Friday, 2 November 2012

Ep 84: Nick Carr, Robert Jackson (November 1, 2012; originally aired November 25, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

This is Nick Carr's third night, and Richard mentions that Nick is used to being in a TV studio.  Nick agrees, stating that he was lucky enough to "dabble in a bit of television" a few years back.  He goes on to explain that he was doing medical stories on the ABC with George Negus; they used to give good health information about stories on subjects like asthma and diabetes.  Nick would talk to people "out in the fields" and sometimes he would also be the expert on the couch there in the studio with George.

Tonight's challenger is Robert Jackson, a musician and composer who plays guitar and saxophone; he is also a painter and an actor.  Richard asks about these many facets, and Robert responds that you get a lot of time to practise different things over the years.  He says that he is mostly a musician, and has come to acting "through the back door" -- doing theatre shows and getting a small part here and there, and then one thing led to another.

It might not have seemed it towards the end, but this was a fairly close game.  It turns out that the damage was done in the first round, where Nick stretched too far and ended up with an invalid word.  The numbers went a bit each way but slightly in Robert's favour; Robert also managed to pick up quite a few useful points in the letters, albeit with a slightly risky play in one round.  Nick ended up solving the conundrum quickly again, but Robert had the win, 50 to 39.

I could have had an optimal game here if I had been a bit faster.  As it was, I overlooked two better options until after time.  They were findable; I think this was just the effects of some recent sleep deprivation kicking in.  The numbers were a pretty bland bunch today so it was all about the letters, and I was pleased to find some good answers.  Coupled with a fast conundrum solution this pushed my score up into the seventies again at last.

Round 1: P I E N F I A N S

I had PINE, PANINI, PINNIES, and FANNIES.  For a moment I thought that NINEPINS was there, but it would need a third N.

Robert has PAINS for five, but Nick tries PANINIS for seven.  He says that he hopes it will be allowed, but -- as commenter Jan pointed out for the similar mix in episode 69 -- PANINI is the plural form of PANINO, and Nick's answer is invalid.  David has gone with PINNIES as his seven.  (He calls it the shortening of "pinafores" but, as I mentioned in that episode, the Macquarie fails to give an explicit plural form of PINNY in that sense; PINNIES is valid, but as the plural of PINNIE being colloquial for a pinball machine.)

The other seven here is ASININE.

Nick: [invalid]
Robert: PAINS

Scores: Nick 0, Robert 0 (5), me 7

Round 2: G D I U R E L I T

I had GRID, GUIDER, GLIDER, and TRUDGE.  I had looked at -IER but not made anything from it, but after time I found GUILTIER as the eight.  Then I added GUILTED and DILUTER (this is a noun, not "more dilute") as other sevens.

Both contestants have gone with GUIDER for six; that was not a surprise, as it would have been fresh in everyone's memory after Christine found it in yesterday's episode.  David is on track with GUILTIER for eight.

That looks like the only eight; the other seven is GUILDER, the former monetary unit of the Netherlands.

Robert: GUIDER

Scores: Nick 6, Robert 6 (11), me 13

Round 3: Target 218 from 25 75 50 6 7 6

Nick seems to have developed a fondness for the balanced mix, which has been nice after all the family mixes of previous weeks.  The standard method clearly applies with the target being 7 away from 225; I started off with 218 = 6*50 - 75 - 7 and then also found the variation 218 = 6*25 + 75 - 7.  And just because tweaking is fun, I'll add (seen after time) the solution 218 = 7*(25 - 6/6) + 50.

Nick has unfortunately ended up with nothing to declare as he realised too late that he had used the 25 twice.  Robert has solved this with the first of the solutions that I had, and that is also how Lily solved it.

Nick: [no answer]
Robert: 218
Me: 218
Lily: 218

Scores: Nick 6, Robert 16 (21), me 23

First break: VIRUS ONE ("Take this home to remind you")

Such a memento would be a SOUVENIR.

David's talk is about the word jinx.

Round 4: S A H S A E C R D


Nick has CHASER for six -- missing the obvious pluralisation -- but Robert takes the points again with CRASHED for seven.  David has found HARASSED for eight; at the end of the show he also mentions CHARADES, but did not do so now.  Perhaps someone in the audience found it?

Robert is now over twenty points ahead, and Nick is in a lot of trouble.

Those look like the only eights; the other sevens are CHARADE, CRASHES / CHASERS / ESCHARS (ESCHAR: "a hard crust or scab formed on the skin, as from a burn"), ARCADES, DASHERS, CAESARS (CAESAR in lowercase being colloquial for a caesarian section), and CHASSÉD (CHASSÉ as a noun is a term from dancing: "a kind of gliding step in which one foot is kept in advance of the other"; CHASSÉ as a verb is "to execute a chassé"),


Scores: Nick 6, Robert 16 (28), me 31

Round 5: G O T E R M U O C

I had GROT, OUTER, and MORGUE.  I had considered the OUT- fragment, but it was not until just after time expired that I saw OUTCOME as a seven.

Nick has COURT for five, tying in to his interest in real tennis, but Robert continues to build a formidable lead with MOOTER for six.  He is not sure of it, but it does get the nod.  David has found OUTCOME as his seven.

The other sevens are GOURMET and ECOTOUR ("a tour of a district which is planned in line with ecotourism", which is to say so that it involves no degradation of the environment).

