Friday, 29 July 2016

Ep 140: Samuel Hastings, Brian Morgan (July 20, 2016; originally aired February 11, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

It's the crucial fourth night for Samuel Hastings, and we find out that he is involved in managing a fitness company.  He manages all the background work from marketing to accounts -- everything except for the fitness parts.  Somehow there's not seemed to be much substance to the chats with Samuel -- maybe he's been the victim of a slow filming day, and the production crew were trying to make up lost time.

Tonight's challenger is Brian Morgan, a retiree with a background in banking and computers.  Brian is also fanatical about bridge, and has even played it at an international level.  As he explains, he was recently on holiday in Vietnam, and on the way back he had a chance to play in a congress (for some reason this is the term used for certain bridge contests) in Kuching in Malaysian Borneo.  He says it was wonderful fun.

The first third of the game was fairly tame: Brian got a small lead in the first round, then the contestant found equal results in the second, and neither could score points in the first numbers round.  The second was slightly more lively, with Samuel finding a good word to take the lead, only for Brian to find a better word to regain it, and then again neither was able to score points in the numbers.  Brian was just six points ahead at that point, but then he outdid Samuel in the last letters round to stretch the lead to twelve points, and Samuel was suddenly in a lot of trouble.  This time both solved the numbers round, and that ensured Brian's victory.  Brian rounded it off by solving the conundrum, for a final scoreline of 46 to 24.

Round 1: S Q R A O U H F R

Well, the U turned up to match the Q, but it's still an ugly mix.  I had OARS, FOURS, and QUASH.  After time I noted HOURS as another five.

Samuel has RASH for four, but Brian has found HOURS to get the points.  David thought that Brian would go for QUASH, and Brian indicates that he had that written down also.  But David has managed to go one better, finding the six of SHOFAR ("an ancient Jewish musical instrument of the trumpet kind, usually made of the curved horn of a ram, still used in Jewish religious services").  Nicely done!

The other six is FURORS (FUROR being a variant spelling of FURORE).  The other fives are ROARS, AFROS / FAROS, HOARS, and SHURA ("Islam the obligation of a ruler, as prescribed in sharia law, to consult with followers in making a decision") / SURAH ("one of the 114 chapters of the Koran [...]"; also, a typ of silk).

Samuel: RASH
Brian: HOURS

Scores: Samuel 0, Brian 5, me 5

Round 2: L T P A E T S I O

Much nicer letters this time, although the L is often surprisingly non-useful.  Not in this case, as I had PETAL, a pre-emptive PALETOT ("a loose outer garment or coat"), PLATES, was unsure about PILATES (as expected, it is proper, so not valid), PALETOTS, noted that a U instead of the I would allow POSTULATE, LITOTES ("a figure of speech in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in not bad at all"), and TOTALISE.

It's sevens from the contestants, with Samuel having OPIATES while Brian has PATTIES.  David has found PALETOTS, as expected; like LEOTARD, it's one of those words that crops up on the show moderately often.

The other eights are TALIPOTS (TALIPOT being a type of palm tree) and SPOLIATE ("to despoil; plunder").  There's various other sevens, of which I'll just mention some of the more common: APOSTLE, ISOLATE, TOILETS, SPITTLE, TEAPOTS, and TOPSAIL.


Scores: Samuel 0 (7), Brian 5 (12), me 13

Round 3: Target 498 from 75 3 4 8 1 9

I first looked at the offset from 7*75 = 525, which is 27, and that is obviously able to be made.  That gave me a solution of 498 = (8 - 1)*75 - 3*9.

Samuel has not been able to get anywhere with this, while Brian has got to 6 away with 492.  Unfortunately, his answer is 8*75 - 9*(4 + 8).  That uses the 8 twice, so is invalid.  A small adjustment would have been valid, though: 8*75 - 3*4*9.

Lily has made no mistake, using the factorisation 6*83 to get 498 = (75 + 8)*(3 + 4 - 1).

Samuel: [no answer]
Brian: [invalid -- 492]
Me: 498
Lily: 498

Scores: Samuel 0 (7), Brian 5 (12), me 23

First break: HACK SLAB ("Reply with a whip")

That could lead to a BACKLASH.

