Friday, 20 February 2015

Ep 265: Rachel Furness, Anushan Jegatheeswaran (February 20, 2015; originally aired September 2, 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 returns for her third night, and Richard asks her about her job of child speech pathology; in particular, he asks what kind of things she helps children with.  Rachel answers that the most common issue is "sounds, errors with their sounds and making them clearer".  She also sees many children that are not using a lot of words or do not have a great grasp of expressive language.  Richard asks how difficult improving a child's speech can be, and Rachel responds that it can sometimes be quite difficult, but the earlier they work with them the better the outcome.  They can even usefully start as young as ten months old.

When we had the long shot of the set at the start of the episode I thought that SBS had messed up and shown yesterday's game again.  The reason is that tonight's challenger looks fairly familiar; in fact, it's Ajanthan's brother Anushan Jegatheeswaran, an accounting and sports management student.  Richard points out the family relation, as you would expect, and asks if their is any sibling rivalry over the show at home.  Anushan agrees.

It's a very close game tonight, and there's very little to choose between the contestants.  Anushan missed his chance to jump to an early lead when he overlooked a simple extension to his word in round one.  He finally got that lead in the first numbers round when Rachel was surprisingly far away, but then an invalid word from him allowed Rachel to narrow the gap.  Rachel took the lead with an excellent solution in the second numbers round, only for Anushan to ties the scores in the last numbers round.  I thought we were going to go to a tiebreaker, but Anushan solved the conundrum in the last second to become the new champion, 50 points to 40.

I had a good game to finish off the week, and I am particularly happy with my round 4 answer.  That was the one that made me think I might be in with a chance of matching David and Lily, and I was able to keep up that form to do so.  I've struggled all week to do that, but this time was finally able to solve the conundrum and get that precious result.

Brief details after the jump.

Round 1: G M L E S A E R N

I had LEGS, GAMES, wondered about MEASLE (not valid), MÉNAGES (MÉNAGE: "a household; a domestic establishment"), MANGLES, MANGLERS, and wondered about GLEAMERS (not valid).  After time I noted the other eights of GLEANERS / ENLARGES / GENERALS.

Both contestants start off with six-letter words; Rachel has gone with GLARES while Anushan has chosen MANGLE.  That is a strange declaration; one would think that MANGLES was an obvious extension from that.  However, Anushan did declare it by saying "I think I've got a six", so perhaps there was some confusion there.  (It is remotely possible that he had MANGEL -- an acceptable shortening of MANGEL-WURZEL -- instead, which would explain the uncertainty but not really the failure to append an S.)  I guess we have to chalk this up to first-game syndrome.

David points out the extensions to MANGLES and MANGLERS, and has opted for GENERALS as his eight.

The other eight is MELANGES (MELANGE: "a mixture; medley").

Rachel: GLARES
Anushan: MANGLE

Scores: Rachel 0 (6), Anushan 0 (6), me 8

Round 2: F R O W I C U T E

I had CROW, CURIO, and struggled for a bit to do better; fortunately I found EROTIC before time ran out.  After time I checked up on OUTFIRE (not valid) and WIRECUT (also not valid).

Both contestants have opted for the five of CUTER; I'm a little surprised that neither chose FRUIT.  David points out that CUTER is an anagram of TRUCE, and has found the nice six of CURFEW.

COWRITE is not listed, so six is the best to be done.  The others are COWRIE, TWICER (colloquial for "a crook; double-crosser"), CROUTE ("a piece of fried or toasted bread on which meat dishes or small savouries may be served"), and TOWIER*.  I was a little surprised that TWOFER is not in the Macquarie.

Rachel: CUTER
Anushan: CUTER

Scores: Rachel 0 (11), Anushan 0 (11), me 14

Round 3: Target 265 from 100 2 5 1 6 5

The starting point of 2*100 seemed a bit far away, but dividing the target by 2 gave an approximate subtarget of 130.  That worked out happily, yielding 265 = (100 + 5*6)*2 + 5.  Then I considered using the factor of 5 and found the nicely short 265 = ((100 + 6)/2)*5.  After time I considered the alternative of working down from 300 and found 265 = (5 - 2)*100 - (6 + 1)*5.  Somewhat later, while pondering the "compound" solutions that we'll get to in a bit, I found 265 = (2 + 1)*(6 + 5)*5 + 100.

Rachel is 7 away at 257; perhaps 2*(100 + 1) + 5*(6 + 5)?  I'm a bit at a loss over it, really.  Anushan is nodding to himself as he does quite a lot of writing; it looks a bit like he is writing down every intermediate calculation and its result.  In any case, he has solved this with the first of the solutions that I listed.  Lily used the same solution initially, but demonstrates an alternative of 265 = (2 + 1)*100 - 6*5 - 5.

