Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Ep 105: Luke Brattoni, Kathryn James (May 17, 2016; originally aired December 24, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

It's the third night for Luke Brattoni, and Richard lets us know that Luke is a keen cartoonist.  That ties in with yesterday's story about him drawing cartoon licenses for kids.  Luke says that this goes back to primary school -- when he first got a computer he started doodling in the paint program.  He adds that he is OK at ink drawing, but the ability to adjust digital images is something that he finds really appealing.

Challenging Luke tonight is Kathryn James, a project officer in the international development sector.  Richard asks what it is that Kathryn does within that sector; she responds first by explaining that international development includes both emergency relief and long term projects.  At the moment, Kathryn is working on integrating disability into that, both in making people more aware of it and in making projects more accessible to disabilities.

(On first viewing, I don't think that I was left any the wiser as to what "international development" meant -- development spanning nations?  I think that Kathryn could have explained that better, but it might be one of those situations where you're so immersed in the subject that you just assume everyone else knows what you mean.  (Or maybe I am just less well-informed than I should be.)  Anyway, at the time of filming, Kathryn had recently started working for CBM Australia, which aims to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world.  So in this case, "international development" appears to mean the ongoing development of poorer countries by more affluent countries; similar to disaster relief, but taking a longer-term view.)

It was a very close game tonight -- definitely the closest of the series so far.  Kathryn took the lead early with a good word in round one, but Luke rebounded in the next round to close the gap to a single point.  An invalid word from Kathryn in round four saw Luke extend his lead, and the next few rounds were shared.  In the last third of the game, Kathryn retook the lead in the letters only for Luke to take it back again in the numbers.  It was anyone's game in the conundrum, and both contestants spotted the answer quickly and pressed the buzzers nearly simultaneously.  But Kathryn was just that little bit quicker, coming from behind to win 46 to 44.

I had a good game, dropping two maxima but one of those I would not have chanced even if I had seen it.  I did get beaten to the conundrum by both contestants, however, so there was room for improvement on that front.

Round 1: S B E U M T L O F

I might have asked for a final vowel with the hope of an I for BOTULISM, but I have no quarrel with the consonant.  I had MUSE, TUBES, SUBTLE, TUMBLES, FUMBLES, and FULSOME.

Luke starts off with FLUTES for six, but Kathryn has STUMBLE for seven to take the early lead.  David notes FUMBLES as another seven here.

Seven is the best to be done; the others are FOULEST, BEFOULS, BOLETUS (any mushroom of a certain species), and EMBOLUS ("undissolved material carried by the blood current and impacted in some part of the vascular system [...]").

Kathryn: STUMBLE

Scores: Luke 0, Kathryn 7, me 7

Round 2: H F O A R N A E L

Oh, I struggled with this mix.  I had FARO, HERON, HALON, and just could not find longer.  I felt sure there was at least a six, but it was elusive.  I wrote down FERNAL (not valid) in desperation, but could not convince myself that it was at all plausible.  After time I considered HALFER (also not valid), and then finally saw LOANER for six.  A bad miss.

Kathryn has likewise been limited to five with HALER, but Luke has found LOAFER for six to close the gap to a single point.  David did not add anything.

The other sixes here are AREOLA ("a small ring of colour, as around a pustule or the human nipple"), FLORAE (one plural form of FLORA), and FRAENA (plural of FRAENUM: "a small fold of membrane which checks or restrains the motion of a part, as the one which binds down the underside of the tongue").

Kathryn: HALER

Scores: Luke 6, Kathryn 7, me 7

Round 3: Target 111 from 75 25 100 50 4 10

Luke sticks with the heavyweight mix that he has chosen each time, and gets a low target.  Getting to one away is easy, and I adjusted to a solution with 111 = 100 + 10 + (75 - 50) / 25.  After time I noted an alternative solution of 111 = 100 + 10 + 4 - 75/25.

Both contestants are one off, and with slightly scenic routes.  Luke has gone for 110 = 4*25 + 10, while Kathryn has 112 = 100 + 10 + 50 / 25.  Lily has solved this using the second of the solutions that I listed.

Luke: 110
Kathryn: 112
Me: 111
Lily: 111

Scores: Luke 6 (13), Kathryn 7 (14), me 17

First break: NEE DRIER ("Santa's engine")

That would be his REINDEER, of course -- a nod to this episode airing on Christmas eve.

David's talk is about the word gift, continuing the Christmas theme.

Round 4: C R E I W O S R S

I had RICE, CREW, COWER, COWERS, CROSIER (alternate spelling of CROZIER, the hooked staff of a bishop), CROSIERS, CORRIES (CORRIE: "a circular hole in the side of a hill or mountain [...] formed by glacial action"), and COWRIES.  After time I noted CROSSER as another seven.

Both contestants declare seven-letter words; Luke has WORRIES while Kathryn takes a punt on CROWERS.  Unfortunately for her, that is invalid and so Luke takes the lead.  Meanwhile, David has found a full monty here!  I paused at that point to look for it, and found his answer reasonably quickly: CROSSWIRE, an alternative name for the crosshair in the sights of a rifle.  I don't think I'd have chanced that even if I saw it.  Well done to David, and that puts paid to any hopes of catching up with him and Lily tonight.

