Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Ep 184: Tony Loui, Alison Crowe (September 22, 2016; originally aired April 14, 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.

Tony Loui gets his turn in the champion's seat tonight, and we find out that he took a year off from being a doctor and instead worked as a flight attendant (travelling overseas); he adds that he loves travelling.  Richard asks how Tony found the experience, and Tony agrees with Richard's remark that it was a huge change.  Coping with the effects of flying can be difficult, and it was hard work, but he found it to be thoroughly enjoyable.

Tonight's challenger is Alison Crowe, a physical education student and competitive rower.  In fact, Alison has twice represented Australia in rowing -- she has been in two under-23 teams.  That involved racing overseas, in Germany and the Czech Republic (some details can be found here).  She lists that as probably one of the greatest things she has done so far.

It was a dominant performance from Tony tonight: He started off by finding a full monty, and followed up with an eight-letter word to sprint out to a huge early lead.  He continued to score well with the letters, and the numbers offered little scope for Alison to regain the lost ground.  Tony was a certain victor going into the second break.  He rounded off an excellent game by solving the conundrum quickly, posting a final winning score of 83 to 33.

I was having an even better game than Tony, as it turns out, but then the SBS website became uncooperative, refusing to advance past the end of round five.  I had to give up on it and come back a day or so later; that interruption, I believe, was responsible for my poor performance in round six as I came back to it cold (as it were).  A shame, as I felt in really good form at the time.

Round 1: H T S A E I M C N

I had HATS, HATES, ATHEISM, MATCHES, wanted a final L for ALCHEMIST but then realised that the N would give MECHANIST ("someone who believes in philosophical or biological mechanism"); this mix has turned up before in episode 70.  I also noted MACHINES as an eight.

Alison has found MATHS for five, which ends up being particularly far off the pace as Tony has chanced MECHANIST for all the points.  That's pretty much the game right there.

The other eights are MISTEACH / HEMATICS (HEMATIC being a variant spelling of HAEMATIC, a medicine that acts on the blood) / TACHISME (a particular style of painting), SEMANTIC / AMNESTIC (variant form of AMNESIC), ANTHEMIC, HEMATINS (HEMATIN being a variant spelling of HAEMATIN: "a pigment containing iron [...]"), and ASTHENIC ("weak; lacking strength").

Alison: MATHS

Scores: Tony 18, Alison 0, me 18

Round 2: S R E N D I G E L

I had RENDS, DINERS, LINGERED, and REEDLINGS (REEDLING being a type of bird, also known as a bearded tit).

Alison takes an uncertain punt on the invalid SLEDING, but in any case Tony had found DESIGNER for eight.  David mentions RESIGNED in passing as another eight, but has found another nine here: ENGIRDLES.

The other eights here are ENGIRDLE / REEDLING, REDESIGN, SEEDLING, and REEDINGS (REEDING: "a small convex or semicylindrical moulding, resembling a reed").

Alison: [invalid -- SLEDING]

Scores: Tony 18 (26), Alison 0, me 36

Round 3: Target 193 from 75 25 7 8 7 3

The standard method applies easily enough, yielding 193 = 8*25 - 7 in short order.  I also noticed that the target was 168 + 25, giving another answer of 193 = 3*7*8 + 25.

Tony has taken a slightly longer approach with 193 = 3*75 - 25 - 7, while Alison has gone with the first of the solutions that I listed.  Lily happened to do it Tony's way also.

Tony: 193
Alison: 193
Me: 193
Lily: 193

Scores: Tony 28 (36), Alison 10, me 46

First break: DARN DOLL ("Master of your domain")

That person would be a LANDLORD.

David's talk is about the term blurb.

Round 4: F T A O I D B R H


Alison has BROTH for five, but Tony once again has found longer; his selection is ADRIFT.  His lead is out to 32 points already, and it seems very unlikely that Alison can come back from this.  David has chosen FORBID as his six.

Some sources give FATBIRD as another name for the oilbird, but the Macquarie does not; that makes six the limit here, with the others being HAIRDO and FORBAD (variant spelling of FORBADE, the past tense of FORBID).

Alison: BROTH

Scores: Tony 34 (42), Alison 10, me 52

Round 5: C T L U I A S P R

I had CULT, PLASTIC, and CURTAILS, noting that an E instead of the U would have allowed PARTICLES.

Alison has PARTS for five, while Tony continues to score well by finding CURTAILS for eight.  David has found another eight of CULPRITS.

The other eights are SPICULAR (variant of SPICULATE: "having the form of a spicule"; a SPICULE is "a small or minute, slender, sharp-pointed body or part") and STIPULAR (adjective derived from STIPULE: "(of some plants) one of a pair of lateral appendages, often leaf-like, sometimes thorns, at the base of a leaf petiole").

