Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Ep 283: Tina Rose, Tim Hoffman (March 18, 2015; originally aired September 28, 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.

This is Tina's fourth night, and a win here gives her an excellent chance of making the finals.  Richard reveals that Tina came to Australia as a child from Denmark, and apparently had some troubles with the language.  Tina expands on that: Her family came over on a boat, and they were taught English during the trip.  But she found that when she went to school -- she was eleven at the time -- she was given a lot of grief about her accent.  Tina's response was a determination to learn the language, get rid of her accent, and learn to spell.  Now, when she does visit Denmark, people laugh at her because she speaks Danish with an Australian accent.

Facing off against Tina is Tim Hoffman, a freight and logistics consultant.  Apparently, many years ago when they all lived in Sydney, David was flatmates with some of Tim's friends and so Tim got to know him briefly.  He adds that he has sampled David's cooking.  Richard asks if Tim can remember what David cooked, and Tim responds that he does not know what it was called; he is interrupted by laughter at that point, and Richard calls it "the closest thing to a non-compliment [he has] come across in a while".  Tim continues by saying that he would describe it as a type of proto-puttanesca, and it was the first time he had ever seen a caper.  He was impressed that it was garnished, however: "a very, very well-positioned piece of parsley".  It's not quite clear how much of that was straight, and how much was deadpan ribbing of David; there is merriment, anyway.

Tim got the early lead when Tina used a letter twice in the first round, and three matched rounds followed.  Then Tina ran away with the game, scoring unanswered points in all of the remaining rounds, including the conundrum, to finish with a decisive victory, 57 points to 26.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: N D G P U E A R I

I had DUNG, wondered about UPEND (invalid; the hyphen is required: UP-END), PRANGED, READING, and took a punt on UNPAIRED.  Fortunately it was valid.

The contestants each declare sevens; Tim has chosen DRAPING, while Tina has gone with GRADING.  However, she has used the G twice and her answer is invalid.  An early lead for Tim, a little luckily, but it's nice to see contestants using the -ING well.  David has found UNPAIRED for eight.

The other eight is UNREPAID.  The other sevens are REAPING, UPGRADE, GRAINED / DERAIGN ("to dispose troops for (battle)") / GRADINE (variant spelling of GRADIN: "one of a series of steps or seats raised one above another"), GAUDIER, PUDGIER, UNDRAPE, URANIDE, and PAGURID (one of a particular family of hermit crabs).

Tina: [invalid -- GRADING]

Scores: Tina 0, Tim 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: T A S O C F I R E

I had OATS, COAST, FACTORS, FACTORIES / FACTORISE, COASTER, and wondered about FIRECOATS (not valid).  I'd been hoping for that pair of full monties since the sixth letter, so it's nice that they came along.

Again the contestants declare sevens, and this time they have the same answer of COASTER.  David is pleased to have found the full monty pair of FACTORIES / FACTORISE, and that makes it three for three this week.

The eight in this mix is FORECAST.  The other sevens are FAIREST, FORTIES, EROTICA, RACIEST / STEARIC ("of or relating to suet or fat"), FIACRES (FIACRE being another term for a hackney-coach) / FARCIES* (FARCY: "a form of the disease glanders [...]"), EROTICS (EROTIC having a noun sense of "an erotic poem"), and SCORIAE (plural of SCORIA) / ORACIES* (perhaps; ORACY is "basic competence in oral communication", and is not necessarily pluralisable).


Scores: Tina 0 (7), Tim 0 (14), me 26

Round 3: Target 241 from 75 50 6 10 4 2

When the many even numbers were revealed I thought that an odd target would be hard, but I shot myself in the foot here.  I wrote down 240 = 4*6*10 as a fallback, but then wasted my time trying to cunningly divide by 2 in order to get the odd number.  After time I finally applied my rule of thumb in such situations: Add or subtract the odd number, and aime for the new target.  In this case 241 is 75 + 166,  and a little experimentation produced 241 = 4*(50 - 10) + 6 + 75.  The target is also 316 - 75, leading to 241 = 6*50 + 10 + 4 + 2 - 75.  Both were quite findable if I had just considered those approaches within time, as I should have.  I'm annoyed at myself over this.

