Monday, 20 June 2016

Ep 127: Avi Chanales, Neil McInnes (June 16, 2016; originally aired January 25, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

It's the third night for Avi Chanales, and Richard turns the conversation to the subject of tutoring that Avi does.  Avi explains that his university is located in a notoriously underprivileged community, so once a week he goes to public schools in the area to tutor fifth graders in mathematics and reading.

Tonight's challenger is Neil McInnes, a managing director of a company called Way Out Evacuation Systems.  It's unusual for a company to get explicitly mentioned like that; I would have thought the show's producers were wary of providing advertising.  Anyway, that company's main business is 'glow in the dark' technology, used for escape signs on ships and submarines, or incorporated into stair-nosings in stadiums.  As Richard says, this is for cases when an emergency happens and the ordinary lights fail.

Neil started off with a small gain in the first round, then was unlucky that his declaration in the second round was not in the Macquarie.  That let Avi tie up the scores, and then a second invalid answer from Neil in the first numbers round put Avi into the lead.  A shared round followed, then Neil closed the gap to a single point in round five.  Avi fought back immediately, solving the second numbers round to go a crucial eleven points ahead.  The next two rounds were shared, and Avi was safe going into the conundrum.  Neither contestant was able to solve it, so Avi got through with the win, 43 to 32.

I had a decent game; I did drop three letters maxima, but only one of those was findable for me.  The numbers were cooperative, and I managed to solve the conundrum to push my solo total into the seventies again, which is where I like to be.

Round 1: D N V E O U L N E

I wrote down a speculative INVADE after the first four letters, but the other vowels did not arrive.  Instead, I had VEND, LOVED, and UNLOVED.

Avi has gone with NOUN for four, while Neil somewhat confusingly says that he tried for a seven but ended up declaring the five of LOVED.  David takes a guess that Neil's potential seven was UNLOVED, but Neil further bemuses by saying that he had not thought of that.  I have no idea what his presumed dubious seven could have been.

UNLOVED is the only seven; the sixes are UNDONE, UNEVEN, LOUDEN / NODULE, VENDUE ("a public auction"), and VENULE ("a small vein").


Scores: Avi 0, Neil 0 (5), me 7

Round 2: I A O I M F L T E

I had FOAM, FLOAT, FOLATE, and FOLIATE ("having or covered with leaves") / FLOATIE.  To my surprise, later checking revealed that FLOATIE was not valid -- it's a good thing I went with FOLIATE.  After time I noted another six of FOAMIE ("a surfboard made from plastic foam").

I hadn't noticed it in the first round (although it was clear on a second viewing), but Neil stares at the board during solving, instead of the small monitors in the desk.  I guess he is somewhat long-sighted?  If so, that is going to be a significant handicap during the conundrum.  Anyway, this time Avi has FLOAT for five, but Neil has chanced FLOATIE and unluckily been knocked back.  David suggests that the reason it is not listed is that it might be a brand name; he points out that FOLIATE is a valid anagram of it.

The other seven is FILIATE (as a verb, variant of AFFILIATE).  The other sixes are FOETAL, MOTILE ("Biology moving, or capable of moving, spontaneously"), and IOLITE (another name for the mineral cordierite).

Neil: [invalid -- FLOATIE]

Scores: Avi 0 (5), Neil 0 (5), me 14

Round 3: target 357 from 100 50 7 9 10 3

The standard method is pretty attractive, and I soon had 357 = 7*50 + 10 - 3.  Then I used the factorisation 7*51 for the alternative 357 = 7*(50 + 10 - 9).  Thinking about the factorisation more, I realised that 51 = 3*17 so there were other options, such as 17*21.  It took a little work, but I managed to get a solution that way: 357 = (10 + 7)*(9*100/50 + 3).

Both contestants declare 356; Neil starts with 100*3, then realises that he has made a mistake -- he has actually written out 357 but declared the wrong total.  Presumably what he had written was 100*3 + 50 + 7.  That's a bad miss, and a lucky escape for Avi.  Avi made his life more complicated than it needed to be with his answer of 356 = (10 - 7)*100 + 50 + 9 - 3, and using 10 - 7 instead of the 3 that was present has caused him to miss the solution.  Neil, then, is also lucky not to be three extra points behind.

Lily demonstrates the second of the solutions that I listed, and then Richard points out the solution that I have hypothetically assigned to Neil above.

Avi: 356
Neil: [invalid -- 356]
Me: 357
Lily: 357

Scores: Avi 0 (12), Neil 0 (5), me 24

First break: CLIP EXIT ("I don't know how we can make this any clearer")

It must be pretty EXPLICIT, then.

