Friday, 26 October 2012

Ep 78: Peter Smith, Mark Duggan (October 24, 2012; originally aired November 17, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Dom Saric successfully retired last night, so we have two new challengers today.  Taking the champion's position is Peter Smith, a retired computer consultant who currently works as a part-time I.T. lecturer.  Back in the early 1990's, Peter helped investors to win thirty-eight million dollars on lotteries.  What they did was to look for lotteries around the world that slowly jackpotted to very high potential winnings (I gather the slowness was important since it meant that the lottery would not attract large numbers of other people with the same idea, like an isolated large lottery would do).  Then they had to ensure winning by buying every single outcome for the lottery, which might be as much as nine million entries.

Their consortium had to spend around seven million American dollars, which in those days was around ten million Australian dollars, in order to get all the requisite tickets.  A successful result for them, almost quadrupling the seed money.  Apparently it made two and a half thousand people very happy.

Taking the challenger's position is Mark Duggan, a business consultant and qualified chartered accountant.  Mark moved to Australia ten years ago and spends several hours a week as a volunteer on a crisis telephone line, talking to people about all kinds of problems.  He also helps to train new volunteers through their journey from knowing nothing about telephone crisis counselling through to being qualified to sit and work on the phones with any kind of caller.

It was a close but low-scoring game tonight, with neither contestant able to gain any points from the numbers rounds.  A round where both contestants declared invalid words also kept scores down, and otherwise they mostly matched results.  They went into the conundrum with Peter ahead but not safe; he buzzed in late with an invalid answer, but Mark was not able to use the extra time to solve it and Peter took the win, 24 to 17.

I started off reasonably well, but things slipped in the latter stages as I missed solving a numbers game that I should have and then failed to find two tough maxima.  My conundrum speed was all right but not fast, but I'd done enough to get the score back up to seventy which is a relief after the previous two games.

Round 1: H A I R P O S C A


Both contestants have found CHAIRS for six.  David has gone for PARIAHS as his seven.

The other sevens are APHASIC ("someone affected with aphasia") and PICAROS (PICARO being a variant form of PICAROON: "a rogue, thief, or brigand").


Scores: Peter 0 (6), Mark 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: R C E O S G A T I

I had CORE, SCORE, CARGOES, STORAGE, CAGIEST, and AGRESTIC ("rural; rustic").  I also saw RIOTCAGES, but that's not a thing.  After time I noted EROTICA as another seven that turns up frequently.

The contestants each declare six-letter words, but both are invalid; Mark has a phantom D in his choice of CIDERS, and Peter has a phantom P in SCRAPE.  David has found ESCARGOT for his eight.

The other eight is ORGASTIC, the adjective derived from ORGASM.  That surprised me since ORGASMIC is also a word (and the form that I would have expected for that adjective), but there's precedent for the same kind of thing: "enthusiasm" leads to "enthusiastic", "sarcasm" leads to "sarcastic", etc.  It is ORGASMIC that is actually the exceptional form in this case.

Peter: [invalid]
Mark: [invalid]

Scores: Peter 0 (6), Mark 0 (6), me 15

Round 3: Target 919 from 25 75 5 8 6 5

The standard method would try to make this as 925 - 6, but making that 925 needs a little care.  With some playing around I managed to find a way to do it with 919 = 5*8*25 - 75 - 6.

Peter is rather far from the target with 800, and Mark is closer but still outside scoring range with 952; that presumably was 952 = (5 + 5)*(75 + 25) - 6*8, so he missed an easy tweak for one away with 920 = (5 + 5)*(75 + 25 - 8).

Lily has found the same solution that I did.  The only other one is essentially the same, but takes advantage of the second 5 to complicate it a little: 919 = 5*(8*25 - 75/5) - 6.

Peter: [not in range]
Mark: [not in range]
Me: 919
Lily: 919

Scores: Peter 0 (6), Mark 0 (6), me 25

First break: DON VIOLA ("Mild, medium, or hot")

The clue is referencing temperature, but not weather; it is that of a VINDALOO.