So the contestants are finally separated; it feels like a slip from Rachel after her good numbers work last game.

Rachel: 257
Anushan: 265
Me: 265
Lily: 265

Scores: Rachel 0 (11), Anushan 10 (21), me 24

First break: GOGO UNIT ("This extrovert isn't in")

I could quibble that they would have to be in so that they could be going out, but regardless, OUTGOING is the answer.

David's talk is about fathers, and Father's Day, since this episode originally aired just before it.

Round 4: R S A H E C O T A

I really wanted a final R here for the ORCHESTRA / CARTHORSE pair.  Fortunately the next consonant was not an R, but I still lament the lost possibility.  I had RASH, HEARS, ARCHES, ROACHES, and was very pleased to spot TRACHEAS.  I wasn't completely certain it was OK (the plural form TRACHEAE is perhaps more classical), but chanced it and fortunately both plural forms are acceptable.

Both contestants declare seven-letter words.  Rachel thinks hers is risky, but her choice of ROACHES has quite a few meanings and is easily valid.  Anushan, on the other hand, was confident about COATERS but that is not valid.  It can be a cruel game, sometimes.  David is on form as always, finding the best option of TRACHEAS.

The other eight is THORACES (one plural form of THORAX).  The other sevens are TRACHEA, COASTER (the safe anagram of COATERS), TORCHES / HECTORS / TROCHES (TROCHE: "a small tablet, esecially a circular one, made of some medicinal substance worked into a paste with sugar and mucilage or the like, and dried"), ARCHEST / CHASTER / RATCHES (RATCH being a variant form of RATCHET), ROSACEA, ORACHES (ORACH being a type of plant), OSTRACA (plural of OSTRACON: "a pottery shard used in antiquity as a means of casting a vote"), and EARSHOT* (see this comment).

Anushan: [invalid -- COATERS]

Scores: Rachel 0 (18), Anushan 10 (21), me 32

Round 5: D E N R M P I E H

I had REND, PRIMED, rightly rejected IMPENDER, and RIPENED.  Around an hour later, out of the blue I thought of EPHEDRIN.

The contestants continue to match declarations in the letters; this time it is six-letter words.  Anushan has REMIND and Rachel has PRIMED.  As the letters went up David thought that a full monty might finally be in the offing, but it was not to be.  He has found RIPENED, and IMPEDER.

EPHEDRIN is the only eight.  The other sevens are INHERED (INHERE: "belong intrinsically; be inherent"), REPINED (REPINE: "to be fretfully discontented and out of sorts"), ERMINED ("covered or adorned with ermine"), and DEMIREP ("a woman of doubtful or compromised reputation").

Rachel: PRIMED
Anushan: REMIND

Scores: Rachel 0 (24), Anushan 10 (27), me 39

Round 6: Target 793 from 25 75 100 5 2 4

Anushan opts for the often-tricky balanced mix; an interesting choice if he feels more confident about the numbers.  The offset for the standard method is 7, which is 5 + 2, so the question is whether 800 can be made from the rest.  It can, and gave me the solution 793 = 4*(100 + 75 + 25) - 5 - 2.  After time I considered the alternative of making 800 as 2*4*100, and was able to find a working tweak from that: 793 = 4*(2*100 - 75/25) + 5.

This time it is Anushan who is surprisingly far from the mark with 800.  There are several easy adjustments to get closer (and in particular to one off), but fortunately missing those does not matter too much as Rachel has solved this with the excellent 793 = (75 + 2)*(5 + 4) + 100.  Wow.  Lily says "Wow", too.  Lily has opted for the same solution that I did.

Rachel's answer is an excellent solution of a type that is difficult to see; Lily calls them "compound solutions", although she doesn't really explain what she means by that too well.  The point, I think, is that if you are multiplying numbers together it is usually with a goal of getting near the target and making a small final adjustment.  In this solution (and in Rachel's solution for 592 yesterday), the multiplication is used to get relatively far away and then a large adjustment is made by other means.  There are, in general, many more ways to get far away than there are to get close, so there are a great many more possibilities to explore if going this route.  That is part of what makes them so difficult to find.

That excellent solution catapults Rachel into the lead, but only by seven points.  The game continues to be very close.

Rachel: 793
Anushan: 800
Me: 793
Lily: 793

Scores: Rachel 10 (34), Anushan 10 (27), me 49

Second break: MAIN LENS ("Calls the shots on the court")

I like that clue for LINESMAN -- nicely misdirecting.

Round 7: B P S I K T N A E


Again the contestants have equal declarations in the letters rounds, Anushan with BASKET and Rachel with PAINTS.  So the only difference in the letters in some sense has been Anushan's invalid choice of COATERS in round 4.  David has found BEATNIKS, as I knew that he would -- it is one of his favourites that he has mentioned a few times on the show.

