Sunday, 5 June 2016

Ep 117: Jack Dell, Janine Huan (June 2, 2016; originally aired January 11, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

It's Jack Dell's third night tonight, and Richard informs us that Jack used to be involved in amateur dramatics.  Jack says that they did melodramas "and things like that" and he was sort of the comic hero.  But now the only local theatre companies are singers, and no-one wants to hear him sing.

Challenging Jack tonight is Janine Huan, an integration aid in a primary school.  Janine is also fond of cryptic crosswords, and in particular the ones that David makes.  As she says, she likes David's ones in particular because most of the others have lots of anagrams in them, whereas David will challenge the solver with such things as Greek mythology, chemistry, and French.  She does sometimes solve them, too.

(I'll add that I've noticed this pattern, too: Less experienced cryptic composers will generally head straight for an anagram as their first thought about how to clue a word.  It makes them much more solvable when half the clues are anagrams.  David, on the other hand, is much more parsimonious with them, generally only having a handful in each crossword.)

This game was quite the swinging one!  Jack started out with an unanswered full monty, and that's often a death blow.  Janine got a small amount back in the next round, but Jack took the points in the next two rounds to be twenty four points ahead at the halfway mark.  Somehow, Janine rallied, and was the sole scorer in the remaining four main rounds; that not only enabled her to catch up, but also put her ahead by seven points going into the conundrum.  We don't see turnarounds of that magnitude very often!  But Jack just barely managed to hang on, solving the conundrum first to steal the victory, 40 to 37.

I found that first full monty thanks to Jack's body language, and thereafter was able to keep clear of both contestants.  I slipped up in the first numbers round and missed a solution, but pegged that back when Lily likewise stumbled in the second.  But my dreams of another tie with David and Lily were gone when I missed the game's second full monty.  Oh, well, there's always next game...

Round 1: R N M C O E I O G

I had CORN, COMER, INCOME, MICRON, ROOMING, GENOMIC, MOONIER, and might have decided that seven was the limit.  But then I briefly glanced up at the screen with around ten seconds left and Jack had put down his pen and had his hands together, looking moderately contentedly at the paper.  That was a pretty clear sign that he had found a full monty.  So I looked back at the letters and immediately saw ERGONOMIC; it's amazing just how much difference knowing a nine is there makes in finding it.  This is why I think it's important not to give away anything in your body language, lest the opponent pick up on it.

Janine starts off with MOORING for seven, but Jack has found ERGONOMIC as predicted.  David mentions GERONIMO as a possible eight here, but has to be assumed to have also found the nine.  That's a strong start from Jack, so Janine is decidedly on the back foot now.

The other eight here is OROGENIC (adjective derived from OROGENESIS: "Geology the process of mountain-making or upheaval of the earth's crust").  The other sevens are MORONIC / OMICRON and INCOMER.


Scores: Jack 18, Janine 0, me 18

Round 2: S B S A O I T D A

Richard is a little amused that the mix starts with SBS.  I has BASS, BASSO ("someone who sings bass"), BOATS, BIOTAS (BIOTA: "the total animal and plant life of a region, or sometimes a period, as seen collectively and interdependently"), SABOTS (SABOT: "a wooden shoe made of a single piece of wood hollowed out, worn by peasants in France, Belgium, etc."), and BASIS.  After time I realised that I had missed the more common six of BOASTS.

Jack has BASIS for five, but Janine gets some points back with BOASTS.  David has opted for SADIST as his six, tying that in to people's comments about him after trying his crosswords.

There are two sevens here: BIODATA ("biographical information; curriculum vitae") and STADIAS (in addition to being a plural form of STADIUM, STADIA is "a method of surveying [...]").  The other sixes are STADIA and ABATIS ("Military an obstacle of felled trees with bent or sharpened branches directed towards the enemy, and now often interlaced with barbed wire").

Actually, it is possible that BIODATAS is also acceptable.  It's not listed in my scrabble list, and it naturally feels plural, but it is not labelled as such.  For now I'm taking the conservative viewpoint that it is not pluralisable.

