Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Ep 151: Greg Beers, Vikas Ahuja (August 8, 2016; originally aired February 28, 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 Greg Beers' turn in the champion's seat, and he'll be hoping to avoid last week's run of challenger victories.  It's a surprisingly short pre-game chat for him -- Richard informs us that Greg loves to travel to way-out places, and asks how off-road he goes with the four-wheel drive.  Greg responds that he goes for the rough stuff -- it is the most fun.  And that's it from him: A short answer to a longer question.

Tonight's challenger is Vikas Ahuja, a public servant with an engineering degree in computers.  Richard asks Vikas when he discovered that he had a real love of words, and Vikas relates how one of his uncles gave him a word game when he was seven or eight years old, and they loved playing that together.  Vikas adds that he thinks that he gave the same game to his son at a similar age, so this is a good family pastime for them.  He thinks his son has a larger vocabulary, but (as with Kannan from a couple of weeks ago) his son is not old enough to appear on the show.

Greg found the longer word in round one, and again in round two when Vikas fell victim to phantom duplication of a letter.  The first numbers round was easy enough for both to solve, but then Greg just kept on extending his lead, admittedly aided by another invalid word from Vikas in round four.  Greg was 34 points ahead going into the final letters round, meaning that Vikas needed a full monty to even have a chance, but the mix was an unproductive one.  Vikas got some points back in the last numbers game, but Greg solved the conundrum to finish an emphatic victory, 59 to 22.

Round 1: E U I A T H T N L

I had ETUI ("a small case, epecially one for small objects, as needles, toilet articles, etc."), HEAT, ATTUNE, and INHALE.  I had hoped for a final S for HESITANT, but no such luck.  (On the other hand, it saved me having to worry about whether EUTHANIST was a word (it is not).)  After time I noted some other sixes: AUNTIE, ENTAIL, and LUNATE ("crescent-shaped").

Vikas has found LATHE for five, but Greg takes the early lead with LATENT for six.  David points out that TALENT is an anagram of it, and has also found INHALE.

There's various other sixes, but the seven to be had is ALUNITE (a mineral).

Vikas: LATHE

Scores: Greg 6, Vikas 0, me 6

Round 2: Y D I L E N D A F

I had IDLY, YIELD, DENIAL, and FLAYED.  After time I noted DEADLY and FIDDLE as other sixes, and checked up on FADDILY (not valid, as expected).  A bit later I also checked on INLAYED, but again that is not valid -- the past tense is INLAID, of course.

This time both contestants declare sixes, with Greg going for FAILED while Vikas falls victim to duplication with the invalid DEFINE.  So Greg moves to 12 points ahead already, and this could be a big problem for Vikas.  David has done rather well to find a seven here: DANDIFY ("to make dandy-like or foppish; dress or fit out like a dandy").

The other seven is the unusual FIDDLEY ("Colloquial (formerly) a one pound note (£1)"); that has its origins in rhyming slang (fiddley-did for quid).

Vikas: [invalid -- DEFINE]

Scores: Greg 12, Vikas 0, me 12

Round 3: Target 204 from 100 50 4 8 2 1

It's an easy target, but I think we can demonstrate how my mind goes for complications.  My first thought here was that the target was 100 + 104, and 104 is 8*13, and so I found 204 = ((50 + 2)/4)*8 + 100.  That is definitely the scenic route!  Then I wrote down a more sensible 204 = 4*(50 + 1).

Both contestants have solved this.  Greg opted for 204 = 4*50 + 8/2, while Vikas used 204 = 100*2 + 4.  Lily makes brief mention of the second of the solutions that I listed.

Greg: 204
Vikas: 204
Me: 204
Lily: 204

Scores: Greg 22, Vikas 10, me 22

First break: VAT FILES ("Might be a big day out")

The clue is probably referring to the Big Day Out music FESTIVAL.

David's talk is about acronyms such as scuba and radar, and initialisms like USA, NSW, and SBS.

Round 4: N D E I M E T C M

I had DINE, MINED, DEMENT, CEMENT, and ENDEMIC ("peculiar to a particular people or locality, as a disease"; it also has a noun sense, incidentally, so is pluralisable).

Greg has MINTED for six, but Vikas has essayed the eight of MEDICENT.  That's not valid, though, so Greg's lead stretches even further.  David has found ENDEMIC for seven.

The other sevens are ENTICED, CENTIME (a pre-euro french coin), and MEMETIC (adjective derived from MEME).  Some of the more common sixes left are DECENT, MINCED, and DECEIT.

