Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Ep 204: Andre Sardone, James Morris (October 20, 2016; originally aired May 12, 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 is back for his fifth night, and it's time for the usual question about technique.  It's always a disappointing question from my point of view, and even worse this time when Andre drops the conversational ball.  Richard asks if Andre has developed any techniques, and Andre's response is semantically equivalent to "yes", but without explaining what they are.  There's just nowhere to go from there, so we move on to chat with the challenger.

Tonight's challenger is James Morris, a site manager for a construction company.  James did a triathlon the previous weekend, and also does mountaineering and a range of other physial pursuits.

It was yet another very close game tonight.  In fact, the contestants had equal scores for the first six rounds.  It looked like we might well head into the conundrum with scores tied, but James found a longer word in round seven to take a small lead.  Andre blanked on the last difficult numbers round, but James found a way to score points there and had suddenly won the game.  Neither contestant was able to solve the conundrum, so the scoreline remained 52 to 40 in James' favour.

 Round 1: G D P I A H U E C

I had PAID, APHID, GAUCHE, and was tempted by PIGHEAD but rightly rejected it on the grounds that probably only PIG-HEADED was listed, and that would be hyphenated (correct on both counts).

The contestants start off with a pair of five, with James' PACED matched by Andre's PAGED.  David has found GAUCHE for six.

GAUCHE is the only six, but there was a seven here: EDAPHIC ("due to soil, substrate, or topograpy").  There's various other fives, with the more common ones being GUIDE, CHEAP / PEACH, ACHED, CADGE, and ADIEU.

Andre: PAGED
James: PACED

Scores: Andre 0 (5), James 0 (5), me 6

Round 2: W R A I S H O E K

I had AIRS, HAIRS, AIRSHOW, and was unsure about WASHIER (valid) and WEAKISH (also valid).  After time I noted SHOWER as a six, leading to the seven of SHOWIER, and checked up on SKIWEAR (not valid).

Andre has SHOWER for six, matched by James' choice of WASHER.  David has found the seven of HAWKERS.

The other sevens here are WHISKER, SHAKIER, KOWHAIS (KOWHAI being a type of tree), and KAROSHI ("(in Japan) death from a heart attack or stroke brought on by the stress of long hours of work and job pressure").


Scores: Andre 0 (11), James 0 (11), me 13

Round 3: Target 215 from 25 50 10 9 6 7

Nice and easy; I started with 215 = 9*25 - 10, then looked at the factorisation 5*43 for the alternative answer of 215 = (9 + 6 - 10)*(50 - 7).

Indeed, both contestants have solved this.  Andre opted for 215 = 25*10 - 50 + 6 + 9, while James took the approach that I did.  Lily solved it Andre's way.

Andre: 215
James: 215
Me: 215
Lily: 215

Scores: Andre 10 (21), James 10 (21), me 23

First break: TAIL RIMS ("Court short")

The wordplay works better when that was said aloud, of course, as then it sounds like "caught short".  But the link is to court, and so to MISTRIAL.

David's talk is about two words portmanteaued from leggings: treggings and jeggings.

Round 4: P S X I E N B O R

I had SPINE, OPINES, and INBOXES.  After time I spotted another seven of PROXIES.

The contestants continue to be matched, with Andre having PROBES while James opts for PRISON.  David has found PROXIES and INBOXES for seven.

The other sevens in this mix are ORPINES (ORPINE being a type of plant), OREXINS (OREXIN: "one of a pair of hormones which are produced in the body when blood sugar levels drop, and which stimulate the desire to eat"), and BONXIES (BONXIE being another term for a great skua, a type of bird).


Scores: Andre 10 (27), James 10 (27), me 30

Round 5: T L C A E N I T M

I had TALC, CLEAT, CANTLE ("the hind part of a saddle, usually curved upwards"), CLIENT, CLIMATE, and AILMENT / ALIMENT.

Andre thought he had an eight, but presumably decided it was not valid as he declares MENTAL for six.  Maybe he thought METALLIC was there?  James has also found a six, with LATENT, and the contestants just have not been able to separate.  David has chosen CLIMATE as his answer.

