Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Ep 201: Andre Sardone, Jenny Lee (October 17, 2016; originally aired May 9, 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.

Andre Sardone returns for the new series, getting his turn in the champion's seat after the break for the finals.  The pre-game talk is pretty much a non-event -- he is asked if he got up to anything creative, and responds that he did.  But without giving any useful information, the conversation dies there.  Contestants, this is not how to help out the show.

The first challenger for the new series is Jenny Lee, an engineering and science student.  Jenny can solve a Rubik's cube, and her fastest time is forty-two seconds.  (That's close to the winning time of the first speedcubing championship in 1981, which was thirty-eight seconds, but times have dropped greatly since then and the current record is an impressive 4.74 seconds, set by Mats Valk in 2016.)  Richard asks Jenny about the number of possible combinations of a cube, which (unsurprisingly) she does not know offhand but guesses at 1032.  That's not really a fair question, but for the record the actual figure is about 4.3*1019.

It ended up being a very close game.  Jenny took the early lead when Andre's first word attempt was invalid, but Andre overtook her after the first numbers round.  Jenny found her way back to the lead again in round five, only for Andre to once again get back in front due to the numbers.  Andre extended his lead in the final numbers round, but the game was still up for grabs going into the conundrum.  He ended up solving it first, for a 47 to 29 victory.

I had a disappointing night on the numbers, ending up one off the target each time.  But my wordwork was acceptable, and I cruised home comfortably against the contestants.

Round 1: R F U O M B E G E

I had FOUR, FORUM, UMBER, and BROGUE.  After time I noted another six of REFUGE.

Jenny has nicely found MORGUE for six, while Andre tries BROUGE to match her.  He was not certain about this, and with good reason: it is not valid.  Perhaps he was thinking of BROGUE and got the spelling wrong?  It's certainly a very common internet error to misspell 'rogue' (often encountered in computer role playing games) as 'rouge', so that could be the equivalent with a 'b' inserted at the beginning.  Anyway, that gives Jenny the early lead.  David has gone with BROGUE as his choice.

Six is the best to be done here, with the others being BEFORE and BURGEE ("a swallow-tailed flag or pennant, in the merchant service generally bearing the ship's name").

Andre: [invalid -- BROUGE]

Scores: Andre 0, Jenny 6, me 6

Round 2: L O M B E E J P A

The first mix was not that good, but this one seems even worse.  I had LOBE and MAPLE, and could not find better within time.  Afterwards I noted another five of AMPLE, and checked up on EMPALE.  That does turn out to be valid, as a variation of IMPALE.  Oh, well.

It's fives from the contestants also, with Andre getting AMBLE while Jenny went with MAPLE.  David has done well to find the other six in this mix: APLOMB.  That's the best to be done with these letters.

Andre: AMBLE
Jenny: MAPLE

Scores: Andre 5, Jenny 11, me 11

Round 3: Target 541 from 25 50 10 7 9 9

Bleah, I got all kinds of lost here.  It looks very natural to make the target as 550 - 9, but I could not see how to get to 550 with the remaining numbers.  I thought that I had spotted an unusual approach that might work out, but it ended up giving me one away with 542 = 7*9*9 - 25.

It took me a little while after time to give up on the idea of making 11*50 and see what 10*50 got me, and when I did the solution fell out eaily enough: 541 = 10*50 + (9 - 7)*25 - 9.  Bother!

Jenny is four away with 545, but Andre is one closer with 538 = 50*10 + 7*9 - 25.  Lily is on point, having found the solution that I eventually saw after time.

There are a few other solutions, but the deceptively simple one is 541 = 9*(50 + 9) + 10.  Oh, I do wish that I had seen that!

Andre: 538
Jenny: 545
Me: 542
Lily: 541

Scores: Andre 5 (12), Jenny 11, me 18

First break: MUCH PINK ("Alvin is one")

Alvin is a CHIPMUNK.

David's talk is about the term hat-trick.  We also find out that Richard achieved a cricketing hat-trick once, although that was when he was ten years old.

Round 4: T C N U A I S N I

I had AUNT / TUNA, STAIN, and STANNIC ("of or containing tin [...]").  After time I noted some sixes of ANTICS and TUNICA (synonymous with anatomical or similar meanings of TUNIC, such as "any loose membranous skin not formed from the epidermis").

