Thursday, 26 March 2015

Ep 289: Anthony Kendall, Michael Stone (March 26, 2015; originally aired October 6, 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 Anthony's fifth night, and Richard wheels out a variant of the technique question, asking why Anthony makes the choices that he does.  Anthony says that with the letters he just likes to keep the consonants and the vowels together.  As for the numbers, he goes for the classroom mix because he finds it easier to have it dictated which large number will be used.  That's a point that often eludes contestants: The easiest mix, in terms of most games being solvable, is the two-large one.  But the single large number option is only barely behind it (each mix has approximately 98% of games solvable), and can be easier to work with since there is no need to choose which large number to work with.  I'd certainly recommend it as the option for any contestants who were not too comfortable with the numbers (if the show were still going, anyway).

Tonight's challenger is Michael Stone, a software programmer.  Richard says that Michael has the "extraordinary" talent of being able to recite the decimal version of one-seventh to as many decimal places as one wishes.  I thought he was going to say "of pi", and the switch to one-seventh took me by surprise.  It's also a joke, as the decimal expansion repeats after only six digits (0.142857142857...) so there's very little memorisation required.  Well, that's a tiny bit amusing, but is that really the most interesting thing he could come up with?  A shame, if so.

Anthony got a small lead in the first round when Michael tried an invalid answer; that proved to be a costly mistake.  The next few rounds were shared, then the tables were reversed in round five as Anthony had the invalid answer; that tied up the scores.  Another shared round followed, and we went into the second break with the scores level.  Michael stumbled in the last letters round with another invalid answer, and Anthony capitalised on Michael's error by doing very well in the last numbers round to take the points and guarantee his victory.  Michael got the consolation prize of solving the conundrum, but Anthony scraped home with the win, 50 to 49.

As usual, details after the jump.

Round 1: R T C H I E A U S

I had a speculative THERIAC ("an antidote to venomous bites, etc. [...]") after the first four letters, RICH, wondered about ITCHER (not valid -- THRICE is the safe anagram), and hoped for a final S for EUCHARIST (normally capitalised, but the Macquarie allows a lower case version as a generic term for "the giving of thanks; thanksgiving").  It turned up, and all was well.  I further noted EUCHARIS (a type of plant), RACIEST, AITCHES, and HAIRCUTS within time.  After time I realised that I had omitted to write the eight of THERIACS.

Anthony has only a six here, with RICHES.  Michael has gone out on a limb with RACHETS, presumably thinking of RATCHETS.  David checks in case it is an alternative spelling, but it is not, and Michael's answer is invalid.  I'll note that RATCHES would have been valid, as I mentioned recently in episode 265 and episode 267, since RATCH is given as an alternative form of RATCHET.

Meanwhile, David has also found EUCHARIST; he admits to the advantage of having the dictionary with him, allowing him to check on its capitalisation.  He spotted that option after only eight seconds, by my reckoning.  Well done, David!  (I'll note that my speed was helped by a game in the future, where this same mix turned up.)

The other eights are CHARIEST, SURICATE (a meerkat), and THESAURI.

Anthony: RICHES
Michael: [invalid -- RACHETS]

Scores: Anthony 0 (6), Michael 0, me 18

Round 2: R N E F T I O B A

I had FERN, INTER, was uncertain about FORINT (not listed; it's a Hungarian currency, in the process of being replaced by the euro), BORNITE (a mineral), and BARITONE / OBTAINER.

The contestants have each found FAINTER for seven.  David lists some of the frequently-encounter words on the show, stating that BARITONE is one such.

The other eights are REOBTAIN and FIREBOAT.  The other sevens are BARONET / REBOANT ("resounding loudly"), BONFIRE, NIOBATE, FIBRATE ("a derivative of fibric acid, used as a medical drug to prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol and removing triglycerides"), and TABORIN (a type of small drum).

Anthony: FAINTER
Michael: FAINTER

Scores: Anthony 0 (13), Michael 0 (7), me 26

Round 3: Target 592 from 100 10 5 3 2 9

The target is 600 - 8, which is 8*74.  I almost lost the plot chasing that second option, as I'd gotten a little confused; I actually made 792 (via (5 + 3)*100 - (10 - 2)) and had it written down before I realised that I'd mixed up 100 with 75.  Fortunately I was able to adjust, getting 592 = (9 - 3)*100 - (10 - 2).  And I still had enough time to find a tweak: 592 = 2*(3*100 - (9 - 5)).  Somewhat after time I realised that this could have been a simple exercise in understanding decimal numbers, as 592 = 5*100 + 9*10 + 2.

