Monday, 16 February 2015

Ep 261: Jodi-Ann Menzies, Cormac Murtagh (February 16, 2015; originally aired August 29, 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.

Jodi-Ann gets her turn in the champion's seat to start off the week.  Richard notes that Jodi-Ann has swum with dolphins, and asks her what that was like.  Jodi-Ann says it was fabulous, and that she has been very fortunate in that she has been able to swim with dolphins both in the wild and also in captivity.  Richard then throws back to Lily, who surfs a lot, and asks her if she has encountered dolphins while doing so.  Lily responds that she has, but it wasn't so nice at the time -- all she saw was a fin go past, so she and her surfing companion Anna were both scared for a while.

Tonight's challenger is Cormac Murtagh, described as an avid poker player and multilinguist.  Richard asks how serious Cormac is about the poker, and Cormac explains that he started off just playing with friends but has since become more serious about it; he moved on to playing in tournaments, which he has really enjoyed.  He has also been able to earn a bit of money doing it, which is good.  He hopes to eventually "swim with the big sharks" in the poker game.

Jodi-Ann got off to a poor start with an invalid word, but it was not a very costly mistake.  She took the lead in the second round, only for Cormac to gain it back and then further extend it in the next two rounds.  Jodi-Ann struck back in the second numbers round, with her solution taking her to just a point behind Cormac.  That point was significant, however, as Cormac was the one to solve the final numbers round; that put him eleven points ahead going into the conundrum.  It was a hard conundrum, and no-one solved it; Cormac took the victory, 39 to 28.

As seems to be a bit of a running theme recently, I had good results but was just a little too slow in some of the initial rounds.  Thereafter I found the maximums, before running into the brick wall of the conundrum.  It was too tough for me also, but I still managed to reach the mid-sixties.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: I E O M D L E N H

It was a tough mix to start off the game; I had MODE and had to reach deep to find the six of MOILED (MOIL: "to work hard; toil; drudge").  After time I saw another six of OILMEN, and just after that saw HEMLINE for seven.  Bother.

Jodi-Ann is dubious about her "risky" six of LIONED, and rightly so.  David checks, but there's no joy for Jodi-Ann in this case.  That gives Cormac the points with his "easy" four of DEEM.  David looked at the -LINE fragment and accurately found HEMLINE for seven.

The other seven is ELOINED (ELOIN being a variant spelling of ELOIGN, meaning "to remove (oneself) to a distance").  The other sixes are MONIED, OMENED, LIMNED (LIMN: "to represent in drawing or painting") / MILDEN ("to become mild or milder"), HELMED, DOLMEN, HODMEN (plural of HODMAN: "a bricklayer's assistant"), HOIDEN (variant spelling of HOYDEN: "tomboy"), MEHNDI (another term for henna), MELOID (a type of beetle, also known as a blister beetle), HOLDEN (archaic past tense of HOLD), HEMOID (variant spelling of HAEMOID: "bloodlike"), and INDOLE (a certain chemical) / DOLINE ("a shallow depression, either funnel- or saucer-shaped, and having its floor covered by cultivated soil, formed by solution in mountain limestone country").

Jodi-Ann: [invalid -- LIONED]
Cormac: DEEM

Scores: Jodi-Ann 0, Cormac 0 (4), me 6

Round 2: W U S A O D R E N

I had SODA, WOADS, AROUSED, DOWNERS, SUNWARD, and WARDENS.  After time I also noted WANDERS, WONDERS, WOUNDERS, RONDEAUS (RONDEAU is a type of poem; unusually among dictionaries, the Macquarie allows RONDEAUS as a plural form as well as the more typical RONDEAUX), and DANSEUR.  That's two rounds in a row where I've seen a better option (WOUNDERS, in this case -- RONDEAUS took somewhat longer) shortly after time expired.

This time Cormac has found SNARED for six, but Jodi-Ann manages one better with WARDENS for seven.  David mentions ONWARDS as another seven, but has also found WOUNDERS.

