Thursday, 12 March 2015

Ep 279: Paul Breen, Scott Ingram (March 12, 2015; originally aired September 22, 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.

Win or lose, this is Paul's last night on the show until the finals (which he will very likely make).  Obviously he wants to become a retiring champion.  Richard asks Paul if he has any highlights of his time on the show, and Paul says that probably solving the two conundrums would be his choice.

Tonight's challenger is Scott Ingram, a secondary school English teacher.  Scott also plays Gaelic football, which he tries to explain as a cross between soccer and Aussie rules.  Scott adds that it is the national game of Ireland, and fantastic fun -- he played it for about ten years in Queensland, and that's how he met his partner.  She was the captain of the team and he became their coach.

Scott got the early jump on Paul in round one, but Paul equalised in the second round.  Then a good numbers solution saw Scott get out to a ten point lead.  There was no more swing left in the letters rounds, but Paul equalised once more in the second numbers round.  Then Scott once again got a ten point lead in round eight, and we had the distinct possibility of a tiebreaker conundrum being necessary.  But the conundrum proved to be too difficult for both of them, and Scott defeated Paul, 46 to 36.

I was running ahead of David and Lily at one point thanks to one word that eluded David's eagle eye.  Alas, I overlooked an option in a later round -- my only non-maximal result -- and dropped back to a tie.  Still a satisfactory game, of course.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: R P D Y O E A S I

I had PROD, PARODY, DROPSY, PRAISED, and -- rather later than I should have seen it -- PARODIES.  After time I noted DIASPORE ("a natural hydrated aluminium oxide [...]") as another eight (and anagram of PARODIES).

Paul starts with the five of DAISY, which feels a bit off the pace with those letters.  Scott has found the six of SPAYED to take the early lead.  David suggests DESPAIR as a possible seven, but has found PARODIES for eight.

The other sevens are ASPIRED / DIAPERS, SPRAYED, PERIODS, SOAPIER, ROADIES, SPIDERY, ADIPOSE ("fatty"), and SPAROID ("resembling or related to the Sparidae, a family of deep-bodied marine fishes, as the Australian snapper and bream").  It is perhaps a little odd that Scott did not extend SPAYED to SPRAYED.


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

Round 2: T N E L U G P I T

I had LENT, UNLET, GLUTEN, TINGLE, LETTING, and PUTTING (verb form of either PUT or PUTT; if my opponent had declared one of those, I'd have gone with the other just for amusement).  After time I noted PETTING as another seven.

This time it is Scott with the short answer of GLUE (he looks a little embarrassed about that), while Paul equalises with his answer of PLUNGE.  It does feel like contestants recently have not really used the -ING when the opportunity presents itself.  David thinks so, too, and points out PETTING, PELTING, PUTTING, and LETTING.

The other seven in this mix is ELUTING.

Scott: GLUE

Scores: Paul 0 (6), Scott 0 (6), me 15

Round 3: Target 774 from 75 3 8 3 7 5

Applying the standard method gives an offset of 24, which is 3*8.  That line of thought soon led to the solution 774 = (7 + 3)*75 + 3*8.  After time I considered other options: First the factorisation 9*86 to get 774 = (75 + 8 + 3)*(7 + 5 - 3), and then 774 = (8 + 3)*(75 - 5) + 7 - 3.

Paul has got to one away with 775, and I'll guess that was 775 = (7 + 3)*(75 + 3) - 5.  But Scott pleases me by having solved this, using the first of the solutions that I listed.  Lily has solved it in the same way.

Paul: 775
Scott: 774
Me: 774
Lily: 774

Scores: Paul 0 (6), Scott 10 (16), me 25

First break: YOKEL BIT ("A hungry weight")

It took me a little while to go from BITE to KILOBYTE.

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

Round 4: N S R A E O C D O

I had EARNS, REASON, CORNEAS, CROONED, CONDORS, rightly rejected DOORCASE (it is in Chambers, though), and CARDOONS (CARDOON being a type of plant).  After time I noted other sevens of CORDONS and CORONAS.

The contestants each declare six-letter words; Paul has SNORED to Scott's choice of COARSE.  That's another reasonably easy extension missed, with COARSEN being on offer.  David also makes this point, mentioning REASON and COARSEN as options.

So I've pulled ahead of David and Lily on the solo totals, but there's still a lot of game left.

The other eight is ENDOSARC ("the endoplasm of a protozoan (opposed to ectosarc)").  The other sevens are DEACONS / ACNODES (ACNODE: "Geometry a node [...] at which the tangents to two curves are imaginary and distinct"), DANCERS, SCORNED, CORNEAE (alternative plural of CORNEA), CORONAE (alternative plural of CORONA), CANDORS / DACRONS (DACRON: "a strong synthetic polyester fibre resistant to creases"), RACOONS (RACOON being a variant spelling of RACCOON), SECONDO ("the second or lower part in a duet, especially in piano duets"), and NARDOOS (NARDOO being a type of aquatic fern).


Scores: Paul 0 (12), Scott 10 (22), me 33

Round 5: S W G N E I A H T

I had NEWS, SEWING, WASHING, HEATING, and SWATHING.  After time I noted SWEATING as another eight, and a bit later glanced back at this mix and saw the seven of WEIGHTS.

The contestants have each found seven-letter words this time, and perhaps have taken David's remarks from round two into account as they have both used the -ING fragment.  Scott has STEWING to Paul's choice of WASHING.  David has gone that one better, as he so often does, finding SWATHING and SWEATING.

