Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Ep 209: Hugh Davidson, Dave Gray (October 26, 2016; originally aired May 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 the important fourth night for Hugh Davidson, and Richard asks about technique.  Specifically, he comments that Hugh's selections have led to some of the most spectacular number play that he thinks has been had on the show (I'm not sure about that, but it has certainly led to some challenging targets), and enquires what Hugh's strategy is.  Hugh demurs, saying that 'strategy' is probably the wrong word for it, and that he has been pretty reckless.  Also, he is likely to continue being so.

Tonight's challenger is Dave Gray, but not the one that I thought of when I heard the name.  This Dave Gray is the head gardener at the historic Vaucluse House in Sydney, and has been for twenty-two years.  He adds that he is actually the head gardener for the Historic Houses Trust (they changed their name to Sydney Living Museums in 2013), so he looks after a number of gardeners associated with historic properties throughout Sydney, and even one down in Nowra called Meroogal.

Dave agrees with Richard's next statement that the beautiful gardens are certainly an important part of the historic houses, because they reflect the period of which the house is set.  For instance, at Vaucluse House they are trying to encapsulate the 19th century in the garden there.

Richard reminds us that one of Dave's colleagues from Vaucluse House was on the show a while back; that was Susan Bee, back in episode 132.

Dave took the early lead with a good word, but Hugh rallied in the second round to reduce the deficit to a single point.  Hugh's usual choice of six small numbers stumped everyone, including Lily, who very unusually had nothing to say.  The points were shared in the next round, then Dave chanced an invalid word in round five; that allowed Hugh to take the lead.  Dave took it right back again with the numbers, and when he solved the final numbers round also he was safe going into the conundrum.  Dave did very well to solve that conundrum quickly, and finished a comfortable winner, 51 to 26.

Round 1: P D H E O I A L S

I had HOPED, HELIPAD (I commented recently on episode 206 that this was almost there, so it was still in my memory), HELIPADS, POLISHED, and HAPLOIDS (HAPLOID: "an organism or cell having only one complete set of chromosomes, ordinarily half the normal diploid number").

Hugh has SPOILED for seven, but Dave has come out firing by finding POLISHED for eight.  David has chosen HELIPADS as his selection, and points out that it is HEADS surround LIP.

The other eights are SHIPLOAD and ASPHODEL (a type of plant).  The other sevens are HAPLOID, SPOILED / DESPOIL / DIPOLES (DIPOLE: "a pair of equal and opposite electric charges or magnetic poles, forces, etc.") / DIPLOES (DIPLOE: "(in anatomy) the cancellate bony tissue between the hard inner and outer walls of the bones of the cranium"), DEPOSAL, PALSIED / ELAPIDS (ELAPID being any snake of a certain family), HALIDES, HALOIDS (HALOID being a compound involving a halogen), OEDIPAL, SHOALED, PLASHED (PLASH: "to interweave (branches, etc., bent over and often cut partly through), as for a hedge or an arbour"), and DIPHASE (alternative name for QUARTER-PHASE: "denoting a combination of circuits energised by alternating electromotive forces which differ in phase by a quarter of a cycle") / APHIDES (plural of APHIS, a type of insect).


Scores: Hugh 0, Dave 8, me 8

Round 2: N E G U C O R A F

I had OUNCE and COURAGE.  I'd have definitely chanced a fifth vowel here since an E would give ENCOURAGE.  The next vowel would even have been an E, too.  Oh, well.

Dave has found COUGAR for six, but Hugh closes the gap to a single point by finding COURAGE for seven.  David points out that a final E would have allowed ENCOURAGE, but since that consonant was taken the best he could do was seven with COURAGE and FURNACE.

The other seven here is ACROGEN ("a plant having no proper flowers but a growing point at the end of its perennial stems, as a fern or moss").


Scores: Hugh 7, Dave 8, me 15

Round 3: Target 590 from 1 4 9 7 1 7

The ones are always a bad sign in the six small mix.  I applied my usual technique, finding that the target was near 9*66 (or 9*65).  A 66 is actually not that hard to make, and that was good enough for 3 away with 593 = 9*(7 - 1)*(7 + 4) - 1.

What I saw within time was that tweaking would get me closer, but I did not have enough time left to get it down.  Afterwards I wrote down that tweak: 588 = (7 - 1)*(9*(7 + 4) - 1).  Looking at that factorisation, it makes the 588 as 6*98, which is 6*2*7*7.  We have a pair of sevens, so that suggested that we might do better with this idea, and indeed it allows us to get to one off with 589 = 7*7*(9 + 4 - 1) + 1.

Neither contestant has been able to make headway here, with Dave saying that the best he could get was 620.  Lily, very unusually, has nothing that she wishes to declare.  I'm forced to assume that she could not even manage to get within scoring range.

The target turns out to be unreachable, and the 589 I listed above is the only way to get as close as one away.

Hugh: [no answer]
Dave: [not in range]
Me: 593
Lily: [no answer]

Scores: Hugh 7, Dave 8, me 22

First break: MOON TIDE ("A kick downstairs")

Not a low blow in the physical sense, but rather a DEMOTION.

David's talk is about the terms scot-free and blackmail.

