Friday, 13 March 2015

Ep 280: Scott Ingram, Tina Rose (March 13, 2015; originally aired September 23, 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.  (Actually, there was one moment of recognition after the fact, which I will mention in due course.  It did not help.)

Scott takes his turn in the champion's seat, and Richard asks him about something he mentioned last night (that I did not mention then): The sport of camogie.  (The connection is that his partner plays it, as well as Gaelic football.)  A bit unfairly, Scott is asked what the game's history is -- I think that would be a tough question for most people about most sports.  Scott is not able to make much answer, describing it as the female version of hurling, and much like hockey except for being able to put the stick above the shoulder.

Tonight's challenger is Tina Rose, a keen Scrabble player with a high game score of 491 points.  Richard asks her to lend some perspective about how impressed they should be; Tina isn't able to make much answer to that, saying that she thinks it is reasonably good.  She adds that most Scrabble players would be happy to get at least 300 -- anything above that is acceptable, anything below that is definitely not.  So 491 is "pretty good".

(That's certainly a vastly higher score than I could aspire to in Scrabble, so I'm impressed.  I tried to find out information about Tina's competitive Scrabble performance, but was not able to do so.  In the process I did come across statistics for some other former Letters and Numbers contestants, so I'll mention them here: Naween Fernando has a high game of 706 points, and Andrew Fisher has a high game of 664.  Perhaps more remarkably, Andrew Fisher once lost a game after scoring 506 points.)

The contestants ended up evenly matched in the letters tonight, declaring equal results in every round.  But the numbers were all Tina's: She solved them all, and Scott was not able to solve any of them.  Her solution to the last numbers round, in particular, was one that few of the show's contestants would be capable of finding.  Tina rounded out her dominant performance by solving the conundrum, registering an impressive 72 to 32 victory in her first game.

I was off my game tonight, and I knew it from the first round.  I guess there's a lesson here about playing when hungry.  Tina's good numbers results meant I could not get too far away, and when I stumbled in the last letters round it made the conundrum matter.  Fortunately I was able to solve it before Tina did, and so scraped home with the win.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: M N O H E C T A R

I had HOME, MONTH, and REMATCH.  After time I saw the eight of CHROMATE, noted ROMANCE as another seven, and also found ANCHORET (variant form of ANCHORITE: "someone who has retired to a solitary place for a life of religious seclusion; hermit; recluse").

Scott starts off with a "sweet six", and Tina is pretty sure that she has the same one.  Indeed, they have both declared NECTAR.  David has found the remaining eight in this mix: MERCHANT.

That is all the eights listed.  The other sevens are ANOTHER, MATCHER, ENACTOR, MENORAH, CHANTER / TRANCHE ("a portion or share of anything, especially a block of stocks or shares"), and MONARCH / NOMARCH ("the governor of a nome or nomarchy"; a NOME is "one of the provinces of ancient Egypt").


Scores: Scott 0 (6), Tina 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: L D W E I S F U O

I had WELD, WIELD, WIELDS, FIELDS, FLUIDS, and flirted with SIDEFLOW but was right to avoid it.

It's sixes again from the contestants; Scott has FIELDS and Tina has FOULED.  David checks the spelling on that, but I'll note that FOWLED would also have been acceptable (FOWL as a verb: "to hunt or take wildfowl").  David had to reach to find what he describes as a dodgy seven of SULFIDE; presumably he prefers the PH version, but I'll note that the Macquarie marks those as obsolete and prefers the F form.

The other seven is OLDWIFE, a type of fish.


Scores: Scott 6 (12), Tina 6 (12), me 13

Round 3: Target 627 from 50 75 3 1 9 8

I first thought to make this as 625 + 2; I needed a 6 to make the 625 (as 50*75/6), but could not make a 2 with the remaining numbers.  If I had considered other ways to get to 625 I should have found 627 = 9*75 - 50 + 3 - 1.  However, instead I turned my attention to working up from 600, since the offset was easy to make, and so found 627 = 8*75 + 3*9.

