Monday, 1 August 2016

Ep 145: Kannan Sethuraman, Matt Pitcher (July 29, 2016; originally aired February 18, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

It's the important fourth night for Kannan; a win here will give him a chance of making the finals.  Alas, Richard wheels out the question about technique; this time he also asks specifically about Kannan's choice of two large numbers in the numbers rounds.  Kannan responds that he thinks it gives you a better ability to manipulate the numbers and get to the target, and adds that three large numbers are too hard for him.  He's right about this -- the two large mix is the most solvable of all, by a narrow margin over the single large number.  I'd still recommend a single large number for people, though, as the clarity of having only a single large number can make it easier to get in the right vicinity.

Tonight's challenger is Matt Pitcher, a pharmacist whose dream is to one day become an acclaimed independent filmmaker.  When asked by Richard, Matt admits that he has not done much in the way of film work yet, but he is in the process of writing his first screenplay.  He says that he has connections who may be able to assist him, and he is hoping to get that into a short film festival.  In response to Richard's question about genre (strangely limited to "mystery or horror"), Matt gives a fairly noncommital "all of the above".

(I haven't had much success tracking down information about that, but you can see a video of his here.)

Kannan started out with an excellent word in the first round, and then followed that up with four more scoring rounds.  Matt was only able to match him in round two, and it was shaping up that the game would be decided before the second break.  But an arithmetic error from Kannan in round six kept Matt in the game for one more round.  The final letters were a frugal mix, and Matt was unable to outdo Kannan as he needed to.  The final numbers round was too hard for anyone (except Lily!) to get close; Matt managed to solve the conundrum, but Kannan was a decisive winner, 41 to 29.

Round 1: P R S M E U E A T

I had PERMS, SUPER, SUPREME, MEASURE, and MATURES.  After time I noted PRESUME as another seven.

Matt has just MEATS for five, but Kannan has done well to find PERMUTES for eight.  Well done!  David has found another eight of UPSTREAM.

The remaining eights are AMPUTEES, TEMPURAS, and TEMPERAS (TEMPERA: "paint made from pigment ground in water and mixed with an emulsion of egg yolk or some similar substance").


Scores: Kannan 8, Matt 0, me 0

Round 2: R S O N T A O C D

I had SNORT, RATOONS (RATOON: "a sprout or shoot from the root of a plant (especially a sugar cane) after it has been cropped"), CARTOONS, and DOCTORS.  After time I noted another eight of OSTRACON ("a pottery shard used in antiquity as a means of casting a vote").

It's sevens from the contestants, with Matt finding DOCTORS while Kannan has CONDORS.  David is amused that they both only used O's as vowels, and has found the eights of CARTOONS and DONATORS.

The other eights are TORNADOS, CARDOONS (CARDOON being a type of plant), and ACRODONT ("with rootless teeth fastened to the alveolar ridge of the jaws").  The latter is only an adjective, so ACRODONTS is not a valid nine.


Scores: Kannan 8 (15), Matt 0 (7), me 8

Round 3: Target 578 from 50 100 2 1 6 4

I tweaked my way down from 600 with 578 = 6*(100 - 4) + 2, then after time noted an untweaked version of that: 578 = 6*100 - 50/2 + 4 - 1.

Matt has not been able to get within range, but Kannan has got to two away with 580 = (100 + 2 + 4)*(6 - 1) + 50.  He almost had a solution here -- if he had made his five differently he could have retained the 2, giving 578 = (100 + 6)*(4 + 1) + 50 - 2.  Still, it's been a flyer of a start for Kannan, and if this keeps up then Matt is in a lot of trouble.

Lily demonstrates the solution that I found after time.

Kannan: 580
Matt: [not in range]
Me: 578
Lily: 578

Scores: Kannan 8 (22), Matt 0 (7), me 18

First break: GAVE BEER ("Thirst quencher")

That would be a BEVERAGE.

David's talk is about the word eggcorn.

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

I had ROIL, HOLD, HOLDS, SOLID, SOLDIER, INDORSE, and HOLDERS.  After time I noted another seven of HINDERS.

Matt has RISEN for five, but Kannan moves even further ahead by finding HOLDERS for seven.  David has gone with SOLDIER as his choice, not able to better it.

Seven is the limit here; the others are INSHORE / HEROINS, HOIDENS (HOIDEN being a variant spelling of HOYDEN), DRONISH, DEHORNS, ROSINED, SHRINED, RONDELS (RONDEL: "a short poem of fixed form, consisting usually of fourteen lines on two rhymes [...]"), and INDOLES (INDOLE being a rather unpleasant-smelling amine) / DOLINES (DOLINE: "a shallow depression, either funnel- or saucer-shaped, and having its floor covered by cultivated soil, formed by solution in mountain limestone country").


