Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Ep 76: Dom Saric, Billy Lowe (October 22, 2012; originally aired November 15, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

The SUMS Puzzle Hunt is over for the year, and it felt like a major struggle this time.  I'll try and get these posts back into schedule soon; apologies for the various delays.

Dom Saric returns after the weekend, trying to move up the finals rankings.  If he can win tonight then he'll advance a spot or two, anyway.  But first, Richard mentions that Dom is a kickboxer; Dom says that he did kickboxing for about three years, and in particular the style called Muay Thai.  He explains that it is one of the more traditional styles found in Thailand, and he chose it because it is fairly practical, good for discipline, and great for fitness.

Taking up the challenge tonight is Billy Lowe, a project engineer who moved to Australia from Singapore ten years ago.  Richard mentions that one of Billy's favourite books is the atlas, and asks more about that.  Billy explains that, aside from the colourful maps and pictures, he enjoys looking at the strange and peculiar place names.  In particular, one of his passions is finding place names without vowels; he makes specific mention of the Croatian island Krk.

Dom found a lovely word to start off the game, and then extended his lead in the second game.  Billy was not able to get anywhere with the first numbers round and Dom's lead was already over twenty at the first break.  Billy managed a bit better in the letters in the rest of the game but continued to give up points in the numbers.  He was not able to take any points off Dom, and Dom reached the half-century mark once again in the final numbers round.  Neither was able to solve the conundrum, and Dom finished a comfortable winner with a 51 to 12 scoreline.

I was all over the shop today.  It's quite the turnaround after last week; I'm not sure if puzzle fatigue is to blame or not.  It seems like I made many errors; first I missed a very familiar word, then later I strangely decided against the best option.  A bizarre oversight in the numbers round caused me to drop another maximum, and then I had an invalid word.  I rounded it all out by not solving the conundrum within time, finishing with my lowest maximum count for seven weeks (and equal lowest solo total this series).  Somehow it was still enough, but I really want to do better tomorrow.

Round 1: C C I E D S I U K

I had ICED, DICES (using DICE as a verb in this instance), an uncertain SICCED, SUCKED, and DUCKIES.  Checking after time revealed that the past tense of SIC is not SICCED as I had thought but rather SICKED.

Billy starts of with DIKES for five, but Dom has found the excellent SUICIDE for seven.  Well done!  David has sevens of DUCKIES and DICKIES (DICKIE: "a detachable shirt front, or blouse front").

The other sixes here are DUCKIE, DICKIE, and SICKIE.

Billy: DIKES

Scores: Dom 7, Billy 0, me 7

Round 2: R O I T E N D A T

This round hurts.  I had RIOT, INTER, and TRAINED, and simply could not find longer.  It took a bit after time for me to find NITRATED as an eight, and then finally the extremely familiar RATIONED / ORDINATE pair.  Oh, dear, that was a terrible miss -- it's a very common eight.

Billy has found RODENT for six, but again Dom has the longer word, this time TRAINED for seven.  David opts for RATIONED as his eight.

The other eights are ANTIDOTE / TETANOID (adjective derived from TETANUS), TERATOID ("resembling a monster"), ATTORNED (ATTORN: "to acknowledge the relation of tenant to a new landlord"), and INTORTED (INTORT: "to twist inwards, curl, or wind").


Scores: Dom 14, Billy 0, me 14

Round 3: Target 482 from 75 25 7 10 3 2

The standard method was the clear choice here with the target being 7 away from 475.  The rest was just a question of getting to 475 first; I went with 482 = 2*3*75 + 25 + 7, and then with the rest of the time found the alternative 482 = 10*25 + 3*75 + 7.

Billy has not been able to get anywhere with this.  Dom has ended up one away with 483 = (3 + 2)*(25 + 75) - 10 - 7.  That pushes his lead out over twenty, and Billy is in a lot of trouble.

Lily has found another solution: 482 = 25*10*2 - (75/3 - 7).

Dom: 483
Billy: [no answer]
Me: 482
Lily: 482

Scores: Dom 14 (21), Billy 0, me 24

First break: SEES PURR ("Bowie and Mercury were under this")

A reference to the song Under PRESSURE.

