Thursday, 29 September 2016

Ep 185: Tony Loui, Laurence Guttman (September 23, 2016; originally aired April 15, 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 is back for his third night, and Richard refers to Tony as a keen traveller.  Tony states that he loves travelling, and last year was lucky enough to go to the last remaining ancient wonder of the world: The Great Pyramid of Giza.  Richard asks about the wonders of the modern world, and Tony indicates that he has seen four of them already, with the three left to see being the Taj Mahal, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio, and Machu Picchu.

Tonight's challenger is Laurence Guttman, a secondary school teacher who teaches both mathematics and English -- a combination that Richard describes as slightly unusual.  Laurence says that he has always enjoyed English, but has had mixed fortunes in the past with mathematics.  In particular, in his first year of university, when he "possibly wasn't taking things as seriously as [he] should", his father was the lecturer.  That is something that Laurence advises against if anyone else is in a similar situation, which I think is very understandable.  He also advises against then failing the course taught by one's father, which is something that he did.  Oops!

Tony was a little unfortunate to start off with an invalid word in the first round, as the Macquarie did not list the medical term that he found.  But a spate of invalid answers from Laurence (four invalid answers in the following five rounds) gave Tony a comfortable lead, and he was twenty-six points ahead going into the second break.  Tony scored points in the last letters round, ensuring his victory, and although Laurence rallied a little after that it was too late.  Tony gained his third win, 44 to 21.

Round 1: B C F L O I A T U

I had BOIL, FOLIA (plural of FOLIUM: "a thin leaf-like stratum or layer"), CLOUT, and lamented that the B was not an S as that would have allowed CLAFOUTIS ("a dessert in which fruit, most often cherries, is floated in a batter and the whole baked").  Apparently some sources would allow a variant spelling of CLAFOUTI, but not the Macquarie.  After time I checked up on CUBITAL (not valid), noted other fives of BIOTA and COBIA (a type of fish), and then found the sevens of BAILOUT and BIFOCAL.

Laurence has CLOUT for five, while Tony declares the seven of CUBITAL.  That is his medical background coming into play -- the cubital tunnel is in the elbow -- but the Macquarie does not list it.  A little unfortunate for him, and a small early lead to Laurence.  David has accurately found the seven of BIFOCAL.

The other sevens are TABOULI, BOATFUL, and ABOULIC (adjective derived from ABOULIA: "the inability, usually pathological, to make or act on decisions").  The sixes are FIBULA, COBALT, and COITAL.

Tony: [invalid -- CUBITAL]
Laurence: CLOUT

Scores: Tony 0, Laurence 5, me 5

Round 2: E O E N M P T A R

I had OMEN, TEMPO, and PRONATE.  After time I noted other sevens of OPERANT, OPERATE, and TEMPERA ("paint made from pigment ground in water and mixed with an emulsion of egg yolk or some similar substance").

Laurence has chosen the six of PANTER (not valid, incidentally, although David does not choose to mention that), but Tony has bounced back by finding the seven of PRONATE.  David notes that an anagram of it is OPERANT.

The other sevens are MANROPE ("a rope placed at the side of a ship's gangway, ladder, or the like, to serve as a rail"), PROTEAN ("readily assuming different forms or characters"), and REMANET ("Law an action which remains to be heard after a sitting").  But there is an eight: PERMEANT ("permeating; pervading").

But wait, there's more!  The nine that could be had from this mix is TREPONEMA, a type of bacteria.

Laurence: PANTER

Scores: Tony 7, Laurence 5, me 12

Round 3: Target 864 from 50 2 3 3 6 9

The target is 8*108, which leads to a lot of factorisation possibilities.  I ended up settling on the option of 18*48, finding 864 = 3*6*(50 - 2).  One could also get to that answer by thinking about tweaking down from 900.

Both contestants declare five away with 859.  Tony's method is 859 = (9 + 6 + 2)*50 + 3*3, and then Laurence realises that he has made a mistake.  Lily had hoped to use the factorisation 8*108, but was not able to get it to work (my later checking suggests that it is not feasible to use that); so she changed approaches and found the solution 864 = 50*2*9 - (3 + 3)*6.

Tony: 859
Laurence: [invalid -- 859]
Me: 864
Lily: 864

Scores: Tony 7 (14), Laurence 5, me 22

First break: CORE USER ("Something you don't want to waste")

That would be a RESOURCE.

David's talk is about how words can have their pronunciations altered when transferred from one language to another.

Round 4: O E S N P R O D I

I had NOSE, PEONS, PRONE, SNOOPER, SPOONED, RESPOND, EROSION, INDORSE, was dubious about SNOOPIER* (not valid), and more confident about SPOONIER due to past checking (SPOONY: "foolishly or sentimentally amorous").

Tony has SPOONED for seven, while Laurence essays the eight of SNOOPIER*.  That's unfortunately for him -- SNOOPY is listed as an adjective, but SNOOPIER* not explicitly so.  That's his third invalid answer in a row, and such things are going to make it very hard for him to come back.  David, meanwhile, has found the eight of POISONED.

