Favourite discipline

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Which is your favourite Countdown discipline?

Poll ended at Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:39 pm

Letters
10
43%
Numbers
11
48%
Conundrum
2
9%
 
Total votes: 23

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Charlie Reams
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Favourite discipline

Post by Charlie Reams » Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:39 pm

Well, everyone knows letters is best, but let's have a poll anyway.

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Joseph Bolas
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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Joseph Bolas » Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:42 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:Well, everyone knows letters is best, but let's have a poll anyway.
I prefer the conundrums myself. If it was between the Letter rounds and Number rounds alone, then I would pick Letters.

EDIT: The only time I would've picked Numbers was any day before my recording date.
Last edited by Joseph Bolas on Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Kirk Bevins » Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:44 pm

Numbers are where it's at. With letters, you can do all the revising you want and if you get NRTLSEOAI you don't miss RELATIONS/ORIENTALS/TENSORIAL. However, you can be a superb arithmetical genius and be faced with a numbers game which is tough and there are thousands of ways to go but you don't spot that to get the solution you'd have to do 53x13.

EDIT: I realise the above isn't very clear. What I mean is: if ur amazing at letters, u can spot the 8 out of GNTERIOAS but u can be amazing at numbers and take weeks to solve 5, 7, 8, 2, 5, 3 TARGET 867

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Ben Pugh » Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:52 pm

Letters definitely.

I used to prefer the numbers but I'm not as good as I used to be since I dropped maths a few months ago.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Julian Fell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:06 am

It doesn't take a genius to work out which choice I voted for! :) But I do take your point Kirk, I think you're basically saying that the numbers tend to require more imagination/creativity than the letters, I think that's a fair comment. Unfortunately imagination has never been my strong point! Though I've actually been enjoying the numbers games on TV (and in the COLIN recaps, etc.) a lot more since I got back into Countdown, I'm not quite as scared of them as I used to be... though they're certainly not my strength and I'll never be a Jono or a Cummins.

Charlie are you not a fan of the numbers? Am just curious because I don't know anything about your 'playing style', I haven't seen any breakdowns of your COLIN games or anything... you are a mystery!

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Joseph Bolas » Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:18 am

Julian wrote:Charlie are you not a fan of the numbers? Am just curious because I don't know anything about your 'playing style', I haven't seen any breakdowns of your COLIN games or anything... you are a mystery!
I played Charlie at COLIN, but I can't post my game, because I don't have Charlie's offerings, nor did I write down the scores after each round :oops:.

If you have the words you offered Charlie, do let me know and I can post the game for Julian and possibly others :).

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Charlie Reams » Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:22 am

You can see me in action in the final of the COOT Plate (a kind of repechage competition for people who are a bit rubbish.) Basically I much prefer the letters, although I'm trying to improve my numbers at the moment. I used to be quite good at the conundrum and still get most of the ones on the show, but tend to bottle it as a contestant. Maybe Mr Beevers should offer some kind of psychotherapy sessions for Countdown nerves.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Jon O'Neill » Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:10 pm

I voted letters... I just find it more interesting. For example, if I miss a numbers game I never bother to check the solution cos it's massively unlikely that I'll learn something new. But I'm always keen to know what I missed, even if I do end up kicking myself lots.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by James Hurrell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:57 pm

I would have always said numbers in years gone by, but now a much closer run thing. I used to be particularly good on numbers and quite poor on letters. I am always impressed either way by a great numbers solution (Jono / James Martin) or some amazing words (Beevers - I couldn't even spell the 9 ABATTOIRS that he got in his SF. Even had to look it up this time!)

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Conor » Mon Feb 04, 2008 3:14 pm

Letters, rather obviously. I find the numbers quite repetitive, and I rarely find them memorable or particularly exciting.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Craig Beevers » Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:02 pm

Letters. Don't like conundrums because it's too easy for people to manipulate/cheat and I think it's a pretty lame way of giving someone a 10 point advantage.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Paul Howe » Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:44 pm

Julian wrote:It doesn't take a genius to work out which choice I voted for! :) But I
do take your point Kirk, I think you're basically saying that the
numbers tend to require more imagination/creativity than the letters, I
think that's a fair comment.
I'm not sure how true this is. Mostly the numbers is about applying the same techniques over and over. Once you get those pinned down it's all down to being mentally quick enough to explore several possibilities in the thirty seconds and to a certain extent being lucky enough to try the right approach when intuition doesn't recommend one method over the other.

