Monday, 25 March 2013

NG 91

New game 91 is now available.

Round 1: T S O O U B M N A

I had SOOT, OUST, BOUTS, wondered about SUBMAN (it is valid -- "a man of very low mental or physical capacity" -- but I find the SUB- area a bit risky in general), OUTMANS, rejected SUBATOM on past experience (fair enough, too, it doesn't really make sense), and flirted with the idea of OUTMOANS but rightly rejected it.

After time I saw NUMBATS as another seven that I'd much rather have declared than OUTMANS.  (For some reason I had forgotten the times that OUTMAN and variations had turned up before and had some doubt about it, which fortunately I overcame.)  There's no MOONBATS, alas.

The other sevens are AMOUNTS -- which I really should have seen -- and UNBOSOM ("to disclose one's thoughts, feelings, secrets, etc.").

Update: Commenter Jan points out another seven of MANTOOS (MANTOO: "an ankle-length tunic worn by Muslim women"); nice find, Jan!

My selection: OUTMANS

Round 2: F E D I E S S I N

I had FEED, DEFIES, DEFINES, DEIFIES, rightly rejected SENSIFIED, and then spotted FINESSED for eight (FINESSE as a verb is either a term from card games, especially bridge, or "to accomplish by finesse or artifice").

That's the only eight; the other sevens are FINESSE, EDIFIES, INSIDES, and FINISES (FINIS: "end; conclusion (often used at the end of a book)").

There is nearly a nine, that I was close to with SENSIFIED; swapping the ends produces DENSIFIES, and Chambers defines DENSIFY as "to increase the density of (wood, etc) by compression".  The Macquarie does not allow it, however.

My selection: FINESSED

Round 3: Target 835 from 75 100 25 50 2 10

The clear initial aim would be to make this as 825 + 10, and the question is whether the 2 is good enough in conjunction with the large numbers to get us to 825.  As I've mentioned before, anything from 3 to 10 would have been, but I don't easily recall the exceptions for 2... only that they are in that vicinity.  Fortunately a little experimentation turned up the option of 625 + 2*100, and I knew that would work.  The resulting answer was 835 = (75 - 50)*25 + 2*100 + 10.

(The intermediate 825 I used is the only way to make the 825 with the four large numbers and a 2.  Later checking showed that the unobtainable multiples of 25 less than a thousand are 850, 875, 925, and 950.)

There are two other solutions, both probably beyond most of us aside from Sam.  The first uses the power of 937½ that I've also spoken of before to solve it as 835 = (25*75 - 50/10)/2 - 100.

The second opts to multiply the target by 6, which ends up simplifying things surprisingly: 835 = (50*100 + 10) / (2*75/25).  That would be a very pleasing solution to find!

My selection: 835 = (75 - 50)*25 + 2*100 + 10

Round 4: R O S O N U L M O

I stumbled on this one -- too many O's!  I had ROOS and LOONS.  After time I found MORONS and UNMOORS, although I had to check up on that latter.

The other sevens are SUNROOM and possible ORMOLUS (ORMOLU: "an alloy of copper and zinc, used to imitate gold"; also "gold prepared for use in gilding" and "gilded metal").  The various meanings of ORMOLU all feel like mass noun senses, however, so this would be tricky ground.  (ORMOLUS would not be valid in Countdown, for instance).

The other sixes are ORMOLU, UNMOOR, MOURNS, and possibly ORLONS (ORLON: "a synthetic acrylic textile fibre of light weight and good crease resistance [trademark]").

My selection: LOONS

Round 5: E I E M C F D I R

I had MICE, MEDIC, wondered about CRIMED in a moment of weakness (it is not valid), similarly with MERCIED (also invalid), and then found EDIFICE for seven.  I had been hoping for a P instead of that R to give EPIDEMIC; afterwards I noted that a V instead of the F would allow VERMICIDE ("any agent that kills worms [...]") for nine.

The other sevens are EDIFIER / DEIFIER / REIFIED (REIFY: "to convert into or regard as a concrete thing: to reify an abstract concept")

My selection: EDIFICE

Round 6: Target 420 from 75 50 9 7 8 3

I got completely hung up on trying to make this as 7*60; it turns out that there are some ways to do this but they are not too easy to find (the simplest seems to be 420 = (75 + 9 - 3*8)*7).  At some point I wrote down a fallback 419 = 8*50 + 9 + 7 + 3, and in the end that was where I had to stay.

