Ask Graeme?

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Fred Mumford
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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Fred Mumford » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:46 pm

Many thanks Graeme. For both my questions I'm surprised at just how many occasions those scenarios occurred. I accept your judgement as the final arbiter of what is ironic too.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:26 am

Jon Stitcher wrote:0 max games....

Obviously the games where players scored 0 were zero max games I just wondered how many contestants scored 0 maxes in a game, did any player win whilst scoring 0 maxes, what's the fewest number of maxes a winner has scored, any games where neither player hit a max?
Treat the episode counts in this answer as approximate. The recap writer will have calculated the max for older games using the ODE2r, so words that would be accepted now might not have been accepted then, and this of course means the recorded maxes might not be right.

According to the database, the number of games in which one or both of the players did not max any rounds is 155, of which 18 were 15-rounders.

Only two games have seen neither player max a round: episode 1189 and episode 1614.

In addition to those, there are five episodes in which the winner did not max a round: episode 261, episode 616, episode 728, episode 1184 and episode 3081. No 15-round game has been won by a player who scored no maxes, but 14 15-rounders have been won by a player who maxed only one round.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:52 am

Graeme Cole wrote:[Only two games have seen neither player max a round: episode 1189 and episode 1614.
Interestingly, both players from episode 1614 went on to make the quarter finals.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Clive Brooker » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:20 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote:[Only two games have seen neither player max a round: episode 1189 and episode 1614.
Interestingly, both players from episode 1614 went on to make the quarter finals.
Equally interestingly, Philip Griffiths seems to have maxed R1 in 1189, and both players maxed R7 in 1614.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by JackHurst » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:28 am

Thanks for thet Graeme, that's an interesting list.
Graeme Cole wrote:
JackHurst wrote:Could you also do the same for 6 letter words? I imagine the list would be empty.
Yes, it is. There doesn't seem to be a six letter word which does not have at least four letters in common with some seven letter word.
JackHurst wrote:If you still have time on your hands, could you produce the list of 6 letter words that you cannot add letters to and reorder to get a 7, 8 or 9?
Isn't this the same thing as a six that's always the max?
You just made me doubt myself, and I had to think about it for 5 minutesm but they are different:

The list I asked for which you generated and is empty should be a list of sixes which always appear as a max, which is a subset of the list of sixes with no stemming.

I'll think of an example using 7s to illustrate the idea: MOUJIKS appears on the list of always max words, so by definition of that list, MOUJIKS has no stems, so cant be on the no stem list, but SKYGLOW, whilst not on the list of always max words, does appear on the list of words with no stems. So there either by an 8 with 6 letters in common with skyglow.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Innis Carson » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:14 pm

Clive Brooker wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote:[Only two games have seen neither player max a round: episode 1189 and episode 1614.
Interestingly, both players from episode 1614 went on to make the quarter finals.
Equally interestingly, Philip Griffiths seems to have maxed R1 in 1189, and both players maxed R7 in 1614.
Would CLAMORED have been OK back then for R1 in 1189?

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Clive Brooker » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:42 pm

Innis Carson wrote:
Clive Brooker wrote:Equally interestingly, Philip Griffiths seems to have maxed R1 in 1189, and both players maxed R7 in 1614.
Would CLAMORED have been OK back then for R1 in 1189?
Yes, I think so. It looks as though I was wise to equivocate slightly.

Seeing a recap for a game in 1995 which implies that the players could have offered KIDULT is amusing, if nothing else. It's good to have an example of an Americanism to show an error in the opposite direction.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:43 pm

Innis Carson wrote:
Clive Brooker wrote:Equally interestingly, Philip Griffiths seems to have maxed R1 in 1189, and both players maxed R7 in 1614.
Would CLAMORED have been OK back then for R1 in 1189?
Probably. American spellings were allowed for ages before they were banned.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:53 pm

JackHurst wrote:Thanks for thet Graeme, that's an interesting list.
Graeme Cole wrote:
JackHurst wrote:Could you also do the same for 6 letter words? I imagine the list would be empty.
Yes, it is. There doesn't seem to be a six letter word which does not have at least four letters in common with some seven letter word.
JackHurst wrote:If you still have time on your hands, could you produce the list of 6 letter words that you cannot add letters to and reorder to get a 7, 8 or 9?
Isn't this the same thing as a six that's always the max?
You just made me doubt myself, and I had to think about it for 5 minutesm but they are different:

The list I asked for which you generated and is empty should be a list of sixes which always appear as a max, which is a subset of the list of sixes with no stemming.

I'll think of an example using 7s to illustrate the idea: MOUJIKS appears on the list of always max words, so by definition of that list, MOUJIKS has no stems, so cant be on the no stem list, but SKYGLOW, whilst not on the list of always max words, does appear on the list of words with no stems. So there either by an 8 with 6 letters in common with skyglow.
I see what you mean. So a list of sixes for which there is no seven, eight or nine which has six letters in common with that six.