David's talk is about the mythological figure Tantalus, and thus the words tantalus and tantalise.

Round 4: E B T E I D I N S

I had BEET, DEBIT, INDEBT, INDEBTS, and DESTINE.  After time I noted BETIDES as another seven, and that BENDIEST was there but is not valid (as I noted in episode 56 for the similar BENDIER).

The contestants continue to be matched, this time with five-letter words; Peter has STEIN and Mark has BINDS.  David has gone with DEITIES for seven.

The other sevens are INDITES (INDITE: "to compose or write, as a speech, poem, etc.") and STIBINE (the poisonous gas antimonous hydride).  [Update: Commenter Jan points out BINDIES as another seven.]

Peter: STEIN

Scores: Peter 0 (11), Mark 0 (11), me 32

Round 5: P O E O L F T D U

I had POOL, LOOPED, wondered about OUTFLED (it is not valid), and just in enough time saw FLOUTED as the safe anagram.

Mark has FLUTED for six, but Peter finally separates them by having found FLOUTED for seven.  David has also found FLOUTED.

The other seven is FOOTLED (FOOTLE: "to talk or act in a silly way").


Scores: Peter 7 (18), Mark 0 (11), me 39

Round 6: Target 816 from 100 50 5 9 9 7

I got myself in a horrible tangle here; I wanted to make the target as 825 - 9 (perhaps influenced by the previous numbers round which seems superficially similar), but that really did not seem plausible.  With an 8 not being easy to come by I ended up settling for one away with 817 = 9*(100 - 9) - (7 - 5).

After time I realised that the target was divisible by 3 in addition to the obvious powers of 2, which meant that 12 divided it.  The cofactor is 68, and that led to the solution 816 = (7 + 5)*(50 + 9 + 9).  Then I finally noticed that 9 + 7 = 16 gives the offset from 800, and shortly thereafter found a second solution of 816 = (9 + 5)*50 + 100 + 9 + 7.  Overlooking that was silly of me -- with those large numbers 800 + 16 was always more reasonable than 825 - 9.

Mark is bizarrely far away with 950, and I don't really see how he managed that unless he added the 50 to 900 instead of subtracting it.  Peter declares just three away with 813, but gets as far as 9*100 - 50 before he realises that he has made an error.  Lily has solved this, using the second of the solutions that I found after time.

Peter: [invalid]
Mark: [not in range]
Me: 817
Lily: 816

Scores: Peter 7 (18), Mark 0 (11), me 46

Second break: CLIP SKIT ("Part of a song title by Connie Francis")

The song in question being LIPSTICK on Your Collar.

Round 7: R T S O A U M V E

I had ROTS, ROAST, MATURES, MAESTRO, and wondered about OUTRAVES.  I've looked up the OUT- section of the Macquarie quite a bit over the course of this blog, and I decided that OUTRAVES was rather unlikely to be listed; this expectation was correct.

The contestants have found sixes in this round; Mark has MAUVES and Peter has MASTER.  David points out that one can add the O to MASTER to get MAESTRO, but has found the unexpected OVERMAST ("to provide a ship with masts that are too high or too heavy") for eight.

That seems to be the only eight; the other sevens are STRUMAE (plural of STRUMA, which amongst other meanings is a term for a goitre) and OESTRUM (variant form of OESTRUS, in the sense of "a period of the oestrous cycle, usually lasting 1-2 days, during which ovulation occurs , and the animal can copulate; heat").


Scores: Peter 7 (24), Mark 0 (17), me 53

Round 8: Target 890 from 75 25 6 7 1 6

A tough target!  There's a couple of ways to get two off, and the one that I went with was 888 = (6 + 6)*(75 - 1).  I did not think carefully enough about the one-off targets, alas.

Mark is 190 away, presumably with 700 = 7*(75 + 25).  Peter says that his results are just as bad, so once again neither contestant scores in the numbers round.  Lily remarks that this was tough, and that she could only get two away with 892 = 6*6*25 - 7 - 1.

