Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ep 139: Samuel Hastings, Colwyn Buckland (July 12, 2016; originally aired February 10, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Samuel Hastings is back for his third night.  The pre-game chat is essentially just that Samuel has a lot of hobbies, and a lot of unfinished projects as a result.

Tonight's challenger is Colwyn Buckland, who works for a national stationery supply company, and also has a love of the stage.  That turns out to be as an actor -- Colwyn and a group of his friends are in an independent theatre company called the Theatre of Rats.  Richard asks about the origins of that unusual name; Colwyn indicates that it is an inside joke from school, but also an acknowledgement that most of them don't have money, so are working from the ground up.  They have had one performance at the Brisbane Festival, a group-devised piece called Papyrophobia in Yellow.

There was very little to choose between the contestants tonight -- they had equal-scoring answers in seven of the eight main rounds.  The crucial break came in round six, when Samuel navigated the numbers better than Colwyn did, allowing him to take a seven point lead into the conundrum.  Colwyn buzzed in first, but did not have the answer, and that was game to Samuel, 58 to 51.

Round 1: H M P E O I R M A

I had HEMP, POEM, PROEM, POMMIE, HAMMER, and rightly rejected HAMMIER*.  After time I noted HAMPER as another six.

It's also sixes from the contestants, with Colwyn choosing HAMPER and Samuel opting for HAMMER.  But David has managed to go that one better, finding EMPORIA for seven.  Nice one!

The other seven is MORPHIA, another name for morphine.  The other sixes are MOHAIR, MEMOIR, MAIMER, HOMIER, MAIHEM (varient spelling of MAYHEM) and HERMAI (one plural form of HERMA, variant form of HERM: "a kind of monument or statue, common in ancient Athens, consisting of a head, usually that of the god Hermes, supported on a quadrangular pillar corresponding roughly in mass to the absent body and furnished with genitalia, in the case of the male, and often with projections near the shoulders on which wreaths might be hung").

Samuel: HAMMER
Colwyn: HAMPER

Scores: 6 apiece

Round 2: C T R U L E A N C

Bleah, I got myself in a tangle here.  I had CURT, CRUEL, CARTEL, and just could not see any longer words, although it seemed clear that should be some.  (As an aside, note that if the T had been an E then CERULEAN would have been spelled out in order.)  A final T instead of the second C would have yielded RELUCTANT, but its lack confused me.  But it did not take long after time until I found a seven, and then several more in quick succession: NUCLEAR / UNCLEAR, CENTAUR, CENTRAL, and NEUTRAL.

Again it is sixes from the contestants, Samuel having CLARET while Colwyn has TRANCE.  Again David has found sevens, mentioning UNCLEAR / NUCLEAR.

That's all the sevens listed, but there is an eight here.  It's not CLEAR-CUT, which requires the hyphen, but CARUNCLE: "Zoology a fleshy excrescence, as on the head of a bird; a fowl's comb".

Samuel: CLARET
Colwyn: TRANCE

Scores: 12 apiece

Round 3: Target 151 from 100 75 2 7 4 3

A pretty straightforward target; everyone went with 151 = 2*75 + 4 - 3.  I also noted some alternatives: 151 = 100 + 75 - 2*3*4, and then 151 = (3*7 - 2)*4 + 75.

Samuel: 151
Colwyn: 151
Me: 151
Lily: 151

Scores: 22 apiece

First break: PUP TRUCE ("A prime cut of beef?")

In this case, the cut is an UPPERCUT, with "beef" indirectly referring to a fight.

David's talk is about "reduplicatives", words such as hoity-toity, helter-skelter, hocus-pocus, and hanky-panky.  In particular, he goes into a little detail about airy-fairy and topsy-turvy.

Round 4: G F D E I S T D O


The contestants are consistent, finding sixes once more; Samuel had GIFTED while Colwyn had DIGEST.  We're halfway through the main rounds, and the contestants are still all square.  Perhaps this match will go down to the wire.  David points out that GIFTED anagrams to FIDGET, and thus leads to FIDGETS for seven.

The other sevens are FOISTED and STODGED (STODGE: "to stuff full with food, etc.").  As is usual for the Macquarie, DODGIEST* is not listed, so there is no eight.

Samuel: GIFTED
Colwyn: DIGEST

Scores: Samuel 22 (28), Colwyn 22 (28), me 29

Round 5: B F L E A I N B P

I had FABLE, NIBBLE, FINALE, and wondered about FINABLE (valid, as it turns out).  I ended up deciding against it, alas.  After time I checked up on PLEBIAN, just in case it was listed as a variant spelling of PLEBEIAN, but it is not.

