Monday, 25 July 2016

Ep 135: Felix Johnson, Nicky Henderson (June 28, 2016; originally aired February 4, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Felix Johnson gets his turn in the champion's seat, after last night's close win over Anna Gunn.  Richard returns to the topic of Felix's acting ambitions, and asks whether he has a preference for stage or film acting.  Felix responds that he only really has experience with stage acting so far, but he aspires to do all types of acting.

Tonight's challenger is Nicky Henderson, who works for a travel company, and has explored (and worked in) South-East Asia.  Richard enquires about the attraction of that region for her, and Nicky explains that it is a combination of the blend of cultures and the food, but also the variety -- all the regions are quite different from each other.

Both contestants found the same answer in the first round, then Felix found a nice word in the second to take the early lead.  Nicky struck back in the next two rounds to overtake him, then Felix bounced back in round five to retake the lead by a slender margin.  The next numbers round was too difficult for both contestants, and they matched each other in the last letters round.  The final numbers round again proved beyond them, due to an arithmetic slip on Nicky's part, so Felix carried that round five lead all the way into the conundrum.  Neither ended up able to solve it, so Felix just got home by three points in a low-scoring contest, 27 to 24.

This was not one of my best games, by a long shot.  I failed to solve any of the numbers rounds within time, nor even get within one.  I also missed a very findable full monty, which is always disappointing.  Fortunately for me the contestants also struggled, so I was OK on that front, but I finished way behind David and Lily.

Round 1: R D S T A I U O N

I had DARTS, amused myself with TARDIS, AURIST (another term for OTOLOGIST: "a physician specialising in diseases of the ear"), SAUTOIR ("a long ribbon, chain, beaded band, or the like, worn about the neck"), and DINOSAUR.  After time I saw ROTUNDAS as another eight, and then a bit later finally spotted DURATION and thus DURATIONS for nine.  That's particularly annoying to miss, because I'd looked at -ATION during time but overlooked the idea of putting the S at the end (very careless) and only came up with the nonsense SUDRATION.  Bother.

Both contestants have found ASTOUND for seven, but David has accurately found DURATIONS for nine.

The other eights are AUDITORS, RAINOUTS (RAINOUT: "a suspension of a planned event due to rain"), and INTRADOS ("the interior curve or surface of an arch or vault").  A little to my surprise, UNITARD is not in the Macquarie so UNITARDS is not an eight here.  There's various other sevens, of which I'll just mention ORDAINS / INROADS, RATIONS, and TUNDRAS.


Scores: Felix 0 (7), Nicky 0 (7), me 8

Round 2: P F R E A P N O T

I had PEAR, PAPER, was unsure about NAPPER (valid), PROPANE, and PRONATE.

Nicky has "just a five" of TONER, while Felix has done quite well to find PROFANE for seven.  David mentions PROPANE as another possible seven.

The remaining sevens are OPERANT / PROTEAN ("readily assuming different forms or characters").

Nicky: TONER

Scores: Felix 7 (14), Nicky 0 (7), me 15

Round 3: Target 546 from 100 25 4 8 1 8

The target is 6*91, but that seems difficult to use.  There's various ways to slice up that factorisation (which in full is 2*3*7*13), but there's so few odd numbers that it's still troublesome.  In the end I went for working down from 600 and got to two away with 544 = 8*(100 - 25 - 8 + 1).

After time I looked at working up from 7*75, and got one closer with 545 = (8 - 1)*(100 - 25 + 4) - 8.  And then a bit later I paid a bit more attention to the factorisation 21*26 and finally found a solution: 546 = (25 + 1)*(100 - 8 - 8) / 4.

It's certainly a tough mix, and Felix has not been able to get anywhere with it.  Nicky has persisted to get to 7 away with 539 = (4 + 1)*100 + 8*8 - 25.  There's quite a few simple improvements that she could have made, such as adding 8 + 8 + 25 instead to get to 541, but getting anything in the scoring range here is probably a good result.  Lily says that the best she could do is 548, but does not indicate how.  Possibly this was another adjustment of Nicky's start: 548 = (4 + 1)*(100 + 8) + 8.

