Monday, 30 March 2015

Ep 291: Matthew Magain, Deborah Kemper (March 30, 2015; originally aired October 10, 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.

We've got two new contestants today, since Anthony successfully retired on Friday.  First up in the champion's position is Matthew Magain, a web and phone application designer.  But in addition to that he has written and published a children's book, called Charlie Weatherburn and the Flying Machine.  Matthew says that it is based on an Australian mathematician names Charles Weatherburn, who lived in the early 1900s and was "quite a giant" in the fields of vector analysis and differential geometry; the central character in the book was inspired by him.

And in the challenger's seat we have Deborah Kemper, an accountant who plays indoor soccer.  Richard asks why indoor rather than outdoor; Deborah explains that her husband and son were playing it, and decided that it was time to get her involved with some sport.  She plays defence when she plays.

Points were shared in the first round, and then Matthew took the lead in round two.  He extended it further with an excellent find in round five, but that was the last piece of good news for him.  Deborah solved both remaining numbers rounds while he did not, and Matthew misheard a letter in the last letters round to end up with an invalid answer.  Neither contestant could solve the conundrum, but even if Matthew could have it would not have been enough.  Deborah became the new champion with a scoreline of 43 to 32.

As usual, details after the break.

Round 1: E F S A I U G L T

I had SAFE, FILES, AGEIST, and continued to struggle before finding FATIGUES just in time.  After time I noted down FATIGUE, and a little later found the other eight of FISTULAE (one plural of FISTULA: "a narrow passage or duct formed by congenital abnormality or by disease or injury [...]") and thus FISTULA as another seven.

The contestants start off with a pair of sixes, each finding FLUTES.  David has found FATIGUES for eight.

Under my revised rules there would be another eight of FUGLIEST*.  The remaining sevens are UGLIEST / GLUIEST, SULFATE, SULFITE / FLUIEST*, LIGATES (LIGATE: "to bind, as with a ligature; tie up, as a bleeding artery") / AIGLETS (AIGLET being a variant spelling of AGLET: "a metal tag at the end of a lace"), AUGITES (AUGITE being a mineral), SITULAE (plural of SITULA: "an ancient bucket-shaped vessel"), and GLUTAEI* (GLUTAEUS being listed as a variant spelling of GLUTEUS -- "any of the large muscles of the buttocks, especially the gluteus maximus" -- which has the plural form GLUTEI).

Matthew: FLUTES
Deborah: FLUTES

Scores: Matthew 0 (6), Deborah 0 (6), me 8

Round 2: O U I D R B O L E

I had DOUR, DOLOUR, DOUBLE, DOUBLER / BOULDER, BROILED, and another late find of BLOODIER.  After time I noted BOUDOIR as another seven.

Deborah has DOUBLE for seven, but Matthew takes the lead by finding BROILED for seven.  Perhaps a little surprisingly, David does not point out that Deborah could have inserted an R to get DOUBLER.  He has found BOUDOIR for seven and then BLOODIER for eight.

BLOODIER is the only eight.  The other sevens are BUILDER / REBUILD and BOODLER (agent noun derived from BOODLE: "to obtain money dishonestly, as by corrupt bargains").

Matthew: BROILED
Deborah: DOUBLE

Scores: Matthew 0 (13), Deborah 0 (6), me 16

Round 3: Target 434 from 25 100 6 7 10 7

The offset of 16 could be made as 10 + 6, which is more tempting than the offset of 9.  That would require getting to 450, which is 6*75, and fortunately a tweak makes it work out: 434 = 6*(100 - 25 - 7/7) - 10.  After time I realised that the target was divisible by 7 -- it is 7*62 -- and so found another solution of 434 = (100 - 25 - 7 - 6)*7.

The contestants have each got to two off with 432, but by different means.  Matthew's method was 432 = (10 - 6)*100 + 25 + 7.  Huh, it did not occur to me to go via 400; I should have at least considered it.  Meanwhile, Deborah has opted for 432 = (10 + 7)*25 + 7.  Lily has found the same solution that I did within time.

There turn out to be quite a few solutions to this.  An alternative approach to the first solution I used is 434 = (7*7 + 5)*6 - 10, but the shortest solution is a variation of the second, changing 7*62 into 14*31 to get 434 = (25 + 6)*(7 + 7).

