Sunday, 8 March 2015

Ep 275: Paul Breen, Johanna Riley (March 6, 2015; originally aired September 16, 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.

Paul takes his turn in the champion's seat tonight.  This time we find out what he does for a living, which was an unusual omission last night.  He works in the imaging department for a magazine company.  But we're not going to talk about that; instead, Richard mentions that Paul plays baseball.  Paul says that he does not play at a high level, but he plays OK.  But the part that ties this in a bit more with the show's interests is that his uniform number is π.

Tonight's challenger is Johanna Riley, a fine arts student.  Richard informs us that Johanna is hoping to have an exhibition maybe a bit later that year, and Johanna explains that she is going over to New York to apply for a school there.  She has to bring a portfolio, so it seems like a good opportunity; she is hoping to have an exhibition there somewhere in the vicinity of the new year.  At the moment her work includes a lot of realistic life-size portraits of her friends, and she is also working on a much larger piece: A Mylar foil sculpture using helium.

Johanna took the initial lead with a six-letter word to Paul's five, then extended her lead in the first numbers round when Paul made an invalid declaration.  Paul clawed his way back into contention in the second half of the game when Johanna was only able to find five-letter words, and took the lead in the final numbers round.  He was ahead but not safe going into the conundrum, and when he buzzed in early with a wrong answer he must have had a nervous wait.  But Johanna was not able to solve it either, and Paul finished the week with a 36 to 30 win.

I matched David and Lily right up to the conundrum, which ended up being too difficult for me.  A shame, but still a good result.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: K R D S U E T I G

I had SURE, RUSTED, and DUSTIER.  After time I checked up on GUTSIER*, but as I semi-recalled it is not explicitly listed.

Paul starts off with the five of GUEST, but Johanna has found DUSTER for the early points.  David has found TRUDGES for seven.

Seven is the best to be done; the others are GUIDERS, SKIRTED, GUSTIER, DUSKIER / DUIKERS (DUIKER being a type of African antelope), and DUGITES (DUGITE being a type of snake; I'll also mention that The Dugites were a band, and that my uncle was one of the original members).

Johanna: DUSTER

Scores: Paul 0, Johanna 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: P A B E S H O W T

I had PEAS, SHAPE, and PATHOS.  After time I noted some of the other sixes that I had seen: BATHOS ("a ludicrous descent from the elevated to the commonplace; anticlimax"), BATHES, SWATHE, and BESTOW.  I could not better that, though.

Both contestants have five-letter words this time; Paul's choice is SHAPE while Johanna has gone with PASTE.  David points out the pair of PATHOS and BATHOS.

There are two sevens to be found in this mix: TEASHOP and AWHETOS (AWHETO being a New Zealand term for the vegetable caterpillar, which despite the name is a fungus rather than a caterpillar).

Karen: PASTE

Scores: Paul 0 (5), Johanna 0 (11), me 13

Round 3: Target 188 from 75 50 9 3 10 6

My first thought was to start with 3*6*10 = 180, but an eight was not noticeably formable from the rest.  (It would have sufficed for one away, though.)  Instead, I put aside the 10 and 3 for the offset of 13, and found my way to 175 with the rest for the solution 188 = (9 - 6)*75 - 50 + 10 + 3.  After time I used the factorisation 4*47 to find the alternative solution 188 = (50 - 3)*(10 - 6), and finally an untweaked option of 188 = (10 - 6)*50 - 9 - 3.

Johanna is three away with 185, but Paul declares a solution of 188 = 3*75 - 50 + 10 + 3.  Of course, he has used the 3 twice -- if he had only replaced one of them with 9 - 6 then he would have been fine.  So it is back to Johanna's answer, and she took the same approach but without the final erroneous addition of 3.  So they both should have solved this, really.  Lily demonstrates an interesting alternative approach of 188 = 75 + 50 + 6*10 + 3.

Paul's error has put him more than a conundrum's worth behind, so he has some catching up to do.

Paul: [invalid -- wrong answer]
Johanna: 185
Me: 188
Lily: 188

Scores: Paul 0 (5), Johanna 0 (18), me 23

First break: SAUCE INN ("A fresh source of irritation")

Here "fresh" was hinting at the "new" sound of NUISANCE.

David's talk is about the idiom of "Blind Freddy".

Round 4: R E M A D P I V O

I had MARE, DREAM, DAMPER, VAMPIRE, PROVIDE, IMPROVE, and IMPROVED.  Just after time ran out I considered the OVER- fragment and found OVERPAID as another eight.

Again both contestants have five-letter words: Paul has AVOID to Johanna's DROVE.  David suggests that end-of-week fatigue might be in play, as there are several sevens to be had.  He has found both eights, though.

The other sevens in this mix are AVOIDER, EMPORIA, and VAPORED.

Johanna: DROVE

Scores: Paul 0 (10), Johanna 0 (23), me 31

Round 5: S R N T U I A I L

I had TURNS, NUTRIA (another name for the COYPU), NUTRIAS, and INSULAR.  After time I recalled the anagram of INSULAR: URINALS.

Johanna has five with TURNS, but Paul has finally found a six of STRAIN to narrow the gap.  David has gone with INSULAR as his choice of seven.