WOUNDERS and RONDEAUS are the only eights.  The other sevens are WOUNDER / REWOUND, RONDEAU, ASUNDER, UNSWEAR, UNSWORE, SOUNDER / RESOUND / ENDUROS / UNDOERS, and REDOWAS (REDOWA: "a Bohemian dance in two forms, the more common resembling the waltz or mazurka, the other resembling the polka").

Cormac: SNARED

Scores: Jodi-Ann 7, Cormac 0 (4), me 13

Round 3: Target 548 from 100 75 7 8 5 10

My instinct was to start with 7*75, and it turned out that simple addition took care of the rest: 548 = 7*75 + 10 + 5 + 8.  A lucky one!

Jodi-Ann managed to get two away with 546, which might have been 5*100 + 7*8 - 10.  However Cormac has pipped her by finding 549 = (100 + 10)*5 - 8 + 7.  A see-sawing game early on!  Lily has gone with the same solution that I had.

Jodi-Ann: 546
Cormac: 549
Me: 548
Lily: 548

Scores: Jodi-Ann 7, Cormac 0 (11), me 23

First break: DREAM URN ("A cricketer will never live this down")

A clear reference to the infamous UNDERARM bowling incident, and the cricketer in question is, of course, the then-captain Greg Chappell.

David's talk is about lipograms, which are passages of text where a certain letter is not used.

Round 4: D A S E O R B U L

I had ODES, SOARED, BOARDS, AROUSED (again!), and BOULDERS.  SUBLOADER was too much of a stretch, so eight it stayed.  After time I noted other sevens of RELOADS / LOADERS and DURABLE.

Jodi-Ann has opted for BLOUSE for 6; I wonder if she considered increasing it to BLOUSED?  (BLOUSE as a verb: "to hang loose and full").  Cormac has found the better option of ROUBLES, and that takes him to a potentially-crucial eleven points ahead.  David points out to Jodi-Ann that BLOUSED is valid, then notes its anagram of DOUBLES.  He has extended that to the eight of DOUBLERS (DOUBLER: "a ram over six months old, counted as two sheep in a shearer's tally"; it is also listed as a run-on entry from DOUBLE).

The other eights are LABOURED, ROULADES, DURABLES ("goods which are durable"), and RUBEOLAS (RUBEOLA being another name for measles, apparently).  The other sevens are BOULDER / DOUBLER, ROULADE, RUBEOLA, ORDEALS, LABOURS, LABORED, ROSEBUD, DAUBERS, LAUDERS, and ALBEDOS.

Jodi-Ann: BLOUSE

Scores: Jodi-Ann 7, Cormac 0 (18), me 31

Round 5: A O I T D H F U T

That's a tough mix; I don't think either choice for the last letter had much hope of redeeming it.  I had IOTA, FAITH, and OUTFIT.

Both contestants have opted for DAFT as their answer.  David has found FAITH and OUTFIT.

OUTFIT is the only six (OUTHIT is not listed).  The other fives are DITTO, AUDIO, AUDIT, DHOTI ("a traditional Indian garment for the lower part of the body, comprising a piece of cloth wrapped around the hips and passed loosely between the legs, worn in different styles in different regions"), and DATTO (variant spelling of DATO: "(in the Philippines) an indigenous chief").

Jodi-Ann: DAFT
Cormac: DAFT

Scores: Jodi-Ann 7 (11), Cormac 0 (22), me 37

Round 6: Target 405 from 100 3 10 6 7 9

As the small numbers were put up I had done some pre-multiplication, recognising that 9*7*6 was 378.  When the target was revealed I realised that not only was it close, but the difference was 27, easily made with a tweak.  That gave me the solution 405 = (6*7 + 3)*9.  Then I looked at more straightforward approaches, finding 405 = (7 - 3)*100 + 9 + 6 - 10.  After time I noted that (7 - 3) and (10 - 6) could be swapped in that solution, and then that working up from 300 was slightly easier: 405 = 3*100 + 7*(9 + 6).

Cormac has managed to get one off with 406, which I'll guess is (7 - 3)*100 + 6.  That would be a bit of a miss if so, since the remaining numbers can make the 1 (as shown above).  Jodi-Ann has managed one better by solving this, using the solution 405 = (10 - 6)*100 + 3 + 9 - 7; Lily has solved this the same way.

