Thursday, 26 May 2016

Ep 111: Matthew Thomason, Liam Murphy (May 25, 2016; originally aired January 3, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

This episode was the first of the new year, and so the pre-game banter is mostly about New Year's Eve.  It's Matthew Thomason's third night, and Richard continues the theme by asking how Matthew spent his New Year's Eve.  Matthew responds that he did the same as every year -- he slept through it.

Tonight's challenger is Liam Murphy, who has just finished a Bachelor of Pharmacy and spent the last two summers working at a chemist in a beachside town, meaning that he could surf every day.  That should endear him somewhat to Lily!  Furthermore, Liam has just accepted a job at a pharmacy in Noosa, for an intern year, so he hopes to continue the trend.

After the second break there's a bit more revealed.  (I think this is the third time in a row, or at least recently, that there's been some further contestant chatting done after the second break.  I wonder if they were trying to make it a thing, or maybe they suspected the contestants would lose and wanted to get a few more of their conversational snippets.  I don't recall it happening much by the time I had started watching.)  Anyway, like Dane Watkins from the previous episode, Liam was also a student of Chris Scholten-Smith, the show's first carryover champion.  In this case it was for year 9 English.

Liam started off well to take the early lead, but that was the high point of the show for him.  Matthew quickly overtook Liam, then the numbers rounds pushed Matthew past catching.  Liam managed to equal Matthew in the last two letters rounds, but was never able to stop Matthew scoring after the first round.  A tough conundrum proved beyond both contestants, but Matthew had cruised home to win, 49 to 18.

I managed to keep pace with David and Lily for most of the game, but then faltered on the last letters round.  The conundrum was also too difficult for me, but I'd done more than enough to beat the contestants.

Round 1: R D E U Y T E A S

That Y was unpromising, but it helped in the sevens.  I had RUDE, TRADE, STEADY, DASYURE (also DASYURID: "a member of the marsupial family Dasyuridae, which includes quolls, dunnarts, planigales, ningauis, etc."), STRAYED, and ESTUARY.

Matthew starts off with STEADY for six, but Liam has found STRAYED for seven to take the early lead.  David has gone with AUSTERE for his seven.

There is an eight here: ESTRAYED (ESTRAY as a verb being an archaic variant of STRAY).  The other sevens are DEAREST / REDATES / TASERED (as an adjective; TASER is not listed with a verb sense), RESTUDY, SAUTÉED, YEASTED (YEAST as a verb: "to ferment"), and TUYÈRES (TUYÈRE: "an opening through which the blast of air enters a blast furnace, cupola forge, or the like, to facilitate combustion").

Matthew: STEADY

Scores: Matthew 0, Liam 7, me 7

Round 2: H I V N O D M E A

A disappointingly incompatible mix; it's probably just as well that Liam chose a fourth vowel, as otherwise we'd have added an F to this.  As it was, I had HIND, MOVIE, and DAEMON / MOANED.

This time Liam has HOMED for five, but Matthew has found INVADE for six to almost catch up.  David has likewise been limited to six, opting for DOMAIN as his choice.

There are two sevens lurking here, one of which I have encountered often enough before that I should have found it: HAEMOID ("bloodlike").  The other is NAEVOID (adjective derived from NAEVUS: "any congenital anomaly on the skin, including various types of birthmarks and all types of moles").

Matthew: INVADE

Scores: Matthew 6, Liam 7, me 13

Round 3: Target 372 from 50 100 3 9 6 7

As usual, Matthew opts for two large numbers and gets an approachable target.  As the small numbers went up I reminded myself that 9*6*7 = 378, and with the target so close a small tweak was all that was necessary to reach it: 372 = 6*(9*7 - 3 + 100/50).  Looking at this, I realised that I was just doing 6*62 and so found the shorter option of 372 = (50 + 9 + 3)*6.  Finally I tried taking a simpler approach, and the numbers turned out to work nicely for it: 372 = 3*100 + 50 + 9 + 7 + 6.

Liam apparently messed this up, but Matthew has managed to get to three off with 369 = 3*100 + 9*7 + 6.  He was somewhat near finding the third of those solutions that I listed.  Lily demonstrates the second of them.

Matthew: 369
Liam: [no answer]
Me: 372
Lily: 372

Scores: Matthew 6 (13), Liam 7, me 23

First break: FOUR IDLE ("Could be a sneezy time on a ferris wheel")

The intent of the clue is to sound out "flu" and "ride" to get FLUORIDE.

David's talk is about the word banana, and various phrases that use it.

Round 4: F T O I C T I R U

I had COIF, a slightly uncertain TRICOT (valid; "a warp-knit fabric, usually of rayon, with the right and wrong sides different"), COURT, FRUIT, TUTOR / TROUT, and OUTFIT.

Liam has the appropriate four of FOUR, prompting some amusement, but Matthew once again takes the points with COURT for five.  David mentions FRUIT as another five, but has also found the six of TRICOT.

OTITIS is listed, but not the associated adjective OTITIC, so only fives remain.  The others are CURIO, CROFT, TORIC, and TORII (a Japanese shrine gate).

Matthew: COURT
Liam: FOUR

Scores: Matthew 6 (18), Liam 7, me 29

Round 5: G C O I S E K B A

Another unpromising set of letters!  I had COGS, GECKO, GECKOS (I was unsure as to which plural form would be given; as it turns out, the Macquarie lists both GECKOS and GECKOES), BOSCAGE ("a mass of growing trees or shrubs; woods, groves, or thickets"), BOSKAGE (variant spelling of BOSCAGE), COBIAS (COBIA being a type of fish), BOGIES, and BIOGAS. 