The contestants have each solved this, using the first of the solutions that I found.  It was also Lily's approach

Anthony: 592
Michael: 592
Me: 592
Lily: 592

Scores: Anthony 10 (23), Michael 10 (17), me 36

First break: MIND LOAN ("A masculine stringed instrument")

It was not too hard to extend MAN to MANDOLIN.

David's talk is about the word 'passion'.

Round 4: D E H U S E L O J

That J was not particularly nice, but it's not a great mix in any case.  I had an uncertain HUED (valid), USED, HOUSED, and DELOUSE.

It's six from each contestant again, with Anthony choosing HOUSED while Michael has managed to use the J with his find of JOULES.  David has found DELOUSE for seven.

DELOUSE is the only seven.  The other sixes are ELUDES, SHOULD, JOSHED, LOUSED (LOUSE as a verb: "Goldmining to pick through (waste matter, as a dump of mining rubble) in search of something of value"), LUSHED (LUSH as a verb: "to drink liquor"), HOUSEL (interestingly enough, this ties back to round one, as HOUSEL is an archaic term for the Eucharist), and DHOLES (DHOLE being a type of wild dog).

Anthony: HOUSED
Michael: JOULES

Scores: Anthony 10 (29), Michael 10 (23), me 43

Round 5: N D C G I A E O M

I had DING, ACING, CANOED, tried unsuccessfully to make something of the -ING, and then was relieved to find COMEDIAN for eight.  After time I noted the sevens of CONGAED / DECAGON.

Anthony has an "iffy" six of MODING, but that is not valid.  Michael has a rather less iffy six of MINCED, and that ties the scores up.  David has found COMEDIAN here.

CAMEO is not listed as a verb, so CAMEOING is not valid.  The other eights are DEMONIAC / DAEMONIC.  The other sevens are DEMONIC, COINAGE, DEMOING, NOMADIC / MONADIC (adjective derived from MONAD: "a single unit or entity"), COAMING ("a raised border round an opening in a deck, roof, or floor designed to prevent water from running below"), GENOMIC, GONADIC, ENCOMIA (plural of ENCOMIUM "a formal expression of praise; a eulogy"), and OCEANID ("an ocean nymph").

But there is a nine here!  It is ENDOGAMIC, an anthropological term: "marrying customarily within the tribe or other social unit".

Anthony: [invalid -- MODING]
Michael: MINCED

Scores: Anthony 10 (29), Michael 10 (29), me 51

Round 6: Target 570 from 7 2 10 8 4 9

Michael brings joy to my heart by choosing six small, and gets a decent spread.  As the numbers had gone up I saw the option for 7*8*9 = 504 as one of my pet preferences, and hoped that the target would be near that.  It turned out to be near enough that a tweak more or less finished the job: 570 = (8*9 + 10)*7 - 4.  Then I considered the factorisation 10*57 to find 570 = (9*7 - 4 - 2)*10, and finally 19*30 to get 570 = (10 + 9)*(4*8 - 2).

Both contestants have solved this.  Michael has found 570 = (7*8 + 9 - 2*4)*10, and it turns out that Anthony has taken the same approach.  I completely missed that 7*8*10 was close -- careless of me.  Lily has found a variant of my second solution: 570 = (9*7 - 8 + 2)*10.

Anthony: 570
Michael: 570
Me: 570
Lily: 570

Scores: Anthony 20 (39), Michael 20 (39), me 61

Second break: OPAL JEAN ("A hot Mexican")

From the clue it was not hard to find the answer of JALAPEƑO.

Round 7: N R L N O E A I K

I had LORN, ENROL, AILERON, and LANKIER.  That gave me a flashback (or flash forward, perhaps) to one of Sam's first games (episode 345).  After time I checked that there was no such thing as an ANKLEIRON (which I would expect to be two words even if it were listed).

Anthony has gone for LOANER for six, but Michael's guess of RELINK is not valid.  He wasn't sure about it, but presumably felt forced into it by Anthony declaring six also.  David has found LANKIER for seven.

The other sevens are ALIENOR (a legal term: "someone who transfers property"), OARLIKE, and EINKORN. (a type of wheat).

