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Jeff Clayton
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Oops

Post by Jeff Clayton » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:13 pm

I feel compelled to make two important points about Ms. Riley's standards of presentation at the numbers board.

i) Multiplying numbers together. It is not correct to say things like "times them together", "times it by the four", etc. "Times" is not a verb.

ii) Written arithmetical expression. During the 895 round on Monday's programme, the first two moves in a contestant's solution were:

3 x 4 = 12
12 x 75 = 900

These were written up on a single line as:

3 x 4 = 12 x 75 = 900

Different people watch Countdown for different reasons, but one is to develop competence in numbers and language. I consider these faults to be basic, and they need to stop.


Jeff

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Jon O'Neill
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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jon O'Neill » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:29 pm

Jeff Clayton wrote:i) Multiplying numbers together. It is not correct to say things like "times them together", "times it by the four", etc. "Times" is not a verb.
According to our beloved ODE, it is. In fact the quote they supply as an example is "you times the six by the four to get twenty-four", which is pretty conclusive.

As for the other thing, yes.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Martin Bishop » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:46 pm

Rachel is writing solutions up, not necessarily knowing where the contestant is going with their calculations. She also has to display them in a limited amount of space and in a way that is clear to those watching at home. In a perfect world, she should use brackets in such a way as to necessitate just the one equals sign at the end, but in practice, going back over her work to correct the mathematical phrasing as she goes would be messy and confusing.

The countdown numbers game does so much good for mental arithmetic that it far outweighs any concerns over the writing of the solution.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Kirk Bevins » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:55 pm

Martin Bishop wrote:Rachel is writing solutions up, not necessarily knowing where the contestant is going with their calculations. She also has to display them in a limited amount of space and in a way that is clear to those watching at home. In a perfect world, she should use brackets in such a way as to necessitate just the one equals sign at the end, but in practice, going back over her work to correct the mathematical phrasing as she goes would be messy and confusing.

The countdown numbers game does so much good for mental arithmetic that it far outweighs any concerns over the writing of the solution.
Hear hear.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jeff Clayton » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:23 am

Jon O'Neill wrote:According to our beloved ODE, it is. In fact the quote they supply as an example is "you times the six by the four to get twenty-four", which is pretty conclusive.
Point retracted and tail firmly between legs. Hadn't checked the ODE properly. Sorry!


Jeff

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Janet Lane » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:46 am

Rachel was really struggling with the numbers games today and I was really surprised she couldn't solve the last one as even I managed it (and I failed Maths O Level!)
The numbers were 50 4 4 2 8 8 with a target of 664.
My solution: 4x2 + 4 = 12
50x12 = 600
8x8 = 64

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by John Bosley » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:29 am

Give the girl a chance! I do not know what her instructions are from on high but I think it is wrong to expect a repetition of the Carol person. Let her develop into her own thing.
However, I do think - and I thought so with Carol - that she should let the contestants do all the work and not say or suggest any process or answer until they have said it.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Pete Fraser » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:09 pm

John Bosley wrote:Give the girl a chance! I do not know what her instructions are from on high but I think it is wrong to expect a repetition of the Carol person.
I would have thought that her instructions from on high (i.e. Eadie) would be to become a repetition of the Carol person as quickly as possible. I really hope this doesn't happen.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Lara Searle » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:18 pm

Jeff Clayton wrote:
i) Multiplying numbers together. It is not correct to say things like "times them together", "times it by the four", etc. "Times" is not a verb.

According to our beloved ODE, it is. In fact the quote they supply as an example is "you times the six by the four to get twenty-four", which is pretty conclusive.


We actually address this in a future programme.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Les Butterworth » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:26 pm

Pete Fraser wrote:
John Bosley wrote:Give the girl a chance! I do not know what her instructions are from on high but I think it is wrong to expect a repetition of the Carol person.
I would have thought that her instructions from on high (i.e. Eadie) would be to become a repetition of the Carol person as quickly as possible. I really hope this doesn't happen.
Both Rachel and Jeff are doing a fine job give them a series to get settled and I am sure all your little niggles will be dealt with. I could not do iether job or is it either????????????????????

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Andy Thomson » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:47 pm

Janet Lane wrote:Rachel was really struggling with the numbers games today and I was really surprised she couldn't solve the last one as even I managed it (and I failed Maths O Level!)
The numbers were 50 4 4 2 8 8 with a target of 664.
My solution: 4x2 + 4 = 12
50x12 = 600
8x8 = 64
I'm not going to criticise Rachel - I think she's relaxing very well into the job. Of course it's difficult for some viewers to get used to someone other than Carol doing the job and Rachel has her own style. I think she's doing just fine and she will improve as she develops her 'TV Persona'.