Round 4: N E S A D P I T O

I had SANE, DEANS, STAINED, DEPOSIT, SEDATION, and DIOPTASE (a mineral).  Probably around five seconds after time I spotted the nine of ANTIPODES -- I just needed to be a bit faster.  The mix had felt like it had a nine, but I could not bring it to mind within time.  Bother -- that erases my gain over David and Lily in the solo totals due to the previous round.

Hugh has found the nice seven of ADIPOSE ("fatty"), while Dave has gone for POINTED.  David announces that he has found a nine, and Richard immediately clucks like a chicken.  That took me by surprise when I played through this, as I had skipped through David's talk from episode 208.  But once I had watched that then this moment made much more sense.  Richard does a pretty good chicken impression, incidentally.  David's nine is ANTIPODES, as expected.

The other eights are ANTIPODE, NOTEPADS, and SAPONITE (another mineral).


Scores: Hugh 7 (14), Dave 8 (15), me 30

Round 5: A E U R S L I O H

Hugh returns to his old ways by taking so many vowels.  I had SEAR, LURES, LOUSIER, LUSHER, and AIRHOLES.  If only that E had been another I then we could have had HILARIOUS.

Hugh has HOLIER for six, but Dave chances the seven of AREOLUS.  That's not valid, however, so Hugh takes the lead.  David has found AIRHOLES for eight.

The other eight is HAULIERS.  The other sevens are AIRHOLE, HAULIER, HAULERS, HAILERS, HURLIES (HURLY: "commotion; hurly-burly"), and LOURIES (LOURIE being another name for a turaco, a type of bird).

Dave: [invalid -- AREOLUS]

Scores: Hugh 7 (20), Dave 8 (15), me 38

Round 6: Target 736 from 100 75 7 8 4 2

I started with a simple tweak up from 700 to get 736 = 7*(100 + 4) + 8, then went with a simpler 736 = 8*100 - 75 + 7 + 4.  I also used the factorisation 8*92 to get 736 = 8*(100 - 2*4).

Hugh is three away with 739, which I'll guess was (8 + 2)*75 - 7 - 4.  But Hugh has solved this using the first of the solutions that I found, and overtakes Hugh once more.  That was also Lily's solution.

Hugh: 739
Dave: 736
Me: 736
Lily: 736

Scores: Hugh 7 (20), Dave 18 (25), me 48

Second break: ACED COLA ("Recognition of merit")

A straight clue for an ACCOLADE.

Round 7: T D N E R A O T E

I had TEND, TREND, RANTED, DETONATE, and had hoped that the final vowel would be an O for DETONATOR.  No luck on that front, so I had to stay with eight, also noting another eight of ATTORNED.

The contestants each have six-letter words, with Dave's TENDER matched by Hugh's ENDEAR.  David has found DETONATE for eight.

The other eights are NATTERED / ATTENDER.  The sevens are TREATED,  NOTATED, ROTATED, ERODENT, ENTREAT / RATTEEN (obsolete variant spelling of RATINE: "a rough woollen cloth, formerly in use chiefly for travelling coats") / TERNATE ("consisting of three; arranged in threes"), DENTATE ("having a toothed margin, or toothlike projections or processes"), and TETRODE ("a radio valve containing four electrodes [...]").


Scores: Hugh 7 (26), Dave 10 (31), me 56

Round 8: Target 643 from 50 100 1 7 5 2

We have the offset of 7 for the standard method, so this should be straightforward.  I started with 643 = 7*(100 - 1) - 50, then found another option of 643 = (2*5 + 1)*50 + 100 - 7.  After time I noted a simpler option of 643 = (5 + 1)*100 + 50 - 7.

Hugh is one away with 642 -- perhaps 642 = (5 + 1)*(100 + 7) -- but Dave has solved this with 643 = 7*100 - 50 - 5 - 2.  He is now guaranteed to win, and Hugh's run comes to an end at the fourth game.  Lily had nothing further to add.

Hugh: 642
Dave: 643
Me: 643

Scores: Hugh 7 (26), Dave 28 (41), me 66


Wow, Dave did really well here, finding the answer of DEODORANT in less than three seconds.  I was too distracted by the similarly to the mix in the last letters round, which may have been what helped Dave, but in any case I was not able to solve this within time.  It took me about forty seconds to find that answer.

Hugh: [no answer]
Dave: DEODORANT (2.5s)
Me: [no answer]

Scores: Hugh 7 (26), Dave 38 (51), me 66

A bit of back and forth in the early rounds, but then Dave ran away with the game at the end.  His conundrum solution was extremely good, finding that tough word so quickly.  He certainly handled the more straightforward numbers mixes better than Hugh did, which perhaps suggests that Hugh's usual choice of six small had tactical merit.  Hugh misses out on the finals, but maybe Dave will be able to go the distance.


Mike Backhouse said...

x nothing in time
x hard one!

Mike Backhouse said...

Oops. Realised I used two R's in round two.

Mike Backhouse said...

Looks like L&N has been bumped from SBS from today.

Geoff Bailey said...

Gah, so it has. Glad to see you're still checking in despite my long silence, Mike -- apologies for that.