You Are The Ref

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Graeme Cole
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:55 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:(Not rules so much but just a general judgment question): If a nine came up in the letters round that you had planned to set as the conundrum, would you change it? Would it matter if either/both/neither contestant had got the nine?
I don't think it matters whether you change it or not. If either contestant spotted it, or if DC mentioned it, then they've both had the benefit of seeing the word. If nobody spotted it then neither of them have. Neither player gets any advantage over the other.

I think I'd be inclined to leave the conundrum as it is, but there wouldn't be any harm in changing it either.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon Corby » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:25 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:I agree with Graeme. The "take the first answer" rule is so ubiquitous that it's often not even stated, so (since some rule has to be taken as the default) it makes sense to use that one. Then fix the rules for next time. If you clearly state "I have to take your first answer" then neither contestant could really feel aggrieved.
Bollocks. "Take your first answer" isn't at all applied on Countdown. Look at the amount of numbers games where people change their mind. I was surprised Graeme mentioned it being in the contestant guidelines because it literally never occurs.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:33 am

Jon Corby wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:I agree with Graeme. The "take the first answer" rule is so ubiquitous that it's often not even stated, so (since some rule has to be taken as the default) it makes sense to use that one. Then fix the rules for next time. If you clearly state "I have to take your first answer" then neither contestant could really feel aggrieved.
Bollocks. "Take your first answer" isn't at all applied on Countdown. Look at the amount of numbers games where people change their mind. I was surprised Graeme mentioned it being in the contestant guidelines because it literally never occurs.
The numbers games are different because when reading out a long mathematical expression, it's a bit harsh to penalise someone for misspeaking one of the numbers half way through then immediately correcting themselves. However, you're not allowed to go back and change your entire answer.

Occasionally, however, a contestant has changed their length declaration in a letters game, or the number they reached, immediately after declaring it, and the change has been accepted. If someone declares "6- no, sorry, 7", they'd accept 7. If they wanted to be strict about accepting only the first answer, they might insist on taking it as 6. But they wouldn't say "that's an invalid declaration, I'm taking it as nothing".

If a contestant said "either 6 or 7" then I expect the host would ask them to decide which. Again, if you were strictly taking only the first answer you might take it as 6. But you wouldn't just ignore them and move on.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:53 am

Graeme Cole wrote:Occasionally, however, a contestant has changed their length declaration in a letters game, or the number they reached, immediately after declaring it, and the change has been accepted. If someone declares "6- no, sorry, 7", they'd accept 7. If they wanted to be strict about accepting only the first answer, they might insist on taking it as 6. But they wouldn't say "that's an invalid declaration, I'm taking it as nothing".

If a contestant said "either 6 or 7" then I expect the host would ask them to decide which. Again, if you were strictly taking only the first answer you might take it as 6. But you wouldn't just ignore them and move on.
The situations you describe are more palatable because they're not freezing their opponent out of the game, so I don't think anybody has a massive problem with them. In fact, it strengthens the point about why you can't suddenly magic a "take your first answer" convention out of thin air when it's not something generally applied throughout the show. C1 happens to say the correct answer first, and C2 is now sitting there thinking "the fuck? he just gave him the game and he had two shots at it". C1 happens to say the wrong answer first and he is now thinking "the fuck? I didn't give my answer yet, I was just trying to be a bit chatty about it, like they like you to, he's just arbitrarily decided to screw me there because he doesn't like me".

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:57 am

Also, this.
Jennifer Steadman wrote:From the main body of the email sent to series finalists:

"Just a reminder that when we get to the Conundrum round you MUST have the answer to say straight away when you buzz in. If you delay in saying your answer then the clock will be restarted and the rest of the time will be given to your opponent immediately."
Sounds like the current rule is to disqualify on the conundrum once any procrastination takes place. (Unless it's changed since Jen wrote that.)

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:07 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:I quite like the "impartiality" of the other rounds.
Isn't it sort of partial that the letters distribution is very heavily weighted towards "nice" letters, providing a steep learning curve for lexonerds at the expense of everyone else? :o

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:18 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:(Not rules so much but just a general judgment question): If a nine came up in the letters round that you had planned to set as the conundrum, would you change it? Would it matter if either/both/neither contestant had got the nine?
ATROPHIES was missed by both players in this game (but offered by DC) and then ATROPHIED appeared as the conundrum a few rounds later, again missed by both players! I remember it well, and thinking that DC could have withheld the 9 knowing that it was virtually identical to the upcoming conundrum. (By which I mean DC wouldn't have known themselves, but could have been instructed not to give the 9.)
Last edited by Jon Corby on Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:20 pm

Jon Corby wrote:Look at the amount of numbers games where people change their mind
None that I can recall. People occasionally say "then add, sorry, subtract 7", but that's a completely different type of mistake to saying "now either add the 7, or is it subtract the 7?" and (at least for an NWD solution) then Rachel would be justified in taking your first "answer". Misspeaking is generally given the benefit of the doubt although there's certainly a grey area around it. But ambiguous declarations aren't misspeaking and the ref would be justified in handling them differently.

Anyway, as you say, it looks like the rules actually are clear about this, and "is it X or Y" would definitely just get 0 points, so that's fine. (Did you know that at the start of this discussion? I didn't, obviously!) But in the absence of that specific rule I would still agree with Graeme.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:28 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:None that I can recall.
Oh come on, people are often going back a step ("7 x 100 is.... no wait, add the 5 to the 100 first" kind of thing) and provided they're pretty brisk in doing so, Rachel will allow them to continue. Draw it out as if you're clearly making it up on the fly, and she probably won't.

