You Are The Ref

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Graeme Cole
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You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:52 am

You might be familiar with You Are The Ref. It has pretty pictures and is about football.

In this version there are no pictures, but on the plus side it's about Countdown not football.

If I'd thought of this three years ago I could have called the thread "You Are The Jeff". But I didn't so I won't.

Anyway. Here are some Countdowny situations which perhaps aren't covered explicitly in the rules. You're in charge. What's your decision?

1. It's a letters round. C1 declares 6, then C2 declares 6. You ask for C1's word, and he says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the unit of time. C2 says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the synonym for tiny. C2 has not written his word down, but insists he doesn't have to show his paper to C1 because he had a different word. C1 says this is silly because it's obviously the same word. Do you allow C2's offering?

2. Early in a game, C1 offers UPVOTE. DC looks it up on ODO and it's not in, so it's disallowed. Later on in the same game, C2 also offers UPVOTE. To everyone's surprise, the word is now valid on ODO. After some investigation, it transpires that ODO's three-monthly update happened in the middle of this game, and UPVOTE, being a common word all over the internet nowadays, was one of the new words added. C2 insists that it should now be allowed, but that the earlier ruling against C1's offering should stand because the word wasn't valid at the time. C1 says this is crazy. Do you allow it for one player and not for the other? Disallow both? Allow both?

3. In a letters round, C1 declares 7, then C2 declares 8. You ask for C1's seven, and he says DEFINING. Obviously he's misdeclared. You ask for C2's eight, and he says he also had DEFINING, but he didn't write it down. C2 explains that he didn't bother to say "not written down" because when C1 declared 7, he thought there was no chance of C1's word being the same as his 8. C1 says this is irrelevant, and C2's word should be disallowed. What do you do?

4. C2 is 15 points behind going into the last numbers round. He asks for 6 small in the hope of getting a difficult round on which he can beat C1. The round is difficult, but C1 gets it spot on and C2 doesn't. C2 is now 25 behind. Then, just before you go into the conundrum, DC informs you that a mistake has been discovered in an earlier round in which C1 offered an eight and C2 offered a nine. C2's nine was disallowed, but on closer inspection of the dictionary the word has been found to be acceptable. The scores are corrected: C1 has 8 points taken away, and C2 is given 18 points. C2 is now one point ahead. C2 now complains that had he known he was 11 ahead going into the last numbers, he would have picked 1 large, not 6 small, and claims the numbers round should be replayed. C1, who is now behind going into a conundrum when he thought he was unassailably ahead, says C2 is pushing his luck. What do you do?

5. Going into the final letters round, seven-time-winner C1 is 25 points behind. The first eight letters are VLGIIAME. He picks a final consonant, fishing for an S for VIGESIMAL, and gets a second V. Incensed, C1 points out that another V appeared in an earlier round, which it did. He goes on to argue that this means they're playing with three Vs, which makes it an illegal distribution, and it's ruined his chances of making a big comeback. He asks for the game to be replayed, or at least a new final consonant to be picked. Upon investigation it is found that before the day's recording started, an extra V was indeed accidentally introduced into the pack in addition to the normal two, and you've been playing with three Vs all day, including in the three games that have already been recorded. Do you play on regardless? Substitute the letter? Replay the round? The game? The last three games?

6. C1 and C2 are seated with the game about to start. C1 writes the 75 times table, from memory, on one of the provided sheets of paper. C2 spots this and complains to you, saying C1 isn't allowed to use a times table list. Should C1 be allowed to keep the list?

7. You are the organiser of a Lincoln-style CO-event. The host of a match between the top two seeds comes up to you and asks for a conundrum, which is a crucial. You pick a conundrum at random from a hat, which is how you've selected all the conundrums so far that day, and give it to the host. However, the host points out that the conundrum scramble is exactly the same as one used in a Countdown series final several years ago, and furthermore, that final featured one of the players involved in this game. The host argues that this gives the player a huge unfair advantage. Do you change the conundrum?

There is, of course, a prescribed right answer for each one: if your opinion matches my opinion then it's correct. :-)

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jack Worsley » Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:14 am

I'll give this a go but there are one or two which I have mixed feelings about.

1. I'd have no hesitation in disallowing C2's offering. I've always thought that pronunciation isn't overly important, as long as it's not ambiguous and the word's spelt correctly. Therefore, they have both got the same word and according to the rules, C2's should be disallowed.

2. This is a much trickier one for me and thankfully a scenario that's extremely unlikely ever to occur. I think on balance I would disallow it on the second occasion as it would just look unfair, although I could understand C2's frustration.

3. Interestingly, I remember a question similar to this a while ago. http://www.c4countdown.co.uk/viewtopic. ... es#p141495 The general feeling that to disallow C2's word would have been ridiculous. There is a difference in your question, though, as C2 hasn't declared that he hasn't written it down, which makes the situation less clear cut. Even by saying he hadn't written it down, he'd still have declared second with no proof that he actually had the word so I'd probably just tell C1 to go back to school and learn to count and allow C2's word.

4. Again, another horrible situation which I hope never materialises. While it would be extremely unfortunate for player 2, I'd still have to say that the round should stand. If you allow them to reselect the round, I think you're potentially opening the door for more controversy in the future (although it would be edited out to minimise its effect). There have been cases in the past where a player has had a word incorrectly disallowed and overturned a few rounds later. There's every chance that the score could affect what you declare and could lead to arguments such as "If I didn't know I would get my points back, I wouldn't have risked MOANIEST in the round after". This is very messy so on balance I'll have to say that the six small round in your scenario should stand.

5. It would be unusual to have three V's in a selection but as far as I'm aware, the letters distribution isn't set in stone. I think they may even get tweaked slightly from time to time. Because of this, I believe that the round should stand, while I'd advise C1 not to go to any co-events if they don't like dodgy letters distributions.

6. As long as it's from memory and they haven't taken the list in with them, I'd say it was fine. I've always thought of the situation as sitting an exam, when you're not allowed to take notes in with you but there's nothing wrong with writing down notes when you get into the exam room. I'm sure no one would dispute that it's OK for players to do workings out on paper for numbers games so the question is, if writing down your 75 times tables is unacceptable as soon as you sit down, at what point does it become OK? When the game starts? When the clock for the numbers round starts? etc.

7. I've thought about this situation before and always thought that as host, I'd make sure I wouldn't give any player a favourable conundrum. However, I probably wouldn't use the picking randomly out of the hat system. If the organiser has set a precedent that this is how all conundrums should be chosen, then I think it would be best to stick with it, even if it did favour one player. It's widely accepted that the element of randomness can throw up scenarios like this. As the organiser, I'd try not to use any conundrums which could favour a particular player at the event but once you've got yourself into this situation, I think you've got to stay with the procedure.

So there are my opinions but I'm sure plenty of you will disagree with some of them. 2 and 4 are the ones I'm most uncertain about. If you like, I'll put my answers in a different colour so people aren't swayed one way or the other but I'll leave them normal for now. Great questions, cheers for that! Perhaps this thread should be renamed "Graeme Asks". :D

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon O'Neill » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:20 am

Excellent idea!
Graeme Cole wrote:1. It's a letters round. C1 declares 6, then C2 declares 6. You ask for C1's word, and he says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the unit of time. C2 says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the synonym for tiny. C2 has not written his word down, but insists he doesn't have to show his paper to C1 because he had a different word. C1 says this is silly because it's obviously the same word. Do you allow C2's offering?
It's the same word. Definitions aren't part of the game.. They're just strings of letters which are either valid or invalid. Disallow.
Graeme Cole wrote:2. Early in a game, C1 offers UPVOTE. DC looks it up on ODO and it's not in, so it's disallowed. Later on in the same game, C2 also offers UPVOTE. To everyone's surprise, the word is now valid on ODO. After some investigation, it transpires that ODO's three-monthly update happened in the middle of this game, and UPVOTE, being a common word all over the internet nowadays, was one of the new words added. C2 insists that it should now be allowed, but that the earlier ruling against C1's offering should stand because the word wasn't valid at the time. C1 says this is crazy. Do you allow it for one player and not for the other? Disallow both? Allow both?
C2 gets the points, C1 does not get any points reinstated.
Graeme Cole wrote:3. In a letters round, C1 declares 7, then C2 declares 8. You ask for C1's seven, and he says DEFINING. Obviously he's misdeclared. You ask for C2's eight, and he says he also had DEFINING, but he didn't write it down. C2 explains that he didn't bother to say "not written down" because when C1 declared 7, he thought there was no chance of C1's word being the same as his 8. C1 says this is irrelevant, and C2's word should be disallowed. What do you do?
Allow the word.
Graeme Cole wrote:4. C2 is 15 points behind going into the last numbers round. He asks for 6 small in the hope of getting a difficult round on which he can beat C1. The round is difficult, but C1 gets it spot on and C2 doesn't. C2 is now 25 behind. Then, just before you go into the conundrum, DC informs you that a mistake has been discovered in an earlier round in which C1 offered an eight and C2 offered a nine. C2's nine was disallowed, but on closer inspection of the dictionary the word has been found to be acceptable. The scores are corrected: C1 has 8 points taken away, and C2 is given 18 points. C2 is now one point ahead. C2 now complains that had he known he was 11 ahead going into the last numbers, he would have picked 1 large, not 6 small, and claims the numbers round should be replayed. C1, who is now behind going into a conundrum when he thought he was unassailably ahead, says C2 is pushing his luck. What do you do?
Definitely do not replay the round. You have to go with what has been played. Would he want to replay the round if he'd won it 10-0 instead of lost it?
Graeme Cole wrote:5. Going into the final letters round, seven-time-winner C1 is 25 points behind. The first eight letters are VLGIIAME. He picks a final consonant, fishing for an S for VIGESIMAL, and gets a second V. Incensed, C1 points out that another V appeared in an earlier round, which it did. He goes on to argue that this means they're playing with three Vs, which makes it an illegal distribution, and it's ruined his chances of making a big comeback. He asks for the game to be replayed, or at least a new final consonant to be picked. Upon investigation it is found that before the day's recording started, an extra V was indeed accidentally introduced into the pack in addition to the normal two, and you've been playing with three Vs all day, including in the three games that have already been recorded. Do you play on regardless? Substitute the letter? Replay the round? The game? The last three games?
You play on regardless and don't substitute anything. The letters in the pile aren't a prescribed axiom of the game.
Graeme Cole wrote:6. C1 and C2 are seated with the game about to start. C1 writes the 75 times table, from memory, on one of the provided sheets of paper. C2 spots this and complains to you, saying C1 isn't allowed to use a times table list. Should C1 be allowed to keep the list?
No list allowed. The only time you can write lists or any other prompt should be during the rounds, and at the end of the round you should have to scrap it and do it again next round. Anything else is cheating.
Graeme Cole wrote:7. You are the organiser of a Lincoln-style CO-event. The host of a match between the top two seeds comes up to you and asks for a conundrum, which is a crucial. You pick a conundrum at random from a hat, which is how you've selected all the conundrums so far that day, and give it to the host. However, the host points out that the conundrum scramble is exactly the same as one used in a Countdown series final several years ago, and furthermore, that final featured one of the players involved in this game. The host argues that this gives the player a huge unfair advantage. Do you change the conundrum?
I'm going to go with NO. You picked the conundrum at random so any advantage one has is due to chance. The fact that one guy has experienced a conundrum in a grand final is to his advantage so it will be up there in his brain database of conundrums, but that's a real advantage, so fair play to him.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by James S Roper » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:43 am

