Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Ep 181: Tom Fooks, Phillip Gao (September 19, 2016; originally aired April 11, 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.

We have two new contestants tonight, after Victor Tung's successful retirement in the previous episode.  That's somewhat good for me, given that I'm kind of starting anew after a gap.  First up, taking the champion's seat is Tom Fooks, a law student.  Richard notes that Tom is still at the study stage of the process, but asks what areas of law interest Tom the most.  Tom responds that he first got into studying law through working as a judge's associate last year, in the area of industrial relations, and that is something that he is really keen to get back into.  He takes the rosy view that it is helping employers and employees work together for the best possible outcomes.

Taking the challenger's seat is Phillip Gao, an accounting and finance student who is also a part-time auditor.  Richard informs us that Phillip does voluntary work with youth, and Phillip expands on that -- he is a volunteer with Wesley Mission Victoria, in their Kids Under Kanvas program.  (I sigh at the gratuitous misspelling in the program's name.)  That involves going on weekend outings with disabled children, to such places as Luna Park, the AFL sailing, and such.  Phillip finds it a really rewarding program.

Tom took the early lead by finding a seven-pointer in the first round, and was never headed thereafter.  Phillip really struggled on the words, never managing to find longer than five, and the only round where he managed to outpoint Tom was the second numbers round (where again he scored five points).  Tom's better handling of the letters gave him a comfortable margin, and he was safe going into the conundrum.  Neither contestant could solve it, so the game finished with Tom the victor, 46 to 27.

Round 1: O U I D S T E C N

I had DOTS, DUTIES, OUTSIDE / TEDIOUS, INDUCTS, noted SUCTIONED but knew it was not listed, DISCOUNT, and COUNTIES.  Just after time I finally saw the valid anagram of SUCTIONED: EDUCTIONS (EDUCTION: "the act of educing", where EDUCE means to draw out or elicit).  That immediately led me to see the alternative more common answer of SEDUCTION.  I had been sure that there was a full monty in this mix, but just could not bring it to mind quick enough.

Phillip essays the unusual five of DOUST, which is not valid, but in any case Tom has found COUNTED for seven to take the early points.  David is on point, finding SEDUCTION for nine.

SEDUCTION / EDUCTIONS are the only nines.  The other eights here are EDUCTION, CONDUITS / NOCTUIDS (NOCTUID being any one of a certain family of moths), and CONTUSED.

Phillip: [invalid -- DOUST]

Scores: Tom 0 (7), Phillip 0, me 8

Round 2: O P E O L E G T C

Yuck, what a mix.  I had POLE, ELOPE, and TOPEE ("(in India) a helmet of sola pith").

Phillip has found PEEL for four, but again Tom takes the points by finding ELOPE for five.  David has managed to go one better by finding the six of OCELOT.

OCELOT is the only six.  The other fives are ELECT, COOPT, COOEE, TELCO, CLEPE (an archaic word: "to call; name"; it is perhaps most familiar in its past tense with variant spelling: YCLEPT), CLEPT (past tense of CLEPE), and GLEET ("a thin, morbid discharge, as from a wound").

Phillip: PEEL

Scores: Tom 5 (12), Phillip 0, me 13

Round 3: Target 897 from 25 100 3 9 2 2

Hardly a challenging round -- everyone finds 897 = 9*100 - 3 in short order.

Tom: 897
Phillip: 897
Me: 897
Lily: 897

Scores: Tom 15 (22), Phillip 10, me 23

First break: MOTEL TEE ("You can't make one of these without breaking a few eggs")

That would be an OMELETTE.

David's talk is about the words quorum and agenda.

Round 4: U B A I A C B S R

I had BASIC, wondered about CARIBS (only listed with a capital letter), CURIAS, and was dubious about ARABICS (I was thinking as a possible generalisation of GUM ARABIC; in any case, it is not valid).  Unfortunately for me, the plural form of CURIA ("one of the political subdivisions of each of the three tribes of ancient Roman citizens") is given explicitly as CURIAE, so CURIAS is not valid.  After time I checked up on AIRBUS, and it is acceptable.

Phillip has been completely flummoxed by this set of letters, and has nothing to declare.  Tom has found BASIC for five, extending his lead to 17 points; Phillip is in a fair amount of trouble at this point.  David once again has found a better answer, this time the six of ABACUS.

The best answer here is the eight of BABIRUSA ("an Indonesian swine [...]").  There is also a seven: BICARBS.  The other sixes are BICARB, RABBIS, SCARAB, BUSBAR ("an electrical conductor having low resistance connecting several like points in an electrical system, frequently used to supply power to various points"), and ACARUS ("a mite").

Phillip: [no answer]
Me: [invalid -- CURIAS]

Scores: Tom 20 (27), Phillip 10, me 23

Round 5: H L R E O A T S I

I had HOLE, LOATHE, LOATHER, TAILORS, and HORSETAIL (any plant in a certain genus).  After time I noted AIRHOLES as an eight.

