Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Ep 120: Peter Stephenson, Oli Bryant (June 7, 2016; originally aired January 14, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Peter Stephenson gets his turn in the champion's seat tonight, and the talk is about his marathon-running again.  Or rather, about one particular marathon that he would like to run.  As Peter explains, the Médoc region in south-west France is one of the main wine-producing regions of France.  They have a marathon there, where not only are there the normal water stations, but there are also wine-tasting stations as well.  (In fact, the situation appears to be rather more elaborate than that, at least according to this participant's description.)

Tonight's challenger is Oli Bryant, a sustainability consultant with a backround in economics and a passion for photography.  (His nameplate reads Oliver, but Richard notes that he prefers to be called Oli, so we'll go with that form.)  Oli takes photos mainly of urban and street landscapes.  His interest in photography developed at a very young age -- his stepmother was a professional photographer and Oli used to spend hours in the darkroom learning the different processes involved in turning film into photos.  Since then, he has had a couple of exhibitions in cafes and restaurants, which he hopes to continue.

It was a somewhat one-sided game tonight; Peter chanced risky words in the first two rounds, both of which were invalid.  When Oli outdid him in the first numbers round, the difference was suddenly an alarmingly large 22 points at the first break.  Peter managed to match Oli in the next two letters rounds, but again Oli drew clear on the numbers round.  The remaining main rounds were shared but the damage had long been done.  Oli finished it off by solving the conundrum, scoring points in every round on his way to victory, 71 to 29.

I managed to find a few better answers than Oli, happily putting me safely ahead at the conundrum.  I was even very briefly ahead of David and Lily when David uncharacteristically missed some better options in the first letters round, but he soon made that up.  I managed to beat Oli to the conundrum, posting another score in the seventies for a good start to the week.

Round 1: E O E O N S T N R

I had NOOSE, TENONS (TENON: "to shape so as to fit into a mortice") STEREO, ENTERS, ENROOTS, and was dubious about TONNERS (not valid).  After time I realised that TENNERS was good, and checked up on SONNETER (not valid; the right form is SONNETEER).  Some hours later I saw RENNETS as another seven.

Oli has TONERS for six, and gets the points when Peter's seven turns out to be the invalid RENOTES.  David says that he has struggled with this mix, not able to find anything better than TONERS.  Well, that is a surprise -- I don't generally expect to outdo David, and certainly not with those sevens on the table.

It turns out that there is a full monty here: ROTENONES (ROTENONE being a substance used in various insecticides).  The eights are ROTENONE and OESTRONE ("an oestrogenic steroid hormone [...] found in prenancy urine and placental tissue").  The other sevens are ENTERON ("the alimentary canal; the digestive tract") and ESTRONE (variant spelling of OESTRONE).

Peter: [invalid -- RENOTES]

Scores: Peter 0, Oli 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: D H N L U I E A H

I had HIND, LINED, rightly rejected INHAULED (recalled that INHAUL was a noun -- it's a type of rope on a ship -- but not a verb), HALIDE, HANDLE, UNIDEAL, HAULED, and AUDILE.  I'd wanted that final consonant to be a K for LUNKHEAD, but no such luck.  One of the very few times I have wanted a K!

Oli has six again with HANDLE, and Peter goes out on another limb with UNHAILED.  That's not valid -- I'd considered it within time but not bothered to write it down -- but hearing him say it out loud let me see the safer seven of INHALED.  (UNHAILED is in my Scrabble list, so one could argue that Peter was unlucky.)  David has gone with UNIDEAL as his seven.

The remaining seven is ALIUNDE ("Law from another place or person; evidence aliunde is evidence outside the record").

Peter: [invalid -- UNHAILED]

Scores: Peter 0, Oli 0 (12), me 14

Round 3: Target 566 from 25 75 10 7 8 9

The target is very near 7*8*10, and it turns out that we can make 6 from the rest: 566 = 7*8*10 + 9 - 75/25.  Then I looked at the standard method, which should always have been tempting since we have the offset of 9.  A little thought turned up the solution 566 = 8*75 - 25 - 9.

Peter is two away with 568, but Oli has found a solution.  He seems a bit unsure, but there's nothing wrong with the solution, which is the same as the second one I listed above.  That is also Lily's method.

Thanks to those invalid answers from Peter in the letters rounds, this first third has gone all Oli's way.  He's now 22 points ahead, and that's a big gap to make up.

Peter: 568
Oli: 566
Me: 566
Lily: 566

Scores: Peter 0, Oli 10 (22), me 24

First break: CORN TACT ("Signed, sealed, and delivered")

That would be a CONTRACT.

David's talk is about some words related to weddings (due to a friend of his getting married soon): bridezilla and wedsite (a website for wedding matters).

