Tuesday, 18 June 2013

NG 152

New game 152 is now available.

Round 1: W T T E A E S S T

A bit too much duplication to start, but at least they are workable letters despite that.  I had TEAT, SWEAT, SWEATS, WETTEST, TESTATE ("Law having made and left a valid will"), and wondered about TESTATES.  I thought that I had come across a nounification of TESTATE before, so I chances it but alas the Macquarie only lists adjective senses.  Further checking reveals that it would have been legal in Scrabble, and also that INTESTATE has a noun sense listed ("someone who dies [without having left a valid will]").  I'm not entirely surprised -- there's much less need to refer to testate people than intestate -- but I'm still disappointed.

Seven looks like the best, with the others being ESTATES and ATTESTS.

My selection: [invalid -- TESTATES]

Round 2: A I R M U N O N R

A more difficult set to work with, and a continuance of the duplication which will be an ongoing theme for the episode.  I had ARUM (a type of plant), MOURN, UNION, and then the various unlikelihoods of RANION, RUNION, and MARION / ROMAIN / MORAIN.  (These last two inspired by the pair of ROMAINE / MORAINE that have shown up often enough.)  None of them are valid, and I have no idea where I even pulled RANION and RUNION from to contemplate.  (Update: On further thought, I think that RANION came from thinking of FANION: "a small flag used to mark surveying stations".)

There are some valid sixes, though: ARMOUR, MARRON (a type of crayfish; also a chestnut), AMNION ("the innermost of the embryonic or foetal membranes of reptiles, birds, and mammals; the sac containing the amniotic fluid and the embryo"), NUMINA (plural of NUMEN: "a deity; a divine power or spirit"), RUMINA (plural of RUMEN: "the first stomach of ruminating animals, lying next to the reticulum"), and OURARI (a variant form of curare).

But there are two sevens!  They are IRONMAN (in the sense of an ironman triathlon) and MURRAIN ("any of various diseases of cattle, as anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease, etc.").

My selection: MOURN

Round 3: Target 583 from 50 9 2 10 5 1

My first consideration was the descent from 600; the multiplier is 12 and the offset is 17, so a tweak soon saw me there with 583 = (10 + 2)*(50 - 1) - 5.  Then I considered working up from 550 and that made the factorisation 11*53 obvious.  Applying that was easy enough; there's many variations, but I went with 583 = (10 + 1)*(50 + 5 - 2).

My selection: 583 = (10 + 1)*(50 + 5 - 2)

Round 4: F A A B I G F E U

For I think the first time in this blog I started by writing down a three-letter word, lacking confidence that I would be able to find better later.  I had BIG, FIFE ("a high-pitched flute much used in military music"), AGUE ("a fit of shaking or shivering as if with cold; a chill"), and BUFF.  I also considered BUFFA but assumed that would only be part of the term OPERA BUFFA; in fact, the latter is not listed at all.

There are two fives available: GAFFE ("a social blunder", not to be confused with GAFF: "a strong hook with a handle, used for landing large fish") and BUFFI (plural of BUFFO: "(in opera) a comedy part, usually bass").

The other fours are the aforementioned GAFF, GUFF, BEAU, BIFF, GIBE, FIEF, and BAFF ("to strike the ground with a golf club in making a stroke").

My selection: AGUE

Round 5: L D Z I E I S S U

I had LIED, SISLE (invalid -- I was thinking of SISAL: "a fibre [...] used for making ropes, etc.", or the plant that yields it), SIDLES / SLIDES, ISSUED, and briefly considered SLIDIES but rightly rejected it.  I also noted that an F instead of one of those S's would have allowed FLUIDIZES for nine.

Six does seem to be the best; the others are DISUSE, DULSES (DULSE: "coarse, edible, red seaweed [...]"), and DIESIS ("Printing the mark ‡; double dagger").

My selection: SIDLES

Round 6: Target 876 from 25 6 3 9 2 5

The target is one away from the familiar 875, which is 5*7*25.  Easy enough to make from those numbers, but the final 1 is difficult.  I switched tacks, exploiting the factorisation 6*146.  I overcomplicated the process -- as I've just seen now, 876 = (2*3*25 - (9 - 5))*6 works easily -- and eventually came up with 876 = (5*25 + 3*(9 - 2))*6.  Then I pulled out a further factor of 2 to get the alternative solution 876 = (25 + 9*5 + 3)*2*6.

My selection: 876 = (5*25 + 3*(9 - 2))*6

Round 7: T H H E O O S L E

I had HOOT, SHOOT, ETHOS, HOSTEL / THOLES (THOLE: "a pin inserted in a boat's gunwale or the like, to act as a fulcrum for the oar"), and wondered about SHOTHOLE.  I'd not heard of it, although it seemed a plausible combination, so I stayed with six.  The Macquarie does not list it so that was fortunate, but it is a word (Chambers: "a hole made by a shot, or in timber by a boring insect, or in a leaf by a fungus; a hole in the wall for shooting from; a hole bored in rock for a blasting charge").  After time I noted that LESOTHO could be made, not that that helps.

Six does seem to be the best available; the others are SOOTHE and HOTELS / HELOTS (HELOT: "a serf or slave; a bondman").

My selection: HOSTEL

Round 8: Target 399 from 75 6 4 9 4 8

I had difficulties with this one, perhaps due to the limited availability of odd numbers.  I observed that the target is 7*57 but could not make that work.  I tried descent from 450, but was not able to make the necessary offset of 51.  (Seen just now: 399 = 6*(75 - 9) + (8 + 4)/4.)  I ended up realised that 375 + 24 was a plausible route to a solution, finding 399 = (9 - 4)*75 + 6*4.

Another solution I have seen while writing this up uses the usual option when odd numbers are scarce -- subtract the odd number and try to make the rest.  In this case 399 - 75 = 324, a familiar target which is the square of 18, or 9*36.  The resulting solution is 399 = 9*(4*8 + 4) + 75.

My selection: 399 = (9 - 4)*75 + 6*4

Round 9: JIG IN CENT

The -ING fragment stands out, as does the -JECT, and it was fairly easy to spot INJECTING as a result.  (I was still slower than I would have liked, of course.)

My selection: INJECTING (3.5s)


Victor said...

Tough letters rounds today - couldn't get more than a 6.

3. 583 = 10*(50 + 9) - 5 - 2
6. 876 = (2*3*25 - 9 + 5)*6
8. 399 = (9 - 4)*75 + 6*4
9. INJECTING - 1.6s

Geoff Bailey said...

Yes, very tough letters. I found some sevens in the first round but then overextended by trying for an eight that wasn't there. Congratulations on finding MARRON -- I was limited to five on that round.

Mike Backhouse said...

Here are mine:

x out of range
x- too slow 4*(75+6*4)+9-8)=397 (2 off)
x- got the -ING but did not 'see' the word.

Sam Gaffney said...

3. 583 = (50-1)*(10+2)-5
4. GAFFE. Oh yeah! Had GAFF in a recent Times cryptic. These are truly salad days.
6. 876 = (2*3*25 - 9 + 5)*6
8. one off: 400 = 75*8/6*4. Probably too late with: 399 = (75-9)*6 + (8+4)/4
9. INJECTING - 1.2s