Friday, 6 February 2015

Ep 255: Judithe Hall, Brad Tucker (February 6, 2015; originally aired August 19, 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.

Judithe returns after yesterday's solid win over Shyam.  Richard asks how the unusual spelling of her first name came about; Judithe explains that both of her parents had names with an 'e' on the end, and decided that she should not be left out.  There's a little further banter about possible other names with 'e' appended.

Tonight's challenger is Brad Tucker, an astrophysicist.  Richard mentions the terms "dark energy" and "supernovae" and asks if that is the kind of thing that Brad studies.  Brad affirms that, explaining that the supernovae (which he describes as "bright stellar explosions") are used to figure out what dark energy is.  He adds that they think that dark energy is a force that is causing the universe to expand, and indeed to increase in that expansion.

It was quite the close game tonight.  Brad did not seem as comfortable on the letters as he would have liked, but fortunately for him Judithe did not quite match her performance from yesterday.  She twice picked up a small lead from the letter rounds, but each time Brad was able to gain back that ground on the numbers.  It turned out that both contestants were tied going into the conundrum, and with neither solving it the tiebreaker conundrum was wheeled out.  Time ticked down again, then in an echo of yesterday's game Judithe found the solution with only a handful of seconds left on the clock.  She scraped by with the win, 51 to 41.

I had an excellent game tonight, except for a bit of a brain freeze on the last numbers round.  Brad liked the heavyweight mix, which is sure to make Sam happy but I seem to be a bit rusty on it.  That stopped me from having an optimal game, and fretting over that may have contributed to my poor performance on the second conundrum.  Still, my score made it into the eighties, and that's a rare occurrence.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: M S E O T N I R B

I had SOME, TOMES, MONTES (MONTE being colloquial for "a certainty"), MOISTEN, BRIMSTONE, ENTOMBS, and BORNITES (BORNITE being a mineral).  Woohoo, starting off with a full monty!

Both contestants have found six-letter words here; Brad went for MISTER while Judithe chose MINERS.  David checks the spelling for the record, but notes that MINORS would also have been fine.  David points out BROMINE for seven (and unsaid is that BROMINES would be an eight as a result), but triumphantly announces that he has found BRIMSTONE.

BRIMSTONE is the only nine, unsurprisingly, and BORNITES and BROMINES are the only eights.  There are a decent spread of sevens, of which I'll just mention TIMBERS, MONSTER, MOBSTER, and ORIENTS.

Judithe: MINERS

Scores: Judithe 0 (6), Brad 0 (6), me 18

Round 2: L Q S A U E H R I

I had EQUALS, SQUARE, amused myself with EQUALISH (not valid), HAILERS, and HAULIERS.

Brad has found SHIRE for five, but Judithe gets the first advantage with her choice of QUAILS.  David mentions SQUEAL, but has also found HAULIERS.

The other sevens are HAULIER, HAULERS, HURLIES (HURLY: "commotion; hurly-burly") / LUSHIER*, and SHALIER*.

Judithe: QUAILS

Scores: Judithe 0 (12), Brad 0 (6), me 26

Round 3: Target 413 from 50 100 3 2 7 5

Judithe goes for the family mix, and it's a helpful set of numbers.  The first step is to get close, and 4*100 is the obvious choice with the 4 coming from 7 - 3.  The remaining 13 fortunately can be made as 4*2 + 5, and a tweak finishes it off: 413 = (7 - 3)*(100 + 2) + 5.  Then I noticed the factor of 7 (with cofactor 59) and thus another solution: 413 = (50 + 3*(5 - 2))*7.  After time I realised that working down from 450 was also feasible -- the offset of 37 is 5*7 + 2, and that's easy tweaking territory: 413 = 5*(100 - 7) - 50 - 2.

Judithe has got to three away with 410, which I'll guess was (7 - 3)*100 + 2*5.  But Brad is one crucial value closer, having found 415 = 5*100 - 50 - 7*(3 + 2).  That gives him a slender one point lead going into the first break.  Lily demonstrates the first of the solutions that I listed.

Judithe: 410
Brad: 415
Me: 413
Lily: 413

Scores: Judithe 0 (12), Brad 0 (13), me 36

First break: PAIN TOOL ("Take it or leave it")

I flailed a bit here, wanting to use a -TION ending but unable to make it work.  It took probably the full length of the notional ad break before I saw the adjustment to OPTIONAL.

David's talk is about the origin of knock-knock jokes.

Round 4: K G C L O E A D F

I had LOCK, wondered about GLOCK (not listed), LACKED, FLOCKED, and CLOAKED.  After time I checked up on DECALOG, but although DECALOGUE ("the Ten Commandments") gets an entry, and it is accepted as sometimes lower case, the American spelling is not listed.

Richard says it was a tough mix, and is then taken aback when both contestants have sevens.  Judithe chose FLOCKED and Brad went with CLOAKED.  David mentions LOCKAGE (payment for use of a lock in a canal) and DOCKAGE (payment for use of a dock).

