as to my "postages" answer. I had thought at the time that "postage" was so obvious an answer that Dom would almost certainly reply the same, so I took a punt & added the spare s but being uncertain if this was a legitimate answer. It paid off! However, the adjudication of my answer took approximately nearly 30 minutes with taping being halted while international linguistic authorities were consulted. This had a negative personal psychological effect on myself as I began to doubt my future thinking in formulating succeeding answers. I had also overloaded in training for the show during the day of recording & peaked earlier in the morning after simulating 5 plus hours of 100% concentration levels (Ep 73 was taped in mid afternoon). A large free lunch at the studio canteen earlier didn't help my attention levels either - notice to all HSC students out there! Nevertheless, a great result for Don, a fun experience for myself along with an autographed Macquarie Dictionary for my 3 year old son Noah who, incidentally would love to go on the show in the future "like Daddy"
- simply priceless!!

Geoff Bailey said...

Thank you for your comments and behind-the-scenes information, Robert. It's always nice when one of the contestants stops by here.

That turned out to be good strategy on POSTAGES, but ouch about the 30 minutes that resulted. I can see how that would completely shatter the concentration, and my sympathies to you.

JT said...

Wasn't at my best in this particular game which is bad news against a future finalist...

invalid again-LOUSER