Scores: Kannan 15 (29), Matt 0 (7), me 25

Round 5: C N F U I E S D A

A final O for CONFUSED would have been nice, but the A had possibilities.  I had FINE, FINES, INFUSED, UNCASED, and INCASED (not valid).  After time I noted other sevens of FIANCÉS, FANCIES, and FANCIED.

Matt declares the invalid six of FUCSIA (the correct spelling is FUCHSIA), but it does not matter as Kannan continues his winning ways with the seven of INFUSED.  David mentions FANCIES as another possible seven.

The remaining sevens are CANDIES, SNAFUED, FUNDIES, FASCINE ("a long bundle of sticks bound together [...]"), and INDUCES / INCUSED (INCUSE: "to hammer or stamp, as a figure on a coin") / INCUDES (plural of INCUS, a bone in the ear).

Matt: [invalid -- FUCSIA]

Scores: Kannan 22 (36), Matt 0 (7), me 32

Round 6: Target 920 from 100 75 8 9 3 2

Getting a 92 was straightforward, so my thoughts turned to 10*92 and found success with 920 = (9 + 3 - 2)*(100 - 8).  After time I applied the standard method for 920 = (8 + 3)*75 + 100 - (9 - 4), then used the factorisation 8*115 to get 920 = 8*(100 + 75/(3 + 2)).

This time Matt is two away with 922, but Kannan has reached the target.  That will give him a winning margin already, which is impressive  But something has gone awry -- his answer is 9*100 + 8*3 - 2, which is only 922.  When he sees the total written up, he acknowledges that he only has 922, not the 920 that he declared.  That brings Matt's answer back into play, and it turns out to be the same approach, just with the total correctly computed.

That's an unfortunate error for Kannan, but he did engage in one of my pet peeves -- he finished writing after ten seconds and spent the rest of the time looking around the studio instead of checking his work or looking for a better solution.  He paid the price for that, although it is highly unlikely to cost him in the context of the game.

Lily demonstrates the solution that I had within time.

Kannan: [invalid -- 920]
Matt: 922
Me: 920
Lily: 920

Scores: Kannan 22 (36), Matt 0 (14), me 42

Second break: CANE LORD ("Preparing food can be really draining without one of these")

Referring to the draining properties of a COLANDER.

Round 7: G T C F I E A M I

It's not a great mix; I had CITE and MAGIC.  After time I noted another five of FACET, and checked up on MICATE (not valid).

It's fives from the contestants, with Matt having FACET while Kannan has MAGIC.  Kannan is now guaranteed to win, so last round was just a minor bobble.  David has done excellently to see the seven of GAMETIC.

GAMETIC is the only seven; the only six is ACMITE (a mineral, also known as AEGERITE).  The other fives are IMAGE, AMICE ("a furred hood or hooded cape with long ends hanging down in front, formerly worn by the clergy"), GAMIC ("sexual (opposed to agamic)"), and FECIT ("he or she made (it, as a work of art)").

Kannan: MAGIC

Scores: Kannan 27 (41), Matt 5 (19), me 47

Round 8: Target 842 from 50 25 8 4 4 6

Whoo-ee, I got lost in possibilities here.  The obvious tack was 850 - 8, but I could not see my way through to it, and when it came time to get down something close I did not even manage that within time.  After time, without the pressure, I realised that 850 is 17*50, and I could make the 17 by using up the 8.  A little counterproductive, but we could make another eight, and so find the solution of 842 = (25 - 8)*50 - 4 - 4.

The contestants have also had difficulties with this mix; Matt says he only got to 600, and Kannan also has nothing to declare.  Lily makes it look easy, as she has ably found the solution that I listed above.

Kannan: [no answer]
Matt: [not in range]
Me: [no answer]
Lily: 842

Scores: Kannan 27 (41), Matt 5 (19), me 47


This looked familiar, I think from some of the L&N games that my parents occasionally run, and so I soon had the answer of INTERPRET.

After a lot of scribbling, Matt found the answer at the 23 second mark, getting the consolation prize of solving the conundrum.

Kannan: [no answer]
Matt: INTERPRET (23s)

Scores: Kannan 27 (41), Matt 5 (29), me 57

Kannan was always ahead, as he dominated the first two-thirds of the game.  Matt made a bit of a comeback at the end, but the damage had been done.  A good win from Kannan, but those numbers problems at the end have kept his score lower than one might expect, and that could be a problem if he does not get to a sixth game.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

MUSTER and TAMPERS after time
COAST and ONCOST just after time
INTERPRET (19s) conundrums are not my strong point but have been getting a few lately