Friday, 10 June 2016

Ep 121: Oli Bryant, Ben Ripley (June 8, 2016; originally aired January 17, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Oli Bryant is back, in the champion's chair this time.  The word seems to have gotten around about his name, and the nameplate now reads Oli.  Richard asks how Oli ties in sustainability and environmental concerns with his photography; Oli explains that the idea is to raise awareness through portrayal and imagery.  For example, of mining in the Kakadu area, or the proposed desalination plants in Victoria.

Tonight's challenger is Ben Ripley, who works in publishing and has written several books for children.  Those are non-fiction titles, and most recently he's done some books on invention; in particular, he has one coming out soon.  (That would be Freaky Fact or Fiction Inventions, which came out two and a half months after this episode aired.)  Ben adds that the most fun to be had with that (as an author) was making up some of the "facts".

The contestants started out evenly matched, and went into the first break with tied scores.  Oli managed to get a small lead in the next letters round, but again the next two rounds were matched; a surprisingly difficult numbers round that stumped both contestants certainly contributed to that.  In the last letters round Oli again managed to take unanswered points, and that put him more than a conundrum's worth ahead, a potentially winning margin.  He sealed it by solving the final numbers round; Ben solved the conundrum, but Oli won the game, 46 to 32.

I had some difficulties, missing out on some findable longer words in the letters round.  I also dropped some points on the middle numbers round, but that's less troublesome -- it was hard enough that I actually outdid Lily on that round.  Despite my complaints, I still was able to solidly outpoint the contestants and round it out by solving the conundrum quickly.

Round 1: R H N D I E O M E

I had RIND, HINDER, HEROINE, HEIRDOM, and amused myself by spotting HERMIONE.  After time I noted that MINORED* is not valid, while INHERED is another seven.

Ben starts us of with HINDER for six, which Oli matches with his find of HORNED.  David has done well to find the eight of DOMINEER.

DOMINEER is the only eight.  The other sevens are ERMINED and REHOMED / HOMERED (as in baseball).


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

Round 2: G I O D F K I A C

Yuck.  Truly horrible mix.  Up until that final letter I thought I might have to declare a three, but it did not substantially improve matters.  I had DICK and the more show-friendly ACID.  Wow, I can't remember the last time I had to declare a four.

It's fours from the contestants, with Oli having DOCK to Ben's ACID.  David once again has gone better than all of us, finding AIKIDO (a Japanese martial art) for six.

The five here is IODIC.  There's quite a few other fours, of which I'll just mention CODA, COIF / FOCI, GOAD, and CIAO.


Scores: Oli 4 (10), Ben 4 (10), me 11

Round 3: Target 974 from 75 25 2 6 10 7

The target is right next to 13*75, so that is obviously tempting.  The remaining numbers could not give the required offset of 1 on their own, but 25 is just 1 away from a multiple of 13, and that does work out.  The resulting solution is 974 = (7 + 6)*(75 - 2) + 25.  Then I looked at the option of working down from 1000 instead and found the much easier solution of 974 = 10*(75 + 25 - 2) - 6.

Both contestants have got to one away with 975 = (7 + 6)*75.  Lily has found the second of the solutions that I listed.

Oli: 975
Ben: 975
Me: 974
Lily: 974

Scores: Oli 4 (17), Ben 4 (17), me 21

First break: ARTS COVE ("Ain't no sunshine")

A reference to the Bill Withers song, but also a somewhat literal definition for OVERCAST.

David's talk is about words derived from the Latin word manus, meaning hand: manicure, manual, manoeuvre, manure, manuscript, and manufacture.  I'm surprised he did not mention chairman here.

Round 4: L O E T S G I T D

I had STOLE, TITLES, GOLDEST (applying the single-syllable rule), SLOTTED, and SLITTED (not valid, as it turns out; I thought it would be an adjective, but that is not listed).  Just after time I saw GODLIEST for eight, and that was a bad miss.

Ben looks a little shamefaced about having only STOLE for five, and his concerns are realised as Oli has found SLOTTED for seven.  That finally separates the contestants, who have otherwise matched each other so far.  David is on track as always, having found GODLIEST for eight.

The other sevens here are TOILETS / LITOTES ("a figure of speech in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in not bad at all"), EGOTIST, STILTED, GLOTTIS ("the opening at the upper part of the larynx, between the vocal cords"), DOTTLES (DOTTLE: "the plug of half-smoked tobacco in the bottom of a pipe after smoking") / DOTTELS (DOTTEL being a variant spelling of DOTTLE), and DIGLOTS (DIGLOT meaning someone who is bilingual).


Scores: Oli 11 (24), Ben 4 (17), me 28

Round 5: R B R P A U A O S


It's back to equal results from the contestants, with Oli having POURS to Ben's AURAS.  David points out that Ben could have extended his answer to AURORAS, and has also found UPROARS as an alternative seven.

