Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Ep 115: Jayden Spudvilas-Powell, Jack Dell (May 31, 2016; originally aired January 7, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

There are two new contestants tonight, after Matthew Thomason successfully retired in the previous episode.  Occupying the champion's seat is Jayden Spudvilas-Powell, who is currently doing a bachelor of arts and plans to teach English in Japan.  Richard asks why Jayden is specifically interested in Japan; Jayden responds that he visited Japan earlier this year and was fascinated by the culture.  He adds that he found Japanese people to be very helpful, and relates how he and a friend got lost on their first night in Japan; at one point they had three Japanese people looking at a map, trying to work out how to get them back to their hotel.

Taking up the challenger's position is Jack Dell, who is currently juggling three part-time jobs: school groundsman, computer technician, and teacher.  But Richard is more interested in another tale: Jack is a member of a book club that ended up on TV.  Richard asks how that came about, and Jack provides some details.  He belongs to an all-male book club (it is not made clear if this is policy or circumstance), which is very unusual; at the time, about ten years ago, there were only two such in Victoria.  They formed because they wanted to prove to their wives that they could be in a book club, because their wives had one.  He jokes that the difference is that the host of the woman's book club has a bottle of wine, whereas they have one each.

Jack started off with a good word in round one to take the points, and the same again in round two.  This pretty much set the pattern for the rest of the game, with Jack winning every letters round while the numbers were shared.  Jayden did end up solving the conundrum at the last possible moment, but Jack was the victor, 59 to 34.

I made a careless mental error in round three that cost me points, and then did not risk a full monty in round four.  After that I was never going to catch up with David and Lily, and Jack was playing well enough that I was not able to get clear of him.  Fortunately for me, he stumbled on the last numbers round and I was safe at last going into the conundrum.  I hope I can do better next game.

Round 1: E I R H T U F E S

I had HEIR, THEIR, HIRSUTE ("hairy"), FETISH, rightly rejected FETISHER, and SHIFTER.  After time I checked up on FUSTIER (valid) and FESTIER* (not allowed under the show's rules), and confirmed that FIREHUTS was not a word.

Jayden kicks off with THEIRS for six, but Jack has also found HIRSUTE to take the points.  David mentions REFUTES as another seven.

The remaining sevens are SURFEIT, HEIFERS / FRESHIE (colloquial for "a freshwater crocodile"), HEFTIER, and FRESHET ("a freshwater stream flowing into the sea").

Jayden: THEIRS

Scores: Jayden 0, Jack 7, me 7

Round 2: R T F D O I A C E

I had FORD, DRIFT, ADROIT, CAROTID, and wanted that final E for FACTORED.  I also noted down CORDITE and CRAFTER as alternative sevens, and after time added EROTICA.

Jayden has TRACED for six, but Jack has found FACTORED for eight.  A strong start for him, and Jayden may have to hope that Jack is weak in the numbers.  David gives a very strange look in response to Jack's find, which I think was supposed to indicate that he was impressed by Jack's play so far.  He has nothing to add, stating correctly that FACTORED is the best to be done.

The other eight here is CERATOID ("hornlike").  The other sevens are FACTOID and REDCOAT (a British soldier) / CORDATE ("heart-shaped, as a shell").

Jayden: TRACED

Scores: Jayden 0, Jack 15, me 15

Round 3: Target 494 from 75 25 8 9 1 10

Jayden opts for the family mix, and it seems a little tricky.  The offsets are 6 and 19; the former seemed too difficult, but a 19 is easy enough to come by.  That leaves us wanting to get to 475 with the rest, and I fell from grace by confusing myself and thinking that 19*25 was 425.  So I abandoned that approach, and cast around for other options.  I looked at descending from 8*75, but it felt like time was running out so I changed tack again and wrote down a one off 493 = 10*(75 - 25) - 8 + 1.  Then, after time, I realised that 19*25 = 475 and so my original idea should have led to the simple solution 494 = (10 + 9)*(25 + 1).  Bother!

Both contestants are two away with 492 = 25*(10 + 9 + 1) - 8.  Lily has found a solution, a tweaked version of the second approach I discarded: 494 = (75 - 10)*8 - 25 - 1.