Almost inevitably, it's sixes from the contestants once more; this time they both had NIBBLE.  David complains a little about the contestants having "a fixation" for consonants, making it difficult to reach eights or nines.  While I understand where he is coming from, it's the ill-matched consonants that have kept scores low in the last two letters rounds -- extra vowels would not really have improved matters.

FINABLE and BIPLANE are the only sevens.  The other sixes are ALPINE / PINEAL and FAIBLE (variant spelling of FOIBLE).

Samuel: NIBBLE
Colwyn: NIBBLE

Scores: Samuel 28 (34), Colwyn 28 (34), me 35

Round 6: Target 275 from 50 100 7 10 10 6

Argh, a multiple of 25 but the large numbers are 50 and 100, and there's only one odd number for an odd target.  Unhelpful!  I spent too long trying to get an approach based on multiples of 25 to work, and in the end had to settle for two away with 273 = 6*50 - 10 - 10 - 7.  Afterwards, with a little more time and being willing to settle for one away, I found a better answer of 276 = 100 + (10 + 7)*10 + 6.

Colwyn has not been able to get within range, but Samuel has found the same route to 273 that I did.  That finally breaks the deadlock between the contestants, but it's not a winning margin yet.  Lily has done very well to find a solution of 275 = ((10 - 6)*7*100 - 50) / 10 -- bravo!  She really has done some excellent solving recently.

There turns out to be quite a few solutions, but I think one of the most findable ones is 275 = 7*(100 - 6*10) - 50/10.

Samuel: 273
Colwyn: [no answer]
Me: 273
Lily: 275

Scores: Samuel 35 (41), Colwyn 28 (34), me 42

Second break: RITE MOVE ("More work for extra play")

The "extra play" would be referring to the sports sense of OVERTIME.

Round 7: R D H E A I G T N

I had HERD, HEARD, GATHER, TREADING, and THREADING.  After David's complaint about too few vowels in the previous round, I'm a little amused that a final consonant was the right option here.

It's sevens from the contestants, neither using the -ING to full effect.  Colwyn went with TRADING as his seven, while Samuel chosen RIGHTED.  He was a little unsure about it, but it is perfectly fine.  Lily pipes up to point out that she has found a full monty here, the first time that she has done so.  That is THREADING, of course, and she's rightly happy about that.

THREADING is the only nine.  The other eights are ADHERING, GRADIENT / REDATING, and EARTHING / INGATHER / HEARTING (HEART as a verb: "Archaic to encourage").


Scores: Samuel 35 (48), Colwyn 28 (41), me 60

Round 8: Target 249 from 75 25 1 4 5 3

This time the standard method is nice and easy; I went with 249 = 5*(75 - 25) - 1.  Everyone else opted for 249 = 3*75 + 25 - 1.

So after eight main rounds, there's just seven points separating the contestants.  Round six might prove very costly for Colwyn, in retrospect.

Samuel: 249
Colwyn: 249
Me: 249
Lily: 249

Scores: Samuel 45 (58), Colwyn 38 (51), me 70


I misread this as NEATLY RIC at first, but did not let that distract me.  The -LY ending seemed pretty clear, and easily extended to the answer of CERTAINLY.

It's a crucial conundrum for the contestants, and Colwyn was the first to buzz in just after the halfway mark.  That should have been good for him, but he says that he was mistaken and does not have an answer.  Richard pushes him to say something, and Colwyn says that he thought it was ELECTRICITY, which is pretty far from the mark.  That gives the game to Samuel, and that must be a disappointing way to lose.  Samuel gets the remaining time to try and solve the conundrum, but is not able to.

Samuel: [no answer]
Colwyn: [invalid -- ELECTRICITY (16s)]

Scores: Samuel 45 (58), Colwyn 38 (51), me 80

Only one round separated the contestants in the end, with Samuel handling the tough numbers in round six better to take the lead.  Colwyn might still have taken it in the conundrum, but buzzing in with the wrong answer sealed his fate.  It doesn't look like he had found the right one by the end of time, though, so it probably did not cost him.  Samuel should feel a little fortunate -- he must have thought he had lost when Colwyn buzzed in at the end there.  Still, a win's a win, and Samuel survives to the crucial fourth game tomorrow.

I'm still struggling a bit with my games; I may be trying to do too much.  Missing all those sevens in round two was rather poor, and I'd certainly like to have done better on round six.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

x HAMMIER (grrr...)
everyone's method
FOISTED (I think I used this recently)
7*50-100+10+10+7=277 (2 off)
READING (and missed adding the remaining TH to it...I also rejected HEARTING - grrr... But well done on the full monty Geoff!)
(4*75)-(25*(5-3))-1=249 (took the scenic route before seeing the standard solution after time)