SILURIAN (a geological period, not the Dr Who race) is capitalised, so seven is the best to be done here.  The others are RITUALS, RATLINS (RATLIN being an alternative spelling of RATLINE, a nautical term for "any of the small ropes or lines which traverse the shrouds horizontally, serving as steps for going aloft"), NITRILS (NITRIL being a variant form of NITRILE: "any of a class of organic cyanides with the general formula RCN"), and NAUTILI (one plural form of NAUTILUS).

Johanna: TURNS

Scores: Paul 0 (16), Johanna 0 (23), me 38

Round 6: Target 460 from 50 100 3 7 8 6

I started with the idea of 10*46, and made the 10 as 7 + 3.  I thought I would need to make the 46 as 50 - 4, but could not manage it.  I did spot another option, however: 460 = (6*8 - 100/50)*(7 + 3).   I also observed that the target was 360 + 100, and 360 has many useful factors.  In this instance it gave me the alternative solution 460 = (7*6 + 3)*8 + 100.  Seen while writing this up is that the option of 560 - 100 was also manageable: 460 = (50 + 6)*(7 + 3) - 100.

Both contestants are two away at 458, in the same way: 458 = (6 + 3)*50 + 8.  Lily once more makes it look easy with 460 = 50*8 + (7 + 3)*6.

Paul: 458
Johanna: 458
Me: 460
Lily: 460

Scores: Paul 0 (23), Johanna 0 (30), me 48

Second break: BAIL SEED ("A descending muscle")

The clue is a bit of a stretch -- the "muscle" is supposed to be indicating the ABS of ABSEILED.

Round 7: H R F D E O A N E


Johanna has a five yet again: HEARD.  Paul gets the points with his find of FONDER, and closes the gap to a single point.  That could yet prove costly, but based on the results so far it's very likely he will still be in contention going into the conundrum.  David has found the eights of FOREHEAD, FOREHAND, and FREEHAND.

Those are all the eights listed; there are no sevens, and there are more sixes than I felt like checking.

Johanna: HEARD

Scores: Paul 0 (29), Johanna 0 (30), me 56

Round 8: Target 537 from 100 75 2 4 5 6

I flailed around a little, and feel fortunate to have arrived at an answer within time.  My first thought was to start with 7*75, but then I could not make the remaining 12.  Then I considered 5*100 + (75 - 1)/2, but, alas, the 5 was crucial to making the 1.  So I moved on to making 575, and the offset of 38 turned out to work with the help of some tweaking: 537 = 5*(100 - 6) + 75 - 2*4.  Phew!.  After time I found another option working down from 550 with 537 = 6*75 + 100 - 2*4 - 5.

Johanna has got to two away, with what I assume was (5 + 2)*75 + 6 + 4.  But Paul has gone one better with 536 = 100*5 + 6*(4 + 2), taking the lead for the first time in the match.  A good time to do it!  Lily glides effortlessly past all the difficulties, demonstrating her solution of 537 = (100 + 2)*6 - 75.  Oh, that is nice.

Paul: 536
Johanna: 535
Me: 537
Lily: 537

Scores: Paul 0 (36), Johanna 0 (30), me 66


I almost leapt in with COMPLIANCE, but managed to suppress that instinct.  My mind kept unhelpfully circling back to that (and to COMPLAIN), and it took me just under a minute (56 seconds, more precisely) to find the answer of POLICEMAN.

Paul buzzed in after just 3 seconds, and I was pretty sure he'd made the mistake of trying COMPLIANCE.  Indeed, that was the case, so Johanna had the remaining 27 seconds to solve it.  She was not able to, though, so Paul scrapes home rather luckily with the win.

Paul: [invalid -- COMPLIANCE]
Johanna: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Paul 0 (36), Johanna 0 (30), me 66

A close game, but it would have to be said that it was not too impressive.  The contestants only ever managed five or six letter words, and no numbers round was solved.  (That said, they did always get within three of the target; getting a valid result down in time is not always easy.)  I would say that Paul was lucky to survive this game, and David's remarks about end-of-week fatigue (translated to end-of-day fatigue as filmed) may well be accurate.

I had a fine game until the conundrum, breaking what has been a pretty good streak for me on those.  Still, there's always next week...


Mike Backhouse said...

3*(50+10)-(9-6)=187 (1 off) then saw solution but couldn't get it down in time (10-6)*(50-3)=188
3*(100+50)+7+8-6=459 (1 off)
5*(100+6)+4+2=536 (1 off)

Sam G said...

Got another one over DA here, in Round 2.

2. TEASHOP. Wasn't sure about it.
3. 188 = (75+10+9)*6/3
6. 460 = (100+50+6)*3 - 8
8. 537 = (100+2)*6 - 75
9. POLICEMAN - 2.1s

Mike Backhouse said...

Great game Sam. Loved that solution to round 6. And Geoff, I agree about Lily making the solution look simple. I was looking in vain for 46*10 and completely overlooked that way of getting 60.

And I remember the Dugites well from Countdown. They had that typically eighties 'synth' sound with a catchy pop sensibility.

Sam G said...

Cheers Mike. I have been back in the groove more recently, I think I needed to see a few episodes to get back to game mode. Long-term subconscious memory may also help.

One thing I noticed in the conundrum was that Johanna seemed to buzz in at almost the same time as Paul. Did she see the incorrect COMPLIANCE as well, or was she just fidgeting?