Saturday, 21 May 2016

Ep 108: David Waddell, Jodi Knight (May 20, 2016; originally aired December 29, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

David Waddell gets his turn in the champion's seat tonight, and Richard reveals that it is David's wedding anniversary tonight.  (I'm guessing that was the airdate rather than the date of filming, although they would have been fairly close at that point -- the show's organisers only found out quite late that they were being renewed after the end of the first series.)  Four years ago he married "[his] lovely wife Jen".  He proposed to her during a climb of the Sydney harbour bridge, right at the top of it.

Tonight's challenger is Jodi Knight, a radiography student and education worker who describes herself as "sports crazed".  Jodi plays basketball and tennis, and coaches cricket.  That's all we find out -- it was a strangely short introduction.

To avoid confusion between the Davids, I will be referring to David Astle as DA for the rest of this writeup.

Jodi took a small risk in the first round that paid off, and then the next round was split.  Both contestants rather strangely ended up with invalid answers to the first numbers round, but then Jodi stretched her lead with an excellent find in round 4.  Shared rounds followed -- the remaining numbers rounds were too easy to be useful -- and again both contestants had invalid answers in round 7.  Jodi was safe going into the conundrum, and with neither solving it the scoreline remained at 48 to 33 in her favour.

I was not able to find my best options that well, and only those invalid answers from Jodi kept me close.  Thanks to those I was just a point behind going into the conundrum, and fortunately managed to solve it to scramble home to the win.  Phew!

Round 1: S E E K T O A Y R

I had SEEK, TOKES, KETOSE ("any of the sugars which have a ketone group or its equivalent"), YEAST, TEASER, and OYSTER.  After time I noted ORATES as another six, then a little later saw ROSEATE for seven.

David has opted for the "safe five" of ROAST, while Jodi risks RETAKES for seven.  She is rewarded for that and gets a good early lead.  DA has chosen STREAKY as his seven.

The remaining seven here is KOTARES (KOTARE being the New Zealand variety of the sacred kingfisher).

David: ROAST

Scores: David 0, Jodi 7, me 0

Round 2: T E O P I F S E R

I had POET, POETS, POETISE, rightly rejected FIREPOTS, PROFITS, and RESPITE.  After time I noted REPOSIT as another seven.

Both contestants have found PROFITS for seven.  DA has dug a little deeper after considering FIREPOTS and found SPOTFIRE for eight.  I'd seen the potential, but assumed it would be two words.  DA points out that he had the luxury of the dictionary to check it.

It's not in the Macquarie, but some other sources would allow the nine of TORPEFIES.  The other potential eight here is POETRIES* (POETRY has a few pluralisable meanings, such as "something suggestive of or likened to poetry").  I really should have seen that!  However, it is just as well that I did not, as the Macquarie fails to list the plural form (a common failing with it and nouns ending in Y).

So that leaves SPOTFIRE as the only eight, with the other sevens being FORTIES, RIPOSTE / ROPIEST, and EROTISE ("to translate (emotion, etc.) into sexual feeling").  FESTIER* would slide in under my preferred revised rules, but is not legal for the show.


Scores: David 7, Jodi 14, me 7

Round 3: Target 661 from 50 5 4 1 4 9

David changes things up after his last game, adding in a large number to his usual mix.  It's easy to get one away, but rather harder to solve this.  I had to settle for 660 = (9 + 4)*50 + 5 + 4 + 1.

David is one off also with 660, while Jodi is a point further away with 659.  But things unravel quickly in this round: David realises that he has used the 9 twice, while Jodi has actually found the 660 that I listed.  That fails to match her declaration, so she does not get any points either.

Lily was not able to better 660, and that's not too surprising -- a very difficult target.  Once I'd confirmed that it was solvable, it still took me quite a while to find my way to a solution.  Success came from considering how close I could get from multiplying the small numbers: We have 4*5*4*9 = 720, whch is only 59 away.  And 59 is, of course, 50 + 9, which means that a quick tweak finishes it off: 661 = 9*(4*4*5 - 1) - 50.

The only other solution is 661 = (50 - 9)*4*4 + 5.

David: [invalid]
Jodi: [invalid]
Me: 660
Lily: 660

Scores: David 7, Jodi 14, me 14

First break: NIL TRACE ("A musical wind in the woods")

The clue refers to the CLARINET being a woodwind instrument.

DA's talk is about three words whose origins arise from body parts of animals: dandelion, chatoyant, and cynosure.

Round 4: A M S I G I E N P

The -ING makes a welcome appearance, although not quite as well as I would like.  I had MAGI, IMAGES, and SEAMING.  As soon as time ran out I looked back at the mix without the -ING focus and immediately saw IMAGINES for eight (as I've mentioned before, this is also the plural form of IMAGO).  Ooh, that was a bad miss.

Jodi declares an eight, prompting David to go with his "risky seven at the best".  That's actually a poor decision, I think -- better to take a safe word since he can only get points if Jodi is somehow wrong.  His option of PENMANS is doubly wrong (there is only one N available, and the plural form of PENMAN is PENMEN, but not trebly so -- PENMAN is listed), but he doesn't have to feel regret since Jodi's find of IMAGINES is correct.  DA notes IMPINGES as another eight.