The best option here was not in my Scrabble list, but I happened to stumble across it while re-verifying that PINAFORED (from episode 263) was not valid.  Serendipity!  It is PINAKBETS (PINAKBET: "a Philippine dish consisting of vegetables sauteed in fish or shrimp paste and sometimes garnished with pork crackling").

The other eight is PINAKBET; SNAKE PIT is only listed as two words, and SNAKEBIT is not there at all.  The other sevens are BEATNIK, BASINET, INTAKES, PINKEST, and PANTIES / SAPIENT / PATINES (PATINE being a variant spelling of PATEN: "the plate on which the bread is placed in the celebration of the Eucharist").

Rachel: PAINTS
Anushan: BASKET

Scores: Rachel 10 (40), Anushan 10 (33), me 57

Round 8: Target 819 from 100 6 1 1 2 10

Perhaps deciding that the balanced mix did not serve him so well last time, Anushan opts for the classroom mix this time.  The pair of 1's is not a good sign, but it's still a mix with useful potential.

The first approximation was 8*100, and I happily stumbled upon the right tweak to make it work: 819 = (6 + 2)*(100 + 1) + 10 + 1.  After time I considered the option of 820 - 1 to get 819 = (100 - 6*(2 + 1))*10 - 1.  Then at last I saw the factorisation 9*91, leading to 819 = (100 - 9)*9, with one 9 being 10 - 1 and the other being 6 + 2 + 1.

Rachel has a surprising 815, which I have to guess was (10 - 2)*(100 + 1) + 6 + 1.  If she'd just pushed the other 1 inside the bracket she would have been closer with (10 - 2)*(100 + 1 + 1) = 816.  (I assume that was her answer because there's only one other way to get 815: The counterproductive (100/2 + 1)*(10 + 6) - 1.)  Alternatively, if she had used the same approach but made the 8 as 6 + 2 then she would have found the solution that I did.  Anyway, Anushan has managed to get to just one away with 820 = (6 + 2)*100 + (1 + 1)*10, and those seven points tie the scores up going into the conundrum.  Could we end up with yet another tiebreaker?

Lily has solved this, using the same solution that I did.

Rachel: 815
Anushan: 820
Me: 819
Lily: 819

Scores: Rachel 10 (40), Anushan 10 (40), me 67


The -ED ending proved beneficial again, and I found the answer of CAPTIONED a little under three seconds in.  It is possible I may have been helped by this mix having turned up in episode 374.

With the scores tied, a tiebreaker conundrum is certainly a possibility.  Especially as time counts down, and down, and... then Anushan buzzes in with just a second left.  He has solved it, and becomes the new champion after a very close game.

Rachel: [no answer]
Anushan: CAPTIONED (29s)

Scores: Rachel 10 (40), Anushan 10 (50), me 77

There was not a lot to choose between the contestants tonight.  If it had gone to a tiebreaker conundrum them Anushan might have had serious cause to regret his round 1 result.  Rachel had the best numbers solution of the night, but faltered on the other numbers rounds to miss her chance to get ahead.  Essentially equal results on the letters, and you'd have to say this game could easily have gone either way.

I've finally got my tie with David and Lily, so I'm finishing the week on a positive note.


Mike Backhouse said...

Good game Geoff as ever.

2*(100+1+5*6)+5=267 (2 off, and that +1, what was I thinking?)
4*2*100-(5+75/25)=792 (1 away)
(6+2)*(100+1)+10=818 (1 away, then noticed after time I had not used remaining 1. Grrrr!)

Geoff Bailey said...

MELANGES is a lovely find in round 1, Mike! And that's three quite good numbers rounds from you, with just some small adjustments required to make two of them better. Nicely done!

(As for what you were thinking in round 3, I think it's clear that you were focused on getting as close as possible with the tweak before looking at the adjustment. Unfortunate in this instance, but very understandable.)

Mike Backhouse said...

Thanks Geoff. With more time I would have revised my numbers games, but sometimes 30s is not enough (for me again). Rachel pulled another one out of the hat with round 6. Wow. But did not have the consistency with the other two that you and Sam tend to have.

Sam G said...

Mike, I believe that consistency on the numbers game is based on the ability to crunch several possibilities in the (roughly) twenty seconds you have before pen must hit paper. I'll reject several dead-end approaches in a given round. The number of these attempts that a player can accurately process might be the key metric of their number round strength. When I'm out of practice, I find this is where I fall away.

Was Rachel's number round inconsistency due to getting fixated on a fruitless path sometimes? She came up with several brilliant solutions, but was way off target on other rounds.

3. 265 = (100 + 5*6)*2 + 5
6. 793 = 4*(100 + 75 + 25) - 5 - 2
8. 819 = (6 + 2)*(100 + 1) + 10 + 1
9. CAPTIONED - 2.9s