Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ep 87: Leif Cooper, Rod Goulding (November 6, 2012; originally aired November 30, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Leif Cooper is back for his third night, and has displayed some consistently excellent letters form throughout.  Can he keep it up?  The answer shortly, but first we find out that he plays hockey for the Mentone Hockey Club, and has done so for eighteen years.  Richard asks if Leif is seriously competitive, but Leif demurs a little; he says that he is competitive, but does not play in a very competitive grade.

Tonight's challenger is Rob Goulding, described as an electrical engineer who owns a satellite installation business.  That is what is said, anyway, but I'm choosing to assume that he installs satellite dishes / antennae and associated infrastructure rather than satellites themselves.  If I'm wrong about that then I am seriously impressed by his line of work.  But we don't get to find out about that, as Richard informs us that Rod loves sport.  Rod played basketball and rugby union at school, and also did some cross-country running.  He enjoys watching any kind of sport, and in particular is a Hawks supporter in the AFL and favours the Newcastle Knights in the NRL.

Both contestants started out well with a couple of good words; really good finds in round two, in fact.  Leif hit form with the numbers tonight, and continued to show excellent form in the letters.  In contrast, Rod failed to live up to the promise of those first two rounds and consistently slipped behind in the remaining letters rounds.  Leif was assured of the win going into the conundrum, but neither ended up solving it; Leif still finished with a commanding 61 to 24 victory.

I started off with a good game, hitting maxes for the first two-thirds of the match.  Perhaps the frustration of not being able to pull clear of Leif got to me, as my last two main rounds were not as good as they could have been.  There were better options to be had that I found after time, although I'd still not have found David's word in the last letters round so the maximal game was never an option.  I needed the conundrum in order to be safe, and was happy to solve it relatively quickly to nudge into the seventies again.

Round 1: H E S E N S I R U

I had SHEEN, SENSE, SHRINES, SUNRISE, and stalled for a bit.  I might have had to leave it there, but then I was extremely pleased to spot ENURESIS (bed-wetting) for eight.  I encountered that word thanks to the potential for ENURETIC in episode 410, although I had forgotten the meaning since then.

Both contestants have found ENSURES for seven; David mentions SHINERS as another seven but has found INRUSHES for eight.

That's the only two eights listed; the other sevens are HEIRESS, INSURES, REISSUE, INHERES (INHERE: "to exist permanently and inseparably, as a quality, attribute, or element; belong intrinsically; be inherent"), and SEINERS (SEINER being someone who fishes with a SEINE: "a fishing net which hangs vertically in the water, having floats at the upper edge and sinkers at the lower") / SEREINS (SEREIN: "a very fine rain falling from a clear sky after sunset") / SERINES (SERINE being a type of amino acid).


Scores: Leif 0 (7), Rod 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: C A T O I P C E K

I had COAT, COATI, PATIO, wondered about ATOPIC, then POCKET, OPIATE, and ECTOPIA ("the morbid displacement of a bodily organ or part").  I was extremely pleased about that as I'd just commented in the previous game about having missed it several times in the past.

Both contestants have found seven-letter words, which I admit took me aback; it serves notice that this could be a quality game brewing.  Leif has done well to find the compound ICEPACK, and Rod has also done well with ECTOPIC ("in an abnormal position or place, as of a pregnancy outside the womb, a talipes, etc.").  Great stuff!  David mentions COCKPIT as another seven in this mix.

The remaining sevens are PEACOCK and PETCOCK ("a small valve or tap, as for draining off excess or waste material from the cylinder of a steam engine or for checking the water level in a boiler").


Scores: Leif 7 (14), Rod 7 (14), me 15

Round 3: Target 765 from 100 10 5 7 4 9

With only one large number the standard method would start rather far away at 700.  A quick tweak brought the target back very close, and the solution that I had was 765 = 7*(100 + 9) + 10/5.  Just now I have seen that going a little higher would have produced the simpler solution 765 = 7*(100 + 10) - 5.  Oh, well.

Still within time, I noticed the factor of 9 and attempted to use that; the cofactor is 85, which is 5*17, so the two other solutions that I found were 765 = 9*(100 - 10 - 5) and 765 = 9*5*(10 + 7).

Rod has ended up five away with 760; Leif has solved this exactly, though, using the first of the solutions that I found.  Lily says that this was also her method.

I will note that a non-tweaked approach is findable: 765 = 7*100 + 5*(9 + 4).

