Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Ep 277: Paul Breen, Billy Browne (March 10, 2015; originally aired September 20, 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.

It's Paul's fourth night, so Richard wheels out the technique question.  Sigh.  But Paul manages to give us a little insight into how things have gone for him, making this one of the few interesting responses to that question.  Paul states what we had pretty much figured out, that he found himself really fatigued on Friday's game.  So he is trying to deal with that by not doing anything prior to the show, in order to keep himself fresh.

Tonight's challenger is Billy Browne, a film editor who has worked on such films as Moulin Rouge and the (at the time) recently-released Red Dog.  Richard opines that it must have been very exciting to be working on Moulin Rouge in particular, and asks what drew Billy to editing in the first place.  Billy responds that he did it at school, and he likes storytelling, lateral thinking, and problem-solving (with the implication being that these are all involved in film editing).

It was yet another close game tonight, with the contestants having equal declarations in all but one of the rounds.  Paul had the very slight advantage of it, going into the conundrum ahead but not safe.  But he solved it very quickly to put the issue beyond doubt, and finished the victor by 64 points to 47.

I was just one round of optimal today, and even if I'd seen the better options in that round I'm not sure I would have risked them.  Plus I found a word that eluded David's eye -- always a rare delight.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: L T F N A E I D S


Both contestants have found FAINTED for seven.  David points out the DEFIANT is an anagram of FAINTED, and then the eights of INFLATED and INFLATES.

Those are the only two eights, but there are many other sevens: DETAILS / DILATES, STAINED / DETAINS / SAINTED / INSTEAD / NIDATES (NIDATE: "to implant in a uterus"), SLANTED / DENTALS (DENTAL being a noun in the context of phonetics, a sound made with the tip of the tongue touching the upper front teeth), STIFLED, FINALES, DENIALS, ENTAILS / SALIENT / SALTINE / ELASTIN, FLINTED, FAINEST, and DENTILS (DENTIL: "Architecture one of a series of small rectangular blocks arranged like a row of teeth, as in the lower part of a cornice").


Scores: Paul 0 (7), Billy 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: G H S L O E U A D

I had LOGS, HOLES, GHOULS, GOULASH, wondered about GOULASHED (not valid), was even more dubious about GALOSHED (not valid), and just managed to get SLOUGHED down before time expired.  I angsted a bit over GOULASHED; the similar "stew" and "ragout" are verbs, but I did not like it quite as much.  In the end the deciding factor for me was that SLOUGHED was too good a find to risk over that uncertainty; if I had not found it within time I would probably have chanced GOULASHED.  Fortunately for me this all worked out well.  After time I noted another seven of LAUGHED.

This time both contestants have found six-letter words, although Billy's choice of LASHED is safer than Paul's choice of LOUSED.  David points out that LOUSE UP appears as a phrase, and if this were the only verb sense of LOUSE then it would not be sufficient.  Fortunately for Paul, LOUSE does have a separate verb sense from goldmining: "to pick through (waste matter, as a dump of mining rubble) in search of something of value".  So the scores remain level.  David has found SLOUGHED for eight.

The other seven in this mix is SHOALED.


Scores: Paul 0 (13), Billy 0 (13), me 16

Round 3: Target 725 from 75 25 100 4 5 8

Paul adventurously tries three of each, but the target makes this a bit uninteresting.  Everyone has 725 = 8*100 - 75, mostly without difficulty.  Billy was writing right up to the point that time expired, but he got there.  Within time I also wrote down a couple of alternative solutions: 725 = (100 - 75 + 4)*25 and 725 = 4*(100 + 75) + 25.

Paul: 725
Billy: 725
Me: 725
Lily: 725

Scores: Paul 10 (23), Billy 10 (23), me 26

First break: MART VIBE ("Repeat after me")

A tough one, but the clue guided me to the intended answer of VERBATIM.

David's talk is about the term 'grog'.

Round 4: R W C R E I P E O

I had CREW, RICER, PRICE, wondered about PRICER (not valid), RECIPE, COPIER, and decided that RECOPIER was too unlikely for the Macquarie.  (Indeed, it is not listed, although RECOPY does appear in the block entries.)  After time I noted another six of CORRIE ("a circular hollow in the side of a hill or mountain, often containing a small lake, formed by glacial action").

The contestants continue to be equally matched; this time they have both found five-letter words.  Paul pronounces that he has POWER, while Billy declares PRICE.  David notes that adding the E to PRICE would yield PIERCE, as well as its anagram RECIPE, and thus the seven of PIERCER.  In the next round he makes a reference to REPRICE.

PIERCER / REPRICE are the only sevens.

Billy: PRICE

Scores: Paul 10 (28), Billy 10 (28), me 32

Round 5: S D M T E A U X R

I had STEM, MASTED, MATURES, MATURED, and an uncertain SURTAXED.  I jumped the right way on this one by chancing it, for a very happy result.

The contestants finally have different declarations: Billy has been limited to the six of MASTER, but Paul has found SMARTED for seven.  Based on how this game has been going, those seven points could well carry the game.  David mentions MUSTARD as another seven, but has found SURTAXED also.

The other sevens are DURMAST (a type of oak tree) and STRUMAE (plural of STRUMA: "a cushion-like swelling on an organ [...]").


