Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Ep 287: Anthony Kendall, Cathy Peck (March 24, 2015; originally aired October 4, 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 Anthony's third game tonight, and Richard returns to the topic of Anthony's running; as we heard before, Anthony will be running his 20th half-marathon this weekend.  Richard asks how many full marathons Anthony has run, and it turns out that there was only one, a couple of years ago.  There is reference to a joking comment that David made in an earlier game -- that Anthony could save time by doing ten full marathons instead of twenty half-marathons -- and Anthony points out that it does not work like that.

Tonight's challenger is Cathy Peck, a retired school teacher.  This is not the first time that Cathy has been on television: Fifty years ago, she was on a show called Desmond Tester's Cabbage Quiz; as she explains it, if you got an answer correct then you got prizes.  However, you had to stand and hold the prizes in your hand.  If you dropped a prize, then you were given a cabbage in its place.  And it was very difficult holding cabbages and prizes.

Anthony took the first letters round, but his invalid answer in round two let Cathy almost catch up.  The points were shared in the first numbers round, but Anthony outscored Cathy in the next two letters rounds and it looked like he might run away with the match.  Again the points were shared in the numbers round, and then Cathy found the best option in the last letters round to claw her way back into contention.  Unfortunately, she made a simple error when writing her numbers answer in the last numbers round, and what should have been shared points again (and a chance for her to win if she solved the conundrum) turned into disaster.  Neither contestant could solve the conundrum, and Anthony registered his third win, 51 to 32.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: S W T C I E A E R

I had WITS, CITES, RACIEST, WARIEST, SWEATER, SWEATIER, and CREATES.  After time I noted another seven of RECITES.

Cathy starts off with TRACES for six, but Anthony gets the points with WAITERS for seven.  David points out SWEATER, and I thought that he would then go on to mention SWEATIER; however, he comes up with the rather more interesting eight of WISEACRE ("(ironic) someone who possesses or affects to possess great wisdom").

The other eight is WEARIEST.  The other sevens are WEARIES, STEARIC ("of or relating to suet or fat"), TWICERS (TWICER being colloquial for "a crook; double-crosser"), 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"), TIERCES (TIERCE: "Fencing the third of eight defensive positions", as well as several other definitions all relating in some way to the concept of "third"), and SERIATE ("arranged or occurring in one or more series") / AERIEST* (AERY as an adjective: "Poetic ethereal; lofty").

Anthony: WAITERS

Scores: Anthony 0 (7), Cathy 0, me 8

Round 2: T B I N O E T L U

I had BINT, TONITE (an explosive), and ELUTION (noun derived from the verb ELUTE: "in chromatography, etc., to remove by dissolving, as absorbed material from an adsorbent").  After time I remembered the more common anagram of ELUTION: OUTLINE.  I also checked up on UNTITLE and UNBOTTLE, and neither was valid.  I'm glad I only spotted UNBOTTLE after time, as I might well have chanced it.

Cathy has five this time, with BLUNT.  Anthony chances the six of UNBELT, but it is not valid (although UNBELTED is).  David has found OUTLINE for seven.

The bird BLUE TIT is listed, but only as two words.  So the only other seven here is BOTULIN.

Anthony: [invalid -- UNBELT]
Cathy: BLUNT

Scores: Anthony 0 (7), Cathy 0 (5), me 15

Round 3: Target 670 from 25 1 7 3 6 9

The target is very near 9*75, and that is where my thoughts turned.  It did not take long to find 670 = 9*3*25 - (6 - 1) from that starting idea.

Both contestants have found the same solution, as has Lily.  I'll mention one of the other solutions also: 670 = (25 + 6*7)*10.

Anthony: 670
Cathy: 670
Me: 670
Lily: 670

Scores: Anthony 10 (17), Cathy, 10 (15) me 25

First break: RICE COIL ("Despite the name, you chew it")

That would be LICORICE, alluding to the 'lick' sound at the start of the word.

David's talk is about the origins of solfège.

Round 4: D S I E P A R M I

I had SIDE, SPIED, PRAISED, and IMPAIRED.  After time I noted some of the other sevens in this mix: DESPAIR / DIAPERS, SIDEARM, and DAMPERS.  I also checked up on MISPAIRED, but (as suspected) it was not valid.  Note that choosing a final consonant instead would have brought in an F to give FIREDAMPS for nine.

Cathy has found PRAISED for seven, but Anthony has bettered that by finding IMPAIRED.  That stretches his lead out to ten points, right on the cusp of danger for Cathy.  David has likewise found IMPAIRED.

The other eight is SEMIARID.  The other sevens are IMPAIRS, DAIRIES / DIARIES / DIARISE, MISREAD / ADMIRES, ASPIRED, MIDAIRS, IMPERIA, and PERIDIA (plural of PERIDIUM: "the outer enveloping coat of the fruit body in many fungi [...]").


Scores: Anthony 18 (25), Cathy 10 (15), me 33

Round 5: F T R N O A E O Y

That final Y is part of why I really dislike people taking four vowels early -- there's a good many uncooperative consonants, and you're better off preserving the option of trying for a better one.  Particularly in this case where the first three vowels were a decent set.  Anyway, I had FRONT, ORNATE, knew from past checking that FORTEAN was not valid, and spotted FORTY-ONE but obviously could not use it.  After time I noted FOOTER as another six.

Cathy has been limited to ROOF for four, and that means she slips further behind when Anthony finds FOOTER for six.  Six was also the best that David could do, and he mentions ORNATE as another option.

