Monday, 13 June 2016

Ep 123: Oli Bryant, Vanessa Rule (June 10, 2016; originally aired January 19, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Oli Bryant is back for the crucial fourth night: A good win here should ensure his place in the finals, but a loss will almost certainly prevent him from making them.  But first, there's some chat to get to, and for a nice change the fourth game chat is not about technique.  Instead, Richard informs us that Oli is a highly competitive lawn bowls player, and asks how that came about.  Oli explains that it started a couple of years ago -- "the day after a night before", he puts it -- when he had been at a wedding and a few friends got together the next day for breakfast.  They decided that it would be a good idea to get some fresh air and play some lawn bowls.  And that seems to be it; we don't find out anything to suggest this was more than a once-off.  Oh, well.

Tonight's challenger is Vanessa Rule, a secondary maths teacher with a degree in astrophysics.  Richard enquires what prompted the interest in astrophysics, and Vanessa responds that she loves maths and being able to apply her maths skills to something so fascinating just seemed like a great idea.

Oli took the early lead with a good find in round one.  A tough mix in round two saw both contestants choose invalid words, then Oli navigated the numbers better in round three to be fifteen points ahead at the first break.  Oli extended that lead in the next two letters rounds, before Vanessa finally got on the board in the second numbers round.  The gap was far too great by that point, and an invalid answer from Oli in the last numbers round was too late to matter.  Oli did well to solve the conundrum again, sealing a 55 to 15 victory.

I had an almost-maximal game tonight, just dropping the one.  David found a better option there, so I missed out on the tie, but it's been a good week for me so far.

Round 1: D T S R O E A C E

I had TROD, STORED, ROASTED / TORSADE ("a twisted cord"), was dubious about CASTORED (not valid), and was hoping that a final E would arrive.  It did, and I had DECORATES for nine.  I also noted eights of DECORATE and REDCOATS, and was rightly dubious about COASTERED (not valid).

Vanessa has started strangely with CREASE for six, missing the obvious extension to CREASED.  But it does not cost her, as Oli has found the eight of ESCORTED to take the points regardless.  David has found DECORATES, of course, and notes that it has turned up before.  That was back in episode 25, as it turns out.

The other eight here is SECTORED (CORSETTED requires the double T).

Vanessa: CREASE

Scores: Oli 0 (8), Vanessa 0, me 18

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

Ergh, not a great set of letters.  I had PADS, ADIOS, SODAS, and ADOBOS.

Both contestants have gone for "risky" fives; Oli tried SPODS while Vanessa went for BOADS.  Neither is valid, so there's no swing.  David has found a seven here: ISOPODS (ISOPOD being a type of crustacean).

The other sixes here are ISOPOD, BIPODS, and DIPSOS (DIPSO being short for DIPSOMANIAC: "someone who suffers from an irresistible and insatiable craving for intoxicants").  But there is an eight: APODOSIS ("(in a conditional sentence) the clause stating the consequence").

Oli: [invalid -- SPODS]
Vanessa: [invalid -- BOADS]

Scores: Oli 0 (8), Vanessa 0, me 24

Round 3: Target 283 from 50 25 6 4 9 5

The offsets for the standard method are 8 and 17, and both are somewhat awkward.  I thought I might need to just settle for getting close, so started with 6*50 and then realised that a solution was possible: 283 = 6*50 - 25 + 9 - (5 - 4).

Vanessa is two away with 281, but Oli takes the points by getting to just one away with 284 = (6 + 5)*25 + 9.  Lily has found a solution: 283 = (75 - 5)*4 + 9 - 6.

Oli: 284
Vanessa: 281
Me: 283
Lily: 283

Scores: Oli 0 (15), Vanessa 0, me 34

First break: BUT LATER ("Opportunity to refute")

That would be a REBUTTAL.

David's talk is about some words from New Zealand: jandals, pottle, and Plunket.

Round 4: R M D A I U H N E

I had DRAM ("a small drink of liquor"), RADIUM, UNHAIRED, and UNHARMED.

Vanessa has DAME for four, but Oli has found HARMED for six.  That puts him over twenty points ahead, and Vanessa is in deep trouble already.  David points out that Oli has missed the extension to UNHARMED, and notes UNARMED as a seven.


Vanessa: DAME

Scores: Oli 0 (21), Vanessa 0, me 42

Round 5: T L S S O I E I Y

I had SLOTS, LISTS, STOLES, and SYSTOLE ("Pathology the normal rhythmical contraction of the heart [...]") / TOYLESS (I was uncertain about this, but it is valid).  After time I spotted the more common seven of OILIEST, and checked up on SOILIEST (not valid).

