Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Ep 137: Daniel Drumm, Samuel Hastings (June 30, 2016; originally aired February 8, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Daniel Drumm takes his turn in the champion's seat tonight, after his close win over Felix last night.  Richard turns to the topic of the paper that Daniel recently had published (as I mentioned in the previous episode, that was Thermodynamic stability of neutral Xe defects in diamond), and asks what it was about.  Daniel explains that it was on a particular defect in diamond, involving a xenon atom, adding that these defects are relatively simple to think about: You take a couple of atoms out and put something else in, and maybe a little bit of a hole.  In response to Richard's followup question about utility, Daniel notes that this idea of making defects in any kind of semiconductor is the basis for all of modern electronics.

Tonight's challenger is Samuel Hastings, a lawyer, university lecturer, and business manager.  Samuel lectures in both criminal law and trial advocacy, and notes that he is a lawyer by training.  Richard asks whether trial advocacy is the process of teaching students how to stand up in court and present their case, and Samuel agrees: It covers how to prepare your case, strategy, and how to deliver the case in court.  (As an aside, there's a video available here of Samuel talking about Curtin University's online study options.)

Daniel started off with a good word to take the lead, and should have gone further ahead in the second round.  He was undone by the Macquarie, however, which did not list his choice and that let Samuel right back into the game.  Samuel did well in the next numbers round to gain the lead going into the first break.  Three flat rounds followed, and then Samuel found a good word to put him eleven points ahead with two rounds to play.  Daniel needed unanswered points in the last numbers round, but it was a difficult one and the points were shared.  Daniel did solve the conundrum quickly, but Samuel just barely had the win, 46 to 45.

Round 1: M S L O E I T N O

I had MOLS (MOL being a unit of measurement for amount of substance), MOLES, MOTIONS, EMOTIONS, and OILSTONE ("a fine-grained whetstone whose rubbing surface is lubricated with oil").  After time I checked up on LOONIEST (valid) and MOONIEST (also valid), then noted MOISTEN as another seven.  A final E for LIMESTONE would have been nice, but a Y for SOLEMNITY was also a possibility (or G for MOLESTING, P for SIMPLETON, plus some other options).

Samuel starts off with MOLES for five, outdone by Daniel who has MOISTEN for seven.  David has found EMOTIONS for eight.

SIMOLEON is not in the Macquarie, but there is one other eight: TOILSOME.  There's various other sevens to be had, of which I'll just mention MOONLIT.

Samuel: MOLES

Scores: Daniel 0 (7), Samuel 0, me 8

Round 2: C N G A E P D A E

I had CANE, PECAN, a slightly uncertain PANGED (not valid, as it turns out -- PANG is only listed as a noun), DECANE, and ENCAGED.  After time I noted AGENDA as another six.

Again Samuel has a five, this time PAGED, while Daniel has longer.  But it's good news for Samuel, as Daniel has fallen into the trap of PANGED.  Unfortunate!  (I'll note that my Chambers does list verb senses of PANG.)  An eleven-point swing on that result, and Samuel closes the gap to two points.  David has found ENCAGED.

The remaining sixes are ENCAGE, CANAPÉ, and the interesting PADNAG ("an ambling nag").

Daniel: [invalid -- PANGED]
Samuel: PAGED

Scores: Daniel 0 (7), Samuel 0 (5), me 15

Round 3: Target 422 from 100 25 5 2 6 7

Gah, I lost the plot a bit on this one.  As the numbers went up I noted that 7*2*6*5 = 420, and then the closeness of this to the target ended up putting me off a bit.  I did write that down as a fallback, and nearly ended up having to use it.  Very late in the piece I found a better option: 423 = (6 - 2)*100 + 25 - (7 - 5), but I knew that I was missing something.

After time I thought about it more sensibly and found some of those better approaches.  I put 5 and 2 aside to make the final offset of 3, and then easily saw 422 = (7 + 6)*25 + 100 - (5 - 2).  I also considered making 420 other ways, and somewhat later found 422 = 6*(100 - 25 - 5) + 2.

Daniel has not managed to get in range, but Samuel has found his way to one off with the same 423 that I did.  That was also the best that Lily could do.

Daniel: [no answer]
Samuel: 423
Me: 423
Lily: 423

Scores: Daniel 0 (7), Samuel 7 (12), me 22

First break: POI ROPES ("Muriel's spit")

The clue is referring to the movie Muriel's Wedding, where the protagonist comes from the town of PORPOISE Spit.  And there's a connection between that movie and Richard, as we find out, because in the bean bag scene we hear his voice as the newsreader on the relevision.

David's talk is about the words yoga, yoke, and subjugate.

Round 4: L S R U E U F R D

I had SLUR, RULES, wondered about FLEURS (not valid), FURRED, SURFER, SURFED, and RULERS.  After time I checked up on FURLERS (not valid) and REFURLS (valid), then rather later realised that my first word extended to give SLURRED.  Oh, dear, I really should have seen that within time.

It's sixes from each contestant, with Daniel having SURFED and Samuel going for RULERS.  David has accurately found SLURRED.

That's both sevens listed, but there is an eight: SULFURED (SULFUR as a verb: "to treat or fumigate with sulfur").

Daniel: SURFED
Samuel: RULERS

Scores: Daniel 6 (13), Samuel 13 (18), me 28

Round 5: A E A B S T I P W

Samuel finally gets a vowel other than A or E, but it took a while.  I had ABASE, ABATES, and BAPTISE.

It's fives from the contestants this time, with Samuel having BASTE while Daniel had SWEPT.  David noted WASABI, but has gone with BAPTISE as his choice.

