Friday, 26 October 2012

Ep 77: Dom Saric, Rebecca Daley (October 23, 2012; originally aired November 16, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

This is Dom Saric's sixth night, so the last we'll see of him before the finals.  Retiring undefeated is his goal, of course, and speaking of goals Richard mentions that Dom is a big soccer fan.  Dom has been playing outdoor soccer since the age of six, and picked up indoor soccer in the last five or six years.

Tonight's challenger is Rebecca Daley, a student of biomedicine who recently came to Australia from America.  Rebecca met her boyfriend on New Year's Eve in New York City, where she was living at the time.  They lived there while he finished up law school in the vicinity, and then the next New Year's they moved to Australia so that he could start work here and she could start studying.

Dom finished on a high note, or at least on a comprehensive victory.  He found some good words throughout, with Rebecca unable to match him in any of the letters rounds (in part due to two invalid words).  He had the better of the numbers rounds, and when he solved the conundrum quickly the final scoreline was an imposing 57 to 7 in his favour.  Dom successfully retired, the sixth person to do so.

I had a good game, except for one major problem that cost me that rare chance of outscoring David and Lily.  That was a truly careless slip of the mind that gave me an invalid numbers round -- always frustrating when that happens.  I was much slower than Dom to see the conundrum, also, so there were a couple of features that needed improving.  The strong plus here was finding a longer word than David in one round (and a second such after time, but for the same round); that is always something to be cherished.

Round 1: T L O E S S E C N

I had STOLE, STOLES (STOLE being the item of clothing here), CLOSETS, and TONELESS.

Rebecca gets off to an unfortunate start with the invalid MOLES, and I can certainly sympathise on that front.  When you are writing down the letters without looking at the board, it is very easy to mishear an N as an M, or vice versa.  It does not cost her points (although it may have had psychological impact) because Dom has found NESTLES for seven.  David mentions CLOSETS as another seven, and then ENCLOSES as an eight.

The other eight is NOTELESS.  The other sevens are ENCLOSE, CLOSEST, SELECTS, TOELESS, and TELSONS (TELSON: "the last segment, or an appendage of the last segment, of certain crustaceans and arachnids, as the middle flipper of a lobster's tail").

Rebecca: [invalid]

Scores: Dom 0 (7), Rebecca 0, me 8

Round 2: I A N D P O A R S

I had PAID, PIANO, and after the first seven I was hoping for an S for DIAPASON ("a melody or strain").  I recalled that word from episode 330, but the R gave me PARANOID for eight and then I did not want that S as I would then have to worry about whether PARANOIDS was a word.  Of course, the S arrived and I had that decision to make.  I wrote down DIAPASON and PARANOIDS so that I would be able to make the choice, and then angsted for a bit.

I knew that PARANOID is an adjective and that the associated noun is PARANOIAC, but adjectives have a way of becoming nouns.  Eventually I made the right decision of rejecting PARANOIDS; what tipped me in the right direction was that the associated noun already existed and so the adjective was less likely to have acquired the noun sense.

Rebecca has PANDAS for six but Dom once more takes the points with PARANOID.  David compliments him on avoiding the PARANOIDS trap (mentioning PARANOIAC as the associated noun) and has gone with PONIARDS as his eight.  I really have a blind spot where PONIARD is concerned; one of these days...

The other eights are DIASPORA ("a dispersion, as of a people of common national origin or beliefs") and PANDORAS (PANDORA being a musical instrument, otherwise known as a BANDORE).

The other sevens are PANDORA, PONIARD / PADRONI (plural of PADRONE: "a master, as of a vessel"), PARDONS, INROADS / ORDAINS, RADIANS, SOPRANI (one plural of SOPRANO), and SPAROID (an adjective describing something resembling a particular family of fish).

