Friday, 10 June 2016

Ep 122: Oli Bryant, Basil Theophilos (June 9, 2016; originally aired January 18, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

It's Oli Bryant's third night tonight, and we find out that he has relatively recently become an Australian citizen; he is originally from a village called Hale, south of Manchester.  Richard remarks that his parents and grandparents came from near Manchester -- Congleton and Macclesfield -- so they have something in common.

Tonight's challenger is Basil Theophilos, a retired computer software developer and masseur, who still teaches computers to adults.  Richard suggests that it would be fascinating to teach computers to people who may be completely unfamiliar with them, and asks how old some of those students are.  Basil says that the oldest woman was 89, and the oldest man was 93.  He adds that, at the end of the first lesson, the 89-year-old came up to him and asked where she could go to buy a computer.

The contestants started off equal in the first two letters rounds, then Oli took a small lead when Basil faltered on the first numbers round.  The next letter round was shared, but thereafter it was all Oli.  Basil did not score after that point, and the final scoreline was an impressive 60 to 18 in Oli's favour.

I matched David and Lily throughout, with the only blemish being a slightly slow conundrum solution.  There was one better answer to be had, so it was not a maximal game, but a tie is rare and I'm glad to have it.

Round 1: C H R S E O E U D

I had HERS, CHORES, wondered about ECHOERS (valid), CHORUSED, DOUCHES, was unsure about DOUCHERS (not valid), and REHOUSED.

It's a pair of sixes to start with from the contestants, with Basil having CHORUS and Oli having HOUSED.  David looks a little nonplussed at this, as he points out that both words can be simply extended to eights: CHORUSED and REHOUSED.

Aside from those eights, seven is the best to be done.  There's quite a few, of which I'll just mention CRUSHED, SOURCED, REDUCES, USHERED, and EUCHRED.


Scores: Oli 0 (6), Basil 0 (6), me 8

Round 2: I A E A R M N S U

Oh, dear, Basil does like vowels.  I had AREA, MARINE, SEMINAR, and SURNAME.  After time I noted MANURES as another seven, and confirmed that SURINAME did not have a non-proper meaning.

This time it's sevens from the contestants, with Oli having REMAINS while Basil has MARINES.  David notes that SEMINAR is an anagram of both, and lists AMNESIA as another seven.

There are two eights to be found here: ANEURISM and URAEMIAS (URAEMIA: "the morbid condition resulting from the retention of urinary constituents").  Argh, I noted URAEMIA in the writeup just two episodes ago in episode 120!  There are various other sevens, of which I'll just mention SAMURAI.


Scores: Oli 7 (13), Basil 7 (13), me 15

Round 3: Target 336 from 75 25 6 7 9 5

I recognised the target as 6*7*8, and so was keen to use that factorisation.  A short think later I had 336 = 6*7*(5 + 75/25).  After time I considered using the standard method, with the offset of 11 being 6 + 5, and found 336 = (9 + 7)*25 - 75 + 6 + 5.

Basil has not managed to get anywhere with this, while Oli has managed to get to one away with 337 = 75*5 - 25 - (7 + 6).  That splits the contestants at last, although it's too early to tell how decisive that will be.  Lily has found another option: 336 = (75 - 25)*7 - (9 + 5).

Oli: 337
Basil: [no answer]
Me: 336
Lily: 336

Scores: Oli 7 (20), Basil 7 (13), me 25

First break: FOLD SIGH ("A precious aquatic animal)

The clue gives away the FISH part, and then finding GOLDFISH is easy.

David's talk is about the names of certain bones in the human body: scaphoid, clavicle, coccyx, pelvis, and innominate.

Round 4: O A I A R S T F I

Bleah, not very nice vowels and too many of them again.  I had ARIA, ARIAS, RATIOS, TAFIAS (TAFIA: "a kind of rum made from the lower grades of molasses, refuse sugar, etc."), RIATAS (not valid; a RIATA is essentially the same as a lasso or lariat, but not listed in the Macquarie) / TIARAS, and noted FAITORS which I recall turning up in my word checking before but is not in the Macquarie (Chambers lists FAITOR as meaning "an impostor").

The contestants continue to be matched on the letters, with Oli having STAIR to Basil's FROST.  David notes that Basil's continual choice of vowels made this a difficult mix, and has found SAFARI for six.  Fortunately, this will be Basil's last letter's choice for the game.

Six is the best to be done; the others are AORTAS, RAITAS / TARSIA ("inlay or marquetry in wood") / ARISTA ("Botany a bristle-like appendage of grain, etc."), IFTARS (IFTAR: "Islam a meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan"), FORTIS ("pronounced with considerable muscular tension and breath pressure, resulting in a strong fricative or explosive sound: f and p are fortis, as compared to lenis v and b"), and AORIST (a Greek verb tense).

Basil: FROST

Scores: Oli 7 (25), Basil 7 (18), me 31

Round 5: N T D S E I O L E

I had DENTS, STOLEN, LISTENED, and then considering -ETION (a rather less common option with -TION) got me to DELETION and DELETIONS for nine.  Woohoo!

