Sunday, 28 October 2012

Ep 80: Christopher Weldon, Jasper Johnson (October 26, 2012; originally aired November 19, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Christopher Weldon gets his turn in the champion's seat after his good come-from-behind victory over Peter Smith last night.  Richard mentions that Christopher is an acting graduate as well as a writer, and that he has melded those two facets together as he has written at least one script.  Christopher says that he would like to do more scriptwriting; he has written one play already.  He admits that it might sound impressive but the play only went for ten minutes, so he can call himself a playwright with very little effort.  He'd like to write more things, and jokingly adds that he particularly wants to write anything that he can put himself in and be funny and then have people love him...

Tonight's challenger is Jasper Johnson, a year twelve student and the show's youngest competitor so far.  Jasper's grandmother is from Germany; she lives in Australia, but Jasper has always wanted to visit Germany.  Early last year (2009) he got the opportunity to do so as an exchange student; his school has a sister school in Hamburg, which is in the north of Germany.  He was there for three months, made many new friends and generally had an exciting experience.

Jasper got the early lead in the first round, and a couple of shared rounds followed.  There was an exchange of points in the middle letters rounds, and then more matched results all the way up to conundrum.  For the second time Christopher was seven points behind going into the conundrum, and once again he solved it quickly to take the win, 54 to 51.

I had a reasonable game, missing several tough maxima in the middle section but otherwise doing well enough.  Christopher was too fast for me on the conundrum again, but this time there was only a second in it.  Fortunately I'd managed to do enough in the rest of the rounds to finish comfortably ahead.

Round 1: S F R I U E S R T

I had FIRS, FIRES, FUSSIER, FURRIEST, and SURFEITS.  I was reasonably confident in both FUSSIER and FURRIEST (later checking confirmed that they are acceptable), but it's always nice to not have to rely on that.  Incidentally, SURFEIT turns out to have an archaic verb sense also: "to overindulge, especially in eating or drinking".  After time I noted FISSURE as another seven, and FRUITERS as another eight; after the first five letters I had wanted a T for FRUITS, but forgotten that by the time the last letter turned up.

Christopher starts off with STRIFE for six -- by my reading of one meaning ("a quarrel, struggle, or clash") he could have added the other S for STRIFES -- but Jason gets the early lead with SURFERS for seven.  David has chosen FURRIEST as his eight.

The other eight here is SURFIEST, a word I'd definitely not have risked.  The other sevens are FRUITER / TURFIER, SURFIER, SURFEIT / FUSTIER, SIFTERS, RUSTIER, and TRUSSER.

Christopher: STRIFE

Scores: Christopher 0, Jasper 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: F I S M I E H U N

I had SEMI, FISH, SHINE, and INHUMES (INHUME: "to bury; inter").  After time I noted INHUME, FINISH, and INFUSE as possible sixes.

The contestants have each found five-letter words, Jasper with FUMES and Christopher with SHINE.  David has found the other seven here: UNIFIES.

The other sixes are INMESH (variant form of ENMESH), IMINES (IMINE being a chemical term: "a compound containing the C = N group"), and HEMINS (HEMIN being a variant spelling of HAEMIN: "a chloride salt of haematin [...]").

Christopher: SHINE
Jasper: FUMES

Scores: Christopher 0 (5), Jasper 0 (12), me 15

Round 3: Target 520 from 25 50 75 8 10 3

This round starts with one of my least favourite aspects of the show, where Richard follows up on talk from yesterday's game and pressures Christopher to choose three of each.  I get how they see it all as good fun, and I certainly appreciate the change from the run of family mixes, but in a situation like that it is really hard for a contestant to go against such urgings.  That's bad, because the contestants are the one with something at stake and they should always be completely comfortable choosing the options that work best for them.  It was an ongoing thing through the show's run, and it annoyed me every time.

Anyway, it's going to be a night for the balanced mix.  The standard method suggests keeping the 8 and 3 separate for the final adjustment by five, and everyone ended up solving this with 520 = 10*50 + 25 - (8 - 3).  Within time I also found the much shorter 520 = 8*(75 - 10).  Just now I have seen how to use the factor of 10, getting 520 = 10*(50 + 8 - 3 - 75/25).

Christopher: 520
Jasper: 520
Me: 520
Lily: 520

Scores: Christopher 10 (15), Jasper 10 (22), me 25

First break: JADE CANT ("The word next door")

If it is next door then it may be considered to be ADJACENT.

David's talk is about mondegreens.

Round 4: R A L A G T O E R

I had ALAR ("winglike; wing-shaped"), GALA, ALTAR, GLOATER / LEGATOR, REALTOR, and GARROTE.

Jasper has GREAT for five (or possible GRATE, in which case he missed an easy addition of an R for GRATER) but Christopher gets some ground back with his choice of LARGER.  David mentions GLOATER for seven, but has then managed to find the only eight of ARROGATE ("to claim unwarrantably or presumptuously; assume or appropriate to oneself without right").  Nicely done, David.

The other sevens are RELATOR, AERATOR, REALGAR (a mineral), and AREOLAR (adjective derived from AREOLA: "a small ring of colour, as around a pustule or the human nipple").

