Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Ep 278: Paul Breen, Sneha Pereira (March 11, 2015; originally aired September 21, 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.

We're into Paul's fifth night now, and maybe we have just run out of things to find out about him.  Instead, Richard notes that Paul had his fourth conundrum showdown last night, and solved that conundrum very quickly.  He asks how Paul did so, and Paul responds that the first thing he saw was "watch", and the remaining letters formed "stop"; once he decided that the answer was not "watchstop" then he found the answer.

Tonight's challenger is Sneha Pereira, a biomedical engineering graduate who is now focused on becoming a lawyer.  Richard asks first about the biomedical engineering; Sneha explains that when she was studying that at university she dealt a lot with software programming "and more of signal and telemedicine".  I can't quite parse that, but I think I get somewhat of the gist of it.  Sneha adds that when she started she wasn't really sure what she wanted to do, but after she graduated she felt she was better off trying to study law.

It was yet another close game for Paul, with the two contestants finding equal results on the letters rounds throughout.  But Paul was just a bit better than Sneha on the numbers, and that translated to enough of an advantage to be safe going into the conundrum.  Neither managed to solve it, and Paul had the victory, 53 to 36.

I was just one round off maximal, and that was an impossible numbers round.  A good game for me regardless.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: N C R H A O E D A

I had a speculative ANCHOR, RANCH, ARCHON, and ANCHORED.

The contestants start with sixes, Sneha with HARDEN while Paul has ARCHED.  David has found ANCHORED.

The other eight is ARCHAEON (a type of microscopic organism).  The sevens are ARCHEON (variant spelling of ARCHAEON), CHARADE, RANCHED / ENDARCH ("denoting a strand or cylinder of primary xylem in a stem or root with the protoxylem on its inner edge"), and CHOANAE ("the posterior nasal apertures [...]").


Scores: Paul 0 (6), Sneha 0 (6), me 8

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


Again the contestants have a pair of sixes; this time Paul has INTERS to Sneha's SINGER.  David mentions his surprise that neither contestant used the -ING, stating that RUSTING was an easy seven.  He further mentions SINGLET / TINGLES, but of course has found the full monty of RESULTING.

The other nine is LUSTERING (LUSTER being an American spelling of LUSTRE).  The other eights are RINGLETS / STERLING / TINGLERS, INSULTER, and LUSTRING (although unusually, the Macquarie does not list this form, so one might argue that it should insist on LUSTREING).


Scores: Paul 0 (12), Sneha 0 (12), me 26

Round 3: Target 779 from 3 10 8 2 5 8

Paul mixes it up and opts for six small numbers.  Yay!  It's a tough target, though, and I spent too long trying to get there exactly.  I did tweak my way to two away with 781 = 8*(10*(8 + 1) - 3) + 5, and with a little time to go saw how to get to 780.  Alas, I mentally lost track of the bracketing and wrote down the invalid (8 + 3)*8*10 - 2*5, which is 880.  I caught that error, but there was not time to correct it, and two off was where I stayed.

After time I wrote down the corrected form: 780 = ((8 + 3)*8 - 10)*2*5.  780 has many useful factors, and I wrote down one alternative of 780 = 2*3*10*(8 + 5).  I also considered the option of working up from 770, finding 778 = (8 + 3)*10*(5 + 2) + 8.

Sneha is six away with 785, presumably 8*10*(8 + 2) - 3*5.  Paul has managed to get closer with 775 = ((8 + 2)*8 - 3)*10 + 5.  Lily says that the best she could do is 780, but has not been able to solve this.  With good reason, as it turns out, since the target is unreachable.

Paul: 775
Sneha: 785
Me: 781
Lily: 780

Scores: Paul 0 (19), Sneha 0 (12), me 33

First break: SIT CLOSE ("Astronomical occurrence that happens twice a year")

A straight enough clue for SOLSTICE.

David's talk is about terms for sizes of bottles of wine: 'jeroboam', 'rehoboam', 'nebuchadnezzar', 'methuselah', and 'balthazar'.

Round 4: T F D I E R K A S

I had DIET, DRIFT, TIRADE, TIRADES, and DARKEST.  After time I noted other sevens of DARKIES (DARKIE being a type of fish), FAIREST, SKIRTED, and FRISKED.  I also checked up on STRAIKED, but it is not in the Macquarie (although it did turn out to be in my Scrabble list).

Again the contestants have six-letter words -- they've been quite consistent on that fron so far.  Paul has STRIKE and Sneha has FASTER.  David points out that there are many sevens to be found in this mix, and mentions FAIREST, ASTRIDE, SKIRTED, and FRISKED.

Seven is the best on offer; the others are STRAFED, STAIDER / DISRATE ("to reduce to a lower rating, as a petty officer, or a non-commissioned officer of marines; degrade") / DIASTER ("a stage in mitosis at which the chromosomes, after their division and separation, are grouped near the poles of the spindle"), and FRISKET ("an iron frame to hold in place a sheet of paper to be printed").


