Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Ep 91: Brett Chaiyawat, Rikki Irwin (November 12, 2012; originally aired December 6, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Brett Chaiyawat gets his turn in the champion's seat, and might become the first contestant to cross the series boundary if he can last the distance.  At one point in his life Brett noticed that he was watching movies quite regularly, so he decided to try and figure out how many movies he had actually seen.  He puts the total at eleven hundred movies, and he keeps a record of them that he updates when he sees a new one.

Tonight's challenger is Rikki Irwin, an American student who is studying mechanical engineering.  Rikki is particularly interested in robots and the logic of programming, and she'd like to combine those two areas by working in the field of smart prosthetics -- things like bionic arms and cochlear implants; she thinks it is a really cool field to work in.

Brett got the early lead with a couple of decent words that Rikki did not quite match.  The rest of the main rounds featured matched declarations, except that two of Rikki's answers were invalid; that allowed Brett to extend his lead considerably.  Neither ended up solving the tough conundrum, and Brett won comfortably by 59 to 29.

I played well, getting a maximum game in the main rounds.  That was good, but the conundrum proved extremely difficult for me and so the maximum game slipped through my fingers again.  Still, it was a welcome bit of form after some of last week's results.

Round 1: O I E T R W S A N

I had TORE, WRITE, WRITES, WARIEST, RATIONS, and then I realised that this was a retsina mix and found the familiar trio of NOTARISE / NOTARIES / SEƑORITA.

Rikki has WRITES for six, but Brett gets the points with WINTERS for seven.  David has NOTARIES, saying that it does crop up a fair bit and prospective contestants should memorise it.  I'll state that it is better to memorise NOTARISE from that mix, as it can have an S or D appended to it if available.

There's a lot of sevens here, as is to be expected with retsina in play.  The other possible eight is TINWARES, which seems to be legal in Scrabble.  I would have thought this was a mass noun, though, and hope it would be ruled against.


Scores: Brett 0 (7), Rikki 0, me 8

Round 2: R K O E G S I R T

I had GORE, OGRES, and GORIEST / GOITRES / GOITERS (the acceptable American spelling).  After time I noted STRIKER as another seven.

Rikki has STRIKE for six, missing the option of adding the R.  That is costly as Brett has RIOTERS for seven (which is a nice find).  David has STRIKER as his seven.

The other sevens are ROISTER and SKIRTER ("a shed hand who skirts and rolls fleeces") / SKIRRET (a type of plant).


Scores: Brett 7 (14), Rikki 0, me 15

Round 3: Target 821 from 25 100 75 2 7 2

Brett remarks that Lily's favourite mix worked for him last time, so he chooses it again.  The standard method says to work from 825, and there's a few obvious ways to get there but the most familiar is as 11*75.  I thought that might lead to just getting close, but then I realised that the other two large numbers gave the rest of the required result, leading to the solution 821 = (7 + 100/25)*75 - 2 - 2.  The various ways of making four can be swapped around there, of course.

Both contestants are two away at 823, but with different methods.  Brett's version is 823 = (7 + 2)*100 - 75 - 2, while Rikki has the slightly more complicated 823 = 7*100 + 75 + 2*25 - 2.  That was almost a really good result, as Lily demonstrates that a small adjustment to it gives a solution: 821 = 7*100 + 75 + 2*(25 - 2).

Brett: 823
Rikki: 823
Me: 821
Lily: 821

Scores: Brett 7 (21), Rikki 0 (7), me 25

First break: BEAU LOST ("Free from imperfection")

Such a thing might be ABSOLUTE.

David's talk is about words related to fire and the home: focus, hub, and curfew.

Round 4: N S A I L F U T E

I had SLAIN, FINALS (which are only a few games away), INSULATE, and INFLATES.

It's sixes from the contestants, with Brett having FAINTS while Rikki has FUTILE.  David has found INSULATE as his eight.

Once again there are a lot of sevens; the other eights are ALUNITES (ALUNITE being a mineral) and FISTULAE (one plural form of FISTULA: "a narrow passage or duct formed by congenital abnormality or by disease or injury [...]").


Scores: Brett 7 (27), Rikki 0 (13), me 33

Round 5: O E I G C T R A C


The contestants each declare sixes this time, but Rikki's choice of COATER is not valid.  Brett spells GOITER the American way (I fell into this same error until an episode of this show pointed out the difference to me), but that is fortunately listed.  David has found EROTICA for seven.

The other sevens are ORECTIC ("of or relating to desire"), ACROTIC (adjective derived from ACROTISM: "absence or weakness of the pulse"), and ARGOTIC (adjective derived from ARGOT: "the peculiar language or jargon of any class or group").

Some sources would allow CATEGORIC for nine, but the Macquarie only has CATEGORICAL.  Alas.

Rikki: [invalid]

Scores: Brett 7 (33), Rikki 0 (13), me 40

Round 6: Target 107 from 100 50 3 9 6 4

A rather trivial numbers round, which is always a bit disappointing.  Rikki manages to come unstuck here by getting her signs mixed up; she wrote down 100 + 9 + 6 - 4, then said that she meant 100 + 9 - 6 + 4 but wrote it down incorrectly.  She had twenty seconds to check it, though, so it's hard to feel entirely sorry for her.