The other sevens here are IMAGINE, IMPINGE, ENIGMAS / GAMINES (GAMINE: "a female street urchin"), MAGPIES, PIGMIES (PIGMY being a variant spelling of PYGMY), and PIANISM ("the set of skills and qualities of mind involved in performance on the piano, especially in advanced players").

David is now a dangerous fifteen points adrift, thanks to some good word finds from Jodi.  I'm also behind, and at this stage it seems pretty unlikely that I can be safe going into the conundrum.  In fact, I'll be glad if I'm still in contention at that stage, given how this game has gone so far.

David: [invalid -- PENMANS]

Scores: David 7, Jodi 22, me 14

Round 5: C O A M C I S F E

Not an entirely promising mix; I had COMA, COMIC, COSMIC, FIASCO, and MOSAIC.  After time I noted CAMEOS as another six.

It's sixes from the contestants, with Jodi having COMICS and David opting for COSMIC.  DA has gone with FIASCO for his six.

The other sixes are MECCAS, FICOES (plural of FICO: "the merest trifle"), AMICES (AMICE: "a furred hood or hooded cape with long ends hanging down in front, formerly worn by the clergy"), and FACIES ("a general appearance of something naturally occurring, as a particular flora, fauna, or ecological community").


Scores: David 13, Jodi 28, me 20

Round 6: Target 139 from 25 75 100 6 8 9

Jodi goes for the balanced mix, but it proves unchallenging -- bad news for David and myself.  Everyone goes with 139 = 100 + 25 + 6 + 8.

David: 139
Jodi: 139
Me: 139
Lily: 139

Scores: David 23, Jodi 38, me 30

Second break: LEAVE DIM ("An old evil")

That would be MEDIEVAL.

Round 7: N O U A T D N R E


David puts on the air of someone taking a gamble as he says that he will "go an eight".  Jodi has "only a seven" in response, but her option of DONATER is not valid -- the correct spelling is DONATOR.  It's a similar situation to round 4 -- surely she was a little dubious about DONATER, so should have taken the safe six of DONATE (assuming it was written down) instead.  Especially since David's option of ENDURANT is not valid, so she cost herself six points in pursuit of a seventh.

DA says that he was considering UNATONED, but wasn't confident about it within time and so settled for ROTUNDA for seven.  It seems like he did not have enough time to check up on UNATONED, which turns out to be valid, and the best to be done.

The other sevens are UNRATED, READOUT / OUTDARE, NEUTRON, UNNOTED, TONNEAU ("a rare body or compartment of a motor car with seats for passengers"), RONDEAU (a type of poem), and DUNNART.

David: [invalid -- ENDURANT]
Jodi: [invalid -- DONATER]

Scores: David 23, Jodi 38, me 37

Round 8: Target 194 from 25 8 5 1 9 6

Jodi switches to a single large number, but gets another easy target.  Once again everyone has the same answer: 194 = 8*25 - 6.  That's good news for her (and bad news for David), since it guarantees her the win.

David: 194
Jodi: 194
Me: 194
Lily: 194

Scores: David 33, Jodi 48, me 47


Somehow, I'm still in contention, but I have to solve the conundrum first.  For a moment I thought the answer was DIVERSITY, but then I realised the appropriate correction and found ADVERSITY.  I'm greatly relieved to have got there first!

Neither contestant was able to solve this, so the scores remain unchanged.

David: [no answer]
Jodi: [no answer]

Scores: David 33, Jodi 48, me 57

Jodi found some good words tonight, and is the deserved winner.  But she did have a couple of invalid answers (the first numbers round one was particularly unfortunate); let's hope that was just first-game nerves and she settles in.  David matched Jodi in all but two rounds, but was just not able to outdo her in any round, and that was the difference.

I missed a few best options that I should have seen sooner, and count myself lucky to escape with the win.  Full credit to Jodi, though, for some excellent words.  Note that if she had avoided her two invalid options (instead correctly declaring 660 in round 3 and staying with DONATE in round 7) then I would have lost to her.


John Diakovsky said...

Great memories David I'm playing along still. New person here. Been trying to find later episodes ie 250 and later but finding this hard...John D

John Diakovsky said...

Ignore my first post I can see now the tags so can find later series.

No trouble with the last two numbers rounds - too easy. I do find it harder with the letters.

Mike Backhouse said...

Hi John. Hope to see you play here sometime.

POSTER then FOISTER just after
(9+4)*(50+1)-5+4=662 (1 off)
everyone's way
everyone's way

Geoff Bailey said...

G'day, John, and like Mike I hope you'll join in. Also, apologies for the difficulties finding later episodes -- I really should put up some kind of table of links at some point, but have kept putting that off. If you have a specific episode number in mind, the simplest method is probably to let Google do the work: Search for, say, "playinglettersandnumbers ep 251".

This blog currently has posts for episodes 1 to 108, 194 to 200, and 251 to 450. If the re-runs keep going I will be able to fill in the gaps.

Sam G said...

Welcome aboard, John.

Good to see DA referencing Richard's sartorial nightmare in the previous episode.

2. x POETRIES. Seemed unlikely, but I hadn't found a seven.
3. 660 = (9 + 4)*50 + 5 + 4 + 1
6. 139 = 100+25+8+6
8. 194 = 25*8 - 6
9. ADVERSITY - 2.4s (I might not be remembering these conundrum times perfectly, will have to check.)