Vikas: [invalid -- MEDICENT]

Scores: Greg 22 (28), Vikas 10, me 29

Round 5: A E I T R G R B E

I had IRATE, GAITER, REBATE, and GREATER.  After time I also found ARBITER / RAREBIT, although I'm not sure that latter would be allowed -- there is a main entry for it, but only pointing to WELSH RAREBIT.  That suggests that it is only part of the term (like the CHOY in BOK CHOY that the rules single out as being invalid), and so would not be valid.  I also noted that if the final vowel had been an A instead of the E then ARBITRAGE would have been on offer.

Vikas has GREAT for five (or maybe GRATE -- this is not clarified), while Greg has GARTER for six.  Greg seems uncatchable at this point, without a serious turnaround from Vikas.  David has chosen ARBITER as his seven, pointing out that it fits his role on the show.

The other sevens are GERBERA (a type of herb) and the interesting REGRATE ("to buy up (grain, provisions, etc.) in order to sell again at a profit in or near the same market").

Vikas: GREAT

Scores: Greg 22 (34), Vikas 10, me 36

Round 6: Target 367 from 25 100 8 10 4 1

The standard method says to make this as 375 - 8, and who am I to disagree with that?  I went with 367 = 4*100 - 25 - 8.  After time I noted another solution of 367 = 4*(100 - 8) - 1.

Vikas is well outside the scoring range with 325 (he thinks), but Greg has solved this using the solution I has within time.  Lily has gone in a different direction, getting 367 = (100 - 10)*4 + 8 - 1.

Greg: 367
Vikas: [not in range]
Me: 367
Lily: 367

Scores: Greg 32 (44), Vikas 10, me 46

Second break: EXPAND PI ("Found in books and guts")

Both items can have an APPENDIX.

Round 7: A O I P T C P O V

Vikas is still technically in the game, but needs a full monty here.  It's not a good mix, though, so this seems likely to be game for Greg.  I had PATIO, OPTIC, PIVOT, and ATOPIC (adjective derived from ATOPY: "a genetic tendency to develop allergic reactions").  After the first six letters I'd hoped for an R for APRICOT or an E for ECTOPIA, but no joy.

Both contestants have five-letter words here, with Vikas using the V in PIVOT while Greg went with TOPIC.  David has found the very nice six of OCTAVO ("a book size determined by printing on sheets folded to form eight leaves or sixteen pages").

Thinking about the OCT- fragment that David used led me to check up on OCTOPI, and that is the remaining six from these letters.  The Macquarie notes that OCTOPI is etymologically nonsense, but lists it anyway because it is in common usage.

The other fives are COATI, COOPT, PICOT ("one of a number of ornamental loops in embroidery, or along the edge of lace, ribbon, etc."), and VATIC ("of, relating to, or characteristic of a prophet").

Vikas: PIVOT

Scores: Greg 32 (49), Vikas 10 (15), me 52

Round 8: Target 862 from 50 75 6 10 4 9

Argh, I got lost here, due to not thinking about things in the right way.  I kept trying to make this as 860 + 2, and that just was not feasible.  In the end I had to settle for two away with 860 = (75 + 6)*10 + 50.  After time I finally took the right approach, putting aside the 4 and 9 for the offset of 13, and so found the solution 862 = (10 + 6)*50 + 75 - 9 - 4.

Greg has had a mental blank here, leaving him with nothing to declare.  Vikas has hung on to get to four away with 858 = 75*10 + 50 + 9*6 + 4.  Lily continues her find solving form by finding the solution I listed above, and it is the only one.

Greg: [no answer]
Vikas: 858
Me: 860
Lily: 862

Scores: Greg 32 (49), Vikas 10 (22), me 59


If sounded out, there's a lot of similarity between the words as presented and the answer of GRAVITATE.  I think that particularly helped me to see this quickly.

Greg found the answer around nine seconds in, pushing his score over the half century.

Greg: GRAVITATE (9s)
Vikas: [no answer]

Scores: Greg 32 (59), Vikas 10 (22), me 69

Those invalid words certainly cost Vikas, but they don't tell the whole story -- Greg just generally outdid him.  However, it was another game where contestants found words at most six-letters long; it feels like there's been a spate of those recently.  If the mixes free up a bit, we can hope to see some bigger scoring.


Mike Backhouse said...

EMETIC (didn't know about MEMETIC)
TOPIC (and saw ATOPIC as I was typing this!)
Lily's way but went over

Geoff Bailey said...

Nice game, Mike! You'd have certainly given Greg a run for his money, and even taken it if you'd solved round eight in time. EMETIC is a particularly good find.

Mike Backhouse said...

Thanks Geoff.