In my semi-final with Matt Shore, and me needing the points to catch up, he was clearly winging it and said something like "50+7 = 57, 57 x 9 = " and Carol went "times NINE?" and he then went "oh... times ten I mean" :evil: I wanted to fucking strangle the bitch. Luckily he still couldn't make his declaration with her intervention (although it did get him closer to it :x ) and I went on to take the game and then beat Conor in the final and the rest is history.
Charlie Reams wrote:(Did you know that at the start of this discussion? I didn't, obviously!)
I did not, I just happened to read that thread earlier and chanced upon it. :geek:

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:50 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:I quite like the "impartiality" of the other rounds.
Isn't it sort of partial that the letters distribution is very heavily weighted towards "nice" letters, providing a steep learning curve for lexonerds at the expense of everyone else? :o
I'm not sure what would happen with a more even letter distribution. I think it could make it worse actually. When the max is generally something like XXXXXQQNZK, I think the Apterous geeks would be at a bigger advantage. Also, I think I tend to do better against top performances watching on TV than playing against them on Apterous because the rounds tend to be a bit flatter.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:41 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:I quite like the "impartiality" of the other rounds.
Isn't it sort of partial that the letters distribution is very heavily weighted towards "nice" letters, providing a steep learning curve for lexonerds at the expense of everyone else? :o
I'm not sure what would happen with a more even letter distribution. I think it could make it worse actually. When the max is generally something like XXXXXQQNZK, I think the Apterous geeks would be at a bigger advantage. Also, I think I tend to do better against top performances watching on TV than playing against them on Apterous because the rounds tend to be a bit flatter.
But doesn't having a more skewed distribution mean the top, say, 1000 words account for a higher percentage of maxes than if you had a more even distribution? So someone who is willing to learn the top 1000 will have a larger advantage under a skewed distribution. On second thoughts that could be wrong, maybe the skewed distribution moves the maxes more into the denser areas of the lexicon so the variety of words occurring as maxes increases. Not sure. Someone (maybe me) could test that empirically without too much trouble.

BTW I was just saying this to be amusing, I think compared to the basic Apterous--non-Apterous skill gap it's probably marginal.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:46 pm

Jon Corby wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:None that I can recall.
Oh come on, people are often going back a step ("7 x 100 is.... no wait, add the 5 to the 100 first" kind of thing) and provided they're pretty brisk in doing so, Rachel will allow them to continue. Draw it out as if you're clearly making it up on the fly, and she probably won't.
Fair enough, I've genuinely never noticed that.
Jon Corby wrote:In my semi-final with Matt Shore, and me needing the points to catch up, he was clearly winging it and said something like "50+7 = 57, 57 x 9 = " and Carol went "times NINE?" and he then went "oh... times ten I mean" :evil: I wanted to fucking strangle the bitch. Luckily he still couldn't make his declaration with her intervention (although it did get him closer to it :x ) and I went on to take the game and then beat Conor in the final and the rest is history.
Yeah I think we agree that that is unfair and not just a momentary misspeaking.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:44 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:BTW I was just saying this to be amusing, I think compared to the basic Apterous--non-Apterous skill gap it's probably marginal.
Also actually using "partial" as the opposite of "impartial" - who does that?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Ian Volante » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:57 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:BTW I was just saying this to be amusing, I think compared to the basic Apterous--non-Apterous skill gap it's probably marginal.
Also actually using "partial" as the opposite of "impartial" - who does that?
Me, especially when talking about fudge doughnuts.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:56 am

Jon Corby wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:None that I can recall.
Oh come on, people are often going back a step ("7 x 100 is.... no wait, add the 5 to the 100 first" kind of thing) and provided they're pretty brisk in doing so, Rachel will allow them to continue. Draw it out as if you're clearly making it up on the fly, and she probably won't.
In my first game I'd realised I'd made a mistake and that I'd meant to say - and had written down - "(100 + 50 + 9) x 4", when I'd forgotten the + 9 when transcribing this to Rachel. I didn't go back in the interests of competition, as I was losing by just one point before the round, and I would have felt guilty if I'd have gone back and corrected. It does annoy me when people do this on TV.

I'm quite open to the "writing stuff down from memory before the game begins" discussion from about a year ago. My third opponent did this and I didn't have any issues with it, nor did the floor manager.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:46 pm

Jon Corby wrote:if I've multiplied some big number by 7 which I think will get nearish the target, and I find that it's actually only 11 out but I've got a 2 and 3 left, I can use these to get it spot on. I'll often not really be sure of what the intermediate answers to the sums are (did it leave me 3 above, or 3 below the target with the 3 left?). It's probably particularly relevant to the guys that do the crazy four-large methods that go up into the thousands.
So if you're not sure whether to add or subtract 3 what happens if you have to show your paper? I think it's probably not that rare. Sometimes playing at home I'm not entirely sure but I'd still award myself the points because I know I could make it.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon Corby » Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:01 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:if I've multiplied some big number by 7 which I think will get nearish the target, and I find that it's actually only 11 out but I've got a 2 and 3 left, I can use these to get it spot on. I'll often not really be sure of what the intermediate answers to the sums are (did it leave me 3 above, or 3 below the target with the 3 left?). It's probably particularly relevant to the guys that do the crazy four-large methods that go up into the thousands.
So if you're not sure whether to add or subtract 3 what happens if you have to show your paper? I think it's probably not that rare. Sometimes playing at home I'm not entirely sure but I'd still award myself the points because I know I could make it.
Well I would be declaring not written down in that case.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:22 pm

A few conundrum oddities have actually happened at events. I've been meaning to post about them in here for a while but haven't actually remembered to do so until now. Any identifying information has been changed, because I'm not trying to criticise the people who had to rule on these immediately when they happened, I'm just trying to see what people think is the right thing to do. I'll call the contestants Alice and Bob.

