Friday, 10 May 2013

NG 125

New game 125 is now ready.

Round 1: C O L A U B S E L

I had COAL, COALS, LOCALS, sadly rejected OSCULABLE, and CALLOUS.  After time I noted SOLUBLE as another seven, and checked up on SUBLOCALE but was not surprised to see that it was not listed.

It looks like seven is the best; some sources might allow CLOSABLE but not the Macquarie (nor Chambers).  The other sevens are LOCALES, LOBULES (LOBULE: "a small lobe"), BASCULE ("a device operating like a balance or seesaw, especially an arrangement of a movable bridge [...] by which the rising floor or section is counterbalanced by a weight"), and OCELLUS ("an eye-like spot, as on a peacock feather").  In the realm of uncertain plural forms BOUCLÉ is "yarn with loops, which produces a woven or knitted fabric with rough appearance"; that seems like a mass noun to me, but maybe BOUCLÉS might get the nod.

My selection: CALLOUS

Round 2: F B I I T O A D A

I had TIBIA, written down early, and fortunately the A arrived; unfortunately I was not able to find anything else!  After time, though, I looked at the BIO- beginning and immediately saw BIODATA for seven.

Aside from BIODATA five looks like the best on offer; the other fives are IDIOT, ABAFT (a nautical term for "in the rear of; behind"), BIOTA ("the total animal and plant life of a region, or sometimes a period, as seen collectively and interdependently"), BIFID ("cleft into two parts or lobes"), TABID (variant form of TABETIC: "someone affect with tabes", where TABES is "syphilis of the spinal cord and its appendages [...]"), and TAFIA ("a kind of rum made from the lower grades of molasses, refuse sugar, etc., in Haiti").

My selection: TIBIA

Round 3: Target 335 from 50 25 5 7 3 8

The first part to stand out was 7*5 = 35, but I was not able to make 300 from the rest, even with tweaking.  Instead I looked at the factor of 5; the cofactor is 67 and so a solution follows: 335 = (50 + 25 - 8)*5.  Then I looked at making it as 350 - 15 and that worked out quite easily too: 335 = 7*50 - 3*5.

(Seen just now: The offset of 10 from 325 also works via 335 = (8 + 5)*25 + 7 + 3.)

My selection: 335 = 7*50 - 3*5

Round 4: F P A E S I S N O

I had APES, SPIES, PANSIES, and PASSION.  I also noted that an S instead of the F would allow SOAPINESS for nine, and considered SAPONISE but correctly realised that SAPONIFY was the appropriate word for that idea.

Seven appears to the best on offer; the other is SPINOSE ("full of spines").

My selection: PASSION

Round 5: P E O R R A N E G

I had ROPE, wondered about ROPER (not valid), APRON, ORANGE, GROANER, and then was rather pleased to spot the unusual PARERGON.  That's not a misspelling of PARAGON; rather, it means "subordinate or secondary work, standing apart from one's main occupation".  (The plural form is PARERGA, incidentally.)  I know that thanks to the first quarter-final of series 60 of Countdown, where the exceptional Kirk Bevins found it in the first round to set the tone of the match.  (YouTube has the episode: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.)

That is the only eight, unsurprisingly.  The other seven is PEONAGE.

My selection: PARERGON

Round 6: Target 422 from 50 75 25 4 1 2

I was having trouble getting close at first, but managed to get one away with 421 = 4*(75 + 25 - 1) + 50/2.  Then I found the simpler 423 = (4 + 1)*75 + 50 - 2, but was not able to reach the target.  I was most of the way to a solution within time, though, and finished it just afterwards; the key part was to think of 400 as 8*50.  Then 75/25 is 3, which multiplied by the 8 gets two away; the leftover 1 seems like it might only get to one off, but remembering that the 8 is actually 2*4 lets a tweak take care of the rest: 422 = 2*(4*(50 + 75/25) - 1).

This turns out to be the only solution.

My selection: 423 = (4 + 1)*75 + 50 - 2
Best: 422 = 2*(4*(50 + 75/25) - 1)

Round 7: C S O C E T K I S

I had COST, COSEC, SOCKET, and then struggled.  Somehow I missed SOCKETS, and the only candidate longer than six I could think of was STOCKIES.  I hoped this would be a colloquialism for a stock-driver, but it is not valid.  I don't think I'd have tried it if I had the safe SOCKETS for seven, but that oversight cost me.  After time I found SOCKETS and then the eight of COCKIEST.

COCKIEST is the only eight; the other sevens are SICKEST, COSIEST, COCKIES (plural of COCKY, which can be colloquial for either a cockatoo or a cockroach"), KETOSIS ("the condition of having elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood and urine, as in diabetes, acidosis, etc."), and CISCOES (plural of CISCO, a type of fish).

My selection: [invalid -- STOCKIES]

Round 8: Target 448 from 100 25 75 10 5 3

My first thought was to try and make it as 450 - 2, and the 450 I thought of happily left the 10 and 5 available to make the offset of 2: 448 = 3*(100 + 75 - 25) - 10/5.

My selection: 448 = 3*(100 + 75 - 25) - 10/5

Round 9: HI, PUNY PAL

I had a brief distraction with PLAY, but the -LY ending and the UN- fragment lead relatively easily to UNHAPPILY.

My selection: UNHAPPILY (1.4s)


Mike Backhouse said...

First up if you don't count the spammers.

GRAPE (and after time ORANGE - should have got this first as it was almost spelt out)
4*(75+25+2+1)=412 (10 off)and after time slightly better at 3 off: (4*2+1)*50-25=425
5*100-(75-25)-3=447 (1 off)
UNHAPPILY I was out of time at 49s

Geoff Bailey said...

Those spammers are annoying; I don't understand why the filters don't do a better job. I could write a trivial filter if there was an interface for it that would have prevented all spam so far.

Anyway, nice work on SOCKETS -- I had a brain failure there.

Mike Backhouse said...

Loved PASSION Geoff amongst your many great finds.

Victor said...

3. Geoff's way
5. ORANGE (Decided not to risk GROANER for some reason. Good find here with PARERGON, Geoff)
6. 1-away, Geoff's way
8. Geoff's way once more
9. UNHAPPILY - 14.9s

Sam Gaffney said...

3. 335 = 7*50 - 3*5
6. 422 = ((50+75/25)*4-1) * 2. Woo-hoo, only way!
8. 448 = (100+75-25)*3 - 10/5
9. UNHAPPILY - 3.0s