Thursday, 5 March 2015

Ep 274: Angela Miezis, Paul Breen (March 5, 2015; originally aired September 15, 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.

Angela is back in the champion's chair, but this time as an actual champion.  It turns out that she is interested in food, and its interaction with culture.  Specifically, Angela is interested in how goods become luxury, and how they move out of luxury status.  She gives an example of how spices have moved on the economic scale from the Middle Ages to the present day.  Richard notes points out that such movements have had a huge impact on the development of the world, and Angela agrees, citing as an example the exploration of the Americas.

Opposing Angela tonight is Paul Breen, described only as "a cryptic crossword fan".  Understandable, Paul finds David to be somewhat of a nemesis, and has yet to finish one of his crosswords.  David responds with some wordplay about Paul's name, but we didn't exactly learn anything else about Paul.

Paul took the early lead thanks to rounds 2 and 3, then Angela found a good word in a tough mix on round 4 to narrow the gap a little.  In the rest of the main rounds the contestants shared the points, so the match was alive going into the conundrum.  Paul was ahead, but in any case solved it quite quickly to become the new champion, 60 to 42.

I was a bit slow to spot the best answer in the first round, but thereafter matched David and Lily.  A fast conundrum solution saw me just beat Paul to it, and finish in the 80's.  An enjoyable game, despite some parsimonious letter rounds.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: A O P S H M E T D

I had SOAP, HOMES, wondered if TEMPOS would be allowed (yes: both TEMPOS and TEMPI are valid plural forms of TEMPO), MASTED, and DAMPEST.  From the first five letters I had thought of PATHOS, but forgotten it by the time the T rolled around.  After time I recalled it, and also noted STAMPED and METHODS.  Then I found a pair of eights: APOTHEMS (APOTHEM: "a perpendicular from the centre of  regular polygon to one of its sides") and HEADMOST.

The contestants start with a pair of sevens; Paul has found METHODS while Angela has opted for STAMPED.  David mentioned STOMPED as an alternative, but has found HEADMOST for eight.

The other eight is POTHEADS.  The other sevens are POTHEAD, APOTHEM, TEASHOP, POMADES, HEPTADS (HEPTAD: "a group of seven"), and DASHPOT ("a device for damping vibrations, consisting of a piston attached to the part whose movements are to be damped and fitted into a cylinder containing a fluid such as oil").


Scores: 7 apiece

Round 2: G L N T I E C U R


This time Angela has the "safe six" of CURING, outdone by Paul's choice of CURLING.  It's nice to see both contestants using the -ING, but I'm a little surprised that Angela missed CURLING.  I wonder what her unsafe option was.  David is on track, finding LECTURING for his fourth full monty of the week.

The eights in this mix are ERUCTING (ERUCT: "to belch") and CULTIGEN ("any plant found only in cultivation, the origin of which is not known with any certainty").  The other sevens are RINGLET / TINGLER, CLINGER / CRINGLE ("a ring or eye of rope or the like, especially on the edge of a sail, usually made up round a metal thimble or grommet"), ELUTING, TUNICLE ("a vestment worn over the alb by subdeacons [...] and by bishops"), and UTRICLE ("a small sac or bag-like body, as an air-filled cavity in a seaweed").

Angela: CURING

Scores: Angela 7, Paul 7 (14), me 25

Round 3: Target 431 from 50 100 2 8 1 8

Staring with 8*50 seemed clear, and the offset of 31 was 8*4 - 1.  That meant a quick tweak once the 4 was made, giving a solution of 431 = 8*(50 + 8/2) - 1.

Angela is only barely in the scoring range with 441; I think that must have been (8 + 1)*50 - 8 - 2.  She could have got to one off with a small tweak, using (8 + 1)*(50 - 2) = 432.  Meanwhile, Paul has found his way to 432 via 432 = (50 + 2 + 1)*8 + 8.  That puts him fourteen points ahead already, which is a bad sign for Angela.

Lily approached this slightly differently, using 4 as the multiplier instead of 8 to get 431 = (8/2)*(100 + 8) - 1.

Angela: 441
Paul: 432
Me: 431
Lily: 431

Scores: Angela 7, Paul 7 (21), me 35

First break: OAR SLICE ("This answer requires counting of a different kind")

That would be counting CALORIES (and not CARIOLES, which are a type of cart).

David's talk is about various words derived from the word 'plate'.

Round 4: D T W N A I O L A

I had ADIT, LATION (a shortening of "relation" in Aboriginal English) / TALION ("retaliation as authorised by law [...]"), and rightly rejected ALATION and ANTILOAD.  After time I found other sixes of ANODAL, LADINO ("an uncontrollable horse, steer, etc.; a stray"), and ATONAL.  That last led me to check up on DITONAL, but it is not valid.  I'd have probably chanced it if I had seen it, so I was lucky not to.

Paul has found TALON for five, but Angela has done well to find the six of ATONAL.  That gets her back within conundrum range.  David remarks that the sixes he could find were obscure, and mentions ATONAL and ANODAL.

The other sixes are DALTON (another name for an atomic mass unit), DOLINA (variant spelling of DOLINE: "a shallow depression, either funnel- or saucer-shaped, and having its floor covered by cultivated soil, formed by solution in mountain limestone country"), and ALODIA (plural of ALODIUM, variant spelling of ALLODIUM: "land owned absolutely, not subject to any rent, service, or other tenurial right of an overlord").

