Thursday, 5 February 2015

Ep 254: Shyam Subramaniam, Judithe Hall (February 5, 2015; originally aired August 18, 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.

Shyam has his first turn in the champion's seat tonight, and Richard inquires how serious Shyam is about the "aspiring novelist" description.  Shyam reveals that he has started scripting a novel, but it's only in the draft stages.  Unfortunately he does not go into any further detail about it, so it's hard to get a sense of how clear the story is to him.

Tonight's challenger is Judithe Hall, a teacher/librarian.  Richard draws the connection between Judithe's job and Shyam's aspiration, and then moves to a more general point about Judithe loving books.  She agrees, noting that these days they come in several different formats.  She awkwardly transitions to talking about what it means to her to be a librarian, which is "inspiring students and staff to make use of all the available resources, and to really have a lifelong love of learning".

Judithe was in good form on the letters today, and took points from Shyam in four of the five rounds.  That was a big gap to overcome, and with the numbers rounds being a little easy, Shyam was out of contention going into round 8.  The conundrum was a difficult one, but Judithe found the solution with a couple of seconds left on the clock for an emphatic 62 to 25 victory.

I struggled to distance myself from Judithe, and risked a little too much in one round to fall behind.  I was fortunate to get back on level pegging in the next round, but it took an invalid answer from her in a numbers round for me to finally get ahead.  I solved the conundrum very quickly, but (as I'll explain in the conundrum round) there's a sense in which I had seen it before.  Overall I was a little wobblier than I'd like -- I'm still getting adjusted to the show's format again! -- but happy to get through with the win.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: R C S D O E A E M

I had CORDS, SCORED, CREASED, SCREAMED, and very late in the piece noticed COMRADES but wrote down COMERADES (not valid).  That was actually deliberate, as COMRADES would not improve my score and I only had enough time to get one more word down; I was wondering if COMERADES would be a valid alternative spelling.  In retrospect, I think I was channelling CAMERADERIE for that extra E insertion.  Anyway, even a small amount of thought served to rejected it and I stayed with SCREAMED.  After time I did note down COMRADES as the valid second eight.

Shyam has SCORED for six, but Judithe sets the tone for the game by finding COMRADES for eight.  David essays a Russian accent to indicate his approval of Judithe's find, but it is rather a poor impersonation.  The episode transcript rather hilariously assesses David's performance as "(mimics Count von Count)".  David has found both COMRADES and SCREAMED, and notes that if that last consonant had been a T then DECORATES would have been available.

The other eight is RACEMOSE ("having the form of a raceme").  The other sevens are COMRADE / CAROMED, RACEMES / AMERCES (AMERCE: "to punish by inflicting a discretionary penalty of any kind"), SMEARED, CREAMED / AMERCED, CREASED, RADOMES (RADOME: "a domed cover over an aerial system designed to allow the free passage of radio waves"), ACEROSE ("needle-shaped, as the leaves of a pine"), and SCREAMO ("a music genre of the early 1990s, derived from emo and hardcore punk").


Scores: Shyam 0, Judithe 8, me 8

Round 2: K T U N I A D S O

I had UNIT, STAIN, and ASTOUND.  After time I noted KATIONS (KATION being a variant spelling of CATION) as another seven, and wondered about SUDATION.  It's not in the Macquarie, but later checking did show it up in the Scrabble list.  Chambers lists it, too: "sweating; sweat; a watery exudation from plants".  That's the sort of mix you want against the Scrabble champions, tempting them into trying the unlisted longer word.

This time Shyam tries ADISON, which is not valid.  In any case, Judithe has found longer with ASTOUND and scoots 15 points clear; Shyam is clearly in trouble.  David could not better ASTOUND, which is hardly surprising since seven is the limit of this mix.

The other sevens are OUTSAID and DAIKONS.  I'm a little disappointed that TANUKIS is not listed.  Some of the possible sixes here are DAUNTS, STUDIO, UNSAID, NUDIST, and DONUTS.

Shyam: [invalid -- ADISON]
Judithe: ASTOUND

Scores: Shyam 0, Judithe 15, me 15

Round 3: Target 942 from 50 100 10 1 4 3

It's very clear to start with 10*100 as the easiest approximation, and subtracting the rest of the numbers finishes it off: 942 = 10*100 - 50 - 4 - 3 - 1.

Everyone else also uses that approach.  There are other options, as it turns out.  A few are based on the factorisation 3*314, such as 942 = (4*(50 + 1) + 100 + 10)*3, but the more unusual option is 942 = (100*(50 - 3) + 10)/(4 + 1).

Shyam: 942
Judithe: 942
Me: 942
Lily: 942

Scores: Shyam 10, Judithe 25, me 25

First break: OCEAN NUN ("Lightweight speech")

The answer is ANNOUNCE, with the clue hinting at "an ounce".

David talks about two meanings of the word 'brandy' -- both the alcoholic beverage, and a name for a school game that I know as 'brandings', involving throwing a tennis ball at each other.

Round 4: R P E U R J I T A

I had PURE, PURER, RIPER, PARURE ("a set of jewels or ornaments"), PIRATE, and a dubious PARTIER (not valid).  I vacillated a little and jumped the wrong way by chancing it.  I may have been influenced by having spotted RAPTURE just after time, so I knew that there was at least one seven.  (As an aside, PARTY has adjective senses listed (political such as party issue, or social like party dress); abuse of my revised rules would thus make PARTIER* valid.)