This is an interesting topic to think about, so cheers for conjuring these up:

1. It's the same combination of letters, which really is what counts in countdown rather than the pronounciation itself, so, like Jack, I wouldn't hesitate to disallow C2's offering.

2. It would generally seem a bit odd if C2 decided to play a word that had previously been disallowed earlier in the game - however, if this did happen by chance, then I'd probably allow C2's offering, but then add on the 6 points to C1's score. Some might disagree with me here.

3. I don't think I'd have a problem with giving C2 the 8 points, provided it was C1 that was asked for their declaration first. Generally if you have a longer word than the person declaring before you then you shouldn't really have to say 'not written down'.

4.
Jack Worsley wrote:Again, another horrible situation which I hope never materialises. While it would be extremely unfortunate for player 2, I'd still have to say that the round should stand. If you allow them to reselect the round, I think you're potentially opening the door for more controversy in the future (although it would be edited out to minimise its effect). There have been cases in the past where a player has had a word incorrectly disallowed and overturned a few rounds later. There's every chance that the score could affect what you declare and could lead to arguments such as "If I didn't know I would get my points back, I wouldn't have risked MOANIEST in the round after". This is very messy so on balance I'll have to say that the six small round in your scenario should stand.
(I agree, saves me time writing out an identical view)

5. It's just a minor irregularity that doesn't really change anything. Play on. Furthermore, if you're fishing for VIGESIMAL then chances are you shouldn't need to complain as, in most scenarios, you're probably around 82-20 up already. However, even with the situation given, don't change anything still, as the player you're against is probably just a good candidate for #1 seed, and on 7 wins you should be fine for the finals as well.

6. They've written it from memory and not an artificial source, so it's fine.

7. Hmmm. Well, when I was at COLIN X in January, whenever I needed a conundrum Ben would always ask who it was between first, and whether it was a crucial. So on that basis levels of organisations mean that he has conundrums for certain scenarios anyway, so following on from what he's done there, I'd follow that method, rather than just having a load of conundrums and picking one out of a hat.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Ben Wilson » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:55 am

Number 7 actually came up in the deciding match of COLIN 2011 between Kirk & James Robinson. Josh Hurst was the host (I'm pretty sure it was him, anyway) and when I showed him the first conundrum I picked out he said 'Kirk saw that less than a week ago, he'll get it immediately', so I switched it for a different one. Kirk still got it, of course. The way I normally allocate conundrums there is I have 10 piles sorted by (apterous-defined) difficulty, as rounds go on top tables get progressively harder conundrums, which go one point harder if they're crucial. So a non-crucial conundrum on the bottom table will get a 1 or a 2, whereas a crucial conundrum on the top table in the final round is almost certainly going to get a 10.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Innis Carson » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:03 am

Love this thread.

1. Disallow it. Whether or not his word is the same as his opponent's, if he didn't have it written down and his opponent's declaration is (or could be) the same, he should have said so. Yes, some people get away with this if their unwritten word happens to be different from their opponents, but that's just a consequence of a time-saving measure and not a codified part of the game.

2. As bizarre as it would look, and as bizarre as it would be for C2 to do this, I can't really see any solid justification for not going with what ODO said at the time. It would set a bad precedent to start letting adjudications be influenced by how confusing we think an audience might feel they are. So I'd probably allow it for C2 but not reinstate any points for C1, and try my best to explain the situation to the viewers.

3. Definitely allow C2's word.

4. It's very hard not to sympathise with C2, but yeah, you can't just pick and choose rounds to replay. I think my preferred course of action would be to replay the whole game from the point at which the mistake was made, but even that's not ideal and it's also probably often impractical in a filming situation. So if that can't be done, then I'd say the next fairest approach is to say “no replayed rounds” in all such cases.

5. There's no such thing as an 'illegal' distribution. Tell C1 to shut up.

6. The idea that this is cheating has always felt rather weak to me. If the team were willing to enforce a system like that which Jon describes, then that would probably be ideal, but it's understandable for them not to bother. I doubt I'd kick up a fuss over this.

7. I'd say stick to doing it at random. If you start trying to make judgements about which words the players might or might not find easy, subconscious biases are liable to come into play and if anything you leave yourself even more open to complaints of unfairness. If you pick them at random and it happens to be one that one player finds much easier than the other, then that's just good fortune (which is unavoidably part of the game) and nobody really has any grounds to complain. It could just as easily have gone the other way.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Sean Fletcher » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:30 am

1) It's the same word with different pronunciation. Disallow.

2) If the word wasn't allowable at the start of the game it shouldn't be allowable for the duration of the game. Disallow.

3) C2 would have had to declare second either way. Allow.

4) If you replay that round you may open yourself up to having to play other rounds where players may claim to have done something different. Let the round stand.

5) Complaining about randomly distributed letters! Selection stands.

6) I actually had a contestant do this against me and it was fine, so I'm going to say keep the list.

7) If that has been the consistent method for picking conundrums then it shouldn't be changed.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:05 pm

My answers:

1. It's the same word. Disallow C2's word.

2. I now realise that it'd be pretty unlikely for C2 to offer a word that had been disallowed previously in the same game, unless C2 knew that ODO was going to be updated that day and that UPVOTE would probably be added. Perhaps a more realistic scenario is that C1 gets a word allowed, then later in the same game C2 gets the same word disallowed because it's been removed from ODO. Either way I think it's silly to say a word is acceptable in one round and not in a different round in the same game. Personally I would adjudicate both rounds by how the ODO stood at the start of the game. However, you then have the problem that if in a later round someone offers a word that hasn't previously been offered in the game, and it's valid but wasn't valid when the game started, do you allow that? And how do you know the word was only just added?

3. I'd allow C2's word. The "not written down" rule is there to prevent a contestant copying the other's word, and it's clear C2 didn't intend to do that because he declared a different length. Obviously if C2 had said "not written down", and C1 had been asked for their word first and it turned out to be the same as C2's, that would be clear-cut - you would have to allow C2's word because they've done everything the rules require and there's nothing else they could have done. You could argue that C2 should have said "not written down" - after all, it wasn't written down - but since C1 would have been asked for their word first in either case it wouldn't have made a difference. So it's not worth disallowing C2's word, but you might remind them that they're supposed to say if it's not written down.

4. The opinion I'd formed before posting this thread was the opposite to all the answers given so far. Harsh though it might seem on C1, if a mistake is made against C2 then C2 should, as far as possible, be put in the situation they would have been in had the mistake not occurred, and that means being able to pick the numbers with the knowledge of the correct score. It's not a clear decision by any means, though, as you could then argue that you should replay the game from the time the mistake occurred, as the incorrect score could have affected other decisions by the players.

5. You've all got this one right. Play on. While the consonant pile they usually use does indeed contain only two Vs, the distribution has changed many times over the years, the rules don't specify what the letter distribution has to be, and it's the same for both players. C1 is trying it on, especially as he managed to win the previous three games with the "illegal distribution" and didn't complain then. If the distribution was really messed up, like having 5 Qs or no Es or something, then you might do something about it, but that would have been noticed much sooner.

6. I don't think you can stop players writing what they want once they're seated on the set. Obviously you're not allowed to bring any reference material on with you, but if you're going to disallow writing lists from memory during the game, then would you also prohibit contestants from writing "PIRANHA" and "PIRAHNA" on their paper during a letters round to help judge which is the correct spelling from how the word looks?