Leif: 765
Rod: 760
Me: 765
Lily: 765

Scores: Leif 17 (24), Rod 7 (14), me 25

First break: SUB QUOTE ("Thrown at weddings")

The objects in question being the brides' BOUQUETS.

David's talk is about words that have been named after earls (and one lord): cardigan, derby, sandwich, tupperware, and lamington.

Round 4: M O I D U M R E D

I had ODIUM, MEDIUM, IMMURED (IMMURE: "to enclose within walls"), and MUDDIER.

Rod attempts the unusual five of MOURD, but there's no entry for it in the Macquarie (I'd not heard of it either, and from the looks of things neither had David).  Leif, meanwhile, has found DRUMMED for seven.  David continues his informal attempt at sporting connections today with DUMMIED and MUDDIER.

The other seven here is DERMOID ("skin-like; dermatoid").  The other sixes are IMMURE, MEMOIR, DIMMED, DIMMER, and DORMIE ("(of a player or side in golf) being in the lead by as many holes as are still to be played").

Rod: [invalid]

Scores: Leif 24 (31), Rod 7 (14), me 32

Round 5: G I T O S U R E W

I had GIST, GOUTS, and GOUTIER, which I might not have been sure of except that I've mentioned it twice recently as a possible seven (in episode 79 and episode 83).  After time I investigated GUTSIER / GUSTIER, finding out that GUSTIER is acceptable but that GUTSIER is not.  I also noted GOITRES / GOITERS (American spelling) as other possible sevens.

Rod has GROUSE for six, but Leif pulls even further ahead with GORIEST for seven.  David mentions OUTGREW as another seven here.

The remaining unmentioned seven is OUTRIGS.

Note that staying with only three vowels would have brought in a precious N for -ING, allowing an easy find of ROUSTING for eight.  But this is a rather exceptional round: I would almost certainly have gone vowel diving here, as there has been a shortage of A's in the game to this point and after the first six letters the classic vowel dump AGOUTIS is a strong possibility.  The E turning up just makes it even better, as there is an alternative spelling of AGOUTIES.  Of course, OUTRAGES may well have been an easier find for most.


Scores: Leif 31 (38), Rod 7 (14), me 39

Round 6: Target 299 from 100 25 75 7 4 10

The standard method clearly applies, and it's just a question of how to get that final offset.  I conserved the small numbers getting to the 300, which worked out nicely; my solution was 299 = (100/25)*75 + 10 - 7 - 4.

Both contestants have solved this, at what looks like the last second or two.  Rod's solution is 299 = (10 - 7)*100 - 4 + 75/25.  Leif's version is essentially the same as my solution: 299 = (75/25)*100 + 10 - 7 - 4.  This is also how Lily solved it; note that this is also effectively the same as Rod's solution, just swapping the roles of (10 - 7) and (75/25).

Leif: 299
Rod: 299
Me: 299
Lily: 299

Scores: Leif 41 (48), Rod 17 (24), me 49

Second break: CITE FONT ("Also thrown at weddings")

Heh, that is amusing.  In this case, it is CONFETTI being thrown.

Round 7: N A L F A H I T O

I had FLAN, HALF, LIANA ("a climbing plant or vine"), FAITH, and AFLOAT -- more recent game knowledge coming into play, as I missed AFLOAT in episode 81.  I also wrote down ALATION and FOLIANT as speculative but correctly decided against them.  ALATION ("the state of having wings") is a rare variant of ALATE ("winged"), but too rare for the Macquarie, and while DEFOLIANT is a word there is no particular need for FOLIANT.  After time I did spot a valid seven of FANTAIL, putting paid to my hopes of a maximum game.

Rod needed to outscore Leif on this round to stay in contention, but his choice of FLOAT is not going to do it.  Leif's answer rubs salt into the wound as he has opted for AFLOAT; Rod just about headdesks in response.  David has shown that I was never going to get a maximum game as he has found the eight of HALATION ("the blurring in a photographic negative or print of very light areas (as a window in an interior view) caused by the reflection of light from the back of the support on which the emulsion is coated").

That is the only eight, and FANTAIL the only seven.  The other sixes are TALION ("retaliation as authorised by law [...]") / LATION (an Aboriginal English shortening of RELATION), ATONAL, FONTAL ("relating to or being the source of something"), and HIATAL.