David's talk is about words related to the number five: pentathlon, pentagon, quintuplet, quintet, quintessence, and keno.

Round 4: E N D O I N S A H

I had DONE, NODES, ANODES, a dubious HANDIES (I think this was due to Stephen Fry going on about "mein handy" in an episode of QI), and ANODISE.  After time I noted SHINNED as another seven, and checked up on HANDIES: It is explicitly listed, but only as part of the phrase PLAY HANDIES, so should not be allowed.

The contestants each have five-letter words; Dom has SHINE (missing the chance to append a D for SHINED, which -- as mentioned in episode 327 -- is acceptable in the context of shoes) and Billy has HANDS.  David has done rather well to find ADHESION for eight.

The other sevens are DONNISH (like a university don) and HOIDENS (HOIDEN being a variant spelling of HOYDEN, a tomboy).

Billy: HANDS

Scores: Dom 14 (26), Billy 0 (5), me 31

Round 5: B R A E G S O A S

I had BEAR, BARGE, BARGES, GASSER, and wondered about BRASSAGE.  I thought that I had encountered the term before but was not certain; uncertain enough to settle for the six rather than risk the eight, anyway.  That was the wrong decision; BRASSAGE is defined as "a charge to cover costs of coining money".  Bother.

Billy has yet another five, this time BRAGS; Dom extends his lead further with ABASES for six.  David notes that BORAGE is a plant and thus BORAGES is a seven here.  So BRASSAGE would have beaten him, but I threw that chance away.  Double bother.

The other sevens are ABASERS, AGAROSE (adjective derived from AGAR: "Biology a culture medium with an agar-agar base"), and BAGASSE ("crushed, juiceless remains of sugar cane after sugar-making, used to produce paper, electricity, fertiliser, etc.").

Billy: BRAGS

Scores: Dom 20 (32), Billy 0 (5), me 37

Round 6: Target 497 from 100 25 10 9 10 6

The target is 7*71, but that does not seem very useful.  It's also three away from 500, so keeping the 6 and 9 separate in order to make the 3 is tempting.  I... failed to get that to work, however, and ended up settling for one of many one-aways with 496 = (10*100/25 + 9)*10 + 6.  Perhaps worse, after time I thought that I had solved it but my "solution" actually computed 479.  Oh, dear.

Billy is outside the scoring range with 575, while Dom gets points again with a seven-away 490 = (10 - 6)*100 + 10*9.

Lily has found a solution, which is depressingly obvious once shown: 497 = (10 + 10)*25 - (9 - 6).  It's safe to say that I'm feeling fairly on tilt at this point.

There's a trivial variant that replaces one of those 10's by 100/10, but aside from that the only other solution is a bit similar: 497 = (25 - 10 - 10)*100 - (9 - 6).

Dom: 490
Billy: [not in range]
Me: 496
Lily: 497

Scores: Dom 20 (37), Billy 0 (5), me 44

Second break: TRESS ARK ("A streak of indecent behaviour")

A streaker is generally STARKERS.

Round 7: B Y A O L N I E H

I had BOLA, LION, and BYLINE.  After time I checked up on that to find out that the hyphen is required: BY-LINE.  Well, that is in keeping with the general tenor of my play tonight...  I then noted ALIEN as a five, and finally found BALONEY for seven.

Both contestants have found BALONEY.  Well done!  David mentions HOBNAIL as another seven.

The other seven is the lovely HYALINE ("something glassy or transparent").  Ooh, I like that.  The other sixes are ALBINO, INHALE, HABILE ("skilful; dexterous"), and another embarrassing miss in the shape of BAILEY ("the wall of defence about the outer court of a feudal castle, or the outer court itself [...]").

Billy needed a full monty in this round to have a chance, so Dom is now guaranteed to win.

