Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Ep 129: Barry Harridge, Nathan Boadle (June 20, 2016; originally aired January 27, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Barry Harridge gets his turn in the champion's chair, and Richard opens by saying that, back in Barry's teaching days, there was a time that Barry "brought together the letters and the numbers".  Barry explains that he had a mathematics class to teach, and the class included both computer science and literature students; they did some work with Lewis Carroll's symbolic logic, and on the final exam they were asked to use this symbolic logic to analyse the fundamental premise of Catch-22.

Tonight's challenger is Nathan Boadle, a circus performer, trainer, and fitness coach.  Nathan used to be part of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, a circus for people between eight and eighteen that is based in Albury, where Nathan grew up.  His main area of performance was aerial, so he could swing off anything that hung from the roof.  Richard simplifies this a bit to Nathan being a trapeze performer, which Nathan mostly goes along with.

The game started out much like yesterday's game, with Barry dominating in the letters and the first numbers round being too easy to pose a problem for either contestant.  Barry was a daunting thirty-one points ahead after five rounds, and it looked like we were slated for another blowout.  But a tricky numbers round gave Nathan a chance, and then two invalid answers from Barry allowed Nathan to close the gap to just seven points going into the conundrum.  Barry recovered to solve it quickly and scrape through with the win, 51 to 33.

Round 1: L G T J R S E I O

That J was a bit of a spoiler (if only it had been an H then REGOLITHS would have been available).  As it was, I had REST, LOITERS, GOITRES / GOITERS / GORIEST, and GLORIES.

Nathan has RILES for five, but Barry has found GLORIES for seven.  David opts for LOITERS as his seven.

Seven is the best to be done here; the others are JILTERS, JOLTERS / JOSTLER, GRISTLE / GLISTER ("to glisten; glitter"), and TOILERS / ESTRIOL (variant spelling of OESTRIOL: "an oestrogenic steroid hormone [...] occurring in the placenta and in pregnancy urine").

Nathan: RILES

Scores: Barry 7, Nathan 0, me 7

Round 2: B D I E T S P I R

I had BIDE, BIDET, BIDETS, and SPIRITED.  I'd have definitely asked for a fourth vowel here, angling for an A and BAPTISED.  The actual O would have been a disappointment to me, so the R did work out better.

Both contestants have gone a letter better than the previous round, with Nathan having PRIEST to Barry's SPIRITED.  David has nothing to add to this.  Barry has raced out to an early fifteen point lead, and this game is going much like yesterday's game so far.

Both RIP-TIDES and TIDE-RIPS are hyphenated, so SPIRITED is the only eight.  The other sevens are STRIPED, TIPSIER / PITIERS, DIRTIES, BIRDIES, and BESTRID (one past tense form of BESTRIDE).

Nathan: PRIEST

Scores: Barry 15, Nathan 0, me 15

Round 3: Target 138 from 75 25 100 5 10 3

It's a pretty straightforward target for the standard method; I started with 138 = 100 + 25 + 10 + 3, then noted the variation 138 = 5*25 + 10 + 3.

A low target that was fairly easy; both contestants have solved this.  Barry went with the first solution that I found (as did Lily), while Nathan has the alternative of 138 = 100 + 3*10 + 75/25 + 5.

Barry: 138
Nathan: 138
Me: 138
Lily: 138

Scores: Barry 25, Nathan 10, me 25

First break: MILK RICE (see below)

We have the longest word mix clue so far:
A word mix appeared on the show,
And we wondered if viewers would know.
So we'll give you the break
To give it a shake;
We're sure you'll give it a go.
As Richard said on returning, that may be the world's least subtle clue for a LIMERICK.

David's talk starts from Little Miss Muffet, and from there moves on to a discussion of tuffet and curds.

Round 4: T D O U S R C O P


Nathan has TOURS for five, outdone by Barry who has found PRODUCTS for eight.  Barry also steals David's thunder a bit by pointing out that CURDS was there, tying back into the previous talk, and again David has nothing to add.


Nathan: TOURS

Scores: Barry 33, Nathan 10, me 33

Round 5: I A F M S G N E S

I had MAGS, GAMINS, ENIGMAS, MASSING, SEAMING, wondered about SEAMINGS (not valid), and then spotted the -NESS ending for GAMINESS.  After time I noted FAMINES as another seven, and amused myself with SEMIFANGS.

Nathan has SINGES, but Barry has found GAMINESS to take the points and go 31 points clear.  So far, this is going almost identically to the previous game -- Barry is very strong on the words.  David had the dictionary already open at the page, confirming the validity of GAMINESS, but again does not point out any other words.

GAMINESS is the only eight.  The other sevens are MESSING, EASINGS, AGEISMS, and SAMISEN ("a Japanese guitar-like musical instrument, having an extremely long neck and three strings").  FESSING* is not valid as FESS only appears as a verb as part of the phrase FESS UP.