Obviously all of these have a Correct Answer, which in every case happens to correspond with my own opinion.

1. The conundrum is revealed: RAINTENTS. Alice buzzes first with INSTANTER. The host says that's wrong and restarts the clock. Then Bob buzzes with TRANSIENT. Then after the conundrum, the host finds that INSTANTER is in fact a valid word.
(a) Scrap that conundrum round and redo it with a spare.
(b) Leave the score for that round at 10-0 to Bob.
(c) Reverse the score for that round, making it 10-0 to Alice.

2. The conundrum is revealed: GRISTCONE. Alice buzzes with ESCORTING. The host says that's correct and Alice wins the match. Then someone points out that the conundrum has an alternative solution, COSTERING, which the conundrum setter hadn't realised.
(a) Scrap that conundrum round and redo it with a spare.
(b) Leave the score for that round at 10-0 to Alice.

3. The conundrum is revealed: CORDWOMEN. Alice buzzes with the wrong answer. The host says it's wrong and restarts the clock. Bob thinks for a while, then the time runs out. Bob buzzes, too late, with the correct answer DOWNCOMER which he spotted early on but wasn't sure about. Bob argues that the host didn't tell him that the time was about to run out, a warning with which the host had provided the players in the previous rounds.
(a) Scrap that conundrum round and redo it with a spare.
(b) Don't accept Bob's answer. The score for that round is 0-0.
(c) Accept Bob's answer. The score for that round is 10-0 to Bob.

4. This one is in the actual TV studio. The crucial conundrum is revealed. Alice buzzes, and at the same time, a letter falls off the flippything. Alice's answer is nevertheless correct.
(a) Scrap that conundrum round and redo it with a spare.
(b) Accept Alice's answer, doing a retake of the flippything reveal if necessary. The score for that round is 10-0 to Alice.

With scenario 4, we're assuming the letter fell off at the same time as the contestant buzzed. Would your ruling be different if the letter had fallen off before the contestant buzzed? What if it had fallen off after the buzz?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:52 am

A couple more I just remembered:

5. It's a letters round. The host puts an A on the board but mistakenly announces it as "E". Nobody says anything. After the 30 seconds, Bob offers a word which is valid but uses an E which isn't there. The host definitely said "E" while putting the A up - this is not disputed.
(a) Disallow the word - Bob can see the correct selection.
(b) Allow the word - the E was in the selection he heard.
(c) Scrap the round and redo it.

6. The conundrum scramble is revealed, and the slip of paper says MOWNWALES. Alice buzzes and says ALMSWOMEN. This is the intended answer, and the host announces it's correct. Then someone points out that MOWNWALES has one M and two Ws but ALMSWOMEN has two Ms and one W. The conundrum setter made a typo in the scramble.
(a) Allow the answer, 10 points to Alice.
(b) Scrap the round and redo it.

If you said (b) to scenario 6 (and obviously you did, because of course that's the right answer), what if the scenario were similar but there's a valid answer available from the given scramble? For example, the mistyped conundrum scramble on the slip of paper is READWHEAT, Alice buzzes in with the valid word HEADWATER, the host rejects the answer because they'd been told the answer was EARTHWARD, the time runs out, and then they notice the problem?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:09 am

Ok then... my picks are:-

1c. (it's a correct answer, and Alice was first to the buzzer.)

2b. (once again, Alice should not suffer for the incompetence of the organiser.)

3c. (only if the warning had been given in every other conundrum round.)

4b. (easy one... though I think IRL, 4a was chosen, assuming this was the Wesley/Moose game.)
If the letter fell off after the buzz, my ruling is the same. If the letter fell off before, it depends how long before... if it was anything longer than around 3s, the round would need to be redone, as it could have a direct impact on the players during the solve time.)

5c. (this round has become a train wreck. Erase and rewind.)

6b.

alt version of 6, let's be radical and call it 7 ;)
7a. (Obviously!)
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Callum Todd » Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:07 am

Ah excellent, I love these. Was talking about You Are The Ref with someone last night.

1) c
2) b
3) I'm steering well clear of this one
4) b
4.1) maybe if the letter had fallen off BEFORE the buzz, as it could have distracted the opponent and hampered them from solving it. Although really the round should be stopped straight away once the letter falls off so this shouldn't be possible. If after the buzz, b.
5) a. The host has sort of screwed the player over here, but they should always look at the selection anyway as they might have misheard. The objective selection is manifested visibly, not audibly. It's tempting to be nice and say c but I don't think I would, unless Bob was blind. b can do one, otherwise people could claim to have heard whatever they like.
6) b. I was at the event where this happened and was on the losing side of the (crucial) conundrum. I was happy to let it stand as, despite the error, we both realised it and underwent the same thought process. My opponent just got their quicker. But consensus of the room was to redo, and that seems the fair thing to do by the book/from a 'ref' perspective.
Interestingly, we then buzzed at exactly the same time for the replacement conundrum so had to do a third. Then on the third, scenario 2 happened!
6.1) yeah, if somebody offers a valid answer to the scramble given, they win. What the host thought should be the answer is irrelevant if there is an objective answer to the conundrum that is presented.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon O'Neill » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:44 am