Turns out there was quite a big difference. Here are the words...

AIKIDO, ANYHOW, AUGURY, AUMBRY, BAPPUS, BARFLY, BAULKY, BHAJIA, BIBBED, BIFFED, BIJOUX, BLOBBY, BLOWZY, BOBBLY, BOTFLY, BOVVER, BOWMAN, BOWMEN, BRAWNY, BREKKY, BRUMBY, BRUMMY, BRYONY, BUNCHY, BUZZED, BYWAYS, CAUDEX, CHAVVY, CHOCCY, CHUDDY, COCCUS, COWPOX, CRUDDY, CUPPAS, DHAMMA, DJINNS, DOVISH, DOZILY, EARWAX, EFFIGY, EXEQUY, EXURBS, FAFFED, FEZZED, FEZZES, FIBBED, FICKLY, FITCHY, FJORDS, FLICKY, FLOCKY, FLOOZY, FLOSSY, FLYMEN, FLYSCH, FOSSAS, FROGGY, FROWZY, FURPHY, FUTZED, FUZZED, GALAXY, GAWKED, GAWPED, GIZMOS, GLUMLY, GOGGAS, GRRRLS, GRYKES, GUTKHA, GYPPED, GYPPOS, GYPSUM, GYTTJA, HAJJIS, HALLUX, HALVAH, HALWAH, HAUGHS, HAWALA, HAZILY, HOOROO, HOWFFS, HOWZAT, HUMMUS, HURROO, JALOPY, JAMMED, JARRED, JAZZED, JIBBED, JIGGLY, JINXED, JINXES, JISSOM, JIVERS, JIVING, JOBBED, JOHNNY, JOOKED, JORUMS, JOTTED, JOUKED, JOWARS, JOWLED, JULEPS, JUMARS, JUNGLY, JUTTED, KABUKI, KAIKAI, KAIZEN, KAKURO, KANZUS, KEDGED, KEENLY, KIKOIS, KLUTZY, KONFYT, KOUROI, KUDZUS, KUKRIS, LARYNX, LEKKED, LEKKER, LOOKUP, LUXURY, LYNXES, MAJLIS, MAYFLY, MAZUMA, MEEKLY, MOULDY, MUKTUK, MYRRHY, NINJAS, NUBBLY, NUMBLY, NYAFFS, ODDITY, OUKLIP, PAZAZZ, PEBBLY, PIFFLE, PLEBBY, PLUMMY, PONZUS, POOJAS, POPPLY, PRAJNA, PUBBED, PUDDLY, PUFFED, PUKKAH, PUNANY, PUPPED, QIGONG, QUAGGY, QUIPUS, SCUDDY, SCUZZY, SHOJIS, SKANKY, SKEEVY, SKIFFS, SKINNY, SPAZAS, SPIVVY, SPODDY, SWAMPY, SWOONY, SWOTTY, SYNTHY, SYRUPY, SYZYGY, TAMPAX, TAZZAS, TUCUXI, TWANGY, TWEENY, TWIGGY, TWISTY, UBUNTU, UPKEEP, UPPITY, VAJRAS, VARVED, VERNIX, VROUWS, WABBIT, WAFFLY, WAMPUM, WAVILY, WAXERS, WAXIER, WAXILY, WAZZED, WAZZES, WHAMMO, WHAMMY, WHIFFY, WHIPPY, WIBBLY, WIFEYS, WILDLY, WOBBLY, XYLENE, XYSTUS, YAKUZA, YECCHY, YUCKED, YUKKED, ZAFFER, ZAFFRE, ZAFTIG, ZEBECS, ZIZZED, ZIZZES, ZLOTYS, ZOFTIG, ZOKORS, ZORROS, ZOUNDS, ZYDECO.

Again, some of these might not be real words any more. For example, Mark recently raised an apterous ticket saying that MYRRHY^ isn't in.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by JackHurst » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:40 am

Cool thanks!

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Charlie Reams » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:26 pm

Somewhat vague question, feel free to formalize this however is convenient: if only letters rounds counted, how different would the seedings be in a typical series? I'm imagining counting wins and points for the letters rounds up to and including the first game each contestant would've lost (if any) without numbers and conundrums. (This is a bit artificial because you can discount points following games a contestant would've lost, but you can't say much about the impact of the player who actually lost but would've won. But hey.)

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by James Laverty » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:58 am

Have any contestants appeared in episodes hosted by all five presenters? If not who holds the record for appearing with the most presenters
Definitely not Jamie McNeill or Schrodinger's Cat....