The other sevens are LATTICE / TACTILE, CATMINT, NEMATIC ("of or relating to one of the forms of liquid crystals"), MANTLET (variant form of MANTELET: "Military any of various bulletproof shelters or screens"), and TETANIC ("relating to, of the nature of, or characterised by tetanus") / NICTATE (variant form of NICTITATE: "wink").


Scores: Andre 10 (33), James 10 (33), me 37

Round 6: Target 626 from 50 7 6 10 3 3

I noted that the target was near 630, getting me to one away with 627 = (6 + 3)*7*10 - 3, then I looked for other options.  The offset from 10*50 was 126, which I recognised as 7*18, and the solution unravelled: 626 = 10*50 + 7*3*6.

The contestants have both reached one away with 625 = (10 + 3)*50 - 6*3 - 7.  Lily has solved this using the same approach that I did.

Perhaps an easier alternative solution is 626 = (50 + 3*(7 - 3))*10 + 6.

Andre: 625
James: 625
Me: 626
Lily: 626

Scores: Andre 10 (40), James 10 (40), me 47

Second break: ICING TAG ("Common to some variety of beanstalks")

The answer is GIGANTIC, referring to the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk.

Round 7: F G D A U N E R O

I had DUNG, DANGED, GARDEN, GUERDON (a reward) / UNDERGO, AGROUND, FOUNDER, and UNFORGED.  After time I noted another seven of FORAGED.

We finally have a separation of contestants, with six from Andre while James has seven.  As it turns out, we would have had a separation even if James had only found six, as Andre's answer is the invalid FAUNED (presumably he was thinking of FAWNED).  But James has found FOUNDER, and gets the lead.  Although with very little time left to capitalise on this, the conundrum may well end up mattering anyway.

David says that there were several sevens to be had, but mentions only AGROUND and GROANED.  He does not mention UNFORGED, so I'm in with a chance of a win on the solo totals.

UNFORGED is the only eight, and the remaining seven is RONDEAU (a type of poem).

Andre: [invalid -- FAUNED]

Scores: Andre 10 (40), James 10 (47), me 55

Round 8: Target 951 from 25 3 7 3 10 4

A tough numbers round!  The target is very near 38*25, but making a 38 is expensive.  Going all in on the idea gets to one away with 950 = (3*10 + 4 + 7 - 3)*25, but for some reason I missed that.  Fortunately, what I did see was that I could get the offset of 51 as 3*(10 + 7), and was able to tweak that (just in time!) into a solution of 951 = 3*(3*4*25 + 10 + 7).

James has reached seven away with 958, while Andre has not been able to get anywhere with this.  Ooh, that could be extremely costly, and indeed James has made no error with his answer of 958 = 4*10*25 - (3 + 3)*7.  Those five points give him an unbeatable lead going into the conundrum, and in the space of two rounds he has snatched victory.

Lily has found the simpler way to 38 that I missed, for the solution 951 = (4*7 + 10)*25 + 3/3.  Well done, Lily!

Andre: [no answer]
James: 958
Me: 951
Lily: 951

Scores: Andre 10 (40), James 10 (52), me 65


I very nearly jumped in early here with CIGARETTE, but caught myself before I could.  It's reasons like that that I was never in favour of keeping my hand on the buzzer, although arguably it ended up costing me.  I ended up finding the correct answer of GERIATRIC with just a couple of seconds left on the clock.

Neither contestant was able to solve this, although just after time ran out Andre made a move for the buzzer.  We don't find out if he actually had the solution or not, unfortunately.

Andre: [no answer]
James: [no answer]

Scores: Andre 10 (40), James 10 (52), me 75

Well, a close game came to an unexpected end, demonstrating the virtues of getting close in the numbers even if you cannot solve them exactly.  Andre's run comes to an end at five games, and with an average of just under 50 points a game he might miss out on the finals; he would have just missed out last series, so probably it will take until the end of this series before we find out whether he makes it or not.  In the end, James was just a little bit better tonight and so becomes our new champion.


Mike Backhouse said...

(9-6)*(25+50)-10=215 (a different method). Saw simpler 9*25-10 method after time.
(10+3)*50-(3*6+7)=625 (1 off)
x nothing in time, but Lily's way after

Geoff Bailey said...

Well done on finding WHISKER -- I completely missed it. I'd certainly have been happier to declare it than AIRSHOW, which I was a teensy bit worried about.