Saturday, 18 June 2016

Ep 126: Avi Chanales, Louise Kuchmar (June 15, 2016; originally aired January 24, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Avi Chanales gets his turn in the champion's seat tonight, having prevented Oli from successfully retiring last night.  Richard opens by saying that, even as a small child, Avi had always enjoyed the idea of travel and different countries.  Avi says that he used to have a map over his bed, and before he went to sleep he would memorise the locations of the various countries, as well as their flags along the bottom.  Richard suggests that this meant that Avi would put himself to sleep by counting flags instead of sheep.

Tonight's challenger is Louise Kuchmar, an office manager with a background in psychology.  Louise also sings as lead vocalist of a wedding band, so she gets to go to a lot of people's weddings, which she loves.  If I'm getting the timing right, not long after this show aired Louise helped form the acapella group Mint26, and a little over a year later they appeared on Australia's Got Talent (audition video).

It was a low-scoring and see-sawing game tonight.  Avi was a little unlucky that his answer in round one was invalid, then a shared round followed.  The first numbers round stumped both contestants, with Avi having a very unexpected invalid declaration, then a couple of invalid answers from Louise allowed Avi to take the lead.  The lead swapped twice more in rounds seven and eight, and it was Avi who was ahead going into the conundrum.  He managed to solve it, and so won a close contest, 37 to 23.

I had a nearly-maximal game tonight, just dropping the one maximum.  A nice change after the previous two games!

Round 1: M J L I A O S R E

I had MAIL, JAILS, JAILORS, JAILERS (both forms are acceptable), and MORALISE.

It's sevens from the contestants, with Louise having MORALES and Avi opting for MAILERS.  That last is not listed, however, so Avi has started off with an invalid answer.  David points out that REALISM is a safe anagram of MAILERS, but has also found MORALISE for eight.

The other seven here is MOILERS (MOILER being an agent noun derived from MOIL: "to work hard; toil; drudge").

Avi: [invalid -- MAILERS]

Scores: Avi 0, Louise 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: P I T O F E U N B

Louise's first pick gives her an ill-matched set of consonants.  I had POET, FOUNT, POINT, and wondered if PUNTIE (not valid) might be a term for a type of boat, but was sufficiently dubious to reject it, fortunately.  Such considerations used up a bit too much time, alas, as just a little after time I saw the ballet term POINTE for six.  I also noted UNITE / UNTIE as further fives that I'd not written down within time.

This time it is fours from the contestants, with Avi having FINE to Louise's BUNT.  David mentions FOUNT as a five, but has found POINTE for six.

POINTE is the only six, and the best to be done.  (As I've mentioned before, POUTINE is not in the Macquarie.)

Louise: BUNT

Scores: Avi 0 (4), Louise 0 (11), me 13

Round 3: Target 272 from 25 50 4 6 5 6

The offset for the standard method is 3, and that means we will need three small numbers after getting to 275 and so can only use one of them in the process.  I went with 272 = 6*50 - 25 - (4 + 5 - 6).

Louise is outside the scoring range with 261, presumably (6 + 4)*25 + 6 + 5.  Avi declares 275, and starts with 50*6 before saying that he has made a mistake.  That seems odd.  Lily has found a solution: 272 = 50*5 + 25 - 6 / (6 - 4).

Avi: [invalid -- 275]
Louise: [not in range]
Me: 272
Lily: 272

Scores: Avi 0 (4), Louise 0 (11), me 23

First break: UNDO THUG ("A holey snack")

That's "holey", not "holy", leading to DOUGHNUT.

David's talk is about some words whose definitions in the dictionary left him unenlightened after reading them, and possibly even more confused: parton ("a hypothetical point-like object within a proton"), spathe ("a conspicuous bract subtending a spadix"), and reveal (the third definition is "that part of a doorjamb or vertical face of a window included between the face of a wall and that of the frame containing the window or the door").

Round 4: E C O G E M D I P

I had COME. MEDICO, and IMPEDE.  After time I noted COMPED as another six.

It's fives from the contestants, with Avi having COPED and Louise looking a bit unsure about declaring MODEM.  Then she looks at her paper and realises that she has used the M twice.  David mentions the sixes of COPIED and IMPEDE.

The remaining sixes are PIECED and GEODIC (adjective derived from GEODE).

Louise: [invalid -- MODEM]

Scores: Avi 0 (9), Louise 0 (11), me 29

Round 5: R N R A I E D S A

I had RAIN, DRAINER, DRAINERS, and SANDIER.  After time I noted SARDINE and RAIDERS as other sevens.

Once again the contestants declare words of the same length; this time Louise has SANDER while Avi has RAINED.  David mentions SARDINE for seven, but has reliably found DRAINERS for eight.