But I have to agree with the above. I thought that was a pretty easy solution and I was quite surprised that nobody on the programme worked it out. That siad, I imagine we all have experience of missing the obvious - it's just one of those things, isn't it?

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Kathleen Batlle » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:41 pm

I think both Jeff and Rachel are doing very well considering they're new to the job. I didn't see Countdown when it was first broadcast in 1982 with Richard and Carol, but I wouldn't mind betting they also struggled to get comfortable in the beginning. We need to remember that it will take at least a year for them to be completely at ease. In the meantime we should enjoy the freshness and sparkle which Rachel creates and the professionalism of Jeff who seems to be enjoying himself.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Martin Gardner » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:04 pm

I think something like 12 * 75 = 900 + 6 = 906 is quite standard for Countdown. Yes, in reality you should put a comma in and start on a new line, but this isn't maths A-level, it's a game show. Plus it's clear what she means, and (stating the obvious) Carol did the same thing.
If you cut a gandiseeg in half, do you get two gandiseegs or two halves of a gandiseeg?

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Wil Ransome » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:11 pm

I think Rachel is doing very well, far better than Carol did in 1982. But what a missed opportunity; it is far more economical to say something like 100×(2×2 + 4) + 8×8 = 864 than to spell it all out laboriously as she does. This may be unfamiliar for some of the viewers, but it's really terribly simple and I can't believe that it is beyond them. After all, they have bothered to switch on so must be presumed to have a little numerical ability.

It always struck me with Carol, as it is now doing with Rachel, that the effect of all her laborious explanation of the answer is to make it seem more difficult than it really is and so to boost people's opinion of her intelligence. This should not be the aim.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Charlie Reams » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:33 pm

Wil Ransome wrote:This may be unfamiliar for some of the viewers, but it's really terribly simple and I can't believe that it is beyond them.
This is a classic example of the psychological phenomenon that everyone imagines that what they understand is simple and what they don't understand is hard.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Wil Ransome » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:49 pm

OK Charlie, I see what you're saying. But if she writes it down and explains it properly, pointing to different bits as she does so, surely it's easy. I'm pretty sure I could explain it so that everyone understood, but Countdown wouldn't want a bald old man for the job.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Hannah O » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:51 pm

I do like Rachel, and I find her discomfort at Qs amusing, but that's for another day! I find that she writes her numbers in an odd way. My mother said that at school (she works in a primary school) they have to teach children to stop writing their 9s the way she does them. While it's distracting at first, I find that I've gotten used to it. I find that she sets out the sums in a way that's reasonable to follow- as someone who has a real weakness with maths, the way she doesn't use a myriad of brackets and puts new sums on different lines is reassuring for me and clear to understand. I was under the assumption that the basic prerequisite for succeeding at Countdown was to be able to add/subtract/multiply/divide- not to set everything out in a concise way that is complicated to follow for those who don't have A Level or above at maths! I find that Rachel's way is clear and makes sense, and I tend to set written solutions out in the same way. She doesn't need to explain it verbally, as when she writes the solution it's self-explanatory for viewers, I think. Viewers don't need their hand to be held and to be led through the solution step by baby step, they just want to see how you get the answer, and Rachel lets them see by writing it up the way she does.

Also, it doesn't matter what she says or how she says the method, as long as it's written up properly for all to see, then it's fine by me! Finally, I notice that when I compare Rachel to Carol, she is a pale imitation, but when I just see her for who she is (i.e. herself), I find that she's a perfectly good numbers and letters host! (Except for maybe the way she says her 'R's, no offence to people that say them the way she does, but it grates! I'm sorry, I do like her really!)

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:58 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Wil Ransome wrote:This may be unfamiliar for some of the viewers, but it's really terribly simple and I can't believe that it is beyond them.
This is a classic example of the psychological phenomenon that everyone imagines that what they understand is simple and what they don't understand is hard.
I am not doubting this phenomenon, but it remains the case that there are concepts that virtually anyone could understand if it was explained to them, and describing a concept as simple does not have to be in all cases an example of this phenomenon.

