Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Ep 124: Oli Bryant, Rob Carter (June 13, 2016; originally aired January 20, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Oli Bryant returns for his fifth night, hoping to secure his place in the finals.  Richard makes a passing reference to Oli's playing of lawn bowls, but then wheels out that tired question about strategy.  I guess it was inevitable, when it did not turn up yesterday.  Oli responds that the longer you are on, the more you relax, which I think is true; certainly the first game is often the hardest in its way.  He then amuses by picking up the pen and commenting that normally it would have been chewed down, but since it is intact he seems to be doing rather well.

Tonight's challenger is Rob Carter, who has been a CEO across four business sectors and is now an alliance facilitator.  Richard picks up on that last term and asks what it involves; Rob explains that when a series of companies come together to work on projects they effectively create a virtual organisation, and it is his job to help them work together.  He adds that it is all about people, relationships, and behaviours, and it is not simple because all the participants come from their own cultures and business traditions.

Once more it is a rather one-sided affair.  The contestants shared points on the first round, but that was as close as it ever got.  Rob twice fell victim to phantom letters, and in the second numbers round he used a number twice as well.  That let Oli get to a sizeable lead, and Rob was not able to come back.  He did find a good word in round seven to take points there, but the damage had been done.  Oli rounded it off by solving the conundrum, scoring above fifty again to win, 54 to 20.

I was all over the place this game, only able to find one maximum in the main rounds.  I did not solve a single numbers round (although one of the targets was genuinely unreachable).  The sole highlights were finding two longer words than David did, although I did not risk one of them.  My solo total of 59 points is the lowest I've had this series.  The lesson here, I think, is that I should not play at one in the morning.

Round 1: D R P R O I E O K

I had PROD, PERIOD, and was a bit dubious about both PORKIER* and DORKIER*.  I decided to chance the former, but neither was valid.  A poor start to the game for me.  After time I noted POORER as another six.

The contestants have both gone for sixes here, Rob with PERIOD and Oli with POORER.  David was tempted by DROOPIER*, but with the advantage of the dictionary can see that it is not valid.  He mentions ROOKIE as another six.

This round is going to hurt on the comparison -- looks like David and I would both have had invalid answers, but he has the dictionary advantage and gets the points.  Oh, well.  Six is indeed the limit, with the others being PORKER, PORKED, DOPIER, ROPIER, OROIDE ("an alloy containing copper, tin, etc., used to imitate gold"), DORPER ("one of a breed of sheep developed to be hardy and to shed its fleece; farmed for its meat"), and KORERO ("a discussion; talk"; it is a word of Maori origina, and also has an associated verb sense).

Me: [invalid -- PORKIER*]

Scores: Oli 6, Rob 6, me 0

Round 2: F N E I G T E I S

I had FINE, FEIGN, FETING, and IGNITES.  I tried to make something work with -IFIES or -EFIES, but no joy.

Rob jumps the gun by saying FINGERS when asked how long his answer is, and it is no surprise when he declares that word.  He's conjured up a phantom R for that, so his answer is invalid.  Meanwhile, Oli has found IGNITES for seven to take the lead.  David has gone with SIFTING for his seven.

The other sevens are FISTING and NIFTIES (plural of NIFTY: "Chiefly US something nifty, as a smart or clever remark").

Rob: [invalid -- FINGERS]

Scores: Oli 13, Rob 6, me 7

Round 3: Target 937 from 50 100 8 2 5 1

The target is near 937½, which I've spoken about before, but the large numbers are the wrong ones to get that to work.  I flailed around for a bit, and had to settle for one away with 936 = 2*(5*100 - 8 + 1) - 50.  After time I found another way to that by trying to use 18*50, finding 936 = ((100 + 8) / (5 + 1))*(50 + 2).  That would have been fun to explain!  Then I looked at using 9*100, and realised that I could make the offset of 13 as 9*2 - 5, giving a solution: 937 = (8 + 1)*(100 - 2) + 50 + 5.

Oli grimaces a bit as he declares 940, but he has done better than Rob who has nothing to declare.  Oli's method was 940 = (8 + 1)*100 + 50 - 5*2.  He was only a little tweaking away from the answer.  Lily demonstrates the solution that I listed above; that's excellent solving!

There is only one other solution: 937 = (2*100 - 1)*5 - 50 - 8.

Oli: 940
Rob: [no answer]
Me: 936
Lily: 937

Scores: Oli 13 (20), Rob 6, me 14

First break: PRINT DIE ("Trait of travellers and explorers")

Explorers, in particular, are often described as INTREPID.

David's talk is about Dr. Seuss, and in particular If I Ran the Zoo, in which the word nerd is used for possibly the first time in print.

Round 4: N B E O A S T E N

I had BONE, BONES, SENATE, and NEATENS.  A bit after time I spotted BONNETS as another seven.

Rob has BOAST for five, but Oli has aptly found BEATEN for six.  David has found SONNET for six, tying it into the intermission talk.  But that means he has missed the sevens, which is very unexpected.  If I hadn't already dropped so many points I'd be particularly happy right now.

It turns out there is an even better answer: NEONATES (NEONATE: "a newborn child").  The other sevens are NEONATE, BENNETS (BENNET being a type of herb), and NANOBES (NANOBE: "a tiny bacterium, less than 100 nanometres in size, found in rocks"; like a microbe, but even smaller).