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by James Robinson » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:02 pm

James Laverty wrote:Have any contestants appeared in episodes hosted by all five presenters? If not who holds the record for appearing with the most presenters
I somehow doubt it. I can't even think of anyone who has done it with 4. Loads have done it with 3.
CO:WY COMING SOON.... ;) :) :D :mrgreen: 8-) :geek: :ugeek:

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by James Robinson » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:02 pm

James Laverty wrote:Have any contestants appeared in episodes hosted by all five presenters? If not who holds the record for appearing with the most presenters
I somehow doubt it. I can't even think of anyone who has done it with 4. Loads have done it with 3.
CO:WY COMING SOON.... ;) :) :D :mrgreen: 8-) :geek: :ugeek:

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Jack Worsley » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:31 pm

James Robinson wrote:
James Laverty wrote:Have any contestants appeared in episodes hosted by all five presenters? If not who holds the record for appearing with the most presenters
I somehow doubt it. I can't even think of anyone who has done it with 4. Loads have done it with 3.
Junaid Mubeen, Anita Freeland, Nick Wainwright, Conor Travers, Mark Tournoff, Andrew Hulme, Steven Briers, Kai Laddiman, Jon O'Neill, Chris Wills, Kirk Bevins and David O'Donnell are the ones I can think of who have appeared with three. Of those, only Junaid and Anita didn't appear in the 30BC.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by James Laverty » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:51 am

Jack Worsley wrote:
James Robinson wrote:
James Laverty wrote:Have any contestants appeared in episodes hosted by all five presenters? If not who holds the record for appearing with the most presenters
I somehow doubt it. I can't even think of anyone who has done it with 4. Loads have done it with 3.
Junaid Mubeen, Anita Freeland, Nick Wainwright, Conor Travers, Mark Tournoff, Andrew Hulme, Steven Briers, Kai Laddiman, Jon O'Neill, Chris Wills, Kirk Bevins and David O'Donnell are the ones I can think of who have appeared with three. Of those, only Junaid and Anita didn't appear in the 30BC.
Yeah I could think of loads with three. Thought Chris Wills had been on with four for some reason but I was mistaken
Definitely not Jamie McNeill or Schrodinger's Cat....

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Graeme Cole
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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:32 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:Somewhat vague question, feel free to formalize this however is convenient: if only letters rounds counted, how different would the seedings be in a typical series? I'm imagining counting wins and points for the letters rounds up to and including the first game each contestant would've lost (if any) without numbers and conundrums. (This is a bit artificial because you can discount points following games a contestant would've lost, but you can't say much about the impact of the player who actually lost but would've won. But hey.)
For each game, I've recalculated who would have won based only on the letters rounds. If this results in a tie, the outcome of the original game is used. Then each player's run ignores any games they played after one they would have lost. From that I've worked out the number of wins and points each player has left. As you say, we can't answer the whole question, because although we can say that, for example, Mark Deeks would have lost his first game and Jack Worsley would have lost after three wins, we can't say how many games someone would have won after they actually lost. In other words, this recalculation can turn an octochamp into a zero-time winner, but someone who lost a game can only gain one win. For example, James Robinson would have beaten Patrick McCurdie in his third game, but I've only counted him as having three wins because we don't know how many he would have won afterwards. Also, for players who still have 8 wins only counting letters rounds, they might have faced different opponents so the outcomes of those games might have been different.

Ignoring all these caveats, let's look at some tables.

Code: Select all

Series 69
Dylan Taylor          8  613
Jen Steadman          8  597
Glen Webb             8  593
Bradley Cates         8  523
Alex Fish             8  484
Zarte Siempre         5  388
Abdirizak Hirsi       5  386
June Glasspell        5  307
The series 69 seeds would have been mostly the same except that June Glasspell would have been #8 seed instead of Gemma Church, and the eventual champion Callum Todd would have lost his first game, with Abdirizak Hirsi taking his place as #7 seed.

Code: Select all

Series 68
Andy Platt            8  620
Giles Hutchings       8  609
Joe McGonigle         8  417
Jill Hayward          4  220
Chris Ball            3  223
Philip Jarvis         3  204
Peter Fenton          2  164
Stuart Scholes        2  145
There would have been no Eileen Taylor in series 68 - Jill Hayward would have won her fourth game and potentially more. Andy Platt would have been top seed, but that's due to the format change halfway through his run; he played four more letters rounds than Giles.

Some other series, going back to series 59...

Code: Select all

Series 67
Paul James            8  572
David Barnard         8  537
Tia Corkish           8  505
Liam Shaw             7  490
Chris Marshall        5  342
Heather Styles        4  325
Philip Jackson        4  298
Sohail Virdi          4  288

Series 66
Peter Lee             8  572
Jonathan Rawlinson    8  565
Suzi Purcell          8  470
Victoria James        6  402
Mark Murphy           5  324
Alison Shipman        5  323
Rob Gibney            4  315
Ben Nicholson         4  254

Series 65
Graeme Cole           8  568
Paul Keane            8  495
Dave Taylor           8  489
Matt Croy             6  413
Carl Williams         4  321
Nikki Roberts         4  276
Jon Elmer             4  241
Jayne Wisniewski      3  261

Series 64
Adam Gillard          8  612
Edward McCullagh      8  602
Tom Barnes            8  586
Andy McGurn           8  505
Mary Adie             5  367
Andrew McNamara       5  325
Michelle Nevitt       4  309
Mike Pickering        3  217