Having said that, I don't think that brackets probably are the way to go, partly because it's not the same viewers every day so it would need explaining every day. And I do think that a step by step approach is actually more intuitive.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Phil Reynolds » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:19 am

Wil Ransome wrote:it is far more economical to say something like 100×(2×2 + 4) + 8×8 = 864 than to spell it all out laboriously as she does.
Economy of expression is often the enemy of comprehension, as is the case with text-speak for example. Bracketed arithmetic expressions with strict operator precedence are fine for computer programming languages where conciseness comes a close second to unambiguity. But, really, their top-down approach is counter-intuitive. When explaining a solution like the one above, a contestant will say something like, "I multiplied the 2s to get 4, then added 4 to get 8; I multiplied the 8 by the 100..." etc; and the way Carol and Rachel write it down reflects that. To do it your way, Rachel would have to start writing in the middle of the board, leaving plenty of space all round to extend the expression in either direction as the contestant goes through the explanation, and inevitably a certain amount of second-guessing would be required. The way it's currently done is sometimes long-winded but ultimately much simpler and clearer.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Vikash Shah » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:22 am

Hannah O wrote:I do like Rachel, and I find her discomfort at Qs amusing, but that's for another day! I find that she writes her numbers in an odd way. My mother said that at school (she works in a primary school) they have to teach children to stop writing their 9s the way she does them.
OMG, what was the name of that 70s kids educational show with the floating pencil that taught handwriting? Y'know, like for the letter 'r' they's keep repeating: "Top to bottom, up and over".

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Naomi Laddiman » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:17 am

Vikash Shah wrote: OMG, what was the name of that 70s kids educational show with the floating pencil that taught handwriting? Y'know, like for the letter 'r' they's keep repeating: "Top to bottom, up and over".
Look and Read?

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Vikash Shah » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:07 pm

Naomi Laddiman wrote:
Vikash Shah wrote: OMG, what was the name of that 70s kids educational show with the floating pencil that taught handwriting? Y'know, like for the letter 'r' they's keep repeating: "Top to bottom, up and over".
Look and Read?
Just remebered... "Words and Pictures".

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:35 pm

Words......... and.................... PICTUUUUUUUUUUURES!!!!!!

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:36 pm

Image

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:37 pm

Hannah O wrote:I find that she writes her numbers in an odd way. My mother said that at school (she works in a primary school) they have to teach children to stop writing their 9s the way she does them.
When my brother took his HNC they were expressly taught to write their 9s like upside-down 6s. I think Rachel's numbers look a lot neater that way.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Vikash Shah » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:38 pm

Jon Corby wrote:Image
Right, I've been hypnotised for real now!!!

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:39 pm

Rosemary Roberts wrote:
Hannah O wrote:I find that she writes her numbers in an odd way. My mother said that at school (she works in a primary school) they have to teach children to stop writing their 9s the way she does them.
When my brother took his HNC they were expressly taught to write their 9s like upside-down 6s. I think Rachel's numbers look a lot neater that way.
I write my nines like that too, and I fucking love it.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jon Corby » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:40 pm

Vikash Shah wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:Image
Right, I've been hypnotised for real now!!!
It's gonna piss off that new dude who's just signed up on dial-up internet though :)

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Martin Gardner » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:44 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Wil Ransome wrote:This may be unfamiliar for some of the viewers, but it's really terribly simple and I can't believe that it is beyond them.
This is a classic example of the psychological phenomenon that everyone imagines that what they understand is simple and what they don't understand is hard.
Also she'd have to listen to the whole solution before writing it down, as imagine the contestant does 100-7*5, the contestant would usually say 7*5 = 35, 100 - 35 = 65, etc, so she'd end up writing the 100 before the 7*5.
If you cut a gandiseeg in half, do you get two gandiseegs or two halves of a gandiseeg?

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Ian Fitzpatrick » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:39 pm

Jon Corby wrote:Image
Lovely smile, great eyes - a picture paints a thousand words.
I thought I was good at Countdown until I joined this forum

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Ralph Gillions » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:52 pm

The heading of this thread is "Rachel Riley at the numbers board", although my question is about the letters board.
Would anyone who has been in the Countdown studio be kind enough to answer?
After saying the name of the letter Rachel turns to face me (or rather the camera).
I can`t be sure of the perspective in the studio lay-out.
Is she looking at the contestant in anticipation of the next letter, or is she actually looking at the
camera lens and not looking at the contestant at all? Or is the camera in line with the contestant so that she appears to be looking at both.
Thanks

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:37 pm

Ralph Gillions wrote:The heading of this thread is "Rachel Riley at the numbers board", although my question is about the letters board.
Would anyone who has been in the Countdown studio be kind enough to answer?
After saying the name of the letter Rachel turns to face me (or rather the camera).
I can`t be sure of the perspective in the studio lay-out.
Is she looking at the contestant in anticipation of the next letter, or is she actually looking at the
camera lens and not looking at the contestant at all? Or is the camera in line with the contestant so that she appears to be looking at both.
Thanks
Yeah, she looks across you, not at you. It's a bit strange at first but if you look down at the monitor then she appears to be looking at you so I did that. The contestants get warned about this before filming starts.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Matt Morrison » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:46 pm