The other eights are HEATINGS / GAHNITES (GAHNITE being a certain mineral) and INSWATHE.  THAWINGS is not valid, as THAWING does not have a listing as a noun.


Scores: Paul 0 (19), Scott 10 (29), me 41

Round 6: Target 758 from 75 25 50 9 6 8

The standard method strongly suggests making this as 750 + 8, and 750 is one of the most formable of the multiples of 25.  I started with 758 = 9*75 + 50 + 25 + 8, then saved a number with 758 = 6*(75 + 50) + 8.  I rounded it off with 758 = (9 + 6)*50 + 8.

Scott has come adrift here, failing to get within the scoring range.  Paul makes him pay for that, as he has solved it with the first of the solutions that I listed.  Lily has gone for the last of those solutions.

So the scores are now tied, and it's anyone's game.

Paul: 758
Scott: [not in range]
Me: 758
Lily: 758

Scores: Paul 10 (29), Scott 10 (29), me 51

Second break: SNIPE ALE ("Punished by a writing implement")

That writing implement is the PEN of PENALISE.

Round 7: R C S T E U A F E

I wanted a final consonant here, hoping for another R for FRACTURES.  Rather poor odds, though.  When a vowel was called I hoped for an O for FRUCTOSE.  Twice disappointed!  As it was, I had SECT, TRUCES, CREATES, rightly rejected SECATEUR (only the plural form SECATEURS is valid), SURFACE, and was a little tempted by FACETERS but was also right to reject it. After time I noted other sevens of CURATES, REFUTES, and CESURAE* (as I've mentioned before, it's a bit of an edge case -- see round 7 of NG 317).

Both contestants have found FEASTER for seven, so whatever happens in round eight the conundrum is going to matter.  David mentions adding a U to FEASTER, and too late I see his upcoming choice of FEATURES.  That reduces my potential win to a tie.

The other eights are FACTURES (FACTURE: "the act, process, or manner of making anything") / FURCATES (FURCATE: "to form a fork; divide into branches") and FARCEUSE (female version of FARCEUR: "a writer or player of farces").

The other sevens are FEATURE, FACTURE / FURCATE, AUSTERE, FAUCETS, REFACES, CERATES (CERATE: "an unctuous (often medicated) preparation for external application [...]") / ÉCARTÉS (ÉCARTÉ: "Ballet a position in which one arm and the leg from the same side of the body are extended"), and CAUTERS (CAUTER being a variation of CAUTERY: "an escharotic substance or a hot iron used to destroy tissue").


Scores: Paul 17 (36), Scott 17 (36), me 58

Round 8: Target 264 from 50 75 7 2 5 3

The target is 24*11, which has various other useful factorisations.  However, I looked first at the standard method and found 265 = 5*50 + 2*7.  Then I played around with some of those factorisations, finding 264 = (2*50 - 7 - 5)*3 and 264 = (7 + 5)*(75 - 50 - 3).

Paul is two away with 262; I'll guess that was 5*50 + 7 + 3 + 2.  But Scott has solved this to take the advantage going into the conundrum.  He has used the first of those solutions that I listed.  Lily also solved it that way.

Paul: 262
Scott: 264
Me: 264
Lily: 264

Scores: Paul 17 (36), Scott 17 (46), me 68


This felt difficult, with none of the letters really making sense together.  Somehow I pulled out NEW and then the answer of NEWSAGENT fell into my lap.

Neither contestant is able to solve this, so the scores remain unchanged and Scott has the win.

Paul: [no answer]
Scott: [no answer]

Scores: Paul 17 (36), Scott 17 (46), me 78

There was not much to distinguish the contestants in the letters tonight, but the numbers advantage was with Scott.  In the end that was the difference, and Paul is stopped just short of successful retirement.  He'll be back in three weeks for the finals, I imagine.

I had an excellent game right up until I overlooked FEATURES.  Still, the net result is a tie with David and Lily, for the third game in a row.


Emily said...

Missed this one tonight but just gave your online version a go. It's weird without the clock! I didn't realise how much I rely on the music to know when to start focusing on a particular solution and getting it on the page.

PUTTING (I also wrote UPLETTING despite knowing I'd never play it)
x (couldn't see past SEWAGE)

Mike Backhouse said...

SPARED (saw PRAISED too late)
Paul's way
x error due to misreading my own handwriting!
Paul's way

Sam G said...

2. PUTTING. Thought about UPLETTING.
3. 774 = (7 + 3)*75 + 3*8
4. COARSEN. Thought there was a word for that + D, but wasn't close to ENDOSARC.
6. 758 = 6*(75 + 50) + 8
8. 264 = 5*50 + 2*7
9. NEWSAGENT ~29.9s. Had tried NEWS- early, unfruitfully.

Geoff Bailey said...

Emily: Don't forget you can watch it off the SBS website if you miss an episode. (Although there can be some issues with the buffering, so it works a bit better later at night. At least, that's been my experience.)

Mike Backhouse said...

I watch it on the website now routinely rather than live or taping it. In fact I've noticed they sometimes have it up before it airs, although maybe that's something to do with us poor Queenslanders not being on daylight saving?

Geoff Bailey said...

Yes, I would expect that to be a daylight savings issue. It goes up at 6pm Sydney time, as far as I can tell.