Thursday, 19 February 2015

Ep 264: Rachel Furness, Ajanthan Jegatheeswaran (February 19, 2015; originally aired September 1, 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.

Rachel is back for her second night, and it is revealed that she has a young daughter called Lily; also a son named Noah, but that name lacks the obvious connection to the show.  Both children are huge fans of Lily Serna, and (young) Lily told Rachel to be sure to let (older) Lily know that Rachel had her own little Lily at home.  Phew, that's too many uses of "Lily" in the sentence, but there's only so much I can do.

Tonight's challenger is Ajanthan Jegatheeswaran, an architect whose ambition is to own his own company providing disaster relief housing.  Richard notes the specificity of that ambition, and asks why that is so.  Ajanthan explains that his family left a war-torn country to come to Australia, so wants to be able to give something back to people less fortunate than they were.

Ajanthan was the first to score, finding a nice word in the first round while Rachel lagged behind.  She took the second round, though, reducing his lead to just a single point.  Two shared rounds followed, but then Rachel really hit her stride, finding a good word and an exceptional numbers solution.  Ajanthan's choice in the final letters round was invalid, and that guaranteed Rachel the win.  Both solved the final numbers round, and the conundrum was too difficult for everyone, so the margin remained large in Rachel's favour: 54 points to 32.

I had an excellent game, hitting maximums in all of the main rounds.  One of those was that same numbers round that Rachel did so well on, and as Lily faltered there I was actually ahead on the solo total going into the conundrum.  All I needed to do was solve it to have that great rarity of the win against David and Lily... but for the fourth game in a row the conundrum was too difficult for me.  Frustrating!

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: T N M E A R S O G

I had MEANT, MARTEN, MARTENS, MONSTER, recalled that MONSTERA was not valid (only the compound noun MONSTERA DELICIOSA is listed) but that STOREMAN was a safe anagram of it, and MEGATONS / MONTAGES / MAGNETOS.  After time I noted RAGSTONE (also RAG: "hard, coarse or rough stone") as another eight.

Rachel has GAMERS for six, which does seem a bit off the pace on this mix.  Ajanthan has found MONSTER for seven, and so takes the early lead.  David mentions that there are several eights, including STOREMAN and GARMENTS.

The remaining eights are ESTRAGON (another name for tarragon) / NEGATORS, ANGSTROM (a unit of length equal to one ten-billionth of a metre), ONSTREAM ("operational"), and MEGARONS (MEGARON: "the main hall of an ancient Mycenaean house [...]").

Rachel: GAMERS
Ajanthan: MONSTER

Scores: Rachel 0, Ajanthan 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: D L P D L I E A O


That duplication has proved awkward for Ajanthan, who has PEDAL for five.  Rachel has gone one better, finding PADDLE to narrow the gap to one point.  David has opted for DALLIED as his choice.

The other sevens are DIALLED, DOLLIED, PLAIDED, and OEDIPAL.

Rachel: PADDLE
Ajanthan: PEDAL

Scores: Rachel 0 (6), Ajanthan 0 (7), me 15

Round 3: Target 975 from 25 50 10 7 5 6

If you know your 75-times tables, one answer quickly leaps out: 975 = (7 + 6)*(50 + 25).  I also found alternatives of 975 = (5*6 - 10)*50 - 25 and 975 = (7*5 + 10 - 6)*25.

Everyone has found the first of those solutions, which is pretty much as expected.

Rachel: 975
Ajanthan: 975
Me: 975
Lily: 975

Scores: Rachel 10 (16), Ajanthan 10 (17), me 25

First break: TRUE LADY ("A grown-up kind of cheating")

That clue is putting the "adult" in ADULTERY.

David's talk is about some words that relate to spring.  He mentions 'vernal' (the adjective related to the season), then moves on to 'spring roll', 'springboard', and 'springform tin'.

Round 4: F R K T R I U E E

I had RIFT, FRUIT, and FRUITER.  After time I noted another seven of FERRITE.

Both contestants have found FRUIT for five.  David points out that FRUITER is valid, and indeed one that was present in episode 258 last week.

The other sevens are TURFIER and REFUTER.  The sixes are REFUTE, FERRET, RETIRE, RETURF, URETER, and KERERU (a type of pigeon).

Rachel: FRUIT
Ajanthan: FRUIT

Scores: Rachel 10 (21), Ajanthan 10 (22), me 32

Round 5: N S O A T W I O M

I had TANS, TOWNS, rightly rejected TOWMAN, WOMAN, and MOTIONS.  After time I checked up on MOTOWNS, which might scrape in (MOTOWN: "a form of commercial soul and blues music").  I'm not sold on it, though.

Ajanthan is limited to five letters for the third letters round in a row, with his choice being WAIST.  Rachel has found the best option of MOTIONS and takes the lead.  David had hoped that WATSONIA was going to make an appearance, but had to settle for MOTIONS.

The other seven is MANTOOS (MANTOO: "an ankle-length tunic worn by Muslim women").  The sixes are MOTION, MANTOO, INMOST, MANTIS / MATINS, MIAOWS, SIMOON (variant spelling of SIMOOM: "a hot, suffocating sand-laden wind of the deserts of Arabia, Syria, Africa, etc."), TWAINS / WITANS ("the members of the national council or witenagemot in Anglo-Saxon England"), and MONIST (noun derived from MONISM: "the theory that reality is one (opposed to pluralism)").

