Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Ep 136: Felix Johnson, Daniel Drumm (June 29, 2016; originally aired February 7, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Felix Johnson is back for this third night, and Richard notes that Felix also works as a teacher's assistant.  In fact, as Felix explains, he does so at a German school -- he was a student there for six or seven years, and then after he finished high school he was offered a job there.  So he helps the kids learn some German.

Tonight's challenger is Daniel Drumm, who is currently undertaking a PhD in solid state physics and recently had a scientific paper published.  (That would be Thermodynamic stability of neutral Xe defects in diamond, published in August 2010.)  Richard asks where Daniel sees his physics career going, and Daniel responds that he is keeping his options open at the moment; he would really just like to apply his mind to whatever problems come his way.  This feels like one of those flubbed opportunities, where Richard gives the contestant a hook to talk about a subject but they don't take him up on that.

This game went down to the wire, perhaps aided by some difficult early letter mixes.  The contestants started out with equal results in the first round, then Felix did well to spot a good option in the second round and take the lead.  It did not last long, however, as Daniel scored points in the first numbers round to overtake Felix.  Felix managed to do better in the remaining numbers rounds, sharing the points with Daniel, and a bit each way on the letters saw the scores tied going into the conundrum.  It seemed like it should have been difficult, but Daniel saw the answer very quickly and so became the new champion, 47 to 37.

I started out a little tilted, once again being just a little too slow to see some better word options.  (The first of those would have outdone David, for that matter.)  But the rest went smoothly enough, and my numberwork was much better than yesterday.  Daniel was too fast for me on the conundrum, but I'd done enough to keep my win record this series intact.

Round 1: N F H I A E T N E

The consonants are a bit awkward, and I really don't like that final vowel choice -- much better to hope for a decent consonant, in my opinion.  The D would have allowed easy sevens of FAINTED / DEFIANT, but the second E was very little use.  I had FAIN, FAINT, INFANT, and THEINE ("caffeine found in tea").  After time I noted NEATEN as another six, and then realised that I could extend INFANT to INFANTE ("a son of the king of Spain or of Portugal, not heir to the throne").  I really should have seen that sooner!

It's fives from the contestants, with Daniel having FAINT while Felix opted for FAITH.  David has been limited to six, going with INNATE as his choice.  Huh.  Well, now I'm doubly sad about missing the extension to INFANTE within time.

INFANTE is the only seven.  The remaining sixes are ETHANE and TENIAE (plural of TENIA, the American spelling of TAENIA: "the fillet or band on the Doric architrave, which separates it from the frieze"; it is also a tapeworm genus).

Felix: FAITH
Daniel: FAINT

Scores: Felix 0 (5), Daniel 0 (5), me 6

Round 2: O A O D C R F O C

Argh, those O's -- so unhelpful!  I kept feeling that I was missing something, but getting anything longer than four was a struggle.  I had CODA, ROAD, DOOR, ROOF, and FORDO.  Just as time expired I finally realised what I was missing: ACCORD.  A couple of seconds too late to get it down, alas, and I'm a bit tilted after two longer words missed in two rounds.

Daniel has ROOF for four, but Felix has spotted ACCORD for six and takes the lead.  David has found the only other six of ROCOCO.  The other five available is COCOA.

Daniel: ROOF

Scores: Felix 6 (11), Daniel 0 (5), me 6

Round 3: Target 172 from 75 50 8 6 5 1

I almost got a little lost here, but fortunately I settled on the standard method.  The offset of 3 is 8 - 5, and I saw that I could get to 175 with the rest, giving me a solution: 172 = (6 + 1)*(75 - 50) - (8 - 5).  After time I saw that there were simpler ways; the offset from 125 is 47, which is 6*8 - 1; that gives another solution of 172 = 75 + 50 + 6*8 - 1.

Felix continues his difficulties with the numbers -- this is the fifth numbers round in a row where he has not declared an answer -- but Daniel has got to one away with 173 = 5*50 - 75 - (8 - 6).  As Lily points out, all he needed to do was subtract the 1 at the end in order to get a solution.  A strange miss!  Let's hope those three missed points do not prove to be too costly; for now, this result moves Daniel into the lead by a point.

Lily's solution was a variation of the solution that I found after time, getting to 47 slightly differently for 172 = 75 + 50 + 6 + 1 + 8*5.

Felix: [no answer]
Daniel: 173
Me: 172
Lily: 172

Scores: Felix 6 (11), Daniel 0 (12), me 16

First break: DO EXPIRE ("Bottle blonde")

Dyed hair might be done with PEROXIDE.

David's talk is about the band names Oasis and Nirvana.

Round 4: S H O A D P O I C

Gah, another set of unhelpful consonants and more O's.  I had SODA, HOODS, ASPIC, POOCH, and SCOOP.  Once again I was just a little slow, as very shortly after time expired I saw the six of APHIDS, and a little later the alternative of COPHAS.

It's fives from the contestants, with Felix's CHAPS matched by Daniel's CHIPS.  David starts by mentioning bones, and I swear as I see what he means -- he has found the eight of SCAPHOID.  As he points out, this was one of the words from his talk in episode 122, which would only have been a couple of days ago from his perspective.  So he had an advantage of it being fresh in his mind.  Still, well done, David!