Tina puts her pen down and leans back a bit shy of the halfway mark.  Scott is still writing as time runs out; interestingly he is doing so while looking at the board rather than the pad, or the monitor for that matter.  He has not ended up getting anywhere with this.  Tina has found the solution that I did, and so has Lily.

Scott: [not in range]
Tina: 627
Me: 627
Lily: 627

Scores: Scott 6 (12), Tina 16 (22), me 23

First break: LEGAL CON ("Very popular in Hollywood")

I was surprised at how easily this unravelled into COLLAGEN for me, even without the clue.  If only the rest of the game were going that well...

David's talk is about phrases involving the names 'Joe', 'John', or 'Jane'.

Round 4: R N P I E U G S S

I had RIPEN, PURINE, wondered about SUPERING (valid, with SUPER as a verb being: "to treat (land) with superphosphate"), and PRESSING.

The contestants have each found seven-letter words here; Scott has PURSING while Tina has SPRINGS.  Nice to see Scott making use of the -ING here.  David notes that it could have been taken further though, with both PRESSING and PERUSING being options.

The other eight is SPRINGES (SPRINGE as a verb: "to catch in a springe"; SPRINGE as a noun: "a snare for catching small game").  Some of the common sevens to be had are SINGERS / RESIGNS / INGRESS, UPRISES, INSURES, and SNIPERS.


Scores: Scott 6 (19), Tina 16 (29), me 31

Round 5: R T C I A I T F A

A nasty mix!  I had CART, TACIT / ATTIC, CRAFT, and TRACT.  After time I noted other fives of TIARA / RAITA, TAFIA, and ATRIA.

It's little surprise that the contestants have also been stuck on five; Tina has TRACT and Scott has ATTIC.  David just wanted a final E for ARTIFICE, and when it did not arrive he had nothing.  He scrambled and ended up with the five of TRAIT.

David's mention of ARTIFICE is something that I recalled, because as soon as he did so (both the first time I watched this, and again now) I immediately saw the eight of ARTIFACT.  It's rather odd that he did not find it; the spelling ARTEFACT is sometimes preferred (the Macquarie agrees), but my impression was that ARTIFACT was the more common spelling in practice.

There are no sevens here; the only six is IATRIC ("relating to a physician or to medicine").

Scott: ATTIC
David: TRAIT

Scores: Scott 11 (24), Tina 21 (34), me 36

Round 6: Target 242 from 100 25 9 8 2 7

I recognised the target as twice the square of 11, and that suggests many possible factorisations.  But the standard method seemed more useful, as it so often does, and gave me 242 = 2*(100 + 25) - 8.  Still within time -- but I have no idea what led me to it -- I found another solution of 242 = (25 + 9)*7 + 8/2.

Scott declares 243 for one off; I am guessing that was (8 + 2)*25 - 7.  But Tina has solved this exactly with 242 = 2*100 + 25 + 9 + 8.  That puts her twenty points ahead, all from numbers rounds, and it seems unlikely that Scott will come back from that.  Lily solved it the same way that Tina did.

Scott: 243
Tina: 242
Me: 242
Lily: 242

Scores: Scott 11 (24), Tina 31 (44), me 46

Second break: ELAN TRIM ("A very sick computer")

If it is sufficiently sick, it might be TERMINAL.

Round 7: D P K L O A E S R

I had PLOD, POLKA, POLKAED, SPREAD, and LOADERS / RELOADS.  After time I noted REPOSAL as another seven, checked up on POLKAERS (not valid), and then finally saw SPARKLED.  Oh, dear.

Both contestants have found SPARKLED for eight, and that brings Tina back within striking distance of me.  Bother.  David has spotted the alternative eight of LEOPARDS.