Everyone else, including Richard, finds 107 = 100 + 4 + 3.

Brett: 107
Rikki: [invalid]
Me: 107
Richard: 107
Lily: 107

Scores: Brett 17 (43), Rikki 0 (13), me 50

Second break: BLURT PAY ("The clue for this one ends-")

That was Richard's attempt to end the clue ABRUPTLY.

Round 7: A O E L M D J E R

I had ALOE, LOAM, LOAMED, and REMODEL.  I also spotted MAJORED within time, but I know from previous experience that it is only listed in a verb sense as part of the phrase MAJOR IN, and so should not be allowed.  I thought there was a good chance that Rikki might fall into this trap, as it's a common American expression to talking about majoring in a subject.

Both contestants have six-letter words, though, Brett with ROAMED and Rikki with LOADER.  It is David who claims MAJORED, a decision he would not allow if he were adjudicating against himself in later seasons.

The other sevens are EMERALD and EARLDOM.  One could make a case that the American spelling MODELER should be allowed, since MODELLER is listed as a derived form from MODEL and the American forms are shown for the verbs.  It's treacherous ground, though, as it is not explicitly listed and David might rule against it.


Scores: Brett 17 (49), Rikki 0 (19), me 57

Round 8: Target 812 from 100 25 9 4 6 2

This large target at first looks like it might be tricky, but turns out to be fairly approachable.  I started off with the solution 812 = 9*100 - 4*25 + 2*6, then tweaked my way to the simple 812 = 2*(4*100 + 6), and finished with 810 + 2 via 812 = 9*(100 - 6 - 4) + 2.

Both contestants have solved this; Rikki used the first of those solutions that I found, while Brett and Lily both went with 812 = (2 + 6)*100 + 25 - 9 - 4.  Good solving all round!

Brett: 812
Rikki: 812
Me: 812
Lily: 812

Scores: Brett 27 (59), Rikki 10 (29), me 67


It's a tough conundrum, with lots of common letters but the obvious hooks not easy to work with.  I kept circling back to many variants of the -ATE ending (the first attempt was -ULATE, but there was also -ICATE, -INATE -IMATE, -UCATE, -UNATE to consider), but was not able to solve it within time as the remaining letters did not seem to go well together.  Neither contestant was able to solve it, and it took me a bit over six minutes longer before I finally found the solution; I had been on the right track all along, but overlooked CULMINATE as CULM- is hardly a common word fragment.

Brett: [no answer]
Rikki: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Final scores: Brett 27 (59), Rikki 10 (29), me 67

Brett got a winning margin in the first two rounds, and really the contestants were essentially matched aside from that.  A couple of invalid answers from Rikki made the margin larger, admittedly, but that was a little unlucky.  Solid play from Brett means he has just two more rounds to get through before the break for the finals, so he's got a reasonable shot at making it to series two.


Jan said...

I had an OK game, but was very disappointed that the 8 letter word I had in Rd 1 was not in the dictionary - WAITRONS - it refers to both female and male wait staff. It is in 2 other online dictionaries, but not the Macquarie :(

waitrons - invalid (0)
7*100 + 2*(75-2) + 25 = 821 (10)
4+3+100 = 107
(2+6)*100 + 25 - (4+9) = 812 (10)
1 min, 45 secs

Is Sam away at present? I miss his comments.

Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

SWEAR (also had STOWER,but was not confident and it was not in my second edition- one day I will see NOTARISE)
Brett's way (2 off)
100+9-(6-4)=107 (should have noticed the simple approach)
4*2*100+9+6=815 (3 off- should have got this one)

Geoff Bailey said...

Bad luck on WAITRONS, Jan -- it's an odd word, really, and always makes me think that the waiting staff have been replaced by robots. Maybe the Macquarie agrees.

Otherwise it was a fine game, scoring in every round. Plus you beat me by several minutes on the conundrum, so well done there!

Nice find of SKIRTER, Mike; I did not see it at the time. (I might not have risked it, either, but I'd have to see it before that could be an option.)

As far as NOTARISE goes, the first step (perhaps) is to get used to noticing RETSINA when it is there. As David frequently remarked in later episodes, it turns up a lot and is very fruitful in terms of its possible extensions to eights or nines.

Geoff Bailey said...

Oh, and yes, I believe Sam was away. He might already be back, but we'll find out when he next comments, I'm sure.

JT said...

Because of watching some of the eps last week I didn't comment... but now it's back to normal service now... I'm suprised you sturggled with this condundrum Geoff I got this fairly quickly although there was split moment where i thought it was incorrect... btw you have written COATER in round 5 rather than write "invalid"...


Jan said...

JT - getting CULMINATE in 2 secs is amazing. I just looked at the mix again, and am even more impressed!

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks for catching that COATER, JT -- I've fixed it now. And that was brilliant speed from you on the conundrum! I was certainly never going to match that speed, and I think it's rather harder than you give it credit for being. Perfectly natural when one solves it quickly, but I think you did really, really well here. Congratulations on an excellent game.

JT said...

Thanks both Jan and Geoff it's double edge sword with me on conundrums, I think like Sam I'll either see it realy quickly or not at all all though some of the "Countdown" condurums I've seen have absolutley stump me :p