Series 63
Jack Hurst            8  655
Eoin Monaghan         8  609
Daniel Pati           8  589
Marcus Hares          8  572
Scott Gillies         8  555
Tom Rowell            8  532
Peter Godwin          7  510
Michael Chadwick      7  481

Series 62
Peter Zyss            7  463
Lee Graham            7  458
Danny Pledger         7  448
Claudia Tyson         6  414
Dominic Travers       5  360
Raheel Mirza          5  347
James Rawson          4  338
Kevin Davis           4  312

Series 61
Andrew Hulme          8  646
Chris Davies          8  626
Innis Carson          8  598
Ryan Taylor           8  557
Jeffrey Burgin        8  517
Jacqueline Baker      5  355
Bob De Caux           5  355
Tom Allerton          4  296

Series 60
Kirk Bevins           8  644
Jimmy Gough           8  578
Shane Roberts         8  531
Neil Zussman          8  529
Stephen Porritt       4  234
Julie Russell         3  240
Kate Richardson       3  210
James Robinson        3  195

Series 59
Charlie Reams         8  579
Martin Bishop         8  566
Debbi Flack           6  417
Denis Kaye            3  227
John Matthews         3  221
Tony Gilgun           3  208
Samira Mohamed        3  177
Mike Lambert          2  206
Last edited by Graeme Cole on Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Graeme Cole
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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:05 pm

James Laverty wrote:Have any contestants appeared in episodes hosted by all five presenters? If not who holds the record for appearing with the most presenters
Junaid Mubeen, Andrew Hulme, Chris Wills, Kirk Bevins, Mark Tournoff, Jon O'Neill, Conor Travers, Steven Briers, Anita Freeland, Nick Wainwright, David O'Donnell and Kai Laddiman have all appeared alongside three different presenters, which is the record. (Edit: just realised that Jack already answered this, and completely correctly.)

Five people have appeared in Dictionary Corner with all five presenters: Susie Dent, Ken Bruce, Jo Brand, Pam Ayres and Paul Zenon. Surprisingly enough, Gyles Brandreth isn't among them - he never appeared with Des Lynam.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Jack Worsley » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:59 pm

What evidence is there (if any) to suggest that having the letters pick gives you an advantage for the round?

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Dave Preece » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:42 am

Good question!

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:10 pm

Jack Worsley wrote:What evidence is there (if any) to suggest that having the letters pick gives you an advantage for the round?
Almost none.

Up to the end of series 69 there have been 1,730 letters rounds in the new 15-round format.

I ran one query to find out how many of those times the player who picked the letters maxed the round. The answer was 667.

I ran another query to find out how many times the player who didn't pick the letters maxed the round. The answer was 667 again, so I assumed I'd made a mistake somewhere, or was accidentally running the first query twice, or something like that.

I pondered and rewrote the queries several times before realising this was actually the right answer. In new 15 rounders up to the end of 2013, the number of letters rounds maxed by the picker, and the number maxed by the non-picker, were exactly equal.

For old 15 rounders, even though there's far more data, there isn't much difference. Of the 28,677 letters rounds under this format, the picker maxed 10,253 and the non-picker maxed 9,980. So the picker is less than one percentage point more likely to max the round than the non-picker. Even this tiny difference could be partly explained by the fact that in the Old 15 the player in the champion's chair was more likely to be the letters picker (picking six letters rounds to the challenger's five), and because it's the champion's chair that person is more likely to be the stronger player.

Note that before the introduction of the ODE2r, our information about the maxes isn't quite right. If we ignore everything before then, the figures for the old 15 rounder are 6217/17193 for the picker and 5986/17193 for the non-picker.

Perhaps there's only an advantage in picking the letters if you're a stronger player? What if we look at the 30th Birthday Championship? Still nothing much. Of the 440 letters rounds in the 30th Birthday Championship, the picker maxed 298 and the non-picker maxed 294. Still less than one percentage point difference.

If you think about it, this seems reasonable. The picker has to pick at least three vowels and at least four consonants, so they only have any control over two of the nine letters. Picking the letters is only going to be an advantage on the rare occasion where you fish for a particular letter for an obscure word and get it (and your opponent doesn't spot it), or if you've spent time learning some of the high-probability five-vowel words.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Matt Morrison » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:35 pm

CRacking cole.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by JackHurst » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:47 pm

I'm pretty certain that for higher quality letters players there should be a small difference in percentage, something around 0.5% to 1.5%. Though looking at information from the show wont help with proving or disproving that because:
A) The standard of letters on the show isn't high enough
B) You'd need shitloads of data to convince yourself of the existence of such a small difference.

For each of the current top 10 letters player on apterous, it would be cool to see their percentage maxes on their own pick vs on their opponents pick, for say their last 10000 letters rounds.