Phillip has HEALS for five, but Tom has found the seven of TAILORS.  David has found HORSETAIL for his second full monty of the game.

There are two other nines in this mix: ISOTHERAL (adjective derived from ISOTHERE: "a line connecting places on the earth's surface which have the same mean summer temperature") / AEROLITHS (AEROLITH being a variant spelling of AEROLITE: "a meteorite consisting mainly of stony matter").  The other eights are AEROLITH, HOARIEST, and LOATHERS.

Phillip: HEALS

Scores: Tom 20 (34), Phillip 10, me 41

Round 6: Target 938 from 25 50 75 100 4 10

Gah, I made a mess of this; I got so focused on its nearness to 25*75/2 that I did not consider other approaches.  We don't have an easy 2, but we can also use 50*75/4, and that got me to two away with 936 = (50*75 + 10) / 4 - 100 / 25.  I had originally miscalculated it as 938, but caught my error in time.  However, that took up some important time, so it was only after time ran out that I got down the adjustment to one away with 939 = (50*75 - 10) / 4 + 100 / 25.

Then I put that approach aside and looked at just working down from 1000, and easily found an answer: 938 = 10*100 - 50 - 4*75/25.  Bother.  It just goes to show, it is often better to start by looking for simpler solutions first.

Tom is nine away with 929 -- presumably 10*100 - 75 + 4 -- but Phillip has managed to get two closer with 931 = 100*10 - 75 + 4 + 50 / 25.  Lily has accurately found the solution that I saw after time.

There are two other solutions to this; the first uses the factorisation 14*67, although it has to work hard for the 67: 938 = (10 + 4)*(50*100 + 25) / 75.  A tough one, but someone familiar with the four large numbers (hi, Sam!) would know that 67 could be made with those, so if they also spotted that factorisation then they could have found it.  The other uses the idea that I had considered, but needed to go up to 100*75/8 instead: 938 = (75*100 + 4) / (10 - 50/25).  Huh.  I nearly had it -- just needed to think a little further afield.

Tom: 929
Phillip: 931
Me: 936
Lily: 938

Scores: Tom 20 (34), Phillip 10 (15), me 48

Second break: DAD RANTS ("The thing we measure against")

Such a thing is called a STANDARD.

Round 7: M N A E A T N E F

I had NAME, wondered about EMANANT (as in something that emanates -- it is in the Scrabble dictionary, but not in the Macquarie), and EMANATE / MANATEE.

The other seven is ENEMATA (one plural form of ENEMA).  The sixes are NEATEN and AMENTA (plural of AMENTUM: "a spike of unisexual apetalous flowers with scaly bracts, usually deciduous; a catkin").

Phillip: EATEN

Scores: Tom 20 (39), Phillip 10 (20), me 55

Round 8: Target 131 from 75 50 100 25 10 7

Phillip once again tries his luck with the four large mix; a risky option since it is often not very solvable and he does need to reach the target to stay in the game.  On the other hand, he also needs for Tom to not solve it, so there's a line to be walked.  In such a situation I think I'd have taken a single large number since that gives excellent solvability, and hoped that the target ended up being too tough for my opponent.

Anyway, the offset for the standard method is 6, and once I saw how to make that the rest was easy enough: 131 = 75 + 50 + 10 - 100 / 25.

The contestants are one off in different directions; Phillip went with 132 = 100 + 25 + 7.  Tom instead opted for 130 = 100 + (75 / 25)*10.  After Tom gave that answer I saw that a small change would have given him a solution: 131 = 100 + (75 / 25)*7 + 10.  Lily has found the same solution that I did.

Tom: 130
Phillip: 132
Me: 131
Lily: 131

Scores: Tom 20 (46), Phillip 10 (27), me 65


Tom is now guaranteed to win, but there's still the conundrum to play for.  I was fairly lost on this one -- all up, it took me approximately a minute to find the answer of INTERLUDE.

The contestants were likewise stumped, so the scores stay unchanged.

Tom: [no answer]
Phillip: [no answer]
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Tom 20 (46), Phillip 10 (27), me 65

It's safe to say that Tom had the better of the letters tonight -- Phillip only managed to score points there once, and that was five points in a shared round.  That gave Tom 24 points of advantage, and the numbers were not cooperative enough for Phillip to gain back the lost ground; he gained five points, but that was it.

I had a rather unsatisfactory game, missing a couple of answers that I should have found and getting an invalid word as well.  My solo total ended up a whopping 30 points behind David and Lily, and that may actually be a record.  Certainly it is a margin far greater than I am happy with.  Not the best return to blogging, but sometimes that's just how the games go.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

x HEALERS (phantom E)
10*100-75+(4*50/25)=933 (5 off)