Saturday, 1 October 2016

Ep 187: Tony Loui, Mark Povey (September 27, 2016; originally aired April 19, 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.

It's Tony Loui's fifth night, and Richard wheels out the question about strategy.  Tony manages to give more of an answer than most contestants do, which is a nice change.  With the letters, he tries to make the longest he can from the first five or six letters so that he has a four- or five-letter word, then builds from that.  For the numbers, he tries to make it simple by using the biggest number first and get the closest that he can, and then adjust.  That's certainly an approach that I advocate, and it works quite often.

Tonight's challenger is Mark Povey, a storeman who served in the Royal Australian Navy for twenty-one years.  Richard asks about highlights of Mark's career in the navy; Mark does not get very specific, but does mention that he was on the ground for six months doing services with the United Nations in Mogadishu.  Aside from that, just a lot of time spent away from home, and that is when his fondness for crosswords, particularly David's cryptics, blossomed.  He has yet to finish one, but hopes to do so one day.

Things started out poorly for Tony, as he duplicated a letter in the first letters round.  Mark capitalised on that swing by finding a good word in the second round, building a 13 point lead after just two rounds.  But Tony rallied in the numbers, scoring points to narrow the gap to six.  A shared round followed in the letters, then Tony levelled the scores in round five.  The second numbers round was too difficult for both contestants, so they were tied going into the second break.

It looked like we were heading for a nailbiter of a finish, but Tony blew the game wide open by finding a full monty in the last letters game.  Mark was still in with a chance, but the numbers were not cooperative for him and instead Tony extended his lead.  The conundrum also turned out to be too hard for the contestants, so it was round seven that decided it all.  Tony won by 49 points to 21, a winning margin that does not reflect most of the game.

Round 1: T D B A O A E T R


Mark has ABATED for six, while Tony declares a seven.  But he has fallen victim to phantom letter syndrome with his answer of BERATED, so it's Mark that takes the points.  David has gone with ROTATED as his choice.

The remaining sevens are TABORED (TABOR as a verb: "to strike or beat, as a tabor", where TABOR as a noun is a type of drum), TABORET ("a low seat without back or arms, for one person; a stool"), and TABARET ("a durable upholstery fabric made of satin and watered silk stripes").

Tony: [invalid -- BERATED]

Scores: Tony 0, Mark 0 (6), me 7

Round 2: B O E L M I C L D

I had LOBE, CLIME, COLLIE, BILLED, and MELODIC.  After time I noted another six of MELOID (another name for the blister beetle) and another seven of COLLIDE.

Tony had MOBILE for six, but Mark has found CLIMBED for seven to scoot out to an early 13-point lead.  Trouble for Tony!  David has found the seven of MELODIC.

The remaining seven is EMBOLIC (adjective derived from EMBOLUS: "undissolved material carried by the blood current and imapcted in some part of the vascular system [...]").


Scores: Tony 0, Mark 7 (13), me 14

Round 3: Target 558 from 25 8 10 7 1 2

The standard method says to make this as 22*25 + 8, which is easy enough: 558 = (10 + 1)*2*25 + 8.  Then I looked at the factorisation 18*31 to find another solution: 558 = (10 + 8)*(25 + 7 - 1).

Mark has not been able to get anywhere near, but Tony has got to one off with 557 = 25*2*10 + 7*8 + 1.  If he had just tweaked with the 2 he would have reached the target (558 = 2*(25*10 + 1) + 7*8).  Still, that's seven much-needed points for him, and no doubt helps settle any nerves he might have at this point.

Lily has found the nicely simple 558 = 8*7*10 - 2.  Well done, Lily!

Tony: 557
Mark: [no answer]
Me: 558
Lily: 558

Scores: Tony 0 (7), Mark 7 (13), me 24

First break: ACID CAME ("Brains, not brawn")

A description of what is valued in ACADEMIC circles.

David's talk is about the word guerilla, and some associated phrases.

Round 4: P O U G N D I H N

I had PONG, POUND, DOPING, POUNDING, and HOUNDING.  After time I checked up on PIGHOUND, but that is not valid.

It's eights all round, with the contests also finding POUNDING.  David points out the other option of HOUNDING.

POUNDING and HOUNDING are the only eights.  The sevens are UNDOING and PHONING.