Also, percentage maxes is only one way of looking at things. What about beaters? For example, take two very good players who have played a lot on apterous (i.e Innis and James N) and look at their letters games. Then see what percentage of the time each player gets a beater on their own pick vs on their opponents pick.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Clive Brooker » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:53 am

I'd assumed that the questioner was asking whether the picker has a better chance of winning the round, not maxing it.

Intuitively, I'd expect the player declaring second to have the advantage in a letters round, this effect possibly swamping any minuscule advantage gained from being the picker. Is the information there to look at that? I'm not sure whether all the presenters - Des O'Connor in particular - were entirely consistent in their approaches.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:34 am

Clive Brooker wrote:I'd assumed that the questioner was asking whether the picker has a better chance of winning the round, not maxing it.
I checked that as well, but the results were mostly the same. In the new 15-rounders up to the end of last series, 480 of the 1,370 letters rounds were won by the picker and 477 were won by the non-picker. Of the 28677 old 15-rounder letters rounds, 7329 were won by the picker and 7241 were won by the non-picker. In the 30th Birthday Championship, the difference is (a little bit) more pronounced: in 440 letters rounds, the picker won 75 and the non-picker won 65.
Clive Brooker wrote:Intuitively, I'd expect the player declaring second to have the advantage in a letters round, this effect possibly swamping any minuscule advantage gained from being the picker. Is the information there to look at that? I'm not sure whether all the presenters - Des O'Connor in particular - were entirely consistent in their approaches.
I expect the effect would be quite small. The main advantage I can think of is the case where, for example, you've got a safe seven and a risky eight, and your opponent declares six, so you declare your seven and your eight wasn't valid.

The database doesn't know who declared their word first. I know Jeff always asked the non-picker to declare first, and Nick asks the picker first, but I don't remember if the other presenters were as consistent.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Jack Worsley » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:06 am

Cheers Graeme, that's quite astonishing! I wasn't expecting much of a difference but would have expected the picker to have a slight advantage.

Clive - I didn't have any method in mind so I'm happy with both maxes and winning declarations.

Nick asks the picker first while Jeff normally asked the non-picker. While I'm not 100% sure about the other three, I've seen a few youtube videos and I get the impression that Richard and Des OC asked the picker first and Des L asked the non-picker. Would it be possible to find data for just episodes presented by Des L and Jeff? If the extra letters pick for the champion affects the data too much, maybe we can exclude the last letters round for the old 15 or something. Thanks.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by JackHurst » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:06 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:In the 30th Birthday Championship, the difference is (a little bit) more pronounced: in 440 letters rounds, the picker won 75 and the non-picker won 65.
It would be valid to brush over this fact as unimportant based on the tiny sample size, but to brush it aside as an insignificant margin (which I get the impression you have) is ridiculous! That gap is by no means insignificant in a game of such fine margins.

I get the feeling the general response to Graeme's analysis here is that it proves there is no worth while advantage in picking the letters. I am not convinced by this at all yet. A deeper analysis on a larger data set (such as the data made available from apterous) which gives the same verdict would be required to convince me.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by sean d » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:06 pm

Though it's a tiny sample I'd be interested to see if Jonathan Rawlinson's tactic of always picking 5 vowels conferred any advantage ( as defined above). 5 vowels seems like an area where a regular practicer could gain a small advantage over the general population

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:47 pm

JackHurst wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote:In the 30th Birthday Championship, the difference is (a little bit) more pronounced: in 440 letters rounds, the picker won 75 and the non-picker won 65.
It would be valid to brush over this fact as unimportant based on the tiny sample size, but to brush it aside as an insignificant margin (which I get the impression you have) is ridiculous! That gap is by no means insignificant in a game of such fine margins.
Looking at this, in 140 trials the probability of getting 75 or more when there is a 50% chance each time is over 22%, so it's not particularly statistically significant. Even less so when you do a two-tailed test, which you should be doing anyway because you could argue that not picking the letters gives you more time to find words. So while the ratio 75:65 is quite big if it's statistically significant, it's not in this case.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:39 pm

What's the average number of maxes per game that the studio gets collectively? Any words or numbers declarations outside the time count, and also it can be said that the studio got the conundrum. So basically what's 15 minus the number of rounds with beaters available?

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Martin Thompson » Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:24 am

Jack Worsley wrote:What evidence is there (if any) to suggest that having the letters pick gives you an advantage for the round?
It did for me in one round in the match I played.

The first 8 letters I picked were U I A F D S O G. I realised that if an E came up I would have the word GAUDIES. I asked for a vowel in the hope that an E would be selected, and that's what happened.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by JackHurst » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:44 pm

Martin Thompson wrote:
Jack Worsley wrote:What evidence is there (if any) to suggest that having the letters pick gives you an advantage for the round?
It did for me in one round in the match I played.