The other sixes here are RECTUM and TERGUM ("the dorsal surface of a body segment of an arthropod").

Robert: MOOTER

Scores: Nick 6, Robert 22 (34), me 37

Round 6: Target 162 from 25 75 6 3 5 4

I recognised the target as 2*81, which is to say two times three to the fourth power.  I liked that factorisation so much that I focused on that instead of the standard method, but I'll point out (seen after time) that the standard method could give a reasonably straightforward 162 = 6*25 + 3*4.  Anyway, I started off with 162 = (75 - 25 + 4)*3, then found 162 = (75 + 6)*(5 - 3) and 162 = (25 + 5 - 3)*6.  I ran out of time as I was writing down my favourite version, though: 162 = 3*6*(4 + 5).

Robert is six away with 156, but Nick finally gets some ground back by getting to a one-away 161 = 4*25 + 75 - 6 - 5 - 3.  He still needs to win all the remaining rounds, but at least he won't need a full monty into the bargain.

Lily demonstrates the first of the solutions listed above.

Nick: 161
Robert: 156
Me: 162
Lily: 162

Scores: Nick 6 (13), Robert 22 (34), me 47

Second break: PORT PREY ("Lost and found is full of this")

It's generally full of lost PROPERTY.

Round 7: H R A A E Y S T N


Both contestants have found SHANTY for six, and Robert is now guaranteed to win.  David has found ANTHERS (ANTHER: "the pollen-bearing part of a stamen") as another seven.

The other sevens are ASHTRAY, HYAENAS (HYAENA being a variant spelling of HYENA), RHATANY (a shrub), and THENARS (THENAR: "the fleshy mass of the outer side of the palm of the hand").

Robert: SHANTY

Scores: Nick 6 (19), Robert 22 (40), me 54

Round 8: Target 202 from 100 50 8 6 10 4

Robert persists with the family mix, and gets another rather low target.  All the numbers are even and an odd target might pose some challenge, but the target was also even, alas.  I started with 202 = 2*100 + 2, where one 2 is 10 - 8 and the other is 6 - 4, then shortened it to 202 = 4*50 + 8 - 6.  After time I managed to get the factorisation to work, finding 202 = (100 + 6 - 50/10)*(8/4).

Both contestants have solved this using the second of those solutions above, and Lily has nothing to (ahem) add to that.

Nick: 202
Robert: 202
Me: 202

Scores: Nick 16 (29), Robert 32 (50), me 64


The X stands out, leading to the start of the word, and the V is a good guide to the end.  I had the solution quickly, and Nick got there only a little later.  Robert buzzes in at about the same moment, but Nick was faster.

Nick: EXCLUSIVE (2.5s)
Robert: [no answer]

Final scores: Nick 16 (39), Robert 32 (50), me 74

Some good play by Robert, but one would have to say that this was a game of missed opportunities for Nick.  Most clearly, if he had settled for PANINI in the first round there would have been an eleven point swing and we would have gone to a conundrum tiebreaker; on limited evidence one would have to back him to win that.  If he'd noticed his error in round three he might have corrected it in time to gain ten points (not quite enough on its own) and if he'd just pluralised CHASER in round four he'd have gained seven points.  But those three errors (or oversights) combined to put him out of contention, and it's Robert who is the new champion.


Jan said...

Geoff, does the show have a policy on words that maybe shouldn't be used at 6pm, but are in the dictionary? I found FANNIES in the first round, as well as PINNIES. Just wondering what they would have done, if a contestant declared something like that!

I thought Nick looked familiar. Used to watch the George Negus show

GUILTIER (8) really happy finding that in the time
6*25 + 75 - 7 = 218 (10)
6*25 + 4*3 = 162 (10)
4*50 + (8-6) = 202 (10)
5 secs

Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine.

x error
Lily's way
(100+(50/10-4))*(8-6)=202 (for some reason I was aiming at getting a 101*2 based solve and ended up going the scenic route rather than the more straightforward options outlined. Whew!)
5 sec - a few conundrums at last in recent games!

JT said...

Robert seemed fimilar....

HEARTS-almost went with invalid HEARTENS

Geoff Bailey said...

Jan: The show has a policy, yes. The case of FANNIES is a touch borderline since they could mention only the American usage (slang/colloquial for the backside) rather than the British/Australian one (female genitalia). They'd probably decide that they would prefer it not to be aired, though.

Note that the policy is also ruled by the G timeslot that the show was aired in, so it is not necessarily just their opinion. One would expect them to err on the side of caution as a result.

The two stated options that they give are:

* Offer the contestant a replacement word to declare, preferably of equal length but otherwise of the next longest available length; or
* Scrap the entire round and play a replacement one.

The latter would likely only happen under fairly extreme circumstances, as it has the potential to be much less fair to the contestant. (Or, indeed, to the other contestant.) I doubt they would ever invoke it in practice, but they keep it available as a fallback position.

Geoff Bailey said...

Also: Great game, Jan. Once more we'd have been tied going into the conundrum. Some really good words from you tonight!

Mike: Nice work with the 202 -- it was the scenic route, but still impressive to get it to work. And another solved conundrum! I'm glad you've been picking them up recently.

Good thing you avoided HEARTENS, JT -- it would have been an excellent find if the vowels were the other way around. And excellent conundrum speed!