Monday, 23 May 2016

Ep 109: Jodi Knight, Matthew Thomason (May 23, 2016; originally aired December 30, 2010)

Rounds: Here.

Jodi Knight returns for her second game, and Richard notes that Jodi is involved in an indigenous education program.  He asks for more details, and Jodi responds that she works as an Aboriginal education worker at a high school from "where [she is] from".  She works on anything that they need help with, which is mostly mathematics and English.

There's also a little more of a chat with Jodi later on in the show, at the start of the last third.  Richard refers back to yesterday's talk where it was mentioned that Jodi coaches cricket, and asks if she is doing any of that at the moment.  Jodi responds in the affirmative; in fact, she is coaching two teams: a local under-12's boys side, and a regional representative primary girls side.

Tonight's challenger is Matthew Thomason, a TV writer and director who has created shows about everything from travel to backyard science experiments, and once wrote scripts for Michelle Obama.  Richard naturally asks how that came to be about.  Matthew explains that he works for the company that produces Mythbusters, and they are doing an alternative version incorporating backyard science and Q&A's based on science.  In addition to their regular presenter, they also included some special guest presenters, of which one was Michelle Obama.  She wanted to talk about fighting childhood obesity, so he wrote some scripts for that.  (Unfortunately, I cannot figure out what that show would have been; it was most likely part of her Let's Move campaign, which would place it in 2010, but I haven't found a good match for the available information.)

Richard adds another snippet here, that over twenty years ago he and Matthew worked together.  Matthew describes it as Richard doing "in-flight videos for a very well-known commerical airline", and Matthew was the producer of those videos.

Jodi found an excellent word in the first game, but was blown out of the water by Matthew's even better find of a full monty.  Another good find from Matthew in the second round put him a daunting 25 points ahead, and that ended up being just too much to recover from.  It was mostly level-pegging after that, with Jodi making a couple of small pickups but not quite enough.  She needed to solve the last numbers round to have a chance, but it was too hard and Matthew was safe going into the conundrum.  Neither managed to solve it, and Matthew won with 46 points to Jodi's 34.

I was just a fraction too slow to see two words tonight, including that full monty.  But the remaining rounds provided enough fodder for me to come back, particularly a couple of challenging numbers rounds.  I was just safe going into the conundrum; I was a bit slow to solve it, but got there, and was rather relieved to get the win after missing that full monty.  It always makes such a big difference!

Round 1: R C A E I M P E H

I had RACE, CREAM, CAMPER, was rightly dubious about CHAMPER, PEACHIER, and just as I was putting my pen down for time I saw IMPEACHER.  Oh, dear, we even had that mix just two weeks ago in NG 835.  I am perhaps paying the price for not getting around to writing that up, as it clearly did not stick well enough in my mind.

Jodi has done well to find PEACHIER for eight, but Matthew scoops the pool with IMPEACHER for nine.  That's a brutal start to the game!

Aside from the above, sevens are the best to be done.  The others are IMPEACH, CHEAPER / PEACHER (single-syllable rule for adjectives), CHEAPIE, CHIMERA, and CHIMERE (variant spelling of CHIMER in the sense of "a loose upper robe, especially of a bishop, to which the lawn sleeves are usually attached").


Scores: Jodi 0, Matthew 18, me 0

Round 2: B S O U D T E I T

I had DUBS, DOUBTS, SUBEDIT, OUTBIDS, and rightly rejected OUTBIDES and DOUBTIEST.  After time I noted other sevens of OUTSIDE / TEDIOUS, and observed the presence of BUTTIES*.

This time Jodi has DEBUTS for six, but is once again outdone by Matthew who has found TEDIOUS for seven.  David points out that OUTSIDE is an anagram of TEDIOUS, then -- perhaps slightly strangely -- suggests BOTTIES as another seven.  This is strange because neither BOTTY nor BOTTIE are listed in the Macquarie, so BOTTIES would not be valid.

The remaining seven here is TESTUDO ("a shelter formed by soldiers overlapping their oblong shields above their heads").