Scores: Leif 47 (54), Rod 17 (24), me 55

Round 8: Target 520 from 100 50 25 4 9 3

I missed my chance to get clear of Leif last round, but there's always hope in the numbers.  The target is five away from 525, but I could not see any obvious route to a 5.  I wrote down a fallback one-away 521 = 4*(100 + 25 + 3) + 9, and that was where I had to stay.

After time I finally realised that 9 - 4 is 5, and there was just enough leeway in the rest for that to be worth a solution: 520 = 3*(100 + 50 + 25) - (9 - 4).  Disappointing to overlook that, as it flowed easily once I realised that I could make a 5 after all.

Rod is five off the target with 525, presumably 525 = (4 + 3)*(50 + 25) or similar; note that subtracting the 9 gets to 516 which is one closer to the target.  Leif is just one away, though with 521 = 9*50 + 100 - 25 - 4.

Lily has found another working approach, using the factorisation 5*104 and finding another path to the 5; her solution is 520 = (50/25 + 3)*(100 + 4).  Oh, very nicely done!

These turn out to be the only two solutions (ignoring the trivial option of replacing the 3 in Lily's solution by 9/3).  A tough round, but the options were there.

Leif: 521
Rod: 525
Me: 521
Lily: 520

Scores: Leif 54 (61), Rod 17 (24), me 62


I've been unable to get clear of Leif, just being too slow in the previous two rounds to find the better options, so I need to solve this for surety.  I saw the -ULATE option reasonably early, and untangled the rest to find the solution.  Neither contestant ends up solving this, and the scores stay unchanged.

Note that this is an instance of a conundrum with more than one solution, as the letters also form PECULATES.  A little careless of the show to let that one past.

Leif: [no answer]
Rod: [no answer]
Me: SPECULATE (5.5s)

Final scores: Leif 54 (61), Rod 17 (24), me 72

This was certainly Leif's best numbers performance so far, suggesting that my early impressions about his abilities on that front were inaccurate.  He continues to demonstrates excellent letter skills and I have rarely been able to take points off him there.  His best game to date produces his best score yet, and on form like this he looks like a serious contender.

Rod started off really well, and ECTOPIC was a great find.  Maybe the pressure got to him after that point, though, as he just was not able to find those longer options and Leif ran away with the game.

Leif faces the crucial fourth game tomorrow, but this late into the piece he may need the fifth win to make it to the finals rankings.


Jan said...

Congrats on beating Leif. He certainly is stiff competition. I had a reasonably good score, but could not outdo Leif. And I was all over the conundrum, but could not find it even after a few minutes.

(100+9)*7 - 10/5 = 765 (10)
(10-7)*100 = 300. 75/25=3 4-3=1. 300-1=299 (10)
(9-3)*100 - 50 - 25 - 4 = 521 (7)

Mike Backhouse said...

Bombed out in a few rounds today:

x- mistake
DRUMMED (ENURESIS-how do you come up with these words Geoff?-although that's one I hope not to have to use in everyday life!)
WREST (surprised GUTSIER was not allowed Geoff and good one on GOITRES Jan)
Leif's way
x-looking desperately for something with -ATION and ran out of time. Should have written easy one first as back up.
(50+25)*(4+3)=525 (5 off)

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks, Jan and Mike. Pretty good wordwork from each of you, I'd say, but Leif really does not leave much wriggle room, and displayed previously unhinted-at numerical ability today. Definitely a tough one to win.

Mike: With regard to ENURESIS, as I said it had popped up once before and I recall a comment from Sam about it in chat that helped it stay a little more clearly in my memory. On another day I might well not have found it, but the right neurons fired this time.

Jan said...

Yes Geoff, I was surprised at Leif's maths ability in this game. I was thinking I might be able to catch up on the numbers, but alas, no.

I also know the word enuresis - not that I found it tho'! In a 'previous life' I treated kids as a Dental therapist, and that was one of our medical questions for the parents, because often a drug that was used to treat this, that reacted with the local anaesthetic.

Mike Backhouse said...

Looks like we miss out on Leif's fourth game, which he surprisingly lost and apparently went down to the wire.

Jan said...

I have written a comment on the L&N website, asking that they put the game up there. Hopefully they listen to this request!

Mike Backhouse said...

Excellent Jan!

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks for the attempt, Jan; we'll have to see if it will eventually make an appearance. It's irritating to have a hole in the coverage like that.

Also, apologies for the delays; I'm attempting to catch up again...