The contestants have also ended up one away with 240.  Tina has gone for 240 = (50 + 75)*2 - 10, while Tim has 240 = 2*75 + 50 + 4*10.  Lily demonstrates the first of those solutions that I found after time.

Tina: 240
Tim: 240
Me: 240
Lily: 241

Scores: Tina 7 (14), Tim 7 (21), me 33

First break: VICE CALL ("A bony collar")

A clear reference to the collarbone, also known as the CLAVICLE.

David's talk is about the words 'couch', 'lounge', 'settee', and 'divan'.

Round 4: W U N A C O T H E

I had COUNT, TOUCH, and rightly rejected UNCOAT and UNHEAT.  I may have been dwelling too much on my error in the previous round, as after time I easily saw the sixes of TOUCAN and OCTANE.

The contestants have likewise been limited to five-letter words; Tina has COUNT while Tim has WATCH.  David has decided on TECHNO as his six.

There is a seven available here: UNTEACH.  The other sixes are TOUCHÉ, ECONUT ("Colloquial a person who is deeply concerned with ecology and environmental issues"), COHUNE (a type of palm tree), AWHETO (a New Zealand term for the vegetable caterpillar), NAUTCH ("(in India) a dance performance by professional female dancers"), and NUCHAE (plural of NUCHA: "the nape of the neck").


Scores: Tina 12 (19), Tim 12 (26), me 38

Round 5: S N F A E O H S V

I'd have definitely tried a final vowel here, hoping for an I for FASHIONS.  It would have been, too.  Oh, well.  As it was, I had FANS, SHONE, OVENS, and SHOVES.  After time I noted SEASON as another six, but could not find longer.

Tim has HOSES for five, but Tina has the nice six of HAVENS.  That closes the gap to just a single point.  David also points out the desirability of a final I for FASHIONS, and mentions sixes of HAVENS, SHOVES, and SHAVES.

Six is the best to be done on this mix.  The others are SHAVEN, SHEAFS (the verb sense), NOSHES, FASHES (FASH: "Chiefly Scottish to trouble; inconvenience; upset"), FOSSAE (plural of FOSSA: "a pit, cavity, or depression in a bone, etc."), FOEHNS (FOEHN being a variant form of FÖHN: "a hot, dry wind descending a mountain [...]"), HOVEAS (HOVEA being a type of plant), and NAOSES (NAOS: "a temple").


Scores: Tina 18 (25), Tim 12 (26), me 44

Round 6: Target 765 from 25 50 8 10 9 1

Applying the standard method says to make this as 775 - 10, but I started differently.  Getting to 750 is easy with the 10, and a slight slip on my part thought that led to a solution.  By the time I had written it down I realised that it only got to one away: 766 = 10*(50 + 25) + 9 + 8 - 1.  Then I turned to the standard method, and found an answer of 765 = (9 + 8 - 1)*50 - 25 - 10.  After time I considered the factor of 9 and found the alternative solution 765 = (50 + 25 + 10)*9.

Tim has got to two away with 767, and it feels like that must have been 10*(50 + 25) + 9 + 8.  A bit unusual not to subtract the 1 if that was the case, though.  But Tina makes it irrelevant by solving it with the same solution that I found within time.  Lily has found the nicely short 765 = (50 + 1)*(25 - 10).

Tina: 765
Tim: 767
Me: 765
Lily: 765

Scores: Tina 28 (35), Tim 12 (26), me 54

Second break: PONY LOOM ("It's the only game in town")

An apt description of a MONOPOLY, with the nice double meaning of game.

Round 7: D R L I A E M B E

I had LAIRD ("in Scotland, a landed proprietor"), RAILED, BLAMED, RAMBLED, was dubious about REMAILED (not valid), and then spotted the safe anagram of it: REMEDIAL.  I had hoped that the last vowel would be an A for ADMIRABLE.  A shame.

The contestants each declare sevens, but Tim is rightly dubious about his choice of DRIABLE.  He calls it desperation; David checks it, and jokingly asks Tim how he described David's cooking.  Tim responds "not that way" to general amusement, but it does not help -- his answer is not valid.  Tina has made no mistake with her choice of RAMBLED, so this round cancels out the error in round one.  David offers EMERALD as another seven, but has found REMEDIAL for eight.