Matthew: TEDIOUS
David: OUTSIDE, [invalid -- BOTTIES]

Scores: Jodi 0, Matthew 25, me 7

Round 3: Target 698 from 25 2 1 8 4 10

Jodi opts for a single large number, and it seems clear that we want to get to 700.  That is 28*25, but making 28 as 2*10 + 8 uses up the 2 which we want for the final offset.  I saw another way to make it, though, as 2*(10 + 4) and that allowed me to tweak my way to a solution: 698 = 2*((10 + 4)*25 - 1).

Both contestants have blanked on this one, rather suprisingly.  I'd have thought that getting to 700 via any of the various options would have been clear enough, and that would have been worth seven points, as it turns out.  Lily demonstrates another solution: 698 = (8 - 1)*4*25 - 2.

Jodi: [no answer]
Matthew: [no answer]
Me: 698
Lily: 698

Scores: Jodi 0, Matthew 25, me 17

First break: GRANT OAR ("Has a superior air")

A person with such an air might be perceived as being ARROGANT.

David's talk is about Aesop, and how his fables led to various terms in use today: to cry wolf; once bitten, twice shy; look before you leap; and birds of a feather.  He then launches into a longer discussion of the story behind the lion's share.  At the end of the show he also makes a brief mention of sour grapes.

Round 4: F P A E S E R S A

I had PEAS, PEASE (an archaic term for a pea, or peas collectively), ERASES, and SPARES / SPEARS.

Both contestants have five-letter words: Jodi has ERASE to Matthew's SAFER.  I'm surprised that Jodi missed ERASES, and also that David did not point that out.  David has found two sevens: ASPERSE / SERAPES (SERAPE: "a kind of shawl or blanket, often of gay colours, worn by Spanish-Americans").  Those are the only sevens, and the best to be done.

Matthew: SAFER

Scores: Jodi 0 (5), Matthew 25 (30), me 23

Round 5: T W O I D E H N E


Matthew has five again with TOWED, while Jodi gets some ground back with HINTED for six.  David has accurately found WHITENED for eight.  Aside from that, six is the best to be done; there's a decent number of them, of which I'll just make further mention of DENOTE and WHINED.

This is good news for me, as I've finally clawed my way back to the front.  Jodi still has a lot of work to do, and she's already missed a few key opportunities to take that advantage.

Matthew: TOWED

Scores: Jodi 0 (11), Matthew 25 (30), me 31

Round 6: Target 879 from 50 75 6 7 3 1

Matthew opts for two large numbers, and the target is large but helpfully near a familiar value; I soon had 879 = 7*(75 + 50) + 3 + 1.  The target is also 21 away from 900, which is tempting since 3*7 = 21.  A little thought on that approach gave me an alternative solution of 879 = 3*(6*50 - 7).

Both contestants have solved this, using the first of the solutions that I found.  There's a slight hiccup in the explanation when Matthew starts off with a 125 without explaining where he got it, but that passes off without further incident.  Lily has nothing to add.

I have to say, I was surprised that one contestant solved this in that manner, let alone two -- not many contestants are comfortable with the multiples of 125.  Good work from each of them, and they would be entitled to feel a little unfortunate that their opponent also found that solution.

Jodi: 879
Matthew: 879
Me: 879

Scores: Jodi 10 (21), Matthew 35 (40), me 41

Second break: HEATS TIN ("Prone.  To.  Stop.  Often.")

That diction was Richard's way of indicating that he was HESITANT.

Round 7: C S R I U T I A R

I had CURS, CRUST, CITRUS, AURIST (another term for OTOLOGIST: "a physician specialising in diseases of the ear"), and RICTUS.  I was done in here by my need to take notes for the blog, as I moved my hand over to the mouse to pause the video before time ran out so that I could record the letters in order.  As I was doing that I saw SATIRIC for seven, but could not possibly retrieve the pen and get it written down in time.  Bother!  The lesson here is that I should let time run out and then rewind instead of trying to save a scant few seconds.

It's sixes from each contestant, with Matthew having CITRUS while Jodi has found RACIST.  That leaves Jodi 19 points behind, so it is just barely possible that she might still win.  David notes RUSTIC and CIRRUS as other sixes, but has reliably found SATIRIC for seven.

The other seven here is CURARIS (CURARI being a variant spelling of CURARE, a type of plant familiar for its use as a poison on Central / South American arrows).

