Sunday, 11 November 2012

Ep 90: Phil Moore, Brett Chaiyawat (November 9, 2012; originally aired December 3, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Phil Moore is back for his third night, and with the finals series so close he is the last contender for a finals berth.  Richard asks which facet of the game Phil favours, and Phil responds that before he started he thought that he handled them equally well, but now he thinks that his letters are actually better.  He adds that his children (Ellen and John, who are still in primary school) like to do the numbers.

Tonight's challenger is Brett Chaiyawat, an auditor who enjoys playing games based on thinking and strategy.  That covers a wide range of territory, but the one he specifically mentions is a card game based on Star Wars.  Brett expounds that the strategic part comes where you have, say, a thousand cards to choose from and you have to choose sixty of them to make up the deck which you will play with.  He adds that he has done pretty well in that game, being number one in Australia and then representing Australia in the world championships.  That was in 1997, I believe, but I can't find much useful information about it online.

It ended up being a rather low scoring game, with each contestant having an invalid word, an invalid numbers solution, and nothing to declare in a numbers round.  No round had both contestants scoring, and although there were some pretty reasonable words found the scores were still in the low twenties going into the conundrum.  Neither managed to solve it, and it was Brett who emerged with the win, 25 to 21.

I had one of my best games for a while, with only one round not maximal.  I saw the best answer after time but might not have risked it in practice.  I took around six seconds to solve the conundrum, and I'm OK with that.  A good game on which to finish the week.

Round 1: R C P E I T D A K

I had PRICE, PRICED, and PRICKED.  I had been mentally pleading for a final vowel, as an E would replicate a memorable round from the series three grand final and allow PREDICATE for nine.  Other vowels also are generally helpful, with a U giving PICTURED or CAPTURED, an O giving OPERATIC, and an I being better again with PEDIATRIC / PATRICIDE.

Brett ended up with PACKET for six, but Phil managed one better with PIRATED for seven.  David could not better it, and chose PREDICT as his seven.

That does seem to be the best possible -- some sources list PICRATED, but not the Macquarie -- and the other sevens are TRACKED, TRICKED, PARTIED, TACKIER, PRICKET ("a sharp metal point on which to stick a candle"), and PICRATE (a chemical) / PARETIC ("someone who has general paresis", where paresis is "incomplete motor paralysis").


Scores: Phil 7, Brett 0, me 7

Round 2: N E R U S E G I R

When the last consonant was called I was wondering if it would be an S for ENURESIS again, but not such luck.  I had RUNE, NURSE, ENSURE, and worried about REUSING.  I eventually -- and correctly -- decided that it was rather likely to require the hyphen, so had to stay with ENSURE for six.  After time I spotted INSURER for seven and REINSURE for eight, although I would probably not have risked the latter in an actual game.  It turns out to be valid, though, demonstrating how uncertain the situation with RE- words can be.

Both contestants declare seven-letter words, but Phil has fallen into the REUSING trap and his answer is invalid.  Brett levels the score with his choice of RINGERS.  David has accurately found REINSURE for eight.

The other eight is SEIGNEUR ("a feudal lord").  The other sevens are RUINERS, RESURGE, and GREISEN (a type of rock).

Phil: [invalid]

Scores: 7 apiece

Round 3: Target 478 from 25 75 4 3 9 7

The standard method is clearly the way to go, with the target being 475 + 3 and the 3 available.  I took the complicated approach with 478 = 4*75 + 7*25 + 3, but it got the job done.  I ran out of time writing down the more natural 478 = (9 + 7)*25 + 75 + 3.

Phil realises that he has re-used a number in his solution (just like he was prone to do last night), so has nothing to declare.  Brett declares 475, but his answer turns very strange indeed.  He starts with (75 + 25 + 7 + 9)*4, which is 464, and then realises that he has made a mistake in whatever he did.

Lily demonstrates the solution that I was not able to get down within time.

Phil: [no answer]
Brett: [invalid]
Me: 478
Lily: 478

Scores: Phil 7, Brett 7, me 17

First break: BRAT POLE ("Easily moved")

Something that is easily moved is PORTABLE.

David's talk is about some other terms for paradise: seventh heaven, cloud nine, Shangri-La, and utopia.

Round 4: H I B A E S N O T

I had BASH and BASIN, and wanted a final T for ABSINTHE.  It turned up, and I also wrote down the other familiar eights of BOTANIES / BOTANISE / NIOBATES / OBEISANT.  This mix has turned up once before in episode 348, but in any case I was confident that those were all the eights.  Of course, I should have wanted a final M for BOHEMIANS but I only saw that after time.

Phil has rather surprisingly been unable to better BIAS for four.  The usual trick of ignoring the S and looking for words to append it to would hopefully have let him find NOTES for five, but in any case Brett has decided to risk BOTANIES for eight and gets the points.  David does not mention what he found, perhaps not wanting to overshadow Brett's good word.