Judithe goes with PIRATE for six (making me regret my risk even more), but Shyam has found a seven.  Unfortunately for him, though, he has tried JUPITER.  As David notes, it does have two senses listed but they are both proper, so Shyam has another invalid answer and Judithe is now 21 points ahead.  David has accurately found RAPTURE here.

RAPTURE is the only seven.  The other sixes are UPREAR, REPAIR / RAPIER, ARTIER, PRATER, IRRUPT ("to burst or intrude suddenly"), PRATIE (Irish for "a potato"), and PUJARI ("the priest officiating in a Hindu temple").

Shyam: [invalid -- JUPITER]
Judithe: PIRATE
Me: [invalid -- PARTIER]

Scores: Shyam 10, Judithe 31, me 25

Round 5: H S G E I A I L C

I had SIGH, GEISHA, and SLEIGH.  After time I noted LIAISE and CHISEL as other sixes.

Both contestants have found five-letter words; Judithe has CLASH while Shyam goes for CHASE.  David points out GEISHA and SHEILA, but has outdone them with the seven of LAICISE ("to deprive of clerical character or status").

The other sevens are CHILIES and ISCHIAL (adjective derived from ISCHIUM: "either of the bones on which the body rests while sitting").

Shyam: CHASE
Judithe: CLASH

Scores: Shyam 10 (15), Judithe 31 (36), me 31

Round 6: Target 402 from 100 50 7 3 1 5

Lots of ways to make a 2 from the small numbers, and it was not hard to then find 402 = (3 + 1)*100 + 7 - 5.  The target is also 3*134, which led me to 402 = (100 + 5*7 - 1)*3.  After time I experimented with the factorisation 6*67 and found 402 = (50 + 100/5 - 3)*(7 - 1), and finally noted the simpler 402 = (7 + 1)*50 + 5 - 3.

Both contestants solve it using the first solution I listed.  No word on Lily's performance, but it's safe to assume that she found it also.

Shyam: 402
Judithe: 402
Me: 402

Scores: Shyam 20 (25), Judithe 41 (46), me 41

Second break: BISON HEN ("Connected to the knee bone")

A reference to the song Dem Bones, where the SHINBONE is connected to the knee bone.

Round 7: N S R A U I M H O

I was quite distracted in this round by the not-quite-there HARMONIOUS (it scores twenty, as Sam would say).  I had URNS, RUINS, and resorted to HUMORS for my six.  It seemd like a seven should be there but nothing I tried worked out.  After time I noted other sixes of HUMANS, HOURIS, MINORS, MANORS, AMOURS, and a good minute or two later finally found UNHAIRS for seven.

With the last two rounds, Shyam has arrested the rot, but he needs unanswered points here in order to have a chance.  It doesn't look good for him when he declares a five to Judithe's six, and even worse when his five turns out to be the invalid MUIRS.  Judithe has made no mistake with her choice of MANORS, and is now guaranteed the win.  David has very nicely found NOURISH for seven.

The other seven to be found in this mix is MOHAIRS.

Shyam: [invalid -- MUIRS]
Judithe: MANORS

Scores: Shyam 20 (25), Judithe 47 (52), me 47

Round 8: Target 433 from 100 50 1 7 5 9

This was very similar to the first numbers round -- get above the target, and subtract the rest for the solution 433 = 5*100 - 50 - 9 - 7 - 1.  A little after time I realised that I'd never considered 9*50 as a starting point (as I should have); the offset of 17 looks awkward with the rest, but is 9*2 - 1 and a tweak sorts it out: 433 = 9*(50 - (7 - 5)) + 1.

Both contestants declare two away with 435; a plausible route to that would be (9 - 1)*50 + 5*7.  Judithe starts with (5 - 1)*100, but then tries to reuse the 5 and her answer is invalid.  Shyam has also made an error, quite plausibly the same one.  Lily demonstrates the first of the solutions that I listed.

Shyam: [invalid]
Judithe: [invalid]
Me: 433
Lily: 433

Scores: Shyam 20 (25), Judithe 47 (52), me 57


I buzzed in a little shy of the two second mark with GLACIERS, but corrected myself directly to SACRILEGE.  However, in a sense I had foreknowledge here -- SACRILEGE was one of the test letter mixes on the audition that I sat.  I rather doubt I'd have found the correction in time without that previous exposure; that said, I did find that full monty in the audition so it's not completely out of the question.

The clock counts down, and then with just a fraction over a second left Judithe buzzes in with the correct answer.  That gives her a quite satisfactory final score in the sixties, and she is looking strong.

Shyam: [no answer]
Judithe: SACRILEGE (28s)

Scores: Shyam 20 (25), Judithe 47 (62), me 67

Judithe had quite a good game tonight, with the exception of her invalid answer in round 8.  A little more care there could easily have given her seven points and left her total just shy of 70, which would be a very good score indeed.  In contrast, Shyam was clearly in trouble throughout; he had a distressing four invalid answers, and that's far too much ground to concede.  I will note, however, that even if all of those declarations had been correct he would still have lost by 8 points -- Judithe's play was just too strong for him today.  I look forward to seeing if Judithe can continue this form.


Mike Backhouse said...

STINK (indeed)
Everyone's approach
x PARTIER (grrrr...)
(5-1)+50-9-7=434 (1 off, I mucked that one up by not going the 5*100 route)
x GLACIERS (I also jumped in with this one Geoff)

Sam G said...

1-6: Same as Geoff.
8. Geoff's and: (50+9)*7 + 100/5
9. 1.5s - SACRILEGE