Jayden: 492
Jack: 492
Me: 493
Lily: 494

Scores: Jayden 0 (7), Jack 15 (22), me 22

First break: TEND NICE ("Inappropriate proposal")

This is cluing INDECENT, possibly as a reference to the film Indecent Proposal.

David's talk is about a couple of words associated with saddles: cantle, pommel, and surcingle.

Round 4: S A T N E O D S A

I had TANS, ANTES, ATONES, DONATES, and wondered about ASSONATED (thinking it might be some kind of backformation from ASSONANCE).  I thought I was just making it up, though, so I stayed with DONATES.  Sadly, ASSONATED turns out to be valid, and I have talked myself out of a full monty (ASSONATE: "to use assonance").

Again Jayden has six, this time with STONED, and is outpointed by Jack, who has found DONATES.  That puts Jack 22 points ahead, and it is highly unlikely that Jayden will come back from that.  David is on track, having found ASSONATE and thus ASSONATED for nine.

The other sevens here are SONATAS and ANSATED (variant of ANSATE: "having a handle or handle-like part").

Jayden: STONED

Scores: Jayden 0 (7), Jack 22 (29), me 29

Round 5: E R I L O A H C P

I had RILE, ORIEL ("a bay window, usually semipolygonal, especially in an upper storey"), HAILER, CARIOLE ("a small, open, two-wheeled vehicle") / CALORIE, and POACHER.  After time I noted REPLICA as another seven.

It's six once again for Jayden, who has opted for PLACER.  But Jack has found CHORALE for seven continuing the trend of the game so far.  David has found an eight; he starts out by saying that it is related to goats, and I immediately see the word: CAPRIOLE ("a caper or leap").  The connection is that it is derived from the Italian word capro, meaning goat.  Nicely found by David.

The other eights are HEROICAL and PARHELIC (variant of PARHELIACAL: "of or relating to or constituting a parhelion or parhelia", with PARHELION being "a bright circular spot on a solar halo").  There's various other sevens, of which I'll just mention AIRHOLE, CHOLERA, and HARELIP.

Jayden: PLACER

Scores: Jayden 0 (7), Jack 29 (36), me 36

Round 6: Target 180 from 75 10 10 1 9 4

So far I've been unable to shake Jack, and a low numbers target does not look like changing that.  I went with 180 = 9*(10 + 10).

There's quite the contrast between the two contestants in this round: Jayden finished after about ten seconds and did that thing I dislike of putting down the pen and folding his arms, making it clear that he has solved it.  That can sometimes be the extra motivation that the opponent needs, if it is noticeable, and I feel it was hear.  Meanwhile, Jack was writing up until time ran out (and just marginally beyond it, if I'm being picky).  Perhaps he might have settled for something less good if not for Jayden's body language.

Anyway, both contestants have solved this; Jack found 180 = (9 - 1 + 10)*10, while Jayden had 180 = 10*10 + 75 + 4 + 1.  Huh.  I was so focused on the factorisations that that approach never occurred to me.  Lily has solved this in the same way that Jack did.

Jayden: 180
Jack: 180
Me: 180
Lily: 180

Scores: Jayden 10 (17), Jack 39 (46), me 46

Second break: NOOK TUCK ("Delivered with punch")

With that pair of K's it is not hard to see KNOCKOUT in these letters.

Round 7: L E I C M G E O S

I had LICE, CLIME, CLIMES, and amused myself with LOGIES.  After time I noted other sixes of GOLEMS, LIEGES, and LOGICS, but could not do better.

Jayden breaks his string of sixes, but in the wrong direction, with CLOSE for five.  Jack continues to match me on the letters, having found CLIMES for six, and is now guaranteed the victory over Jayden.  David could not find longer, and mentions GOLEMS as another six.

There is a seven to be had here: CLEOMES (CLEOME being a genus of plants).

Jayden: CLOSE

Scores: Jayden 10 (17), Jack 45 (52), me 52

Round 8: Target 155 from 75 50 100 7 9 7

It's quite a small target, but surprisingly easy to get lost despite that.  This is the peril of the balanced mix.  For a while I thought that I was going to have to settle for just being close, but then I realised that I could make the 5 with 7 + 7 - 9, giving me the solution 155 = 100 + 50 + 7 + 7 - 9.  Then for fun I wrote down a minor variation of this idea: 155 = (100/50)*(75 + 7) - 9.