7. Personally I'd change the conundrum. I understand why some might not want to, as it could potentially get awkward if the replacement you pick happens to be one the other player was familiar with for similar reasons and you didn't know this. That's pretty unlikely, though, so by changing it you've gone from having a conundrum which definitely gives an advantage to one of the players, to a conundrum that probably gives no advantage to either.

Incidentally, I've just checked the database to see if there are any players who were given the same conundrum (not necessarily the same scramble) more than once on the show. I've mentioned Kevin Nelson and FURTHERED before (this episode and this episode) but since they were three episodes apart that was almost certainly a cock-up. The only other person to be given the same conundrum twice is Clive Spate, who was given PENSIONER twice, six years apart, here and here.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:50 pm

8. Harry Peters is controversially given a return appearance on the show, wins eight games with a record-breaking octototototal of 980, and qualifies for the quarter-finals. He beats the #8 seed in the quarter-final, and beats the #4 seed in the semi-final. In the final he faces the #2 seed Gary Goodfellow. Up until now the unsportsmanlike conduct for which Harry Peters is infamous has been mild at worst, but just before the final starts, the two finalists have a disagreement which results in Harry punching Gary. Harry is disqualified and ejected from the studio. Gary is innocent of any wrongdoing, is not badly hurt, and is happy to continue.

All the losing quarter-finalists and semi-finalists, as well as the standby #9 seed, are available in the studio. Who should Gary's opponent be in the final? Which matches, if any, should be replayed?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Mark Deeks » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:22 pm

Allow me to be the only dissenting opinion on number 1. I don't have much basis to back this up with. I just would find it a bit unsavoury.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by David Williams » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:51 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:4. C2 is 15 points behind going into the last numbers round. He asks for 6 small in the hope of getting a difficult round on which he can beat C1. The round is difficult, but C1 gets it spot on and C2 doesn't. C2 is now 25 behind. Then, just before you go into the conundrum, DC informs you that a mistake has been discovered in an earlier round in which C1 offered an eight and C2 offered a nine. C2's nine was disallowed, but on closer inspection of the dictionary the word has been found to be acceptable. The scores are corrected: C1 has 8 points taken away, and C2 is given 18 points. C2 is now one point ahead. C2 now complains that had he known he was 11 ahead going into the last numbers, he would have picked 1 large, not 6 small, and claims the numbers round should be replayed. C1, who is now behind going into a conundrum when he thought he was unassailably ahead, says C2 is pushing his luck. What do you do?
I was an octochamp in the nine round format, when the champion picked the final numbers game. I went for one large if I was more than ten ahead. On a couple of occasions I was winning by less than ten, went for six small and picked up enough points to avoid any crucial conundrums. Carol had commented on the tactic. I would say I would have been unimpressed if this had happened to me.
Graeme Cole wrote:6. C1 and C2 are seated with the game about to start. C1 writes the 75 times table, from memory, on one of the provided sheets of paper. C2 spots this and complains to you, saying C1 isn't allowed to use a times table list. Should C1 be allowed to keep the list?
Precisely this happened to me, except that my opponent actually showed me his 75 times table and said he always did it. It clearly didn't occur to either of us that it was wrong. I have a feeling this has been discussed before, with Damian saying it was fine, and one of the other contributors saying he wrote LEOTARDS at the top of each sheet of paper before the game started.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Sean Fletcher » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:08 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:8. Harry Peters is controversially given a return appearance on the show, wins eight games with a record-breaking octototototal of 980, and qualifies for the quarter-finals. He beats the #8 seed in the quarter-final, and beats the #4 seed in the semi-final. In the final he faces the #2 seed Gary Goodfellow. Up until now the unsportsmanlike conduct for which Harry Peters is infamous has been mild at worst, but just before the final starts, the two finalists have a disagreement which results in Harry punching Gary. Harry is disqualified and ejected from the studio. Gary is innocent of any wrongdoing, is not badly hurt, and is happy to continue.

All the losing quarter-finalists and semi-finalists, as well as the standby #9 seed, are available in the studio. Who should Gary's opponent be in the final? Which matches, if any, should be replayed?
If any matches were to be replayed it would only be the semi final that Harry won and that would be #4 vs #8. I, personally, wouldn't do that and would just play the final with the losing semi finalist, #4 seed, playing Gary.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:31 pm

Awesome thread. It's mostly been covered, but you clearly need my answers.
Graeme Cole wrote:1. It's a letters round. C1 declares 6, then C2 declares 6. You ask for C1's word, and he says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the unit of time. C2 says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the synonym for tiny. C2 has not written his word down, but insists he doesn't have to show his paper to C1 because he had a different word. C1 says this is silly because it's obviously the same word. Do you allow C2's offering?
I wouldn't allow it. He should have declared not written down anyway, and it would just be sheer luck on his part if his word was different. But on Countdown a "word" is basically a valid sequence of letters, so MINUTE and MINUTE are the same. Even if he had a completely different word and got away with it, he wouldn't have been doing things the right way, so you shouldn't have too much sympathy.
2. Early in a game, C1 offers UPVOTE. DC looks it up on ODO and it's not in, so it's disallowed. Later on in the same game, C2 also offers UPVOTE. To everyone's surprise, the word is now valid on ODO. After some investigation, it transpires that ODO's three-monthly update happened in the middle of this game, and UPVOTE, being a common word all over the internet nowadays, was one of the new words added. C2 insists that it should now be allowed, but that the earlier ruling against C1's offering should stand because the word wasn't valid at the time. C1 says this is crazy. Do you allow it for one player and not for the other? Disallow both? Allow both?
I wondered whether DC had an offline version of the dictionary anyway, because otherwise they are relying on the website not going down during recording. How reliable is it? It would be far more satisfactory this way since the words would be set in stone before the game started. It might even be that C1 and C2 both knew that the dictionary was going to be updated during the recording, but it got delayed by five minutes from the scheduled time, causing C1 to lose out by pure bad luck! He'd done his research, done everything right, but got let down by a lazy data inputter.

But rather than avoiding the question - I'd probably say allow for C2 and not C1 because of consistency reasons. It might be that C1 has a word disallowed early on in the game that becomes valid later in the show, and that C2 has a completely different word allowed that wouldn't have been allowed earlier in the show. What would you do in these cases? Nothing, because you wouldn't know. Graeme's example is just a very specific case where we would happen to find out the reasons behind the decisions, but by giving a different ruling, it would open up the game to inconsistency. But clearly the ideal solution is to have a "frozen" dictionary if possible.
3. In a letters round, C1 declares 7, then C2 declares 8. You ask for C1's seven, and he says DEFINING. Obviously he's misdeclared. You ask for C2's eight, and he says he also had DEFINING, but he didn't write it down. C2 explains that he didn't bother to say "not written down" because when C1 declared 7, he thought there was no chance of C1's word being the same as his 8. C1 says this is irrelevant, and C2's word should be disallowed. What do you do?
Clearly, as everyone has said, you allow it. However, what do you do if C2 declares that he has an 8 first and then C1 says he has a 7, both of which turn out to be DEFINING? I'd probably disallow it because he should have said "not written down".
4. C2 is 15 points behind going into the last numbers round. He asks for 6 small in the hope of getting a difficult round on which he can beat C1. The round is difficult, but C1 gets it spot on and C2 doesn't. C2 is now 25 behind. Then, just before you go into the conundrum, DC informs you that a mistake has been discovered in an earlier round in which C1 offered an eight and C2 offered a nine. C2's nine was disallowed, but on closer inspection of the dictionary the word has been found to be acceptable. The scores are corrected: C1 has 8 points taken away, and C2 is given 18 points. C2 is now one point ahead. C2 now complains that had he known he was 11 ahead going into the last numbers, he would have picked 1 large, not 6 small, and claims the numbers round should be replayed. C1, who is now behind going into a conundrum when he thought he was unassailably ahead, says C2 is pushing his luck. What do you do?
I think I'm with Graeme here. Clearly people make numbers choices risk/don't risk words etc. based on the position in the game at the time. So of course it's unfair and ideally they should replay the game from when the error took place. There is obviously the question of studio timing etc., but I'd at least do the numbers again. It would be weird to want to set a precedent where you automatically go back to where an error was made in every case. Sometimes it clearly wouldn't have affected anything, but where do you draw the line?

I suppose one counter argument is that by choosing certain numbers selections, risking certain words etc., you are implicitly factoring in the probabilities of certain outcomes from this, so you should also factor in all probabilities such as the probability of a previous DC error coming back to haunt you. But that still doesn't really make it any fairer because the vast majority of contestants wouldn't factor this in anyway and wouldn't be affected by it.

