Monday, 29 October 2012

Ep 81: Christopher Weldon, Paul Power (October 29, 2012; originally aired November 22, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Christopher Weldon is back after the weekend for his third game.  Christopher's day job (as opposed to his scriptwriting) is to write on-hold messages for businesses.  Richard makes the observation that when you hear such a message on the phone you don't generally stop and realise that someone had to have written it, and Christopher agrees; he then adds that much of the time the writer was him.  We also find out that Christopher has an impressive typing speed of around 117 words per minute.

Tonight's challenger is Paul Power, a retired organisational psychologist.  Paul explains that organisational psychology is the study of people at work: Everything from career choice, why people choose certain vocations, through to effective leadership.  Richard asks how psychology is part of this; Paul responds that psychology is the study of people and behaviour, so this is about people behaving at work... hopefully, people behaving well at work.

Christopher found a good word in the first round to establish an early lead; Paul looked to get it back in the second round, but it turned out that he had used one of the letters twice.  A few shared rounds followed, but then an error from Paul in the second numbers round allowed Christopher to push his lead out to twenty points.  Paul finally won a round in the next letters round, but then lost more points in the last numbers round to ensure Christopher's win.  Paul buzzed in quickly on the conundrum, but it was invalid, and Christopher solved it shortly thereafter, finishing with a sizeable 56 to 24 victory.

I had a good game with two bad moments: I got so flustered on the first numbers round that I lost track of my backup plan and finished further away than both contestants, and then I missed a findable better word in the last letters round.  The rest went fairly well -- I was particularly happy with my solution to the last numbers round -- and I solved the conundrum quickly for a change, finishing comfortably ahead.

Round 1: N R E O L D I E T

I had LONER and DELETION.  I also wondered about ENTEROID, but the word I was thinking of was probably ENTERIC ("relating to the enteron; intestinal").  After time I noted REDOLENT as another eight.

Paul starts with RETOLD for six, but Christopher takes the points with the nice find of TENDRIL for seven.  David has found REDOLENT for his eight.

The other eights here are ORIENTED and LOITERED / DOLERITE ("a coarse-grained variety of basalt").

Christopher: TENDRIL

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

Round 2: H I C A E T R A N

I had EACH, AITCH, wanted an R for THERIAC and it obligingly turned up, then recognised that the final N gave a pair from episode 61: CRANIATE ("having a cranium or skull") / CARINATE ("formed with a carina; keel-like").  I also spotted the name CATHARINE, but not surprisingly it is not listed.

Christopher has CANTER for six, but Paul's declared seven of CHICANE is invalid because he has duplicated the C.  A shame, as it is a lovely word otherwise.  David mentions TRACHEA for seven, and then CRANIATE for eight.

That's all the eights listed.  There are more sevens than I feel like mentioning.

Christopher: CANTER
Paul: [invalid]

Scores: Christopher 0 (13), Paul 0, me 16

Round 3: Target 487 from 25 100 75 5 5 9

Bleah, I fell down a hole on this one.  The pair of fives mean there's not much leeway for targets not divisible by 5, and such was the case here.  The offsets for the standard method are 12 and 13; neither is very promising.  I saw a few one-aways, but got confused when I decided that I needed to write something down and only ended up with a two-away 485 = 5*100 - 75/5.  (What I had been trying to remember was 488 = 5*100 - 75/25 - 9.)  After time I recalled one of them, the much simpler 486 = 5*100 - 9 - 5.

Later checking revealed that there was a single solution, but I could not find it even after many minutes.  Both contestants declared one away with the 486 that I mentioned above.

Lily demonstrates the solution, and makes it all look extremely easy.  The key, of course, is noting that the offset of 12 can be gained as 9 + 75/25.  The question then becomes whether it is possible to reach 475 with 5, 5, 100, and the answer is yes.  Her solution -- the only one to the problem -- is 487 = (100 - 5)*5 + 9 + 75/25.

Christopher: 486
Paul: 486
Me: 485
Lily: 487

Scores: Christopher 7 (20), Paul 7, me 16

First break: LIME TAUT ("You can't go any further than this")

... because it is the ULTIMATE.

David's talk is about the word schadenfreude.

Round 4: P E D I K O S I D

I had PIED ("having patches of two or more colours, as various birds and other animals"), PIKED, SPIKED, wondered about PODDIES (it turns out to be acceptable, the plural of PODDY: "a handfed calf"; PODDY is also a verb), and was pleased to remove the uncertainty with the safe seven of IODISED.

Both contestants have found SPIKED for six.  David calls it a very Australian mix, as he has found POKIES, KIDDIES, KIDDOES, and PODDIES.

The other seven is IODIDES, but there are two eights here: DIPODIES (plural of DIPODY: "a group of two metrical feet") / DIOPSIDE (a mineral).

Christopher: SPIKED

Scores: Christopher 7 (26), Paul 7 (13), me 23

Round 5: D S O A R N E U S

I had SODA, ROADS, REASON, REASONS, DOURNESS, and DANSEURS (DANSEUR: "a male ballet dancer").  After time I noted down ASUNDER as another seven, and RESOUNDS / SOUNDERS as other eights.

The contestants each have six-letter words, Christopher with DURESS and Paul with SOARED.  David has found the anagrammatic trio of RESOUNDS / SOUNDERS / DOURNESS.

The other eight is ARSENOUS.  This round was the missed chance at a full monty; if only three vowels had been chosen then SOLANDERS (SOLANDER: "a box, especially one for botanical specimens, made in the form of a book, the front cover being the lid") would have been available for nine.