Janine: BOASTS

Scores: Jack 18, Janine 6, me 24

Round 3: Target 649 from 75 100 10 3 3 9

Gah, I made a right mess of this one.  I was so focused on starting with 9*75 that the best I could do was one away with 648 = 9*(75 - 3).  After time I took the necessary mental step back to focus on getting to 650 and then easily found the option of 649 = 10*75 - 100 - 3/3.  Bother!

Janine is completely outside the scoring range with 638.  The only way to do that without subtracting from 648 or 650, which hopefully she would not do, is 638 = 75*100 / (9 + 3) + 10 + 3.  If that was her method then it's impressive stuff, even though it was too far away.  (Well, OK, there are two more convoluted options that seem quite unlikely to have been chosen.)

Anyway, Jack has got to seven off with 656 = (3 + 3)*100 + 75 - 10 - 9.  That more or less erases Janine's gain from the previous round.  Lily has solved this, using the solution that I found after time.

There are two other solutions, apart from trivial things like using 3*3/9 instead of 3/3: 649 = 10*(75 - 3/3) - 100 + 9 and 649 = 9*100 - (10*75 + 3) / 3.

Jack: 656
Janine: [not in range]
Me: 648
Lily: 649

Scores: Jack 18 (23), Janine 6, me 31

First break: SEMI BOIL ("Round up the troops")

To do so would be to MOBILISE them.

David's talk is about computer infections: virus, worm, and trojan.

Round 4: P S R E O E G A N

I had REPS, SPORE, REPOSE, GROPES, wondered about PONGERS (not valid), and ORANGES.  After time I wrote down other sevens of PRESAGE and ONAGERS (ONAGER being both a wild ass and a type of catapult).

Janine has PAGERS for six, but Jack scoots even further ahead with PRESAGE for seven.  David saw PERSONAE for eight, and as soon as he says that I can see where he is heading.  Indeed, he then realised that he could insert the G for the full monty of PERSONAGE.  Two in one game!

The other eight here is PEONAGES.  The other sevens are PEONAGE, PERSONA, SPONGER, REOPENS / OPENERS, ENRAGES, APOGEES ("the point in the orbit of a heavenly body or artifical satellite most distant from the earth (opposed to perigee)"), PANEERS (PANEER: "a type of cottage cheese, used in Indian cooking"), and PONGEES (PONGEE: "silk of a plain weave made from filaments of wild silk woven in natural tan colour").

Janine: PAGERS

Scores: Jack 25 (30), Janine 6, me 38

Round 5: I E H D A U L S T

I had HIDE, IDEAL, HAULED, DUALIST, and AUDILES (AUDILE: "Psychology someone in whose mind auditory images are especially distinct").  After time I noted more common sevens of DILATES and DILUTES.

Jack has LASTED for six, but Janine chances DUALIST for seven.  David checks up on her spelling, but she has wisely avoided the trap of DUELIST (the Macquarie only lists the form DUELLIST, although one could make a case that DUELIST is implied by the various American forms given in that entry).  David explains the meaning of DUALIST as "one who believes in two concepts, usually body and soul".  David has chosen HUSTLED as his answer here.

Some sources would apparently allow LUSTIHEAD for nine; it's in my Chambers as an archaic version of LUSTINESS, but the Macquarie does not have it.  That leaves seven as the best to be done, with the others being DETAILS, SALUTED, HALIDES, HALITES (HALITE: "rock salt"), HALITUS ("an expired breath"), and SITULAE (plural of SITULA: "an ancient bucket-shaped vessel".


Scores: Jack 25 (30), Janine 13, me 45

Round 6: Target 654 from 25 6 3 8 6 7

Janine opts for a single large number, and gets a surprisingly challenging target.  It is 6*109, but making 109 is hard.  Fortunately I realised that the other 6 allowed us leeway to get to 648 first instead, and a little thought produced an answer: 654 = 8*(3*25 + 6) + 6.

This should have been much easier for me, because as the small numbers went up I was looking at what combinations I could make from them.  One of those was 7*8*(6 + 3) = 504, which is a convenient 150 away.  After time I realised this, and so noted the alternative solution of 654 = 7*8*(6 + 3) + 6*25.