I noticed yesterday she was looking all over the place - forwards then sideways and back and forth - can imagine would be a bit confusing to home viewers who don't know the set.
Also, she's still showing the numbers, or at least one of them, before she puts them up on the board.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Kathleen Batlle » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:13 pm

Oh Jon, I love this little video clip of Rachel. How did you do that? On second thoughts, perhaps you'd better not explain. I have enough problems getting my computer to do the simple things without something complicated like that. It must be great for all you young people who have been brought up with computers. We didn't even have calculators when I first went to work (at 16) in a bank in UK, never mind computers and then when they did start to be used they were the size of a small bedroom! I love this website almost as much as I love Countdown, thanks everyone!

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Ralph Gillions » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:15 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Ralph Gillions wrote:The heading of this thread is "Rachel Riley at the numbers board", although my question is about the letters board.
Would anyone who has been in the Countdown studio be kind enough to answer?
After saying the name of the letter Rachel turns to face me (or rather the camera).
I can`t be sure of the perspective in the studio lay-out.
Is she looking at the contestant in anticipation of the next letter, or is she actually looking at the
camera lens and not looking at the contestant at all? Or is the camera in line with the contestant so that she appears to be looking at both.
Thanks
Yeah, she looks across you, not at you. It's a bit strange at first but if you look down at the monitor then she appears to be looking at you so I did that. The contestants get warned about this before filming starts.
If I was in Rachel's shoes (heaven forbid!) I would be tempted to look at the person speaking to me I think.
Good move to look at your monitor Charlie. (I said elsewhere that you knew how to "work the cameras".)
Thanks for the information.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:47 pm

The way Rachel's eyes centre at the end of that clip looks really eerie (as opposed to eyeee). Or is it just me?

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jason Larsen » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:44 pm

She must not like the word multiply!

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Mark Kudlowski » Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:15 pm

I am a private maths tutor, and unfortunately most of my pupils
use "times" as a verb.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Dan Vanniasingham » Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:21 pm

Mark Kudlowski wrote:I am a private maths tutor, and unfortunately most of my pupils
use "times" as a verb.
Wow, your first post outside of the spoilers forum!

It wasn't worth the wait though. :cry:

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Charlie Reams » Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:23 pm

Mark Kudlowski wrote:I am a private maths tutor, and unfortunately most of my pupils
use "times" as a verb.
Where by "unfortunately" you mean "exactly as stated in the dictionary".

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Junaid Mubeen » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:41 pm

Mark Kudlowski wrote:I am a private maths tutor, and unfortunately most of my pupils
use "times" as a verb.
I'm a PhD Maths student and I really couldn't give two shits whether she uses 'times' or 'multiply'.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by David Roe » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:05 am

I still haven't noticed. I suppose it's because 'times by' and 'multiply by' mean exactly the same? So my mind understands either without having to consciously register which one was used?

From memory, 7 years ago, I couldn't see the letters board from the Champions chair. I had to look at the monitor. (Maybe my memory's wrong, but certainly the monitor was much more convenient.) I certainly wasn't looking at Carol when I picked the letters, and I'm fairly sure she wasn't looking at me.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jason Larsen » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:27 am

Mark, if you're a new member here, welcome!

Now, to my point, I think Rachel doesn't like the word multiply because she thinks saying it will make her sick. I think every time she has to say it, she's under the impression that she might get cancer!

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jon Duncan » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:49 am

Jon Corby wrote:
Vikash Shah wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:Image
Right, I've been hypnotised for real now!!!
It's gonna piss off that new dude who's just signed up on dial-up internet though :)


Nah, it was very nearly worth waiting for :)

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Michael Wallace » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:02 am

Jon O'Neill wrote:Words......... and.................... PICTUUUUUUUUUUURES!!!!!!
On the subject of (wordy) educational shows for children.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Daniel O'Dowd » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:12 am

Michael Wallace wrote:
Jon O'Neill wrote:Words......... and.................... PICTUUUUUUUUUUURES!!!!!!
On the subject of (wordy) educational shows for children.
Is that LeVar Burton from TNG Star Trek?!

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Michael Wallace » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:28 am

Daniel O'Dowd wrote:
Michael Wallace wrote:
Jon O'Neill wrote:Words......... and.................... PICTUUUUUUUUUUURES!!!!!!
On the subject of (wordy) educational shows for children.
Is that LeVar Burton from TNG Star Trek?!
That's the one.

There's a really awesome one of him called "it sounds like music to me", but I can't track it down (it seems to have been yanked from youtube).

