Monday, 23 February 2015

Ep 266: Anushan Jegatheeswaran, Kim Butcher (February 23, 2015; originally aired September 5, 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.

We start the week with Anushan in the champion's chair, after his victory over Rachel last week.  Richard informs us that Anushan is able to walk on his hands and also manipulate things with his feet.  He asks how that started, and Anushan says that it was when he was quite small.  Initially he would lean against a wall, but then he tried pushing himself off it and just started walking around.  Somewhere along the way he learned to turn off light switches with his feet.

Tonight's challenger is Kim Butcher, a music teacher and very keen op-shopper.  She collects a lot of things from them, such as tourist scarves and vintage tablecloths.  She tends to buy her clothes by the kilo; in fact she is wearing one of her op-shop finds tonight.

Kim took the early lead in the first letters round, but Anushan took it back in the first numbers round.  The lead changed hands again in each of the next two rounds, partly due to an invalid word from Kim, and Anushan took advantage of that to move clear going into the second break.  But he fell from grace by trying an invalid word himself afterwards, and with the final numbers round tied it was anyone's game going into the conundrum.  It was Anushan who solved it first, getting his second win with a scoreline of 47 to 31.

I picked up a maximal game tonight, with the only way to improve it being to shave some seconds off the conundrum.  A very happy start to the week for me!

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: D L I P E T A C U

I had PILED, TEPID, PLAITED / TALIPED ("club-footed"), and then considered the -ATE ending got me the pleasant surprise of DUPLICATE.  Woohoo!

Anushan has found PETAL for five, outdone by Kim who was dubious about her six of PLATED.  It is fine, of course.  David is happy to start off the week on the right note by finding DUPLICATE.

The eight in this mix is PLICATED (variant of PLICATE: "folded like a fan; pleated").  The other sevens are PLICATE, CITADEL / DIALECT / DELTAIC / EDICTAL, PLAUDIT, DUCTILE ("capable of being drawn out into wire or threads, as gold"), PICULET (any of various woodpeckers), and CLUPEID (any of a certain family of fish).

Anushan: PETAL

Scores: Anushan 0, Kim 0 (6), me 18

Round 2: B R H O I G L A G

I had BIRO, BROIL, GLORIA ("a halo, nimbus, or aureole, or an ornament in imitation of one"), LOGGIA ("a gallery or arcade open to the air on at least one side"), and BROLGA.  I had wanted a final D for HIDALGO ("(in Spain) a man of the lower nobility) or a T for GOLIATH, but it was not to be.

It's not a very nice mix, and it's little surprise that the contestants are limited to four-letter words.  Anushan has chosen GRAB while Kim has opted for GLOB.  David needs to check that, but it is valid.  At least they both avoided GRAIL.  David has gone with BROLGA as his choice.

The other six is BAILOR.  There are a few other fives, of which I'll just mention ABHOR and GARBO.

Anushan: GRAB

Scores: Anushan 0 (4), Kim 0 (10), me 24

Round 3: Target 441 from 50 6 9 5 1 2

I recognised the target as the square of 21, which means it is also 9*49.  From those observations it was straightforward to find 441 = 9*(50 - 1), and then to solve it in small numbers alone with 441 = 9*(6 + 1)*(5 + 2).

Anushan finished writing with around ten seconds left on the clock, but Kim looks fretfully at her paper.  It's not much surprise to find out that Anushan has solved this but Kim has not.  She declares a surprising 444, and it's hard to think what she might done there -- 9*50 - 6 is the obvious route to that value, but it's easily adjusted to a full solution.  Anushan's solution is 441 = (6 + 2 + 1)*50 - 9.  Lily demonstrates the first of the solutions that I listed.

Anushan: 441
Kim: 444
Me: 441
Lily: 441

Scores: Anushan 10 (14), Kim 0 (10), me 34

First break: LONG ITCH ("Worn to keep you decent")

Everything after the first word seems redundant in that clue, as the answer is CLOTHING.

David's talk is about the origins of the word 'cope'.

Round 4: T F M O E N R A S

I had MOTE, FOMENT, FORMATE ("(of aircraft) to group in formation"), FORMATES, STOREMAN, and was a little tempted by FORESTMAN but rightly rejected it.  After time I noted the other sevens of FOREMAN / FORAMEN ("an opening, orifice, or short passage [...]"), neither of which can have the S appended to make a plural (the appropriate plurals being FOREMEN and FORAMINA).

Anushan has a good seven of MENTORS, but Kim has done quite well to find FORMATES for eight.  I'm going to guess that she was thinking of the chemical sense (FORMATE: "a salt or ester or formic acid") rather than the airplane formation one.  She only just got it down, finishing as time ran out.  David has found STOREMAN and SEAFRONT.

The other eights are FOREMAST, RAFTSMEN, ONSTREAM, and FORMANTS (FORMANT: "any of several frequency regions of relatively greater intensity in a sound spectrum, which together determine the characteristic quality of a vowel sound").

Anushan: MENTORS

Scores: Anushan 10 (14), Kim 8 (18), me 42

Round 5: K D E F A T I S A

I had FADE, FAKED, FAKIE (a skateboarding manoeuvre), FASTED, and TAFIAS (TAFIA: "a kind of rum made from the lower grades of molasses, refuse sugar, etc.").  After time I noted FIESTA as another six.

It's another unhelpful mix, but a bit better than round 2.  Anushan has SKATED for six, but Kim has stretched too far by trying FADIEST and that is not valid.  David has chosen SKITED as his six; he dived for the dictionary about halfway through time, and based on the section of the dictionary involved I'll guess he was checking on STADIA.

The remaining sixes are SIFTED / FISTED, STAKED / TASKED, and STADIA.