1. c
2. b
3. b - Would be different if the host promised before the round to warn with 5 seconds left. If they promised to but didn't, and the player said their answer as soon as time was up, it'd be a very murky area.
4. b
4 (letters fall off before) - a. round ended when the letters fell off
4 (letters fell off after) - b. buzz is valid
5. a - the tiles trump the announcement of letters.
6. b. There's the famous "millenium" grand final where they just kept it.
6 (but it's a valid answer) - a - She gets the points

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:16 am

A lot of these will be the same as other people's answers, but there are some points of contention.

1. c
2. b
3. (The late conundrum buzz) This is a very tricky one. If he buzzed late, how can it be proved he definitely had the answer in the time? You're taking his word for it. I think it's poor form from the host not to give a warning (though if they're an inexperienced CO-eventer then it's understandable). I think going by the book, then unless it's been stated beforehand that the warning will be given, it should be 0-0 for the round. But if the opponent voluntarily offers a new conundrum, then the offer could be taken up. They shouldn't be asked though.

4. b
If the letter fell down before, then the round is definitely scrapped from the point it fell.

5. c. If the host cannot be relied upon to say the letters correctly, then in no event ever should any host ever say the letters out loud. Given that this is nonsense, the round should be scrapped. Yes, the player should look at the letters anyway (N and M are often confused, and TV contestants are lucky that "chee" isn't a real letter given how Rachel often pronounces the letter G), but there is a difference between a mishearing and an actual mistake. The host got it wrong and it should be scrapped.

6. b
I think the second part is more complicated than the previous answers suggest. If no-one buzzed in, and then the typo mistake realised (but not that HEADWATER was a valid solution), then the round would be redone. But it was still a valid conundrum wasn't it? So in that case a valid conundrum would be scrapped and then the win could go to the wrong person. So by allowing HEADWATER if someone got it, you're creating an asymmetry in the round - the conundrum is used as valid if and only if someone correctly got it. What do you do if neither contestant sees the answer but someone watching does? Is it then declared a valid round? What if someone watching the game looks up the scramble and finds a valid solution, but it's a word that no-one in the room has heard of? What if the player in the lead buzzes in with WATERHEAD (and the oppponent still doesn't get HEADWATER, say) and that leads someone watching to look up HEADWATER causing it to be revealed as a valid answer. Would their WATERHEAD guess prevent a new conundrum and win them the game anyway?

The thing about conundrums is that unlike the others rounds (letters, numbers) they are not random. They are fixed. Someone sets the round including the difficulty. And if they've done that wrongly, it's not the intended round and perhaps the round should be done again. Maybe this goes against what I gave as my answer in the two-solution scenario, but that case is much cleaner and doesn't lead to potential grey areas like the above. So perhaps controversially, I'm going to say scrap and redo.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Robert Foster » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:38 pm

1.(c)
2.(b)
3.(c) It should be standard practice for hosts to give a 5-second warning in Lincoln-style events, or play clock music in Bristol-style events and showpiece finals. If for any reason there's no audible indication that a round is going to end, and a player announces their guess immediately after the host says that time is up, I think it should be counted as valid.
4.(b) if the buzz is before or within a couple of seconds of the letter dropping. (a) otherwise.
5.(a) same argument as Callum gave above
6.(b) 6ii. (a)

Here's a slight variation on number 6:

7i. The conundrum is revealed: BROWBEATM. Alice buzzes in with WATERBOMB, which the host announces as correct. This is the solution that the organiser intended. Before the scoresheet is handed in, it transpires that WATERBOMB is not a valid word in ODO (or apterous or whatever the specified lexicon is).
a) Scrap the round and redo
b) Alice scores 10 points

7ii. The conundrum is revealed: EUROSHEET. Alice buzzes in with TREEHOUSE, which the host announces as correct. This is the solution that the organiser intended. Before the scoresheet is handed in, the host discovers that TREEHOUSE is invalid and the only valid solution is actually ETHEREOUS.

a) Scrap the round and redo.
b) Alice scores 10 points.
c) Alice doesn't score and the round ends.
d) Alice doesn't score. Bob gets another go at the same conundrum with the remaining time after Alice's buzz.

Scenario 7i. happened in a recent CO:event final although no-one noticed until after the event had finished and it didn't affect the outcome of the match.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:26 pm

Robert Foster wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:38 pm

3.(c) It should be standard practice for hosts to give a 5-second warning in Lincoln-style events, or play clock music in Bristol-style events and showpiece finals. If for any reason there's no audible indication that a round is going to end, and a player announces their guess immediately after the host says that time is up, I think it should be counted as valid.
Although I said it shouldn't count, I was in two minds about this, and I think implementing an actual rule would sort this out. Plus also if the player says the answer immediately at the end of the time, it's the same as if they buzzed on 29.9999999999 seconds anyway. So I think I might change my mind and award it. But if the player argues first and then says the answer, then I might just replay the conundrum because they've bought themselves extra time.
4.(b) if the buzz is before or within a couple of seconds of the letter dropping. (a) otherwise.
A couple of seconds is a lifetime. It really has to be immediate.
Here's a slight variation on number 6:

