Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Ep 147: Luke Warden, Mike Vitale (August 2, 2016; originally aired February 22, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Luke Warden gets his turn in the champion's seat tonight, and Richard asks what drew him to work at a bowling club.  Luke explains that he used to work in telecommunications in Sydney for a number of years, and after that particular company collapsed he decided that it was time to get out of the rat-race and take a more relaxed lifestyle in a more enjoyable environment.

Tonight's challenger is Mike Vitale, a university professor with a PhD in mathematics.  Mike is also the director of the Monash Asia Pacific Centre for Science and Wealth Creation, which, as he explains, does research and teaching about commercialisation of research; that is, the process by which a research idea is brought to market in the form of a product.  This can cover specific instances of inventions, and also the slightly more nebulous case where someone has discovered something which may turn out to have real-world applications.

After a matched first round, Mike took points in the next three rounds to go twenty-one points ahead of Luke.  The game looked in danger of becoming a blowout, but Luke pegged Mike back a little in the fifth round.  Mike forged further ahead in round six, although he missed an easy adjustment that would have given him three more points.  But a phantom letter on the last letters round on his part kept Luke in the game; Luke was able to capitalise on that with points in the last numbers round, and was still barely in the game going into the conundrum.  But it proved too tough for both contestants, and Mike hung on for the win, 34 to 25.

Round 1: O E A N D S U C N

I had AEON, ANODE, ANODES, DANCES, SCANNED, UNCASED, and noted SUNDANCE (SUN DANCE does get a listing as two words, incidentally).  After time I noted DEACONS as another seven.

It's sixes from the contestants, with Mike having DANCES to Luke's OCEANS.  David has chosen NUANCES as his seven.

The remaining sevens are NUANCED, DUENNAS, SONANCE (an obsolete term for "a sound; a tune") / ANCONES (plural of ANCON: "Architecture any projection, as a console, suppoting a cornice or the like"), and ACNODES (ACNODE: "Geometry a node [...] at which the tangents to two curves are imaginary and distinct").


Scores: Luke 0 (6), Mike 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: S R D I T O L E R


Luke has six again, with RIDERS, but Mike has found the seven of TOILERS to take the early lead.  David has gone with SOLDIER, and points out that it turns up often enough to be worth remembering.

Lots of sevens here; the others are STIRRED / STRIDER, RIOTERS, OLDSTER, EDITORS / SORTIED / STORIED / TRIODES (TRIODE: "a radio valve containing three electrodes, usually an anode, a grid, and a cathode"), LOITERS / ESTRIOL (variant spelling of OESTRIOL: "an oestrogenic steroid hormone [...] occurring in the placenta and in pregnancy urine"), and STRIDOR ("a harsh, grating, or creaking sound").


Scores: Luke 0 (6), Mike 7 (13), me 14

Round 3: Target 156 from 50 25 8 5 1 8

I recognised the target as 6*26, and a solution followed: 156 = (5 + 1)*(25 + 8/8).  The target is also 12*13, but I was not able to make that work.  Instead, after time I noted a more usual approach of 156 = 8*25 - 50 + 5 + 1.

Luke is three away at 153, which seems an unsual total to have; my best guess is 153 = 8*(25 - 5) - 8 + 1.  Mike has managed to get one closer, finding 158 = (5 + 1)*25 + 8 and extending his lead to fourteen points.  Lily explains the tweaking necessary to solve this, resulting in the solution that I had within time.

Luke: 153
Mike: 158
Me: 156
Lily: 156

Scores: Luke 0 (6), Mike 7 (20), me 24

First break: TRAM GLEE ("Has arrived.  Stop.  It's an old form of communication.  Stop.")

The clue is echoing the format of a TELEGRAM.

David's talk is about three words or phrases for everything: kaboodle, shebang, and megillah.

Round 4: G S T U A H L E P

That P made this mix a lot better.  I had GUTS, THUGS, GLUTES, PULSATE, and SULPHATE.  These days the preferred spelling is SULFATE, but SULPHATE is still listed as an obsolete alternative.