Scores: Tony 8 (15), Mark 15 (21), me 32

Round 5: R S C O A U H D T

I had been hoping for a final E, allowing CAROUSED or CHORUSED, but the next vowel would have been a less helpful O so this was perhaps good judgement from Tony.  I had ROCS, ORCAS, CHORUS, and CUSTARD.  After time I noted another seven of AUTHORS.

Mark has SHOUT for five, but Tony has found CHARTS for six to level the scores.  I'm sure he's relieved about that after the start.  David has chosen CUSTARD as his answer.

TOAD-RUSH is only listed with a hyphen, so seven is the best to be done.  The other sevens are SURCOAT / TURACOS (TURACO being a type of bird), AUROCHS ("a large wild European bovine, Bos primigenius, domesticated during the Stone Age, now extinct"), TROCHUS (a genus of sea snails), CHADORS (CHADOR: "a dark voluminous mantle which envelops the body leaving only a narrow slit for the eyes, worn by some Muslim women as an outer garment"), and DOURAHS (DOURAH being an alternative spelling of DURRA: "a type of grain sorghum with slender stalks, cultivated in Asia, etc.; Indian millet; Guinea corn").


Scores: Tony 8 (21), Mark 15 (21), me 39

Round 6: Target 614 from 25 1 5 7 9 7

I got a bit lost on this one -- it's not that easy to get close, or so I would opine.  The frustrating thing it that I had what would have been a working idea, but took long enough to find it that I could not finish it off in time.  I started by getting to 630 with 9*5*(7 + 7), then looked at tweaking options; that got me to two away with 616 = (7 + 7)*(9*5 - 1).

After time I realised that the desired offset of 16 was 25 - 9, which gives a tweaked solution of 614 = 9*(5*(7 + 7) + 1) - 25.  Close, and I should have seen it, but time was not my friend.

Both contestants have run into difficulties here, and not been able to get anywhere near it.  Lily has also been unable to solve this; that's the first time in fifty games that she has not solved a reachable target.  An amazing record!  She says that she has been able to get to 615, but does not say how.  It turns out there are three ways to do so: 615 = 7*7*(9 + 1) + 5*25, 615 = (7 + 1)*(9 + 7)*5 - 25, and 615 = 7*(9*7 + 25) - 1.  I wonder which she found.

Aside from the solution that I found after time, there are two other solutions: 614 = (5*(25 -  7) - 1)*7 - 9 and 614 = (9*7 + 25 - 1)*7 + 5.

Tony: [no answer]
Mark: [no answer]
Me: 614
Lily: 615

Scores: Tony 8 (21), Mark 15 (21), me 46

Second break: FLAG CURE ("Ballet, swans, and gazelles")

All things which are supposed to be GRACEFUL.

Round 7: R O E S S F A T C


Mark has FORESTS for seven, but Tony has found FORECASTS for nine.  Oh, that's a disaster for Mark -- from level scores the game has swung completely in Tony's favour.  Mark is still technically in with a chance, as Richard points out, but that is very unlikely based on the previous numbers rounds.



Scores: Tony 26 (39), Mark 15 (21), me 64

Round 8: Target 223 from 75 25 3 5 2 10

The standard method easily applies, giving 223 = 3*75 - 2.

Mark's chances are sunk as he has not got anywhere with this.  In any case, Tony has solved this with 223 = (25 + 75 + 10)*2 + 3 to guarantee his win.  Lily demonstrates the solution that I listed above.

Tony: 223
Mark: [no answer]
Me: 223
Lily: 223

Scores: Tony 36 (49), Mark 15 (21), me 74


The -ED and -DGE fragments are red herrings, and it took me a while to turn my attention to DIS-.  Once I had done so, though, DISREGARD was an easy spot.

The contestants may have wandered down the same incorrect paths that I did, as neither has been able to solve this.

Tony: [no answer]
Mark: [no answer]

Scores: Tony 36 (49), Mark 15 (21), me 84

It was quite the game tonight, and Tony might feel that he has gotten away with it.  He had a shaky start, but collected himself to recover and tie the game up again before the full monty in round seven gave him the win.  But it was the numbers that really were Mark's downfall -- he was unable to declare an answer at all, and that's a lot of potential points to give up.  Tony gets the win, perhaps a little luckily, and with an impressive five-game total of 290 he can take top spot on the leaderboard with 46 or more points and a win tomorrow.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

(5*7-9-1)*25-7=618 (4 off)
FACTORS well done on full monty Geoff!