Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ep 138: Samuel Hastings, Matthew Ball (July 1, 2016; originally aired February 9, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Samuel Hastings takes up the champion's chair tonight, and Richard asks for some more information about Samuel's teaching methods.  Samuel expounds that he does a lot of teaching online (I linked to a video yesterday of him talking about that), so he teaches students all over the world and throughout Australia, live using the Internet, and everyone can interact.  A virtual lecture hall, is how Richard puts it.

Tonight's challenger is Matthew Ball, who travels all over Australia as a business development manager.  Richard enquires as to just how remote that travel gets, and Matthew responds that they are off to Ularu in three months.  He adds that that might be more of a bit of playtime with the clients, but he does bounce around a lot -- Brisbane one week, Hobart, then Perth, that kind of thing.  He also throws in a Melbourne mention, since that is where the filming is.

Both contestants found the same good word in round one (aided by it coming up before in the previous episode, really), then had invalid answers in the second round.  Thereafter it was all Samuel, who managed to find better numerical answers and longer words, except for one letters round that the contestants tied on.  Samuel also solved the conundrum, pushing him over the half century for a final score of 58 to 12.

Round 1: B D N S A E A O M

I had BANDS, noted ABEND, AMBONES (alternative plural of AMBO: "(in early Christian churches) one of the two raised desks from which gospels and epistles were read or chanted"), DAEMONS, and BEADSMAN ("a man who prays for someone else, as a duty, and especially when paid for it").  A little after time I saw the more common eight of ABDOMENS.

It looks like Matthew was paying attention from the audience during the last game, as both contestants have found BEMOANS for seven.  Samuel is, of course, confident about it now.  David has found ABDOMENS for eight.

The remaining eight is ADENOMAS (ADENOMA: "a tumour originating in a gland").  The other sevens are ABDOMEN, ADENOMA, MASONED, AMOEBAS, BASEMAN, and MAENADS (MAENAD: "frenzied or raging woman").

Matthew: BEMOANS

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

Round 2: D H I O E B U R D

A difficult mix; I had HIDE and BURIED.  After time I noted BIDDER as another six, and amused myself by postulating that an HOURBED would be one twenty-fourth of a day bed.

It's six from Matthew, while Samuel declares seven.  But both contestants have erred: Matthew went with DERIDE, inventing a second E, while Samuel's option of BRIDED only has six letters.  BRIDE is not listed as a verb, so it would have been invalid even if he had the count right.  David has gone with BIDDER as his six.

The other sixes are BIRDED (BIRD as a verb: "to catch or shoot birds"), HORDED (HORDE as a verb: "to gather in a horde"), BODIED, BORIDE, and REDBUD (a type of tree).

Incidentally, a fifth vowel here would have replaced that last D with an E, allowing the unusual eight of BEDOURIE ("a camp oven used in the bush, the lid of which serves as a frying pan").

Samuel: [invalid -- BRIDED]
Matthew: [invalid -- DERIDE]

Scores: Samuel 0 (7), Matthew 0 (7), me 14

Round 3: Target 773 from 75 50 6 5 2 7

Applying the standard method suggests putting the 2 aside and getting to 775 with the rest.  The nearby multiples of 75 use multipliers of 10 and 11, and the latter works out very nicely: 773 = (6 + 5)*75 - 50 - 2.  After time I noted another solution of 773 = 7*75 + 5*50 - 2.

Matthew has only just got into the scoring zone with 763, which I'll guess was 2*5*75 + 7 + 6.  But Samuel has solved this with the same solution that I found within time.  That was also Lily's approach.

Samuel: 773
Matthew: 763
Me: 773
Lily: 773

Scores: Samuel 10 (17), Matthew 0 (7), me 24

First break: CEDE RIBS ("The person who takes de notes")

The humorous mispronunciation of "the" as "de" leads to DESCRIBE ("de scribe").

David's talk follows on from yesterday's talk about yoga, by discussing other exercises: pilates and tae bo.

Round 4: L D E I T R S O N

I had IDLE, TILED, LISTED, LOITERS, SOLDIER, and TENDRILS.  I'd have definitely taken a final vowel here, hoping for an A and IDOLATERS, but the next vowel would have been an I.  That allows DIORITES (DIORITE being a type of rock), but I don't think I'd have found that.

Matthew has STONED for six, outdone by Samuel's find of SOLDIER.  That gives Samuel a 17 point lead, and Matthew is in trouble.  David has found TENDRILS.

The other eight is RETINOLS.  There's many other sevens, of which I'll just mention STEROID / EDITORS / SORTIED, ORIENTS, NOSTRIL, and RODENTS.

Matthew: STONED

Scores: Samuel 10 (24), Matthew 0 (7), me 32

Round 5: T N R F I A O T N

I had TRAIN, RATION, INFANT, and INTORT ("to twist inwards, curl, or wind").