Luke continues his pattern of sixes, finding LAUGHS in this mix.  But Mike has the apt seven of UPSTAGE to go more than twenty points ahead, and Luke is in a lot of trouble now.  David notes that an R instead of that P would have given SLAUGHTER, but with the P he has PLAGUES for seven.  So I'm actually ahead, and now the pressure is on me to keep that lead.

SULPHATE is the only eight, and all the sevens have been listed.


Scores: Luke 0 (6), Mike 7 (27), me 32

Round 5: I E I N M T E D M


Luke has six once again, with MINTED, but this time he has outdone Mike who had the five of TIMED.  David has found another six of DEMENT.

Six is the best to be done; the others are ITEMED, INDITE ("to compose or write, as a speech, poem, etc."), and EMETIN (a certain alkaloid).


Scores: Luke 6 (12), Mike 7 (27), me 38

Round 6: Target 282 from 25 50 75 3 7 8

The standard method is clearly attractive here, with the offset of 7 being conveniently present.  I started with 282 = 8*25 + 75 + 7, then noted an alternative of 282 = (8 + 3)*25 + 7.

Luke is far off the target with 292, presumably 300 - 8 in some form, while Mike has got to one away with 283 = 3*75 + 50 + 8.  He realises as he explains it that he should have simply added the seven at the end instead of the eight, and that would have been worth a further three points to him.  Still, his lead is over twenty points with just three rounds to go, so Luke has his work cut out for him.

Luke: 292
Mike: 283
Me: 282
Lily: 282

Scores: Luke 6 (12), Mike 7 (34), me 48

Second break: LIMP ORCA ("The brothers who walked 500 miles were prone to do this")

That is referring to the Proclaimers, and thus the answer of PROCLAIM.

Round 7: P D A E A B N I B


It's sixes again from the contestants, with Luke having NABBED while Mike has DABBED.  But he has duplicated that D and his answer is invalid; Luke is still technically in the game.  David has also gone with NABBED as his answer.

The remaining sixes are NIBBED and BABIED.

Mike: [invalid -- DABBED]

Scores: Luke 12 (18), Mike 7 (34), me 54

Round 8: Target 164 from 75 50 100 10 6 3

The offsets for the standard method are 14 and 11; the former was not so good, but I was happy to spot a way to use the latter: 164 = 100 + 75 - 50/10 - 6.

Mike is two away with 166, but Luke has got one closer with 163 = 100 + 50 + 10 + 3.  Maybe Mike took the same approach but added the 6 instead of the 3?  That could be a costly mistake if so, as those seven points put Luke just nine points adrift going into the conundrum.  Could we see an unexpected reversal?

Luke: 163
Mike: 166
Me: 164
Lily: 164

Scores: Luke 12 (25), Mike 7 (34), me 64


Maybe there's something about Tuesdays; just like last Tuesday, I'm a point ahead of David and Lily going into the conundrum.  This time, however, I was able to find the solution and so get a very rare solo win over them.  Yay!

The contestants have rather more at stake, of course, with Luke hoping to complete the comeback by solving this.  It's a bit tricky, particularly if one gets lost chasing -NESS or similar, and time ticks away without either able to solve it.  So Mike manages to hold on to win after what could have been a very costly error in round seven.

Luke: [no answer]
Mike: [no answer]
Me: SUBSTANCE (3.5s)

Scores: Luke 12 (25), Mike 7 (34), me 74

An unexpected nailbiter of a finish.  Unusually, Luke had six-letter words in every letters round; Mike found longer twice, and was short of that mark once.  The net swing was two points to Mike in the letters, so it's reasonable to suggest that the numbers made a big difference.  Mike handled them better, overall, and that gave him the winning edge.

I managed to hold on for a maximal game today, and the extremely rare victory over David and Lily on the solo totals.  Hurrah!


Mike Backhouse said...

OCEANS and sadly rejected UNCASED
(8-5)*50+8-1=157 (1 off)
(75+25-7)*3=279 (3 off, and Geoff's first way just over)
SUBSTANCE (76s and wasted too much time on -NESS)

Geoff Bailey said...

Ooh, LATHES, I like it. And nice work to solve the 164!