The other sixes are NOTARY, ENROOT, FOETOR, ATONER, and RATOON ("a sprout or shoot from the root of a plant (especially a sugar cane) after it has been cropped").

Anthony: FOOTER
Cathy: ROOF

Scores: Anthony 24 (31), Cathy 10 (15), me 39

Round 6: Target 779 from 100 25 9 1 10 4

The standard method looks tempting, since we have the offset of 4.  I started with the reasonably straightforward 779 = (9 - 1)*100 - 25 + 4, then went a little further afield to find 779 = 10*100 - 9*25 + 4.

Both contestants have solved this again, using the first of those solutions.  It was also Lily's approach.

Anthony: 779
Cathy: 779
Me: 779
Lily: 779

Scores: Anthony 34 (41), Cathy 20 (25), me 49

Second break: CRUMP LET ("Implement for picking and strumming")

That's a straight clue for PLECTRUM.

Round 7: S K C T A E E I G

I had STACK, CASKET, CAGIEST, and flirted with the options of CAKIEST (not valid) or STICKAGE (also not valid).  I really did not like STICKAGE, so CAGIEST was where I stayed.

Anthony has found CASKET for six, but Cathy goes out on a limb by chancing CAGIEST (she was not sure about it).  David approves it, and it was the best that he could do also.  Those seven points put Cathy just barely back within striking distance, which must be a relief for her.

CAGIEST is the only seven; the other sixes are GASKET, AGEIST, and EGESTA ("matter egested from the body, as excrement").

Anthony: CASKET

Scores: Anthony 34 (41), Cathy 27 (32), me 56

Round 8: Target 494 from 50 25 2 1 5 7

I'd been doing well up until this point, but unfortunately I fixated on 7*75 as a starting point.  I flailed around for a bit with that, but could only end up one away with 493 = 7*(50 + 25 - 5) + 2 + 1.  After time I looked at using 50 as a multiplier, and found 494 = (7 + 2)*(50 + 5) - 1 and then finally saw the simple 494 = 2*5*50 - (7 - 1).  Bother -- I'd been doing well, up until this point.  I'm still guaranteed to win against the contestants, but I've lost the chance of a tie with David and Lily.

Indeed, both contestants have solved this using the last of those solutions.  Except... Cathy has made an unfortunate error when writing down her solution: She left out the brackets, instead writing 5*2*50 - 7 - 1, which is 492.  That knocks her out of contention and guarantees Anthony the victory.  A shame, as she would have still had a chance in the conundrum if not for that slip.  Lily draws attention to the importance of brackets in mathematics.  It's not stated, but it's safe to assume that Lily also found this solution.

Anthony: 494
Cathy: [invalid -- wrong answer]
Me: 493
Lily: 494

Scores: Anthony 44 (51), Cathy 27 (32), me 56


With the V present the -IVE ending was appealing, and -ATIVE / -IVATE are plausible longer endings.  Those observations led me to find the answer of NARRATIVE.

Cathy reaches for the buzzer a few times, the first at about six seconds in, but does not actually buzz in until the 21 second mark.  However, her guess of INTRAVENE is not valid, so Anthony gets the rest of the time.  He is unable to solve it, so his score remains at 51.

Anthony: [no answer]
Cathy: [invalid -- INTRAVENE (21s)]

Scores: Anthony 44 (51), Cathy 27 (32), me 66

So it ended up being a close game tonight, despite the disparity in the final scores.  Cathy was generally outplayed in the letters, but kept pace in the numbers and found the best option in the last letters round to give herself a chance.  Only that small slip in the last numbers round stopped the conundrum from being crucial.  Perhaps it is fortunate for her peace of mind that she did not manage to solve the conundrum after all.  Anthony registered his third score in the fifties.  Can he keep that average up?


Mike Backhouse said...

I can't believe this. I went on Cabbage Quiz as a kid, and I remember it well. I was competing with another kid, and you had to run down a lane to the end and pull a string above you when you knew the answer to a particular question. Unfortunately in my lane, the previous person had pulled the string and it had flicked up over the frame and couldn't be reached. The host Desmond Tester asked who played Cheyenne on TV (Clint Walker). Loving Westerns I knew immediately, and raced down but couldn't reach the string. The other kid came down after a while and Desmond Tester, seeing my predicament, called it a draw. I remember being 'cheesed' off as I would have won about 20 prizes instead of the book we each received each. I never expected to hear 'Cabbage Quiz' ever again in my lifetime but there you go. Right... back to reality...

SWEATER (grrr for missing the I)
(9+1)*(25+7*6)=670 (went over time)
10*(100-25+4-1)=780 (1 off)

Sam G said...

Sorry to hear you got robbed like that, Mike.

I'm glad you missed a straightforward number round, Geoff, that makes me feel a little better about 779, which Mike also missed.

1. RECITES. A few seconds too late with SWEATIER.
3. 670 = (25 + 6*7)*10, also contestant way.
6. one off: 780 = (100-25+4-1)*10. Very gettable.
8. 494 = 2*5*50-7+1. When first watching, I assumed that Cathy's mistake had been caught by Anthony on paper, then refilmed, but he told me that she found it herself. Very honest.
9. NARRATIVE - 3.0s

Mike Backhouse said...

Sam, I think it was one of my first lessons that life is not always fair!

And I was also peeved about not seeing the solution to 6. But that is a feeling I have quite a bit when playing this game!

Geoff Bailey said...

Wow, that is unfair, and boo for the show for allowing that to happen.

Sam: I'd feel better about it if you'd been two seconds slower to find NARRATIVE. :)