Vanessa has the sadly appropriate LOSES for five, while Oli has found STYLES for six.  When he said that I immediately saw the adjustment to STYLISE, and David points that out as expected.

The other sevens are IOLITES (IOLITE being another name for the mineral CORDIERITE) and TYLOSIS ("balloon-like extensions of the walls of xylem vessels, found especially in heartwood").

Vanessa: LOSES

Scores: Oli 0 (27), Vanessa 0, me 49

Round 6: Target 813 from 75 25 6 6 3 10

I first focused on the offset of 13 being 10 + 3, but could not get to 800 with the rest.  So I switched tacks, and made a dreadful blunder: I started with 10*75 + 3*25, which is 825, but because of my previous focus I slipped and thought it was 800.  That meant I thought I could only get to one away with 10*75 + 3*25 + 6 + 6, which is actually 24 away at 837.  Fortunately for me, I had found another option using the multiplication by 10: 813 = (75 + 6)*10 + 3.  Phew!

Both contestants have solved this, with the correct version that I missed due to my error: 813 = 75*10 + 25*3 - (6 + 6).  Lily demonstrates the solution that I did find.

Oli: 813
Vanessa: 813
Me: 813
Lily: 813

Scores: Oli 10 (37), Vanessa 10, me 59

Second break: COCA SUIT ("To play unplugged")

That would be ACOUSTIC.

Round 7: C T R P E O I E D

Vanessa needs to take unanswered points (at least seven of them) here if she is to stay in with a chance.  It's a provocative mix but not quite satisfactory; I had PERT, COPTER, EROTIC, DECREPIT, and wrote down both DEPICTOR (invalid) and DEPICTER (valid) without any idea which was more likely to be correct.  After time I wrote down some sevens: RECEIPT, CORDITE, PROCEED, and PERIDOT.

Vanessa has DIRECT for six, so Oli must win; he also takes the points, as he has found DECREPIT for eight.  David has nothing to add.

The other eight is RECOPIED.  The other sevens are RECITED, PREDICT, PIERCED, DIOPTRE ("a unit of the refractive power of a lens [...]") / DIOPTER (American spelling of DIOPTRE), COTERIE, PERCOID (a fish resembling a perch), PICOTED (PICOT as a verb: "to make or ornament with picots", where PICOT as a noun is "one of a number of ornamental loops in embroidery, or along the edge of lace, ribbon, etc."), PICOTEE ("a variety of carnation whose petals have an outer margin of another colour, usually red"), and EPIDOTE (a type of mineral).

Vanessa: DIRECT

Scores: Oli 18 (45), Vanessa 10, me 67

Round 8: Target 669 from 100 25 4 9 3 5

The target is near 9*75, and the adjustment was straightforward: 669 = 9*(100 - 25) - (5 + 4 - 3).

Vanessa is six away with 675, while Oli is slightly unsure about his answer of 669.  With good reason, as it turns out, since what he actually has is (4 + 3)*100 - (25 + 9) + 5 = 671.  That would still have scored him points if he had correctly calculated it, but as it is Vanessa gets the points with 675 = 9*25*3.  If she'd just subtracted the 5 she could have been only one away.  Lily has found the same solution that I did.

Oli: [invalid -- 669]
Vanessa: 675
Me: 669
Lily: 669

Scores: Oli 18 (45), Vanessa 10 (15), me 77


I had difficulties with this; I decided that the -ATE ending was a likely contender but the rest was not making sense.  I then got sidetracked by PAPERGOAT, which was not helpful.  Oli buzzed in at seven seconds, and I fumbled around to pause the video and start an alternative timer.  Before I could get that sorted out I had seen the answer of PROPAGATE.

Vanessa: [no answer]

Scores: Oli 28 (55), Vanessa 10 (15), me 77

It was another one-sided game for Oli, with Vanessa only managing to score points in two numbers rounds (and one of those only due to his error).  Vanessa just could not match him on the letters, and that is always a huge hurdle to overcome.  Oli found some good words, and has managed to keep up a good average; he should make the finals now, and needs just 27 points in his next game to overtake Jack Dell on the leader board.

I almost managed the tie with David and Lily, but David's find of ISOPODS was just too good.  I had maximal answers aside from that round, though, so I've finished off the week in decent fashion.


Mike Backhouse said...

9*(50+25)+5+4=684 (1 off)
Geoff's way

Sam G said...

3. 283 = (25+6)*9 + 4
6. 813 = (75+6)*10 + 3
8. 669 = (100-25-5+4)*9 + 3
9. PROPAGATE - 3.0s