Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Ep 252: Martin Gabor, Matthew Matten (February 3, 2015; originally aired August 16, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Disclaimer: I watched this episode when it first aired, and although I did not recall any of it I cannot rule out memory being a factor.

This is Martin's third night, and it is revealed that his ambition is to be a rugby league commentator.  Richard asks what Martin thinks his chances are, and Martin jokingly notes that Ray Warren is expected to retire in the next few years, and Martin will be available.  That's perhaps unfortunate timing for Martin -- by the time this show aired, but almost certainly after it was filmed, Ray Warren had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, which perhaps gives an unintended edge to the remarks.

Facing off against Martin is Matthew Matten, a lab technician and self-confessed LEGO nut.  At the moment he is working on building a model of Saint Basil's Cathedral.  Richard asks about the scale of this project, and Matthew explains that the proportions are going to be as though the minifigs were person-sized, so he expects it to end up around a metre to a metre-and-a-half tall.  That's quite the project!

Both contestants struggle somewhat on the numbers tonight, each making an invalid go of the first (very difficult) numbers round.  Honours on the remaining numbers rounds are mostly even but slightly tilted in Martin's favour, but it's the words that carry him safely to victory, as he finds some good eights to move well clear.  He rounds it off by solving the conundrum, sealing a 52 to 28 victory.

I also struggled a little, feeling off my game today.  I mentally froze in round 3 and only just got myself unstuck in time for an adequate result.  I missed a couple of longer words that I might have found on a better day, too.  Against that, I found a solution (two, in fact) that eluded Lily, and I solved the conundrum reasonably quickly to end up in the mid-sixties again for a safe win.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: C R D H A O I N Y

I had CHARD, HOARD, ORCHID, and HADRONIC.  That's turned up a few other times here, the first being episode 439.  Interestingly, David found it tonight but missed it then.

Both contestants declare fives; Matthew has HOARD while Martin opts for DRAIN.  David is on track, noting HADRON and then the extension to HADRONIC.

It turns out that there is a nine here!  It is DIACHRONY, a noun derived from DIACHRONIC ("of or relating to changes or developments over a period of time (especially of language)").  David commented about how the Y spoiled the mix, and how he would have liked an E (the next vowel, in fact), but Y was one of only three letters to allow a full monty.  (The others were an A for ARACHNOID, or a C for CHANCROID ("Pathology a soft, non-syphilitic venereal sore").)

There's even another eight, the unusual HYRACOID ("belonging or relating to the order Hyracoidea, that comprises the hyraxes").  The single seven is DIARCHY ("government or a government in which power is vested in two rulers or authorities").  Some of the common other sixes are ANCHOR, HAIRDO, CRAYON, RANCID, and ORDAIN.

Martin: DRAIN
Matthew: HOARD

Scores: Martin 0 (5), Matthew 0 (5), me 8

Round 2: D E R L U A S T I

I had LURED, an uncertain LAUDERS (valid, which I might have remembered from the grand final), STARED, TRAILED, and DETAILS.  It was clear that at least an eight should be present, but I got stuck and could not find one.  It even took me quite a while to find sevens I was sure about.  After time I noted LARDIEST*, REALIST, DUALIST, ASTRIDE, and maybe a minute or so after time finally saw RESIDUAL for eight.

Matthew has found the tasty STRUDEL for seven, but is outdone by Martin's find of RESIDUAL.  David could not better it, and also notes REALIST and ASTRIDE in passing as other sevens.

The other eight to be had is DILUTERS; I'm a bit disappointed that STUDLIER is not a valid option.

Matthew: STRUDEL

Scores: Martin 8 (13), Matthew 0 (5), me 8

Round 3: Target 895 from 25 100 50 5 2 1

Martin continues with his favourite balanced mix, but those small numbers are a worry.  They are all factors of 50, so there's a strong possibility of difficulty.  Here we are lucky that the target is divisible by 5, but the smallness of the small numbers still presents troubles.  It's clear that one wants to make the target as 900 - 5, possibly tweaking with the 1, but it just doesn't work out.

