Search found 1033 matches

by David Williams
Mon May 25, 2020 7:59 am
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Is picking the letters an advantage?
Replies: 33
Views: 2906

Re: Is picking the letters an advantage?

The actual game situation in my case was 62-55 with the final letters round, selection MIFGOSEMV, and he said "six". I had FOGIES (dodgy 6) and some 5, I can't remember what it was now. Saying FOGIES kept it 68-61, and after the final numbers that was 68-68. So if I'd said 5 I'd have lost. I don't ...
by David Williams
Sat May 23, 2020 11:26 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Is picking the letters an advantage?
Replies: 33
Views: 2906

Re: Is picking the letters an advantage?

Declaring second is an advantage. It can be an advantage even if it gives you a lower expected score. You're 21 points behind. Last letters game. You're looking at a safe seven or a dodgy eight. He goes eight, you go seven, and vice versa. He goes six, you go seven. In the long run it costs you poin...
by David Williams
Wed May 20, 2020 11:32 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: B'day Championship Spoilers For Wednesday January 23rd 2013
Replies: 32
Views: 3581

Re: B'day Championship Spoilers For Wednesday January 23rd 2

It'd be the best thing ever if OUP had a massive review of their count and mass noun labelling so she could just say "Yep, mass noun, so you can't pluralise it" rather than being put on the spot so often. http://wiki.apterous.org/Contestant_Guidelines#Pluralisable_mass_noun_categories Maybe they ha...
by David Williams
Tue May 19, 2020 8:02 pm
Forum: Games and Puzzles
Topic: Higher or Lower
Replies: 125
Views: 6626

Re: Higher or Lower

David Williams wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:38 pm
Surely the whole essence of the original problem was that the numbers were selected randomly from a boundless selection. If there is some sort of probability distribution it's a different matter altogether.
I knew I should have read at least some of this before I started again.
by David Williams
Mon May 18, 2020 8:05 pm
Forum: Games and Puzzles
Topic: Higher or Lower
Replies: 125
Views: 6626

Re: Higher or Lower

I'm not convinced that a valid answer to picking a number is to say that your number is a normal distribution with mean of x and standard deviation of y, but even if it is, the best you can say is that your method produces a chance higher than zero of winning, and I have shown that the chance is low...
by David Williams
Mon May 18, 2020 5:59 pm
Forum: Games and Puzzles
Topic: Higher or Lower
Replies: 125
Views: 6626

Re: Higher or Lower

I know what a normal distribution is. It was you that brought it up and it's got nothing to do with the question.
by David Williams
Mon May 18, 2020 4:28 pm
Forum: Games and Puzzles
Topic: Higher or Lower
Replies: 125
Views: 6626

Re: Higher or Lower

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the two numbers are picked at random, but from a large but finite range, and that they differ by 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Let's call that number X. Let's also have a very small number, say 0.0000000000000000000000001, which we call Y. If the ...
by David Williams
Mon May 18, 2020 3:44 pm
Forum: Games and Puzzles
Topic: Higher or Lower
Replies: 125
Views: 6626

Re: Higher or Lower

But the difference between the two numbers is finite, so the probability of the number you pick being between them is zero. Not necessarily. In particular, if you choose your own random number according to, e.g. a normal distribution, then it has a non-zero probability of landing in any given finit...
by David Williams
Mon May 18, 2020 3:32 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And How Will We Feel Fine?)
Replies: 16
Views: 554

Re: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And How Will We Feel Fine?)

We will go into lockdown any time anyone sneezes in China. If coronavirus had happened before bird flu and ebola, SARS and MERS, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have blithely ignored them in this country.
by David Williams
Sun May 17, 2020 11:37 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: Weird stuff that's happened to you
Replies: 24
Views: 3208

Re: Weird stuff that's happened to you

I imagine she thought "Oh God, it's that weird kid in my daughter's class, just standing there, waiting to get past. Should I just ignore him? Would that be rude? I've got to say something. But what?"
by David Williams
Sat May 16, 2020 11:28 pm
Forum: Games and Puzzles
Topic: Higher or Lower
Replies: 125
Views: 6626

