Monday, 22 August 2016

Ep 155: Rob Hunt, Richard Hartley (August 12, 2016; originally aired Match 4, 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.

Rob Hunt gets his turn in the champion's seat, after defeating Greg Beers last night.  Rob is learning Spanish at the moment; he originally started that because he wanted to travel around South America.  As he puts it, in a lot of places in the world, he can get away with just speaking English loudly, but in South America you really need to know the lingo.  Richard pulls David into the conversation at this point, as David also travelled around South America at one point, and asks him about his Spanish.  David responds in Spanish that he can speak it a little, but not well.  Still in Spanish, he asks Rob if he is going to win, and Rob responds in Spanish that he hopes so.

Tonight's challenger is Richard Hartley, a planetary science student and guitar teacher.  As he explains it, planetary science is a mix of astronomy and geology, that looks at the formation of planets, the solar system, and more broadly the whole universe.  Richard has been studying it for three years in London; he has just a few exams to go and then it will all be done.

The contestants start out with matched answers in the first round, then Richard moves ahead in the second round with a good find.  The first numbers round was too easy, so Richard took the advantage into the first break.  An error from Rob in round four allowed Richard to move further ahead, and he extended that lead still further in round five.  Richard looked like he might cruise home, but invalid answers from him in the next two main rounds put Rob right back in contention.  It had the makings of quite a comeback when Rob buzzed in first at the conundrum, but he did not have the answer.  That gave Richard the game; he picked up a few more points by solving the conundrum, finishing the winner by 56 to 42.

Round 1: N E H R I K L D E

I had HIRE, HIKER, was unsure about LINKER (not valid), LIKENED, REKINDLE, and was rightly dubious about HERDLIKE (not valid).

It's sixes from the contestants, with Richard choosing the "safe" LINKED while Rob has RELIED.  David mentions that he was unsure about RELINKED -- presumably inferring that this was Richard's riskier option -- but avoided that concern by finding the safe anagram of it: REKINDLE.  David does not actually say it, but I'll noted that RELINKED is not valid.

KINDLER is not valid, so the remaining seven here is INHERED.

Richard: LINKED

Scores: Rob 0 (6), Richard 0 (6), me 8

Round 2: T D S O I F N O E

I had DOTS, FOIST, FOISTED, INFEST, and FESTOON.  After time I noted FONDEST as another seven.

Rob has six again, with FINEST, but Richard has managed to go one better by finding FESTOON.  Speaking of going one better, David has reached deep to find the eight of SIDEFOOT ("Soccer to kick the ball with the side of one's foot").  He also mentions the seven of FOODIES.

The other sevens here are FOOTIES, TOONIES (TOONIE being the Canadian two-dollar coin) / ISOTONE ("one of two or more atoms whose nuclei contain the same number of neutrons although they have different atomic numbers"), and OSTEOID ("bonelike").

Richard: FESTOON

Scores: Rob 0 (6), Richard 7 (13), me 15

Round 3: Target 297 from 50 6 10 5 9 3

Too easy -- everyone gets 297 = 6*50 - 3 in short order.  I also noted the factorisation 9*33 and thus found a solution in the small numbers alone: 297 = (6 + 5)*3*9.  (Of course, 297 = 5*6*10 - 3 would be a simpler option with only small numbers.)

Rob: 297
Richard: 297
Me: 297
Lily: 297

Scores: Rob 10 (16), Richard 17 (23), me 25

First break: GENRE RYE ("Newbie's nursery")

The newbie is putting the GREEN into GREENERY.

David's talk is about the term macguffin.

Round 4: A O E M N D R B A

I had MOAN, MOANED, BANDORE (an old instrument similar to a lute) / BROADEN, rightly rejected BOARDMAN and BOARDNAME, and ADENOMA ("a tumour originating in a gland").  After time I noted other sevens of ROADMAN and ABDOMEN.

It's sevens from the contestants, but Rob has fallen victim to letter duplication with his answer of REBRAND.  Richard has made no mistake with ARMBAND, and is now fourteen points ahead at the halfway mark.  David has gone with BROADEN as his choice, noting that NAMEBOARD is not a thing.

The other sevens are ROADMEN / MANDORE ("a supervisor in charge of field or factory workers on an estate in Malaysia") and MADRO√ĎA (a type of tree).

Rob: [invalid -- REBRAND]
Richard: ARMBAND

Scores: Rob 10 (16), Richard 24 (30), me 32

Round 5: P E C D I T B O F

I had ICED, DEPICT, and was pleased to spot the seven of PICOTED (PICOT as a verb: "to make or ornament with picots", where PICOT as a noun is "one of a number of ornamental loops in embroidery, or along the edge of lace, ribbon, etc.").