The other eights are RIDEABLE and LIMBERED.  The other sevens are MARBLED, RIDABLE (variant spelling of RIDEABLE) / BEDRAIL / BRAILED (BRAIL: "to gather or haul in (a sail) by means of brails", where BRAIL as a noun is a type of rope attached to a sail), EMAILED, BEADIER / BEARDIE (a type of sheepdog), MEALIER, BALMIER, BEAMIER, BELDAME (variant spelling of BELDAM, an archaic term for "a grandmother"), BLEARED, and LEADIER*.

Tim: [invalid -- DRIABLE]

Scores: Tina 28 (42), Tim 12 (26), me 62

Round 8: Target 536 from 100 75 25 2 5 2

I made a mess of this one, alas.  The idea of getting near with 7*75 was tempting, and I managed to turn that into one off with 535 = (5 + 2)*(75 + 2) - 100/25.  But it was only after time that I thought properly about the offsets and realised that the offset from 550 was 14, meaning that I should have aimed to get to subtract the 14 instead of adding it.  Viewed in that light it was easy to find 536 = (5 + 2)*(75 - 2) + 25.

In order to have a chance of winning the game, Tim needs to score at least seven points here without Tina doing so.  It's a good mix for that, and the declarations are hopeful: Tim has 535 to Tina's 529.  She rather carelessly says that she is "way behind that", which suggests that she is not even within range, and only adds her actual total of 529 as an afterthought.  That's not the first time she's failed to give her actual target at first, and it is a bit unhelpful.

Anyway, Tim's answer is 5*100 + 25 + ... he stops there, indicating that he has used the 5 twice.  He must have continued by adding 5*2, of course.  A tweak would have seen him safely to his target with 5*(100 + 2) + 25.  But with that error he has lost the game, and Tina gets five points for her answer of 529 = 5*100 + 25 + 2*2.

Lily has accurately found the solution that I listed above, and it turns out to be the only one.  Well done, Lily.

Tina: 529
Tim: [invalid -- 535]
Me: 535
Lily: 536

Scores: Tina 28 (47), Tim 12 (26), me 69


The B and F don't often play well together, but after I pulled out -ED and DE- as fragments I found the answer of DEBRIEFED.  Rather quickly by my standards, too.

Tina continues her good conundrum form by solving this one at the fourteen second mark.  She's four from four, and very few contestants manage that kind of form on the conundrums.

Tina: DEBRIEFED (14s)
Tim: [no answer]

Scores: Tina 28 (57), Tim 12 (26), me 79

Again there was little to choose between the contestants in the letters, with the slight edge going to Tina.  She outplayed Tim in the numbers, although Tim's error in the last round made that look larger than it might have been.  She continues to be strong in the conundrums, and with her current strong scoring (an impressive average of just under 60 points a game) I'd expect her to make the finals unless her next game is disastrous, and possibly even then.

I'm a bit disappointed at my performance in rounds 3 and 8 -- what I should have done was clear, but somehow I went wandering off in a different direction.  Against that, I was quite happy with my eight-letter words in rounds 1 and 7, and it's always nice to find a full monty.


Mike Backhouse said...

4*(50+10)=240 (1 off)
10*(25+50)+8+9-1=766 (1 off)
RAILED (wondered about BRAILED and wasted time actually thinking EMBROILED was there if there had been a O instead of A!)
x used phantom extra number
DEBRIEFED (15s- pipped by Tina but for me it's just nice to get one in time!)

Away for next two games so will catch up on Monday

Sam G said...

Tim was very comfortable in the chair, few contestants have such a relaxed demeanour on debut. Masters' runner-up Matthew Thomason was the most relaxed I saw, probably due to working in TV.

2. COASTER. I found FACTORIES in one of Toby Baldwin's games. Infuriating.
3. one off: 240 = 4*6*10. Should have tried 241 - 75 sooner, it wasn't that hard. I think the successful approach to the previous episode's similar round made me think I wouldn't need to +75 here either.
6. 765 = (50+25+10)*9, also Tina's way.
8. 536 = (5+2)*(75-2) + 25. You can always get to 536 in heavyweights with just a 7.
9. 3s? My co-viewer blurted out DEBRIEF before I'd solved it. She was sternly reprimanded.