Samuel has FAINT for five, while Matthew has settled for a "safe" five of FRONT.  Presumably he was contemplating AFRONT, but if so he was right to avoid it.  David has opted for INFANT as his six.

The other sixes are NATION / ANOINT, ATTORN ("to turn over to another; transfer"), TRITON ("any of various marine gastropods [of a certain family]"), NATRON (a mineral), and FANION ("a small flag used to mark surveying stations").  But there is a seven: FONTINA ("a mild-flavoured soft Italian cheese made from cow's milk [...]").  Vexingly, I'd considered that within time, but could not recall its validity.

Samuel: FAINT
Matthew: FRONT

Scores: Samuel 10 (29), Matthew 0 (12), me 38

Round 6: Target 673 from 50 10 2 1 10 8

The small numbers are a bad set -- all high or low, lacking those key intermediate numbers.  And wow, I lost the plot badly on this one; I got completely lost, and in the end had to scramble to even get something down.  I lost track of useful options doing so, and ended up nine off the target with 682 = (50 + 2*10 - 1)*10 - 8.  Ouch.  After time I got to three away with 670 = (50 + 10)*(10 + 1) + 8 + 2, then to one away with 672 = (50 + 10 + 8 - 1)*10 + 2.  I definitely should have found that instead of the answer that I did get down in time.

Matthew has not been able to get anywhere with this, but Samuel has managed to get to five away with 668 = 50*(10 + 2 + 1) + 10 + 8.  A good showing on a difficult mix.  Lily has solved this, and says that the idea of multiplying 50 by 13 was key.  It took me a little while to find her solution with that hint; it is 673 = (10/2 + 8)*(50 + 1) + 10.  That's really, really good solving -- well done, Lily!  It's also the only solution.

Samuel: 668
Matthew: [no answer]
Me: 682
Lily: 673

Scores: Samuel 17 (36), Matthew 0 (12), me 38

Second break: MERCY ONE ("Tea, opening, and wedding")

Those are all types of CEREMONY.

Round 7: L A E P G T O E R


Samuel has POLAR for five, while Matthew is slightly unsure about his eight of REPLATED.  But he's fallen victim to a phantom letter again -- there is no D.  (REPLATE is not listed, so it would not have been valid in any case.)  That slip from Matthew means that Samuel is now guaranteed to win; even a six-letter word from Matthew (assuming it were valid) would have kept him in the game.  David has opted for PERGOLA as his seven.

My Scrabble list gives PETROLAGE, but it's not in the Macquarie.  That leaves seven as the best on offer, with the others being AEROGEL, PAROLEE, PROLATE, and POTAGER ("a small kitchen garden").

Samuel: POLAR
Matthew: [invalid -- REPLATED]

Scores: Samuel 17 (41), Matthew 0 (12), me 45

Round 8: Target 682 from 7 8 9 2 10 5

Matthew mixes it up with the rat pack, which I am always happy to see, although it can be very challenging.  I apply my usual technique for getting close with six small, which is to successively divide by the largest available number and see how it goes.  In this case, the target is near 10*68; 68 is near 9*7, and in both cases we end up conveniently having the offsets available.  The resulting solution is 682 = (7*9 + 5)*10 + 2.  That was fortunate!

After time I noticed the factorisation 11*62, and turned that into another solution: 682 = (7*10 - 8)*(9 + 2).

Matthew has managed to get to three away with 685, but Samuel has got to just one away with 683 = 10*7*2*5 - 9 - 8.  (There's a minor stumble where he says "two plus five" instead of "two times five", but Lily corrects him.)  Lily has taken a different tack, aiming to make the target as 2*341, which leads her to a solution which is essentially a tweak of Samuel's approach: 682 = (7*5*10 - 9)*2.

Samuel: 683
Matthew: 685
Me: 682
Lily: 682

Scores: Samuel 17 (48), Matthew 0 (12), me 55


The OB- fragment is often useful, and I saw OBJECTION quickly.  Samuel rounds off his game by solving this first, pushing his score over fifty points.

Samuel: OBJECTION (13s)
Matthew: [no answer]
Me: OBJECTION (1.5s)

Scores: Samuel 17 (58), Matthew 0 (12), me 65

Well, Matthew started out OK in the first round, but then fizzled thereafter, including two invalid words and two poor numbers rounds.  Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Samuel outplayed him -- Samuel found those better longer words, and handled the numbers much more deftly.  I think Samuel might be in trouble against a contestant who is good on the numbers and adequate on the letters, though.  Then again, so would 90+% of contestants, so that's not saying much.

I had a good game aside from the meltdown in the second numbers round.  A shame, as I was on track for a tie with David and Lily until that point.  However, I don't think I was ever going to see that solution within time, so all I could really have hoped for was to get two points closer.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

Thanks for the write ups Geoff. Hope you're on the mend.

HORDED (lucky that was valid!)
(7+2)*50+75-(6-5)=774 (1 off)
(50+10+8-1)*10+2=672 (1 off)