Christopher: LARGER
Jasper: GREAT

Scores: Christopher 10 (21), Jasper 10 (22), me 32

Round 5: C D O A G N O B I

That final I brought -ING into play, but it's hard to make much use of it here.  I had CODA, CODON, BACON, BODING, and CODING.  I wanted to have BACONOID -- which could describe some fast food chains' pretense at bacon -- but was rightly confident that it would not be listed.

Christopher has CONGA for five, but Jasper has BOOING for six, getting back the points he conceded last round.  David could not better it, and opts for COOING as his six.

There is a seven here, though: GONADIC, the adjective derived from GONAD.

Christopher: CONGA
Jasper: BOOING

Scores: Christopher 10 (21), Jasper 16 (28), me 38

Round 6: Target 933 from 25 50 100 3 7 6

Jasper succumbs to the implied pressure and also chooses three of each.  I had troubles here, lacking an 8 or a 17 for the right offset.  I started with two off via 931 = (7 + 3)*100 - 50 - 25 + 6, then found a more obvious one away 932 = (6 + 3)*100 + 25 + 7.

It was only after time that I actually seriously considered the obvious factor of 3, which was extremely careless; the cofactor is 311 and the solution falls out pretty easily: 933 = 3*(6*50 + 7 + 100/25).  Oh, well.

Both contestants have ended up with the same 932 that I did, and Lily has not been able to get any closer.

Christopher: 932
Jasper: 932
Me: 932

Scores: Christopher 17 (28), Jasper 23 (35), me 45

Second break: HALF DATE ("Deflated school principal")

Semi-cryptic, but lacking the straight definition for a FLATHEAD.

Round 7: N M B E E A L I N

I had BEEN, ENAMEL, BEANIE, and LINEMEN.  That fourth vowel was a bit tempting here, with an A allowing AMENABLE; I did not see MINEABLE until after time, but would have rightly avoided it in any case.

The contestants have each found six-letter words, Jasper with ENABLE and Christopher with NIMBLE.  David also had ENABLE, but then bettered it with LINEMAN.  He has managed to go even further, though, finding BIENNALE ("a major exhibition, as of art, held every two years") for eight.  Oh, well done!

That is the only eight; the other seven is MELANIN.

Christopher: NIMBLE
Jasper: ENABLE

Scores: Christopher 17 (34), Jasper 23 (41), me 52

Round 8: Target 191 from 25 100 75 9 4 2

A final balanced mix for the night, but a trivial one.  I went with 191 = 2*100 - 9 and did not bother looking for other options.

As expected, both contestants have solved this.  Jasper used that same method, while Christopher took the road less travelled with 191 = 100 + 25 + 75 - 9.

Christopher: 191
Jasper: 191
Me: 191

Scores: Christopher 27 (44), Jasper 33 (51), me 62


So once more Christopher goes into the conundrum seven points behind.  It's definitely easier than yesterday's one that he solved so quickly, only involving a swap of two letters, but that paradoxically made things more difficult for me as I looked for larger adjustments.  Christopher was not nearly as misled as me and solved this just three seconds in; I saw the answer as I paused the video in response to his buzz.

Christopher: TRANSPORT (3s)
Jasper: [no answer]

Final scores: Christopher 37 (54), Jasper 33 (51), me 62

Another fast conundrum solution gets Christopher the win after he slipped behind.  It was nice to see both contestants doing well on the numbers tonight, although admittedly those rounds (or results, rather) were fairly easy to find.  I thought NIMBLE was the nicest of the words found, and I look forward to seeing how Christopher does on Monday.


Mike Backhouse said...

Here are my mine:

TRUSS (wasn't brave enough for TRUSSER - grrrr)
50*10+25-(8-3)= 520
Jasper's way (1 off)
Chris' way

As ever, thanks Geoff for your analysis and blog.

Sam Gaffney said...

520 = (75-10)*8
934 = (100+25)*7 + 50+6+3 I think I found the answer before Lily had to concede.
191 = 2*100 - 9
~4s Another good one from Chris here. Disappointing speed, with only two letters to swap.

Jan said...

Chris is so fast on the conundrum. Unlike tortoise me, who took over a minute.

I only had one letters game, where I didn't match you guys and David, so that was good

50*10 + 25 - (8-3) = 520(10)
(100+50)*6 + 25 + 7 = 932 (7)
2*100 - 9 = 191 (10)
75 secs

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks Mike, and my sympathies about TRUSSER; it's always hard to know when the agent nouns will be listed.

Bad luck on MELANINE, Sam -- it would have been a great find if it had been valid. That conundrum was weirdly difficult for just a two-letter swap, wasn't it?

Another strong game from you, Jan. Looks like you would have taken Sam to the conundrum, and that's definitely something to be proud about. (And you'd have taken me to the conundrum too, but that doesn't come with the same amount of kudos.)

JT said...

Personally I would never been influenced by Lily or Richard if they told me about choosing different numbers seletion, I think a bit like you Geoff I would chose my numbers on the game situation (that's if I can ever get on again)....