Nathan: SINGES

Scores: Barry 41, Nathan 10, me 41

Round 6: Target 491 from 75 50 7 5 1 9

Nathan takes a more traditional family mix, and the aim to make this as 500 - 9 seems clear.  That 500 proved surprisingly elusive to me, but fortunately I found my way there with 491 = (5 - 1)*(75 + 50) - 9.  Then I considered that the offset of 16 was 9 + 7, and tweaked my way to an alternative solution of 491 = 7*(75 + 1) + 9 - 50.  After time I finally saw the simple way to make the 500, with 491 = (7 - 1)*75 + 50 - 9.

Barry is two away with 493, presumably (9 + 1)*50 - 7.  Nathan has solved this with a variation of the solution I found after time: 491 = (5 + 1)*75 + 50 - 9.  Lily has found yet another option: 91 = (75 - 5)*7 + 1.

That solution from Nathan keeps him in the game, but with the margin above twenty points he still needs to outdo Barry in the next letters round.  On form so far, that's not so likely.

Barry: 493
Nathan: 491
Me: 491
Lily: 491

Scores: Barry 41, Nathan 20, me 51

Second break: NUTTY LOG ("One of the deadly seven")

The clue is referring to the seven deadly sins, and thus the answer of GLUTTONY.

Round 7: N D N A E I B R T

I had DEAN, BANDIE (colloquial for "a bandicoot"), BRAINED (I knew to avoid BANDIER*, from several past instances), rightly rejected INTERBAND, and TRAINED.  After time I noted a couple of other sevens: TRANNIE and TRIBADE.

Nathan has BANTER for six, but Barry has the seven of BANDIER*.  However, he has fallen afoul of the interaction between the show's rules and the quirks of the Macquarie -- although BANDY is listed as an adjective, the comparative form is not explicitly given.  Because of the spelling shift, it has to be explicitly listed in order to count, so Barry rather unluckily has an invalid answer here.  One of those situations where a little more knowledge about the show (and the Macquarie) might have enabled him to choose one of the safer sevens instead.

David has gone for TRAINED as his seven.  The other sevens are DETRAIN and ENTRAIN, so trains all around.  Some sources list END BRAIN as a single word, but the Macquarie has it as two words (as another term for TELENCEPHALON: "the anterior end of the embryonic nervous system which forms the cerebral hemisphere in the adult vertebrate").

Barry: [invalid -- BANDIER]
Nathan: BANTER

Scores: Barry 41, Nathan 20 (26), me 58

Round 8: Target 266 from 50 75 100 4 2 3

The offset of 9 looks like it is going to be too difficult to make while still preserving useful numbers.  I wrote down the fallback one-away 267 = 2*(100 - 4) + 75, and that turned out to be the best that I could do within time.  I had spent a little time near the end looking for a solution of the form (800 - 2)/3, but it just was not working out; however, after time I realised that a variation of that idea would work: 266 = (4*(75 + 50) - 2) / 3 + 100.  That was findable within time, and I wish I had seen it.

Nathan is three off with 263, but Barry is one closer with 268.  However, Barry's answer is 100*2 + 75 - 3*4, which is 263, not 268.  Presumably what he meant to do was subtract (3 + 4), rather than (3*4), but wrote down the wrong thing.  It's even possible that he wrote down the right thing but his plus looked a bit like a times -- easy enough to have things slanted if in a bit of a hurry.  Whatever the reason, his answer is invalid, and Nathan is still in the game.  In fact, Nathan's answer turns out to be exactly what Barry explained.

Lily has found a solution here; she starts with 4*75 = 300, and once she does so I see how the offset of 34 can be made.  Wow, it's amazing how easy it gets once you are assured that there is a solution; I certainly considered working down from 300 during time, but did not see a plausible route to the 34.  Lily had better eyes than me, finding 266 = 4*75 - (100 + 2)/3.

There's only one other solution: 266 = (4*100 - (3 - 2))*75/50.

Barry: [wrong answer -- 268]
Nathan: 263
Me: 267
Lily: 266

Scores: Barry 41, Nathan 20 (33), me 65


Well, it was looking like a blowout early on, but those two invalid answers from Barry had allowed Nathan to get back within range.  If Nathan can solve the conundrum then he will win.  There's only a little rearranging involved, and I soon had the answer of INCUMBENT.  Barry spots it shortly afterwards, and reaches somewhat casually for the buzzer to get the win.

Barry: INCUMBENT (3.5s)
Nathan: [no answer]

Scores: Barry 41 (51), Nathan 20 (33), me 75

Barry is clearly excellent with the words, although he can still be done in by the vicissitudes of the Macquarie, as he was in round seven.  There are signs that the numbers may be a weakness for him, though, something that did not show up in yesterday's game due to those easy rounds.  Nathan did well on the numbers to stay in contention, but was not able to match Barry in the letters rounds tonight.  It will be interesting to see how Barry handles the pressure if he comes up against a contestant able to match him on the letters.

I nearly had a maximal game tonight, just missing that last tough numbers round.  So close!

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

3*75+50-4*2=267 (1 off)