After time I looked at the standard method, and saw that I had paid the price once again for ignoring it.  The offset of 5 can be made as 8 - 3, and a solution soon followed: 420 = 7*50 + 75 - (8 - 3).  Further thought looked at the factor of 10 and a rather straightforward 420 = (50 - 8)*(7 + 3) was the outcome.  Oh, dear.  (Another simple solution, not found by me, is 420 = (75 + 9)*(8 - 3).)

But the answer I found next is the one that hurts the most; it is so close to the fallback that I would have found it on a better day: 420 = 8*50 + 3*9 - 7.

My selection: 419 = 8*50 + 9 + 7 + 3  [1 off]

Round 7: E E I E N H D H T

A rather awkward mix, especially with the pair of H's.  I only managed to find NEED and THINE within time.  Aftewards I saw ETHENE and ETHINE / THEINE (all chemicals of various types) as valid sixes.

The remaining six is the much more straightforward HINTED.

My selection: THINE

Round 8: Target 827 from 3 8 7 4 5 2

A large target with six small numbers is frequently a challenge.  As I often do, I tried dividing by the largest of them and looking at how that went; the target is either 8*104 - 5 or 8*103 + 3.  The former seemed more promising since 103 is prime, and 104 = 8*13 is a factorisation that I know.  Unfortunately, making the 104 used up all the other numbers so my first answer was five away: 832 = (7 + 4 + 2)*(5 + 3)*8.

Still within time I noticed that 105 = 3*5*7 was near those numbers, so 8*7*5*3 = 840 was a tempting intermediate to work with.  A quick tweak got me to one away with 826 = 7*(8*5*3 - 2), and that was the best I could do.  (Note that this provides a path to the 103 that could have been used for one away from the other direction: 828 = 8*(3*5*7 - 2) + 4.)

It turns out that the target is not reachable and so one off is the best that can be done.

My selection: 826 = 7*(8*5*3 - 2)  [1 off]


I was amused to find this anagram for the conundrum; reminds me of this meme.  Anyway, I was fortunate to bypass the -LESS fragment and consider -ISE, ending up with the answer fairly quickly (given this set of letters, anyway).

My selection: STERILISE (4.5s)


Sam Gaffney said...

Nice hard numbers and conundrum today. The letter rounds weren't a picnic, either.

3. 835 = (75-50)*25 + 2*100 + 10, tried to work from 10*75 at first.
6. one off: 419 = 8*50 + 9 + 7 + 3
Just after time: 420 = 9*50 - (75+8+7)/3
8. three off: 830 = (7*3+5)*4*8 - 2
9. STERILISE - 24.1s, very tough with all those common letters and duplicates.

Victor said...

3. 5-away: 830 = 10*(75 + 2*100/25)
6. 420 = 7*50 + 75 - 8 + 3
8. 3-away: 824 = (3*4*5*7 - 8)*2
9. -

Sam Gaffney said...

I can't believe I missed that way to 420.

Geoff Bailey said...

I'll flatter myself by claiming that you are in good company with missing that 420, Sam. On the other hand, there's another solution to it that could well be even more depressing...

A real topsy-turvy match today, if you do the comparisons. Nice work with the SUNROOM / UNMOORS combination!

Victor: Congratulations on getting the the 420, and I love NUMBATS as a find. Nice one!

Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

10*75+100-25+2=827 (8 off)
8*(50+3)-(9-7)=422 (2 off)
DENT (missed HINTED)
x - rat packs.....
x - wasted time looking for -LESS words.

Jan said...

Like Mike, I wasted time looking for -LESS words. Would love to have found STERILISE

MOUNTS (missed AMOUNTS again)
3 away (75-2)*10 + 100 + 50/25 = 832
7*50 + 75 - (8-3) = 420
5 away (4*7*3*2*5) - 8 = 832

Jan said...

PS after time in the first round I found MANTOOS - dresses worn by Moslem women

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice find of MANTOOS, Jan -- I've updated the post. Thanks!