The other seven is DAGLOCK (also DAG: "wool on a sheep's rear quarters which is dirty with mud and excreta").  DOGFACE is an American term for foot soldiers, but it is not in the Macquarie.

Judithe: FLOCKED

Scores: Judithe 7 (19), Brad 7 (20), me 43

Round 5: N C S E P I A O G

I had PENS, SPINE, PANICS, rightly recalled that CAPONISE was not listed, SOAPING, ESCAPING, and AGONISE.

That last round seems to have sparked a return to form for Judithe, who has found ESCAPING for eight.  Brad, a bit surprisingly to me, has only managed the five of PAGES.  David remarks that -- given Brad's occupation -- he thought that Brad's five would be SPACE.  He has found CANOPIES for his eight, the valid anagram of CAPONISE that I was missing.

The other eight is COINAGES.  There's a fair few other sevens, of which I'll mention SPACING, PIGEONS, CEASING, and AGONIES.


Scores: Judithe 15 (27), Brad 7 (20), me 51

Round 6: Target 137 from 100 50 25 75 4 7

It turns out that Brad is a fan of the heavyweight mix.  The small numbers are a decent set, but even though the target is small it's definitely not an easy one to reach.  I wrote down the fallback 1-off 136 = 100 + 25 + 7 + 4, and mused about ways to make offsets of 12 or 13, mostly without success.  Then late in the piece it occurred to me that 37 was near 75/2, so it was near 150/4.  In fact, the target is 548/4, and that 548 is near 7*75... it fortunately worked out to give the solution 137 = (7*75 + 25 - 100/50)/4.  I hastily, and barely legibly, scribbled it down and finished just as the time ran out.  Phew!

In the calmness that follows time having run out, I found another option.  As I said, 37 is near 75/2, but in order to divide by 2 we need an even number.  The choices are (75 - 7)/2 and (75 + 7)/2.  The latter is the promising one, since it is 4 away from the required 37.  That yielded the solution 137 = 100 + (75 + 7)/(50/25) - 4.

Both contestants have opted for that 136, and Lily has also been stumped.  That's good news for me, putting me in the highly unusual situation of being ahead of the David and Lily combination.  Lily thinks about it over the break and comes back with a solution: 137 = 75 + 50 + 4*(7 - 100/25).  Well done!

There's actually a few other solutions; two which appeal to me are 137 = (100/25)*4*7 + 75 - 50 and 137 = (100 - 4)*75/50 - 7.

Judithe: 136
Brad: 136
Me: 137

Scores: Judithe 15 (34), Brad 7 (27), me 61

Second break: GANG PELT ("From the hen in the garden")

The "hen" clearly brought EGG to mind, and it was a short step to EGGPLANT.

Round 7: D E R W U O N T E

I had RUDE, UNDER, REWOUND, TOWERED, and UNDERTOW.  For a moment I thought that UNDERWROTE was available, but that has used an extra R.  After time I noted OUTDREW as another seven, but on checking it turns out not to be listed.

Both contestants have found sevens again, keeping the game close.  Brad's choice is TOWERED and Judithe's is REWOUND.  David has found UNDERTOW, and wanted a final consonant, presumably for the possibility of UNDERTOWS.

The other eight is DEUTERON (a deuterium nucleus, deuterium being an isotope of hydrogen).  The other sevens are TENURED / DENTURE / RETUNED, WOUNDER, ENDOWER, and ERODENT ("eroding; erosive").

Judithe: REWOUND

Scores: Judithe 15 (41), Brad 7 (34), me 69

Round 8: Target 913 from 25 75 100 50 10 7

I was feeling pretty good at this point, having matched David in the words and with just a numbers round to get through for a possibly maximal set of main rounds.  Unfortunately, Brad opts for the difficult heavyweight mix again and gets both an unfortunate small number -- the 10 cuts down some options -- and a large target.  It proved too much for me, alas, and in the end I had to scramble to get something down.  In the process I lost track of my 2-away options and only got to 3 off with 916 = 10*100 - 75 - 7 - 50/25.

Just after that (when time had expired) I recalled that the adjustment I had intended was to multiply those last two terms together to get one closer, with 911 = 10*100 - 75 - 7*50/25.  That's the trouble when an exact solution is not found, it's easy to forget about the best option that you've found along the way.  A bit later I noted another 2-off answer of 915 = 7*(100 + 25) + 50 - 10, and then considered the near factorisation 7*130 = 910.  That's 3 off the target, and 3 is 10 - 7, so the target is actually 7*129 + 10.  That produced the solution 913 = 7*(75 + 50 + 100/25) + 10, and I should have come closer to finding that within time.  Alas.