Re: Higher or Lower

I should probably read all this again, because it all seems too simple now. The strategy is to pick your own number first, then go lower if it is lower than the number you see, higher if it's higher. You win every time if your number is between the other two, it's 50/50 if it isn't. But the differen...
by David Williams
Tue May 05, 2020 7:48 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: Joke Items
Replies: 50
Views: 1428

Re: Joke Items

A more consistent and even saltiness is exactly what many uses of salt are trying not to achieve. Good examples that you must (but obviously won't) be able to appreciate would be chocolate stuff - a bar of dark chocolate with sea salt or sea salt in a brownie or something. You don't want to make th...
by David Williams
Mon May 04, 2020 12:49 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: REALLY obvious things you've just realised
Replies: 244
Views: 59950

Re: REALLY obvious things you've just realised

It's a discussion that I've seen come up a few times recently. It makes sense that it might have been a thing with mechanical typewriters. I can't see it. With a mechanical typewriter, the full stop occupies a whole space. With two more empty spaces, that's three spaces between the last word of the...
by David Williams
Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:39 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: What TV programmes have you been watching lately?
Replies: 538
Views: 150974

Re: What TV programmes have you been watching lately?

Have there not been similar debates about Countdown auditions in the past? Didn't they have to change some of the letters selections because someone posted the ones they used in his audition? I scrambled through an audition with mainly sevens, but would have done a whole lot better if I'd realised y...
by David Williams
Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:32 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Wednesday 8th April 2020
Replies: 6
Views: 378

Re: Spoilers for Wednesday 8th April 2020

Not often I get one that someone hasn't beaten me to, but FROIDEUR in Round 1.
by David Williams
Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:31 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread
Replies: 88
Views: 4374

Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

At least in those long-distant days the chances of any individual actually having the virus was probably (literally) a million to one. Frequent hand-washing seemed a good idea when it was first advised. It's a sobering thought that any random individual who crosses your path today is maybe a hundred...
by David Williams
Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:24 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread
Replies: 88
Views: 4374

Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

I think it's valid. Suppose it was established that having a meal in a restaurant with an infected person gave you a 50% chance of being infected. Sheer chance, different immune systems, whatever. How many people would you expect to be infected if that person spent the same amount of time at a speed...
by David Williams
Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:43 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread
Replies: 88
Views: 4374

Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Suppose you have a bottle of poison with five lethal doses in it, and another bottle of 100 pills, five of which are poisonous. If one person consumes the whole bottle they die. If two people share the whole bottle, both of them die. Up to five people it's essentially the same. But if 100 people sha...
by David Williams
Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:47 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread
Replies: 88
Views: 4374

Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

The report in today's Times is headlined "Woman fined £660 for a crime that 'doesn't exist'".
by David Williams
Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:57 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread
Replies: 88
Views: 4374

Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

I'd very much hope she was actually fined for doing something against the law, which was aggravated by her refusal to give her name. If the police ask for your name and what you are doing, you are perfectly entitled to respond "Going about my lawful business, officer". (Do not try this at home, or ...
by David Williams
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:57 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread
Replies: 88
Views: 4374

Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

I'd very much hope she was actually fined for doing something against the law, which was aggravated by her refusal to give her name. If the police ask for your name and what you are doing, you are perfectly entitled to respond "Going about my lawful business, officer". (Do not try this at home, or i...
by David Williams
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:48 am
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Wednesday 1st April 2020 (Series 82, Prelim 65)
Replies: 6
Views: 878

Re: Spoilers for Wednesday 1st April 2020 (Series 82, Prelim 65)

Johnny Canuck wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:38 pm
Don't we want stuff to be avirulent?
But who know's what Nick's throwaway line was when he revealed the answer? Not hard to envisage something inconsequential at the time that would be offensive now.
by David Williams
Tue Mar 31, 2020 4:47 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread
Replies: 88
Views: 4374

Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus Thread

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:41 pm
The police dyed a blue lagoon black to deter visitors. Talk about police state.
Fake news.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-n ... e-22843481
by David Williams
Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:41 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Thursday 27th February 2020
Replies: 9
Views: 810

Re: Spoilers for 27th February 2020.