There turns out to be only one other solution, which is similar to the one that I found but makes the 21 a different way: 546 = (25 + 1)*((100 + 4) / 8 + 8).

Felix: [no answer]
Nicky: 539
Me: 544
Lily: 548

Scores: Felix 7 (14), Nicky 0 (12), me 22

First break: STOP RAPS ("Handy when dealing with different customs")

That's a slightly deceitful use of "customs", referring to country-entering and thus cluing PASSPORT.

David's talk is about some words of Romani origin: pal, nark, and shiv.

Round 4: C L T U E M I O F

I had CULT, MULCT ("to deprive of something by trickery"), CLIME, and OUTLIE.  After time I noted another six of MOTILE ("Biology moving, or capable of moving, spontaneously"), but could not better it.

Felix has been limited to four letters here, finding FOUL, while Nicky has very nicely found FUTILE for six.  David indicates that it was the best that he could do also.

Six turns out to be the limit here; the others are COMFIT (listed as an obsolete term for "a sugar-coated sweet"), ULTIMO ("in or of the month preceding the present"), FOLIUM ("a thin leaf-like stratum or layer"), CITOLE (given in the Macquarie as a variant name for two different instruments, the cittern and the kithara), and  TELIUM ("the sorus of the rust fungi bearing teliospores").

Some other sources list the seven of FILEMOT (Chambers: "of a dead-leaf colour, dull brown"), but not the Macquarie.

Felix: FOUL

Scores: Felix 7 (14), Nicky 6 (18), me 28

Round 5: G D N I E E C B H


This time Nicky has the five of DEIGN while Delix has HEEDING for seven, and the lead changes again.  David notes that NEIGHED is an anagram of HEEDING.

That's all the sevens listed, and that is the best to be done.

Nicky: DEIGN

Scores: Felix 14 (21), Nicky 6 (18), me 35

Round 6: Target 694 from 50 25 4 4 7 6

Wow, I completely lost the plot on this one.  The idea of making the target as 700 - 6 was clearly appealing, but I missed some obvious options.  Looking at other approaches, I miscomputed the product 4*4*6*7 as 692 instead of 672, and briefly thought that I had a solution.  Fortunately I caught that error, but it did cost me valuable time.  Returning to the approach of 14*50 to get close, I got down a two-off answer of 696 = 7*(6 - 4)*50 - 4.

After time I realised that I had made things much harder than they needed to be -- thinking instead of 28*25 easily leads to the solution 694 = 4*7*25 - 6.  And a bit later I saw that even 14*50 can work, with a bit more care: 694 = (25 - 7 - 4)*50 - 6.  This was a very poor round from me.

Nicky has not been able to make progress, while Felix says that he was one away from the scoring area.  I'll guess that was with 683 = (7 + 6)*50 + 25 + 4 + 4; if so, note that a small adjustment puts it just three away from the target: 691 = (7 + 6)*50 + 25 + 4*4.

Lily has also overlooked the simpler option, but has found a solution -- the second of those that I listed.

Felix: [not in range]
Nicky: [no answer]
Me: 696
Lily: 694

Scores: Felix 14 (21), Nicky 6 (18), me 42

Second break: PET SNOOP ("I think we'll give you the clue at a later date")

So the clue is being POSTPONEd.

Round 7: S L S I O E T A G

I had SOILS, STILES, LIGATES (LIGATE: "to bind, as with a ligature; tie up, as a bleeding artery"), and GOALIES.  I also observed SALIGOTS (SALIGOT being another name for a water chestnut), but recalled from the series one grand final that SALIGOT is not in the Macquarie.

It's sixes from the contestants, with Nicky finding TASSEL while Felix has GLOATS.  David has gone better with ISOLATE and thus ISOLATES for eight.