The first 8 letters I picked were U I A F D S O G. I realised that if an E came up I would have the word GAUDIES. I asked for a vowel in the hope that an E would be selected, and that's what happened.
Great story bro. I wish I had the skillz to pull that off.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Mark James » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:03 pm

Martin Thompson wrote:
Jack Worsley wrote:What evidence is there (if any) to suggest that having the letters pick gives you an advantage for the round?
It did for me in one round in the match I played.

The first 8 letters I picked were U I A F D S O G. I realised that if an E came up I would have the word GAUDIES. I asked for a vowel in the hope that an E would be selected, and that's what happened.
It's not an advantage if your opponent spots it too though. It's the whole reason countdown is better than scrabble. You can be the best scrabble player in the world but if you're getting shitty tiles compared to you're opponent you wont win. Countdown is a level playing field with both players playing off the same 9 letters.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Dave Preece » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:19 pm

Scrabble tiles 'luck' evens in no time at all, so that's irrelevant, surely?

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Ian Volante » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:06 am

Dave Preece wrote:Scrabble tiles 'luck' evens in no time at all, so that's irrelevant, surely?
It's not at all unlikely to not see Q, Z and X in a Scrabble game for two or three games in a row, and anyway, the point is that luck isn't much of a factor in CD, whereas it can greatly affect a game of Scrabble. Whether it evens out is moot.
meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles meles

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Jon Stitcher » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:50 am

When Mark beat Bobby last week, Bobby got two nines and still lost.

Obviously we all remember Jack Hurst losing with two nines in the 30th birthday final.

Have any other players lost a game where they scored two nine letter words?

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Mark James » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:58 am

I beat Abdi and we both got two nines.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Bradley Cates » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:24 pm

Mark James wrote:I beat Abdi and we both got two nines.
And Glen Webb had two nines when he lost to Callum. I would assume there'll be a few more, particularly in the 30th Birthday Championship.
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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by James Robinson » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:09 pm

Bradley Cates wrote:
Mark James wrote:I beat Abdi and we both got two nines.
And Glen Webb had two nines when he lost to Callum. I would assume there'll be a few more, particularly in the 30th Birthday Championship.
There was also Ross Mackenzie, who got TOTALISES and HERALDING, but Chris Davies got those in his 139. :geek:
CO:WY COMING SOON.... ;) :) :D :mrgreen: 8-) :geek: :ugeek:

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by JimBentley » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:06 pm

Plus Terry Rattle when he lost to Chris Wills in Series 47.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:34 pm

James Robinson wrote:
Bradley Cates wrote:
Mark James wrote:I beat Abdi and we both got two nines.
And Glen Webb had two nines when he lost to Callum. I would assume there'll be a few more, particularly in the 30th Birthday Championship.
There was also Ross Mackenzie, who got TOTALISES and HERALDING, but Chris Davies got those in his 139. :geek:
What a coincidence. So did Ross win his game?

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Jon Corby » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:36 pm

So basically it happens pretty much every single game.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Johnny Canuck » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:10 pm

Jon Corby wrote:So basically it happens pretty much every single game.
:?:
"The use-mention distinction" is not "strictly enforced here".

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:02 pm

Johnny Canuck wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:So basically it happens pretty much every single game.
:?:
He doesn't mean single games as in people playing on their own, because it would be impossible in that case, if that was your concern.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:36 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:What's the average number of maxes per game that the studio gets collectively? Any words or numbers declarations outside the time count, and also it can be said that the studio got the conundrum. So basically what's 15 minus the number of rounds with beaters available?
I'll have to pass on this for now, as I've just settled down to answer this question and realised that my database doesn't record which words DC got.
Jon Stitcher wrote:When Mark beat Bobby last week, Bobby got two nines and still lost.

Obviously we all remember Jack Hurst losing with two nines in the 30th birthday final.

Have any other players lost a game where they scored two nine letter words?
Nine players including Jack Hurst, up to the end of series 69. The full list is Terry Rattle, Matthew Shore, Micheal Harris, Ross Mackenzie, Lesley Hines, Chris Davies, Jack Hurst, Abdirizak Hirsi and Glen Webb.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Mark Deeks » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:28 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:Lesley Hines
Was PREFUCK really valid back then?
Eoin Monaghan wrote:
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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Tom » Mon May 05, 2014 4:46 pm

In seedings, are these still decided by number of wins then number of points?

If 2 players have the same aggregate score and number of wins, would the higher finisher still be the one who has the higher individual score in a heat game and if both players were then still matched, would it then boil down to 2nd highest, 3rd highest individual score etc to determine who finishes higher?

Under the 15 round format, does anyone know what the closest points difference has been between 8th and 9th seed? I've always thought the idea of having an 8 vs 9 play off sounds nice but isn't really fair for the 8th seed if they have a higher points total.

Whilst the chances of it happening are unlikely, if 2 players had the same number of wins and aggregate score plus the same highest individual score and the 8th seeding place in the finals was at stake, I think it would be brilliant to see a play off/special game on the final heat game of the series to determine the 8th seed and the winner plays straight afterwards in the 1st QF.
Probably the second tallest ever series finalist.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Tom » Mon May 05, 2014 4:46 pm

In seedings, are these still decided by number of wins then number of points?