Matthew: 432
Deborah: 432
Me: 434
Lily: 434

Scores: Matthew 0 (20), Deborah 0 (13), me 26

First break: LOGO THEY ("To divine knowledge")

A neat pun on the meaning of 'divine', with the answer being THEOLOGY.

David's talk is about the German word 'sitz', and various German words derived from it.

Round 4: H D I O N T E ER

I had HIND, HOIDEN (variant spelling of HOYDEN), THEREIN / NEITHER, and HEROINE.  After time I noted another seven of THEREON, but could not find longer.

Deborah has EDITOR for six, but Matthew has found DETHRONE for eight.  Oh, well done!  No word on David's find here, but presumably he saw it.  That puts Matthew 15 points ahead, and that's a worrying sign for Deborah.  On the other hand, there is a slight suggestion from round three that she could handle the numbers better, so we'll have to see how it plays out.

The other eights are HEREINTO, ORIENTED, and THRENODE (also THRENODY: "a song of lamentation, especially for the dead").  The other sevens are THORNED / THRONED, INHERED, ERODENT, and THEROID ("having animal propensities or characteristics").

But there is a nine here!  It is DINOTHERE ("any animal of the extinct genus Dinotherium [...]").

Deborah: EDITOR

Scores: Matthew 8 (28), Deborah 0 (13), me 26

Round 5: A I U O F K R C D

Yuck, what a mix -- neither vowels nor consonants go particularly well together.  CARDIO is tempting, but I know from past experience that it's not in the Macquarie.  As it was, I had FAKIR, FROCK, and then found the six of FUCOID (a type of seaweed).  After time I noted AUDIO as another five.

Both contestants have been limited to fours here, with Matthew having DUCK to Deborah's CORD.  David has managed to find ACRID for five, but that is the best he could do.  So unexpectedly I'm back in with a chance of the tie.  Although that may make me regret the previous round even more.

FUCOID is the only six.  The other fives are CROAK, FRAUD, RADIO / AROID (a type of plant such as the taro), CURIO, CURIA ("one of the political subdivisions of each of the three tribes of ancient Roman citizens") / AURIC ("of or containing gold [...]"), FIORD (variant spelling of FJORD), KAFIR (a Muslim term for an unbeliever), FARCI ("stuffed, as of poultry, etc."), DRACK ("Colloquial (usually in reference to a woman) unattractive"), CORIA (plural of CORIUM: "the sensitive vascular layer of the skin, beneath the epidermis"), DOURA (variant spelling of DURRA: "a type of grain sorghum wth slender stalks, cultivated in Asia, etc."), KOURA (a New Zealand term for a crayfish), and KAURI (a type of tree).

Matthew: DUCK
Deborah: CORD
David: ACRID

Scores: Matthew 8 (32), Deborah 0 (17), me 32

Round 6: Target 275 from 50 75 25 3 9 9

Multiples of 25 are generally much easier, of course, unless a rat pack is involved.  I opted for 275 = 9*25 + 50.

Matthew, in his words, "went down a rabbit warren and got stuck" -- he has not ended up within range.  But Deborah has solved this with 275 = (9 - 3)*6 - 25; that brings her back within striking distance.  Lily shows another option: 275 = 3*75 + 50.

Matthew: [not in range]
Deborah: 275
Me: 275
Lily: 275

Scores: Matthew 8 (32), Deborah 10 (27), me 42

Second break: TACKY ASH ("Feeds your animals and hides needles")

It is proverbially hard to find a needle in a HAYSTACK.

Round 7: E I A M S N E H C

I had MESA, NAMES, NEMESIA (a type of plant), MACHINES, and MECHANISE.  After time I noted AMNESIC as another seven.

Matthew declares a risky seven, while Deborah goes for the safe six of CHAINS.  Matthew's seven turns out to be HAMMIES, and immediately realises his mistake as he does so.  (As an aside, the Macquarie lists HAMMY in the sense he was thinking, but does not give the plural form, so it would not have been valid.)  David has found MACHINES and MECHANISE.

Those are the only eight and nine.  The rest of the sevens are MACHINE, MEANIES, MENACES, CINEMAS, CHEMISE, HAEMINS (HAEMIN: "a chloride salt of haematin [...]"), and ENOLASE ("to place (gems) in an ornamental setting") / ACHENES (ACHENE: "a small, dry, hard, one-seeded, indehiscent fruit").