So in conclusion, I'd definitely want that numbers game replayed, but in the general case, it's a bit of a thorny issue.
5. Going into the final letters round, seven-time-winner C1 is 25 points behind. The first eight letters are VLGIIAME. He picks a final consonant, fishing for an S for VIGESIMAL, and gets a second V. Incensed, C1 points out that another V appeared in an earlier round, which it did. He goes on to argue that this means they're playing with three Vs, which makes it an illegal distribution, and it's ruined his chances of making a big comeback. He asks for the game to be replayed, or at least a new final consonant to be picked. Upon investigation it is found that before the day's recording started, an extra V was indeed accidentally introduced into the pack in addition to the normal two, and you've been playing with three Vs all day, including in the three games that have already been recorded. Do you play on regardless? Substitute the letter? Replay the round? The game? The last three games?
As others have said, the letters distribution isn't a rule of the game, so you'd play on. I did have the same thought as Graeme - what if a load of Qs came out? Well, even then while they might stop recording to sort out the error, it's not necessarily that it's unfair. C1 is 25 points behind because of having played worse in the rest of the game. The last letters round might have turned out to be completely flat anyway. Unless the Qs were planted as sabotage on the basis that he needed a 9, then it's not foul play and it's within the rules. It's no different from rain at the end of an F1 qualifying session.
6. C1 and C2 are seated with the game about to start. C1 writes the 75 times table, from memory, on one of the provided sheets of paper. C2 spots this and complains to you, saying C1 isn't allowed to use a times table list. Should C1 be allowed to keep the list?
This has come up before and I think it's generally considered not to be cheating. Unless contestants have to throw away all pieces of paper between rounds then you have to allow it. What if I keep a list of declared words, and then spot my opponent's word from an earlier round? I see that as the same.
7. You are the organiser of a Lincoln-style CO-event. The host of a match between the top two seeds comes up to you and asks for a conundrum, which is a crucial. You pick a conundrum at random from a hat, which is how you've selected all the conundrums so far that day, and give it to the host. However, the host points out that the conundrum scramble is exactly the same as one used in a Countdown series final several years ago, and furthermore, that final featured one of the players involved in this game. The host argues that this gives the player a huge unfair advantage. Do you change the conundrum?
I think it comes down to whether you value the show over the pure competition. It would be unfair to go through someone's lifetime conundrum list to find one that they hadn't had before. Someone who does hundreds of conundrums a day should not have their training efforts used against them. Conundrums should be chosen by "objective" criteria, which do not involve known facts about the specific contestants and should be the same for whoever makes the final.
8. Harry Peters is controversially given a return appearance on the show, wins eight games with a record-breaking octototototal of 980, and qualifies for the quarter-finals. He beats the #8 seed in the quarter-final, and beats the #4 seed in the semi-final. In the final he faces the #2 seed Gary Goodfellow. Up until now the unsportsmanlike conduct for which Harry Peters is infamous has been mild at worst, but just before the final starts, the two finalists have a disagreement which results in Harry punching Gary. Harry is disqualified and ejected from the studio. Gary is innocent of any wrongdoing, is not badly hurt, and is happy to continue.

All the losing quarter-finalists and semi-finalists, as well as the standby #9 seed, are available in the studio. Who should Gary's opponent be in the final? Which matches, if any, should be replayed?
Objectively speaking, I think Gary should be declared the champion there and then. Harry beat his side of the draw and then "beat" himself by, er, beating Gary. If, for the show, you still need a final, then it's a bit tricky. You might give the other final place to #4 seed because he was his last defeated opponent, but he hasn't earned* the right to make the final by defeating the rest of that side of the draw, directly or indirectly. #8 seed is still unbeaten by non-Harry opponents (this is why third-place play-offs are nonsense in knockouts and why it's also wrong to call the beaten finalist second place). If we count Harry as disqualified all the way through, then #8 has beaten #1, and #4 has beaten #5 anyway, so the new semi-final is #4 v #8. There you go.

*earnt

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Sat Jul 26, 2014 4:46 pm

The studio considers #6 to be illegal. I did this on both days of my octorun before each game with a few stems and some words I struggle to spell (along with motivational advice such as BREATHE, IT'S ONLY A GAME OF COUNTDOWN). On the first day no-one said anything but on the second, the opponent in my fourth game clearly thought I was cheating as he began asking what I was doing EXTREMELY LOUDLY and asking pointed questions about the morality of it. It caught the floor manager's attention and he took the paper away from me because it wasn't allowed, even though I'd clearly been writing it from memory and not sneaking anything in :(

Karma got him back during that game though as he'd been telling me before the game how he'd been reminding himself of common Countdown words like GODETIAS so he didn't miss them if they came up. And, sure enough... :mrgreen:
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jordan Leckonby » Sat Jul 26, 2014 5:34 pm

9. C2 spots a quality numbers answer which ends by adding one. C1 claims to have spotted the answer also but claims that instead of adding one, divided 9 by 9 to get the final one to add on. Otherwise the answer is exactly the same as C2. As the ref would you just allow this at face value, disallow it or insist that C1 shows the paper (and disallowing it if it's not written down).

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:05 pm

Jordan Leckonby wrote:9. C2 spots a quality numbers answer which ends by adding one. C1 claims to have spotted the answer also but claims that instead of adding one, divided 9 by 9 to get the final one to add on. Otherwise the answer is exactly the same as C2. As the ref would you just allow this at face value, disallow it or insist that C1 shows the paper (and disallowing it if it's not written down).
Well obviously you don't just disallow it straight away. There's only two options. And I would say ask them to show their working.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Clive Brooker » Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:55 pm

Great thread.
Gavin Chipper wrote:I wondered whether DC had an offline version of the dictionary anyway, because otherwise they are relying on the website not going down during recording. How reliable is it? It would be far more satisfactory this way since the words would be set in stone before the game started. It might even be that C1 and C2 both knew that the dictionary was going to be updated during the recording, but it got delayed by five minutes from the scheduled time, causing C1 to lose out by pure bad luck! He'd done his research, done everything right, but got let down by a lazy data inputter.
At the start of this series, I'm certain that SD said that her new toy has the ODO installed on it. Does anyone else remember this? Taken literally, this would imply that she is indeed using a local copy, which makes sense for many reasons including the ones Gevin has mentioned. And it makes scenario 2 impossible.

Even if the show does use the online version, I can't believe that Oxford Dictionaries doesn't talk to the show's producers about such things.

If we suspend disbelief and assume the scenario is a theoretical possibility, I'm pretty sure any occurrence would be airbrushed from history. Even if it could be adequately explained to the viewers, there would still be the problem that the show is being transmitted in September when everyone knows the next quarterly update isn't due until November.

Regarding the Harry Peters situation, in any normal competitive knockout tournament Gary wins the final by default. Harry's wins up to that point are not invalidated by his subsequent behaviour. As a TV entertainment show first and foremost, Countdown has a number of additional considerations to weigh up and also additional options, including starting all over again. Much the best from the show's perspective would be to start again, and if Gary agrees I don't see anyone else objecting. Maybe a guaranteed invitation to the next past champions extravaganza would be enough to seal the deal.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:14 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:8. Harry Peters is controversially given a return appearance on the show, wins eight games with a record-breaking octototototal of 980, and qualifies for the quarter-finals. He beats the #8 seed in the quarter-final, and beats the #4 seed in the semi-final. In the final he faces the #2 seed Gary Goodfellow. Up until now the unsportsmanlike conduct for which Harry Peters is infamous has been mild at worst, but just before the final starts, the two finalists have a disagreement which results in Harry punching Gary. Harry is disqualified and ejected from the studio. Gary is innocent of any wrongdoing, is not badly hurt, and is happy to continue.

All the losing quarter-finalists and semi-finalists, as well as the standby #9 seed, are available in the studio. Who should Gary's opponent be in the final? Which matches, if any, should be replayed?
My solution, which I don't think anyone's suggested yet, would be to replay the quarter-final and semi-final that Harry won, but with the standby contestant in his place. So #9 would play #8 in the replayed quarter final, the winner of that would play #4 in the replayed semi-final, and the winner of that would go through to play #2 in the final. Nobody except Harry has a win overturned, both finalists who lost to Harry get another chance, the standby contestant gets to play, and there's continuity in that the viewer doesn't see a winning contestant mysteriously disappearing mid-finals.

If you couldn't disrupt the filming schedule by replaying games, then putting #4 through to the final would be the next best option.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by David Williams » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:16 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Jordan Leckonby wrote:9. C2 spots a quality numbers answer which ends by adding one. C1 claims to have spotted the answer also but claims that instead of adding one, divided 9 by 9 to get the final one to add on. Otherwise the answer is exactly the same as C2. As the ref would you just allow this at face value, disallow it or insist that C1 shows the paper (and disallowing it if it's not written down).
Well obviously you don't just disallow it straight away. There's only two options. And I would say ask them to show their working.
On what grounds? The rules state that you only have to prove it if you have the same answer as your opponent, and this is clearly different.

What if C2 declares first and uses 9/9, and C1 just adds 1 instead? Where do you draw the line? What if C2 has 50x10=500, and C1 has 50x2=100, 100x5=500? Maybe it would be better if all unwritten solutions had to be declared, and all written solutions had to be shown, but this isn't a thread about what the rules should be, it's about how you apply the rules you've got.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:33 pm

David Williams wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Jordan Leckonby wrote:9. C2 spots a quality numbers answer which ends by adding one. C1 claims to have spotted the answer also but claims that instead of adding one, divided 9 by 9 to get the final one to add on. Otherwise the answer is exactly the same as C2. As the ref would you just allow this at face value, disallow it or insist that C1 shows the paper (and disallowing it if it's not written down).
Well obviously you don't just disallow it straight away. There's only two options. And I would say ask them to show their working.
On what grounds? The rules state that you only have to prove it if you have the same answer as your opponent, and this is clearly different.