If 2 players have the same aggregate score and number of wins, would the higher finisher still be the one who has the higher individual score in a heat game and if both players were then still matched, would it then boil down to 2nd highest, 3rd highest individual score etc to determine who finishes higher?

Under the 15 round format, does anyone know what the closest points difference has been between 8th and 9th seed? I've always thought the idea of having an 8 vs 9 play off sounds nice but isn't really fair for the 8th seed if they have a higher points total.

Whilst the chances of it happening are unlikely, if 2 players had the same number of wins and aggregate score plus the same highest individual score and the 8th seeding place in the finals was at stake, I think it would be brilliant to see a play off/special game on the final heat game of the series to determine the 8th seed and the winner plays straight afterwards in the 1st QF.
Probably the second tallest ever series finalist.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon May 05, 2014 5:15 pm

Tom wrote:In seedings, are these still decided by number of wins then number of points?

If 2 players have the same aggregate score and number of wins, would the higher finisher still be the one who has the higher individual score in a heat game and if both players were then still matched, would it then boil down to 2nd highest, 3rd highest individual score etc to determine who finishes higher?

Under the 15 round format, does anyone know what the closest points difference has been between 8th and 9th seed? I've always thought the idea of having an 8 vs 9 play off sounds nice but isn't really fair for the 8th seed if they have a higher points total.

Whilst the chances of it happening are unlikely, if 2 players had the same number of wins and aggregate score plus the same highest individual score and the 8th seeding place in the finals was at stake, I think it would be brilliant to see a play off/special game on the final heat game of the series to determine the 8th seed and the winner plays straight afterwards in the 1st QF.
Since Series 64, players are sorted by number of wins then by number of points. Points from both wins and losses count. Points from sudden death conundrums aren't counted, and players with the same number of wins and points are sorted by the number of conundrums correctly guessed, then highest individual score.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon May 05, 2014 5:44 pm

I don't remember this being asked - what are the most commonly offered words ever on Countdown? Like top 50 or something.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon May 05, 2014 5:51 pm

Tom wrote:In seedings, are these still decided by number of wins then number of points?
Yes.
Tom wrote:If 2 players have the same aggregate score and number of wins, would the higher finisher still be the one who has the higher individual score in a heat game and if both players were then still matched, would it then boil down to 2nd highest, 3rd highest individual score etc to determine who finishes higher?
Countdown Team would know the answer to this better than me, but last time I enquired about it (which was 2011), it was that if two players are level on wins and points, the player with the most conundrums solved gets the higher spot. After that I presume it's whoever got the highest score in an individual game, and I don't know how they do it after that.
Tom wrote:Under the 15 round format, does anyone know what the closest points difference has been between 8th and 9th seed? I've always thought the idea of having an 8 vs 9 play off sounds nice but isn't really fair for the 8th seed if they have a higher points total.
The rules that determine the seedings have changed over the years, but as far as I can tell there were a few cases where the 8th and 9th seeds were particuarly close.

In Series 63, Michael Chadwick beat Peter Godwin to the #8 spot by one point. However, it turned out that Michael Chadwick didn't turn up for the finals, even though he was practising on apterous just a couple of days before the finals were filmed. I seem to remember he had to fly off to Singapore at short notice. So Peter Godwin was promoted to #8 seed.

In either of the two 15 round formats, the closest gap between #8 and #9 seed was in Series 61, when Jacqueline Baker beat Bob de Caux to the last finals place by 5 points.

If you go back a bit further to the 9 round game, you can find even closer cases. In Series 27, #8 seed Pierre Sandrini had one more point than #9 seed Lorraine Tomlinson.
Tom wrote:Whilst the chances of it happening are unlikely, if 2 players had the same number of wins and aggregate score plus the same highest individual score and the 8th seeding place in the finals was at stake, I think it would be brilliant to see a play off/special game on the final heat game of the series to determine the 8th seed and the winner plays straight afterwards in the 1st QF.
I believe there is (or at least was) a whole list of criteria to separate contestants who have the same number of wins and points, so they wouldn't have to resort to a play-off. I have a dim memory of Richard Whiteley talking in detail about the seed order rules in one show, and I seem to remember that "fastest conundrum time" was one of the things used to break a tie if other things fail. This was about 500 years ago though.

What if the tie for 8th place only manifested itself in the last preliminary of the series? They can't suddenly put in an extra show.

That said, a play-off for 8th seed has happened before. In Series 23, Fiona Davies was unable to attend the finals, so she was put in a special play-off game the following series with that series' 8th seed, Maureen Grabham. Davies won, and went on to become the series runner up. Incidentally, the player who replaced Fiona Davies in series 23 was a certain Glen Webb.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon May 05, 2014 5:58 pm


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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon May 05, 2014 5:59 pm

William G Stewart used to talk about play-offs that had happened untelevised when there was a tie for 15th in the 15 to 1 grand final leaderboard. I don't think an ad hoc televisation would probably be the best idea.