Both contestants have ended up two away with 157 = 100 + 50 + 7, and that's a bad miss from them.  Somewhat of a relief to me, though, as I'm finally clear of Jack, and just in time for the conundrum.  Lily demonstrates the simple adjustment that they missed, subtracting (9 - 7) from their approach to get to the target.

Jayden: 157
Jack: 157
Me: 155
Lily: 155

Scores: Jayden 10 (24), Jack 45 (59), me 62


It's not a very approachable conundrum, missing many of the hooks that we often see.  I was fortunate enough to consider DOMAIN early and extrapolate from there to the answer of ABDOMINAL.

Both contestants seem beaten by this, but then Jayden buzzes in with the clock fully lit up and only about three notes of the music left to play.  He has correctly found the answer for the minor consolation prize of having solved the conundrum.

Jayden: ABDOMINAL (30s)
Jack: [no answer]
Me: ABDOMINAL (3.5s)

Scores: Jayden 10 (34), Jack 45 (59), me 72

This turned out to be a very one-sided game, with Jack scoring points in every round except the conundrum.  Jayden was always a letter behind (two in the case of round two), and was not able to make up the difference on the numbers rounds.  Jack played very well tonight in the letters, and will be hard to beat if the numbers favour him.

I started off well enough, but the careless error on round three unsettled me, and may have contributed to my deciding against the full monty in round four.  I'd have been cruising if I had chanced it.  Oh, well, maybe next game...


BadBeatPete said...

"Lily demonstrates the simple adjustment that they missed, subtracting (9 - 7) from their approach to get to the target."

I saw this and yet, she was supposed to subtract (9-7) from 157 to make 155. She accidentally added (9-7) from 157 to get 159, and wrote the answer as 155.

Even mathematicians get some wrong. ;)

I just saw today's episode (Episodoe 116), and even David fell victim to using an extra letter that wasn't there (Phantom Letter Syndrome). He used "S" three times when there was only two. I don't think he realized it either as he didn't correct himself.

Good to know it's not just contestants and viewers who get some puzzles wrong. :)

Mike Backhouse said...

Interesting observations Pete!

Geoff's way (1 off)
TOSSED (bad luck on the full monty Geoff)
Geoff's way
x nothing in time, but did note DIABLO-MAN (a new comic character perhaps?)

Sam G said...

Jayden looked like pre-moustache Freddie Mercury.

Great letter rounds from Jack.

3. 493 = 10*(75 - 25) - 8 + 1
6. 180 = 9*(10 + 10)
8. 155 = 100 + 7*7 + 9*50/75 or 9*(100-75-7) - 7. Didn't see the 7+7-9 way.
9. ABDOMINAL ~8-10s

Geoff Bailey said...

Pete: I'm afraid you've missed the mark with both observations. If you watch them again, you'll see that what Lily did was "add the 7, then subtract the 9", and that does indeed get to 155. I wrote this up as subtracting (9 - 7) because it was more obvious how one might see it that way. And in that round you refer to from episode 116 (which I'm just about to write up) there were indeed three S's available.

Thanks for the sympathy, Mike, although my non-full monty was self-inflicted, as it were. Nice rearrangement of ABDOMINAL that you found, too. DIABLO-MAN does not seem to be a comic character, but it is a triathlon up Mount Diablo. So there's that.

Sam: Nice game, and very interesting route to 155 that you found!

BadBeatPete said...

Thanks for the clarification Geoff. Please disregard my previous post. :P

BadBeatPete said...

Round 1 - Threes
Round 2 - Crafted
Round 3 - (75-25)*10=500, 500-(8-1)=493 (1 away)
Round 4 - Donates
Round 5 - Poacher
Round 6 - (10+10)*9=180
Round 7 - Smile
Round 8 - (100+50+7)-(9-7)=155
Round 9 - Abdominal (Total time : 28.0 seconds)

Mike Backhouse said...

Thanks for the heads up on DIABLOMAN, Geoff. A real hoot to see it exists (in the non Macquarie world of course...)