Thursday, 28 March 2013

NG 94

New game 94 is up!

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

I had STUB, BUNTS, and SAUNAS.  After time I noted BATONS and BOSUNS as other sixes, and then finally saw SONATAS for seven.

That is the only seven; the other sixes are SONATA, BOASTS / SABOTS (SABOT: "a wooden shoe made of a single piece of wood hollowed out, worn by peasants in France, Belgium, etc."), SNOUTS, and the subatomic particles TAUONS.

My selection: SAUNAS

Round 2: K C B S A A O I P

Another unpromising mix!  I had BACKS, ABACK, and BASIC, but could not better five.  (I did briefly flirt with BIO- words like BIOCAPS, BIOPACKS, BIOSACK, but nothing came of it.)  Several minutes after time I saw OKAPIS as a six.

There are two other sixes available: CAPIAS ("a write commanding an officer to take a specified person into custody") and COBIAS (COBIA being a type of fish).

But it turns out there is a seven: COPAIBA is "an oleoresin obtained from various tropical (chiefly South American) trees [...], used especially as a stimulant and diuretic".  If that can be pluralised (as seems reasonable to me based on the meaning of "oleoresin") then COPAIBAS is a valid eight.  A surprising result from this mix!

My selection: BASIC

Round 3: Target 609 from 25 2 5 9 4 6

The standard method applies easily here; the cofactor is 24, and the solution 609 = 6*4*25 + 9 is straightforward.

My selection: 609 = 6*4*25 + 9

Round 4: D D H R E E O O D

Bleah, we finally get some E's but with too much duplication.  I had HERD, HERDED, HORDED, DODDER, and HOODED, rightly rejected REHOODED.  After time I noted ERODED as another six.

That's all the sixes listed, and the best to be done.  Some sources list RODEO as a verb so that RODEOED would be allowed, but the Macquarie does not.

My selection: HOODED

Round 5: M W F X E O A E C

The awkward mixes keep coming!  I had MEOW, FAME, and CAMEO.  That was the best I could do.

And with good reason, it seems.  Five looks like the best possible, with the other two being COMAE (plural of COMA for senses not related to unconsciousness, such as "Astronomy the nebulous envelope around the nucleus of a comet") and COXAE (plural of COXA: "the joint of the hip").

My selection: CAMEO

Round 6: Target 986 from 75 100 5 7 1 4

There's a few tempting approaches, and it looks like getting close should be achievable.  I wrote down a fallback two away 988 = (7 + 5)*(75 - 1) + 100 at first, then thought I had seen a solution via 5*175 but had miscalculated.  Fortunately I caught that and switched my attention to 990 - 4, with a 99 relatively easy to produce and the question was whether the rest could make the 10.  It turned out that they could and I had a solution: 986 = ((75 - 5)/7)*(100 - 1) - 4.  Phew!

There's only one other solution, using the factorisation 29*34 that is probably hard to find within time: 986 = (100 - 75 + 4)*(7*5 - 1).

My selection: 986 = ((75 - 5)/7)*(100 - 1) - 4

Round 7: F C H S U A A C P

After the beginning I thought I'd have to figure out which of FUCHSIA or FUSCHIA was the right spelling; with time to think about it later I got this correct -- FUCHSIA, named after Leonhart Fuchs (which is what I recalled to get me on the right track) -- but it's possible that without enough time I may have declared the wrong form.  Fortunately the I did not show up, but unfortunately that left me with only CHAPS to declare for five.  (Note that if an I had arrived I could have saved myself the confusion by going with HICCUPS instead.)

After time I spotted the six of PASCHA ("a traditional Russian Easter dessert, made with butter, egg yolks, sugar, cream cheese, cream and dried fruits, formed into a pyramidal shape and served with kulich").  That's appropriate, given the time of year.

The other sixes are PACHAS (PACHA being a variant spelling of PASHA: "(formerly) a civil and military official of high rank in Turkish dominions (as a title placed after the name)") and CHUFAS (CHUFA being a type of plant).