David's talk is about the origin of the term green room.

Round 4: E O I O G H W B D

I had WEIGH, BOWED, and tried to decide between WOODIE (not valid), HOODIE, and GOODIE.  Fortunately I chose a right option!  A little after time I noted the definitely safe BODGIE ("(especially in the 1950s) one of a group of young men usually dressed in an extreme fashion, with tight trousers and slicked-back hair, and given to wild delinquent behaviour").

It's fives from the contestants, with Avi having BOOED to Neil's WEIGH.  David found BOOGIE, and then the extension to BOOGIED.

BOOGIED is the only seven.  The other sixes are BOGIED and BOODIE ("a burrowing rat-kangaroo [...]").


Scores: Avi 0 (17), Neil 0 (10), me 30

Round 5: C P R A A I A S T

I had CARP, ARIAS, and ARISTA ("a bristle-like appendage of grain, etc.") / TIARAS.  I rightly rejected AIRCAST, and after time confirmed that CARITAS was not listed.  That third A was a spoiler; an E would have been nice for PRACTISE / PICRATES, but the desirable option was actually a second I for PARASITIC.

Avi has STAIR for five, but Neil has found TIARAS for six and that narrows the gap to just one point.  David has decided to ignore all the A's for his answer of SCRIPT.

The seven here is PATACAS (PATACA: "the unit of currency used in Macao").  There's a reasonable spread of other sixes, of which I'll just mention CARATS, RACIST, and TAPIRS.


Scores: Avi 0 (17), Neil 6 (16), me 36

Round 6: Target 709 from 75 25 50 100 9 8

Putting the 9 aside, the subtask becomes getting to 700 with the rest.  Thanks to conversations with Sam I knew that this would be possible, although my first version was a little roundabout: 709 = (8 - (75 - 50)/25)*100 + 9.  Then I saw the shorter 709 = 8*100 - 75 - 25 + 9.

Neil is one away with 708, which I'll guess was (9 - 50/25)*100 + 8.  But Avi has solved this with the second of the solutions that I listed, and that puts him more than a conundrum's worth ahead.  That was also Lily's solution.

Avi: 709
Neil: 708
Me: 709
Lily: 709

Scores: Avi 10 (27), Neil 6 (16), me 46

Second break: CRY ODOUR ("Corrugated trousers")

A reasonable description of CORDUROY.

Round 7: Y R D E A E B M A

I had READY, an unsure BEARDY (valid -- it is a type of plant), DREAMY, and rightly rejected AMBERED.  After time I noted BRAYED as another six, and checked up on BREADY (not valid).

Neil has found the nice REMEDY for six, while Avi has gone for DREAMY.  David has done well to find EMBAYED for seven (EMBAY: "to enclose in or as in a bay; surround").

The Scrabble list suggested DAYMARE as another possible seven, but sadly that is not in the Macquarie.  That leaves EMBAYED as the only seven, and the best to be done.


Scores: Avi 16 (33), Neil 12 (22), me 52

Round 8: Target 181 from 100 75 25 50 4 2

Neil needs to be the sole scorer of points in this round, and the four large mix is worth a shot.  Unfortunately for him, he gets a target that is too easy; every finds 181 = 100 + 75 + 4 + 2 without difficulty, and Avi is guaranteed to win.

Avi: 181
Neil: 181
Me: 181
Lily: 181

Scores: Avi 26 (43), Neil 22 (32), me 62


The -ATE ending did not quite work out, but considering -ATIC lead me to -ETIC and thus the answer of APATHETIC.  Neither contestant was able to solve this, so their scores remain unchanged.

Avi: [no answer]
Neil: [no answer]

Scores: Avi 26 (43), Neil 22 (43), me 72

It was a close game, with the difference in scores being just a single point after five rounds.  But that single point could have been crucial, as it ensured that Avi was safe going into the conundrum.  Neil had two invalid answers: He was unlucky that FLOATIE was not listed (twelve points of relative difference hinged on that), and then unfortunate to have the mental slip of declaring the wrong target for his round three answer (which would have been seventeen points of relative difference).  With the final margin being just eleven points, we can see that Neil would have won if only one of those had gone the other way.  Avi was, I feel, lucky to scrape through in this game.


Mike Backhouse said...


Sam G said...

3. 357 = 3*100 + 50 + 7
6. 709 = 8*75 + 100 + 9
8. 181 = 100 + 75 + 4 + 2