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon May 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:I don't remember this being asked - what are the most commonly offered words ever on Countdown? Like top 50 or something.
Words sorted by the number of times they have been validly offered up to the end of series 69...

Code: Select all

     1. RATION       126
     2. TRAINED      125
     3. TRAILED      107
     4. RATIONS      102
     5. ROASTED       96
     6. POINTED       92
     7. PAINTED       90
     8. LOITERS       78
     9. PANTIES       77
    10. COATED        76
    11. COASTED       68
    12. DONATES       67
    13. GLOATED       66
    13. SOLDIER       66
    13. STAGED        66
    16. FLOATED       63
    16. ORANGES       63
    16. WAITER        63
    19. PAINTER       62
    19. RELATION      62
    21. BOASTED       61
    21. MOISTER       61
    21. REASON        61
    24. STONED        60
    25. FLOATER       58
    25. GORIEST       58
    25. STRAINED      58
    28. GOITRE        57
    28. LOITER        57
    28. PRAISED       57
    28. RADIOS        57
    32. POINTER       56
    33. DREAMS        55
    33. POSTAGE       55
    35. ELATION       54
    35. MOANERS       54
    35. PLAITED       54
    35. POLITE        54
    39. COASTER       53
    39. LOANERS       53
    39. MOIST         53
    39. RATIOS        53
    43. IMAGES        52
    44. FASTEN        51
    44. STAINED       51
    46. FAINTED       50
    46. TOILED        50
    46. WAITED        50
    49. POUTED        49
    50. FOISTED       48
    50. PARTIED       48
    50. WAITERS       48

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Mon May 05, 2014 7:36 pm

Nope, the thing used between Series 39 and 63 applies to 60; Gough had a score of 116, Henderson had 113.
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Mon May 05, 2014 7:48 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Nope, the thing used between Series 39 and 63 applies to 60; Gough had a score of 116, Henderson had 113.
So why was Cate put above Jimmy then?

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon May 05, 2014 7:51 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:I don't remember this being asked - what are the most commonly offered words ever on Countdown? Like top 50 or something.
Words sorted by the number of times they have been validly offered up to the end of series 69...

Code: Select all

     1. RATION       126
     2. TRAINED      125
     3. TRAILED      107
     4. RATIONS      102
     5. ROASTED       96
     6. POINTED       92
     7. PAINTED       90
     8. LOITERS       78
     9. PANTIES       77
    10. COATED        76
    11. COASTED       68
    12. DONATES       67
    13. GLOATED       66
    13. SOLDIER       66
    13. STAGED        66
    16. FLOATED       63
    16. ORANGES       63
    16. WAITER        63
    19. PAINTER       62
    19. RELATION      62
    21. BOASTED       61
    21. MOISTER       61
    21. REASON        61
    24. STONED        60
    25. FLOATER       58
    25. GORIEST       58
    25. STRAINED      58
    28. GOITRE        57
    28. LOITER        57
    28. PRAISED       57
    28. RADIOS        57
    32. POINTER       56
    33. DREAMS        55
    33. POSTAGE       55
    35. ELATION       54
    35. MOANERS       54
    35. PLAITED       54
    35. POLITE        54
    39. COASTER       53
    39. LOANERS       53
    39. MOIST         53
    39. RATIOS        53
    43. IMAGES        52
    44. FASTEN        51
    44. STAINED       51
    46. FAINTED       50
    46. TOILED        50
    46. WAITED        50
    49. POUTED        49
    50. FOISTED       48
    50. PARTIED       48
    50. WAITERS       48
Thanks for that, Graeme. No LEOTARD then!

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by James Laverty » Mon May 05, 2014 8:21 pm

In Series 63, Michael Chadwick beat Peter Godwin to the #8 spot by one point. However, it turned out that Michael Chadwick didn't turn up for the finals, even though he was practising on apterous just a couple of days before the finals were filmed. I seem to remember he had to fly off to Singapore at short notice. So Peter Godwin was promoted to #8 seed.
Going on from this point, how often have finalists qualified for the finals but not taken part? Can remember it happening for Rachel Moran in S68 and who ever it was for Michelle to sneak in S64 but I'm guessing it's happened a few more times over the years
Definitely not Jamie McNeill or Schrodinger's Cat....

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Mark Deeks » Tue May 06, 2014 12:35 am

Mark Deeks wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote:Lesley Hines
Was PREFUCK really valid back then?
Eoin Monaghan wrote:
He may not be liked on here, but you have to give some credit to Mark

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Re: Ask Graeme?

Post by Graeme Cole » Tue May 06, 2014 8:07 am

Mark Deeks wrote:
Mark Deeks wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote:Lesley Hines
Was PREFUCK really valid back then?
I don't have an ODE2r, so I can only assume so.

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