Rebecca: PANDAS

Scores: Dom 8 (15), Rebecca 0, me 16

Round 3: Target 884 from 75 50 4 6 5 1

I struggled for a bit, but then realised that the standard method suggests making the target as 875 + 9, and 875 is that favourite option of mine, being either 5*175 or 7*125.  Unfortunately, I had a moment of confusion that I did not catch until much later, conflating the two and thinking that 5*125 would get the job done.  So I actually ended up computing a pair of 634's, first with 5*(75 + 50) + 6 + 4 - 1 and then with 5*(75 + 50 + 1) + 4.  Whoops!

Neither contestant has been able to get within range of this one.  Lily demonstrates the solution 884 = (6 + 1)*(75 + 50) + 4 + 5, and it is when she starts with 6 + 1 that I finally realise my error.  A very careless loss of ten points on my part, alas, and any chance of matching David and Lily has disappeared.

Dom: [not in range]
Rebecca: [not in range]
Me: [invalid]
Lily: 884

Scores: Dom 8 (15), Rebecca 0, me 16

First break: SMASH PIE ("If I pronounce certain words like this it might be a clue")

That is pronouncing the words with extra EMPHASIS.

David's talk is about the word literati, and some variations that have arisen: glitterati, digerati, culturati, chatterati, and belligerati.

Round 4: T D E I M O D I A


Rebecca has TEAM for four, but Dom pushes his lead over twenty with the always-nice DIADEM for six.  David has not been able to do better, settling on MIDDIE as his option.

There are a pair of sevens here: IODATED / TOADIED.  The other sixes are IODATE, IODIDE, TIDIED, MOATED (MOAT has a verb sense), DAIMIO (variant spelling of DAIMYO: "the class of greater nobles in Japanese feudalism, often the descendents of younger sons of emperors"), and DOATED (DOAT being a variant spelling of DOTE).

Rebecca: TEAM

Scores: Dom 14 (21), Rebecca 0, me 22

Round 5: B D I I R C A E F

I had BIRD and CARBIDE.  After time I noted down a couple of sixes in the form of FABRIC and FIACRE.

Both contestants declare six-letter words, Dom with FABRIC and Rebecca with AFRAID.  Unfortunately for her she has used the A twice, and she has her second invalid word of the game.  David has found CARBIDE for seven.

That seems to be the only seven; there's quite a few sixes, some of the more common of which are BRACED, BARFED, and BARDIC.

Rebecca: [invalid]

Scores: Dom 14 (27), Rebecca 0, me 29

Round 6: Target 365 from 50 100 5 4 9 4

I spent a bit of time trying to make this as 5*73, but then rerouted my thinking to find an answer in the form of 365 = 4*(100 - 9) + 5 - 4.  After time I remembered that the 50 effectively counts as 10 lots of 5, so making 83 would be just as good, leading me to the alternative solution 365 = 5*(100 - 9 - 4 - 4) - 50.

Another approach that I considered was 360 + 5, since both 4 and 9 are factors of 360.  Somewhat later I managed to get that to work: 365 = (100 - 50/(9 - 4))*4 + 5.

Both contestants are one away with 364 = 4*100 - 50 + 9 + 5.  Lily has found the solution that I found within time.

Dom: 364
Rebecca: 364
Me: 365
Lily: 365

Scores: Dom 14 (34), Rebecca 0 (7), me 39

Second break: TRESS NEW ("It's a movie genre")

That genre is WESTERNS.

Round 7: G K A E H R I A T

A bit of an awkward mix, this.  I had HAKE, and floundered around for anything better.  I eventually emerged with HETAIRA (variant spelling of HETAERA: "one of a class of cultivated courtesans in ancient Greece"), thanks to memories from other games.  After time I noted down a couple of sixes in the form of GATHER and ARIGHT, and found the other seven of KITHARA ("a musical instrument of ancient Greece").

Rebecca has HEART for five, but Dom has found TRIAGE for six.  That guarantees him the win, and a successful retiring champion status.  David has gone with KARATE for six, so if it were not for the blunder in round three I would be ahead of the host team at this point.

The other sixes are GAITER and TAKAHE (a flightless bird from New Zealand).