The process of actually spotting words is quite creative, and for me the real joy of the game. The problem is you can remove the creative aspect almost entirely through rote learning, which is necessary for success (even if the learning consists solely of recalling words from previous shows) but at the same time is seriously boring and, as several people have noted, can actually impede your more creative mental processes if you're not careful. Obviously most people won't care about this when the advantage they have through rote is sufficient to give them an edge on the competition, I know I certainly didn't, but when I'm at home just watching I feel no sense of achievement when reeling off a word I've seen a million times before, but still feel a genuine pang of pleasure whenever I spot something "raw", and I think its a shame you get to feel this less and less the more you improve at the game.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by David O'Donnell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:40 pm

My brother came up with a good idea today, what about a numbers conundrum where you buzz when you think you have it?

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Ben Wilson » Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:46 pm

I went for numbers, purely because it offers greater scope for creativity.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Charlie Reams » Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:51 pm

David O'Donnell wrote:My brother came up with a good idea today, what about a numbers conundrum where you buzz when you think you have it?
That sounds similar to Jon Stitcher Cheaty Countdown, which is a variant invented by the eponymous Stitcher, in which you can declare any number of times as the round goes on, and must improve on the previous "bid" each time you declare, eg

Letters come out.
A: 5.
B a bit later: 6
B again: 7
Time. B gives his 7, and gets 7 points.

This allows you to bluff your opponent into over-declaring, and makes it a useful skill to be able to guess the length of the longest word quickly and find it later. I don't know if this game works because no one ever bothered playing it, but it sounds cool on paper.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Julian Fell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:32 pm

A lot of really interesting points coming out here - best thread on the forum?

Excellent post Paul H - couldn't agree with you more. The pleasure on the letters comes from getting a word which takes you 20-25 seconds to see, one that hasn't come up before, or follows no pattern. The -ING or -IEST words that you see before the clock starts - no fun at all. And yes, rote learning does take away most of the challenge.

But that said, I think it's necessary to have several rounds per episode where you see the maximum more or less straightaway, so that you stay 'fresh' - for me if I have to work really hard in every round to get my word, my brain gets tired and I start missing easy stuff. In my first-round match in CofC, in the opening two rounds I had to work really hard to get two difficult-to-spot maxes (ACROBATS and ZONULE), and then in round 3 I missed RADIATES and in round 4, a slew of sixes. :cry:

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Julian Fell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:49 pm

Conor wrote:Letters, rather obviously. I find the numbers quite repetitive, and I rarely find them memorable or particularly exciting.
I would probably have said the same thing - except it's strange, in series 58 so far, I've for the most part been really enjoying the numbers - there've been a lot of games which have been challenging without being so difficult that only an expert like Jono or Cummins could get them, and there hasn't ever been a really long run of easy numbers rounds (which is repetitive and unmemorable, I agree). I don't know if it's just this series, or if I'm experiencing some kind of numbers 'awakening' or something!

Jono's post made me think... in a strange way, could how much you enjoy something, often be INVERSELY related to how good you are at it? I mean Jono for example, I'm sure you regularly beat Carol at the numbers, so for you it's no big deal. But if I do, I'm like "yeeeeaaaahhh I beat Carol!!!". Whereas for me, beating DC on the letters is not that unusual, but for others it's rarer so they get more of a 'kick' out of it. (God, how sad we are!....)

It's like, I bet for Gary Lineker, that goal he scored from outside the area past David Seaman meant more to him than most of his others, because he usually scored tap-ins. Whereas for, say, David Beckham, such a goal wouldn't be so memorable...

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Kirk Bevins » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:14 am

I didn't play my best game against Soo (and why the hell did I go for MODALISE and not LAMINOSE?) - and OSMUNDA is on my wall of words I've missed in practice and shouldn't miss again (and then did!) but he played extremely well. That last numbers game I was impressed with. Congrats go to you, Soo. I would suggest waiting a bit longer before you apply until you're really confident, but obviously you know that already.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Charlie Reams » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:56 am

Well, I bottled QUARTOS so it's swings and roundabouts, but yeah, I was playing above my level and you were below yours. But Countdown would be pretty boring if that never happened.

Back on topic, I'm amazed how close this poll is. I never really find the numbers interesting and can't see what's to like about them (4 large excepted.) But I guess it partly explains the show's lasting appeal - something for everyone.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:11 pm

Paul Howe wrote:I'm not sure how true this is. Mostly the numbers is about applying the same techniques over and over. Once you get those pinned down it's all down to being mentally quick enough to explore several possibilities in the thirty seconds and to a certain extent being lucky enough to try the right approach when intuition doesn't recommend one method over the other.

