Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Ep 134: Anna Gunn, Felix Johnson (June 27, 2016; originally aired February 3, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

We have two new contestants tonight, after Barry Harridge successfully retired.  Taking up the champion's position is Anna Gunn, a union organiser who is also studying a Bachelor of Law part-time.  Richard asks what kind of challenges are involved in part-time study of the law; Anna responds that, despite her job title of "organiser", she is rather unorganised in her personal life, and you need organisation if you are studying by correspondence.  And right at the end, when exams are on, she'll be up for a week straight trying to cram everything in that she hasn't been doing during the semester.  I think it's safe to say that a good many students behave similarly.

Occupying the challenger's seat is Felix Johnson, a Media and Communications student who hopes to become an actor eventually.  Richard notes that Felix has a start on that goal, since he is involved in student dramatics.  Felix agrees, adding that he has been at university for three years now, and done three years worth of theatre as well; he has been heavily involved with the Melbourne University Shakespeare Company.  Most recently, he was director of a performance of Much Ado About Nothing, which they did as a 1920's garden party.

(It looks like Felix has continued to work on that goal; he's done mostly theatre work since then, but has a few WAAPA short films in his portfolio, and recently had a minor part in the Foxtel drama Secret City.  More details are here, for those interested.)

Later in the game, after the second break, Richard says that chatting during the break has revealed something that Anna and Felix have in common: They are both lifetime vegetarians.  Anna grew up on a farm, but her parents were both vegetarian.  They gave her and her brother a choice about what to eat, and Anna could not see herself eating any of the animals that she shared her space with, so she's always been vegetarian.  Felix did eat steak recently for a journalism article for the university, but says that he would not be likely to do it again.

It was a close game throughout, tonight.  The contestants started out with equal answers, then Felix got a small lead in the second round.  The first numbers of the night saw both contestants equally far away from the target, a little strangely, then Felix stretched his lead to eleven points.  Anna pegged him back over the next two rounds and took the lead from him, only for Felix to snatch it back on the last letters round.  The final numbers round was too hard for the contestants, as was the conundrum, so Felix rode that slender lead to victory, 31 to 27.

I had a bit of a failure in the last (very tough) numbers round, but other than that only dropped a couple of points against David and Lily.  A mostly good game for me.

Round 1: E I A N R S F O L


It's sixes from both contestants, with Felix going for FLARES while Anna takes the riskier option of FLORAS.  Fortunately for her it is explicitly listed as acceptable to pluralise it, so she does not fall behind.  David has found AILERONS for eight.

The other eights are ALIENORS (ALIENOR: "someone who transfers property"), FARINOSE ("resembling farina", where farina is "flour or meal made from cereal grains [...]"), and FARNESOL (a certain chemcial used in the perfume industry).

The other sevens are AILENOR / AILERON, FINALES, ERASION, LOAFERS / SAFROLE (another chemical used in perfumery), NAILERS / ALINERS (ALINE being a variant spelling of ALIGN in this instance), FLORINS, ANISOLE (yet another perfume chemical), and OLEFINS (more chemicals, although not so perfume-related).


Scores: Anna 0 (6), Felix 0 (6), me 8

Round 2: M U O A F M V E O

Wow, what a terrible set of letters.  Felix went vowel diving; I'm not sure why.  Maybe in search of an I for MOVIE (or even FOAMIE, if he was aware of that)?  I'd much rather more consonants, but admittedly there is not much that can redeem those first seven letters.  I had FOAM, AMMO, and FOVEA ("a small pit or depression in a bone or other structure").

It's a tough mix, and Anna has been restricted to FAME for four.  Felix has done very well to spot MAUVE for five to take the lead, and that was also the best that David could do.

The other fives are AMOVE ("Law to remove; remove from office") and FAUVE (noun derived from FAUVISM).

Anna: FAME
Felix: MAUVE
David: MAUVE

Scores: Anna 0 (6), Felix 5 (11), me 13

Round 3: Target 742 from 100 75 8 5 3 10

This is an easy one for the standard method: 742 = 10*75 - 8.

Both contestants surprise me by being five off the pace with 747 = 8*100 - 5*10 - 3.  Lily suggests that it is somewhat common for people to see the 75 and panic a bit and ignore it, opting to use the 100 instead, and that does seem to be what happened here.  She then demonstrates the solution that I listed.

Anna: 747
Felix: 747
Me: 742
Lily: 742

Scores: Anna 0 (13), Felix 5 (18), me 23

First break: ORCA HYMN ("Of kings and queens")

In other words, of MONARCHY.

David's talk is about words that have arisen from texting and the like, that are essentially sounds effects: mwah, ewwwwww (number of w's optional), and puh-leez.

Round 4: H I E I S P T A R

I had HIES, SHIP, PITIES, ASPIRE, and TRAIPSE / PIRATES / PIASTRE (any of several currency units).  After time I noted another seven of PARTIES, and observed PARITIES -- a word which David erroneously suggested as valid back in episode 22 (and again later in episode 79).  I also saw that a second E instead of the second I would have given THERAPIES for nine.

Anna has SPEAR for five, while Felix has managed one better with THEIRS for six.  David points out that there were many sevens here -- he mentions PARTIES and PIRATES explicitly -- but also the eight of HAIRIEST.

HAIRIEST is the only eight.  The other sevens are AIRIEST, AIRSHIP, HARPIST, HASTIER, HIPSTER, TIPSIER / PITIERS, PITHIER, SHARPIE, PIASTER (variant spelling of PIASTRE) / PRATIES (PRATIE: "Irish a potato"), and TEPHRAS (TEPHRA: "solid matter that is ejected into the air by a volcanic eruption").