Rebecca: HEART

Scores: Dom 14 (40), Rebecca 0 (7), me 46

Round 8: Target 654 from 25 50 9 4 8 2

The standard method applies pretty clearly, and I soon had the solution 654 = (9 + 4)*50 + 8/2.  After time I found a more complicated variant of that approach with 654 = ((25 + 9 - 8)/2)*50 + 4, and then the somewhat more straightforward 654 = 9*50 + 8*25 + 4.

While writing this up I have seen a couple of other approaches, both using the fact that the offset from 600 is 6*9.  The first uses the factor of 6 entirely via 654 = (8 - 2)*(4*25 + 9), and the second does it in more piecemeal fashion with 654 = 8*(50 + 25) + (4 + 2)*9.

Rebecca has not been able to get within range again, while Dom has managed to get four away with (8 + 4)*50 + 25*2 = 650.  Lily has gone with the first of the solutions that I list above.

Dom: 650
Rebecca: [not in range]
Me: 654
Lily: 654

Scores: Dom 14 (47), Rebecca 0 (7), me 56


I was a bit lost here, seeing BONFIRE and then being a bit distracted by wondering if BONFIRED could be a word.  Dom solved this pretty quickly, and I started the backup timer, fortunately untangling the letters within regulation time.

Rebecca: [no answer]

Final scores: Dom 24 (57), Rebecca 0 (7), me 56

Dom successfully retires with an (ahem) Dom-inating display.  He continues to have troubles with the numbers but then again I botched the first round today so take that with the appropriate grain of salt.  His conundrum speed today was excellent, and he finished with four solved out of six.  His aggregate score over the six games was an impressive 308 points, not quite enough to overtake Liam Bastick and so he slots into fifth place on the rankings.


Mike Backhouse said...

Bit of a wipeout for me, except for the first word game.

896 out of range
Rebecca's way (1 off)
RIGHT (wasn't familiar with ARIGHT, let alone HETAERA or KITHARA - my knowledge of ancient Greece is limited. I need to get out more!)
(75-9)*(8+2)+4=644 (10 off- wasted time looking for a 75 based solution to no avail and ran out of time)
missed conundrum

Sam Gaffney said...

Great word work from Dom this episode, the fact that English is not his first language makes his anagram skill even more impressive. I think I remember TRIAGE from 2010.

I had a mistake as bad as Geoff's here.

CLOSETS (saw TONELESS, didn't trust it)
884 = (6+1)*(75+50)+5+4
x MATTED - only just realised there was a single T in the mix. I'm not sure I've ever done that before.
365 = (100-9)*4 + 5-4
654 = 8*(50 + 25) + (4 + 2)*9

Jan said...

The only round, I lost to the contestants was the conundrum. There was no way I was going to get it. Went all around the answer, but couldn't find it. Apart from that, I had a fairly good game.

(6+5)*(75+1) + 50 = 886 (7)
BIRDIE (6) I checked to see if both those ie words were ok
4*100 - 50 + 9 + 5 = 364 (7) nearly got the tweak in time
(4+9)*50 + 8/2 = 654 (10)

I do remember you mentioning HETAIRA before, but in the heat of the battle, it was nowhere near the front of my brain.

Geoff Bailey said...

*chuckles* I wasn't familiar with HETAIRA or KITHARA prior to them turning up a few times over the 200 plus episodes that I've blogged, Mike, so it's no surprise. Well done on finding TONELESS!

Ouch on that doubled T, Sam. I wanted a second T, for that matter, noting the potential for MATTOID (but ADMITTED would be better).

Jan: That's a very nice game you played tonight! I love that you found PANDORAS, and that tweak to get 886 is excellent. It was certainly a tough conundrum, with even Lightnin' Sam taking over two seconds to solve it. *grins cheekily at Sam*

JT said...

Here's a fun fact of Dom's 18 numbers round 17 were family mixes...

654 =(9+4)*50+8/2
Utterly lost

Sam Gaffney said...

There have been a few flattering conundrum times lately, as the board rotation on TV has been much quicker than usual.