Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Ep 182: Tom Fooks, Helen Hewitt (September 20, 2016; originally aired April 12, 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.

Tom Fooks is back in the champion's seat tonight, but this time he has a win under his belt.  We find out that Tom rides a motorbike -- he loves the feeling of being on it -- and his favourite place to ride is down the Great Ocean Road.

Tonight's challenger is Helen Hewitt, a primary school teacher and netball umpire.  Helen has been an umpire for some time: She started off playing netball, then after she got older and had a few injuries she still wanted to be involved so she switched to umpiring.  Helen supervises over at Netball Victoria.

Helen fell victim to a phantom letter in the first round, allowing Tom to take an early lead.  A couple of shared rounds followed; then a good find from Helen put her ahead by a single point.  The fifth round was also shared, but then Helen faltered in the second numbers round, missing a relatively easy solution and catapulting Tom back into the lead.  He found an excellent word in round seven to push further ahead, but then he blanked on the last numbers round.  That gave Helen a chance, but she was unable to capitalise on the opportunity; she entered the conundrum behind by eleven points.  Tom solved it quickly in any case, finishing the winner with 55 points to 34.

Round 1: A I U R M S N E T

Ah, a painful round for me -- I just could not spot the best option within time, although I was sure it was lurking there.  I had AIMS, MAINS, SEMINAR, and MINARETS.  After time I noted MURIATES as another eight, and then finally saw the nine of RUMINATES.

Tom has STREAM for six, while Helen declares an eight.  But she has come unstuck with a duplication, as her answer is TRAINERS, and that uses the R too many times.  David has found RUMINATES, and I'm not going to catch him this game.

The other nine is ANTISERUM ("serum containing antibodies [...]").  The other eights are RUMINATE, ANEURISM, TERMINUS / MUNTRIES (plural of MUNTRY, a type of shrub), NATURISM, URINATES / URANITES / TAURINES, and MENSTRUA (plural of MENSTRUUM: "a solvent").  Also probably RAIMENTS, but maybe RAIMENT would be a mass noun.

Helen: [invalid -- TRAINERS]

Scores: Tom 0 (6), Helen 0, me 8

Round 2: H R I E O P C E T

I had HEIR, COPIER, RECIPE, EROTIC, and PITCHER.  After time I added ETHERIC as another seven.

It's sixes from each contestant, with Tom finding the nice CIPHER while Helen has gone with THRICE.  David has found PITCHER for seven.

There are surprisingly many sevens here: RECEIPT, HERETIC / TECHIER (here TECHY is a variant form of TETCHY), CHEERIO, COTERIE, PRITHEE, TROCHEE ("(in prosody) a metrical foot of two syllables, a long followed by a short, or an accented followed by an unaccented"), PICOTEE ("a variety of carnation whose petals have an outer margin of another colour, usually red"), POTICHE ("a vase or jar, as of porcelain, with rounded or polygonal body narrowing at the top"), and TROPHIC ("of or relating to nutrition; concerned in nutritive processes").

But there is also an eight here: HERPETIC (adjective derived from HERPES).


Scores: Tom 0 (12), Helen 0 (6), me 15

Round 3: Target 124 from 100 25 50 1 5 8

It's always disappointing when the numbers round is so trivial.  Everyone found 124 = 100 + 25 - 1 easily; I also noted 124 = 5*25 - 1 and then used the factorisation 4*31 with 124 = (25 + 5 + 1)*8 / (100/50).

Tom: 124
Helen: 124
Me: 124
Lily: 124

Scores: Tom 10 (22), Helen 10 (16), me 25

First break: DARTS COP ("Wish you were here")

The clue is a sentiment often written on a POSTCARD.

David's talk continues yesterday's theme of Latin words included directly in English, and mentions continuum, villa, tandem, (omni)bus, ante, prior, super, extra, onus, gratis, magnum, and bonus.

Round 4: O E P T A H R O Y

I had POET, POTHER, POETRY, and EARTHY / HEARTY.  After time I finally spotted the seven of THERAPY.

Tom has found POETRY for six, but Helen has done well to spot THERAPY for seven.  David has spotted another seven of ATROPHY.