Both contestants have found SAINT for five, while David has accurately found STANNIC for seven.

There are various other sixes here, like TUNICS and SUNTAN, but the other seven is NIACINS.

Andre: SAINT
Jenny: SAINT

Scores: Andre 5 (17), Jenny 11 (16), me 25

Round 5: F W R E A N T O D

I had WAFER, WEAR, FRONTED, and FROWNED.  After time I noted one of David's favourite sixes of FANTOD ("a temperamental mannerism or affectation; performance").

Andre has WANTED for six, but Jenny scores the points with FRONTED for seven.  David has chosen FROWNED as his choice.

The other seven here is FORWENT (past tense of FORGO).


Scores: Andre 5 (17), Jenny 18 (23), me 32

Round 6: Target 370 from 100 75 50 7 10 9

This round was surprisingly hard, which is not that uncommon with the balanced mix.  I tried to make the target as 10*37, or 5*74, or 7*50 + 20, etc., but just could not sort it out.  In the end I settled for one away with 369 = 7*50 + 10 + 9.

After time I eventually found my way there by contemplating 2*185, finding the solution 370 = (9 - 7)*(100 + 75 + 10).

Jenny is four away with 366, probably made as 375 - 9 in some fashion, but Andre has found his way to just two off with 368 = 50*9 - 75 - 7.  That puts him back into the lead by a single point.  Lily has spotted the option that I was looking for within time, doing very well to spot 370 = (100 - 9*7)*10.  Very nice!

Andre: 368
Jenny: 366
Me:  369
Lily: 370

Scores: Andre 5 (24), Jenny 18 (23), me 39

Second break: RIGHT APE ("The central element when using a pencil")

A pencil's lead is made of GRAPHITE.

Round 7: K Z S R E E O D O

Bleah, there's certainly been a lot of unhelpful letters tonight.  I wonder if they changed their selection process for this series?  If only I could turn that Z sideways to make it into an N then SNOOKERED would have been available, but as it was I had REEKS, ZEROES, DOZERS, RODEOS, and REDOES.

Both contestants have gone with DOZERS for six.  David mentions ZEROED as another option.

DOOZERS is not valid, so six is the best to be done.  The others are ERODES, and ROOKED (ROOK as a verb: "to cheat; fleece; swindle").


Scores: Andre 11 (30), Jenny 24 (29), me 45

Round 8: Target 610 from 100 75 9 1 7 3

Yet another numbers round that I struggled with; it's been a bad night for me on that front.  Out of the many one-aways that I saw, under time pressure I ended up choosing the overly complicated 609 = 7*(100 - 1) - 75 - 9.

After time I finally considered working down from 9*75 (as I should have at the beginning), and saw that the offset of 65 was easily formable as 9*7 + (3 - 1).  A short tweak turns that into a solution: 610 = 9*(75 - 7) - (3 - 1).

This time Jenny is five away with 615, but once again Andre has pipped her on the numbers by getting to two away with 612 = 100*7 - 75 - 9 - 1 - 3.  Lily has cut through the distractions and found what should have been easy: 610 = (9 - 1)*75 + 7 + 3.  Oh, dear, that was a terrible miss on my part.

Andre: 612
Jenny: 615
Me: 609
Lily: 610

Scores: Andre 11 (37), Jenny 24 (29), me 52


It's still anyone's game going into the conundrum, but Andre has the lead and that could well prove to be crucial.  I went the wrong way at first by checking -ATIVE ahead of -IVATE, but soon adjusted to find the answer of CULTIVATE.

Andre solved the conundrum a little over six seconds in, sealing his victory.

Andre: CULTIVATE (6.5s)
Jenny: [no answer]

Scores: Andre 11 (47), Jenny 24 (29), me 62

It was a close game tonight; Jenny had a little the better in the words, and did well on the numbers to get within scoring range each time, which is important.  But Andre kept outdoing her on those numbers, and that gave him a winning margin.  He sealed the game with the conundrum, and so makes it to a third night.


Mike Backhouse said...

APLOMB (must be the only time I've pipped you on a word Geoff!)
7*(50+25+10-9)+9=541 - a different way but sadly went slightly over
7*50+10+9=369 (1 off)
(7-1)*100+9=609 (1 off)

Geoff Bailey said...

Well done, that was an excellent spot! (There have been other times that you have outdone me, by the way, although I'm too lazy to find one.)