Those are both eights listed.  The other sevens are SPARKLE, LEOPARD / PAROLED, PAROLES, ORDEALS, SPARKED, DEPOSAL, DARKLES (DARKLE: "to grow dark, gloomy, etc."), PEDLARS, SKOALED (SKOAL being a variant spelling of SCULL in the sense of "to consume (a drink) at one draught"), and POLDERS (POLDER: "a tract of low land, especially in the Netherlands, reclaimed from the sea or other body of water and protected by dykes").


Scores: Scott 19 (32), Tina 39 (52), me 46

Round 8: Target 866 from 25 100 6 5 7 10

I recognised that the target was near my favourite 875, and the offset was 9.  That was clearly workable, and gave me the solution 866 = 7*(100 + 25) - 10 + 6 - 5.

Scott declares 9 away with 875, which feels a little strange to me.  Presumably this was 9*100 - 25, or even 10*100 - 5*25, but there should have been at least one small number left over to subtract.  He was writing just at the end, so maybe he ran out of time.  Tina surprised me by finding the solution that I did -- very few contestants are at all comfortable with multiples of 125.  Clearly I underestimated her, so well done, Tina!  Tina is now guaranteed to win.

Lily also solved this in the same way.  There are only two other solutions: 866 = 10*100 - 7*(25 - 5) + 6, and 866 = (25 - 10/5)*6*7 - 100.

Scott: 875
Tina: 866
Me: 866
Lily: 866

Scores: Scott 19 (32), Tina 49 (62), me 56


Tina's strong showing in the numbers means that I have not been able to pull away from her, and for the first time since Brydon (I think) the conundrum matters to me.  I watched this one like a hawk, and maybe even as well as a certain Hawker, as the letters rolled over, spotted MODULE as a small word and quickly extended it to MODULATED.  Phew!

Tina solves this after just 9 seconds, and registers a very impressive debut score of 72.

Scott: [no answer]
Tina: MODULATED (9s)
Me: MODULATED (1.5s)

Scores: Scott 19 (32), Tina 49 (72), me 66

Scott and Tina were evenly matched in the words, but Tina dominated in the numbers -- she solved all of them while Scott was not able to do so for any of them.  She certainly is more capable with those than most contestants we've seen in these re-runs, and that caught me out.  That said, Tina did miss words that I would have expected a competitive Scrabble player to find.  Maybe it's the time limit that did it.

As I said earlier, I was off my game tonight, perhaps more so than the results would suggest.  So, my advice: Better to be well-fed than hungry when playing.


Justin Thai said...

For a Scrabble player Tina's numbers was superb made even more impressive that she would of waited a long time for her chance to play. I was suprised David didn't see ARTIFACT, which I saw. I looked around to make sure it was a word and I checked the letters again to make sure, great when I beat David :)

865- couldn't get down +(6-5) in time
6 sec

There's also a part from this ep which got to the famed L+N bloopers...

Mike Backhouse said...

I wish I had your 'off' game Geoff!

9*75-50+3-1=627 (not sure why I didn't see the more straightforward way first up)
SPARKED (Grrrr....)
Tina and Geoff's way (yay)
x nothing in time unless DATEMOULD counts....

Which was the bloopers bit Justin?

I seem to remember one of the bloopers was similar to an episode last week when after an easy numbers round, Richard wrongly assumed that one of the contestants had got it out.

Geoff Bailey said...

Well, you did have equal results to me on all of the main rounds, Mike, so it seems that you did. *chuckles*

Justin: Great work to find ARTIFACT, and I quite like your round one choice of MONARCH.

Sam G said...

Tina was quite strong here.

2. SULFIDE. I don't know if I've beaten Geoff on a chemistry word before.
3. 627 = 8*75 + 3*9
6. 242 = 2*(100 + 25) - 8
7. PAROLED. Thought there was an eight in this plus S, but couldn't remember.
8. 866 = 7*(100 + 25) - 10 + 6 - 5
9. MODULATED - 2.25s

Geoff Bailey said...

If you'd found CHROMATE in the first round you would have done so twice in the same game. :) I think you have beaten me with CHROMATE before, though. Also, well played!