Jack has not managed to get anywhere near this, but Janine has done well to get two away with 656 = (6*3 + 8)*25 + 6.  Lily has been stumped here also, only able to get to 655.  Huh.

Janine's last two results have narrowed the gap, leaving her just ten adrift of Jack.  She might be in with a chance after all!

Jack: [no answer]
Janine: 656
Me: 654
Lily: 655

Scores: Jack 25 (30), Janine 13 (20), me 55

Second break: FAKE CRIB ("Exhausted explosion")

An explosion from a car's exhaust is a BACKFIRE.

Round 7: H T D N O A E I R

I had OATH, wondered about OATHED (not valid), and then that final R gave us some familiar results of RATIONED / ORDINATE and ANTIHERO.  I also wrote down THEROID ("having animal propensities or characteristics"), because I like it.

Jack is shaking his head, because he is dissatisfied with only having a six to declare: DONATE.  Janine has a "chancy" seven of THORNED, but it gets her the points.  She is now just three points behind, and this game is suddenly live again.  Very strangely, we don't hear any word suggestions from David.  Was the show running long?  There's no way that he missed those eights so I'm going to credit them to him.

Those are the only eights; the other sevens are HAIRNET, ANOTHER, DETRAIN / TRAINED, THRONED, HANDIER, and ANEROID.


Scores: Jack 25 (30), Janine 13 (27), me 63

Round 8: Target 921 from 100 3 8 9 10 6

Janine takes a single large number again, and gets a more approachable target.  I first observed that the difference from 900 was 21, which is 6 + 7 + 8, and so wrote the roundabout 921 = 9*100 + 6 + 8 + 10 - 3.  Then I tweaked my way to a shorter answer of 921 = 9*(100 + 3) - 6.

Jack has ended up one away with 922, and I wonder how he did that.  But in any case Janine has solved this using the short version of my first answer: 921 = 9*100 + 8 + 6 + 3.  Lily has gone for the second of the solutions that I found.

Jack: 922
Janine: 921
Me: 921
Lily: 921

Scores: Jack 25 (30), Janine 23 (37), me 73


Well!  Janine has made a mammoth comeback after Jack's opening full monty, and is actually considerably ahead going into this conundrum.  She's not safe, though, so it's an important one!  I found my way to the answer relatively early, but it takes somewhat longer for Jack to unravel it.  He gives a huge sigh of relief when he does, though, and manages to scrape home after what was looking like a blowout in his favour at the halfway mark.

Jack: PERENNIAL (12s)
Janine: [no answer]

Scores: Jack 25 (40), Janine 23 (37), me 83

That was definitely a game of two halves, as the saying goes.  Jack sprang out to the early lead on the back of that full monty, and was a daunting 24 points ahead after round four.  But the second half was all Janine; aided by her preferred number choice, she coupled that with some good numbers to score 31 unanswered points.  But Jack had done just enough so that the conundrum would give him victory, and managed to hold on.  This match could very easily have ended up being Janine's, if she'd just found a decent answer for the first numbers round, or if there had not been that full monty available in the first round.  Perhaps some regrets there, but she made a good showing.


BadBeatPete said...

Round 1 - Geronimo
Round 2 - Boasts
Round 3 - (10*75)-100=650, 650-(3/3)=649
Round 4 - Personae
Round 5 - Dilutes
Round 6 - (25*3)+6=81, (81*8)+6=654
Round 7 - Rationed
Round 8 - (100+3)*9=927, 927-6=921
Round 9 - x

Amazing game from you Geoff. Very nice :)

Mike Backhouse said...

SABOTS (thought they were boats but I'll take it anyway)
Geoff's one off method for 648
(6*3+8)*25+6=656 (2 off and went over time)
Geoff's tweak

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks, Pete -- much appreciated!

Sam G said...

3. 649 = 10*75 - 100 - 3/3
6. 654 = ((7-3)*25 + 8)*6 + 6
8. 921 = 9*100 + 10 + 8 + 3