Thursday, 13 December 2012

NG 21

And new game 21 is now available, as are the longer details on the previous game.

Round 1: S S O E P D E O M

I had POSES / POSSE and DEPOSES.  Nothing longer presented itself.

The other sevens are a very Australian SPEEDOS (well found by Jan), OSMOSED, and DEMOSES (not a verb form, but rather the plural of DEMOS: "the people or commons of an ancient Greek state").

Round 2: N Z E A T E K I B

Ah, Z, K, and B together... reminds me of the time I found the full monty KIBITZERS in a Countdown round.  Not on the cards this time, alas.  I had NEAT, ENATE ("relating to that which grows outwards"), TAKEN, BEATNIK, and BETAINE.  Heh, it was only a few games ago that I commented about missing BETAINE.

The other seven is BETAKEN.

Round 3: Target 112 from 50 75 7 3 2 8

The target is recognisable as 7*16, and hence 112 = 7*2*8 follows.  There's many other ways to get there.

Round 4: R O T T E B A S I

A provocative mix, and with many near-nines.  I had TORT, OTTER, BETTOR, ABETTOR, ABETTORS, BOASTER, TOASTER, and wondered about TOASTIER.  I had not been certain about ABETTORS (or ABETTOR), but thought that I had looked it up before and that it was a legal term.  This turned out to be essentially correct: ABETTOR is a variant spelling of ABETTER mostly used in legal contexts.

TOASTIER, on the other hand, is not valid -- the Macquarie does not even list TOASTY.

The other eights are BIRETTAS (BIRETTA: "a stiff, square cap with three (or four) upright projecting pieces extending from the centre of the top to the edge; worn by Roman Catholic ecclesiastics") and TABORETS (TABORET: "a low seat without back or arms, for one person; a stool").

The near-misses that I'd noted included BATTERIES, ABATTOIRS, and OBSTINATE.

Round 5: A A U H W R O M T

From a helpful mix to a rather unhelpful one, although that final T was a great relief.  I had HOUR, AUTHOR (speculatively seen since the AUH went up), and MAHOUT ("(in India and South-East Asia) the keeper and driver of an elephant"), correctly rejecting OUTWARM and OUTHARM.

The other sixes are WARMTH and TRAUMA (a nice find by Mike and Sam).

Round 6: Target 653 from 100 75 25 7 7 3

Clearly the standard method applies, and there's a few ways to do it.  I started with 653 = 7*100 - (75 - 25) + 3, then noted the alternative 653 = 7*75 + 100 + 25 + 3.  Finally I decided to use the fact that 28 is also a usable offset, getting 653 = 25*(100 - 75) + 7*3 + 7.

Round 7: N I O C F E N A D


Those are the only eights; the other sevens are FINANCE, FANCIED, and CONFIDE.

Round 8: Target 846 from 100 50 75 4 8 6

Another easy application of the standard method, alas.  It was a short step to 846 = 8*100 + 50 - 4.  I spent the rest of the time trying unsuccessfully to get the factorisation 6*141 = 18*47 to work.


This was a case of being hampered by not knowing for sure that there was a findable solution.  I pulled out DAIRY / DIARY early on but did not think that was likely to be profitable, then got distracted by MYRIAD and thought that maybe it was DIAMYRIAD or some such nonsense.  Ah, well.  Congratulations to those who solved this!


Victor said...

I tried AROMAT in round 5 and was surprised to find it was invalid. It appears to be kitchen jargon for "aromatic" in the noun sense. MasterChef can be a double-edged sword sometimes in these letters games...

2. BETAINE (I'm learning!)
3. 112 = 75 + 50 - 8 - 2 - 3
6. 653 = 7*75 + 100 + 25 + 3
8. 846 = 8*100 + 50 - 4
9. DAIRYMAID - 37.3s, a bit slow but happy to find the solution.

Mike Backhouse said...

Numbers were pretty easy today. Here are mine:

Victor's way
FANCIED (wished I'd seen FINANCE Victor!)
Victor's way

Sam Gaffney said...

I got all the same answers as Mike, just a faster conundrum (11.9s).