Rob has CITED for five, but Richard has found DEPICT for six to go a full twenty points ahead.  Rob has a lot of catching up to do!  David has found PICOTED, dashing my hopes of catching up with him.

PICOTED is the only seven.  The other sixes are BODICE, POETIC, COPIED, FOETID, COEDIT, and COIFED.

Richard: DEPICT

Scores: Rob 10 (16), Richard 24 (36), me 39

Round 6: Target 486 from 100 4 4 1 8 6

The offset for the standard method is 14, which can be made as 8 + 6.  Putting those aside, we can get to 500 with the rest, giving us 486 = (4 + 1)*100 - 8 - 6.

Both contestants declare solutions, but Richard has erred with his answer of (6 - 1)*100 - 8 - 6, which uses the 6 twice.  That allows Rob back in the game, and indeed he has found the solution shown above.  That closes the gap to ten points, and at this stage it is possible we might see multiple conundrums.  It was also Lily's solution.

Rob: 486
Richard: [invalid -- 486]
Me: 486
Lily: 486

Scores: Rob 20 (26), Richard 24 (36), me 49

Second break: EAR CONCH ("When one bug strays into another bug's territory")

The bugs are cluing the ROACH of ENCROACH.

Round 7: T I R E G R O C S

I had RITE, TIGER, GOITRE, EROTIC, CORRIES (CORRIE: "a circular hole in the side of a hill or mountain [...] formed by glacial action"), and EROTICS (EROTIC as a noun: "an erotic poem").  After time I noted CROSIER (alternate spelling of CROZIER, the hooked staff of a bishop) as another seven, and then realised that I'd forgotten to note GOITRES.

It's sixes from the contestants, with Rob having SCORER while Richard's risky try of RECOST is invalid.  The gap is now just four points, and we won't be getting a second conundrum.  David points out some valid anagrams of RECOST that Richard could have used -- ESCORT / SECTOR / CORSET -- and has opted for GOITRES as his seven.

Seven is the best to be done; the others are GOITERS (GOITER being the American spelling of GOITRE) / GORIEST, GROCERS, RIOTERS / ROISTER, RECTORS, and ORRICES (ORRICE being an alternate spelling for ORRIS, one of several species of iris) / CIRROSE ("of the nature of cirrus clouds"; also allowed as CIRROUS).

Richard: [invalid -- RECOST]

Scores: Rob 20 (32), Richard 24 (36), me 56

Round 8: Target 405 from 100 7 2 10 5 3

The standard method was pretty straightforward, as it often is, giving 405 = (7 - 3)*100 + 5.  I also looked at the factorisation 5*81, allowing me to get a solution in small numbers alone: 405 = (2*10 + 7)*3*5.

Everyone else has solved this with the first solution above, so the game is live going into the conundrum.  Those two earlier invalid answers from Richard earlier have let Rob right back into the game.

Rob: 405
Richard: 405
Me: 405
Lily: 405

Scores: Rob 30 (42), Richard 34 (46), me 66


There's a distinct contrast in the contestants' body language here -- Richard is staring pretty intently at the monitor, while Rob is a lot more casual.  That's pretty understandable given the situation; Richard has arguably let a certain win get away from him.  Rob buzzes in almost casually after six seconds, but when asked has come to the realisation that he has got it wrong.  What a disappointing way to lose!  Richard gets the extra points by solving this after time restarts, but the unanswered question is whether Rob saw the right answer in the meantime.

Rob had beaten me to the buzzer, but I found the solution just after, allowing me to avoid a long pause.  I had gotten hung up on the -ING fragment, but once I put that aside I soon saw the option of -ATION and thus the answer of MIGRATION.

Rob: [invalid (6s)]
Richard: MIGRATION (18s)

Scores: Rob 30 (42), Richard 34 (56), me 76

It had all the hallmarks of an epic comeback for Rob, with Richard stretching to an early twenty point lead only to squander it with two invalid answers in a row.  But Rob was too eager, and lost his chance.  Overall, it seems plausible that Richard would have won it anyway, but he should certainly feel lucky to have survived this game.  He'll have to avoid those invalid answers if he wants to progress in future games.


Mike Backhouse said...

x TORIES (was hoping for a lower case version)

Geoff Bailey said...

Good news, Mike -- the fifth edition has this in its entry for Tory: "(sometimes lower case a person with conservative, right-wing views". So TORIES gets the nod, although SORTIE is somewhat safer.

Mike Backhouse said...

Thanks Geoff for the info. My second edition had no such entry!