Monday, 3 October 2016

Ep 191: Kylie Thompson, Lexi Wright (October 3, 2016; originally aired April 25, 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.

Kylie Thompson is in the champion's seat tonight, and Richard asks where her enthusiasm for teaching comes from.  Kylie says that it is her students, and seeing what they can achieve through what she teaches them.  She tries to build a really good rapport with them, and this has resulted in her being nicknamed "Nanny K" (after her maiden name of Nankervis); she acquired that during her first year of teaching, and even now after marriage and a name change she still gets called that in the corridors.

Tonight's challenger is Lexi Wright, a student doing a bachelor of science with a focus on genetics and mathematics.  She's still in first year, though, so it's a bit early to say how things will go.  With respect to genetics, Lexi is interested in research and matters like the Human Genome Project.

The pattern of the game was set in the very first round, where Kylie's five-letter word was one better than Lexi's declaration.  So it continued throughout the letters rounds: Kylie always was just one letter longer.  Both contestants struggled with the numbers, failing to get within range for the first two numbers rounds, and then in the last numbers round Kylie again was one closer to the target.  Neither could solve the conundrum, and Kylie won, 36 to 0.

Round 1: T A U R B S O P I

I had BRAT, BURST, RUBATO ("the technique of varying the tempo within a bar of music without either lengthening or shortening the bar"), was unsure about RUBATOS (valid according to Scrabble lists, anyway), and SAUTOIR ("a long ribbon, chain, beaded band, or the like, worn about the neck").  After time I checked up on BIOPARTS, but that is not valid.

Lexi has SOAP for four, but Kylie takes the points with her five of SPORT.  David points out the seven of UTOPIAS, but has managed to go even better with the eight of SUBTOPIA ("British a partially built-up country area in which the use of standardised materials in building, street furniture, etc., has created the impression of a suburb and blurred the distinction between town and country").

The other eight is BIPAROUS ("Zoology bringing forth offspring in pairs"), and the other seven is TABOURS (TABOUR being a variant spelling of TABOR, which is a type of drum).  There's quite a few sixes here, but I'll only mention a few of the common ones: SPROUT / STUPOR, ORBITS / BISTRO, PASTOR, ABORTS, PURIST, ABRUPT, and PATIOS.

Kylie: SPORT
Lexi: SOAP

Scores: Kylie 0 (5), Lexi 0, me 7

Round 2: E R I S C S E F U


Lexi has FRIES for five, but Kylie has pipped her again with the six of CRISES.  David notes the anagrammatic pair of RESCUES / SECURES.

After hearing David's answers I noted two other sevens: RECUSES and REFUSES.  The remaining sevens are FISSURE, REISSUE, SURFIES, SFERICS (also SPHERICS: "a branch of meteorology in which weather forecasting and atmospheric conditions are studied by means of electronic devices"), FICUSES, FESCUES (FESCUE being any of several types of grass), CERISES, and CERUSES (CERUSE: "white lead; a mixture or compound of hydrate and carbonate of lead, much used in painting").


Scores: Kylie 0 (11), Lexi 0, me 14

Round 3: Target 290 from 75 25 9 5 9 2

I had some issues at first, then realised that I could get the offset of 10 as 2*5.  After putting those numbers aside, I was able to get to 300 with the rest and so find a solution: 290 = 9*25 + 75 - 2*5.

Neither contestant has been able to get within range, which feels a litle poor given that 300 is (just) within the scoring range.  Lily demonstrates the solution 290 = (75 + 25 + 9*5)*2.

Kylie: [no answer]
Lexi: [no answer]
Me: 290
Lily: 290

Scores: Kylie 0 (11), Lexi 0, me 24

First break: CUBS JEST ("The king's people studied many topics at school")

Or the SUBJECTS studied many SUBJECTS.

David's talk is about the various meanings of the word brownie.

Round 4: O S H E A D N H E

I had SHOE, SHADE, and ANODES.  After time I noted another six of HASHED.

The trend of the game continues, with Lexi's DEAN beaten by Kylie's NOSHED.  David has gone with HASHED as his answer.

The other sixes are DONEES and DONAHS (DONAH being an obsolete colloquial term for "a woman").  But there is a seven to be had: DASHEEN (another name for taro).


Scores: Kylie 6 (17), Lexi 0, me 30

Round 5: J N A E M A S R O

I had JANE (when lowercase, colloquial for "a woman"), MEAN, NAMES, MOANERS / OARSMEN, and OARSMAN.

Lexi has found the five of MORES ("customs or conventions accepted without question and embodying the fundamental moral views of a group"), but Kylie has MAJORS for six and is now more than twenty points ahead.  It's looking quite unlikely that Lexi can come back from this position.  David has found the seven of OARSMEN.

That's all the sevens listed, and they are the best to be done.