Phil: BIAS

Scores: Phil 7, Brett 15, me 25

Round 5: T F L A I D C O U

A possible premature fifth consonant here; I'd have been a little tempted to chase that E, which would have ended up with OUTFIELD for eight.  As it was, I had FLAT, LIFT, FLOAT, and OUTLAID.  After time I noted FUCOID (a type of seaweed) as an interesting six.  Unfortunately, it is also the adjective form, so FUCOIDAL is not valid.

Brett declares FLACID for six, but of course the correct spelling is FLACCID and his answer is invalid.  Phil has found OUTLAID for seven to close up the gap again; David has gone for FACTOID as his seven.

The other seven in this mix is COTIDAL ("relating to a coincidence of tides").  The other sixes are DACOIT ("Indian English one of a band of armed thieves; bandit"), COITAL, and TOLUID (variant spelling of TOLUIDE: "an amide which contains a methylphenyl group united to the nitrogen").

Brett: [invalid]

Scores: Phil 14, Brett 15, me 32

Round 6: Target 854 from 75 50 7 9 4 3

Five of the same numbers as last numbers round... oh, well.  The standard method applies again, wanting to make this as 850 + 4; fortunately the rest cooperate decently for that, and I had the solution 854 = (9 + 3)*75 - 50 + 4.  Considerably after time I finally noticed the factor of 7, leading to the solution 854 = 7*(75 + 50 - 3).

This time Brett is nowhere close, while Phil declares that he thinks he has it.  But what he has actually computed is (7 + 4)*75 + 9*3, and that is 852.  That is just two away which would have otherwise been quite a good result, but since he declared 854 he cannot get the points.

Lily demonstrates the solution that I found within time.

Phil: [invalid]
Brett: [not in range]
Me: 854
Lily: 854

Scores: Phil 14, Brett 15, me 42

Second break: HAIR CRAM ("You're probably in one right now")

I'd have guessed that more viewers would have been on a couch than an ARMCHAIR, mind you.

Round 7: L Q T E I E M F R


Brett has the slightly risky MELTER for six (it turns out to be valid), but is outdone by Phil's find of FERTILE for seven.  David has also found it, and it is the only one.

There's a goodly number of sixes here, more than I feel like listing.


Scores: Phil 21, Brett 15, me 49

Round 8: Target 596 from 25 100 50 4 3 2

Brett shakes things up with three of each.  The standard method is clear to attempt once more, and I started with the straightforward 596 = 2*3*100 - 4 (which honestly took me somewhat longer than it should have, as I tried to make the 6 in rather more complicated ways before realising the previous).  I wondered if I could use 100/25 for the final difference, and still within time found the alternative 596 = 3*4*50 - 100/25.

Phil has ended up one off the target with 597, presumably (4 + 2)*100 - 3.  But both Brett and Lily have solved this the same way that I did at first.  That puts Brett ahead again, at the crucial point.

Phil: 597
Brett: 596
Me: 596
Lily: 596

Scores: Phil 21, Brett 25, me 59


I admit I just stared at this for a bit with nothing coming to mind.  Then I considered the -ULAR ending, and although it was not correct it had enough of the right sound to it to guide me to the solution.  Neither contestant was able to solve this within time.

Phil: [no answer]
Brett: [no answer]

Final scores: Phil 21, Brett 25, me 69

A low-scoring game tonight, in large part due to numbers difficulties from both contestants.  There were excellent words found throught today, though, it's just that no single contestant put them together.  In the end the numbers did prove the difference, with Brett being the only contestant to reach the target correctly in any round.  And note that if Phil had correctly declared 852 in round 6 then he would have won the game by three points!

There are not enough games remaining for Brett to make it into the finals rankings, so those contestants are now known.  (Unless someone drops out, but even in that case Brett is extremely unlikely to be able to be able to overtake the current ninth-place Esther Perrins.)  Not much longer, now...


Jan said...

Re Ep. 88 - Geoff, I didn't know you could do that maths with google. That is really neat. And yes, I did do it right! I was so surprised that Leif lost, because he seemed a better player than Phil. I guess he just had a not-so-good game.

Even though I didn't get the conundrum I had a fairly good game, losing just one letters game.

(9-3)*75 + 25 + (7-4) = 478 (10)
3*4*75 - 50 + (9-7) = 852 (7)
2*3*100 - 4 = 596 (10)

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice game, Jan! BASTION is a lovely word to find, but with the E also it produces that quartet of eights. Once you've seen it enough times it will stick. *chuckles*

You very nearly had the other numbers round, too -- just needed to contemplate that other way to make the 12. Overall a strong game, and FACTOID is a great spot.

As you'll probably have noticed by the time you read this, I've changed my mind after all and the episode 88 post is now up. Enjoy!

Mike Backhouse said...

Not great for me, was beaten by contestants on letters games except the first, and only got one numbers game.

Lily's way
(50+25)*4*2-3=597 (1 off)

Geoff Bailey said...

Mike: The contestants played rather well between them on the letters tonight, with REINSURE being the only max that they missed. So it's no shame the results on that front. In fact, thanks to the numbers results you'd have beaten Phil and only lost to Brett by four points. My sympathies to you about the error in the first numbers round -- it seems there was a lot of that tonight.