What if C2 declares first and uses 9/9, and C1 just adds 1 instead? Where do you draw the line? What if C2 has 50x10=500, and C1 has 50x2=100, 100x5=500? Maybe it would be better if all unwritten solutions had to be declared, and all written solutions had to be shown, but this isn't a thread about what the rules should be, it's about how you apply the rules you've got.
Is that what this thread is about? I think it's a bit more flexible than that, for general discussion about these things. Plus I don't have a copy of the rules to hand. But anyway, I suppose it's a subjective thing when you think there is the opportunity for foul play. Showing someone your paper costs nothing. It's not like it's a draconian decision or anything. It's a non-event. But similarly, I could ask you where you draw the line in the other direction. Is 3*100 the same as 100*3? 100+3 the same as 3+100? They're not literally the same. And what if someone said they had the same solution but they multiplied by 1 at the end?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:37 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote:8. Harry Peters is controversially given a return appearance on the show, wins eight games with a record-breaking octototototal of 980, and qualifies for the quarter-finals. He beats the #8 seed in the quarter-final, and beats the #4 seed in the semi-final. In the final he faces the #2 seed Gary Goodfellow. Up until now the unsportsmanlike conduct for which Harry Peters is infamous has been mild at worst, but just before the final starts, the two finalists have a disagreement which results in Harry punching Gary. Harry is disqualified and ejected from the studio. Gary is innocent of any wrongdoing, is not badly hurt, and is happy to continue.

All the losing quarter-finalists and semi-finalists, as well as the standby #9 seed, are available in the studio. Who should Gary's opponent be in the final? Which matches, if any, should be replayed?
My solution, which I don't think anyone's suggested yet, would be to replay the quarter-final and semi-final that Harry won, but with the standby contestant in his place. So #9 would play #8 in the replayed quarter final, the winner of that would play #4 in the replayed semi-final, and the winner of that would go through to play #2 in the final. Nobody except Harry has a win overturned, both finalists who lost to Harry get another chance, the standby contestant gets to play, and there's continuity in that the viewer doesn't see a winning contestant mysteriously disappearing mid-finals.

If you couldn't disrupt the filming schedule by replaying games, then putting #4 through to the final would be the next best option.
That's not entirely unreasonable. I forgot about the availability of the #9 seed. You can argue for it on the grounds that you're throwing Harry out of the whole competition rather than just the final.

In a sports event, it's been said that Gary would be given the final by default, but I think there are cases where this would be the wrong course of action. If Harry was disqualified for taking illegal drugs, for example, then it would void all his games, so by right should bring back into play all his defeated opponents.

But if there wasn't time, I would at least want a sudden death conundrum between #4 and #8 as the "semi-final". Although for viewers at home just putting in #4 might be less confusing. I don't know though - I've always hated the whole "Casual viewers don't know what's going on" thing.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:27 am

Without looking at previous replies...

1. If C2 only declared his NWD after C1 declares MINUTE then the rules are clear, whatever the case: I do not allow C2's offering.

2. Disallow both. The game should finish as it started.

3. C2 should be allowed - and C1 should not have to demand to look at his notes. There's no way C2 could copy C1 if C1'd already declared 7.

4. According to David Ballheimer's experience on the Countdown Page, this occurred in 2000 - and the numbers wasn't replayed. Ditto here.

5. Replay the round and tell C1 to calm down.

6. If C1 can prove that it was from memory (so I would take it away just in case) he can write it out again.

7. Yes. I don't think I'd need to justify why.

EDIT:

8. I once spoke to David Von Geyer about the Hansford series and he said that Jeffry was on the point of being DSQed and the #9 seed would be parachuted into the #1 position to save time and money.
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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Fred Mumford » Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:49 am

Rhys Benjamin wrote: 8. I once spoke to David Von Geyer about the Hansford series and he said that Jeffry was on the point of being DSQed and the #9 seed would be parachuted into the #1 position to save time and money.
Wow. Harsh on Beevers.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Clive Brooker » Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:50 am

Graeme Cole wrote:My solution, which I don't think anyone's suggested yet, would be to replay the quarter-final and semi-final that Harry won, but with the standby contestant in his place. So #9 would play #8 in the replayed quarter final, the winner of that would play #4 in the replayed semi-final, and the winner of that would go through to play #2 in the final. Nobody except Harry has a win overturned, both finalists who lost to Harry get another chance, the standby contestant gets to play, and there's continuity in that the viewer doesn't see a winning contestant mysteriously disappearing mid-finals.
I rejected this because it puts the two lowest ranked players against each other at the quarter-final stage. This will be painfully obvious unless you are the casuallest of viewers. The standard "HP is unavailable for personal reasons" won't be a credible explanation, and the first game to be scrapped would have been the first screened, making it difficult to pretend the withdrawal happened after the games had commenced.

In the Hansford case, the supposed misdemeanour took place during a game, so his disqualification would have awarded the game to his opponent. He proceeds to the next round, surely?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by David Williams » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:27 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:But similarly, I could ask you where you draw the line in the other direction. Is 3*100 the same as 100*3? 100+3 the same as 3+100? They're not literally the same. And what if someone said they had the same solution but they multiplied by 1 at the end?
You avoided my specific questions, but I'll try to respond to yours.

Two solutions are the same if they use the same numbers in the same way, but not necessarily in the same order. So 2+3=5 5-1=4 is the same as 3-1=2 2+2=4. But 2x2=4 would be enough to make it different. Multiplying by one or adding zero does not make a solution different, but apart from that any use of different numbers constitutes a different solution.

Mind you, if this thread was "You Are the FIFA Rules Sub-Committee" or "You Are the FA Guide to Ethics", I'd like to think there was a lot more off-screen scrutiny of written solutions, and I wouldn't have any of the checking done by the two contestants anyway.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:35 am

David Williams wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:But similarly, I could ask you where you draw the line in the other direction. Is 3*100 the same as 100*3? 100+3 the same as 3+100? They're not literally the same. And what if someone said they had the same solution but they multiplied by 1 at the end?
You avoided my specific questions, but I'll try to respond to yours.

Two solutions are the same if they use the same numbers in the same way, but not necessarily in the same order. So 2+3=5 5-1=4 is the same as 3-1=2 2+2=4. But 2x2=4 would be enough to make it different. Multiplying by one or adding zero does not make a solution different, but apart from that any use of different numbers constitutes a different solution.

Mind you, if this thread was "You Are the FIFA Rules Sub-Committee" or "You Are the FA Guide to Ethics", I'd like to think there was a lot more off-screen scrutiny of written solutions, and I wouldn't have any of the checking done by the two contestants anyway.
There was a thread once on deciding whether numbers solutions are the same and there were grey areas. But for your specific questions, I don't think there is a definite line but I think Nick should be able to ask for it to be checked whenever he or his earpiece thinks it's warranted. Sorry if it's vague but it would be very complex to define exactly.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by David Williams » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:40 am

C1 trails by 21 points going into the last letters round.

Both contestants offer seven, C1's not written down. He declares a voracious tropical fish.

C2 says "Same", and shows his paper to C1. On it are written the words PIRANHA and PIRAHNA.

C1, who needs to win the round, asks which spelling C2 is using.

C2 declines to answer. He says he definitely meant one of them, which he is 90% sure is correct, but whichever he chooses C1 will pick the other, giving him some chance to get back in the game when none should have existed. Nor does he think it satisfactory that C1 should now be allowed to write something down, as there is no way of knowing whether he actually intended PIRHANA, for example.

You are the ref.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Clive Brooker » Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:30 pm

David Williams wrote:C1 trails by 21 points going into the last letters round.

Both contestants offer seven, C1's not written down. He declares a voracious tropical fish.

C2 says "Same", and shows his paper to C1. On it are written the words PIRANHA and PIRAHNA.

C1, who needs to win the round, asks which spelling C2 is using.

C2 declines to answer. He says he definitely meant one of them, which he is 90% sure is correct, but whichever he chooses C1 will pick the other, giving him some chance to get back in the game when none should have existed. Nor does he think it satisfactory that C1 should now be allowed to write something down, as there is no way of knowing whether he actually intended PIRHANA, for example.

You are the ref.
I think C2's position is weak. When it's his turn to specify his word, he has nothing to be ashamed of and shouldn't show his paper to C1 immediately. He explains the situation he's caught in, and it can easily be resolved by C1 writing his answer down and C2 indicating to Nick which version he intends to use.

Having shown a paper to C1 which he knows to be unsatisfactory, I don't think C2 is entitled to back-track and complain that C1 has been unduly helped. The resolution should therefore be the same as above.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Conor » Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:02 pm

1. Disallow C2's word. I agree that pronunciations are not important, and whilst one can make the case that the two pronunciations of MINUTE constitute different words, allowing C2's offering could lead to murkier distinctions, even where the pronunciation depends on regional dialects.

2. This is a horrible situation. Disallowing it for both has the problem that C2 will have a valid word disallowed. Allowing it for both means C1 has a (very unfortunate) invalid word allowed, and by giving the points to C1 afterwards we've altered the 'continuity' of what would happen after C1 had it disallowed. Disallowing C1 and allowing C2 is strange, and potentially confusing, but with an explanation from Susie seems like the best option.

3. Allow it. So unlikely C2 was anticipating the opportunity to cheat, though he was a bit careless.

4. Ideally: replay all rounds from where the mistake occurred. If that's not possible, then just continuity and don't replay the numbers.

5. Don't replay anything. The distribution isn't fixed, and as bad luck goes having 3 V's is quite a mild case.

6. Like Jack, I also thought of this as analogous to an exam. I'd allow them to keep the list.

7. If you commit to randomly deciding conundrums, I don't think you can then make special cases based on the degree of which one may be favourable.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by David Williams » Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:19 pm

A quick thought on the MINUTE one.

