Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

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Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Hi there,

Just wanted to give some of you the heads-up on a major change to Countdown for 2014 (that means all shows being recorded from Nov 26 onwards).


FOR ALL SHOWS BEING TRANSMITTED FROM 2014 ONWARDS, WE WILL BE USING THE OXFORD DICTIONARY ONLINE (ODO) AS OUR OFFICIAL WORD REFERENCE. (SEE THE LINK BELOW). THIS IS A FREE-TO-USE WEBSITE.

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english

THE OXFORD DICTIONARY ONLINE IS UPDATED EVERY QUARTER, TO INCORPORATE NEW WORDS AND LANGUAGE TRENDS. WE'VE MOVED IN THIS DIRECTION BECAUSE THE PRINTED DICTIONARY FROM OXFORD IS ONLY UPDATED EVERY 4 OR 5 YEARS OR SO, AND TO REMOVE THE RISK OF US DISALLOWING COMMON WORDS WHICH ARE NOT IN THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH PRINTED EDITION, (EG FRACKING), WE'VE DECIDED TO GO ELECTRONIC FOR ALL ADJUDICATIONS FROM SERIES 70 ONWARDS.

Thanks !
Last edited by Countdown Team on Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jennifer Steadman
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jennifer Steadman »

Oooooooh. This is gonna be massive. Mike Brown and Giles may need some help with this Apto-dic update...

Also, does this mean the pencam/dictionary will be replaced by a computer/tablet device of some description?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Giles »

Ok. I'm not freaking out or anything. I will just have a lot more work to do again now. I shall twerk my way to updating the aptodic once more.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jennifer Steadman »

Giles wrote:I shall twerk my way to updating the aptodic
PLEASE upload a video of you simultaneously twerking and updating the Aptodic.
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Graeme Cole
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Graeme Cole »

THANKS FOR LETTING US KNOW! :lol:

I like this idea. New words every quarter, keeping pace with the language.

One question... does this make any difference to how you decide whether you can pluralise a word or add other inflections? There are borderline cases like SEDATIONS and DOTAGES, for example. Searching for SEDATIONS gives no results, searching for DOTAGES gives you the entry for DOTAGE. Does this count as an adjudication on validity or otherwise? Or would these things still be considered on their own merits by Susie?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Cool. In addition, can you please also:
  • Move the conundrum board out of view, and shut monitors off on buzzing.
  • No longer accept any "not written down" words - if you are clearly writing as the time is up, fine, you can finish, but all letters declarations must now be written down.
  • Change the name of Dictionary Corner to Dictionary Peninsula.
Thanks.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Graeme Cole wrote:THANKS FOR LETTING US KNOW! :lol:

I like this idea. New words every quarter, keeping pace with the language.

One question... does this make any difference to how you decide whether you can pluralise a word or add other inflections? There are borderline cases like SEDATIONS and DOTAGES, for example. Searching for SEDATIONS gives no results, searching for DOTAGES gives you the entry for DOTAGE. Does this count as an adjudication on validity or otherwise? Or would these things still be considered on their own merits by Susie?
I typed 'utopian' and got the following:
adjective
modelled on or aiming for a state in which everything is perfect; idealistic:
it is based on a utopian ideology
it is easy to dismiss this as naive or utopian


noun
an idealistic reformer:
he describes himself as an educational Utopian
So is Utopians not valid? What if there was no example given, you wouldn't know the noun was capitalised only (or is it)?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Jennifer Steadman wrote:Oooooooh. This is gonna be massive. Mike Brown and Giles may need some help with this Apto-dic update...

Also, does this mean the pencam/dictionary will be replaced by a computer/tablet device of some description?
Yes, pencam binned and if necessary we'll cut up a feed of the laptop screen instead.
Graeme Cole wrote:One question... does this make any difference to how you decide whether you can pluralise a word or add other inflections? There are borderline cases like SEDATIONS and DOTAGES, for example. Searching for SEDATIONS gives no results, searching for DOTAGES gives you the entry for DOTAGE.
Sedation is listed as a mass noun and dotage isn't, so i guess that's why the search results come up as they do.
Jon Corby wrote:Cool. In addition, can you please also:

Move the conundrum board out of view, and shut monitors off on buzzing.
No longer accept any "not written down" words - if you are clearly writing as the time is up, fine, you can finish, but all letters declarations must now be written down.
Change the name of Dictionary Corner to Dictionary Peninsula.
I don't think there's any need to shut off monitors. We're generally pretty strict on crucials when it comes to buzzing and not shouting it out straight away. Plus, the studio audience want to play along. If we move the conundrum board to somewhere else (where else could it go other than in the studio?), then they won't be able to see it.

