Thursday, 27 December 2012

NG 30

New game 30 is now available.

Round 1: R T I I E N F B N


The other seven here is NIFTIER.

Round 2: I I A F G D I T A

Gah, unhelpful vowels.  A final E would have brought FIDGET into play, but without that all I could manage was DIGIT.

Five-letter words look like the limit.  The others are TAFIA ("a kind of rum made from the lower grades of molasses, refuse sugar, etc.") and TAIGA ("the coniferous, evergreen forests of sub-arctic lands, covering vast areas of northern North America and Eurasia").

Round 3: Target 227 from 100 5 10 10 9 8

Ergh, the small numbers are almost all pretty large, and even the 5 is not that small.  That can make small adjustments rather hard to manage.  I floundered for a little here, but at some point considered that 27 was 9*3 and after making that 3 the rest worked out satisfactorily, giving: 227 = 100 + 10*10 + 9*(8 - 5).

Round 4: O A A B D M L E N

I had BALM, LOAMED, and then ABDOMENAL.  I was rather pleased with that, and did not even end up writing down ABDOMEN on its own.

Unfortunately for me, there is a spelling shift in the adjective; the correct spelling is ABDOMINAL and my answer is invalid.  Since I had been careless enough not to write down ABDOMEN, I would have had to fall all the way back to LOAMED if I had noticed this.  But really, I was caught by surprise, and somewhat disappointed that I had not found a full monty after all.

The other sevens are ABDOMEN, ABALONE, ALAMODE (apparently an acceptable form of À LA MODE: "US (of dessert) served with ice-cream"), ADENOMA ("a tumour originating in a gland"), and NAMABLE (acceptable variant form of NAMEABLE).

But there is an eight: DAMNABLE.

Round 5: E E U C R N T W E

I had CURE, CENTRE / RECENT, and TUREEN.  I had wanted a final I instead for ENURETIC, but no such luck.

There is a seven here: TWEENER ("a child, especially a girl, between the ages of 8 or 9 and 13 or 14").

Round 6: Target 584 from 50 8 7 4 2 8

I idly looked at what was left after making 50*10, and the resulting 84 has a few useful factors and a solution followed: 584 = (8 + 2)*50 + 7*(8 + 4).  Then I considered working down from 600 instead and that felt rather simpler: 584 = (8 + 4)*50 - 2*8.

Round 7: E I A S G S R O H

I had AGES, AEGIS ("protection; sponsorship"), SAGES, GASSIER, GEISHAS, and SIGHERS; I also rejected AIRSHOES without too many qualms.  I was a little uncertain about GASSIER and SIGHERS (they both turn out to be valid), so GEISHAS got the nod.

The other sevens are OGREISH and HOSIERS.  But there is an eight: ARGOSIES, the plural form of ARGOSY ("a large merchant ship, especially one with a rich cargo").

Round 8: Target 344 from 100 1 9 7 6 10

I was at a bit of a loose end for a moment, then noticed that the target was 350 - 6.  That would be particularly useful if the large number were 50 instead of 100, but I wondered if it could be made as 700/2, and that turned out to be the case, yielding 344 = 7*100/(10 + 1 - 9) - 6.

Still within time I experimented with an alternative approach, as the target is 444 - 100.  The repeated digit numbers are familiar to me, and I knew that 444 was 37*12, which is also 74*6.  That was enough for a different solution of 344 = (7*9 + 10 + 1)*6 - 100.


I accidentally closed the window with my time in it, but I believe it was in the low 11 second range that I found IDEALISED.


Mike Backhouse said...

Could not get the numbers today.

7+4*50+8*8/2=582 (2 off)

Victor said...

Just got one seven on the letters this time.

3. 227 = 100 + 10*10 + (8 - 5)*9
6. 584 = (8 + 4)*50 - 2*8
8. 344 = (10 - 7)*(100 + 9 + 6) - 1
9. IDEALISED (29.8s - love that timer Geoff!)

Jan said...

That wretched conundrum. I buzzed in with DIALISED, but it was missing an e, but I still didn't see IDEALISED.

Good work with the last numbers Victor

And GASSIER is a good find Mike and Victor

10/5*100 + 10 + 9 + 8 = 227
(50+8)*(8+2) + 4 = 584
x HORSIES - allowed in Scrabble, but alas, not in the Macquarie online
(10-6)*100 - (7-1)*9 = 346

Geoff Bailey said...