Anyone remember the show where a contestant offered SUNDRIES, pronounced as if it were what one might do to tomatoes? He got lucky, obviously, but if you are going to say that MINUTE and MINUTE are two different words for Countdown purposes, you have to disallow SUNDRIES for him , but allow it if his opponent pronounces it correctly.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Dave Nicholson » Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:00 pm

I'd be interested in opinions on this, perhaps it's along the lines of the debate centring around the numbers in the last game...

10/ Early in the game and C1 is playing a nervous C2. C1 is asked to declare by Nick and takes a notably long pause before slowly and unsurely saying "I'll try a risky 7..." C2 declares a 6 but hasn't written it down.

C2 is asked to declare their word first and declares "SCARER"

Nick then asks C1 who declares "SCARIER" which is obviously valid and nervous C2 has missed the I to make their word a letter longer.

The issue here then is that C1 made a point of saying their word was risky and was clearly debating internally whether or not to declare it but having heard C2's has declared a very similar word that was pretty much 100% safely valid.

For all intents and purposes it seems unlikely that SCARIER had been spotted by C1 when declaring initially, but is there any precedent of asking to show proof when the second word is very similar but different? Supposed C1 had declared a risky 6 and after SCARER was announced had preceded to declare SCORER which was again obviously fine?

For Nick (or a member of the prod team) to ask C1 to prove this word was written down in the first place would be flat out accusing them of cheating really, but should it be done? What if the declaration of SCARIER was verbalised something like "Oh... Scarier!" in a way that sounded like they'd just spotted it? Where would the line be?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:24 pm

David Williams wrote:A quick thought on the MINUTE one.

Anyone remember the show where a contestant offered SUNDRIES, pronounced as if it were what one might do to tomatoes? He got lucky, obviously, but if you are going to say that MINUTE and MINUTE are two different words for Countdown purposes, you have to disallow SUNDRIES for him , but allow it if his opponent pronounces it correctly.
I remember that. Paul Gallen it was.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Heather Styles » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:33 am

I realise that this is straying from 'You Are The Ref' into 'You Make Up The Rules', but here goes anyway:

Made-up Rule: Each contestant is asked the length of their word. They say a number between 1 and 9. They do not comment on whether or not they think their word is risky. They then immediately write down the word. They declare the word.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jordan F » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:50 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:You might be familiar with You Are The Ref. It has pretty pictures and is about football.

In this version there are no pictures, but on the plus side it's about Countdown not football.

If I'd thought of this three years ago I could have called the thread "You Are The Jeff". But I didn't so I won't.

Anyway. Here are some Countdowny situations which perhaps aren't covered explicitly in the rules. You're in charge. What's your decision?

1. It's a letters round. C1 declares 6, then C2 declares 6. You ask for C1's word, and he says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the unit of time. C2 says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the synonym for tiny. C2 has not written his word down, but insists he doesn't have to show his paper to C1 because he had a different word. C1 says this is silly because it's obviously the same word. Do you allow C2's offering?

2. Early in a game, C1 offers UPVOTE. DC looks it up on ODO and it's not in, so it's disallowed. Later on in the same game, C2 also offers UPVOTE. To everyone's surprise, the word is now valid on ODO. After some investigation, it transpires that ODO's three-monthly update happened in the middle of this game, and UPVOTE, being a common word all over the internet nowadays, was one of the new words added. C2 insists that it should now be allowed, but that the earlier ruling against C1's offering should stand because the word wasn't valid at the time. C1 says this is crazy. Do you allow it for one player and not for the other? Disallow both? Allow both?

3. In a letters round, C1 declares 7, then C2 declares 8. You ask for C1's seven, and he says DEFINING. Obviously he's misdeclared. You ask for C2's eight, and he says he also had DEFINING, but he didn't write it down. C2 explains that he didn't bother to say "not written down" because when C1 declared 7, he thought there was no chance of C1's word being the same as his 8. C1 says this is irrelevant, and C2's word should be disallowed. What do you do?

4. C2 is 15 points behind going into the last numbers round. He asks for 6 small in the hope of getting a difficult round on which he can beat C1. The round is difficult, but C1 gets it spot on and C2 doesn't. C2 is now 25 behind. Then, just before you go into the conundrum, DC informs you that a mistake has been discovered in an earlier round in which C1 offered an eight and C2 offered a nine. C2's nine was disallowed, but on closer inspection of the dictionary the word has been found to be acceptable. The scores are corrected: C1 has 8 points taken away, and C2 is given 18 points. C2 is now one point ahead. C2 now complains that had he known he was 11 ahead going into the last numbers, he would have picked 1 large, not 6 small, and claims the numbers round should be replayed. C1, who is now behind going into a conundrum when he thought he was unassailably ahead, says C2 is pushing his luck. What do you do?

5. Going into the final letters round, seven-time-winner C1 is 25 points behind. The first eight letters are VLGIIAME. He picks a final consonant, fishing for an S for VIGESIMAL, and gets a second V. Incensed, C1 points out that another V appeared in an earlier round, which it did. He goes on to argue that this means they're playing with three Vs, which makes it an illegal distribution, and it's ruined his chances of making a big comeback. He asks for the game to be replayed, or at least a new final consonant to be picked. Upon investigation it is found that before the day's recording started, an extra V was indeed accidentally introduced into the pack in addition to the normal two, and you've been playing with three Vs all day, including in the three games that have already been recorded. Do you play on regardless? Substitute the letter? Replay the round? The game? The last three games?

6. C1 and C2 are seated with the game about to start. C1 writes the 75 times table, from memory, on one of the provided sheets of paper. C2 spots this and complains to you, saying C1 isn't allowed to use a times table list. Should C1 be allowed to keep the list?

7. You are the organiser of a Lincoln-style CO-event. The host of a match between the top two seeds comes up to you and asks for a conundrum, which is a crucial. You pick a conundrum at random from a hat, which is how you've selected all the conundrums so far that day, and give it to the host. However, the host points out that the conundrum scramble is exactly the same as one used in a Countdown series final several years ago, and furthermore, that final featured one of the players involved in this game. The host argues that this gives the player a huge unfair advantage. Do you change the conundrum?

There is, of course, a prescribed right answer for each one: if your opinion matches my opinion then it's correct. :-)
Let's do this.

1. I would be inclined to allow it. It's a very gray area, certainly, however, I feel like there is a strong argument that if it is a homophone or homograph, compared to a homonym, then you should allow it because it's two distinct words, and I feel the premise of Countdown is that you can declare any valid word. (Homonyms would be too complicated).

2. Disallow both. I feel that any update would need to take effect in the immediate next game, and for it to take affect mid game is just silly. So take it in the condition that it was at the start of the game.

3. Allow the 8. You don't have to show typically if you are last and have a bigger word, so why have to show here?

4. Tough one here, I see both sides of the coin. I would be inclined to allow the round to be replayed, since often picking a numbers round does contain strategy of score difference. That being said, I wouldn't hate the other ruling.

5. I would keep the round as is. There is no assumption as to what a legal or illegal distribution is. That being siad, the contestant picked a consonant, and go a consonant. Doesn't really matter what it is.

6. I....don't know. Reason why I question it is that I feel like what it allows is the prevention of miswriting something down in this regard. That being said if you know it in your head anyway, it sort of counteracts it. Erm...disallow it because it perhaps opens some ugly doors, but I'm not committing to that answer. I'm asking a higher official.

7. Doesn't mean C2 can't spot it faster, does it? Keep it as is.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Bob De Caux » Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:43 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:6. C1 and C2 are seated with the game about to start. C1 writes the 75 times table, from memory, on one of the provided sheets of paper. C2 spots this and complains to you, saying C1 isn't allowed to use a times table list. Should C1 be allowed to keep the list?)
This actually happened in my game against Jeff Burgin, albeit without me complaining. When the production crew saw the list, Jeff was told to get rid of it, although I can't remember what grounds were given for this decision.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jon Corby » Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:08 pm

I agree fully with Jono's answers.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:05 pm

Conor wrote:4. Ideally: replay all rounds from where the mistake occurred. If that's not possible, then just continuity and don't replay the numbers.
So you're saying it's all or nothing? If you can't fully fix a problem then don't fix it at all?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jordan F » Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:53 am

A few others I thought of. Not sure how many are relevant, but potential interesting situations.

11. A selection comes up that features what appears to be a W. C1 declares a correct 7, but C2 declares an invalid 8 that features an M. It is later revealed that the W is actually an M that the co-host put upside down. C2 declares his 8 should be valid, C1 thinks this is ridiculous. Do you side with a particular contestant? Do you re-do the round?

12. Both contestants declare "LEOTARD." C2 wrote his word very small and in lower case, so it is unclear if the third letter is an O or an A. What do you do?

13. The letters TIFFDUCLI appear on the letters board. The host says after the time is up, "Difficult selection, this one." C1 declares a written down 4 of CULT. C2 declares 9 not written down and says DIFFICULT. C1 complains that by the host saying the word, it gave C2 an unfair advantage. What do you do?