I froze up here, as the various endeavours I tried to reach the target stopped working and then I started focusing too much on the clock noise.  Fortunately I recovered enough within time to write down a 3-off 898 = (5*2 - 1)*100 - 50/25, but it wasn't a promising sign.  After time I considered many other avenues of exploration, such as (4500 - 25)/5 and such, but it still took a while before I was able to improve even to the 2-away 897 = (25 - 5)*50 - 100 - 2 - 1.

Martin thinks he has 900, while Matthew has the chance for some important points by getting to 899.  He starts off with 5*2*100, and at that point I know he has made a mistake.  He realises it, too, stating that he has used the 100 twice.  So it's back to Martin, who has discovered in the intervening time that he has also made a mistake.  So invalid answers from both contestants, and no swing.  Lily says that the best she can do is 897, although she does not demonstrate it.

It turns out that two away is the best to be done here, so Lily had the best result.  There's only that one way to get to 897, but there are three difficult ways to get 893: 893 = (100 + 2)*(50/5 - 1) - 25, 893 = (50 + 1)*(100/5 - 2) - 25, and 893 = ((100 + 25)*50 + 1)/(5 + 2).

Martin: [invalid]
Matthew: [invalid]
Me: 898
Lily: 897
Best: 897

Scores: Martin 8 (13), Matthew 0 (5), me 15

First break: READY MAD ("Vague out, but not at night")

A pretty clear clue for DAYDREAM.

David's talk is about the names of two inventions: 'teflon' and 'hoover'.

Round 4: E F A C O T K E P

I had CAFE, FACET, POCKET, and CAPOTE / TOECAP.  After time I noted PACKET as another six.

Both contestants have also found POCKET, and David was unable to better it.  He notes alternatives of PACKET and TOECAP.

The other six is FACETE, an archaic term meaning "facetious; witty".

Martin: POCKET
Matthew: POCKET

Scores: Martin 14 (19), Matthew 6 (11), me 21

Round 5: S M B I A R G D E

I had IAMBS, BRAISED, and ABRIDGES / BRIGADES.  If only that last D had been another R then AMBERGRIS would have been available.

Matthew comes up with BADGERS for seven, but Martin has outdone him again with BRIGADES for eight.  That moves him 16 points clear, and is decidedly danger territory for Matthew.  David has gone with ABRIDGES for his eight.

The other eight in this mix is GAMBIERS (GAMBIER: "an astringent extract similar to catechu, obtained from the leaves and young shoots of Uncaria gambir, a tropical Asiatic shrub, and using in dyeing, tanning, etc.").  There are a good many sevens, of which I'll just mention ADMIRES / SIDEARM and SIDEBAR.

Matthew: BADGERS

Scores: Martin 22 (27), Matthew 6 (11), me 29

Round 6: Target 667 from 75 25 1 3 4 5

Matthew tries to throw Martin off by avoiding the perfect match, opting for a straightforward family mix instead.  Applying the standard method, I saw that the target was 8 away from 9*75; either an 8 or a 9 was easy in isolation, but making the other at the same time is a little tricky.  Still, I spotted the option and had 667 = (5 + 4)*75 - (25 - 1)/3.  Then I went back to consider something I had also noticed originally: The target is 2001/3.  With both a 1 and a 3 in the mix already, that was definitely tempting as an approach.  Indeed, it worked out reasonably straightforwardly to yield 667 = (4*5*(75 + 25) + 1)/3.  A little after time I saved a number on that approach with the alternative of 667 = ((75 + 5)*25 + 1)/3.  A pleasing round!

Matthew has 671, but Martin declares 667.  He starts with (5 + 4)*75, then realises that he has used the 75 twice.  Presumably he was making the remaining 8 as 3*75/25 - 1, then.  That brings us back to Matthew's declaration, and he makes no mistake with his answer of 671 = (5 + 4)*75 - 3 - 1.  That puts him back within the crucial ten point range of Martin.