My selection: CHAPS

Round 8: Target 687 from 75 50 4 3 1 5

The standard method applies moderately easily, with 9*75 being close and a tweak sufficing for the rest: 687 = (5 + 4)*(75 + 1) + 3.

My selection: 687 = (5 + 4)*(75 + 1) + 3


The -ATE fragment is often handy, and I first tried extending it to -ICATE.  That was not quite right, but in due course I spotted the answer of IMPRECATE ("to curse; swear").

My selection: IMPRECATE (10.7s)

Whew, a very tough night on the letters today -- I only had fives and sixes throughout.  There were a couple of interesting longer words on offer, though, and round 6 provided some meat to the numbers.


Mike Backhouse said...

An ordinary game for me. Plus Google had a spasm and lost my entries so I am having to re-enter them. Grrrr...

BACKS (BOASTS after time)
(5+4)*(100+1)+75=984 (2 away)
SUCH (CHAPS after time)
x out of range

Victor said...

Worst letters rounds ever?

3. Mike's way
6. 2-away: 984 = 7*100 + 4*(75 - 5 + 1)
8. 687 = (4 + 5)*(75 + 1) + 3
9. IMPRECATE - 5.6s

Mike Backhouse said...

BOASTS after time was for the first not second round. Wasn't aware of IMPRECATE Victor. Well done. And yes, I did find the letter rounds tough.

Geoff Bailey said...

Yes, definitely a tough set of letters in this game, although there was some interest to them.

Friday's game will be delayed -- I've had to replace my main hard drive (and hence reinstall Windows), and have not yet got things set up to access my webspace again.

Jan said...

Yep, tough letters. I will need to look up the meaning of IMPRECATE.

Geoff, when the dictionary doesn't have the plural form of a word - ie TOTTY - then what would more than one TOTTY be called. I know it is not necessarily given if it is -s or -es, but what do you do with other words that don't follow that?

Same way as Mike and Victor
2 away (7*100 - 1) + 4*75 - 5 = 988
(5+4)*(75+1) + 3 = 687 (Victor's way)

Geoff Bailey said...

Jan: I imagine that most dictionaries fall back on assuming that people know the expected semi-regular plural forms of words, so it would be expected that readers would understand that the plural form of TOTTY is indeed TOTTIES. That's somewhat reasonable, but runs the danger of incorrect plural forms being inferred. The alternative is to always specify the plural forms (which leads to a lot of extra mention of plurals); that's also a reasonable way to go. The Macquarie manages to produce the worst of both worlds by mostly listing the plurals. As is often the case, inconsistency is bad.

As I mentioned in a post about why the Macquarie needs to be used anyway (see the last paragraph in particular), the Chambers dictionary that I hold deals with this in exemplary fashion: It takes two pages in the front matter to explain the expected inflected forms, both regular and semi-regular, together with examples of the various cases as well as exceptions to them. It then only lists inflected forms in the entries where they cannot be reliably inferred from these rules.

I think that every dictionary should follow this example; it really is the best option for everyone (non-native speakers of English in particular). Under this model the plural form TOTTIES would be derivable from reading the appropriate section in the front matter. Under the Macquarie's policies someone unfamiliar with English could only guess that TOTTYS would be the plural form.

Jan said...

Thanks Geoff. I read your blog entry too, on the Macquarie. I appreciate your wisdom and knowledge, but I just think it is all very confusing and annoying!

It means that any word ending in o or y may or may not have the plural form listed, and it is just a matter of guessing whether your assumptions are valid.

Sam Gaffney said...

Worst. Letters. Ever!

3. 609 = 6*4*25 + 9
6. 2-away: 988 = (75-1)*(7+5)+100. Good solve from Geoff.
7. CHAPS, unfortunately rejected PACHAS.
8. 687 = (4 + 5)*(75 + 1) + 3
9. IMPRECATE - 1.4s. Hesitated for a while, as I couldn't think of its meaning.

Geoff Bailey said...

Heh, I have to agree, Sam -- the direst collection we've seen in a while. On the other hand, SONATAS and OKAPIS were findable and COPAIBAS was a surprising discovery. Congratulations once again on a very fast conundrum solution!