The other sevens are CURTAIL, CULPRIT, RITUALS, CRUSTAL, CITRALS (CITRAL being a certain chemical), SPIRULA (a type of mollusc), SPICULA (variant form of SPICULE, mentioned above), and URACILS (URACIL being one of the components of RNA).

Alison: PARTS

Scores: Tony 42 (50), Alison 10, me 60

Round 6: Target 212 from 75 25 5 2 5 9

Alison is still technically in the game, but she needs to outscore Tony in this round.  She takes the family mix, and gets another low target.  But the small numbers are not the most pleasing set, and the target is thus trickier than it might seem.  At first I thought that I could make a 6 from 5, 5, and 9, which would have given me a solution; I realised my error, but lost valuable time.  I was able to massage that approach into one away with 213 = 2*(75 + 25 + 9) - 5.

After time I realised that the factorisation 4*53 was more helpful than 2*106, giving me 212 = (9 - 5)*(75 - 25 + 5 - 2).  Then I looked at options involving dividing by 5, giving me another couple of solutions: 212 = 9*25 - 75/5 + 2 and 212 = 9*25 - (75 - 2*5)/5.  Finally I considered 210 + 2, finding 212 = 5*(9*5 - 75/25) + 2.  I'm disappointed by this miss, which I attribute to the interrupted viewing that I mentioned in the prologue.

Alison has managed to get to two away with 210 = (25 + 75)*2 + 5 + 5, but she is matched by Tony who has found exactly the same answer.  That ensures that he will win.  Lily has solved this, using the second of the solutions that I found after time.

Tony: 210
Alison: 210
Me: 213
Lily: 212

Scores: Tony 42 (57), Alison 10 (17), me 67

Second break: IT PRIORY ("Let's make this our number one")

That is, let's make it our PRIORITY.

Round 7: M D N I O E O B D

I had MIND, MOONED, BONDED, and rightly rejected BIODOME.  After time I noted other sixes of MIDDEN and DOMINO, and was a little sad that DOMINO is not a verb so DOMINOED is not valid.

It's sixes from the contestants, with Alison choosing MOONED while Tony chose BONDED.  David has managed to unearth the only seven here: BOONDIE (a Western Australian regionalism for a medium-to-large stone or rock).

The other sixes are DOOMED, BOOMED, MINDED, BIDDEN, BODIED, MONIED, and BOODIE ("a burrowing rat-kangaro [...]").

Alison: MOONED

Scores: Tony 48 (63), Alison 16 (23), me 73

Round 8: Target 103 from 50 75 25 4 8 1

A pretty straightforward target; I went with 103 = 75 + 25 + 4 - 1, then played around a bit to find another solution of 103 = (8/4)*50 + 75/25.

Both contestants have solved this using the first of those solutions.

Tony: 103
Alison: 103
Me: 103

Scores: Tony 58 (73), Alison 26 (33), me 83


I'm not sure if the timer took a little longer than usual to start, because I solved this a second faster than my usual best for conundrums.  That was pleasing!

Tony found the answer of MATERNITY quite quickly himself, rounding off what has been an emphatically dominant perfomance from him.

Tony: MATERNITY (5s)
Alison: [no answer]

Scores: Tony 58 (83), Alison 26 (33), me 93

Well, what a high-scoring night!  Two full monties in the same game is a rarity, and that has happened twice this week; David must surely be happy about that.  Alison was considerably overshadowed, but Tony was in excellent form and very few contestants would have been able to take the win against him tonight.  His total of 83 is the highest this series so far, with the next closest being Barry Harridge's 75 points in episode 128.

I'm annoyed at not solving round 6 in time, which put paid to my hopes of a maximal game.  I put that down to resuming the show "cold" after more than a day, so boo for the uncooperative website.  That said, I would not have found the best answer in round seven so I was never going to quite be there.  Nonetheless!


Mike Backhouse said...

Geoff, did you mean two conundrums in the same game was a rarity, or two full monties?

MATCHES (my wife who was watching also got CINEMAS in time, which I was quite envious of)
BROAD and ADRIFT just after
9*25-5-5-2=213 (1 off)

Geoff Bailey said...

Whoops, thanks for catching that, Mike -- fixed. Although come to think of it, two conundrums is about as rare as two full monties; there have been ten instances so far of two conundrums, and although I haven't checked precise figures, there have been three instances of two full monties in this series. My feeling is that this makes two full monties in a game will turn out to be a little more common that two conundrums.

No joy about LEERINGS, I'm afraid.