Round 4: L B P C I A O E P

I had CLIP and POLICE.  I also saw COPPÉLIA, not that it proved useful here.

Both contestants have likewise gone with POLICE (helping them with their enquiries, as it were).  David points out the -ABLE ending, which prompted him to check on COPIABLE and COPPABLE; neither were valid, however.  He did manage to find a seven despite that: PLACEBO.  Oh, well done!

The other sixes are PLAICE / EPICAL / PLICAE (plural of PLICA: "Zoology, Anatomy a fold or folding").


Scores: Peter 6, Oli 16 (28), me 30

Round 5: A E I E K C R T R

I had a joking IKEA, CAKE, CRAKE (a type of bird), TICKER, TACKIER, TRACKER, and ERRATIC.  There were a couple of near-nines here, with a different vowel instead of the I allowing RACKETEER or CARETAKER.  But if I'd stopped thinking about such things during time I might have done better, as just a little after time I saw CREAKIER for eight.  Whoops!

This time Peter has the safe seven of RETRACE, while Oli has the riskier option of TRICKER.  David mentions ERRATIC for seven, but has also found CREAKIER for eight.

The Macquarie does list RACKETY, but does not have the extension to RACKETIER*.  So CREAKIER is the best to be done and the only eight.  The other sevens are TERRACE / CATERER, RECITER, RETAKER, and CIRRATE ("having cirri", which is to say "having tendrils").


Scores: Peter 13, Oli 23 (35), me 37

Round 6: Target 595 from 75 50 10 9 8 1

It seems pretty clear to start with 8*75 here, and fortunately I did not overlook the required adjustment: 595 = 8*75 - 50/10.  Seen just now is an alternative method working up by adding 75: 595 = (50 + 1 + 9 - 8)*10 + 75.

Peter says that he has "crashed and burned", which is unfortunate.  This might have been one of those cases of spending so long trying to get an exact answer that you omit writing down something within range at all.  It hasn't cost him, though, as Oli has found the first of those solutions that I listed.  That was also Lily's answer.

Peter had stopped the rot with the two letters rounds of this section, but this result extends Oli's lead to 32.  Peter needs an unanswered full monty in the next round to even have a chance of winning.

Peter: [no answer]
Oli: 595
Me: 595
Lily: 595

Scores: Peter 13, Oli 33 (45), me 47

Second break: ADMIT ONE ("To be the best at dominoes")

The last word gives away the start of DOMINATE.

Round 7: U I A E F M R D S

I had FAME, FUMIER, and RADIUMS.  After time I noted other sevens of ADMIRES / MISREAD.

The contestants have found anagrams of each other: Oli had FARMED while Peter had FRAMED.  That means that Oli is now guaranteed the win.  David points out the similarly anagrammatic pair of ADMIRES / MISREAD.

The other sevens are RESIDUA (plural of RESIDUUM) and UREMIAS (UREMIA being a variant spelling of URAEMIA: "the morbid condition resulting from the retention of urinary constituents").


Scores: Peter 13 (19), Oli 33 (51), me 54

Round 8: Target 347 from 100 50 8 5 7 10

I started with 7*50 to get close, and the rest was straightforward: 347 = 7*50 - (8 - 5).

Both contestants have solved this, although Oli has taken a minor scenic route with his answer of 347 = (10 - 7)*100 + 50 - 8 + 5.  Strangely, Peter has done exactly the same.  Lily demonstrates the simpler version that I listed.

Peter: 347
Oli: 347
Me: 347
Lily: 347

Scores: Peter 23 (29), Oli 43 (61), me 64


It's generally a lot easier when the start and ends are already correct, and I soon saw the answer of MECHANISM.  Oli got there a little later, pushing his total up past seventy.

Peter: [no answer]

Scores: Peter 23 (29), Oli 43 (71), me 74

The game went very well for Oli, with him scoring points in every round.  Peter lost far too much ground in the first third and never really looked like getting back into contention.  Perfect play from Peter after that point would have had the scores tied going into the conundrum, so you can see just how hard that initial lead would have been to overcome.  Oli seems happy around the numbers, but is probably somewhat vulnerable on the letter front.  We'll see how he goes in his next game.

I was very briefly on track to outscore David and Lily, but PLACEBO put an end to that.  A wonderful find by David.  I'm glad he found it, though, as otherwise I would have been particularly upset about seeing CREAKIER too late in round five.


Mike Backhouse said...

8*75-25-10=565 (1 off...grrr...)
CABLE (and also wondered about the invalid COPPABLE)

Sam G said...

3. 566 = 7*8*10 + 9 - 75/25
6. 595 = 8*75 - 50/10
8. 347 = 7*50 - 8 + 5
9. MECHANISM - 2.0s. Not a very muddled conundrum.