Mike: They were definitely tough numbers rounds today; nice work with TINNIER and GASSIER.

And nice work just scraping home with the conundrum, Victor. Plus some very solid numbers solutions -- well done!

Jan: NIFTIER is nice, but bad luck on HORSIES. I gave this one a mention in episode 428 -- the safe anagram is HOSIERS.

My tale of woe tonight was round four, where I spotted ABDOMEN and then thought that ABDOMENAL was a full monty. Alas, the spelling shifts and the correct form is ABDOMINAL. :(

3. 227 = 100 + 10*10 + (8 - 5)*9
4. [invalid: ABDOMENAL]
6. 584 = 50*(8 + 4) - 2*8
8. 344 = 7*100/(10 + 1 - 9) - 6
9. 11-12s IDEALISED

(I accidentally closed the window with my conundrum time on it, but I'm pretty sure it was 11 point something.)

Mike Backhouse said...

Reviewing my numbers in light of the other solutions. All impressive. In particular Geoff that last game of yours going to 700 and reducing it by half etc. Great. I tend to not be able to consider all the alternatives in the time and just go for the closest in time. I also give up after the 30s, and think I might try 'after time' a bit more often to improve my technique!

Jan said...

Mike, keeping going with the numbers after time has really helped me in considering other options, and I am pretty sure it has improved my numbers games. I have a quick look and see either how I can get the target, or pretty close to it, and write that one down, and then if I haven't got the target I look at all sorts of different options. It is nice doing that without the time pressure!

Geoff Bailey said...

I think keeping up after time is vital to improving performance. When I was preparing for the show I played a large amount of numbers games; my strategy was to ignore time and keep going until I was satisfied with my efforts. Sometimes that meant finding a solution; sometimes that meant finding more than one solution when I thought that there was a potential approach that would work. Sometimes it meant getting as close as I could and then accepting that -- at my current level of performance -- I was not likely to better it any time soon.

Then for interesting/difficult ones I would look at generated solutions and see whether there were techniques I could have applied but missed. After a while, patterns emerged that I could recognise and then learned to incorporate. Slowly at first, but that was all right. The expectation was that speed would come with practice/familiarity, and this was indeed how it went.

So yes, I definitely encourage keeping going after time. It sets too high a bar to progress otherwise, because one needs that experience of finding solutions, and the observations and thought processes that lead one there, before one can do it more quickly.

In the specific instance of 344, if there had been a 3 or 4 already present I would probably have tried working from those, and that would have been much easier. As it was, I did not really consider that approach and that was an error on my part. As Victor showed, making a 3 from 10 - 7 leads to a tweaked solution, and I've just noticed that the descent from 400 is also reasonably straightforward: 344 = (10 - 6)*100 - 7*(9 - 1).

But what I noticed was that 344 = 350 - 6, and we had the 6. That would be more useful if we had a 50, as 350 is 7*50 and we have the 7. It then ended up being a question of turning the 100 into 50, and as we saw the remaining small numbers ended up cooperating for that. (OK, I did think rather of 700/2 instead of 7*100/2, but one can get there either way.)

So this was very much a case of me working backwards from the solution and finding that it worked out, perhaps fortuitously. That's just one of the techniques that one ends up learning when spending more time on the rounds. *smiles*

Sam Gaffney said...

For what it's worth, I didn't usually bother spending more than thirty seconds on any numbers round when I practised, but that doesn't mean it isn't a valid approach. Total time spent practising regularly is probably the key factor to numbers performance, whether that involves dwelling on tough problems or not. I don't bother much since the prospect of a reappearance dimmed, and I notice the difference. If I do enough crosswords (which I haven't in recent weeks), the anagram part of my brain gets at least a bit of exercise.

227 = 10/5 * 100 + 10 + 9 + 8
584 = (8+4)*(50-2) + 8
GASHES (didn't trust GASSIER or SIGHERS)
344 = (10-6)*100 - 7*(9-1)

Mike Backhouse said...

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. It should have been more obvious to me about practising after time (for both letters and numbers). Particularly when the play here from all of you is of a high standard, I need to do anything I can to try and keep up!

Geoff Bailey said...

Ooh, TWEENER -- nice one!