The other eight is POISONER.  There were more potential other sevens than I felt like checking.

Laurence: [invalid -- SNOOPIER*]

Scores: Tony 7 (21), Laurence 5, me 30

Round 5: S D G E O A I S H

I was hoping for a final T for GODETIAS, but no such luck.  As it was, I had DOGES, DOSAGE, DOSAGES, and GEISHAS.

It's sixes from the contestants, with Laurence finding GASSED while Tony had GASHED.  David points out that a final N would have given the full monty of DIAGNOSES, but without that he has had to settle for the seven of DOSAGES.

DOSAGES and GEISHAS are the only sevens, and the best to be done.

Laurence: GASSED

Scores: Tony 7 (27), Laurence 5 (11), me 37

Round 6: Target 111 from 25 100 9 3 10 6

I started with 111 = 100 + 9 + 6/3, then tried to find a way to get 3*37 to work.  I ended up finding a way to do it, although somewhat more complicated than I had hoped for: 111 = (10*100/25 - (9 - 6))*3.

Both contestants declare 111, but Laurence has made a mistake: He starts with 100 + 10, then to get the final 1 he says "nine divided by three".  As he points out, he meant to subtract, not divide, presumably for (9 - 3)/6.  That's an unfortunate error from him, as ten fairly easy points go begging.  Tony has made no mistake in his answer of 111 = 100 + 10 + (3 + 6)/9.

Lily mentions that there are various other options; in particular, she describes the first of the solutions that I found.

Tony: 111
Laurence: [invalid -- 111]
Me: 111
Lily: 111

Scores: Tony 17 (37), Laurence 5 (11), me 47

Second break: PEN GILLS ("Make letters into words")

That would be the process of SPELLING.

Round 7: S T N E U A R L R

I had NEST, TUNES, AUNTS, TUNERS, RESULT, and ANTLERS.  After time I finally spotted the eight of NEUTRALS, and noted another seven of RUSTLER.

Laurence has gone with SULTAN for six, while Tony opts for the "safe seven" of NEUTRAL.  Fair enough, given the game situation (those seven points guarantee him the win), but NEUTRALS is fine.  Interestingly, if Tony had taken the risk and been wrong, the gap would have closed to twenty points, leading to the possibility of two conundrums.  NEUTRALS was also David's choice.

NEUTRALS is the only eight; the other sevens are NEUTRAL, RETURNS / TURNERS, SURREAL, SAUNTER / NATURES, SALUTER, RANTERS, RUNLETS, SNARLER, RENTALS / SLANTER / STERNAL ("of or relating to the sternum") / SALTERN ("a plot of land laid out in pools for the evaporation of sea water to produce salt"), and LUNATES (LUNATE: "a crescent-shaped bone in the proximal row of the carpus").

Laurence: SULTAN

Scores: Tony 24 (44), Laurence 5 (11), me 54

Round 8: Target 646 from 50 100 7 2 10 1

The offset of 4 for the standard method could be made as 2*7 - 10, and that fits in handily with tweaking: 646 = 7*(100 - 2) - 50 + 10.  Then I noticed that tweaking was not necessary: 646 = 7*100 - 50 - 10/2 + 1.

Tony was one away -- we don't find out in what direction, but I'll guess it was 647 = 7*100 - 50 - 2 - 1 -- but Laurence has solved this with the second of the solutions that I listed.  It was also Lily's approach.

Tony: [one away]
Laurence: 646
Me: 646
Lily: 646

Scores: Tony 24 (44), Laurence 15 (21), me 64


This felt like a tough conundrum, and it took me almost a minute to look at the -IOUS ending and so find the answer of TENACIOUS.

Laurence buzzed in after five seconds with CAUSATION, which is close but not valid.  Tony was unable to solve it in the time remaining, so the scores remain unchanged.

Tony: [no answer]
Laurence: [invalid -- CAUSATION (6s)]
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Tony 24 (44), Laurence 15 (21), me 64

Tony seemed a bit off form tonight, especially compared to his previous game.  I feel like it was not so much a case of him winning as of Laurence losing -- Laurence had five invalid answers (including the conundrum), and that's a lot of ground to give up.  If Laurence had correctly computed his invalid numbers rounds declarations, and stayed with a safer seven instead of SNOOPIER* in round four, he would have scored 24 extra points and won the game by a point.  (Then again, if we're arguing such counterfactuals, Tony might well have chanced NEUTRALS in such a situation, tying up the game and taking us to a second conundrum.)  Anyway, a little fortunate for Tony, but he continued to score solidly throughout the game and sometimes that's just what it takes.


Mike Backhouse said...

x CLAFOUTI (I actually make this!)
(6*50-9-3)*3=867 (went over)

Geoff Bailey said...

Ooh, bad luck about CLAFOUTI -- it was excellent vision.