Nice wordwork from Victor.

Jan said...

I don't believe it. I had DAIRYMAID staring at me, and I still didn't get it! My last workings out were DAIRY and MIDA, and I could not put them together. Bummer

SPEEDOS (it was in DA's crossword this morning)
50+75 - (8+2+3) = 112
BATTIER, BOASTER (it felt like there should be a full Monty here, but Sam hasn't found it, so doubt if there is one)
7*100 - (75-25) + 3 = 653
8*100 + 50 - 4 = 846
- Not Happy Jan

Victor - great words with FINANCED and ABETTORS
Mike - you are doing well with the conundrum lately

Victor said...

Thanks all, like I mentioned recently when I missed RESONANCE, the -ANCE ending is worth a check, like -ING, -TION etc.

Mike Backhouse said...

Jan - I used to give up the conundrum after the 30 secs, but now with Geoff's new format, I am giving myself around 90 secs to get it, then I give up! Still not getting them under 30 secs often though. And I feel your pain with the conundrum. I wasted a lot of time looking for words ending in Y!

Geoff Bailey said...

Bad luck on AROMAT, Victor -- it was a nice spot. Still, MasterChef is ahead with GANACHES being the longer word. *chuckles* In fact, a maximal set of main rounds for you aside from that, and just a little out of time for the conundrum. I admit, I'd hoped to be the only one to find the best results in rounds 2 and 4, so very well done.

Mike: Yes, it was disappointing how easy the numbers were. That's how it goes far too often, unfortunately. Nicely done finding TRAUMA, by the wway -- when I checked for other options after I played through, that was the word I most wished that I had seen.

Sam: Epic conundrum speed as always; congratulations!

Jan: SPEEDOS was a very Australian word to find; David would certainly have mentioned it. *chuckles* Bad luck on the conundrum -- I certainly sympathise!

Sam Gaffney said...

Hi Jan, although I have been a spoiler offender myself, I beg you not to reveal any DA crossword answers, as I do his cryptics religiously.

Also: drat, I rejected BETAKEN as sounding ridiculous. ABETTOR is spelt out backwards in its mix.

Jan said...

Sorry Sam

Mike Backhouse said...


My dad, who died a few years ago, was a cryptic crossword fan of David's. He took it very seriously. In fact he got it out once (and many other times) and won the Macquarie Dictionary prize. I never 'got' cryptics. I am sure he would now be smiling to know my admiration for David via my relatively recent interest in the Letters and Numbers game.

Sam Gaffney said...

No worries Jan, don't forget that I spoiled Geoff not making the Series 4 finals, while there were still 50 episodes to go!

Hi Mike, I didn't get cryptics either, until I learnt how they work; one good starting source is here:
For anyone interested in giving them a try, I recommend NOT starting with DA's, they are my favourites now, but much harder than a lot of others.

Jan said...

Mike, I totally agree with Sam about not starting with DA's cryptic. I fact my spoiler above was one of three words I got in today's offering, without any help. The other week day ones in the SMH/Age are easier, and if you have an iPad there is a great app for these papers, with interactive crosswords. I have been teaching myself through these.

David also did a week of hints on the show, and I was about to say that you could find them on the L&N website, but alas that resource has now disappeared. I will see if I can find an old link to it.

Jan said...

Here's the link to David's week of hints for cryptic crosswords

It is only this year that I have started to understand and enjoy cryptics, but I think it will take me another decade before I can get a DA out, without any help!

Mike Backhouse said...

Thanks Jan and Sam for that info. I thought SBS had taken down the the L&N site but via Jan's link I see it is still there (although the previous episodes are there MINUS the persistently adverse comments!)

Geoff Bailey said...

My interpretation is that they had taken down the site, and then realised that they still had some episodes left in OnDemand so they put it up again... but the comments had been wiped in the meantime. I expect the site will disappear again shortly, so if those links are of interest you should probably save the data somewhere.

Another interesting resource is David's book Puzzled, which has a crossword at the front. Each chapter of the book covers a mechanism that relates to one of the clues, interspersed with various anecdotes from David's life, and eventually reveals that answer.