7i. The conundrum is revealed: BROWBEATM. Alice buzzes in with WATERBOMB, which the host announces as correct. This is the solution that the organiser intended. Before the scoresheet is handed in, it transpires that WATERBOMB is not a valid word in ODO (or apterous or whatever the specified lexicon is).
a) Scrap the round and redo
b) Alice scores 10 points
a. Scrap the round and redo.
7ii. The conundrum is revealed: EUROSHEET. Alice buzzes in with TREEHOUSE, which the host announces as correct. This is the solution that the organiser intended. Before the scoresheet is handed in, the host discovers that TREEHOUSE is invalid and the only valid solution is actually ETHEREOUS.

a) Scrap the round and redo.
b) Alice scores 10 points.
c) Alice doesn't score and the round ends.
d) Alice doesn't score. Bob gets another go at the same conundrum with the remaining time after Alice's buzz.
a. Scrap it. Because you can't rewind time and go back the exact point where Alice buzzed in. Bob has had loads of extra subconscious thinking time.
Scenario 7i. happened in a recent CO:event final although no-one noticed until after the event had finished and it didn't affect the outcome of the match.
Do hosts not run their scrambles through Lexplorer? Seems pretty amateur! Typos are one thing, but I don't think there's any excuse for a conundrum with two/zero/anything other than exactly one solution(s).

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Fiona T » Thu Feb 20, 2020 5:22 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:22 pm

1. The conundrum is revealed: RAINTENTS. Alice buzzes first with INSTANTER. The host says that's wrong and restarts the clock. Then Bob buzzes with TRANSIENT. Then after the conundrum, the host finds that INSTANTER is in fact a valid word.
(a) Scrap that conundrum round and redo it with a spare.
(b) Leave the score for that round at 10-0 to Bob.
(c) Reverse the score for that round, making it 10-0 to Alice.
It's an invalid conundrum, so a) or c) would both seem like a reasonable options. I'd probably go with c) on balance - Alice gave a correct answer first.
Graeme Cole wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:22 pm

2. The conundrum is revealed: GRISTCONE. Alice buzzes with ESCORTING. The host says that's correct and Alice wins the match. Then someone points out that the conundrum has an alternative solution, COSTERING, which the conundrum setter hadn't realised.
(a) Scrap that conundrum round and redo it with a spare.
(b) Leave the score for that round at 10-0 to Alice.
b in this instance
Graeme Cole wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:22 pm

3. The conundrum is revealed: CORDWOMEN. Alice buzzes with the wrong answer. The host says it's wrong and restarts the clock. Bob thinks for a while, then the time runs out. Bob buzzes, too late, with the correct answer DOWNCOMER which he spotted early on but wasn't sure about. Bob argues that the host didn't tell him that the time was about to run out, a warning with which the host had provided the players in the previous rounds.
(a) Scrap that conundrum round and redo it with a spare.
(b) Don't accept Bob's answer. The score for that round is 0-0.
(c) Accept Bob's answer. The score for that round is 10-0 to Bob.
Well this one is interesting. When this happened, my first thought was b) but watching the video of the match it was clear that Bob really was poised waiting for the 5 second warning. His buzz was instant. With VAR my conclusion was c). However it probably does highlight the need to be clear and consistent about when warnings are given.
Graeme Cole wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:22 pm
4. This one is in the actual TV studio. The crucial conundrum is revealed. Alice buzzes, and at the same time, a letter falls off the flippything. Alice's answer is nevertheless correct.
(a) Scrap that conundrum round and redo it with a spare.
(b) Accept Alice's answer, doing a retake of the flippything reveal if necessary. The score for that round is 10-0 to Alice.

With scenario 4, we're assuming the letter fell off at the same time as the contestant buzzed. Would your ruling be different if the letter had fallen off before the contestant buzzed? What if it had fallen off after the buzz?

b again - she got it. As others have said, if it falls off before, then the round is stopped and redone.

Graeme Cole wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:52 am
A couple more I just remembered:

5. It's a letters round. The host puts an A on the board but mistakenly announces it as "E". Nobody says anything. After the 30 seconds, Bob offers a word which is valid but uses an E which isn't there. The host definitely said "E" while putting the A up - this is not disputed.
(a) Disallow the word - Bob can see the correct selection.
(b) Allow the word - the E was in the selection he heard.
(c) Scrap the round and redo it.
I'm going against the flow here - I say if everyone agreed that the host said "E" and wasn't just a heavy Scots accent then replay the round, so c.

One table I was at we (led by Mr Springett) were doing the phonetic alphabet for each letter thus avoiding such problems. :)
Graeme Cole wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:52 am

6. The conundrum scramble is revealed, and the slip of paper says MOWNWALES. Alice buzzes and says ALMSWOMEN. This is the intended answer, and the host announces it's correct. Then someone points out that MOWNWALES has one M and two Ws but ALMSWOMEN has two Ms and one W. The conundrum setter made a typo in the scramble.
(a) Allow the answer, 10 points to Alice.
(b) Scrap the round and redo it.
b
Graeme Cole wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:52 am

If you said (b) to scenario 6 (and obviously you did, because of course that's the right answer), what if the scenario were similar but there's a valid answer available from the given scramble? For example, the mistyped conundrum scramble on the slip of paper is READWHEAT, Alice buzzes in with the valid word HEADWATER, the host rejects the answer because they'd been told the answer was EARTHWARD, the time runs out, and then they notice the problem?
Alice gets the points.