Christopher: DURESS

Scores: Christopher 7 (32), Paul 7 (19), me 31

Round 6: Target 670 from 75 100 7 5 5 8

I first looked at that factor of 10, and the solution easily followed: 670 = (75 - 8)*(5 + 5).  Then I considered descent from 700 to get 670 = 7*(100 - 5) + 5.  I wondered if I could make the target as 675 - 5, and time ran out while I was in the middle of writing down such an answer: 670 = (5 + 8 - 7)*100 + 75 - 5.

Christopher is five away with 665, but Paul declares that he has reached the target.  He starts with 7*100 and 7*5, though, and has used the 7 twice.  A tweak would have saved him, leading to the second of the solutions above.  That brings Christopher's answer back into consideration; it was 665 = 7*100 - 5*8 + 5.  Lily demonstrates the second of the solutions that I listed above.

With the contestants both starting with 7*100 I wondered if a solution could follow from that start.  A bit later I found such an answer: 670 = 7*100 + 5*8 + 5 - 75.

Christopher: 665
Paul: [invalid]
Me: 670
Lily: 670

Scores: Christopher 7 (39), Paul 7 (19), me 41

Second break: TWINE GET ("What online birds do")

A reference to Twitter, as such birds might be TWEETING.

Round 7: L M A O F B J A T

This starts with a noted internet initialism, and taking the third consonant earlier would have extended it.  Anyway... I had LOAM, FOAM, BOAT, ABAFT ("in the rear of; behind"), and ALOFT.  After time I noted BLOAT as another five, but could not better it.

Christopher has MALT for four, but Paul finally gets some ground back with FLOAT for five.  David points out that it was possible to put an A at the start of that to get AFLOAT for six.  Oh, dear, that brings back memories of episode 27; I have troubles seeing AFLOAT, it seems.

That is the only six, and there are a few fives.

Christopher: MALT

Scores: Christopher 7 (39), Paul 12 (24), me 46

Round 8: Target 336 from 25 50 5 8 1 5

Lily comments about how the fives have kept turning up, which just makes me want to point out that she keeps taking the numbers from the same spots all the time.  Of course they keep reappearing!

Anyway, I recognised the target as one of those patterns that I know: It is 6*7*8.  Obviously I wanted to use that, and I managed to make it work with 336 = (5 + 1)*(5 + 50/25)*8.  Very satisfying.  After time I looked for more conventional approaches and found a tweaked descent from 375 with 336 = 5*(50 + 25 - 8) + 1.

Paul has not managed to get into scoring range, finishing with 350.  Christopher has managed to get three away with 333 = (5 + 1)*50 + 25 + 8.  Note that adding the remaining 5 would have let him get one closer to the target.

Lily has found an alternative solution: 336 = (5 + 8)*25 + 1 + 50/5.

Christopher is now guaranteed the win, somewhat aided by Paul's invalid options.

Christopher: 333
Paul: [not in range]
Me: 336
Lily: 336

Scores: Christopher 7 (46), Paul 12 (24), me 56


For once I saw this quickly, too quickly to say what led me to it.  Paul buzzes in at the three-second mark with the incorrect ELEGANCE (he realised it was incorrect as he buzzed in), and Christopher finds the solution shortly after the restart.

Christopher: CHALLENGE (6s)
Paul: [invalid] (3s)

Final scores: Christopher 7 (56), Paul 12 (24), me 66

Paul managed the unusual result of an invalid answer in each type of round (letters, numbers, conundrum).  It is not clear how costly those errors would have been in practice, but note that if he had actually had what he declared in those rounds then there would have been a 50 point turnaround and he would have won by 18 points.  Christopher played consistently but not exceptionally tonight, although I did like his first round find of TENDRIL.  Tomorrow he faces that crucial fourth game, needing a win to have a chance of making it to the finals.


Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

RELINED (hope it is not invalid like many of the 're-' words)
CHAIR (wrote down RACHET, but wsa not confident and did not go with it. Is a word but not in my second edition Macquarie)
5*100-25+(9+5)=489 (2 off)
10 away (great solve Geoff)

JT said...

It looks like both the shufflers and lily didn't learn their lessons... I had a horrible last part..

invalid-(FOMAT- don't know where i pulled that from)
x Pulled too hard for exact solution
x not even close

Jan said...

Geoff, I love your comment about LMAO!

Mike, I want RELINED too. It's a word that is used in the dental industry for dentures, but I could not find it in the on-line Mac dictionary. Geoff??

Had a pretty good game, especially happy with my last 2 number rounds. Missed the conundrum. Got really close to solving it, but...

100*5 - 9 - 5 = 486 (7)
PODDIES (7) (there is no way I would have tried KIDDOES!)
7*(100-5) + 5 = 670 (10)
5*(50+25) - 8*5 + 1 = 336

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks, Mike; I was pretty pleased about that 336. To address some of your concerns: The Macquarie does not list RELINE, alas, so RELINED would get the thumbs down. It does not have RACHET, either, but perhaps you were thinking of RATCHET? TALON is a nice word, but there was no N in the mix.

My sympathies about the end, JT. I've had the odd FOMAT moment myself!

Sam Gaffney said...

I had a good game here, but it could have been very good - I was a few seconds too slow for AFLOAT in round 7, and felt like I might have found Round 3 in time in peak numbers form. Amused to see Geoff's identical bomb-outs.

I believe I had seen this episode before, for the Schadenfreude vignette.

486 = 5*100-9-5 Perhaps a minute more to Lily's way.
670 = (75-8)*(5+5)
BLOAT - kept thinking ABLOAT?!!
336 = (50+25-8)*5 + 1 Tried for 8*42 and 48*7 first.