14. The score is 99-88 going into a conundrum. C2 does not guess. It is discovered immediately afterwards that a 7 she was told was invalid in an earlier round is actually valid, and would have made it a 99-95 score going into the conundrum. She demands a re-do because she claims that she would have put more effort into the conundrum if she knew it were crucial. Do you agree?
Last edited by Jordan F on Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Fred Mumford » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:01 am

Jordan F wrote: 13. The letters TIFFDUCLT appear on the letters board. The host says after the time is up, "Difficult selection, this one." C1 declares a written down 4 of CULT. C2 declares 9 not written down and says DIFFICULT. C1 complains that by the host saying the word, it gave C2 an unfair advantage. What do you do?
4 points for C1 of course. How could C2 get any points from that declaration? TIFFDUCLT is not an anagram of difficult.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:31 am

Jordan F wrote:A few others I thought of. Not sure how many are relevant, but potential interesting situations.

11. A selection comes up that features what appears to be a W. C1 declares a correct 7, but C2 declares an invalid 8 that features an M. It is later revealed that the W is actually an M that the co-host put upside down. C2 declares his 8 should be valid, C1 thinks this is ridiculous. Do you side with a particular contestant? Do you re-do the round?
It was put up as a W, and announced as a W, so it's a W. Disallow C2's word.
Jordan F wrote:12. Both contestants declare "LEOTARD." C2 wrote his word very small and in lower case, so it is unclear if the third letter is an O or an A. What do you do?
Give C2 the benefit of the doubt on this occasion, but remind him to write a bit clearer.
Jordan F wrote:13. The letters TIFFDUCLT appear on the letters board. The host says after the time is up, "Difficult selection, this one." C1 declares a written down 4 of CULT. C2 declares 9 not written down and says DIFFICULT. C1 complains that by the host saying the word, it gave C2 an unfair advantage. What do you do?
Fred's answer wins here, although you could argue the round should be scrapped because it's only got two vowels.

Assuming the selection was TIFFDUCLI or something like that, then as the host you shouldn't deliberately give clues to contestants for this reason. But since you can't be sure that C2 copied the word from you, and they might have spotted it legitimately just as the time ran out, you'd have to allow it.
Jordan F wrote:14. The score is 99-88 going into a conundrum. C2 does not guess. It is discovered immediately afterwards that a 7 she was told was invalid in an earlier round is actually valid, and would have made it a 99-95 score going into the conundrum. She demands a re-do because she claims that she would have put more effort into the conundrum if she knew it were crucial. Do you agree?
No. The result stands. C2 had every opportunity to buzz and didn't. "I'd have put more effort in" sounds like sloblock, but you might consider inviting C2 back in a later series if you felt she was disadvantaged by the mistake.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jordan F » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:14 pm

Fred Mumford wrote:
Jordan F wrote: 13. The letters TIFFDUCLT appear on the letters board. The host says after the time is up, "Difficult selection, this one." C1 declares a written down 4 of CULT. C2 declares 9 not written down and says DIFFICULT. C1 complains that by the host saying the word, it gave C2 an unfair advantage. What do you do?
4 points for C1 of course. How could C2 get any points from that declaration? TIFFDUCLT is not an anagram of difficult.
That is true. That is what happens when I typo and I don't catch it TIFFDUCLI is what I meant to say as I edited above.

Also, not that it makes a difference, but assume the host said the word difficult by accident and not intentionally giving hints.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Dave Preece » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:26 pm

1: Yes
2: Disallow both
3: C2 gets the points
4: Replay the numbers round
5: Replay the round
6: Yes he can keep the notes
7: No don't change; it's luck of the draw

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Dave Preece » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:36 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:8. Harry Peters is controversially given a return appearance on the show, wins eight games with a record-breaking octototototal of 980, and qualifies for the quarter-finals. He beats the #8 seed in the quarter-final, and beats the #4 seed in the semi-final. In the final he faces the #2 seed Gary Goodfellow. Up until now the unsportsmanlike conduct for which Harry Peters is infamous has been mild at worst, but just before the final starts, the two finalists have a disagreement which results in Harry punching Gary. Harry is disqualified and ejected from the studio. Gary is innocent of any wrongdoing, is not badly hurt, and is happy to continue.

All the losing quarter-finalists and semi-finalists, as well as the standby #9 seed, are available in the studio. Who should Gary's opponent be in the final? Which matches, if any, should be replayed?
The losing semi-finalist that Harry beat should play in the final.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:16 pm

15. C1 is sitting at a slight angle and so C2 has positioned his chair. C1 leads comfortably throughout the first few rounds before C2 fails to lose a round after round nine. In the final letters round C1 writes down "HARVESTER" and relaxes in his chair. He then sees C2's eyes change position for half a second before C2 writes down something as well and ends the round early too. C1 is incensed by what he sees as blatant copying - and then suggests that that's how C2 has been keeping up since round nine. As C1 only has a 13 point lead now, he claims C2 is cheating in such a manner that it would affect the result of the match. C2 denies everything and accuses C1 of unfair mind games. What do you do?
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:45 pm

Before the game, one of the contestants, with a cast on her right arm, explains that she recently broke her wrist and is unable to write down her words or numbers methods. She can easily reach the buzzer with her left hand, so the conundrum isn't a problem, but she asks "do I really have to say 'not written down' on every round?"

The contestant with the cast wins her game. Her next challenger also has a broken wrist in a cast and can't write anything. What now? (I don't have a good answer to this. Suggestions welcome.)

Different game, different contestants. Both can write perfectly well. It's a letters round. After the time, you ask C1 to declare. C1 says "CERASTIUM - I mean nine." C2 declares "nine, not written down". You ask for C2's word, and it's CERASTIUM. C1 claims it's obvious C2 copied their word. C2 insists they spotted the word just as the time ran out and didn't have time to write it, but obviously can't prove it. C1 asks C2 what the word means. C2 doesn't know. Do you allow C2's word?

C1, who is five points behind on a crucial conundrum, buzzes right at the end of the time. The buzzer sounds and C1's nameplate lights up, and C1 gives a correct answer. However, C2 points out that the clock is already on 30 seconds, with the last light lit up, so the buzz was out of time and shouldn't have counted. What is your decision?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:16 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:15. C1 is sitting at a slight angle and so C2 has positioned his chair. C1 leads comfortably throughout the first few rounds before C2 fails to lose a round after round nine. In the final letters round C1 writes down "HARVESTER" and relaxes in his chair. He then sees C2's eyes change position for half a second before C2 writes down something as well and ends the round early too. C1 is incensed by what he sees as blatant copying - and then suggests that that's how C2 has been keeping up since round nine. As C1 only has a 13 point lead now, he claims C2 is cheating in such a manner that it would affect the result of the match. C2 denies everything and accuses C1 of unfair mind games. What do you do?
I'm pretty sure the chairs are far enough apart that you can't read what's on your opponent's paper without leaning over and making it very obvious. Try it yourself: set up two chairs at a table, with the chairs far enough apart that their occupants would have to lean over to shake hands. Now write a word in normal-sized handwriting on a piece of paper, put it on the desk in front of one chair and try to read it while seated in the other chair. I just tried this and it wasn't happening, even wearing glasses. The paper is too far away and the angle is too shallow. It might be possible if you had superhuman eyesight, but I think it's a bit fanciful of C1 to claim that C2 could read the word from that distance, at that angle, just by changing the position of his eyes for half a second. Play on.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Michael Wallace » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:44 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:Before the game, one of the contestants, with a cast on her right arm...
I was hoping this was going to go into some elaborate scheme where all of the 'friends' signatures' on her cast were actually times tables and stems.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Jordan F » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:52 pm

To Graeme's:

In the digital age, why not type them? In exchange, perhaps you alter the time?

Allow it. Definitions aren't needed, and since you can't prove it, you can't disprove it either.

Use music as a guide. If the cue was still playing, allow a guess. If not, then don't. You could also use a production clock to see if it broke 30 seconds.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:15 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:Before the game, one of the contestants, with a cast on her right arm, explains that she recently broke her wrist and is unable to write down her words or numbers methods. She can easily reach the buzzer with her left hand, so the conundrum isn't a problem, but she asks "do I really have to say 'not written down' on every round?"

The contestant with the cast wins her game. Her next challenger also has a broken wrist in a cast and can't write anything. What now? (I don't have a good answer to this. Suggestions welcome.)
They can write with their left hand easily enough. They can be asked to write it down after the time if necessary. If they can't do that, they probably can't do very much at all and would postpone their visit to Countdown studios.
Different game, different contestants. Both can write perfectly well. It's a letters round. After the time, you ask C1 to declare. C1 says "CERASTIUM - I mean nine." C2 declares "nine, not written down". You ask for C2's word, and it's CERASTIUM. C1 claims it's obvious C2 copied their word. C2 insists they spotted the word just as the time ran out and didn't have time to write it, but obviously can't prove it. C1 asks C2 what the word means. C2 doesn't know. Do you allow C2's word?
You have to allow it. C1 has messed up here. What else can you do? Replay the round? Not satisfactory.
C1, who is five points behind on a crucial conundrum, buzzes right at the end of the time. The buzzer sounds and C1's nameplate lights up, and C1 gives a correct answer. However, C2 points out that the clock is already on 30 seconds, with the last light lit up, so the buzz was out of time and shouldn't have counted. What is your decision?
Either the buzzers and the clock are connected or they're not. If they're connected properly then the buzzer won't go off if someone buzzes too late. A buzz was heard - ergo it's allowed. If they're not connected, then there's always going to be the possibility of unsatisfactory human judgement coming into play. But what do you do if someone gets the conundrum wrong on 30 seconds? Do you restart the clock? I mean it's unlikely to be exactly 30 seconds, so even if it's 29.999 you restart it, but then if C2 knows the answer, it's just a reaction test. So they should have the option of holding down the buzzer so it automatically goes off if there's any time left.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:27 pm

Jordan F wrote:A few others I thought of. Not sure how many are relevant, but potential interesting situations.

