Thursday, 19 May 2016

Ep 107: Kathryn James, David Waddell (May 19, 2016; originall aired December 28, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

It's Kathryn James' third night on the show, and we find out that she likes to read.  And in particular, she recently bought a copy of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.  Remember that fad?  It will certainly provide her with a lot of suggestions for upcoming reading material, although Kathryn indicates that it will not be the entirety of her reading list.

Tonight's challenger is David Waddell, a secondary school teacher who is currently studying a masters of divinity.  In response to Richard's questioning, David explains that it is a graduate degree in theology for someone with a degree in a different discipline.  He intends to use it to go over to Africa and do some aid and development work in Malawi, Mozambique, or Tanzania.

As a minor policy change from previous writeups, I'll be referring to David Astle as DA in the rest of this writeup to avoid confusion over which David is meant.

It was a close game tonight, with some good back-and-forth from the contestants.  David took the first advantage, but Kathryn struck back in the second round to take the lead, then extended it in the numbers.  Both contestants did well in the next letters round, and David managed to close the gap to just one point in the following one.  A couple of matched efforts followed, then Kathryn extended her lead on the last numbers round, putting her eight points ahead going into the conundrum.  It was a good position to be in, but not quite good enough: David solved the conundrum first, sneaking home for victory, 38 to 36.

I dropped a few maxima tonight, but it was the numbers ones that made me unhappy.  They were findable, and I solved both of them shortly after time.  I just need to be a bit faster!  If I had found the solutions I would have outpointed DA and Lily -- a very rare occurrence!

Round 1: T B I A A G R D O

I had BAIT, TAIGA, ADROIT, ADAGIO, and considered the BIRD option.  There's a lot of <other animal> bird names, such as catbird, but GOATBIRD did seem too implausible.  After time I noted GORDITA, a Mexican food that I know from past checking is not listed, and looked up AIRBOAT.  I was thinking of it as kind of a converse of a seaplane, and thought I was being silly, but it turns out to be an actual thing.  Oh, well.

Kathryn starts out with BRAID for five, but David takes the point with ABROAD for six.  DA has accurately found AIRBOAT for seven.

TAGBOARD is not in the Macquarie, so seven is the best to be done.  More to my surprise, DIRTBAG is not listed either.  There is one other seven, though: BIODATA.  The other sixes are ABOARD, AIRBAG, RATBAG, TABARD, and ABATOR (a legal term).

Kathryn: BRAID

Scores: Kathryn 0, David 6, me 6

Round 2: T I O C N I D O A

David goes vowel hunting, presumably in search of an E.  It proves elusive, however, making this mix a little tricky.  I had OTIC, INDICT, and DICTION.

David has six again with ACTION, but Kathryn has found DICTION to take the points.  It was also the best that DA could do.

There are eights in this mix: ACTINOID ("ray-like; radiate") / DIATONIC ("involving only the tones, intervals, or harmonies of a major or minor scale without chromatic alteration") and IODATION.  The other sevens are CONIDIA (plural of CONIDIUM) and COITION (another term for coitus).  For good measure, the other sixes are CATION / ATONIC, ANODIC, DACOIT ("Indian English one of a band of armed thieves; bandit"), and CONOID ("a geometrical solid formed by the revolution of a conic section about one of its axes").

Kathryn: DICTION

Scores: Kathryn 7, David 6, me 13

Round 3: Target 605 from 75 25 100 7 9 3

Kathryn chooses her favourite balanced mix, and gets a challenging offset.  Putting aside 9, 100, and 25 to make the 5 left it infeasible to get to 600 with the rest.  I ended up having to stay with the one-off 606 = 7*100 - 75 - 25 + 9 - 3.  But a little after time I finally considered the option of working down from 675, and saw that the offset of 70 was actually manageable: 605 = 9*(75 - 7) - 3 - 100/25.

David is two away from the target with 607, while Kathryn has managed to get one closer with 604 = 100*(9 - 3) + 7 - 75/25.  David's answer was presumably the same, but without the final subtraction of 75/25.  Lily has not been able to solve this within time, and says that she will think about it over the break.

After the break, Lily comes back with a solution: 605 = (100 - 75)*25 - (9*3 - 7).  I completely overlooked that way of making 20 from those three small numbers -- well done!  There is essentially only one other solution: 605 = (75 + 9 + 3)*7 - 100/25.

Kathryn: 604
David: 607
Me: 606

Scores: Kathryn 14, David 6, me 20

First break: BURY DUNG ("Colourful beef")

That is referring to the BURGUNDY of beef burgundy.

David's talk is about some words of Gaelic origin: gob, gab, bog, kerfuffle, and galore.

Round 4: G E T A E N L U N

I had GATE, NEGATE, ELEGANT, and UNGENTLE.  TUNNELAGE was, of course a step too far.

Both contestants have done very well to find eights, although they rather strangely think that they are risky; Kathryn has found UNTANGLE while David has gone for ENTANGLE.  DA points out ELEGANT as a possible seven here, but presumably also found the eights.