The process of actually spotting words is quite creative, and for me the real joy of the game. The problem is you can remove the creative aspect almost entirely through rote learning, which is necessary for success (even if the learning consists solely of recalling words from previous shows) but at the same time is seriously boring and, as several people have noted, can actually impede your more creative mental processes if you're not careful. Obviously most people won't care about this when the advantage they have through rote is sufficient to give them an edge on the competition, I know I certainly didn't, but when I'm at home just watching I feel no sense of achievement when reeling off a word I've seen a million times before, but still feel a genuine pang of pleasure whenever I spot something "raw", and I think its a shame you get to feel this less and less the more you improve at the game.
I think your views are quite interesting because they are sort of opposite to mine. I think that in both numbers and letters games, you can prepare beforehand which removes the "creativity", but where I disagree is that I would say finding a random word comes across to me as just a random find and doesn't feel creative at all. But with the numbers, you still might spot a sneaky method that you haven't legislated for, and that feels more creative to me.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Paul Howe » Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:42 am

Gevin-Gavin wrote: I
think your views are quite interesting because they are sort of
opposite to mine. I think that in both numbers and letters games, you
can prepare beforehand which removes the "creativity", but where I
disagree is that I would say finding a random word comes across to me
as just a random find and doesn't feel creative at all. But with the
numbers, you still might spot a sneaky method that you haven't
legislated for, and that feels more creative to me.
Interesting. Perhaps we're both just biased towards the discipline we find easier. Anyway, I don't regard spotting words as random, I think most words have a kind of structure that the brain learns to latch onto after a while. Sometimes that structure is an obvious prefix or suffix like -ING or whatever which makes spotting the word easy, other times it's a lot more subtle and varied, but it IS there, you feel it as a kind of subconscious niggling, and I think the coolest part of the letters game is learning to spot that structure and organise it into words.

Just reread that and it sounds a bit pretentious, but I'm going to post it anyway. Just my rather inadequate attempt at trying to describe the mental process that goes into the letters rounds.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Dinos Sfyris » Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:17 am

Conundrums (and no I'm not just saying that to shake things up!) For one thing its the only round that really challenges you timewise. ie In a letters game you could spot an 8 before the clock even starts whereas your opponent spots it after 29 seconds and still gets the same points. Not that I think this is unfair I'm just saying I like the intensity brought to conundrums by the variable of time. Saying that, I still prefer one conundrum per show. More than that would take the specialness out of it.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Julian Fell » Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:10 pm

Although, Dinos, one of the main attractions of Countdown (cited by Damian, among others) is that unlike in most other game shows, most of the rounds are NOT on the buzzer and you get a generous stretch of time to work out the "answer" to each one, so it's great for the type of people (like me) for whom reflexes / reaction time is not a strong point.

That said - although I take your point about specialness - I did use to like it in the 9-round days, when they had two conundrums in the series grand final, and would often have a theme linking the scrambled versions (e.g. ALSHEARER - LETISSIER or PETERHEAD - LANCASTER). It's a shame they can't do that any more.

Although hang on - two conundrums would give cheats like Jeffrey Hansford more chance to cheat... no, ok, forget that, it's much better how it is now!

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Kirk Bevins » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:57 pm

While on the topic of place name anagrams, obviously MAIDSTONE could not be used as a conundrum due to more than 1 solution, but the place where I'm currently teaching, TADCASTER, is a nice one.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Charlie Reams » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:36 pm

Is it CASTRATIONS?

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Ben Pugh » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:10 pm

Kirk Bevins wrote:While on the topic of place name anagrams, obviously MAIDSTONE could not be used as a conundrum due to more than 1 solution.
What actually is a STAMINODE?

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Charlie Reams » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:26 pm

Ben Pugh wrote:What actually is a STAMINODE?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staminode

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by David O'Donnell » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:33 pm

Ben Pugh wrote:
Kirk Bevins wrote:While on the topic of place name anagrams, obviously MAIDSTONE could not be used as a conundrum due to more than 1 solution.
What actually is a STAMINODE?
It's a really, really, really long poem.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by James Turner » Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:17 am

There is no question that the numbers are far superior to the letters. Too bad I'm too late to vote.

However, the real question is the tyranny of the letters rounds to numbers rounds ratio, 11/3 I believe. In my view, the balance ought to be redressed by having two numbers rounds in each of Countdown's three halves giving a closer letters/numbers ratio of 8/6.

Just my opinion.

James

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Dinos Sfyris » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:16 am

Charlie Reams wrote:
Ben Pugh wrote:What actually is a STAMINODE?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staminode
Ah so its the mans part of the flower, as Dr Phil would say!

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Dinos Sfyris » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:17 am

Charlie Reams wrote:Is it CASTRATIONS?
Surely you mean CASTRATED?

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by David O'Donnell » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:50 am

dinos_the_chemist wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:Is it CASTRATIONS?
Surely you mean CASTRATED?
He is referring to Jono's QF where the conundrum I R O N C A S T S had several members of the studio audience coming up with the answer CASTRATIONS.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Ben Pugh » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:03 am

dinos_the_chemist wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:Is it CASTRATIONS?
Surely you mean CASTRATED?
No, CROISSANT.

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Re: Favourite discipline

Post by Owen Carroll » Sun May 27, 2018 9:05 pm

Numbers Numbers Numbers

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