Matthew: CITRUS

Scores: Jodi 16 (27), Matthew 41 (46), me 47

Round 8: Target 534 from 25 100 7 4 4 3

Down to the final numbers round, with Jodi needing to solve this in order to have a chance at victory; she also needs Matthew to not solve it at the same time.

It's a surprisingly difficult target; it's not too hard to get to one away if you know your 75-times table.  I went with 533 = 7*(100 - 25) + 4 + 4.  But I simply could not find my way to an answer -- the offset of 9 or 34 proved too troublesome.

Matthew has only just got into the scoring range with 525, but Jodi has done better with 531 = (100 + 25)*4 + 4*7 + 3.  If she'd just tweaked that she could have got to one off, but that makes no difference to the game situation.

Lily has done extremely well to find a solution here.  She looked at multiplying by 4 like Jodi did, but took a different path that left her with the necessary numbers left over: 534 = (7*4 + 100)*4 + 25 - 3.  Bravo!

There is (essentially) only one other solution: 534 = ((25 + 4)*7 - 25)*3, where one of those 25's is 100/4.

Jodi: 531
Matthew: 525
Me: 533
Lily: 534

Scores: Jodi 16 (34), Matthew 41 (46), me 54


Down to the conundrum, and I'm safe and so is Matthew.  I got a bit lost on -ED and -IST endings, but considering PRE- got me untangled and finding PRESIDENT.  Neither contestant was able to solve this within time, and there is some amusing callback to the presidential connection from Matthew's chat.

Jodi: [no answer]
Matthew: [no answer]

Scores: Jodi 16 (34), Matthew 41 (46), me 64

At the end, Richard comments on what a great start Matthew had, and Jodi says that she could not come back from that.  And that's how it goes -- an unanswered full monty is just so powerful in this game.  She was presented with opportunities, though; in particular, she could have gained six points in round four by simply adjusting ERASE to ERASES, and it was very feasible for her to pick up seven points in round three.  If she had done both of those then she would have won the game by a point, and that's without the conundrum.  But full credit to Matthew: He saw that full monty, and a couple of other good answers saw him home.  Against another contestant Jodi's PEACHIER might have taken all the points, for a 26-point turnaround.

I'm very happy to escape with the win after missing that full monty, but obviously rather less happy about missing it.  Especially since I'd found it just two weeks ago!


Mike Backhouse said...

You cleaned up again Geoff. Well done. Loving your write ups.

PEACHIER (after rejecting CAMPIER on which I think I've been caught out before)
Lily's method
(6+7+3)*50+75+1=876 then saw everyone's solution (do I really need to learn my 125 times tables - I guess the answer is 'yes')
Geoff's method (1 off)

BadBeatPete said...

Round 1 - Impeacher
Round 2 - Outside
Round 3 - (25*4)*(8-1)=700, 700-2=698
Round 4 - Spears
Round 5 - Whitened
Round 6 - (75+50)*7=875, 875+(3+1)=879
Round 7 - Satiric
Round 8 - (100-25)*7=525, 525+(4+4)=533 (1 away)
Round 9 - x

Was close not getting round 6 maths game done on time.

Geoff Bailey said...

Mike: PASSER is good, but BUTTIES* is not valid by the show's rules. That potential word has come up a few times here, and it's a victim of the Macquarie's inconsistent handling of plurals of nouns ending in Y. In this case, they have BUTTY but do not give a plural form. Taken to extremes, one might argue that the show has to accept BUTTYS.

Pete: Another very strong game from you -- well done!

BadBeatPete said...

Thanks Geoff. :)

Sam G said...

Bah, I thought if IMPEACHER was a valid nine, I'd probably have remembered it, so I rejected it.

A solid effort from Jodi against the eventual Masters runner-up.

My results are identical to Geoff's, though his time lacks precision.

1. PEACHIER. See above.
3. 698 = (8 - 1)*4*25 - 2
6. 879 = 7*(75 + 50) + 3 + 1
8. 533 = 7*(100 - 25) + 4 + 4
9. PRESIDENT - 8.0s. I don't care for these hand-picked thematic conundrums. Impure.