Anushan: SKATED
Kim: [invalid -- FADIEST]

Scores: Anushan 16 (20), Kim 8 (18), me 48

Round 6: Target 392 from 100 75 8 5 1 2

The offset for the standard method is 8, and so it's just a question of getting to 400 with the rest.  That led me to 392 = (5 - 1)*100 - 8.  Then I noted that 400 was 8*50, yielding the factorisation 8*49 and so an alternative solution of 392 = (100/2 - 1)*8.  Switching tacks, I looked at working up from 375; the offset of 17 was also manageable, giving 392 = 5*75 + 2*8 + 1.

The game has see-sawed quite a bit, but Kim's weakness in the numbers allows Anushan to scoot clear.  She has rather strangely not managed to get near; Anushan has solved this fairly quickly with the first solution that I listed.  Lily demonstrates a minor tweak of it as an alternative: 392 = (5 - 1)*(100 - 2).

Anushan: 392
Kim: [not in range]
Me: 392
Lily: 392

Scores: Anushan 26 (30), Kim 8 (18), me 58

Second break: IVY ATTIC ("Pretend to be busy")

In this clue, "pretend" is cluing the ACT of ACTIVITY.

Round 7: H R E T I M O D E

I had THEIR, an uncertain MITHER (valid: "Chiefly British to confuse; bewilder"), MOTHER, MOTHERED, and wondered about HERMITED (not valid).  After time I noted some sevens: DEMERIT / MERITED and HEIRDOM.  I'm glad that the last letter was not an R, as I could not decide if THERMIDOR would be valid (it is not).

Kim has the six of THEMED, while Anushan takes the unwise risk of REMOTED (not valid).  He had to declare first this round; if he had gone second then I hope he would declared the safe six of REMOTE -- it would take Kim beating him in the numbers to have a chance if so, which seems quite unlikely based on current form.  David has found the best option of MOTHERED.

The other eight is MITHERED.  The other sevens are THEOREM, MITERED / RETIMED / DIMETER ("Prosody a verse or line of two measures or feet"), REHOMED / HOMERED, MOTHIER, ETHMOID (one of the bones in the skull), and THEROID ("having animal propensities or characteristics") / THORIDE ("any of several natural radioactive isotopes which occur in the radioactive series containing thorium").

Anushan: [invalid -- REMOTED]

Scores: Anushan 26 (30), Kim 8 (24), me 66

Round 8: Target 215 from 50 25 5 2 8 8

This felt a little tricky, perhaps due to not having many odd numbers to work with.  The obvious starting point seemed like 8*25, and somehow I missed the continuation 8*25 + 8 + 2 + 5.  Wow.  Instead I tweaked to a fallback one-off 216 = 8*(25 + 2).  Fortunately when I considered working down from 250 I did find a solution, otherwise I'd have been very unhappy with myself.  That solution was 215 = 5*(50 - 2) - 25.  After time I thought about 240 - 25 some more, and found another solution of 215 = 8*(8 - 2)*5 - 25.

The contestants have each ended up two off the target, although in different directions.  Kim has 217 = (8/2)*50 + 25 - 8.  Anushan, meanwhile, has 213 = (8/2)*50 + 8 + 5.  If only he'd made the 200 as 8*25 instead then he could have solved this.  Lily has ably found the solution 215 = 5*50 - 25 - 8 - 2.

That result keeps Kim in touch, and the conundrum will matter.  If Anushan loses this he may very much regret chancing REMOTED in round 7.

Anushan: 213
Kim: 217
Me: 215
Lily: 215

Scores: Anushan 26 (37), Kim 8 (31), me 76


When a Y is around, it's frequently worth checking for -LY, -ITY, and -ARY endings.  In this case only the last was available and it was not quite correct.  But it got me thinking of the right "sound", and so guided me to the answer of MACHINERY.

Anushan does well to solve this just past the halfway mark, and may be a little relieved.

Anushan: MACHINERY (16s)
Kim: [no answer]

Scores: Anushan 26 (47), Kim 8 (31), me 86

It was very much a seesaw battle tonight, with the lead changing hands several times.  Anushan was very much the better on the numbers, gaining 20 points there, but Kim's superior form on the letters kept her in touch.  Anushan would have had a more comfortable win if he had not tried an invalid word, but one could equally well say that it would have been closer if Kim had not done the same.  The end result was a nice close game, and the conundrum is always more interesting when it matters.

I had a maximal result tonight, which was nice.  Sam would, of course, point out that it can't be considered optimal with that conundrum solution speed, and it's a fair point.  Still, it's a nice way to start the week.


Mike Backhouse said...

PLAITED (well done Geoff on the full monty)
TAMER and seconds out of time saw MONSTER. (David Bowie's STARMAN has not made it to my second edition)
MOTHER (pls don't rub it in!)
8*(25+2)=216, 1 off and went slightly over

Sam G said...

Another good game for you, Geoff, your sub-optimal conundrum time certainly beat mine.

I wasn't close to finding DUPLICATE in Round 1, afterwards I thought that using the -ATE (which I didn't) must have been the only approach. However, when David said there was a nine-letter word, I only took about three seconds to get it. It really is different when you know there is a word using all the letters. Otherwise, if you have a seven-letter word, focus can be more on finding an eight.

1. PLAITED, nearly tried the invalid CULPATED.
3. 441 = 9*(50 - 1)
6. 392 = (100/2 - 1)*8
8. 215 = 8*25 + 8 + 2 + 5, also Lily's way.
9. MACHINERY, 25-30s

Geoff Bailey said...

Heh, STARMAN (or STARMEN, rather) -- amusing. I guess it's still waiting in the sky.

Sam: Yes, totally, knowing that there is a nine makes it vastly easier to find. Bizarre how the mind works.