The target does turn out to be impossible, but it was feasible to do better.  The one-away 891 is a rather provocative target that should hopefully be a little familiar by now; it is 11*81, and with 75 + 6 providing the 81 there's a few clear ways to get there, such as 891 = (75 + 6)*(25 - 7 - 6 - 1).  One could also use 6*6 - 25 to get that 11, and thus 891 = (75 + 7 - 1)*(6*6 - 25).

Peter: [not in range]
Mark: [not in range]
Me: 888
Lily: 892

Scores: Peter 7 (24), Mark 0 (17), me 60


Peter is ahead but not safe at this point, but Mark needs to solve the conundrum to get the win.  I spent a bit too long looking at the -AGE fragment before shifting to -ANCE and finding the answer.  Peter buzzed in with around six seconds left on the clock but his guess of ENCOURAGE was invalid.  Mark got the remaining time, but was not able to solve it and Peter scraped home the victor.

Peter: [invalid] (23.5s)
Mark: [no answer]

Final scores: Peter 7 (24), Mark 0 (17), me 70

The two contestants were very closely matched tonight, but three high numbers targets proved rather difficult for them.  Peter managed to get the win courtesy of his find of FLOUTED in round five, and that was the only point of difference between them.  Peter will be back tomorrow, and maybe the numbers will be friendlier then.


Jan said...

There was some tough puzzling in this one! Phew - Jan wipes her brow

You guys really have helped me sooo much with this game. Thank you

(6+8)*75 - (5*25) - 5 = 920 (7) (I think that is right?!)
9*(100-9) = 819. 9-7=2. 5-2=3. 819-3=816 (10)
(6+6)*75 - 7 - 1 = 892 (7)

JT said...

I've never seen two contestans struggle with numbers like this...

nowhere near

Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

GATORS (presumably invalid as not in my 2nd edition Macquarie)
(8+5)*75-25-5*6=920 (1 off)
9*100-50-5*7=815 (1 off)

Geoff Bailey said...

Jan: That's a very impressive 920! It's not often that anyone goes above a thousand as an intermediate step. I do have to pull you up on the second numbers round, though -- you've used 9 three times, alas.

JT: To be fair, it's not often that all targets are above 800. Still, some puzzling moments nonetheless.

Mike: Good news, the Macquarie Fifth Edition does list GATOR, so GATORS is fine.

Nice numberwork from all today; the one- and two-off results are pretty good on these mixes.

Sam Gaffney said...

I might have been a bit tired playing this one after Ep77 to catch up on Wednesday night, but I think this is the most Geoff has outscored me by.

Nice to see Jan joining the 1000+ club.

920 = (8+5)*75 - 25 - 6*5, Lily's way after about a minute
x BENDIEST, selected over DESTINE
817 = (9+9)*(50-5) + 7, Lily's way after a few minutes
888 = (6+6)*(75+1)
~60s - I think ARROGANT flashed through my mind early on, but didn't help.

Jan said...

Oh darn. You are so right Geoff, about me using that 9 three times. Oh well, it looked good until then!! I think that is one of the first times I have found a phantom number

Jan said...

PS - well done on out scoring 'lightnin' Sam' by a record!

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks Jan, Sam. I think it may well be a record, but Sam probably has beaten me by more the other way. But for a game without a full monty, maybe not. Hard luck on BENDIEST, Sam, although back in series one you'd have probably got away with it.

mario dcruz said...

Watching the repeats of the show on SBS as I missed the first time around. Did anyone notice that Lilly made a mistake in the last numbers round-she multiplied 12 x 25 to get 900, I think she meant to multiply 12 x 75 but nobody seems to have noticed?

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice to here from you, Mario. If you watch a bit more carefully, you will see that what Lily did was 6*6*25, which is to say 36*25, and that does indeed equal 900. Of course, using (6 + 6)*75 would have been another way to get to that target, but it was not the option that she chose.

mario dcruz said...

Sheesh that's embarrassing, Sorry and thanks for explaining Geoff!-Should've known better than to doubt Lily's amazing skills :-)