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:26 pm
Do hosts not run their scrambles through Lexplorer? Seems pretty amateur! Typos are one thing, but I don't think there's any excuse for a conundrum with two/zero/anything other than exactly one solution(s).
Compiling suitable conundrums takes a fair bit of time - there's certainly been at least one dictionary update since George and I started on the London ones! Event hosts are amateurs - they do stuff to the best of their ability, but with the best will in the world, cock-ups will happen.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:23 pm

OK, sorry for that. Dictionary updates would of course be an acceptable excuse anyway.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:54 pm

My answers:

1. c. Alice was the first to find a correct solution to the conundrum. The fact that it wasn't the intended solution is neither here nor there.

2. b. Doesn't matter that the conundrum had an alternative solution. Alice was still the first to find a correct solution.

3. b. There's no requirement for the host to announce when the time's nearly up, but perhaps there ought to be. But if there were, could a player who was nowhere near solving it try their luck and push for a reconundrum just because the host forgot to warn them the time was nearly up?

4. b. When this happened in the studio as has been alluded to above, I believe they did (a), although I wasn't there, I've only heard it second-hand. I would say accept the answer (b) because it's unfair not to accept a correct answer if the contestant buzzed before or at the same time as the letter fell off. As others have mentioned, it would be different if the letter fell off before the contestant buzzed, because the other contestant could reasonably have been disadvantaged by it.

However... what if Alice's answer was wrong? It wouldn't be fair to Bob to restart the clock and leave him staring at an incomplete conundrum, so in the case where Alice's answer was wrong I'd be inclined to scrap and redo the round. But if that's your ruling, what if after Alice's answer is rejected, Bob tries to buzz, having now worked out the correct answer? Now he's been denied a win because of a ruling you made supposedly in his favour.

5. c. Scrap the round - some people write the letters down as they're read out and look at their notepad rather than the board. This exact situation happened in the studio a few years ago when I was in the audience. They scrapped the round there too.

6. b. Scrap the conundrum and redo it. We can't have conundrums which aren't an anagram of the answer. However, if the scramble on the slip had a valid answer, and one of the contestants buzzes in with that answer, it would be unfair not to award the points - the contestant has done everything right.

Gevin raises an interesting point, though. To avoid the possibility that players could be given the wrong scramble which happens to have a really obscure anagram, you could say that if a player solves it, they get the points as normal, but if neither player solves it, and then the mistake is realised when the answer is revealed, the conundrum is redone.

A wider point about conundrums with more than one solution - these are usually considered "wrong" or "illegal", but do they really break the game at all? Provided the rule is that any correct solution must be accepted, is there any reason not to allow them? The only thing I can think of is that you'd need to check everyone's wrong conundrum answer just in case it was in the dictionary, but arguably you already need to do that if you ruled (c) for scenario 1, which so far everyone has.
Robert Foster wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:38 pm
7i. The conundrum is revealed: BROWBEATM. Alice buzzes in with WATERBOMB, which the host announces as correct. This is the solution that the organiser intended. Before the scoresheet is handed in, it transpires that WATERBOMB is not a valid word in ODO (or apterous or whatever the specified lexicon is).
a) Scrap the round and redo
b) Alice scores 10 points
Scrap it and redo. Conundrum answers have to be valid words.
Robert Foster wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:38 pm
7ii. The conundrum is revealed: EUROSHEET. Alice buzzes in with TREEHOUSE, which the host announces as correct. This is the solution that the organiser intended. Before the scoresheet is handed in, the host discovers that TREEHOUSE is invalid and the only valid solution is actually ETHEREOUS.

a) Scrap the round and redo.
b) Alice scores 10 points.
c) Alice doesn't score and the round ends.
d) Alice doesn't score. Bob gets another go at the same conundrum with the remaining time after Alice's buzz.

Scenario 7i. happened in a recent CO:event final although no-one noticed until after the event had finished and it didn't affect the outcome of the match.
Scrap and redo, for the same reason, and by much the same argument as Gevin's for the scenario where the scramble has a typo and the apparent scramble has a valid but really obscure answer.

A piece of phrasing that crops up twice in scenario 7 raises another question, though...
Robert Foster wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:38 pm
Before the scoresheet is handed in
At what point does the declared result of a game become fixed and unchallengable? When the scoresheet is handed in? When the fixtures for the next round are generated? When the winner of the event is announced?

We've certainly changed results for co-event games in the past, ranging from a few minutes to many days after the game, but in all the cases I know of, this was simply because the score was incorrectly entered into the computer on the day, rather than because some hosting or conundrum-setting mistake caused the wrong score to go down on the scoresheet.

It's tempting to say that once the final score has been agreed by the host and players and the scoresheet is handed in, the result can't then be changed because of an incorrect adjudication on a word or something like that. Then you can say that if a player thinks their rejected conundrum guess might be valid, it's their responsibility to check it.