Ajanthan: WAIST

Scores: Rachel 17 (28), Ajanthan 10 (22), me 39

Round 6: Target 592 from 25 7 6 9 9 7

As the small numbers went up I did some test multiplications, noting that 9*9*7 was 567.  That proved to be extremely beneficial when the target was revealed, as the difference was simply 25.  That gave me the solution 592 = 9*9*7 + 25.  Very pleasing, but also very luck.  After time I tried to come up with plausible alternatives that people might find without noticing that.  The best I could do was 593 = (9 + 6 + 6)*25 - 7.

Ajanthan is one away with 593, which I will assume was the one that I listed.  But Rachel has done exceptionally well to solve this, using the same solution that I did.  I'm honestly quite surprised -- it's a very rare contestant indeed who would find that.  Lily is also very impressed uttering "Oh, my goodness" as she sees how the solution unfolds.  She was not able to solve this mix, and that makes me perk up as I now have an unexpected chance at a solo win.

There is a trivial variation on the solution on replacing 7 by 6 + 7/7.  There is one other solution, using the factorisation 37*16: 592 = (25 + 6*(9 - 7))*(9 + 7).

Rachel: 592
Ajanthan: 593
Me: 592

Scores: Rachel 27 (38), Ajanthan 10 (22), me 49

Second break: TOTEM INN ("You don't want flies in this")

When Richard said the words I thought that MENTION was the answer, but that is short a letter.  The clue directed me to the correct answer of OINTMENT.

Round 7: H E N S I A F V S

I had HENS, SHINE, ANISE, VANISH, wanted to add a stroke to that F so I could have HEAVINESS, and VANISHES.

Both contestants declare six-letter words, Rachel with FISHES and Ajanthan with the strange choice of HISSEN.  It is not valid -- SHINES would have been the better option with those letters -- and that guarantees Rachel the win.  David has found the nice seven of HESSIAN, but of course has also seen VANISHES for eight.

The other sevens are EVANISH (an archaic variant of VANISH) and SAVINES (SAVINE being a variant spelling of SAVIN, a type of juniper) / VINASSE ("the residuum in a still after distillation, especially the residual liquid obtained after the distillation of beetroot molasses which is used as a source of potassium carbonate").

Rachel: FISHES
Ajanthan: [invalid -- HISSEN]

Scores: Rachel 27 (44), Ajanthan 10 (22), me 57

Round 8: Target 419 from 50 7 10 9 5 4

Since an 8 is not immediately formable, I worked down from 450, finding the tweaked option of 419 = 9*(50 - 4) + 5.  Then I considered what I would need for 8*50 to work, and putting aside the 10 and 9 left 7, 5, and 4 to worked with.  I went with 419 = 4*(7 - 5)*50 + 10 + 9, but just now have noticed that 419 = (7 + 5 - 4)*50 + 10 + 9 would also have worked.  After time I looked for a solution in the small numbers alone, finding 419 = 5*(9*10 - 7) + 4.

Both contestants have solved this.  Ajanthan went with the first of those solutions that I listed; that's very nice tweakage from him, and we don't see that kind of solution often enough.  A shame that it does not bring him greater reward.  Rachel's solution is 419 = 50*4*(7 - 5) + 10 + 9 (which is, of course, the second of those solutions that I mentioned).  Lily has gone in another direction, going with 419 = (50 - 9)*10 + 5 + 4.

Rachel: 419
Ajanthan: 419
Me: 419
Lily: 419

Scores: Rachel 37 (54), Ajanthan 20 (32), me 67


A few seconds inspection made it clear that the -ING fragment was not the way to go, but nothing made much sense.  It took me a minute and twelve seconds to find GONDOLIER.

The conundrum proves to be too difficult for the contestants, too, and it really does feel like they have been a tough bunch recently.

Rachel: [no answer]
Ajanthan: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Rachel 37 (54), Ajanthan 20 (32), me 67

Ajanthan stared off with a good word, but was not able to do better than five in any of the other letters rounds.  He played well enough in the numbers, but Rachel found a magnificent solution that made her a worthy winner tonight.  She looks a little vulnerable on the words, but one certainly can't fault that numbers performance.


Mike Backhouse said...

FRUITER (rejected it last week so glad to use it here)
(9+9+7)*25-7=593 (1 off, well done Rachel and Geoff)
(50-4-(9-5))*10=420 (1 off and went over)
x spent all my time on -ING!

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice game, Mike -- several good sevens, in particular. By my reckoning you'd have just pipped Rachel by a point.

Sam G said...

I thought I remembered Rachel as the woman who did the awesome 9*9*7 + 25 solve. That is still probably my favourite answer by a contestant on any round (excluding mine), I remember mentioning it to Lily. I didn't solve this one when it first aired.

Did Rachel just multiply the first three numbers together for kicks like Geoff, and then find that she could add 25 on? Otherwise, it's hard to imagine anyone going down that route within thirty seconds (minus writing time).

Solid number rounds from Ajanthan. Even by Tamil standards, Jegatheeswaran is a long surname.

Another tough conundrum. They're not as satisfying to solve when there is the possibility that long-term memory may have helped, even if only slightly.

2. POLLED. Rejected DOLLIED.
3. 975 = (7 + 6)*(50 + 25)
6. 592, Remembered Rachel's way
8. 419 = (50+9)*7 + 4 + 10/5
9. GONDOLIER - 4.5s