There's no sevens on offer; the other sixes are ISOPOD (a type of crustacean) and CAPSID ("the coating of a virus particle, consisting of one or a few proteins whose molecules are arranged in a highly ordered fashion").

Felix: CHAPS
Daniel: CHIPS

Scores: Felix 11 (16), Daniel 5 (17), me 21

Round 5: L T N U I E M R E

I had UNIT, UNTIL, UNITE, MINUTE, ERMINE, and very late in the piece found MUTINEER for eight.  This was almost another miss!  After time I searched for sevens, amusing myself with LUMIÈRE before finding UTERINE / RETINUE.

Felix has UNTIE for five, but Daniel goes out on a limb with the six of MINTER.  He's unsure about it, but it gets the nod.  David, meanwhile, has found MUTINEER.

The other seven to be had is REUNITE.

Felix: UNTIE
Daniel: MINTER

Scores: Felix 11 (16), Daniel 5 (23), me 29

Round 6: Target 309 from 25 100 3 3 6 8

This seemed straightforward to me: 309 = 3*(100 + 3).

However, the contestants have not found it so simple; they both declare answers of 308.  Daniel has taken the surprisingly scenic route of 308 = 3*100 + 25 - 8 - 6 - 3, while Felix opted for the simpler 308 = 3*100 + 8.  After seeing Felix's solution, Daniel realises that a simple solution was possible: 309 = 3*100 + 6 + 3.  There's a bit of mutual "how did we miss that?" reaction from the contestants when he points that out to Felix.  Lily points out that option for everyone at home, then demonstrates the solution that I went with.

Felix: 308
Daniel: 308
Me: 309
Lily: 309

Scores: Felix 11 (23), Daniel 5 (30), me 39

Second break: AROMA NAP ("A broad view of the world")

That would be a PANORAMA.

Round 7: R T D O E A S L J

Some decent letters for a change, except for that J.  I'd have definitely asked for a final vowel, aiming for an I and IDOLATERS.  As it was, I had TROD, TRADE, TORSADE ("a twisted cord") / ROASTED, JOSTLED, and DELATORS (DELATE: "to inform against; denounce or accuse").  After time I found LODESTAR ("a star that shows the way") as another eight.

Daniel has TREADS for six, while this time Felix has taken the risk with JOLTERS for seven.  That pays off for him, and the scores are all tied up.  So regardless of the result of the next round, the conundrum is going to matter.  David points out the eight that I missed, and it's such a classic word for the show that I really should have seen it: LEOTARDS.

That's all the eights listed.  The other sevens are DELATOR / LEOTARD, LOADERS / ORDEALS / RELOADS, JOSTLER, and OLDSTER.

Daniel: TREADS

Scores: Felix 11 (30), Daniel 5 (30), me 47

Round 8: Target 307 from 100 25 10 6 5 8

A similar target to last time, but I found this one rather harder.  Getting to one away is easy enough (for example, with 306 = 8*25 + 100 + 6), but the limited odd numbers make getting to the target precisely a little challenging.  I spent a while investigating 312 - 5 as an option, then I considered 10*25 as a tweaking starting point and happily it all fell into place: 307 = 10*(25 + 6) - (8 - 5).  After time I found another option, making the target as 325 - 18 with 307 = (8 - 5)*(100 - 6) + 25.

The contestants are one away, in different directions.  Felix has 308 = 6*100 / (10/5) + 8, while Daniel has gone for 306 = (8 - 5)*100 + 6.  Lily has found a nice solution of 307 = 25*10 + 100 - (6*8 - 5).  Well done!

Felix: 308
Daniel: 306
Me: 307
Lily: 307

Scores: Felix 11 (37), Daniel 5 (37), me 57


So the scores are all tied up going into the conundrum; those three points that Daniel dropped in round 3 could prove extremely significant if neither contestant solves it.  We might even see two conundrums if that happens.  (In principle, the show only needs to show the conundrum that gets solved -- I think that this is Countdown's policy -- but instead they always show the first one, and then the final one that determines the outcome.  This has happened six times so far that I am aware of, in episodes 67, 255, 256, 257, 344 (hi, Sam!), and 367.)

That K is unusual, not combining well with the other letters.  Daniel spotted this very quickly, so I paused the video; it took me another five seconds to find the answer of SPINNAKER.  That's good solving from Daniel.

Felix: [no answer]
Daniel: SPINNAKER (3s)

Scores: Felix 11 (37), Daniel 15 (47), me 57

A close game tonight, with (obviously) little difference between the contestants.  Daniel seemed a little better on the numbers than Felix, but there were still some weaknesses -- it was very feasible to solve both of the first two numbers rounds, and doing so would have put him safely ahead going into the conundrum.  Felix managed to find a couple of good words to still have a chance, but that was a very quick conundrum solution from Daniel on a tough word.  Hopefully he can keep that performance up.

I missed a few longer options early on, but at least this time I got the numbers rounds.  I feel like I have a lot of improving left to do; hopefully I'll get back in the swing of things soon.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

ROAD and COCOA after time
(8-6)*50+75-5+1=171 (1 off)
8*25+100+6=306 (1 off)