Monday, 1 August 2016

Ep 142: Brian Morgan, Kannan Sethuraman (July 26, 2016; originally aired February 15, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

On Brian Morgan's third night, Richard notes that Brian has travelled quite widely, and asks if he has any traveller's tips.  Brian says that he has just come back from Vietnam (as mentioned earlier), and he thought it was wonderful, as were the people, and everything was very cheap.

Tonight's challenger is Kannan Sethuraman, an associate professor with a PhD in operations management.  Richard tantalises that there is an interesting story behind how Kannan came to be on the show tonight, and then throws to Kannan.  Kannan explains that he actually wanted to find out whether his son (Anand Bharadwaj, an avid Scrabble player) could participate on the show, but it turned out that Anand was not old enough -- he is ten, and contestants are required to be at least sixteen years old.  That said, Anand had quite the background already, being the youngest player to compete for Australia in the World Youth Scrabble Championship (his first time being in 2009, I think); he went on to win the 2011 WYSC.

Brian was the first to find an advantage, outscoring Kannan in the second round to get a decent lead.  Kannan struck back immediately with the first numbers round to overtake Brian, only for Brian to retake the lead again in round five.  The second numbers round was too easy, and another letters win saw Brian extend his lead to nine points.  But Kannan continued his good performance on the numbers to inflict another reversal and headed into the conundrum a single point ahead.  Neither contestant was able to solve the conundrum, so that single point gave Kannan the win, 42 to 41.

Round 1: A I T F N E P N U

I had FAINT, TINEA, INFANTE ("a son of the king of Spain or of Portugal, not heir to the throne"), PETUNIA, and PINNATE ("resembling a feather").

Both contestants have found PUNNET for six, while David has gone with PETUNIA as his seven.

That's all the sevens listed.  The other sixes are INNATE, AUNTIE, PEANUT, TENPIN, PINNAE (one plural of PINNA: "a feather, wing, or winglike part"), PINETA (plural of PINETUM: "an arboretum of pines and coniferous trees") / PATINE (variant spelling of PATEN: "the plate on which the bread is placed in the celebration of the Eucharist"), and TIPUNA ("NZ a grandparent or more remote ancestor").

Kannan: PUNNET

Scores: Brian 0 (6), Kannan 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: S R D I E A C R O


Kannan has SCARED for six, but Brian has RECORDS for seven and takes the points.  David is on track again, having found CORRIDAS for eight.

There is another eight: IDOCRASE (a mineral, also known as vesuvianite).  There's various other sevens, of which I'll just mention ROADIES, SCARRED, and RAIDERS.

Kannan: SCARED

Scores: Brian 0 (13), Kannan 0 (6), me 15

Round 3: Target 980 from 100 25 75 8 4 5

My first thought was to get close, to 8*125 = 1000.  The adjustment afterward was easy: 980 = 8*(100 + 25) - 4*5.  It is also possible to get to 1000 as 5*200, giving another tweaked solution: 980 = 5*(100 + 75 + 25 - 4).

A bit strangely, Brian spends the entire time staring at the board and has ended up with nothing to declare.  He even says that his last figure was over two thousand, which seems almost impressively far away.  Kannan is on track, finding the same solution that I did at first, and that puts him in the lead now.

Lily has found another solution: 980 = (100 - 8/4)*(75 - 25)/10.

Brian: [not in range]
Kannan: 980
Me: 980
Lily: 980

Scores: Brian 0 (13), Kannan 10 (16), me 25

First break: CANE MAPS ("Bowie's Major Tom")

This is referring to the song Space Oddity, where Major Tom was an astronaut, which might be called a SPACEMAN.  (It feels like the cluewriter was also channelling Starman a bit.)

David's talk is about some terms from French: deja vu, deja entendu, and jamais vu.

Round 4: T L H E O E O T S

I had THOLE ("a pin inserted in a boat's gunwale or the like, to act as a fulcrum for the oar") / HOTEL, HOSTEL / HOTELS, and TOOTLES.  After time I noted another six of SOOTHE.

Both contestants have found HOTELS for six.  David mentions LESOTHO but does not actually provide a word, so I have to assume that he only had sixes aside from that.  All of a sudden I now have a rare chance to beat David and Lily on the solo totals.

The other sevens are LOTHEST (LOTH being a variant spelling of LOATH), TELEOST (a type of fish), and TOETOES (TOETOE being a New Zealand term for a type of grass).

Kannan: HOTELS

Scores: Brian 0 (19), Kannan 10 (22), me 32

Round 5: B S F H A I E S D

I had BASH, FISHES, and BASHED.  After time I noted other sixes of SHADES and DASHIS (DASHI: "(in Japanese cookery) a soup stock made from dried bonito flakes and kombu").