Aside from the above, seven is the best to be done.  (Sherlock Holmes aficionados may note SCOWRERS, and that even shows up in the Scrabble list for some reason, but it is not in the Macquarie.)  The other sevens are SCORERS / RECROSS, ORRISES (ORRIS being one species of iris, the plant), ORRICES (ORRICE being a variant spelling of ORRIS) / CIRROSE ("of the nature of cirrus clouds"), and ESCROWS.

Kathryn: [invalid -- CROWERS]

Scores: Luke 6 (20), Kathryn 7 (14), me 25

Round 5: T N O E D B D I S

I had NOTE, TONED, BIDDEN, DEBITS, TODDIES, and NODDIES (NODDY can be a type of mushroom, or a TV show segment where a presenter nods a lot).

Luke is tentative about his choice of INDEBTS, which is perfectly fine, as is Kathryn's more confident BONIEST.  David has gone with NODDIES for his seven.

The remaining sevens are DISTEND, EBONIST ("a worker in ebony"), and DENTOID ("shaped like a tooth").

Kathryn: BONIEST

Scores: Luke 13 (27), Kathryn 14 (21), me 32

Round 6: Target 826 from 75 25 50 1 5 2

The target is right near 11*75, so I started with the one-away 825 = (2*5 + 1)*75.  Then I put the 1 aside for the final offset and looked at getting to 825 with the rest; that turned out to be possible, giving me 826 = 2*5*75 + 50 + 25 + 1.

Both contestants are one away, using the 825 approach that I noted above.  Lily has found the solution that I did.

Luke: 825
Kathryn: 825
Me: 826
Lily: 826

Scores: Luke 13 (34), Kathryn 14 (28), me 42

Second break: NICK TOGS ("Where you'll find the good stuff")

The Christmas theme continues, with the answer being STOCKING.

Round 7: C E I E P G N C H

It's not a very cooperative set of letters, even with the -ING.  I had PIECE and was struggling until the final H allowed CHEEPING for eight.  After time I noted PINCH as another five and PEEING as a six -- I should not have overlooked that earlier.

Luke has found HINGE for five, but Kathryn has found CHEEPING for eight.  That puts her back in the lead by a slender two points.  David has nothing to add, and aside from the words listed already the best that can be done is five.


Scores: Luke 13 (34), Kathryn 22 (36), me 50

Round 8: Target 967 from 75 50 25 7 6 6

It's the balanced mix again from Kathryn, and a large target.  If you know your 75-times tables then it is kind of hard not to solve this -- the target is very near 13*75 and the offset of 8 falls out pretty easily from the remaining numbers: 967 = (7 + 6)*75 - 6 - 50 / 25.

Kathryn is one off with 968; that must have been 975 - 7 in some form, perhaps (6 + 6)*75 + 50 + 25 - 7, although 6*6*25 + 75 - 7.  It it possible that she saw (7 + 6)*75 - 6 but missed the ability to make the 2 with the rest, then found that she could get one closer by getting to 975 differently.  In any case, Luke has found the solution above to retake the lead going into the conundrum.  No word on Lily's approach; she seemed to not be anticipating Luke's answer, so maybe she did not see it, unlikely though that is.

Luke: 967
Kathryn: 968
Me: 967

Scores: Luke 23 (44), Kathryn 22 (36), me 60


It all comes down to the conundrum, with Luke ahead but not safe.  I did not see anything particularly provocative about the mix, and then both contestants surprised me by buzzing in at the three second mark.  I had to flail a bit to pause the video and start my backup clock; it took me a couple of seconds more to see that the Christmas theme continued with the answer of MISTLETOE.

Luke: [no answer]
Kathryn: MISTLETOE (3s)

Scores: Luke 23 (44), Kathryn 32 (46), me 60

That was a nice close game, with the contestants never being very far from each other.  I have sympathies toward Luke for that loss on the buzzer, but in such a close game it is hard to argue that either particularly deserved the win more.  A good game from both, but it is Kathryn who just gets home.


Mike Backhouse said...

Other than the conundrum, I did better than I usually do.

100+25-4-10=111 (a different way)
Geoff's way
x jumped in with wrong word, but don't think I would have got this with more time

Sam G said...

Geoff, there is a typo of Kathrym in your heading.

Wondered whether CROSSWIRE or WIRECROSS might be valid.

Narrow miss from Luke, sub-optimal buzzer technique. Kathryn had the left-handed pen-holding advantage that Geoff has mentioned before.

3. 111 = 100 + 25 - 10 - 4. Big miss from a player selecting four large.
6. 826 = 2*5*75 + 50 + 25 + 1
8. 967 = (6*25 + 7)*6 + 75 - 50. Didn't notice the easier way until Luke started explaining his answer.
9. MISTLETOE - 2.6s

Geoff Bailey said...

Eep, so there was. Thanks for catching that, Sam!