Sunday, 7 August 2016

Ep 149: Michael Bakker, Margaret Frangos (August 4, 2016; originally aired February 24, 2011)

Rounds: Here.

Disclaimer: I watched this episode when it first aired, and although I did not recall any of it I cannot rule out memory being a factor.

It's Michael Bakker's turn in the champion's seat, and Richard asks him about his business plans for the future.  Michael says that there is a big competition run every year by the Pharmacy Guild (the governing body of pharmacy) to develop a business plan, and he and his friends have entered that.  (I think this is the National Student Business Plan competition.)  He believes that they have come up with some unique ideas that they hope will revolutionise rural pharmacy and services.

Tonight's challenger is Margaret Frangos, a head teacher who supports secondary students with online learning.  Richard enquires about the main focus of her educational efforts; Margaret responds that for many years she was involved in mulicultural education, and in particular with secondary-aged, newly-arrived migrant and refugee students.  Those students came and learnt English with her (and her colleagues) before they went into high school.

Margaret got the early lead thanks to an invalid word from Michael in round one, but he levelled the scores in round two.  Two tied rounds followed, then Margaret found a longer word in round five to go ahead once more.  Michael was unable to make progress on the second numbers round, and that gave Margaret a potentially-winning advantage.  The next letters round was also shared, so the last numbers round was do-or-die for Michael.  Unfortunately for him it was a little easy, and both contestants solved it.  Neither could find the conundrum, and Margaret became the new champion with a 48 to 34 victory.

Round 1: I E I O R M S D N

I had MOIRE ("a watered fabric, as of silk or wool"), MOIRES, DEMONS, INDORSE, and IRONSIDE (a variant of IRONCLAD in the sense of "a warship of the middle and late 19th century fitted with armour plating").  After time I noted other sevens of MISDONE and MINDERS.

It's sixes from both contestants, although Michael describes his as hopeful.  For good reason, as he has tried the invalid SINDER.  Meanwhile, Margaret has chosen MINERS (or perhaps MINORS -- we do not get clarification) and so gets the early lead.  David laments that MISIRONED is not a word, and has found DERISION for eight.

The other eights are DOMINIES (DOMINIE: "a member of the clergy, pastor or parson; also (Chiefly Scottish) a schoolmaster") and RESINOID ("resin-like").

Michael: [invalid -- SINDER]
Margaret: MINERS

Scores: Michael 0, Margaret 0 (6), me 8

Round 2: D E S I N O M A T


Margaret has the surprisingly short SATIN for five, and Michael levels the score by finding DEMONS for six.  If only he had chosen that in the previous round then he would have six more points than he currently does.  David has found DOMINATES, as one would expect.

There is another nine here: STAMINODE (variant of STAMINODIUM: "a sterile or abortive stamen").  The other eights are DOMINATE, MEDIANTS (MEDIANT being a musical term for the third degree of a scale), and DEMONIST.

Michael: DEMONS
Margaret: SATIN

Scores: Michael 0 (6), Margaret 0 (6), me 26

Round 3: Target 399 from 75 5 2 3 6 9

The target is 7*57, but my first thought was the offsets for the standard method, which are 24 and 51.  I looked at the latter first to get 399 = 6*(75 - 9) + 3, then the former for 399 = 5*75 + 3*(6 + 2).  After time I revisited that factorisation to get 399 = (5 + 2)*(75 - 3*6).

Both contestants have solved this, so we go into the first break with scores level.  Michael went with 399 = 5*75 + (9 - (2 + 3))*6 while Margaret found a different approach of 399 = 75*6 - 9*5 - 2*3.  Lily has yet another way: 399 = (75 + 6)*5 - 2*3.

Michael: 399
Margaret: 399
Me: 399
Lily: 399

Scores: Michael 10 (16), Margaret 10 (16), me 36

First break: OH SAINTS ("Something magicians do all the time")

Magicians often ASTONISH.

David's talk is about some words derived from the Italian word banca (meaning bench): bank, bankrupt, and mountebank.

Round 4: F E C T A I C U T

I had FACET, FAUCET, and ACETIC.  After time I noted a couple of other fives: TACIT and ACUTE.

Both contestants have found FACT for four.  David has managed to find the sixes of FAUCET and TACTIC.

That's all the sixes listed, but there is a seven: FACTICE ("a rubber-like substance produced by vulcanising vegetable oils with sulfur or sulfur chloride").