Scores: Anna 0 (13), Felix 5 (24), me 30

Round 5: H D E I E N L C U

I had HIDE, LINED, CHILD, and was disappointed that a final consonant was not chosen, with an R giving the option of CHILDREN.  It would not have been an R, though, so that is of little consequence.  I further noted INCHED, LUNCHED, and LEUCINE (an amino acid) within time.  Afterwards I spotted INCLUDE as a more common seven.

Felix has CHILD for five, but Anna has found DECLINE for seven to narrow the gap.  David observes LUNCHED as a possible seven, but has gone one better by finding LICHENED.  Well done, David!

The other eight is NUCLEIDE ("an atomic species which is characterised by its mass number, atomic number, and energy state").  The other sevens are NUCLIDE (variant of NUCLEIDE) and ELENCHI (plural of ELENCHUS: "a logical refutation; an argument which refutes another argument by proving the contrary of its conclusion").

Felix: CHILD

Scores: Anna 7 (20), Felix 5 (24), me 37

Round 6: Target 315 from 50 25 5 4 7 2

I recognised the target as 5*7*9, which is thus either 5*63 or 7*45.  The latter was more immediately helpful, yielding 315 = (50 - 5)*7.

Felix is three off the target with 312, but Anna has managed to get just one away with 314 = (25 + 50)*4 + 7 + 5 + 2.  Seeing that start prompted me to find another solution: 315 = 4*(50 + 25 + 2) + 7.  Lily has solved this in the same way that I did.

Anna: 314
Felix: 312
Me: 315
Lily: 315

Scores: Anna 7 (27), Felix 5 (24), me 47

Second break: LATE COBS ("This might block your path to the solution")

Such a thing would be an OBSTACLE.

Round 7: S B I A C R E T B

I had BIAS, BASIC, CRABS, CARIES, RABBITS, and CRABBIEST.  I was a little concerned that I might be done in by the Macquarie on this front, but could not pass it up.  Fortunately it is explicitly listed.

Anna has found CRATES, but Felix has pipped her by finding RABBITS.  David suggests that previous conversation made him think that Anna's six might be BRAISE, but has found CRABBIEST as expected.

The eight in this mix is SCABBIER, and the other sevens are ASCRIBE / CARBIES (CARBIE being colloquial for a carburettor), BARBIES, CABBIES, BAITERS / TERBIAS (TERBIA being an oxide of terbium), RACIEST / STEARIC ("of or relating to suet or fat"), BICARBS, STABBER / RABBETS (RABBET being a variant spelling of REBATE, in the sense of "a cut, groove, or recess made on the edge or surface of a board or the like, as to receive the end or edge of another board or the like similarly shaped") / BARBETS (BARBET being a type of bird), and TABBIES.


Scores: Anna 7 (27), Felix 5 (31), me 65

Round 8: Target 812 from 50 75 25 3 1 2

Felix goes for a balanced mix this time, and those are an unhelpful set of small numbers.  The difficulty is exacerbated by the target being nearly halfway between a multiple of 25, making it maximally hard to get close.  I got stuck in unprofitable lines, mostly trying unsuccessfully to find a solution of the form (25*65 - 1)/2 but also trying to make something out of two-thirds of 1250, and then when time was running out was unable to get anything down that was in scoring range.  Ouch.

After time I found a way to an 11, which at least enabled me to get close using 11*75 = 825, and tweaked my way to two off with 814 = ((25 - 3) / 2)*(75 - 1).  Of course, I'd have preferred to be adding the 11 to 800, rather than subtracting it from 825, and a bit later I found the adjustment to do that, getting to one away with 811 = ((25 - 3)*(75 + 1) - 50) / 2.

Neither contestant was able to get anywhere with this target, so I won't feel too bad.  Lily also struggled, and says that the closest she could manage was 809.  There's only one way to do that, and it does use the idea I had of two-thirds of 1250, with a little adjustment: 809 = ((25*50 + 1)*2 - 75) / 3.  That's excellent work to find within time!

The target turns out to be unreachable, and there's only that one method previous listed to get to one away (with 811).

Anna: [no answer]
Felix: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]
Lily: 809

Scores: Anna 7 (27), Felix 5 (31), me 65


The contestants have been very close throughout -- Felix briefly got a lead of eleven points in round four, but Anna recovered and now there are just four points the difference.  Felix will win if neither solves it, however.

I saw the solution of DISCOVERY very quickly, but it ended up eluding both contestants, and so Felix is the winner.

Anna: [no answer]
Felix: [no answer]

Scores: Anna 7 (27), Felix 5 (31), me 75

Unquestionably a close game, but it does feel like a bit of a letdown after the previous tussle between Barry and Gary.  I think Gary must have been sitting in the audience and ruing that he had not been placed one game later.  Felix managed to do just enough to win, but this game could easily have gone Anna's way; the most obvious opportunity was the first numbers round.  Still, a couple of good results in there, and we'll see how Felix goes in his next game.


Mike Backhouse said...

MAUVE (urk...)
(7+4+2+50)*5=315 (went over time)
x out of range
x nothing in time

Mike Backhouse said...

How long will Letters and Numbers be bumped for this bike race? According to my online TV guide, it indicates L&N will be on next Tuesday and then a week later on Wed with the rest being the Tour highlights. Grrr...

I've played all the games to date live against the TV except eps 135 to 136 as my TV aerial was out of commission for a few days. For those, I'll catch up on this blog when you do your write ups Geoff.

Mike Backhouse said...

L&N is supposed to be on today but not the rest of the week.

Mike Backhouse said...

I see that L&N resumes tomorrow (Tuesday 26 July) with a double episode!

Geoff Bailey said...

G'day, Mike -- sorry for the long silence. I've been sick for most of the last three weeks. :( So the Tour de France has been well-timed from my perspective, although I see that I'm even further behind than I thought.

Mike Backhouse said...

Get well Geoff.