The other eight is SOILAGES.  The other sevens are SOILAGE, GLASSIE ("any glass playing marble", amongst other definitions) / LIGASES (LIGASE: "a non-specific name for any enzyme which will catalyse the synthesis of a named product using energy from the breakdown of ATP [...]") / SILAGES (SILAGE: "green fodder preserved in a silo, silage pit, or mound"), GELATOS, AGEISTS, SALTIES (SALTIE being colloquial for "a saltwater crocodile"), EGOISTS / STOGIES (STOGIE: "a long, thin cigar, composed of different blends of tobacco leaf resulting in unique flavours"), LEGISTS (LEGIST: "someone versed in law"), and AIGLETS (AIGLET being a variant spelling of AGLET: "a metal tag at the end of a lace").


Scores: Felix 14 (27), Nicky 6 (24), me 49

Round 8: Target 905 from 25 50 10 8 1 9

The final numbers round produces a high target and unhelpful small number.  I started off four away with 901 = (10 + 8)*50 + 1, then saw that I could tweak to get to two away with 907 = (10 + 8)*(50 - 1) + 25.  After time I found that I could do better by using 19 instead of 18, getting to one away with 906 = (10 + 9)*(50 - 1) - 25.

Again Felix has not been able to get in range, while Nicky declares 900.  But her answer starts 50*10 + 8*25, then trails off as she realises that is 700 rather than 900.  Presumably she still had the 50 in mind and was thinking 8*50 = 400 even as she wrote down 25.  If she'd only tweaked she'd have had that 900 she thought she did.  This could turn out to be a very costly mistake, as it is the difference between going into the conundrum ahead or behind.

Lily has done very well to solve this, and I eventually found her answer after she revealed that there was one.  It's hard to see -- I got there by noticing that 905 - 50 was divisible by 9 -- so this is really excellent solving by Lily: 905 = ((8 - 1)*10 + 25)*9 + 50.  Bravo!  This turns out to be the only solution.

Felix: [not in range]
Nicky: [wrong answer -- 900]
Me: 907
Lily: 905

Scores: Felix 14 (27), Nicky 6 (24), me 56


So it comes down to the conundrum, after a very close game throughout.  Felix is just slightly ahead due to Nicky's mental slip in the last round, but either can win it.

I got hung up on the -ING ending for a while, but once I switched tacks to consider -ANCE I soon found the answer of GRIEVANCE.  Neither contestant was able to solve this, though, so Felix scrapes hope the victor on the back of a couple of good words.

Felix: [no answer]
Nicky: [no answer[

Scores: Felix 14 (27), Nicky 6 (24), me 66

Felix found a couple of good words tonight, and they gave him just enough impetus to overcome his difficulty with the numbers.  They were rather difficult number rounds tonight, which seems like it worked against Nicky; had they been a little easier then it is entirely possible that she would have picked up enough points to be just ahead at the conundrum instead of just behind.  That's two close games in a row for Felix, and it feels like he's living on borrowed time.

I'm very disappointed with my performance tonight -- I was two off the target on every numbers round, and missed a couple of words that I really should have found (including the full monty).  Hopefully I can pick up my performance in the coming games.


Sam G said...

Just an FYI that SBS is screening an extra episode, at 17:00 Tuesday July 26th.
Then another one straight afterwards at 17:30 (the 17:30 episodes continue every weekday, as before).

Mike Backhouse said...

Great to have you back Geoff.

DURATIONS (had RATIONS, put down the remaining letters and saw it!) Otherwise an uneventful game for me.
(4+1)*(100+8)+8=548 (2 off)
LASSIE and wondered about TAGLESS
(10+8)*50+9-1=908 (3 off)
x I also wasted most of my 30s on -ING.

Geoff Bailey said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Sam. Looks like they were keen to keep the episodes matching up with weekdays, after finally resynchronising with the sneaky extra insertions of 139 and 140 during the TdF.

Congratulations on finding the full monty, Mike! TOPPER is good, and you were right to avoid TAGLESS. Some good results from you (on our head-to-head, you'd have been one point ahead going into the conundrum) -- nice work!