Not counting simply correcting a mistake made by the organiser when entering the score, does anyone know of any occasion when a game's score, as shown on the scoresheet, was changed after the scoresheet was handed in?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:14 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:54 pm
Not counting simply correcting a mistake made by the organiser when entering the score, does anyone know of any occasion when a game's score, as shown on the scoresheet, was changed after the scoresheet was handed in?
To semi-answer my own question, I think I have a vague memory of taking a scoresheet from the organiser's table back to the players to ask what on earth was going on with it - there was something that didn't make sense, like someone getting 4 points in a numbers game or both players getting points for the conundrum or something like that. Which event it was, and why I would be the one checking it when I've never run an event, escapes me for the moment.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Conor » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:36 pm

1. (c) they've given a valid answer, plus there's some precedent for this

2. (b)

3. This is a tough one. I first thought (b), but now I am leaning more towards (c), provided that (i) I've been giving 5 sec warnings in previous rounds, so it's reasonable to expect I'd do the same for the conundrum and (ii) I'm sufficiently convinced that Bob was expecting the warning and had genuinely solved it, and gave his answer immediately. And when I'm hosting, there can be a discrepancy between starting the timer and revealing the conundrum just because I'm a bit of a klutz. I'd sacrifice the small possibility of something getting an unfair 30.5sec conundrum solve to stop someone being screwed over because of my own forgetfulness.

4. accept it. If the buzz is not immediate after the letter falls off, redo the round.

5. Unfortunate, but (a). It might be an undisputed mistake this time, but it could set a dangerous precedent. (As someone who never writes the letters down, maybe I'm biased towards being unsympathetic here.)

6. (b)

6(ii) I am also leaning towards (b) using the same reasoning as Gevin. When the two difficult levels are relatively comparable it seems natural to just allow it to stand, but this is subjective and if the typo causes a large difficulty swing it could be considered unfair. Basically the same scenario: we've reached the Grand Final conundrum, and it's just about to be revealed on the big screen. However, due to a technical glitch, the conundrum revealed is a test conundrum (something pretty easy like DEPLOYING) instead of the intended one (TEREBINTH). Before the host can say 'Stop the round!' Alice buzzes in and gives the answer. In this situation I think most people would expect the conundrum to be redone.

7i (a)
7ii (a)

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Callum Todd » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:58 am

If you include Rob's additional scenarios, then 3 of the things on this list happened in co:event finals last year featuring me. I am clearly a controversy magnet.

Just a note on scenario 3: when I was hosting a game between Jack and Maus at CoMan in which Maus was 1 or 2 points ahead: Maus buzzed in early with an incorrect guess. After about 10 seconds gone, still trying to solve the conundrum he needed to win the game, Jack asked me to give a warning when time was nearly up. I thought this was really good awareness and planning by Jack, who was clearly trying to avoid a situation such as scenario 3.

I'm absolutely not saying that the onus is on the player to prevent this, and definitely not in the case of the real high-profile example in which this happened last year, but it's an option if you're concerned. Although it would be difficult to do so sportingly if the other player hadn't buzzed yet (unless you asked before the round started).
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:59 pm

This is similar to, but not really based on, stuff that's happened at co-events.

It's a crucial conundrum in the final of an event. You, the host, reveal the conundrum scramble: DINOTIARA. Both players hit the table at about the same time. They both claim to have buzzed first, but you can't be sure either way. Then you realise that a potentially-useful spectator filmed the whole thing close up on their phone, which they're now excitedly offering to you.

This is the final, so it's important you resolve the situation in the fairest way possible. What must you do first, before looking at the video? And where do you go from there?

(My answer to this is longer and more complicated than I initially thought it would be.)

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Fiona T » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:03 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:59 pm
This is similar to, but not really based on, stuff that's happened at co-events.

It's a crucial conundrum in the final of an event. You, the host, reveal the conundrum scramble: DINOTIARA. Both players hit the table at about the same time. They both claim to have buzzed first, but you can't be sure either way. Then you realise that a potentially-useful spectator filmed the whole thing close up on their phone, which they're now excitedly offering to you.

This is the final, so it's important you resolve the situation in the fairest way possible. What must you do first, before looking at the video? And where do you go from there?

(My answer to this is longer and more complicated than I initially thought it would be.)
Get them to write down their answers immediately if you're going to base the decision on the video.

But TBH if it's that close, just redo it!
8-) <-2m-> 8-)

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:21 pm

Fiona T wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:03 pm
Get them to write down their answers immediately if you're going to base the decision on the video.
Yes, that's the first step.

If both players are right then you can look at the video and give the points to one player or the other, or scrap and redo if by some freak coincidence it's still inconclusive. The marginally more interesting cases are if one's right and one's wrong, or they're both wrong.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:49 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:21 pm
Fiona T wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:03 pm
Get them to write down their answers immediately if you're going to base the decision on the video.
Yes, that's the first step.

If both players are right then you can look at the video and give the points to one player or the other, or scrap and redo if by some freak coincidence it's still inconclusive. The marginally more interesting cases are if one's right and one's wrong, or they're both wrong.
I don't think that one actually was inconclusive after the replay. Very close but Callum was clearly first.

I suppose if the person that's deemed t have buzzed first has got it wrong, then the other person should have a shot at answering it without being committed to their bit of paper. But by the time all this has happened they've been given a lot of time. So if it's too close to call without spending a lot of time finding out, it's probably best to redo anyway.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:06 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:49 pm
Graeme Cole wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:21 pm
Fiona T wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:03 pm
Get them to write down their answers immediately if you're going to base the decision on the video.
Yes, that's the first step.

If both players are right then you can look at the video and give the points to one player or the other, or scrap and redo if by some freak coincidence it's still inconclusive. The marginally more interesting cases are if one's right and one's wrong, or they're both wrong.
I don't think that one actually was inconclusive after the replay. Very close but Callum was clearly first.

I suppose if the person that's deemed t have buzzed first has got it wrong, then the other person should have a shot at answering it without being committed to their bit of paper. But by the time all this has happened they've been given a lot of time. So if it's too close to call without spending a lot of time finding out, it's probably best to redo anyway.
Yes, basically this.