Michael: FACT
Margaret: FACT

Scores: Michael 10 (20), Margaret 10 (20), me 42

Round 5: E A I E S F N R D

I had EASE, ARISEN, and FRIENDS.  Just after time I found the eight of NEARSIDE; I wish I'd been a bit quicker!

Michael has FERNS for five, but Margaret has found FRIENDS for seven to take the lead once more.  David is on target, having found NEARSIDE.

The other eights are ARSENIDE and DEFINERS.

Michael: FERNS
Margaret: FRIENDS

Scores: Michael 10 (20), Margaret 17 (27), me 49

Round 6: Target 549 from 75 50 25 9 3 6

I wrote down a fallback one off 550 = 6*(75 + 25) - 50, and was not able to do better within time.  I got hung up on trying to make this as 9*61, and just could not reach 61 with the remaining letters.  Part of the difficulty is that all the small numbers are divisible by 3, and after time I realised that this suggested a better approach would be to make it as 3*183, since 183 is divisible by 3.  It took some experimentation, but I eventually found 549 = (3*(50 + 9) + 6)*75/25.

Then I realised that I had missed a relatively obvious adjustment of my fallback: 549 = 6*(75 + 25 - 9) + 3.  This is exactly the adjustment that I did in the first numbers round, so that was a bad miss.

Michael has been stumped by this one,but Margaret has also managed to get to one away with 550 = 50*9 + 75 + 25.  That puts her 14 points ahead, so Michael needs to do some catching up quickly.  Lily has accurately observed the importance of the approach 3*183, finding the first solution that I did after time.

Michael: [no answer]
Margaret: 550
Me: 550
Lily: 549

Scores: Michael 10 (20), Margaret 24 (34), me 56

Second break: SWAN PING ("From tip to tip")

That would describe a bird's WINGSPAN (or a plane's, for that matter).

Round 7: O A E A R H R G R

I had AREA, OGRE, RAGER, ERROR, and ROARER.  After time I recalled that HOAR was an adjective, so the single-syllable rule makes HOARER valid.

It's mixes like the above that make me opposed to taking four vowels early -- another consonant is clearly more attractive at the end.  (Although admittedly a U for ROUGHER would not have been bad.)  Michael is unhappy at having only a "dismal" four of FEAR, while Margaret livens things up by declaring that she has a "fabulous" four of GEAR.  David has found ROARER.

The other six is AGORAE (plural of AGORA: "(in ancient Greece) a popular political assembly").  Scrabble suggest AARRGH, but it's not in the Macquarie; I'm not overly bothered by that lack.  The other fives are AGORA, RARER, ROGER, ARRAH ("Irish (an exclamation indicating a state of high emotion, excitement, etc.)"), and AROHA ("NZ love; compassion; empathy").

Michael: FEAR
Margaret: GEAR

Scores: Michael 10 (24), Margaret 24 (38), me 62

Round 8: Target 335 from 25 50 75 4 10 3

The offset of 10 is handily present, so making this as 325 + 10 is clear.  I went with 335 = 4*75 + 25 + 10.

Michael needs to outpoint Margaret here to stay in with a chance, but the target is too easy.  He solved it first, but she also managed to do so just before time ran out.  That gives her the game, continuing the week's theme of challengers winning.  Margaret's solution was 335 = 50*(3 + 4) - 25 + 10, while Michael went for the solution that I had.  Lily had also solved it Margaret's way.

Michael: 335
Margaret: 335
Me: 335
Lily: 335

Scores: Michael 20 (34), Margaret 34 (48), me 72


Oh, dear, I got lost in this one.  The not-there IMPORTANT was a distraction, and the best that I could manage from it was the eight of ORPIMENT (a type of mineral).  Of course, that's no use at the conundrum.  It ended up taking me four to five minutes to see the answer of PROMINENT.

The contestants were not able to solve this within time, so the scores remain unchanged.

Michael: [no answer]
Margaret: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Michael 20 (34), Margaret 34 (48), me 72

It was a close game tonight, and could easily have gone to tiebreakers.  The key moments were rounds five and six, where Margaret scored 14 unanswered points; that was the winning margin in the end.  Perhaps on a better day Michael would have found the same fourteen points.  So far this week the challenger has won every game, a streak that Margaret will hope to break tomorrow.


Mike Backhouse said...

STONED (well done on FM Geoff)
5*(75+3)+9=399 (just over time)
Geoff's fallback (1 off)
Geoff and Michael's way

Mike Backhouse said...

Oops, last two entries should be reversed.