But if you were ordering, perhaps you'd say "One beef and two muttons"? And them's the rules. I think the restaurant rule does go too far, and you get some very contrived plurals. It was brought in because words like LAGER were only given as mass nouns, which is simply a deficiency of the dictionary...
by David Williams
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:39 am
Forum: Games and Puzzles
Topic: Chess - advice for a beginner?
Replies: 13
Views: 1502

Re: Chess - advice for a beginner?

The trouble with knowing how to solve the tactical positions you will see in a newspaper is that you will only get to one of those positions very rarely, and only if you have outplayed your opponent up to that point. In any case a game between two beginners is usually just a succession of blunders, ...
by David Williams
Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:35 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Best lexico example sentences
Replies: 6
Views: 872

Re: Best lexico example sentences

I don't know if the definition of woe is well known, but it's in the NODE so it dates back at least 20 years. Liverpool fan at the OUP?
Lexico wrote:‘the Everton tale of woe continued’
by David Williams
Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:16 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers For Monday 13th January 2020
Replies: 14
Views: 1671

Re: Spoilers for 13th January 2019

Has anyone ever scored less points than a member of the audience before?
by David Williams
Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:22 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: Questions you've always wanted answered
Replies: 737
Views: 145813

Re: Questions you've always wanted answered

But so what? That's like saying that Coronation Street is the most popular TV soap, so everyone is expected to know all about it. So, if you expect some clarification as to what the Champions League is, you would also expect some clarification about Coronation Street? I thought the general idea was...
by David Williams
Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:44 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: Questions you've always wanted answered
Replies: 737
Views: 145813

Re: Questions you've always wanted answered

Newsreaders assuming knowledge of this sort of stuff is annoying. Also quizmasters. On Pointless Richard Osman says things like "teams in the 2018-19 Champions League" and I have no idea what that means. I know the names of some football teams, so I could have a wild guess, but I have no idea wheth...
by David Williams
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:01 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?
Replies: 22
Views: 2087

Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Reminded by the Dictionary Revival thread. Helen Wrigglesworth, who lost by two points having suffered a 15 point swing through having ROADSIDE disallowed, because the COD10 economised on space by omitting compound words whose meaning was clear. They did give her another go, and dropped COD10 after ...
by David Williams
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:17 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?
Replies: 22
Views: 2087

Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

There's more than one way to be unlucky. You can get drawn against a top player in the heats. You can have a valid word disallowed (or your opponent can have an invalid word allowed). You can get an 'impossible' crucial conundrum when you are behind, or a trivial one (50/50 shot) when you're ahead. ...
by David Williams
Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:54 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Baby Riley-Kovalev
Replies: 45
Views: 11596

Re: Baby Riley-Kovalev

Any clue to be derived from the baby's initials?
by David Williams
Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:12 am
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Series 81 finals predictions
Replies: 8
Views: 1318

Re: Series 81 finals predictions

I'm sure we're all relieved that Chris Evans ensures there is no Bevins number discontinuity.
by David Williams
Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:36 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Monday 2nd December 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 110)
Replies: 6
Views: 1008

Re: Spoilers for Monday 2nd December 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 110)

It's very strange though. It used to be in, so someone has taken a conscious decision to take it out. They have noticed that people nowadays are more gouty, not goutier like they used to be.

And I may not have been concentrating all that hard, but did both contestants get 500 as 50/10*100?
by David Williams
Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:40 am
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Celebrity Countdown - Tuesday 19th November 2019
Replies: 12
Views: 1750

Re: Spoilers for Celebrity Countdown - Tuesday 19th November 2019

It may be your (and my) opinion that you can't pluralise an exclamation, but the point at issue is where this is laid down. And the usage in the example sentence could be pluralised. On balance I agree with you, but I'm not seeing quite enough to overrule the onfield decision.
by David Williams
Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:28 am
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Celebrity Countdown - Tuesday 19th November 2019
Replies: 12
Views: 1750