Brian has ABIDES for six, while Kannan declares DEBASES for seven.  But he has fallen victim to the phantom letter, using a second E that does not exist.  The lead changes again, still with just three points in it.  David has gone with SHADES as his selection.

DEAFISH is not listed, so six is the limit.  The others are BASHES, BIASED, BIASES, ASIDES / DAISES, DASHES / SASHED, DISHES / HISSED, FISHED, FASHED (FASH: "Chiefly Scottish to trouble; inconvenience; upset"), FASHES / SHEAFS (SHEAF as a verb: "to bind into a sheaf of sheaves"), and SAHIBS.

Kannan: [invalid: DEBASES]

Scores: Brian 6 (25), Kannan 10 (22), me 38

Round 6: Target 250 from 50 100 10 7 9 4

As the small numbers were going up, I calculated that 7*9*4 = 252.  The target is just two away, leading to the solution 250 = 4*7*9 - 100/50.  Looking at other options, I ended up with the shorter 250 = 10*100/4.  After time I noted another answer of 250 = 7*50 - 100.

Both contestants have solved this early on, with 250 = (9 - 7)*100 + 50.  Lily is apparently reacting to a comment from David, where he suggested that for easy ones she should try to use all the numbers, as she has chosen 250 = (7 - (10 - 9) - 4)*100 + 50.

Brian: 250
Kannan: 250
Me: 250
Lily: 250

Scores: Brian 16 (35), Kannan 20 (32), me 48

Second break: HAIR RUBS ("A method of improving your looks")

Referring to the adjustment of photographs, the answer is AIRBRUSH.

Round 7: L R M I U D B A C

I had MILD, BUILD, BARIUM, RADIUM, LABRUM ("a lip or lip-like part"), and BALDRIC ("a belt, sometimes richly ornamented, worn diagonally from shoulder to hip, supporting a sword, horn, etc.").  After time I noted other sixes roof RIBALD / BRIDAL.

Kannan has CRUMB for five, but Brian has manage to go one better with BRIDAL for six.  That puts him nine points ahead, which can be a precarious lead with the two ten-point rounds coming up.  David is on target, finding BALDRIC for seven.

BALDRIC is the only seven; the other sixes are BURIAL, BARDIC, LUMBAR / UMBRAL (adjective derived from UMBRA: "shade; shadow"), LABIUM (also "a lip or lip-like part"), CURIAL (adjective derived from CURIA: "one of the political subdivisions of each of the three tribes of ancient Roman citizens"), LABRID (variant of LABROID, a type of fish), BRUMAL ("wintry"), MALIBU ("a long surfboard, offering more stability than a short board"), and URACIL (a standard component of ribonucleic acids).

Kannan: CRUMB

Scores: Brian 16 (41), Kannan 20 (32), me 55

Round 8: Target 989 from 100 75 6 6 9 8

I started with 9*100 + 75, and then the offset of 14 turned out to be trivial, giving 989 = 9*100 + 75 + 8 + 6.

Brian has ended up 6 off the target with 983, and my best guess for that is 9*100 + 75 + 8.  If so, then he cost himself badly by failing to add the remaining 6.  I guess another possibility is (6 + 6)*75 + 100 - 9 - 8.  Kannan has solved this, using the same solution that I found; that was also Lily's approach.  So the lead changes yet again, with Kannan just one point ahead going into the conundrum.

The only other solution is 989 = 8*(100 + 9 + 6) + 75 - 6.

Brian: 983
Kannan: 989
Me: 989
Lily: 989

Scores: Brian 16 (41), Kannan 30 (42), me 65


I've managed to navigate the main rounds successfully, and just have to solve this conundrum in order to beat David and Lily on the solo totals.  Sadly, I just couldn't see it, even despite considering the right ending a couple of times.  Inevitably, when the answer was revealed to be IDENTICAL, I couldn't see how I could have missed it.

It's either contestant's game to win, but Kannan is one crucial point ahead.  And that does end up mattering, as they were both likewise stumped by the conundrum.  That makes me feel a bit better about missing it.

Brian: [no answer]
Kannan: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Brian 16 (41), Kannan 30 (42), me 65

A nice close game tonight, with neither contestant being able to get far away from the other at any point.  It was a traditional battle of letters against numbers; Brian had the edge in the words, taking 19 points of advantage from them, but Kannan solved every numbers round for a 20 point gain.  That single point of advantage became key, so Kannan got the win.  It's nice to see a contestant do well in the numbers, which tend to be a little underrepresented.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...