Scores: Paul 0 (25), Sneha 0 (18), me 40

Round 5: B T L W O I E R M

I had BLOW, ELBOW, BOILER, and EMBROIL.  I briefly wondered about BILEWORM (not valid), but it did not seem very likely.  After time I noted other sevens of BLOWIER (surprisingly valid) and TEMBLOR ("a tremor; an earthquake").

Paul has to recount before committing to a six, but both he and Sneha have found BLOWER.  David points out that BLOWIER is valid, and has found EMBROIL as well.

The remaining sevens are TIMBREL ("a tambourine or similar instrument") and MOTLIER*.


Scores: Paul 0 (31), Sneha 0 (24), me 47

Round 6: Target 188 from 25 75 8 5 6 7

The target is 2*94, and that seemed likely to work out; a little fiddling produced 188 = (7 - 5)*(75 + 25 - 6).  Then I saved a number with 188 = 8*25 - 7 - 5.  After time I noted a couple of other options: 188 = (25 + 5)*6 + 8 and 188 = 75 + 25 + 8*(6 + 5).

The contestants continue to match each other, each declaring 186 = 75 + 25 + 8*7 + 5*6.  Lily has solved this with the slightly roundabout 188 = (25 + 75)*(8 - 6) - 5 - 7.  A little unusually, Richard pipes up with a solution of his own -- he has found the last of the ones that I listed.

Paul: 186
Sneha: 186
Me: 188
Lily: 188

Scores: Paul 0 (38), Sneha 0 (31), me 57

Second break: WHINE SOB ("A lucky item, except for a chicken")

Heh.  That would be a WISHBONE.

Round 7: N C D B O A U I H


Once more the declarations are equal, this time of five letters each.  Sneha has gone for HOUND while Paul has BOUND.  David points out the extension to ABOUND, and has also found BIANCO ("(of wine) white").

Six is the best to be done (ICHABOD notwithstanding).  The others are CUBOID and ANODIC.

Sneha: HOUND

Scores: Paul 0 (43), Sneha 0 (36), me 63

Round 8: Target 747 from 75 100 8 10 7 3

The standard method led very easily to 747 = 75*10 - 3.  After time I played with the descent from 800 and found 747 = 8*(100 - 7) + 3.

Sneha is four away with 751, and my best guess for that is 7*100 + 75 - 3*8.  But Paul has solved this with the first of the solutions that I listed.  That really was a bad miss by Sneha, and it costs her a chance at victory.  Lily has also solved it in that way, as is to be expected.

Paul: 747
Sneha: 751
Me: 747
Lily: 747

Scores: Paul 10 (53), Sneha 0 (36), me 73


This felt like a tough conundrum; certainly I had troubles finding a usual approach to start with.  At some point in my musings I considered PRIME as a fragment, and fortunately managed to turn that into the answer of REPRIMAND.

Neither contestant is able to solve this.

Paul: [no answer]
Sneha: [no answer]

Scores: Paul 10 (53), Sneha 0 (36), me 83

So, Paul has achieved his fifth victory and must make it to the finals.  There was nothing to choose between the contestants on the letters, but Paul was a little better than Sneha on the numbers and that was the difference in the end.  Will Paul successfully retire?  We'll find out tomorrow.

I had eight maximal rounds, just missing the best option in the first numbers round (a few more seconds and I would have had the right correction).  In the solo totals that will still show up as matching David and Lily, a bit unfairly to them.


Mike Backhouse said...

I managed to pip the contestants tonight, even without the conundrum (my Achilles heel) but not Geoff of course (ever!). It's a testament to the standard of play on this site that it consistently betters that on the show.

ARCHED (saw RANCHED but was not sure about it)
TINGLERS (took a risk with this one. I remembered the TINGLER as a Vincent Price movie - well done on the full monty Geoff)
8*((10*(8+2))-3)+5=781 (2 away)
BLOWIER (another risk that paid off)
BUNCH (should have got ABOUND as I have used it before)

Sam G said...

This episode didn't ring any bells for me. Which may explain missing out on Rounds 2 & 3.

Nice bracketing in Round 3, Mike.

2. RUSTLING/STERLING. Disappointing, RESULTING was gettable, and I saw LUSTERING.
3. x Went for 779 for too long, then wrote my 781 answer incorrectly.
6. 188 = 8*25 - 7 - 5
7. ABOUND, though a bit late.
8. 747 = 75*10 - 3
9. REPRIMAND - 8.0s

Emily said...

STERLING (saw RESULTING at 29 seconds - I actually think I could have scrawled it a bit over time and it would have been fine, but feel dodgy claiming it)
(8+2)*10*8-(3*5)=785 (6 off - GAH)
BLOWIER (phew)
25*7+8+5=188 (odd to see Lily over-complicate it)
REPRIMAND (25 sec - the exception to my straight-away-or-not-at-all rule)