Matthew's mistake has enabled Deborah to take the lead by a point, for quite the turnaround in the last two rounds.

Matthew: [invalid -- HAMMIES]
Deborah: CHAINS

Scores: Matthew 8 (32), Deborah 10 (33), me 60

Round 8: Target 317 from 25 100 50 10 7 6

The 17 is easy enough to form for once, and it was little work to find 317 = 6*50 + 10 + 7.  I played around a bit with other approaches and found an alternative of 317 = 6*(50 + 100/25) - 7.

Matthew has ended up five off with 312.  That seems a little puzzling; perhaps it was (10 - 7)*100 + 6*50/25?  If so, using 25 - 6 instead of 6*50/25 would have got him to only two off.  Anyway, Deborah has solved this, using the first of the solutions that I listed, and is now guaranteed to win.  From 15 points down to guaranteed victory, in just three rounds!  Lily has also solved it in the same way.

Matthew: 312
Deborah: 317
Me: 317
Lily: 317

Scores: Matthew 8 (32), Deborah 20 (43), me 70


So we come to the conundrum, and there's a few more vowels than I generally like.  But the ASS- fragment within there guided me quickly to the answer of ASSOCIATE.

Neither contestant is able to solve this within time, so that's where the scores remain.

Matthew: [no answer]
Deborah: [no answer]

Scores: Matthew 8 (32), Deborah 20 (43), me 80

So, the early rounds favoured Matthew -- and his find of DETHRONE was excellent -- but the numbers were his undoing.  The last two numbers rounds were relatively easy, and he just gave up too much ground on them.  That said, if he had not made that slip in round seven and found a valid seven-letter word then he would have won the game after all.  On such small differences can results rest.  Deborah handled the numbers well enough, but will need to pick up her game on the letters if she is to progress much farther.  Still, we'll see how tomorrow goes.


Justin Thai said...

I bet the producers were sweating on the round 5 results :p

317-lily's way

Mike Backhouse said...

Great game Geoff, and Justin I wish I had seen BLOODIER and MACHINES! Fantastic.

6*(100-25)-10-7=433 (1 off, enough to beat contestants but not here!)
THRONED and just after time DETHRONE
Geoff's way
6/50/25*100+10+7=317 (it didn't really need the kitchen sink but there you go...)

Emily said...

There's nothing worse than getting stuck on the wrong tack for the numbers. Especially when your opponent then presents what is quite a straightforward solution! Felt for Matthew.

And aaaargh, these two contestants loved their vowels! Drove me batty during the letters selection.

UGLIEST (I've also written FUGLIEST with an exclamation mark - definitely wouldn't have played it)
6*7*10+25-7=438 (4 off)
DITHER (DETHRONE was lovely)
MECHANISE (ummed and aahed but I'm pretty sure I'd have risked it, especially after seeing DA dive for the middle of the dictionary)

Sam G said...

3. 434 = (100-25-7/7)/6 - 10
4. HEROINE. Sensed there was more, but was too late with DETHRONE.
6. 275 = 9*25 + 50
8. 317 = 6*50 + 10 + 7
9. ASSOCIATE - 2.0s

Geoff Bailey said...

Justin: Heh. Have you seen the Countdown round where both contestants declared WANKERS?

Thanks, Mike, and good work to find DETHRONE even after time. Even after Matthew declared an eight and I paused the video again I could not find it.

Emily: I hear you about the vowels! On the other hand, given the consonants presented it's hard to argue that they were wrong to choose as they did. There were two full monties available, after all.

Emily said...

Geoff, I agree to a point, but in the first few games, they'd selected four vowels before they even had their minimum number of consonants. Annoyed me, but yes, now that I look at the games objectively, it only really limited the fourth letters game.

Geoff Bailey said...

Emily: Yes, I agree. Contestants who decide on a mix before getting the respective minimums down do annoy me. Flexibility is best!

Justin Thai said...

I've seen most the Countdown goofs on the youtube channel including that infamous wankers round and other wanker declarations (including bleeping out the great Charlie Reams). L+N wouldn't dare try anything of these antics (PENISDUMP was a hoax)