Angela: ATONAL

Scores: Angela 13, Paul 7 (21), me 41

Round 5: S F E I O D W G A

Bleah, this mix was not much better.  I don't like that choice of a final vowel, though.  Anyway, I had DIES, DOWSE, WODGES, and DOSAGE.  After time I noted other sixes of GEOIDS (GEOID: "an imaginary surface which corresponds with the mean sea level over the ocean and its extension under the continents") and FOGIES.

Neither contestant is particularly thrilled with declaring a five here, but it keeps them match.  Paul has WIDES (in the cricket sense) while Angela has GOADS.  David has gone with DOSAGE as his choice.

Again six is the best to be done, with the others being DAGOES, FADGES (FADGE: "a loosely filled wool bale"), WADIES (plural of WADI, which seems odd to me; WADIS would seem like the more natural choice), and SWAGED (SWAGE as a verb is "to bend or shape by means of a swage", where SWAGE as a noun is "a tool for bending cold metal to a required shape").

Angela: GOADS

Scores: Angela 13 (18), Paul 7 (26), me 47

Round 6: Target 810 from 75 50 2 8 3 4

Getting to 800 is not too hard, and with the 2 available for tweaking I knew I could make the offset of 10.  The resulting solution was 810 = (8*50 + 3)*2 + 4.  Just a few seconds before time ran out I spotted a way to use 10 as a factor for another solution of 810 = (75 + 4 - 3)*(8 + 2) + 50; however, I did not quite get it all down within time.

The contestants are matched again, both finding 807 = 50*2*8 + 4 + 3 (although slightly different orders for the components of that equation).  Lily has found the nice solution of 810 = (75 + 4 + 2)*50/(8 - 3).

Angela: 807
Paul: 807
Me: 810
Lily: 810

Scores: Angela 13 (25), Paul 7 (33), me 57

Second break: CANE MINK ("What you get when you shorten Nicholas")

Doing so would make a NICKNAME, of course.

Round 7: H N E C R A E M R


Again the contestants have found the same answer, this time with MARCHER.  David points out that CHARMER was perhaps a safer anagram of those letters, but notes that MARCHER is valid.

The other sevens are RANCHER, MENACER, REACHER, and AMERCER (AMERCE: "to punish by inflicting a discretionary penalty of any kind").  But there is an eight here!  It is MENARCHE ("the onset of menstruation in a young woman").


Scores: Angela 20 (32), Paul 14 (40), me 64

Round 8: Target 142 from 25 100 5 3 1 2

This small target is not likely to be overly taxing.  I started with 142 = 100 + 2*(25 - 3 - 1), then saved a number with 142 = (25 + 3)*5 + 2.

Indeed, both contestants have solved this.  Paul's solution is 142 = 100 + 25 + 5*3 + 2, and Angela's is 142 = 100 + 25*2 - 5 - 3.  Lily solved it the same way that Angela did.

Angela: 142
Paul: 142
Me: 142
Lily: 142

Scores: Angela 30 (42), Paul 24 (50), me 74


That string of matched results from the contestants means that the conundrum will matter, although Paul has the advantage of it.  There were a lot of repeated letters in the conundrum, and somehow I unscrambled it quickly to find the answer of REARRANGE.

I unpaused the video, and Paul buzzed in almost immediately thereafter.  He has correctly solved this, and becomes the new champion with a good debut score of 60.

Angela: [no answer]
Paul: REARRANGE (2s)
Me: REARRANGE (1.5s)

Scores: Angela 30 (42), Paul 24 (60), me 84

When the leader going into the conundrum also solves it, the scoreline can make it seem like the game was not as close as it was.  In this case, the contestants only had different scores in three of the main rounds.  They seemed reasonably matched, although I would suspect that Paul was a little better at the numbers.  That fast conundrum solution sealed his justly-deserved win.  (But note the power of the full monty: If Angela had found LECTURING then she would have won by 7 points, instead of losing by 18.)

I was just two rounds of maximal, spotting one better option a little after time and the other eluded David also.  So I'm happy with this effort.


Emily said...

I watched this match in two parts, and hubby joined in for the last few rounds.

CURLING (saw LECTURING just as the timer hit 30 seconds - wouldn't have written it in time)
TALON (jealous of ATONAL - great get!)
CREAMER (hubby had CAMERA)
3*5+25+100+2=142 (which was Paul's way, from memory - hubby used Angela's)
REARRANGE (1 sec - saw it instantly)

Mike Backhouse said...

Your conundrum speed is very fast Emily. Good game.

Geoff and Emily's way
8*2*50+4*3=812 (2 off, enough to pip the contestants, but unsurprisingly not you lot!)
Paul and Emily's solution

Sam G said...

Good debut game from Paul.

2. LECTURING - not likely to miss this word, which screened three days after it was my tiebreaker conundrum word.
3. 431 = (8/2)*(100+8) - 1
6. 810 = (8*50 + 3)*2 + 4
7. CREAMER. Actually found MENARCHE in 2011, and mentioned it to David during the finals.
8. 142 = (25+3)*5 + 2
9. REARRANGE - 1.3s

Emily said...

Thanks Mike, but the flipside is that if I don't get it straight away, I probably won't get it. I play my letters games the same way - I make the words as the letters come out. Hence spotted 'STREAMING' in my first letters game before Lily had even placed the 'R' because I already had 'STEAMING' in my head.