That tightens the scores right up, with Cormac a single point ahead going into the second break.

Jodi-Ann: 405
Cormac: 406
Me: 405
Lily: 405

Scores: Jodi-Ann 17 (21), Cormac 0 (22), me 47

Second break: ONION TAD ("Gift to another who needs it")

Such a gift is a DONATION.

Round 7: E A E C G N R I B


Both contestants have gone with the same answer of BRACING, keeping the scores close.  David checked up on CABERING, which he describes as desperation, and has had to stay with the very nice seven of ICEBERG.

The other sevens are CARBINE, ANERGIC (adjective derived from ANERGY: "deficiency of energy"), and CARBEEN (another name for the Moreton Bay ash).  RIB CAGE is only listed as two words.


Scores: Jodi-Ann 24 (28), Cormac 7 (29), me 54

Round 8: Target 397 from 100 10 7 7 3 5

The approach of 4*100 - 3 seemed clear, and I soon had 397 = (5 - 7/7)*100 - 3.  I also spotted the option of 7*71 - 100, but it was not until after time that I managed to make the 71 and so get 397 = (5*10 + 3*7)*7 - 100.

Jodi-Ann has got to one off here with 398, that I'm guessing was (7 - 3)*100 - (7 - 5).  But Cormac has shown the better way to proceed from that start, finding 397 = (7 - 3)*100 - 10 + 7.  Huh, I completely missed that option.  Lily also solved it that way.

Cormac is now guaranteed to win.

Jodi-Ann: 398
Cormac: 397
Me: 397
Lily: 397

Scores: Jodi-Ann 24 (28), Cormac 17 (39), me 64


I was hopelessly lost on this one; the two N's were not playing nicely with the various options that I tried.  In fact, it took 2 minutes 15 seconds for me to find HINDRANCE, almost certainly not the first time I considered -ANCE here.

Cormac buzzes in just shy of the ten second mark with ENRICHEN; that gives Jodi-Ann a little extra time to work on it, but she is not able to get there.  It was definitely a tough conundrum.

Jodi-Ann: [no answer]
Cormac: [invalid -- ENRICHEN (10s)]
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Jodi-Ann 24 (28), Cormac 17 (39), me 64

A bit of back-and-forth between the contestants, with Cormac having the best of it.  If Jodi-Ann had found (and stayed with) a five-letter word in the first round instead of her invalid answer then the margin would have been just two points, but still in Cormac's favour.  It seems like Cormac should be catchable on the letters, with the numbers suiting him better (as befits a poker player).  We'll have to see what tomorrow brings.

For my part, it's all a matter of speed.  I found all the best options in the main rounds, but was a little too slow on the first two of them.  The conundrum remains frequently challenging; it has always been my weakness.


Justin Thai said...

I really like Cormac's attitude, he seemed familiar too, even though it's been 3 1/2 years. It seems first day back nerves are more prevalent then long day syndrome...

549-exactly Cormac's way
HUT :/ (couldn't find for my life)
406-Cormac's likely solution
397-Cormac's exact solution
1.9 sec (Not kidding this jumped out really quick)

Mike Backhouse said...

SANDER and saw WANDERS after time
5*(100+8)+7=547 (1 off)
x well done Justin!

Sam G said...

I made some good decisions here, rejecting UNDERSAW, SUBLOADER, and CABERING. This could be an example of where it helps to have seen the episode years before - plausible words like these may have stuck in the memory if they were valid.

Great conundrum time, Justin. I had the same scores as Geoff up to that point.

3. 548 = 7*75 + 10 + 8 + 5. Tried to get (75+6)*8 - 100 first.
6. 405 = (7 - 3)*100 + 9 + 6 - 10
8. 397 = (7 - 3)*100 - 10 + 7. Very similar to Round 6.

Geoff Bailey said...

Very well done on the conundrum, Justin! In round one, however, have you invented a spurious A?

Justin Thai said...

Oh wow thanks Geoff, looks like I'm another victim of the phantom letter :p