Brad declares 3 off with 916, but Judithe's 915 will give her the victory.  Except Judithe's answer of 10*100 - 75 - 10 uses the 10 twice and is not valid.  A reprieve for Brad!  He has found the same 916 that I had.

Lily has done quite well to find a solution here: 913 = 10*(100 - 75/25) - 50 - 7.  Bravo!

Those are the only two solutions to this numbers round.

Judithe: [invalid]
Brad: 916
Me: 916
Lily: 913

Scores: Judithe 15 (41), Brad 14 (41), me 76


That last numbers game puts Brad tied with Judithe going into the conundrum, so it's certainly close.  I spotted the answer just shy of two seconds in, pushing my score into the eighties.

Brad buzzes in just under ten seconds in, but he has mistakenly opted for APPAREL.  He has a nervous wait for the remaining twenty seconds, and with around five seconds to go he gives a kind of nod which suggests that he may have seen the answer then.  That could prove costly, but he gets another chance as Judithe was unable to find her way to the solution.

That means we will go to a tiebreaker conundrum.  I was a bit surprised by that, as I'd thought they would only show the final solved conundrum when scores are tied.  But I seem to recall this has happened before, so it's just my memory at fault.

Judithe: [no answer]
Brad: [invalid -- APPAREL]

Scores: Judithe 15 (41), Brad 14 (41), me 86

Round 10: TIN DURING

So, onto the second conundrum.  It's a frustrating one for me -- the -ING ending screams out for use, but I can't unravel the rest into anything sensible.  I looked further afield, but kept coming back to that and finally saw the answer of INTRUDING at the 21s mark.

One of the contestants must solve this, of course, or it would not hav been televised.  My expectation was that Judithe was the more likely, and indeed with just three seconds left on the clock she finds the answer.

Judithe: INTRUDING (27s)
Brad: [no answer]

Scores: Judithe 15 (51), Brad 14 (41), me 96

This one went down to the wire, and it's generally pleasing to see two well-matched contestants.  Judithe had the advantage in the letters, twice outscoring Brad there, but he hit back well in the numbers rounds.  He certainly had his chances, most particularly in round two where finding any of the many six-letter words would have given him the victory today.  Once again, Judithe's tenacity in the conundrum paid off, and she'll get a third night on the show.

I was flying high after the full monty in the first round, and the narrow squeak of round 6, where I only just got the answer down in time.  But the second heavyweight mix proved too much for me and took away the optimal game.  Still, it's a rare occurrence when I can match David and Lily's score (excluding the conundrum), and a final score in the 80's is a very nice result.  A good way to end the week!


Justin Thai said...

I'd seen this episode on YouTube, so I decided to just watch on the tele and observe. Brad was a nice guy, I like contestants who were out there with their number selections,not afraid to take a risk. I think the key to Round 6 and a key with the heavyweight is to use 75+50 over 100+25 to make 125 simply because you can manoeuvre more with 100 and 25 over 75 and 50. It reminded me of a Countdown clip where Rachel wasn't able to find the answer but footballer ( guest I presume) Matt Le Tissier found it using a similar motif.

Mike Backhouse said...

BONIEST (I've used that recently I think. Well done on the full monty Geoff)
LASHER and thankfully avoided QUASHER which was not in my second edition
3*(50+100-7-5)=414 1 off, enough to beat contestants but not Geoff!
100+50-7-4-75/25= a more long winded way to get to 136 but still 1 off
10*(100-7-50/25)= 910 (3 off)
INTRUDING (41s-played this part of the game on this site so I could time myself)

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice to hear from you again, Justin -- thanks again for drawing my attention to the reruns. And you're right, making 125 as 75 + 50 is almost always the better option; it would have brought dividends in round 8, for instance. (In my case, though, I wanted the 50 for the offset to get near and had not thought properly about other options.)

Thanks, Mike, and well done to avoid QUASHER; it was a little tempting! I notice that you did not list the first conundrum result; I guess that's because you just clicked on the last option on the rounds page and did not find out until afterwards that there had been two. Apologies if my interface is less helpful than it might have been in such situations. You'd have beaten both contestants with your results in any case, so well done!

Sam G said...

Good game, Geoff.

I did enjoy Brad's heavyweight preference.
Judithe seems very nice, some good words from her again.

1. BORNITES. Thought there might be a nine here, but I wasn't close.
2. HAULERS. HAULIERS does not ring a bell for me.
3. 413 = (50+(5-2)*3)*7
6. 137 = 75+50+100/25*(7-4).
also nearly finished writing within time: ((50-(7-4))*75 - 100)/25
7. UNDERTOW. Also considered UNDERWROTE (20 points!).
8. 913 = (100 - 75/25)*10 - 50 - 7.
Wrote a 'safety' 912 first.
Just afterwards, saw (75+50+100/25)*7 + 10.
9. WALLPAPER - 4.6s.
Probably didn't get INTRUDING until about 40s, disappointing, as it was nearly spelt out.