11. A selection comes up that features what appears to be a W. C1 declares a correct 7, but C2 declares an invalid 8 that features an M. It is later revealed that the W is actually an M that the co-host put upside down. C2 declares his 8 should be valid, C1 thinks this is ridiculous. Do you side with a particular contestant? Do you re-do the round?
That's insane. If they interrupted when the letter first came out then fine, but you can't notice to yourself that it's upside down and keep it a secret so only you have the right letters. You could argue that it should void the round, but I don't think it's important enough. Three 9s came up in a numbers game once, and I think that's more of a big deal but even then as with the V case earlier, I don't think there's actually rule saying that only two of each number can come up.
12. Both contestants declare "LEOTARD." C2 wrote his word very small and in lower case, so it is unclear if the third letter is an O or an A. What do you do?
Certainly allow that, but then it can get a bit more iffy if it's a word that had two plausible spellings. But then it would depend on whether the other player had already spelt their word out because they could easily be asked how they are spelling it otherwise.
13. The letters TIFFDUCLI appear on the letters board. The host says after the time is up, "Difficult selection, this one." C1 declares a written down 4 of CULT. C2 declares 9 not written down and says DIFFICULT. C1 complains that by the host saying the word, it gave C2 an unfair advantage. What do you do?
If it's unintentional then there's nothing that can be done. An advantage could also be gained if he said the word DIFFICULT before the round. There's lots of cues in the real world. You can't play in a vacuum.
14. The score is 99-88 going into a conundrum. C2 does not guess. It is discovered immediately afterwards that a 7 she was told was invalid in an earlier round is actually valid, and would have made it a 99-95 score going into the conundrum. She demands a re-do because she claims that she would have put more effort into the conundrum if she knew it were crucial. Do you agree?
This is similar to the case earlier. I think a few of us said that the game should be replayed from the error if possible, but for timing and pragmatic reasons you wouldn't do it in every case (how big a win does it have to be before you conclude it had no effect, psychological or otherwise?). In this case, it's not as bad as the numbers selection, but there is still a point to it. And unless you always go back to the error or never go back at all, there's not a clear line to be drawn.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:36 pm

Dave Nicholson wrote:I'd be interested in opinions on this, perhaps it's along the lines of the debate centring around the numbers in the last game...

10/ Early in the game and C1 is playing a nervous C2. C1 is asked to declare by Nick and takes a notably long pause before slowly and unsurely saying "I'll try a risky 7..." C2 declares a 6 but hasn't written it down.

C2 is asked to declare their word first and declares "SCARER"

Nick then asks C1 who declares "SCARIER" which is obviously valid and nervous C2 has missed the I to make their word a letter longer.

The issue here then is that C1 made a point of saying their word was risky and was clearly debating internally whether or not to declare it but having heard C2's has declared a very similar word that was pretty much 100% safely valid.

For all intents and purposes it seems unlikely that SCARIER had been spotted by C1 when declaring initially, but is there any precedent of asking to show proof when the second word is very similar but different? Supposed C1 had declared a risky 6 and after SCARER was announced had preceded to declare SCORER which was again obviously fine?

For Nick (or a member of the prod team) to ask C1 to prove this word was written down in the first place would be flat out accusing them of cheating really, but should it be done? What if the declaration of SCARIER was verbalised something like "Oh... Scarier!" in a way that sounded like they'd just spotted it? Where would the line be?
If C1 declared first, then it should be written down because they didn't know C2 didn't also have a 7 when declaring the length. But as you say, asking to see it does seem to amount to an accusation of cheating. It's a judgement call, but I think the host should always have the right to ask to see someone's paper in a case where it should be written down.

There are other cases where you could decide what word to pick on the basis of what the other contestant says. C1 might need to beat C2 in the final letters round to have a chance of winning. C1 has two risky 7s. Both declare 7. C2 goes first and picks one of C1's words. C1 might then just pick the other word because a drawn round is no good to him. They're both written down anyway, so is that fine? I'd say so. Similarly C2 might also have both words written down. C1 is asked to say his word first so C2 just says the same word. A drawn round wins it for C2.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:04 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:Three 9s came up in a numbers game once, and I think that's more of a big deal but even then as with the V case earlier, I don't think there's actually rule saying that only two of each number can come up.
There is, it says "two each of the numbers 1 to 10" in the documentation sent to contestants. I can't say whether it said that in 1987, though. Of course, if it did, then they've got no option but to replay the entire history of Countdown from that point.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:14 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
C1, who is five points behind on a crucial conundrum, buzzes right at the end of the time. The buzzer sounds and C1's nameplate lights up, and C1 gives a correct answer. However, C2 points out that the clock is already on 30 seconds, with the last light lit up, so the buzz was out of time and shouldn't have counted. What is your decision?
Either the buzzers and the clock are connected or they're not. If they're connected properly then the buzzer won't go off if someone buzzes too late. A buzz was heard - ergo it's allowed. If they're not connected, then there's always going to be the possibility of unsatisfactory human judgement coming into play. But what do you do if someone gets the conundrum wrong on 30 seconds? Do you restart the clock? I mean it's unlikely to be exactly 30 seconds, so even if it's 29.999 you restart it, but then if C2 knows the answer, it's just a reaction test. So they should have the option of holding down the buzzer so it automatically goes off if there's any time left.
I'd always assumed the buzzers stop working after the time runs out, but then this happened which suggests maybe, or maybe not, depending on how it all works.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:43 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:Three 9s came up in a numbers game once, and I think that's more of a big deal but even then as with the V case earlier, I don't think there's actually rule saying that only two of each number can come up.
There is, it says "two each of the numbers 1 to 10" in the documentation sent to contestants. I can't say whether it said that in 1987, though. Of course, if it did, then they've got no option but to replay the entire history of Countdown from that point.
Especially since it potentially cost Joel Salkin 10 points. It wouldn't have won him the game, but it might have given him more confidence in the conundrum too, giving him an extra 20 points in total. Joel Salkin didn't appear in a CofC tournament and the extra points could have qualified him. He might have then gone on to win it along with the later supreme championships, which he also wasn't in. And then who knows - perhaps even Conor Travers wouldn't have been able to stop the Joel Salkin steamroller in the 30th Birthday Championshiop. So yeah, I'd definitely void it all.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by sean d » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:14 pm

Funny enough I raised question 6 almost word for word in the studio last year. When seated before recording I asked if I could write down the 75 times tables (I actually planned to write reminders for some of the 4 large tricks but I thought it was easier to say 75 times tables, and the principle is the same!) and John the floor manager went off to clarify (with Damien presumably)….. I was told no, you can write what you want during the numbers round but not before. Now obviously my paper wasn’t checked during or after the show and I ended up with 7 or 8 scribbled sheets at the end so I could have done some preparation between letters rounds for example, but I was told no, not allowed. I suppose you might get another answer on another day, but that’s what I was told. I imagine an opponent might not be too impressed (as per Jen’s post) to come on set and find someone scribbling away.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Edward McCullagh » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:31 pm

Where have all the female contestants gone? :(

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:48 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:Before the game, one of the contestants, with a cast on her right arm
Spot the point where I realised I'd been using the male pronoun for all of these questions and decided to redress the balance a bit.

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:50 pm

"1. It's a letters round. C1 declares 6, then C2 declares 6. You ask for C1's word, and he says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the unit of time. C2 says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the synonym for tiny. C2 has not written his word down, but insists he doesn't have to show his paper to C1 because he had a different word. C1 says this is silly because it's obviously the same word. Do you allow C2's offering?"

Maybe that's why the French original programme insists you use a keyboard to enter answers?

Interesting thread on ambiguities - I have managed to get the "Laws" of hockey and chess changed by doing a Graeme on what they have published! Hours of entertainment flow from actually reading rules/laws...

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Graeme Cole » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:08 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"1. It's a letters round. C1 declares 6, then C2 declares 6. You ask for C1's word, and he says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the unit of time. C2 says MINUTE, pronouncing it like the synonym for tiny. C2 has not written his word down, but insists he doesn't have to show his paper to C1 because he had a different word. C1 says this is silly because it's obviously the same word. Do you allow C2's offering?"

Maybe that's why the French original programme insists you use a keyboard to enter answers?

Interesting thread on ambiguities - I have managed to get the "Laws" of hockey and chess changed by doing a Graeme on what they have published! Hours of entertainment flow from actually reading rules/laws...
Like Tim Krabbé and his vertical castling trick?

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Re: You Are The Ref

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:53 pm

"Like Tim Krabbé and his vertical castling trick?"

Something like that, at one stage the Laws were changed to say that the king was in check if it were attacked by "one or two" pieces, so I constructed a position where white was in check from two pieces and the solution was to move a piece which was pinned against the king to deliver mate. As white's king was now attacked by three pieces, it wasn't in check... They changed the Law back to read "one or more".

Coincidentally, I found the notes given to contestants prior to recording. These go back to 2002 so they may have changed.

"Any contestant who does not clearly state that they have not written down their answer will be disqualified from the round if they have the same answer as their opponent and are not able to prove it."

That might be the solution to one of your questions! Admittedly the bit above could be phrased better.

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