The other sevens are ARBOURS and ARROBAS (ARROBA being a unit of weight or liquid volume, in some Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking countries).


Scores: Oli 11 (29), Ben 4 (22), me 35

Round 6: Target 916 from 25 5 2 3 4 5

Ben opts for a single large number, and the lack of large small numbers means that a large target may be challenging.  The nearby multiples of 25 are 36*25 and 37*25, with the former generally looking better as an option since 36 has factors whereas 37 is prime.  36 is 4*9, which is 4*3*3 and we can make the other 3 as 5 - 2; that leaves a 5 left over for adjustments.  So we have 4*3*3*25 = 900, 16 away from the target.  Tweaking with the 5 can get us 15 of that, and that got me to one away with 915 = (5 - 2)*(3*4*25 + 5).

Ben simply says that he has missed this one, while Oli says that he was about 70 away.  Lily has also found this tough, saying that the best she could do was 912.  That surprises me, but I'm happy to have outdone her even if it does not translate to a score difference in the solo totals.  That 912 seems likely to have been (4 + 3)*(5*25 + 5) + 2, incidentally.

After computer checking confirmed there was a solution, I eventually looked hard at the possibility of 920 - 4 and figured it out: 916 = (5 + 3)*(25 - 2)*5 - 4.  That turns out to be the only solution.

Oli: [not in range]
Ben: [no answer]
Me: 915
Lily: 912

Scores: Oli 11 (29), Ben 4 (22), me 42

Second break: LAWN SLOB ("Weapon of choice for bunnies")

That clue seems a bit tenuous, as the answer of SNOWBALL is being linked via "snow-bunnies", a term that was never mentioned.

Round 7: T C Y L E I A U R

I had LICE, TELIC ("tending to a definite end"), CARTEL, and ARTICLE / RECITAL.  After time I noted other sevens of CRUELTY / CUTLERY.

Again Ben has a five, this time RELIT; that is not valid, as it turns out -- LITRE would be better with those letters -- but its validity is not addressed by the show as Oli has taken the points with his seven of CRUELTY.  That puts him more than a conundrum's worth ahead, with very little time left for Ben to make a recovery.  David points out another seven of REALITY, but also the eight of LITERACY.

The other eight here is RETICULA (plural of RETICULUM: "a network").  The other sevens are CURTAIL, IRATELY, CLARITY, ACUTELY, AURICLE ("a part like or likened to an ear"), UTRICLE ("a small sac or bag-like body, as an air-filled cavity in a seaweed"), and CAUTERY ("an escharotic substance or a hot iron used to destroy tissue").


Scores: Oli 18 (36), Ben 4 (22), me 49

Round 8: Target 589 from 75 100 5 7 10 2

Ben has to outpoint Oli on this round to still have a chance, but goes for a safe family mix.  (He may have been scared off by the surprisingly tough previous numbers round.)  My first observation was that the offset of 14 for the standard method was 2*7, and I soon had 589 = 5*100 + 75 + 2*7.

Ben is seven away with 582, but Oli ensures his victory by finding that solution that I did; it was also Lily's approach.

Oli: 589
Ben: 582
Me: 589
Lily: 589

Scores: Oli 28 (46), Ben 4 (22), me 59


The ending letters were almost in the right position, which helped me to quickly see the answer of LIBRARIAN.  Ben got there a bit later to take the consolation prize of solving the conundrum.

Oli: [no answer]
Ben: LIBRARIAN (10s)

Scores: Oli 28 (46), Ben 4 (32), me 69

There was fairly little to separate the contestants tonight; Ben's conundrum solution offset Oli's result on the last numbers round, so the difference in final scores reflects the advantage that Oli gained from Ben's five-letter words.  It was not the most helpful set of words tonight to get an advantage on, but Oli did navigate that territory better.  The numbers, too, provided a bit more challenge than they sometimes do, so that was good.  All up, definitely a game that Oli deserved to win, but Ben can feel that he had always been in with a chance.


Sam G said...

2. DOCK. A lot of awful mixes in this season.
3. 974 = (75+25-2)*10 - 6
5. UPROARS. Wondered whether this would be valid.
6. four off: 912 = ((5+5+2)*25 + 4) * 3
8. 589 = (75+2)*7 + 5*10
9. LIBRARIAN - 6.9s. Geoff, consolution is a fitting new word.

Mike Backhouse said...

(6+7)*75=975 (1 off)
(5*(5+2))*(25+4-3)=910 (6 off and went over time)
5*100+75+10+7-2=590 (1 off)

Geoff Bailey said...

Heh. Thank's for the typo warning, Sam. Surprisingly fitting, as you say.