The other eight is SERRANID (any fish of the Serranidae family).  The other sevens are ERRANDS, RADIANS, NAIADES (alternative plural of NAIAD, which can be a water-nymph, a particular type of water plant, or the larva of some insects), and ARRISED (ARRIS: "to sand the edge of (a piece of glass) to remove the sharp edge").

Louise: SANDER

Scores: Avi 0 (15), Louise 0 (17), me 37

Round 6: Target 649 from 50 75 3 1 6 9

The nearest easily-reachable value is 9*75 = 675, and the offset of 26 is 9*3 - 1.  That gives us a solution with a quick tweak: 649 = 9*(75 - 3) + 1.  Then I considered the option of 13*50 - 1, and was able to get it to work, in somewhat roundabout fashion that I would have been very happy to declare: 649 = ((75 + 3) / 6)*50 - 1.

Avi is seven away with 656, but Louise thinks she has solved this.  Her answer is 9*75 - (3 + 1)*6, but that is 651, not 649.  A shame, since correctly declaring that would have still given her points.  Also, that approach is easily adjustable to a solution: 649 = 9*75 - 50 + (3 + 1)*6.  That brings Avi's answer back into play, and it is 656 = 9*75 - 6*3 - 1.  That gives him five points, and puts him in the lead for the first time this game.  Lily demonstrates the first solution that I found.

Avi: 656
Louise: [invalid -- 649]
Me: 649
Lily: 649

Scores: Avi 0 (20), Louise 0 (17), me 47

Second break: ROAR CLOP ("Of rank and punishment")

Both can be meanings of CORPORAL.

Round 7: L B T O E A H C E

I had BLOT, BOATEL, BLOTCH, CHELATE ("a molecular structure in which a central polyvalent metal ion is combined into one or more rings by a chelating agent"), and rightly rejected ECHOABLE.

The contestants finally declare different lengths for their words, with Avi having the five of CHEAT but Louise retaking the lead with her six of BLOTCH.  David has found CHELATE for seven, and notes that it fits in with his earlier talk about unclear definitions, as the second definition for it is "having a chela".  (I'll note that the page which is helpfully displayed about that also includes the definition of chela: "the nipper-like organ or claw terminating certain limbs of some arthropods".)

Louise: BLOTCH

Scores: Avi 0 (20), Louise 0 (23), me 54

Round 8: Target 749 from 50 75 6 4 2 6

Another target just off a multiple of 50; I wrote down the fallback 750 = (6 + 4)*75, then looked elsewhere.  Fortunately I remembered that 750 is also a multiple of 125, and that let me get a solution: 749 = 6*(75 + 50) - 6 / (4 + 2).

Louise is two away with 747, but Avi has got to one away with the same 750 that was my fallback.  It feels like Louise must have messed up here, as the most plausible option for getting to 747 is as 750 - 6/2.  If so, did she think she was getting closer somehow?  A bad error, if that was what happened -- it has allowed Avi to retake the lead going into the conundrum.

Lily demonstrates a minor variation of the solution that I had: 749 = (50 + 75)*6 - 2 / (6 - 4).  There's lots of variants of this solution, but they are all essentially the same, making the target as 6*125 - 1 in some fashion.  There's only one other type of solution: 749 = (4*50 + 6)*4 - 75, where one of those 4's is made as 6 - 2.

Avi: 750
Louise: 747
Me: 749
Lily: 749

Scores: Avi 0 (27), Louise 0 (23), me 64


The -OTION ending was clearly attractive, and soon led to PROMOTION.  Avid found it somewhat later, sealing his victory just as Louise was picking up her pen, presumably with the intent of writing down the letters to help her solve it.  That means that her hypothetical error in round 8 will not have ended up costing her the game.

Avi: PROMOTION (17s)
Louise: [no answer]

Scores: Avi 0 (37), Louise 0 (23), me 74

A low-scoring affair tonight, with a couple of invalid answers from each contestant, and those answers that were found often being worth few points.  This was a game that could have been won by solving all three numbers rounds, roughly speaking (Avi's total from the other rounds would have been exactly 30 points, so it would also have been necessary to have gained points in one of those).  Avi was perhaps a little unlucky with MAILERS, admittedly, but he'll have to do better if he is going to last much longer.

I just missed out on a maximal game, being too slow to spot POINTE in round two.  Bother.  Still, I managed to keep both contestants scoreless, and that does not happen very often.  It's a marked improvement over the last couple of episodes, so that's good.


Mike Backhouse said...

Thanks for the write up Geoff and great game as ever.

Geoff's way
(9+3+1)*50=650 (1 off)
(6+4)*75=750 (1 off)

Sam G said...

Same words and conundrum time as Geoff.

3. 272 = (50-5)*6 + 6 - 4
6. 649 = (75-3)*9 + 1
8. one off: 750 = 6*(75+50). Didn't spot the 1 in time.
9. PROMOTION - 3.0s