Me: [invalid]

Scores: Dom 27 (44), Billy 7, me 44

Round 8: Target 313 from 50 25 5 5 2 7

The offset in the standard method is either 12 or 13, which can be a bit difficult sometimes.  An expensive 12 is 5 + 5 + 2 and that turns out to work, giving the solution 313 = 7*50 - 25 - 5 - 5 - 2.  Then I considered making the target as 320 - 7 and that also turned out to be manageable with 313 = (50/5)*(25 + 5 + 2) - 7.

Billy is four off the pace with 309, which I will guess was 309 = (5 + 5)*25 + 50 + 7 + 2.  But Dom gets even further ahead by being only one away with 312 = 50*5 + 25*2 + 7 + 5.

Lily has solved this using the first of the solutions I listed above.  There are quite a few ways to get there, but the shortest is probably 313 = 7*(50 - 5) - 2.

Dom: 312
Billy: 309
Me: 313
Lily: 313

Scores: Dom 27 (51), Billy 7, me 54


I was all in a muddle here, spotting the eights of CELERITY and FIERCELY but not being able to find the nine.  It took more than another minute after time expired before I finally consifered the -IFY ending and found the answer of ELECTRIFY.  (For anyone wanting more precision, the total time was approximately one minute and fifty seconds.)

Dom: [no answer]
Billy: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Dom 27 (51), Billy 7, me 54

Dom was just too good for Billy tonight, in both facets of the game.  Both contestants' find of BALONEY was very good, but Dom's spot of SUICIDE in the first round was the play of the day.  Dom gets his fifth win, guaranteeing him at least sixth spot.  A win will take him to fifth position, and maybe even to fourth if he does very well.  Either way, tomorrow is his last game until the finals.


Jan said...

Hi Geoff. The SUMS Puzzle Hunt looks fun!

I had a pretty good game, but bombing out on one maths round, and not getting the conundrum. But pleased with some of my efforts

(2*3)*75 + 25 + 7 = 482 (10)
10*10*6 - 100 = 500 (7)
7*50 - 25*2 + 5 + 5 = 310 (0)

Sam Gaffney said...

Puzzling results for you after last week, Geoff - I still don't know the ideal combination of practice/tapering/warming-up for playing L&N.

482 = 7*75 - 2*25 + 10-3
BARGES (David Letterman talks about playing GRABASS, but it's not an Aussie term)
497 = (10+10)*25-9+6
INHALE (I hate getting beaten by both contestants in any round)
313 = (50-5)*7 - 2
Buzzed in at 3s, probably didn't find the answer in enough time to declare it.

Victor said...

Hi Geoff, it's actually the blog's 1st anniversary and I'd like to congratulate all the readers for sticking around!

I've been reading since last year, hope you can keep it up. (I'm a bit too busy to play along/post regularly at the moment so I probably won't be around much).

Jan said...

Happy anniversary Geoff!

The only thing I am grateful for, about SBS resting L&N , is finding this blog. And I know I have improved thanks to you and Sam and the others.

Geoff Bailey said...

Oh, yes, nice results, Jan. We would have made a good head-to-head game, with the lead switching fairly often and the conundrum mattering. Well done in particular with NITRATED and BALONEY.

Sam: I know, the inconsistency is weird. But I'm unquestionably better than a year ago, on average... just the variance that occasionally rears up and smites. Also, nice game, particularly the neat 313.

Victor: Wow, I had not even noticed -- thank you for pointing that out! Glad you're still visiting the blog.

The sad thing about the anniversary is that the current episode supply will run out before the second anniversary, by my calculations. (Or rather, it will reach the point where all the current episodes have been covered before then.)

JT said...

I suspect SBS have incorrectly named Billy's last name as "Lowe" which should be "Low". I am Chinese and have a Singaporean friend whose surname is Low, It comes from the chinese Liu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_%28surname%29, ah sorry Geoff I'm nitpicking too much...


Geoff Bailey said...

JT: I always appreciate corrections, particularly on people's names for which I often have had to guess. I rather suspect you are right about the surname, but I cannot find any definitive information online under either spelling. Consequently, I am staying with the SBS spelling -- even though it feels less likely -- because in principle they could have checked this and got it correct.

A good game from you -- you beat me by 20 points -- and NOISE is listed as a standalone verb so NOISED is fine. Nicely done!