Words not written down - there's no issue with that, is there? It's not a speed-writing contest after all and we do go to the non-writer first in the event of equal declarations. Oh, and utopians isn't capitalised. The ODO reflects the printed version in terms of textual content.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by sean d »

Well this is interesting and eminently sensible. (Even if it's a bit of a nightmare for Apterous!)

Does anyone have any idea how word counts compare between dictionary and website?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Graeme Cole »

Countdown Team wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote:One question... does this make any difference to how you decide whether you can pluralise a word or add other inflections? There are borderline cases like SEDATIONS and DOTAGES, for example. Searching for SEDATIONS gives no results, searching for DOTAGES gives you the entry for DOTAGE.
Sedation is listed as a mass noun and dotage isn't, so i guess that's why the search results come up as they do.
Sorry, bad example then. TRUANCIES is a better example. What I'm getting at is, if a player offers TRUANCIES for 9, is the process: look up "truancy" on ODO, see that it's a mass noun, and disallow it; or look up "truancies", see that it gives you the entry for "truancy" (which it does) rather than saying it's unrecognised like it does for some other mass noun plurals, so allow it? Or something else?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Can't the conundrum board simply face the audience and/or only have a shut off on contestant's monitors, not the ones the crowd can see?

It's very doable and it will stop the cheats, I think there are far more Hansforders than get mentioned.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Graeme Cole »

Dave Preece wrote:Can't the conundrum board simply face the audience and/or only have a shut off on contestant's monitors, not the ones the crowd can see?

It's very doable and it will stop the cheats, I think there are far more Hansforders than get mentioned.
If the conundrum board faced the audience, wouldn't that mean the unrevealed scramble and answer would face the contestants?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Innis Carson »

Great move. Regarding Graeme's point, I'd think that if the search bar recognises a plural and redirects you to the root entry, then that should be taken as an unequivocal indication that the plural is valid. If it doesn't recognise the plural, then you would have to look at the entry and make the decision in the 'traditional' way.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by JackHurst »

Graeme Cole wrote:
Dave Preece wrote:Can't the conundrum board simply face the audience and/or only have a shut off on contestant's monitors, not the ones the crowd can see?

It's very doable and it will stop the cheats, I think there are far more Hansforders than get mentioned.
If the conundrum board faced the audience, wouldn't that mean the unrevealed scramble and answer would face the contestants?
Yes! HAHAHHA.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Graeme Cole wrote: Sorry, bad example then. TRUANCIES is a better example. What I'm getting at is, if a player offers TRUANCIES for 9, is the process: look up "truancy" on ODO, see that it's a mass noun, and disallow it; or look up "truancies", see that it gives you the entry for "truancy" (which it does) rather than saying it's unrecognised like it does for some other mass noun plurals, so allow it? Or something else?
We look up the word offered, so would enter TRUANCIES. If no results are shown in the search then it would be disallowed, but in this case, we'd analyse the entry for any evidence that points to accepting it.
Dave Preece wrote:Can't the conundrum board simply face the audience and/or only have a shut off on contestant's monitors, not the ones the crowd can see?

It's very doable and it will stop the cheats
It's not at all doable to have the conundrum board facing the audience. There has to be a camera on it in order for the feed from that camera to appear on the contestants monitor, so we can't really put the studio camera in the audience seating area. When you say 'stop the cheats', it's pretty easy to over-exaggerate based on recent events, but by and large there isn't an issue. Not willing to shut monitors off because it's not that sort of game. If we think someone has had too long, they'll get DQ'd from the round and that's always been the case. The term 'Hansfording' is 7 years old almost, and in the 7 years that have passed (some 1500 shows), i don't think anyone can claim there's an epidemic.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Countdown Team wrote:Words not written down - there's no issue with that, is there? It's not a speed-writing contest after all and we do go to the non-writer first in the event of equal declarations. Oh, and utopians isn't capitalised. The ODO reflects the printed version in terms of textual content.
There's not an issue as such, but people can continue to work beyond the 30 seconds, and sometimes it's obvious. The times where it particularly irritates is when a contestant hears their opponent's confident declaration of 8, and then goes "oooh....yeah....I'll.... try..... an 8..... not written down" and spots the 8, or indeed just has a punt at one anyway. For very good players, the knowledge that there's an 8 there (especially that their opponent has spotted) can be supremely helpful, and a lot of the time it will then just jump out at them. These "very good players" have enough going for them as it is, without giving them this extra help. I genuinely can't see the downside to doing this - it doesn't turn it into a "speed writing" contest or change anything at all - if you've got a word, you can write it down. Once the 30 seconds are up, it's pens down. If you're writing as the time is up, fine, you can finish.