Re: Spoilers for Celebrity Countdown - Tuesday 19th November 2019

Does it say anywhere that you can't pluralise an exclamation? In fact it's being used as a count noun in the example sentence "A big cheerio to Bill, who's not been in the best of health of late." (Haven't watched the programme, so I don't know what was actually said.)
by David Williams
Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:36 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: Politics in General
Replies: 629
Views: 120841

Re: Politics in General

Let's not forget that in the second half of the 1970s the top income tax rate was 83% on incomes over £20,000 and the basic rate was 33%. It's not as if a 75% rate is a complete leap into the unknown. The top rate was reduced to 40% in two stages in the 1980s, and the basic rate to 20% over a longer...
by David Williams
Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:44 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Thursday 7th November 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 93)
Replies: 4
Views: 757

Re: Spoilers for Thursday 7th November 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 93)

Didn't think anything of it myself, but the editing didn't do him any favours when he had COOTED disallowed, Jenny Eclair spoke up and said something like "I'm doing my best for you" in his direction, they panned over, and it looked as if he wasn't even listening.
by David Williams
Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:40 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: Politics in General
Replies: 629
Views: 120841

Re: Politics in General

Never understood why people are so against Inheritance Tax, even people who are never going to pay it. One objection is that it's supposedly being taxed twice on the same money, yet typically it's someone leaving a million pound house they paid half a crown for during the war, a profit that's comple...
by David Williams
Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:38 am
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: Politics in General
Replies: 629
Views: 120841

Re: Politics in General

If tax rates are very low, increasing them generates more revenue. Keep increasing them, and if you reach a point when a rate increase doesn't increase the revenue, you conclude that going above that point would actually reduce the revenue. There's a rate that maximises the return. Lengthy theorisin...
by David Williams
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:33 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: Politics in General
Replies: 629
Views: 120841

Re: Politics in General

What assumptions have you made about changes in behaviour of those affected? I imagine it's pretty well-documented as to what happened when the top rate went up from 40% to 50% and down to 45%. (I have a feeling it didn't change the total tax take very much, but I haven't checked it out.) The troubl...
by David Williams
Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:17 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers For Wednesday 30th October 2019
Replies: 13
Views: 2314

Re: Spoilers for 30th October 2019

It's probably always been like this and I've only just noticed, but I see that the budget extends to four of the posher poppies, but contestants have to make do with the basic model. Saves buying new ones every year, I suppose.
by David Williams
Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:24 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Baby Riley-Kovalev
Replies: 45
Views: 11596

Re: Baby Riley-Kovalev

My first appearance coincided with Susie's first appearance after the birth of her daughter, who would have been about four months old at the time. She had brought the baby with her, and I think her sister was looking after her in the dressing room while filming went on. I mentioned this to her when...
by David Williams
Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:17 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Thursday 17th October 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 78)
Replies: 2
Views: 897

Re: Spoilers for Thursday 17th October 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 78)

Or (25-7)*(50-7+1)

Can anyone tell me if Gloria Hunniford is really good at Countdown or a shameless cheat. Most people I think I can read, but not her.
by David Williams
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:03 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Monday 7th October 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 70)
Replies: 4
Views: 1124

Re: Spoilers for Monday 7th October 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 70)

I awarded myself seven points for CAGEFUL without a moment's doubt. Wrongly. Comes up a lot more in daily life than RODENTIAN, I would have thought.
by David Williams
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:55 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: Religion
Replies: 473
Views: 46990

Re: Religion

One thing I don't understand is why being a committed Christian is a source of comfort. I don't imagine God has changed his views much in the last couple of thousand years, so pretty much everyone in this country is going to hell.
by David Williams
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:57 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Tuesday 13th August 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 31)
Replies: 8
Views: 2141

Re: Spoilers for Tuesday 13th August 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 31)

Johnny Canuck wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:08 pm
David Williams wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:44 pm
Did she actually say "Eight eights are ninety-one"? Was I dreaming?
Agreed, pretty amusing. All I can speculate is that she must have remembered that 9 9s are 81 and "spoonerised" that.
Astonishingly, that is a logical explanation of the completely inexplicable!
by David Williams
Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:44 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Tuesday 13th August 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 31)
Replies: 8
Views: 2141

Re: Spoilers for Tuesday 13th August 2019 (Series 81, Prelim 31)

Did she actually say "Eight eights are ninety-one"? Was I dreaming?
by David Williams
Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:32 pm
Forum: Off-topic
Topic: How many in a baker's gross?
Replies: 7
Views: 1924

Re: How many in a baker's gross?