Anthony: LOANER
Michael: [invalid -- RELINK]

Scores: Anthony 20 (45), Michael 20 (39), me 68

Round 8: Target 941 from 10 1 4 3 9 1

Michael goes for the ratpack again, which is certainly bold.  The pair of ones means this is always going to be difficult, and a high target made it very challenging indeed.  I struggled to make anything of this, so applied the technique of dividing by the largest small number.  That gave 94 as a subtarget, and that is near 96 which has useful small factors.  Working on that enabled me to just barely get within scoring range with 950 = (4*3*(9 - 1) - 1)*10.

After time I was able to consider the option of dividing by 9 instead -- the useful subtargets are 104 or 105.  The former is divisible by 4 also, with cofactor 26, and got me to 5 off with 936 = ((10 - 1)*3 - 1)*4*9.  Of course, the (10 - 1) and 9 could be swapped there.  Then I thought again about my first answer -- it is effectively a tweak down from 3*4*(9 - 1)*10 = 960 using the remaining 1.  I had used it to multiply by 10, but the target was actually 19 away and 24 is a better tweak.  That got me to 936 again with 936 = 3*(9 - 1)*(4*10 - 1).

The other subtarget was 105, which is 7*15.  It took me a while of playing around before I hit upon the idea of splitting it up instead as 3*35, and so found my way to four away with 945 = (4*9 - 1)*3*(10 - 1).

Michael has not been able to get within scoring range, and that isn't a good sign.  I was just thinking "well, it's not a terrible mix to do that on -- Anthony will probably be in the same boat" and then Anthony declared that he had reached 950.  Indeed he has found the same answer that I did (albeit multiplied in a different order).  That's very well done indeed, and guarantees him the victory.  Well done, Anthony!

Lily does not give any indication of whether she even managed to get within scoring range.  My policy for private scoring purposes is to assign her the best result, which sinks my chance of the tie.  But I'll pretend that Lily did not do better than Anthony here, so I have a moral tie. *chuckles*

The best that can be done is four away with 945, and the above is the only way (with the trivial alternative from swapping 9 and (10 - 1), that is).

Anthony: 950
Michael: [no answer]
Me: 950

Scores: Anthony 25 (50), Michael 20 (39), me 73


I started with OVER-, and looking at the remaining letters got me to HERBIVORE surprisingly quickly.  Michael found it just a few seconds later, for the consolation prize of solving the conundrum.

Anthony: [no answer]
Michael: HERBIVORE (5s)

Scores: Anthony 25 (50), Michael 20 (49), me 83

Well, a one-point game in the end.  They were pretty evenly matched, with the only differences in the first seven rounds coming from invalid answers.  Michael gambled on the rat pack in round 8, and Anthony did very well to make Michael regret that.  If Michael had only settled for a six-letter word in the first round then he would have won this game.  Anthony surely must count himself lucky to survive it, and move on to his sixth game with a chance at becoming a retiring champion.  Bad luck to Michael, who could well have gone further with just a tiny bit of luck.

Anthony has manged to reach 50 points in every game so far, which is very impressive.  Can he keep it up tomorrow, and retire successfully?


Mike Backhouse said...

3*2*100-9=591 (1 off, saw solution after time)
contestants' way

Emily said...

same as everyone
DELOUSE (got hung up on not being able to play DELOUSED for a while before realising I could just lose the final D!)
Lily's way
I got to 950 (9 off) the same way as Anthony (although my page looks VERY messy, I don't seem to have missed any of the required brackets)

I think Michael would have been kicking himself over that final rat pack selection! But hey, he had to try something, and good on them both. Very tight game, and very fun to watch.

Geoff Bailey said...

Some nice results from both of you. I agree that Michael was probably regretting that rat pack, but I think the real regret for him should have been RACHETS in round one. Any six would have given him the eventual win.

Sam G said...

1. EUCHARIST. Probably wouldn't have solved it if it hadn't been on the show and its FB page before.
3. 592 = (100*3-9+5)*2
4. SHOULD. As in, I should not have wussed out of DELOUSE. But I remembered the DEBONE incident.
5. ENDOGAMIC. I remembered that I had a mnemonic for COMEDIAN+G.
6. 570 = (7*8 + 9 - 2*4)*10
8. Nothing. Later: 936 = 9*4*(10+3)*(1+1). Great work from Anthony here, under pressure.
9. HERBIVORE - 1.2s

Geoff Bailey said...

Gah, you found ENDOGAMIC? Very well done!

Sam G said...

I should add that I couldn't remember what the mnemonic was, just that there was definitely a nine there. Another high-probability obscure word I learnt when the possibility of a thirteenth appearance seemed more likely. I guess it's a tiny bit more plausible now that the reruns are being screened.