Scores: Paul 10 (35), Billy 10 (28), me 40

Round 6: Target 481 from 25 75 8 3 6 2

Applying the standard method suggests making this as 475 + 6.  That was not too difficult to work with; I started with 481 = 6*75 + 25 + 2*3 and then noted the alternative 481 = 2*8*25 + 75 + 6.  After time I jotted down the kitchen sink approach of 481 = 2*(8 + 3)*25 - 75 + 6.

Both contestants surprised me a little by being five off with 486 = (25 + 75)*(2 + 3) - 8 - 6.  This was definitely a round that would reward knowledge of the 75-times table, with 6*75 being a much more helpful starting point.  Lily has solved his with the first of the approaches that I listed.

Paul: 486
Billy: 486
Me: 481
Lily: 481

Scores: Paul 10 (42), Billy 10 (35), me 50

Second break: LATE TOTE ("Avoiding completely")

In this case, what is being avoided completely is alcohol, thus becoming TEETOTAL.

Round 7: M S F T E O I K E

I think that Paul might have been hoping for a final A for MISTAKE (although FOAMIEST would be better).  The E was rather less helpful, as it turned out.  I had STEM, FOMES ("a substance, as bedding or clothing (but not food), capable of transmitting infection"), and FOMITES (plural of FOMES).

The contestants each declare five-letter words this time, Billy with STOKE to Paul's MOIST.  David has not been very satisfied to be limited to sixes here, with his choices being MOTIFS and SOFTIE.  So I've outdone him on this round (I did think I would be in with a chance) and managed to get back to level pegging in the solo game.  (I'll note that David did look up something in the E/F area of the dictionary, but it's impossible to tell what, of course.)

FOMITES is the only seven.  The other sixes are EMOTES, KISMET, KETOSE ("any of the sugars which have a ketone group or its equivalent"), SOMITE ("any of the longitudinal series of segments or parts into which the body of certain animals is divided"), and MÉTIFS (MÉTIF being a variant form of MÉTIS: "any person of mixed ancestry").

Billy: STOKE

Scores: Paul 10 (47), Billy 10 (40), me 57

Round 8: Target 187 from 25 75 10 8 2 6

The target is 11*17, but without many odd numbers that is not the most attractive option.  My thoughts turned to 112 + 75, and I recognised that 112 was 8*14.  That gave me the solution 187 = (10 + 6 - 2)*8 + 75.  After time I noted that 187 was 25 + 162, with the latter being 2*81, and so found another solution of 187 = (75 + 6)*2 + 25.  With some more experimentation I saw that the factorisation approach could have worked, finding 187 = (25 - 8)*(10/2 + 6).  And finally, working down from 200 turned out to be relatively straightforward: 187 = 8*25 - 10 - 6/2.

The contestants continue to match each other, both finding 188 = 25 + 75 + 8*10 + 2 + 6.  Interesting that they both added the 2 when it did not get them any closer.  Lily has opted for the last of the solutions that I listed.

Paul: 188
Billy: 188
Me: 187
Lily: 187

Scores: Paul 10 (54), Billy 10 (47), me 67


So, once more Paul has a conundrum decider -- in each of his four games so far he has been ahead but not safe going into the conundrum.  Richard draws attention to this, and Paul responds that it is time for him to employ calming breathing.

There is very little rearrangement required, in a sense -- I think my thought processes went from PATCH STOW to WATCH STOP to STOPWATCH.  That only took a little over a second, which is pleasing.

The calming breathing seems to have worked for Paul, as he found the answer just two seconds in.  That puts his score into the sixties for the second time, a result I'm sure he is hoping to be able to reproduce.

Paul: STOPWATCH (2s)
Billy: [no answer]
Me: STOPWATCH (1.5s)

Scores: Paul 10 (64), Billy 10 (47), me 77

Another close game, with there being very little to choose between the contestants until the conundrum.  Paul decisively won that round, and so reaches the important fifth game.  His score is a little on the low side at the moment, but a decent result tomorrow should see him through to the finals.


Mike Backhouse said...

8/4*5*75-25=725 (another variation Geoff. I am surprised I didn't see the straightforward way first up)
x PRICER (grrr...)
Lily's way
8*(25-2)+10-6=188. Was on the right track but mucked it up by sticking that 2 in the brackets.
x should not have played live as Paul jumped in quickly, and it looked straightforward. Yeah, sure....)

Sam G said...

Following on from the recent discussion, Lily picked almost exactly the same numbers in Rounds 6 & 8 here.

3. 725 = 8*100 - 75
6. 481 = (75+3-2)*6 + 25
7. KISMET/SOFTIE. Worried about which was safer.
8. 187 = (75+6)*2 + 25. Lily's way first.
9. STOPWATCH ~ 2.2s. Off the pace!

Emily said...

SLOUGHED (saw it at about 20 seconds, had LAUGHED immediately and took a while to see past it)
100*8-75 (it took me an embarrassingly long time to see it, but I managed to get it down in time)
RECIPE (thought about COWERER for less than a second)
(75+3+2)*6=480 (1 off - I found what turned out to be Lily's solution while the contestants were giving the workings for theirs)
STOPWATCH (immediately - not sure I would have hit the buzzer before Paul did though)