David's talk is about the words hodgepodge and potpourri.

Round 4: D E I M Y E R B O

I had DIME, REMEDY, EMBODY, rightly rejected EMBODIER, and EMBRYO.  A little after time I finally saw the seven of BROMIDE.

Brian has RIMED for five, but Samuel has found BROMIDE to take the lead.  That's a good find, and unsurprisingly it was also the best that David could do.

The other seven here is BEMIRED.

Brian: RIMED

Scores: Samuel 7 (14), Brian 5 (12), me 23

Round 5: C D R I E A S H S

I had DIRE, was unsure about RICED (not valid), CARED, SCARED, RACHIDES (one plural form of RACHIS), and RADISHES.  After time I found other eights of RACHISES (the other plural form of RACHIS) and SIDECARS; CHARDIES* is not valid since CHARDY does not have an explicit plural form listed.

It's a reversal of the previous round, with Samuel's six of SHEARS outdone by Brian's find of RADISHES.  That puts Brian back in the lead again, but the lead is small.  David mentions CASHIERS as another eight.

The remaining eight is AIRSHEDS (AIRSHED: "a volume of air confined to a distinct geographic region, and within which pollutants are contained").

Samuel: SHEARS

Scores: Samuel 7 (14), Brian 13 (20), me 31

Round 6: Target 711 from 50 25 4 2 5 1

I started with 10*75 as an approximation, then tweaked down to a solution: 711 = 2*5*(50 + 25 - 4) + 1.  Then I looked at the factorisation 9*79 to find another solution of 711 = (2*5 - 1)*(50 + 25 + 4).

Neither contestant has been able to get within scoring range; Brian goes so far as to say that he had 751, which is impressively far away.  Lily has gone with the first solution that I had.

Samuel: [no answer]
Brian: [not in range]
Me: 711
Lily: 711

Scores: Samuel 7 (14), Brian 13 (20), me 41

Second break: RANK BIRO ("Metal wood")

That would be IRONBARK, which always makes me think of a certain poem.

Round 7: T D T M D P I O E


It's DOPE from Samuel, forming a small trend with his earlier find of OPIATES in round two, but Brian has found POTTED for six.  That puts him 12 points ahead with just two rounds to go, and Samuel is in trouble all of a sudden.  David has gone one better, as he so often does, finding OMITTED.

It turns out that DITTO is also a verb ("to duplicate; copy"), so DITTOED is another seven.  The remaining seven is TIPTOED.  The other sixes are TIPTOE, DOTTED, and PITTED.

Samuel: DOPE

Scores: Samuel 7 (14), Brian 19 (26), me 47

Round 8: Target 673 from 100 75 6 2 4 8

I was focused on making this as 9*75 - 2 for a long time, trying to find some cunning way of making a 9 with the rest of the numbers.  I could not do so, and I was a little puzzled when I noticed Samuel sit back with the "I've solved this" attitude.  Fortunately that was enough to get me thinking along sensible lines, and I found the simple 673 = 6*100 + 75 - 2.  That would have been embarrassing to miss!  After time I noted that the target was 25 away from 648, leading to another solution of 673 = (75 + 6)*8 + 100/4.

Samuel needs to outscore Brian on this round to have a chance, and an easy target is no good for him.  Both contestants solved this pretty quickly -- more quickly than I did -- with the same solution that I had, and that gives Brian the win.  It was also Lily's approach.

Samuel: 673
Brian: 673
Me: 673
Lily: 673

Scores: Samuel 17 (24), Brian 29 (36), me 57


I found the answer of MESSENGER quickly enough; Brian got there a few seconds later to round off a good game for him.

Samuel: [no answer]
Brian: MESSENGER (4s)

Scores: Samuel 17 (24), Brian 29 (46), me 67

There were a couple of nice words found tonight, one from each contestant, and after a bit of back and forth the game was looking very close at the second break.  Then Samuel missed finding a six in round seven, and suddenly Brian had a winning lead.  The last numbers round was no help for Samuel, but in any case Brian solved the conundrum quickly to put the result beyond doubt.  Nice work from him, and an end to Samuel's run.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

(8*3+75)*(4+1)=495 (3 off)
Lily and Geoff's first way
Everyone's way