A little to my surprise, Lily was not able to solve this within time; she says she "didn't do much better than 671", leaving it unclear what value she actually got to.  However, she comes back after the break with a solution, using the first of the answers I listed.

Martin: [invalid]
Matthew: 671
Me: 667

Scores: Martin 22 (27), Matthew 6 (18), me 39

Second break: LINK DING ("The smallest firestarter")

Clearly this references KINDLING.

Round 7: T M T R I A I O L

I had TRIM, TRAIT, MORTAL, MITRAL, and was rather dubious about MILITATOR / LIMITATOR.  Much as it hurt, I had to give up on them and stick with the six.  That was the right decision, but it hurt even more after time when I realised that I should have simply dropped the L from LIMITATOR to make IMITATOR.  Bother.

Martin seems disappointed with his five of TOTAL, but Matthew could only get TRAM for four and that puts him back into danger.  David points out the option of TAILOR, but has accurately found IMITATOR for eight.

Unsurprisingly, IMITATOR is the only eight.  There are no sevens; the other six is RIALTO.

Martin: TOTAL
Matthew: TRAM

Scores: Martin 22 (32), Matthew 6 (18), me 45

Round 8: Target 592 from 100 50 4 1 5 2

Matthew needs unanswered points here to have a chance, and he sticks with the family mix.  Unfortunately for him it turns up an easy selection; I started with the tweak of 592 = 4*(100 + 50 - 2), then 592 = (5 + 1)*100 - 4*2 and 592 = ((5 + 1)*50 - 4)*2.

Both contestants have solved this; Matthew uses the second of those solutions, and it turns out that Martin did the same also.  That puts the game out of Matthew's reach, and Martin will get to the important fourth game.  Lily has gone with the first of the solutions that I listed.

Martin: 592
Matthew: 592
Me: 592
Lily: 592

Scores: Martin 32 (42), Matthew 16 (28), me 55


I picture this conundrum giving Sam flashbacks.  I'm still trying to get used to the way the letters rotate into view now, but found the solution pleasingly quickly.

Martin also gets there quite quickly at just four seconds in, pushing his total over the fifty mark.

Martin: ELONGATED (4s)
Matthew: [no answer]

Scores: Martin 32 (52), Matthew 16 (28), me 65

Martin lost his way a bit this game on the numbers, with two invalid declarations; he is a little fortunate that it was not more costly.  However, his word-finding saw him through in good stead, taking points in three of the rounds and losing none.  Solving the conundrum capped it off for a solid win.


Mike Backhouse said...

x error
(4+3)*(75+25-5)+1=666 (1 off)
x Martin buzzed in quickly. Next time I will do it on this site.

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice work with that 666, Mike -- it would have served you well against those contestants! (And Lily too, by the sounds of it.)

Mike Backhouse said...

By the way must be kidding! Seriously, fantastic!

Sam G said...

Indeed Geoff, I had two Ep450 flashbacks here, with LAUDERS and ELONGATED.

More good anagram work from Martin, including the conundrum this time.

Don't have my notes with me, I think these were my answers:

3. 898, I think it was Geoff's way.
5. ABRIDGES. This round rang a bell.
6. 667 = (5 + 4)*75 - (25 - 1)/3
8. 592 = 4*(100 + 50 - 2)
9. ELONGATED - 3.25s

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks, Mike. As I mentioned, it's come up before -- three times, in fact. In episode 439 I found it, but talked myself out of it. In NG 304 I found it, could not remember if it was valid, but chanced it. And in NG 523 I found it and was confident in it.

What contributed to the uncertainty originally is that HADRON, BARYON, LEPTON, and MESON are all classes of subatomic particles. But the valid -IC words are just HADRONIC and BARYONIC. I think I've been caught out before attempting MESONIC (when I should have tried INCOMES).

Mike Backhouse said...

Geoff, I'm even more impressed that you know various classes of sub-atomic particles, let alone differentiating between applicability of -IC variations. How do we mere mortals compete with that? Seriously, it's wonderful having such a high standard of play on this site and to aspire to.