That's all the eights listed.  The other sevens are UNEATEN, TUNNAGE (variant spelling of TONNAGE), ANNULET ("a little ring"), LANGUET ("any part or projection shaped like a tongue"), and EUGLENA.


Scores: Kathryn 22, David 14, me 28

Round 5: R R A O F P E S P

I had ROAR, wondered about ROPER (not valid), OPERA, OPERAS, PROSPER, and FRAPPÉS.

Kathryn has been limited to the five of PROSE, but David has found RAPPERS to close the gap to a single point.  David has found PROSPER and FRAPPÉS for seven.

The other sevens are PROPERS (PROPER as a noun: "Ecclesiastical a special office or special parts of an office appointed for a particular day or time") and PARORES (PARORE being another name for luderick, a type of fish).

Kathryn: PROSE

Scores: Kathryn 22, David 21, me 35

Round 6: Target 534 from 4 6 8 6 4 10

David shakes things up by taking six small numbers.  All of them were even, which is not good, but fortunately the target is also even.  But I got a bit lost while in the process of solving this and only got to two away with 536 = (6*8 + 6)*10 - 4.  I was in the process of working out a proper solution when time ran out; after time I got it down: 534 = 6*10*(8 + 4/4) - 6.  A bit later I noted a variation on that idea: 534 = ((4 + 8)*4 + 6)*10 - 6.

The six-small option has proved difficult for both contestants; Kathryn got nowhere with this, while David is unsure about his target of 528.  His answer turns out to be 528 = 6*4*4*6 - 6*8, which uses the 6 too many times, as he points out.  If he'd just tweaked he would have had a valid answer, and then adding the 10 would have got him into the seven point range.  A shame.

Lily has done well to find a solution: 534 = (8 + 10 + 4)*6*4 + 6.

Kathryn: [no answer]
David: [invalid]
Me: 536
Lily: 534

Scores: Kathryn 22, David 21, me 42

Second break: GIRTH SAT ("A good poker hand")

Easy enough to get STRAIGHT from that clue.

Round 7: D M O U S H E C L

I had MODS, HOUSED, wanted MUDHOLES but past experience has taught me that it is not in the Macquarie, and MUSCLED.  Just after time I noticed SLOUCHED for eight, and then DOUCHES as another seven.

Both contestants have also found MUSCLED, keeping the game nice and close.  DA has found SLOUCHED for eight.

The other eight is SMOUCHED (SMOUCH being a variant spelling of SMOOCH).  The other sevens are MULCHES, MULCHED, MODULES, HOCUSED, and MOUCHES (MOUCH being a variant spelling of MOOCH).

Kathryn: MUSCLED

Scores: Kathryn 29, David 28, me 49

Round 8: Target 623 from 8 10 5 9 7 3

David goes for six small numbers again, and gets a much nicer set of small numbers to go with it.  The target is also helpful, being near 7*9*10.  The offset of 7 means just a little tweak sorts it out: 623 = 7*(9*10 - 8/(5 + 3)).  Then I realised that this was really using the factorisation 7*89, and so found the simpler 623 = (8*10 + 9)*7.

David just scrapes into the scoring zone with 613, but Kathryn has managed to get to just one off with 622 = 9*7*10 - 8.  Lily demonstrates that it was possible to adjust that approach to a solution with a little more finesse: 623 = 9*7*10 - (5*3 - 8).

Thinking about this a bit later, the choice of six small numbers would have been a good tactical one for David: He can never be safe going into the conundrum, but he will have a chance to win by solving it as long as Kathryn does not get ten unanswered points here.  Six small is the hardest option, so the right choice for the situation.  Of course, I don't think that was his reasoning (I think he just likes the rat pack), but I found it interesting to contemplate.

Kathryn: 622
David: 613
Me: 623
Lily: 623

Scores: Kathryn 29 (36), David 28, me 59


The game has come down to the conundrum, and it proves difficult for both contestants.  I was pleased to see it reasonably early, but it took another twenty seconds for David to get there with the answer of OBEDIENCE.  A good come from behind victory for him puts an end to Kathryn's run.

Kathryn: [no answer]
David: OBEDIENCE (23s)

Scores: Kathryn 29 (36), David 28 (38), me 69

An enjoyable close game tonight; a little each way in the letters, a little each way in the numbers, and the conundrum deciding it all.


Mike Backhouse said...

Kathryn's way (1 off)
Geoff's way (2 off)
Geoff's tweak but went over

Sam G said...

Outrageous outfit from Richard in this episode, especially the shirt. DA was quite right to call him out on it.

2. IODATION. May not have risked it in a game.
3. 605 = (75-7)*9 - 3 - 100/25
6. 534 = (8*10 + 4 + 4)*6 + 6
8. 623 = (8*10+9)*7, via Geoff's detour.

Sam G said...

Actually, I think my conundrum time was more like 9s.