Basil has STEEL for five, but Oli has found LISTENED for eight to take a strong lead.  David has found the full monty of DELETIONS.

The other eights are ENLISTED / TINSELED and SIDENOTE.

Basil: STEEL

Scores: Oli 7 (33), Basil 7 (18), me 49

Round 6: Target 536 from 75 50 8 2 7 9

The offset from 8*75 is 64, which is also divisible by 8.  That was obviously tempting, and gave me a solution with a quick tweak: 536 = 8*(75 - (9 + 7)/2).  Then I saw that working up from 7*75 was much simpler: 536 = 7*75 + 9 + 2.

Basil has been just a little too slow to get his answer down, unfortunately for him.  Oli has found the second of the solutions that I listed, putting hiim 25 points ahead and it's very unlikely that Basil will come back from this deficit.  Lily has also solved it using that method.

Oli: 536
Basil: [no answer]
Me: 536
Lily: 536

Scores: Oli 17 (43), Basil 7 (18), me 59

Second break: BALD ROAR ("Island where man will find his best friend")

Man's best friend is proverbially a dog, leading us to LABRADOR.  But did the person who makes these clues get confused?  LABRADOR is the mainland part of Newfoundland and Labrador -- it is Newfoundland that is the island.

Round 7: P D K M U I O I S

I had DUMP, PODIUM, PODIUMS, and amused myself by noting MUDKIPS.

Basil needs to outscore Oli here to still have a chance, but his five of PIOUS is unlikely to do that.  Indeed, Oli has found PODIUMS for seven.  David points out that Basil could have extended his answer to IMPIOUS for seven, and adds that PODIUMS was the best that he could do, also.  Oli is now guaranteed the victory, but there's still points to play for.

The other sixes are SODIUM / ODIUMS, IDIOMS / IODISM ( "a morbid condition due to the use of iodine or its compounds"), OPIUMS, and OIDIUM ("one of a chain of spores budded off from the end of the hyphae of a fungus, which attacks the green parts of a grape vine").  And since the expected plural form of OIDIA is not listed, that means that OIDIUMS would have to be accepted as another seven.

Basil: PIOUS

Scores: Oli 24 (50), Basil 7 (18), me 66

Round 8: Target 924 from 50 75 4 1 5 3

Making this as 925 - 1 seems like the obvious approach, but I got hung up on factorisations.  900 is 12*75, which leads us to see that the target is 12*77, and fortunately I was able to play around with that a bit to find an answer: 924 = 4*(3*75 + 5 + 1).  Then I went back to the standard method and found the alternative of 924 = 4*5*50 - 75 - 1.

A note here about technique that I use when tweaking, in case it helps anyone else: I wrote down 3*4*75, and then looked at how I might tweak with 3, 4, or 3*4 and the remaining numbers to get to the target.  In this instance I found 4*(5 + 1) = 24 and all was well.  I did have to rewrite, though, which I don't always have to do (and part of why I write it down to start with) -- if I had found a tweak with the 3 then it would have been sufficient to just insert brackets appropriately.

Basil has happily found a solution in the numbers round here, getting to 924, while Oli says that was 924 closer than he got.  But Basil then realises that he has used a number twice, and so does not have a solution after all.  Lily is called upon to demonstrate a solution, using the second of those that I listed.

Oli: [no answer]
Basil: [invalid]
Me: 924
Lily: 924

Scores: Oli 24 (50), Basil 7 (18), me 76


Down to the conundrum, and I've managed to keep pace with David and Lily.  I'm in good shape to post a tie with them, which is nice.  I had a minor stumble where I took a little too long to double-check my answer, so when I buzzed at the three second mark it was with the sound of Oli's buzzer in my ears.  We both found FORMALITY, but he got there quicker.

Basil: [no answer]

Scores: Oli 34 (60), Basil 7 (18), me 76

It started out close, but then it just drifted away from Basil.  He was not able to score points in any of the numbers rounds, nor take points from Oli in any of the letters rounds.  In the end he was only able to score points in the first three letters rounds, and the final margin ended up reflecting this disparity.  Oli played well, and was able to find close answers in two of the numbers rounds even if he could not solve them.  This kept his score high, and after three games he is averaging a very respectable 59 points.  If he can get through the fourth game then he should make the finals.

I'm happy to get the tie with David and Lily here, although it was a rare chance to outdo them -- the better words in round two were findable.  They certainly don't give many opportunities!


Sam G said...

This is just as well, I was about to make a stern complaint about the lack of placeholders.

3. 336 = 6*7*(5+75/25)
6. 536 = 8*75 - 50 - 2*7
8. 924 = 4*5*50 - 75 - 1
9. FORMALITY - 2.1s

Justin Thai said...

I was pretty chuffed to get the 9 letter word, that's rare for me...

Oli continues a long line of dominating British players...

About 2 Seconds

Mike Backhouse said...

Sam's way
Sam and Justin's way
x grrr...