(As for utopians, I couldn't remember what the printed dictionary says, although I remember there was some dispute or other over the entry, although that's probably the previous edition as well. Actually, thinking about it, it may have been that "Utopia" was specified capitalised only, but utopians wasn't. Or something. Shit question, sorry.)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Mark Deeks »

This won't affect the world of Countdown nearly as much as the world of Apterous. Literally a game changer.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Adam Gillard »

ODO is more up-to-date than the printed ODE and it's free! I think this is a very sensible decision, Damian. I hope it works out well in terms of validation of declarations! Presumably contestants will still get a proper dictionary in their goody bags though?
Mike Brown: "Round 12: T N R S A E I G U

C1: SIGNATURE (18) ["9; not written down"]
C2: SEATING (7)
Score: 108–16 (max 113)

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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

Jon Corby wrote:For very good players, the knowledge that there's an 8 there (especially that their opponent has spotted) can be supremely helpful, and a lot of the time it will then just jump out at them. These "very good players" have enough going for them as it is, without giving them this extra help.
It's not just very good players. I often spot the longer word when someone declares its length.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

How will the aptodic get updated if this is just a search thing rather than a list?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:For very good players, the knowledge that there's an 8 there (especially that their opponent has spotted) can be supremely helpful, and a lot of the time it will then just jump out at them. These "very good players" have enough going for them as it is, without giving them this extra help.
It's not just very good players. I often spot the longer word when someone declares its length.
Lol, yeah I know. I tried to word it carefully so it didn't sound like blowing my own trumpet. It'll be true for a large number of seasoned apterites though. Joe Public already has an uphill battle against an apterite, without having genuine round victories snatched off them like this. I genuinely don't see any reason not to do it, honestly can't see a disadvantage.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Graeme Cole »

Here are the results of brainstorming words in aptochat and searching for them in ODO. Of course, none of these lists are exhaustive.

Comeback kids: Some words that were in ODE2r, are not in ODE3, but are in ODO:
  • ADMONITOR
  • FLASHCUBE
  • MONOLATER
  • REPMOBILE
  • RURALIZE/RURALISE
  • VENOSITY
  • TRITANOPE
  • PODAGRIC (Innis had this disallowed in the last-but-four round of the Comic Relief marathon)
  • OWLERY/-IES (Hi Dylan!)
  • ODORIZER is back, cheerily saying "what's up guys, did I miss anything? Andy, why are you looking at me like that?"
  • probably loads more
Some brand shiny new words in ODO:
  • FRACKING (but not FRACK/FRACKS/FRACKED, although FRACK is there with the tag "from the US dictionary" - does this mean it's invalid?)
  • BESTIE(S)
  • SELFIE(S)
  • RETCON/RETCONS/RETCONNED
  • TWERK/TWERKS/TWERKED/TWERKING
  • DOUCHEBAG
Still unaccountably not in:
  • UPVOTE/DOWNVOTE
  • FRAPE
  • SHIT as an adjective
  • HUNGOVER (still hyphenated)
Words in ODE3 but not in ODO:
  • ...
  • erm...
  • ... anyone?
It seems like ODO contains most (all?) of the words that were in ODE2r, as if they were only removed from the print edition of the ODE3 to save space in the book. In some cases a word that was valid in ODE2r isn't valid in ODO because the word's spelling or usage has changed. For example, AIRDATE was valid in ODE2r, but was two words in ODE3 and in ODO. Similarly, BONGOES was valid in ODE2r, but not in ODE3 or ODO, because BONGOS is the only valid spelling now. I don't think we've yet found an ODE2r-valid word that's been completely removed, rather than just changed, in ODO.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Matt Morrison »

I only checked quickly (and the seemingly weird URL structure doesn't help) but couldn't you just run the entire apterous dictionary (if provided) through a PHP headers check and catalogue the results?

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... d>?q=<word>
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... lo?q=hello = 200
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... p?q=madeup = 404

Do it in shifts mind.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Graeme Cole »

Matt Morrison wrote:I only checked quickly (and the seemingly weird URL structure doesn't help) but couldn't you just run the entire apterous dictionary (if provided) through a PHP headers check and catalogue the results?

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... d>?q=<word>
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... lo?q=hello = 200
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... p?q=madeup = 404

Do it in shifts mind.
Sadly it seems you only get headwords...
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... /cat?q=cat (200)
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... ats?q=cats (404)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Innis Carson »

It's been noticed that ODO will recognise some comparatives and superlatives of monosyllabic adjectives (from what I've seen, mainly everyday ones like WILDEST and GRANDER) and redirect you to the root word, whereas other ones (such as apterous abominations FAUXER and HINGEDEST) throw up "no results found". Will the show now take these as official adjudications of whether or not these words are valid, or carry on allowing all comparatives/superlatives of single syllable adjectives?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Graeme Cole wrote:
Dave Preece wrote:Can't the conundrum board simply face the audience and/or only have a shut off on contestant's monitors, not the ones the crowd can see?