It's five from both contestants, with Liam having BACKS and Matthew having BAKES.  David has also found BOSCAGE, to my disappointment -- I thought I was in with a chance there.  But he has additionally found ICEBAGS as another seven, so it was a forlorn hope.

The remaining six here is GOBIES (GOBY being a type of fish).

Matthew: BAKES

Scores: Matthew 6 (23), Liam 7 (12), me 36

Round 6: Target 916 from 100 75 10 10 8 4

A high target, so starting with 10*100 seems moderately clear.  There is a temptation to immediately subtract the 75, but then we would only have even numbers remaining.  Instead, noticing that the offset is 84 we can simply make that instead.  I went with the tweaked version: 916 = 10*(100 - 8) - 4.

Liam is one away with 917, presumably having succumbed to the temptation that I described with 917 = 10*100 - 75 - 8.  But Matthew has solved this exactly with the untweaked version of the solution that I found: 916 = 10*100 - 8*10 - 4.

That solution blows out the scoreline, putting Matthew 21 points ahead.  Liam is going to need to outpoint him in the next letters round to have a chance of victory.

Matthew: 916
Liam: 917
Me: 916
Lily: 916

Scores: Matthew 16 (33), Liam 7 (12), me 46

Second break: LACE TEAS ("Going up")

To go up might be to ESCALATE.

Round 7: L S O O R E N D T

I had far more difficulty with this than I should have; I don't know why it wasn't coming together for me.  I had LOOS / SOLO, LOOSER, and ENROLS.  After time I noted STORED and LOOSEN as other sixes, then finally found a seven of ROOSTED.  In short succession I then saw TOODLES and NOODLES as other sevens, and checked up on NOODLERS.  It turned out to be valid -- NOODLER is an agent noun derived from NOODLE in the sense of "to search carefully for opal through a bucket of dirt sent up to the surface".

The contestants have likewise been stymied here, both declaring sixes.  Liam went with TRENDS while Matthew had SORTED.  (He described it as a safe six, but we don't find out what his presumed riskier option was.)  That means that Matthew is now guaranteed to win.  David has accurately found NOODLERS.

NOODLERS is the only eight.  The other sevens are NOODLER, RODENTS / SNORTED, RETOOLS / LOOTERS / TOOLERS / ROOTLES (ROOTLE: "to root or grub; rummage"), ROOTLED, ENROOTS, OLDSTER, STOOLED (STOOL as a verb: "to throw up shoots from the base or root, as a plant") / TOLEDOS (TOLEDO having an acceptable lower case form: "a type of sword or sword blade"), and RONDELS (RONDEL being a type of poem).

Matthew: SORTED

Scores: Matthew 22 (39), Liam 13 (18), me 52

Round 8: Target 914 from 75 3 9 3 2 9

Liam takes a single large number, and the benefit of this option is that it really focuses attention on using that.  With two large numbers one sometimes has to think about which to use (or how), so one large number is somewhat simpler.  In this case the target is near 12*75, and a 12 is easy enough to come by.  The remaining numbers provide the difference, and the solution falls out pretty easily: 914 = (9 + 3)*75 + 9 + 3 + 2.

Liam is one away with 915, but Matthew has found the solution that I listed above.  It turns out to be the only solution, in fact.  (I'm a bit puzzled by Liam's declaration; I think he must have started with (9 + 3)*75, but presumably he then extended it by 9 + 2*3.  It's the most plausible route to that target that I can see, but what an oversight if so!)

Matthew: 914
Liam: 915
Me: 914

Scores: Matthew 32 (49), Liam 13 (18), me 62


A set of generally unhelpful word mixes is followed up by a difficult conundrum.  Neither contestant was able to solve this within time, and nor was I.  It took me a coupe of minutes further before I considered the -ETTE ending and so found the answer of SERVIETTE.

Matthew: [no answer]
Liam: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Matthew 32 (49), Liam 13 (18), me 62

Liam started out well, and overall there was not that much net difference to be had in the letters rounds.  But the numbers rounds were all Matthew, giving him 27 points and Liam none, and that was just far too much ground to concede.  Both contestants looked like they were having fun, and that is always nice to see.


Justin Thai said...

There's a lot of maintenance to be done when a theme episode comes up, Lily, David and Richard to a good job to keep up appearances as did Matthew whose stage work helped out with that.

Man will the Chris Sholten Smith connection continue?

Anyway my game:
Invalid (TROOLED) Ambitious some might say...
914-The only solution
Absolutely nothing- I'll note Matthew's reaction to this conundrum was similar to the Masters Grand Final

Mike Backhouse said...

Here's my game.

MOVED (I had VIDEOMAN but was doubtful so didn't declare)
Geoff's short option
BACKS and then GECKOS just after time
10*100-75-10=915 (1 off)

Mike Backhouse said...

In the final numbers game, obviously those = should be +!

Sam G said...

3. one off: 371 = (50+3)*7
5. BIOGAS. Rejected ICEBAGS, for whatever reason.
6. 916 = 10*(100 - 8) - 4
7. NOODLES. Rejected NOODLERS. Can't tell whether I'd seen this episode before or not.
8. 914 = (9 + 3)*75 + 9 + 3 + 2
9. SERVIETTE - 4.0s