Scores: Oli 13 (26), Rob 6, me 21

Round 5: A U E I B R P L H

It's an ill-fitting mix, but something about it was nagging at me.  I could not put my finger on it, finding just BEAR, UPBEAR, RUPIAH, and PLEURA ("a delicate serous membrane investing each lung in mammals and folded back as a lining of the corresponding side of the thorax") within time.  A bit after time expired I finally saw what I had been missing: HAULIER for seven.

It's sixes from the contestants, but Rob has again falling victim to the phantom letters with his choice of PEALER.  Oli has gone with BAILER for his six, and that puts him well over twenty points ahead and in a commanding position in the game.  David has reliably found HAULIER.

The other seven is HARELIP.  There's a few other sixes, of which I'll just mention HERBAL and BURIAL.

Rob: [invalid -- PEALER]

Scores: Oli 19 (32), Rob 6, me 27

Round 6: Target 640 from 75 50 100 25 4 9

Oh, dear, I got so very lost on this one.  I spotted some easy one-offs, but when I had to get something written down quickly I had lost track of them and so ended up three away with 643 = (9 + 4)*50 - (100 + 75) / 25.  Very disappointing.  Once the pressure of time was off I re-found and wrote down some of those one-offs: 639 = 9*(75 - 4), 641 = 9*75 - 50 + 4*100/25, and 641 = 4*(100 + 75) - 50 - 9.

Oli is six away with 646, outdone by Rob who has got to two away with 638 = 9*75 - 50 + 9 + 4.  But he has used the 9 twice, giving him a third invalid answer in this game.  Ouch.  That brings Oli's answer back into contention, and he has made no mistake with 646 = 75*9 - 25 - 4.  It's a little strange that he did not subtract the 9 instead of the 4, which would have been worth an extra two points to him.

Lily has not been able to solve this, and for good reason: The target turns out to be unreachable and one off is the best to be done.

Oli: 646
Rob: [invalid -- 638]
Me: 643

Scores: Oli 19 (37), Rob 6, me 34

Second break: MORE SLOB ("Undergarments worn by flowers")

In cryptic crossword terms, flowers are often referred to as BLOOMERS.

Round 7: D T R O A I C E M

Rob is still technically in with a chance, but he needs a full monty here.  It's a decent set of letters for it, too.  I had TROD, RATIO, ADROIT, CAROTID, MORTICE, MORTICED, and then tried to decide how I felt about MEDICATOR (not valid) / DECIMATOR (valid!) / DORMICATE (not valid, and I appear to have made it up completely).  I did not like any of them, so stayed with the safe eight.  After time I noted CERATOID ("hornlike") as another eight.

Oli has TRACED for six, but Rob has found CAROTID for seven.  Rob gets the points, but Oli is now guaranteed the win.  David mentions MEDIATOR as an eight here.  So that's another longer word than him I've found, although I was not willing to risk this one; if I had I'd actually be ahead of the combined total, despite a rather shaky game today.  If only I were allowed to play with the dictionary also...

The remaining eights are DEMOCRAT and TIMECARD.


Scores: Oli 19 (37), Rob 6 (13), me 42

Round 8: Target 585 from 25 100 50 9 6 5

Gah, I got hung up on making the target as 600 - 9 - 6, and that was not feasible.  In the end I had to settle for one away with 586 = 6*100 - 9 - 5, and I only just got that written down within time.  Afterwards I realised that I could make a 10 as 50/5, and so found 585 = 6*100 - 25 + 50/10.  Disappointingly simple!  Then I considered factorisations, with 5*117 leading to 585 = (100 + 9 + 6 + 50/25)*5 and 9*65 yielding 585 = (100 - 25 - 50/5)*9.

The contestants are likewise one off, with Rob having 584 = 5*100 + 50 + 25 + 9 and Oli having the same answer that I did.  Lily has found a solution, which turns out to be the first of those I listed above.

Oli: 586
Rob: 584
Me: 586
Lily: 585

Scores: Oli 26 (44), Rob 13 (20), me 49


Down to the conundrum at last.  I was a bit distracted by -NESS at first, but once I thought of -ANCE the answer of ASSURANCE followed.  Oli ended up finding this some while later, pushing his score over 50 points yet again.

Oli: ASSURANCE (20s)
Rob: [no answer]

Scores: Oli 26 (54), Rob 13 (20), me 59

It was another one-sided affair tonight, with Oli only missing out on points in one round (when Rob did well to find CAROTID).  Three invalid answers from Rob kept him from mounting any comeback, and this may well go to demonstrate Oli's point about being more relaxed -- two of those invalid words were due to phantom letters, which could just be the results of pressure.  Oli has managed to get quite far with solid but rarely exceptional answers, and they have served him well.


Geoff Bailey said...

I had a shocker of a game -- I guess the lesson is not to play at 1am.

1. [invalid -- PORKIER*]
3. 936 = 2*(5*100 - 8 + 1) - 50 [1 off]
6. 643 = (9 + 4)*50 - (100 + 75)/25 [3 off]
8. 586 = 6*100 - 9 - 5
9. ASSURANCE (10s)

Mike Backhouse said...

(8+1)*(100-2)+50-5=937 (probably just over)
x error
5*(100+25-9)+6=586 (1 off)

Sam G said...

I don't remember Geoff missing three number rounds before.

3. 937 = (100-2)*(8+1) + 50 + 5
6. one off: 639 = (75-4)*9
8. 585 = 6*100 - (50+25)/5