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jason Larsen » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:17 am

She hasn't got a tumor... Absolutely wonderful!

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:45 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Mark Kudlowski wrote:I am a private maths tutor, and unfortunately most of my pupils
use "times" as a verb.
Where by "unfortunately" you mean "exactly as stated in the dictionary".
It does (in the NODE anyway) list it as informal so he might see it as unfortunate in the same way that he sees it unfortunate that his pupils refer to it as "wicked" when they get a question right.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Charlie Reams » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:48 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:It does (in the NODE anyway) list it as informal so he might see it as unfortunate in the same way that he sees it unfortunate that his pupils refer to it as "wicked" when they get a question right.
I wonder if he gets equally antsy when his pupils say Yeah instead of Yes.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:55 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:It does (in the NODE anyway) list it as informal so he might see it as unfortunate in the same way that he sees it unfortunate that his pupils refer to it as "wicked" when they get a question right.
I wonder if he gets equally antsy when his pupils say Yeah instead of Yes.
I know I fucking would. Bring out the cane!

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Jason Larsen
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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jason Larsen » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:58 pm

What, are some of you thinking you will age early on purpose?

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:01 pm

But - while "times by" has never been something that's massively annoyed me (and I'm sure I've said it loads of times by anyway) I think most people can think of various examples of "changes" to the English language that annoy them. I'm sure that the same person would consider some things to just be the way the language is going and some to be abominations. People using "infer" to mean "imply" annoy me, for example.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jason Larsen » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:13 pm

What did I tell you? She won't get sick!

Now, let's drop the subject!

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Kate Richardson » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:22 pm

I want to defend the word "times"
When you're under the spotlight, having to explain how you've reached a number conclusion, simply and concisely, believe me, it's much easier to say "times" than pronounce than "multiply" any day of the week.....and....... I'm also a big fan of a five year olds understanding how you've got somewhere....lets concentrate on championing literacy and numeracy however we can.....or...hey...lets watch countdown die a slow death....

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Jason Larsen » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:10 am

Rachel is a very interesting person!

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Andy Thomson » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:38 pm

Kate Richardson wrote:I want to defend the word "times"
When you're under the spotlight, having to explain how you've reached a number conclusion, simply and concisely, believe me, it's much easier to say "times" than pronounce than "multiply" any day of the week.....and....... I'm also a big fan of a five year olds understanding how you've got somewhere....lets concentrate on championing literacy and numeracy however we can.....or...hey...lets watch countdown die a slow death....
'Times' wasn't the issue - it was 'times by'. 4 times 3 is perfectly normal whereas 4 'times by' 3 is what sparked the debate.

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Martin Gardner » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:49 pm

Andy Thomson wrote:
Kate Richardson wrote:I want to defend the word "times"
When you're under the spotlight, having to explain how you've reached a number conclusion, simply and concisely, believe me, it's much easier to say "times" than pronounce than "multiply" any day of the week.....and....... I'm also a big fan of a five year olds understanding how you've got somewhere....lets concentrate on championing literacy and numeracy however we can.....or...hey...lets watch countdown die a slow death....
'Times' wasn't the issue - it was 'times by'. 4 times 3 is perfectly normal whereas 4 'times by' 3 is what sparked the debate.
I'm tempted to say it's "timesed by" (passive voice) in which case it ought to be correct as the word by introduces the agent. Alright, that's a little odd because in that sense, you could do 'three timesed by four' and then change it to the active voice, which would be 'four timeses three' which is complete rubbish of course. I don't really have a point, I just wanted to write some total bollocks. You can say I've failed, can you?
If you cut a gandiseeg in half, do you get two gandiseegs or two halves of a gandiseeg?

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Re: Rachel Riley at the numbers board

Post by Rosemary Roberts » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:42 pm

Martin Gardner wrote:I just wanted to write some total bollocks. You can say I've failed, can you?
Not at all - "total bollocks" sums it up very well.

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Re: Oops

Post by Jeff Clayton » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:13 am

I assume Wednesday's programme was the one Lara Searle tipped us off about on the "times" matter.

Good to see the programme responding to viewers' concerns and clarifying not only what is now correct, but making an effort to explain "times by" dating from the Chaucer era (C14th), and "multiply by" which followed in the C16th.

I don't believe that Susie's explanation for the introduction of "times" as a verb in its own right was entirely truthful, however, suggesting that it came into the dictionary "a bit after".

Hmm, give or take 400 years - late C20th according to the ODE2r. Methinks suddenly not being so forthright on the detail there kept hidden a certain innocence of youth?



Jeff

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