Scores: Kylie 6 (23), Lexi 0, me 37

Round 6: Target 759 from 100 25 1 8 9 10

The standard method says to make this as 750 + 9, and I almost got lost by trying to make that 750 in a complicated fashion.  Fortunately for me, I happened to notice Lily turn around almost immediately and indicate (to Richard or the floor manager, I'm not sure which) that she had solved this.  That put me in the right frame of mind to see the sensible option of 759 = 10*(100 - 25) + 9.

Lexi has ended up 15 away with 744, presumably (8 - 1)*100 + 25 + 10 + 9, so is outside the scoring range.  Kylie has managed a little closer with 748, but again is just too far away from the target to score.  I'm actually at a bit of a loss for what her approach was; there's various ways to reach that value, of course, but not that many which are plausible to spot and aren't easily adjustable to closer.  Perhaps (10 - 1)*9*8 + 100 is the most likely.

Lily makes it look easy as she demonstrates the solution that I listed.

Kylie: [not in range]
Lexi: [not in range]
Me: 759
Lily: 759

Scores: Kylie 6 (23), Lexi 0, me 47

Second break: HARM LOGO ("A real light-weight")

The "weight" in the clue could be referring to the GRAM of HOLOGRAM, but Richard instead suggests that it is because of the "hollow" sound.

Round 7: N T I E F D I R T

I had TINE, FEINT, FINITE, NIFTIER, NITRIDE, and was rightly dubious about INTERFIT.

Lexi has DIRT for four -- it was spelled out at the end there -- but Kylie has found FINITE for six.  She is now guaranteed to win the game.  David points out that Kylie was sensible to avoid trying FINITER, since something can't really be more finite than something else.  He has found TRIDENT for seven, but then gone one step better again with DRIFTNET for eight.

The other sevens are NITTIER / NITRITE, INDITER (INDITE: "to compose or write, as a speech, poem, etc."), and FRITTED (FRIT: "to fuse (materials) in making a frit", where FRIT as a noun is "a fused or partially fused material used as a basis for glazes or enamels").

Lexi: DIRT

Scores: Kylie 6 (29), Lexi 0, me 54

Round 8: Target 592 from 50 25 6 10 10 3

The offsets for the standard method are 8 and 17, neither of which seems particularly easy to come by while still getting to the requisite nearby number.  I wrote down a fallback one-off 591 = 10*(50 + 10) - 6 - 3 and kept looking.  When I looked at other ways to tweak using 10*50 I struck paydirt, finding 592 = 10*(50 + 6) + 25 + 10 - 3.

After time I looked at factors; 592 is 600 - 8, which is 8*75 - 8 and thus 8*74.  Seeing that in turn leads to the factorisation 16*37, and thus another solution: 592 = (10 + 6)*(50 - 10 - 3).
Lexi has got to just two away with 594 -- perhaps 10*(50 + 10) - 6 -- but Lexi has got to one away with the 591 that I used as a fallback.  Lily has found the solution that I did within time.

Kylie: 591
Lexi: 594
Me: 592
Lily: 592

Scores: Kylie 6 (36), Lexi 0, me 64


Lots of vowels can be a challenge, but in this case I quickly saw the answer of CAFETERIA.  I took a moment to be sure that it was not actually CAFETIÈRE, the downfall of Richard Priest in Countdown episode 4376 (he writes about that game here), and buzzed in.  CAFETIÈRE is not in the Macquarie, as it turns out.

Neither contestant was able to solve this, so the scores remain unchanged.

Kylie: [no answer]
Lexi: [no answer]

Scores: Kylie 6 (36), Lexi 0, me 74

It wasn't the strongest performance from Kylie, but she managed to consistently outdo Lexi by one in each round.  Lexi has ended up with a very unenviable result -- as far as I can tell, she's the only contestant to have scored zero.  Certainly the only one this series, at any rate.  I wonder if she was called upon at short notice, as sometimes happens if a contestant fails to show up?


Mike Backhouse said...

(9-5)*75-9=291 (1 off)
HEADS (wasn't sure about HASHED)
MANORS (moans about not seeing the common MOANERS)
10*(100-25)+9=759 (I'm nothing if not sensible!)
6*10*10-(50/25*3)=594 (2 off)
x jumped in with the incorrect ARTIFICE

LexiPie. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Hall said...

I thought Lexi did quite well considering her age. Scoring zero was a bit rough, especially factoring in how close she was. Maybe bonus points for being a hottie :p

Geoff Bailey said...

Glad to hear from you, Lexi -- always nice when a previous contestant shows up. Just getting onto the show is a pretty good achievement, given the size of the contestant pool, so you are rightly proud.

The scoring issue is an interesting one. Perhaps unintuitively, the approach of no points for the lower-scoring contestant enables the contestant who is behind a chance of catching up. Otherwise a couple of small advantages can simply be maintained over the course of the game. It also means that an invalid answer is not a complete disaster.

Obviously you were on the wrong end of it throughout this game, though. :(