Thursday, 24 November 2016

Ep 205: James Morris, Des Mullen (October 20, 2016; originally aired May 13, 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.

James Morris gets his turn in the champion's seat, after defeating Andre last night.  In addition to his sporting prowess, James is also very into playing pool competitively; he says that he is captain of a pub in Melbourne, but I assume he means captain of some pool team associated with that pub.  It was his girlfriend who really got him into the game, because she has played pool at the world level.  Impressive!

Tonight's challenger is Des Mullen, a musician who played the part of the motorcycle cop in the Australian Village People.  They toured around the country for about four years from the late '90s up to around 2002, performing specifically as "the Australian Village People" to avoid legal trouble.  They did go to New Zealand once, and were asked to stay hidden as the organisers were trying to pass them off as the real Village People (oh, dear), and apart from the beard there was very little resemblance.

James took the lead with the best answer in the first round, but lost most of it on the first numbers round due to an invalid answer.  He managed to extend his lead in round five, but for the most part the contestants found equal results with a series of rounds that did not hold out much potential for swing.  Des was behind going into the conundrum but still in with a chance.  It ended up proving to be too difficult for both contestants, however, so James held on for the win, 52 to 45.

Round 1: S C K I U A G N M


Des has found MAKINGS for seven, but James takes the points with SMACKING for eight.  SMACKING was also the best that David could do.

SMACKING is the only eight.  The other sevens are MASKING, MUCKING, CAUSING / SAUCING, and UMIACKS (UMIACK being a variant spelling of UMIAK: "an open Inuit boat consisting of a wooden frame covered with skins and provided with several thwarts, for transport of goods and passengers").


Scores: James 8, Des 0, me 8

Round 2: F E I L S A Y P T

I had LIFE, FILES, FAILS, EASILY, and pondered PASTILY but correctly rejected it.  I knew from past checking that PILATES was only listed with a capital letter.

It's also sixes from the contestants, with James having PETALS while Des has PLEATS.  That causes David to mention PLATES as another anagram of those two words, but he has found PAISLEY for seven.  Just as I am ruing that, he goes one better again by pointing out the eight of FLEAPITS.  Oh, that's well spotted!

FLEAPITS is the only eight.  The other sevens are FLEAPIT, FALSITY, and TALIPES (another name for a club foot) / APLITES (APLITE: "a fine-grained granite composed essentially of felspar and quartz").


Scores: James 14, Des 6, me 14

Round 3: Target 513 from 50 9 6 1 1 3

I noticed the factor of 9 immediately, with cofactor 57, leading to the straightforward 513 = 9*(50 + 6 + 1).

Des is three away at 510, but James has solved this.  But his solution starts out (9 + 1 + 1)*50, and he realises that he has made a mistake when Lily writes down that that equals 550.  That brings Des' answer into play; he went with 510 = (9 + 1)*50 + 6 + 3 + 1.

Lily shows the simple adjustment of Des' approach that gives a solution: 513 = (50 + 1)*(9 + 1) + 3.  I suspect that this may have been what James had intended to declare, but he got confused either when writing it down or when reading it out.

James: [invalid -- 513]
Des: 510
Me: 513
Lily: 513

Scores: James 14, Des 6 (13), me 24

First break: TINNY FAR ("An army of children")

The children refers to the INFANT in INFANTRY.

David's talk is about animal phrases that describe things that are best: cat's whiskers, bee's knees, cat's meow, and, rather more obscurely, bullfrog's beard, eel's ankle, gnat's elbow, and monkey's eyebrows.

Round 4: N E R H O D E H L

That second H really was unhelpful; I had HERON, HORNED, and HOLDER.

It's sixes from the contestants, with James having HORNED while Des has HOLDER.  David says that six was the best to be done, but does not mention any specific word as his choice.

The other sixes are DEHORN, LENDER, REDONE, HEREON, HOLDEN (not the car, but an archaic past tense of HOLD), and RONDEL (a type of poem).


Scores: James 20, Des 12 (19), me 30

Round 5: M T C I A O S C U

I had ATOMIC, SOMATIC ("of the body; bodily; physical"), ACOUSTIC, and ACCUSTOM.

Des has tried the invalid MUCAS, presumably thinking of MUCUS, while James has the "safe six" of ATOMIC.  I would guess that he was not willing to chance ATOMICS, but that is valid ("Colloquial the branch of nuclear physics dealing with atomic energy, nuclear fission, etc.").  David has found the eight of ACOUSTIC.

The remaining seven here is CAUSTIC.

Des: [invalid -- MUCAS]

Scores: James 26, Des 12 (19), me 38

Round 6: Target 535 from 75 25 3 4 10 9

The target is 10 away from 7*75, so my thoughts naturally turned that way.  I missed the obvious, but found another way to make the 7 and so get a solution: 535 = ((25 + 3)/4)*75 + 10.  Looking at other options, I found an alternative answer of 535 = 10*(75 - 5 + 3) + 9 - 4.

Both contestants have solved this, using the simple approach that I somehow missed: 535 = (4 + 3)*75 + 10.  Whoops!

James: 535
Des: 535
Me: 535

Scores: James 36, Des 22 (29), me 48

Second break: BEAR VISA ("Rubs you up the wrong way")

That would be an ABRASIVE.

Round 7: T G J R E O I F T


It's sixes for the contestants, with Des having JOTTER and James having FITTER.  David was also limited to six, and it's been a sad week for him with no full monties to be had.

The remaining six is TITFER ("a hat").


Scores: James 42, Des 28 (35), me 54

Round 8: Target 516 from 75 100 3 10 9 1

We have the offset of 9 for the standard method, so this falls easily: 516 = (10 - 3)*75 - 9.  After time I looked at the factor of 6 to find another solution: 516 = (9 - 3)*(75 + 10 + 1).

Both contestants have also solved this using the solution that I found within time.  Lily took a different approach, using 175 as a multiplier: 516 = 3*(100 + 75) - 10 + 1.  I'm not sure why she did not subtract the 9 at the end instead, but regardless it's a nice spot to get to 525 as 3*175.

James: 516
Des: 516
Me: 516
Lily: 516

Scores: James 52, Des 38 (45), me 64


A bit of a tough one, but I happily considered the -TUDE ending early in the piece and so found the answer of GRATITUDE.

Neither contestant was able to solve this, so James holds on for victory.

James: [no answer]
Des: [no answer]

Scores: James 52, Des 38 (45), me 74

It's been a week of close games, with no contestant really able to distinguish themselves.  (Except maybe in the mising episode 202, which apparently had a high scoreline.)  The mixes have generally been parsimonious, and I think this is likely due to a change in letter selection policy; I know that they tinkered with it somewhat throughout the show's run.  Hopefully they sort it out again soon.

1 comment:

Mike Backhouse said...

(10-3)*75+9=534 1 off, then saw too late what I should have seen in the first place (4+3)*75+10=535
Having learned from round 6 blunder, I had this variation (10-3)*75-9=516
x blinkered by looking for TT fragment!