There are severe penalties for selling underweight bread. Your scales are not consistent. So for an order of 12 loaves you throw in an extra 8.33% which gives you what you deem to be a decent confidence level of being within the law. For an order of 144 loaves, for that level of confidence you do no...
by David Williams
Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:01 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Kryptonite
Replies: 20
Views: 6946

Re: Kryptonite

Huh?
by David Williams
Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:52 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Kryptonite
Replies: 20
Views: 6946

Re: Kryptonite

Is it just me, then? It's not kryptonite. It doesn't look anything like what kryptonite would look like if it existed. Giving someone a trophy made of kryptonite would in any case be totally inappropriate and highly dangerous. It wasn't funny the first time Nick said it, yet it comes up every time. ...
by David Williams
Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:42 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Kryptonite
Replies: 20
Views: 6946

Kryptonite

A fictional, green, crystalline substance, absolutely nothing like perspex. Given as a trophy to convey the message "Well, we've just established you're not Superman, you loser".
by David Williams
Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:19 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: So, who will be the founding member of Countdown's "1000 CLUB"?
Replies: 105
Views: 41481

Re: So, who will be the founding member of Countdown's "1000 CLUB"?

With these averages, his score would convert to 1048.15 in the old 15 format (still over 131 per game) and 636.9 in the 9-round format (about 79.6 per game). Given that the 8-game record for 9-rounders was 535, that would put him over 100 ahead! I know the current dictionary has more words, but it'...
by David Williams
Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:59 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Baby Riley-Kovalev
Replies: 45
Views: 11596

Re: Baby Riley-Kovalev

Why has this thread apparently disappeared? You have to search to find it. Is it simply mentioning the name of "she who must not be spoken of"?

PS It's reappeared now!
by David Williams
Wed May 29, 2019 9:40 am
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers For Tuesday 28th May 2019 (Series 80 Prelim 90)
Replies: 11
Views: 3143

Re: Spoilers For Tuesday 28th May 2019 (Series 80 Prelim 90)

Ryan Lam wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 3:02 pm
Countdown has finally gone green by dropping the usage of paper (At long last!) and going with a permanent whiteboard!
I trust they also have a single refillable marker pen.
by David Williams
Sun May 26, 2019 9:08 am
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Friday 24th May 2019 (Series 80, Prelim 88)
Replies: 17
Views: 3877

Re: Spoilers for Friday 24th May 2019 (Series 80, Prelim 88)

What's the average margin in QF1? 50 points? I actually think Seed 8 might score higher against Elliott than some other Seed 1s. You might lose one or two more letters games, but you'd hope for 40 points in the numbers games. If you get a maximum you score points no matter how good your opponent is....
by David Williams
Sat May 25, 2019 4:15 pm
Forum: Countdown - Spoilers
Topic: Spoilers for Friday 24th May 2019 (Series 80, Prelim 88)
Replies: 17
Views: 3877

Re: Spoilers for Friday 24th May 2019 (Series 80, Prelim 88)

Fred Mumford wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 8:30 am
At least the 8th seed can console themself with having had several good on-screen performances prior to their sadistical and gruesome slaughtering.
Isn't that true of every 8th seed nowadays?
by David Williams
Fri May 24, 2019 11:25 pm
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Baby Riley-Kovalev
Replies: 45
Views: 11596

Re: Baby Riley-Kovalev

Carol?
by David Williams
Fri May 24, 2019 11:41 am
Forum: Countdown - General
Topic: Negative picking
Replies: 20
Views: 6327

Re: Negative picking

If my opponent has 140 points going into the last numbers game and I've got 40, then you could say picking six small was being negative. If he's got 140 and I've got 125 . . . ? No-one would argue that picking anything other than one large or four vowels every time is negative, would they?