BAPTISE is the only seven.  The other sixes are SAWPIT / PITSAW, PASTIE / PIETÀS, AWAITS, and ABATIS ("Military an obstacle of felled trees with bent or sharpened branches directed towards the enemy, and now often interlaced with barbed wire").

Daniel: SWEPT
Samuel: BASTE

Scores: Daniel 6 (18), Samuel 13 (23), me 35

Round 6: Target 160 from 50 4 1 9 5 4

I started with 160 = 4*4*50/10, then noted a more common approach of 160 = (4 + 4 - 5)*50 + 9 + 1.  Finally I went for small numbers alone with 160 = 4*4*(9 + 1).  After time I spotted another way to do that, with 160 = (9 - 1)*4*5.

Both contestants have solved this, but with different methods.  There's some amusement when Samuel says that he has "160 too", then adjusts that to "160 as well".  His solution was 160 = 4*50 - (9 + 1)*4.  Daniel went for the third of the solutions that I found (although in a different order) -- 160 = (1 + 9)*4*4.  Lily demonstrates a variant of the second solution that I had: 160 = (4 - 1)*50 + 5 - 4 + 9.

That's three rounds with no swing, so Samuel stays five points ahead.  Looks like this could be another close game.

Daniel: 160
Samuel: 160
Me: 160
Lily: 160

Scores: Daniel 16 (28), Samuel 23 (33), me 45

Second break: LOAN LIST ("An equine stud")

A fairly straight clue for a STALLION.

Round 7: O E A H N B M E O

That last vowel was an unexpected choice; maybe Daniel was angling for an I and BOHEMIAN?  It was certainly worth a shot, if so.  I had HONE, tried to remember which of BOHEA / OBEAH was valid (both are, as it turns out; BOHEA is "a cheap tea made from leaves grown late in the season" and OBEAH is a variant spelling of OBI in the sense of "a kind of sorcery practised by [...] some of the peoples of Africa, the West Indies, etc."), HAMBONE, and BEMOAN.

The letters have not been that kind today, and Daniel has been limited to the four of BOON.  But Samuel has done well to find BEMOAN for six.  That puts him eleven points ahead, and that is a significant advantage at this point in the game.  David has found HAMBONE for seven.

HAMBONE is the only seven, and BEMOAN the only six.  The other fives are BEANO (colloquial form of BEANFEAST: "a festivity; celebration; a lavish feast"), ENEMA, and MAHOE (a type of tree from New Zealand).

Daniel: BOON
Samuel: BEMOAN

Scores: Daniel 16 (28), Samuel 23 (39), me 52

Round 8: Target 713 from 75 8 5 1 6 2

I had several serious oversights this time, which stopped me from finding a solution.  It's an awkward target, as far away from multiples of 75 as is possible.  My first idea was to start with 2*5*75 and tweak down, but I could not find a good tweak with the 2.  In the end I tweaked my way up from 9*75, getting to one away with 714 = (8 + 1)*(75 + 5) - 6.

After time I found the factorisation 23*31, but that seems impossible to use.  A little later I revisited my original idea of tweaking from 750, and realised one of my oversights: Tweaking with the 5 instead easily leads to a solution: 713 = 5*(2*75 - 6) - (8 - 1).  Argh.  And just while writing this up I found my second oversight, in discarding an approach that I had considered within time -- since the target is maximally far away from a multiple of 75, it is very close to half such.  In fact, the target is (19*75 + 1)/2.  Looked at that way, another solution easily emerges: 713 = ((8 + 6 + 5)*75 + 1) / 2.  Unfortunately, within time I had miscomputed and thought I wanted 1476/2 rather than 1426/2, and that prevented me from finding this.  Doubly disappointing, especially as those are the only two solutions to this round.

Daniel needs unanswered points here to stay in with a chance, but it's a tough mix and that may be bad news for him.  Both contestants declare 714, which is good news for Samuel, and he has made no mistake with his answer of 714 = (8 + 2)*75 - 6*(5 + 1).  Oh, nicely done!  That turns out to also be Daniel's method.  714 was also the best that Lily could manage; it's been a tough night on the numbers.

Daniel: 714
Samuel: 714
Me: 714
Lily: 714

Scores: Daniel 23 (35), Samuel 30 (46), me 59


Not that much rearrangement required here, just moving the FOR to the beginning to get FORTUNATE.  I found that easily enough, and Daniel continued his good form to solve that soon after.  A consolation prize, perhaps, but the game is Samuel's.

Daniel: FORTUNATE (3.5s)
Samuel: [no answer]

Scores: Daniel 23 (45), Samuel 30 (46), me 69

In the end the difference was a single point, and Daniel would be entitled to feel somewhat hard done by over the round 2 result which cost him the game.  Both the letters and the numbers were a bit unfriendly tonight -- it's a rare game indeed when David and Lily are restricted to 70 points (it has happened five other times in games recorded on this blog, and has been below that only four times).  That made it hard to come back after falling behind, and he almost managed it but fell that one crucial point short.  Bad luck for him, but well done to Samuel for making the most of the chance presented to him.

I feel that I should have done better on the numbers today, but it is some comfort that Lily also had exactly the same issues.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

(6-2)*100+22-7+5=423 (1 off) and after time 6*(100-(25+5))+2=422
BEAST and PASTIE just after time
x BEEMAN and HAMBONE after time
(8+1)*(75+5)-6=714 (1 off and went over)
FORTUNATE (1s- my quickest ever conundrum)