If one player's answer is right and the other is wrong, the situation resolves itself without having to mess about with VAR - just accept the correct answer.

But if both players' answers are wrong, there's also no point in appealing to technology - the only thing you can do is scrap it and get a new conundrum. This is mainly because, as you say, the time it takes to check who buzzed first is a huge amount of extra thinking time for the player you eventually decide lost the race, but also because if the players gave different incorrect answers, by the time you come back to the players and restart the clock for whoever lost the race, they'd be playing after two possibilities for the answer had been ruled out, which wouldn't ever happen normally.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Fiona T » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:47 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:49 pm

I don't think that one actually was inconclusive after the replay. Very close but Callum was clearly first.
I couldn't call it. Not clear at all.

However, it seem that a lot of these conundrum controversies involve Callum Todd! Sort it out Callum!

Edit - have just replayed the slow motion replay on 0.25 speed - it is a dead heat.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:01 am

Fiona T wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:47 am
Have just replayed the slow motion replay on 0.25 speed - it is a dead heat.
+1.
Callum moves first. His hand goes up, then down. But if you are judging by when the hands actually hit the table, it could not be more simultaneous.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Feb 23, 2020 8:16 am

Fiona T wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:47 am
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:49 pm

I don't think that one actually was inconclusive after the replay. Very close but Callum was clearly first.
I couldn't call it. Not clear at all.

However, it seem that a lot of these conundrum controversies involve Callum Todd! Sort it out Callum!

Edit - have just replayed the slow motion replay on 0.25 speed - it is a dead heat.
OK, having watched it on 0.25 it becomes less clear. I think the resolution isn't clear enough and both hands appear on the table in the same frame because of this. However, I would say that Callum's hand almost certainly did hit the table first but it wouldn't stand up in court.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Callum Todd » Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:04 am

L'oisleatch McGraw wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:01 am
Fiona T wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:47 am
Have just replayed the slow motion replay on 0.25 speed - it is a dead heat.
+1.
Callum moves first. His hand goes up, then down. But if you are judging by when the hands actually hit the table, it could not be more simultaneous.
My initial thought was that Tom was just quicker. After watching the replay I think my hand moved first but due to my poor technique it was a dead heat.

Chris Marshall gave me some coaching to attempt to address this hole in my game before CoMan. At that event I put in comfortably my worst conundrum performance at an event in a long time.

If anyone else would like to offer me some conundrum coaching, there is now a vacancy.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:07 am

Callum Todd wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:04 am
My initial thought was that Tom was just quicker. After watching the replay I think my hand moved first but due to my poor technique it was a dead heat.
I think the perception of a dead heat comes from the illusion of movement when you have lots of still frames. There is a frame with both hands off the table, and the next frame has them both on the table. And the brain interprets movement and sees them both arrive on the table at the same time. But given the "lead" that your hand has in the previous frame, I think it's just very unlikely that Tom's hand caught yours up.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon O'Neill » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:50 pm

I think everyone should use a pen to tap the table.. it's a sharper sound which makes it much easier to adjudicate. I've been using a pen on conundrums forever and it's definitely a competitive advantage to simply twitch your fingers than move your whole arm to bang the table, so I don't know why more people don't do it.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:45 pm

You'd need two pens.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Callum Todd » Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:35 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:50 pm
I think everyone should use a pen to tap the table.. it's a sharper sound which makes it much easier to adjudicate. I've been using a pen on conundrums forever and it's definitely a competitive advantage to simply twitch your fingers than move your whole arm to bang the table, so I don't know why more people don't do it.
Good idea. Consider yourself hired. Chris, you're off the team.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:38 pm

Callum Todd wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:04 am
If anyone else would like to offer me some conundrum coaching, there is now a vacancy.
Dan McColm, very reasonable hourly rate, though you would have to pay for the first 50 lessons in advance...
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Conor » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:04 pm

With a pen, I might be concerned about dropping it or missing the table. You just need an easy, not-too-rigid stance. Being more relaxed will help your reaction speed.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Matt Morrison » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:31 pm

I would like it if someone screamed to buzz

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Ian Volante » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:52 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:31 pm
I would like it if someone screamed to buzz
That's fine until the conundrum is actually "Waaaarrgh".
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Martin Peters » Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:59 am

Ian Volante wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:52 pm
Matt Morrison wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:31 pm
I would like it if someone screamed to buzz
That's fine until the conundrum is actually "Waaaarrgh".
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Cath C » Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:21 am

Or Wiingerii

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by David Roe » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:20 am

Graeme Cole wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:22 pm
1. The conundrum is revealed: RAINTENTS. Alice buzzes first with INSTANTER. The host says that's wrong and restarts the clock. Then Bob buzzes with TRANSIENT. Then after the conundrum, the host finds that INSTANTER is in fact a valid word.
(a) Scrap that conundrum round and redo it with a spare.
(b) Leave the score for that round at 10-0 to Bob.
(c) Reverse the score for that round, making it 10-0 to Alice.
This happened at least once on the show, possibly before the OED and all the solutions could be checked on computer. The contestant buzzed and gave a word which sounded made-up, but was correct; the solution was turned, Richard confirmed the correct answer, and mentioned the common or garden word which was clearly intended to be the answer. The correct, but unexpected, answer stood; I have no idea how much editing happened or how long it took to work it all out.

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