The other sevens are OOPHYTE ("the plant which produces the gametes, in flowerless plants as mosses and ferns which have both sexual and asexual phases during reproduction") and TOHEROA ("a New Zealand shellfish [...]").  But again there is an eight to be had: ORTHOEPY ("the study of correct pronunciation").


Scores: Tom 10 (22), Helen 17 (23), me 25

Round 5: L S G A I E S D F

I had LAGS, GALES, GLASSIE ("any glass playing marble"), and GLISSADE ("Dancing a sliding or gliding step").

Both contestants have found FAILED for six, while David takes his cue from his daughter's dance lessons again by finding GLISSADE.

GAS FIELDS is only listed as two words, so eight is the best to be done; the other eight is GADFLIES.  The other sevens are GLASSED, AIDLESS, FALSIES / FILASSE ("any of various vegetable fibres, other than cotton, processed for manufacture into yarn"), and IGASES (LIGASE: "a non-specific name for any enzyme which will catalyse the synthesis of a named product using energy from the breakdown of ATP [...]") / SILAGES (SILAGE: "green fodder preserved in a silo, silage pit, or mound").


Scores: Tom 10 (28), Helen 17 (29), me 33

Round 6: Target 106 from 25 75 2 7 9 5

A low target is usually easy, although this is not quite as trivial as it seemed like it should be.  In any case, I went with 106 = 75 + 25 + (7 + 5)/2, then noted an alternative of 106 = 2*7*9 - 25 + 5.

Richard does that sometimes embarrassing thing where he declares that the round is easy and assumes that the contestant has solved it.  He is right in the case of Tom, but Helen was one away with 107 (presumably the simple 75 + 25 + 7).  Tom went with 106 = 25 + 75 + 9 + 2 - 5.

Lily has taken another approach, finding 106 = 75 + 25 + (9 - 7)/2 + 5.

Tom: 106
Helen: 107
Me: 106
Lily: 106

Scores: Tom 20 (38), Helen 17 (29), me 43

Second break: TYRES RIG ("A place to tie your knot")

That would be at the REGISTRY.

Round 7: I A E I M S B L U

Bleah, too many vowels -- four should have been enough, and I'd have been content with three.  I had SAME, IAMBS, AMBLES, and ABLEISM.

That fifth vowel has worked well for Tom, however, as he has found SUBLIME for seven to beat Helen's six of BLAMES.  David has found BULIMIA as another seven, and presumably thinks that BULIMIAS is not valid (it was in my Scrabble list), or perhaps that its validity is dubious enough that it's not worth getting into.

The other sevens are MILIEUS and BAILIES (BAILIE: "a Scottish municipal officer or magistrate").


Scores: Tom 27 (45), Helen 17 (29), me 50

Round 8: Target 658 from 100 25 1 2 3 7

My first thought was to apply the standard method, which meant that I wanted to keep the 7 and 1 aside for the offset of 8.  A little thought turned up the right tweak to get to 650 with the rest, giving me the solution 658 = 2*(3*100 + 25) + 7 + 1.  Then I considered the alternative of working down from 700, which highlighted the factorisation 7*94 and so gave me 658 = 7*(100 - 2*3).

Tom has not been able to get anywhere with this one, so Helen is in with a chance still if she can get close enough.  But she's just a bit too far away with 650 = 100*(7 - 1) + 25*2; she gets five points but that is one too few for her to still win the game.  If she had just added the remaining 3, she would have got to five away from the target for a crucial two extra points -- if she solves the conundrum, she will still have lost because of this oversight.

Meanwhile, Lily has found the second of the solutions that I listed.

Tom: [no answer]
Helen: 650
Me: 658
Lily: 658

Scores: Tom 27 (45), Helen 17 (34), me 60


The GRAPH fragment stood out, so I soon found the answer of GEOGRAPHY.

Tom got there just a little later, sealing his win, so Helen's oversight in the last numbers round was not costly.

Helen: [no answer]

Scores: Tom 27 (55), Helen 17 (34), me 70

The game was very close at the halfway mark, with Tom's lead being just a single point.  But Helen missed an easy numbers solution in round six and Tom managed to scoot away, rounding it all out by solving the conundrum.  He was maybe a little lucky, but he played to his strengths; SUBLIME in particular was an excellent find.

As an aside, the final scores for the contestants are both Fibonacci numbers.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

7*((100-(3*2))=658 slightly over