It's very doable and it will stop the cheats, I think there are far more Hansforders than get mentioned.
If the conundrum board faced the audience, wouldn't that mean the unrevealed scramble and answer would face the contestants?
I don't know... Can you see a world, where some fans on here (like me) have never seen the set live???
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

JackHurst wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote:
Dave Preece wrote:Can't the conundrum board simply face the audience and/or only have a shut off on contestant's monitors, not the ones the crowd can see?

It's very doable and it will stop the cheats, I think there are far more Hansforders than get mentioned.
If the conundrum board faced the audience, wouldn't that mean the unrevealed scramble and answer would face the contestants?
Yes! HAHAHHA.
Sometimes you 'clever' boys and girls try too hard!!!

Especially young Jack.
Last edited by Dave Preece on Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Countdown Team wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote: Sorry, bad example then. TRUANCIES is a better example. What I'm getting at is, if a player offers TRUANCIES for 9, is the process: look up "truancy" on ODO, see that it's a mass noun, and disallow it; or look up "truancies", see that it gives you the entry for "truancy" (which it does) rather than saying it's unrecognised like it does for some other mass noun plurals, so allow it? Or something else?
We look up the word offered, so would enter TRUANCIES. If no results are shown in the search then it would be disallowed, but in this case, we'd analyse the entry for any evidence that points to accepting it.
Dave Preece wrote:Can't the conundrum board simply face the audience and/or only have a shut off on contestant's monitors, not the ones the crowd can see?

It's very doable and it will stop the cheats
It's not at all doable to have the conundrum board facing the audience. There has to be a camera on it in order for the feed from that camera to appear on the contestants monitor, so we can't really put the studio camera in the audience seating area. When you say 'stop the cheats', it's pretty easy to over-exaggerate based on recent events, but by and large there isn't an issue. Not willing to shut monitors off because it's not that sort of game. If we think someone has had too long, they'll get DQ'd from the round and that's always been the case. The term 'Hansfording' is 7 years old almost, and in the 7 years that have passed (some 1500 shows), i don't think anyone can claim there's an epidemic.
You allowed a cheat to win on Tuesday an it was DISGUSTING to watch!
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Jon Corby wrote:
Countdown Team wrote:Words not written down - there's no issue with that, is there? It's not a speed-writing contest after all and we do go to the non-writer first in the event of equal declarations. Oh, and utopians isn't capitalised. The ODO reflects the printed version in terms of textual content.
There's not an issue as such, but people can continue to work beyond the 30 seconds, and sometimes it's obvious. The times where it particularly irritates is when a contestant hears their opponent's confident declaration of 8, and then goes "oooh....yeah....I'll.... try..... an 8..... not written down" and spots the 8, or indeed just has a punt at one anyway. For very good players, the knowledge that there's an 8 there (especially that their opponent has spotted) can be supremely helpful, and a lot of the time it will then just jump out at them. These "very good players" have enough going for them as it is, without giving them this extra help. I genuinely can't see the downside to doing this - it doesn't turn it into a "speed writing" contest or change anything at all - if you've got a word, you can write it down. Once the 30 seconds are up, it's pens down. If you're writing as the time is up, fine, you can finish.

(As for utopians, I couldn't remember what the printed dictionary says, although I remember there was some dispute or other over the entry, although that's probably the previous edition as well. Actually, thinking about it, it may have been that "Utopia" was specified capitalised only, but utopians wasn't. Or something. Shit question, sorry.)
100% agree!
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:For very good players, the knowledge that there's an 8 there (especially that their opponent has spotted) can be supremely helpful, and a lot of the time it will then just jump out at them. These "very good players" have enough going for them as it is, without giving them this extra help.
It's not just very good players. I often spot the longer word when someone declares its length.
Me too and I'm a helm!
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Jon Corby wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:For very good players, the knowledge that there's an 8 there (especially that their opponent has spotted) can be supremely helpful, and a lot of the time it will then just jump out at them. These "very good players" have enough going for them as it is, without giving them this extra help.
It's not just very good players. I often spot the longer word when someone declares its length.
Lol, yeah I know. I tried to word it carefully so it didn't sound like blowing my own trumpet. It'll be true for a large number of seasoned apterites though. Joe Public already has an uphill battle against an apterite, without having genuine round victories snatched off them like this. I genuinely don't see any reason not to do it, honestly can't see a disadvantage.
I bet the 'team' don't reply!!!
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Mark Deeks »

Bet taken.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Matt Morrison »

Strong six
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

JackHurst wrote:
Graeme Cole wrote:
Dave Preece wrote:Can't the conundrum board simply face the audience and/or only have a shut off on contestant's monitors, not the ones the crowd can see?

It's very doable and it will stop the cheats, I think there are far more Hansforders than get mentioned.
If the conundrum board faced the audience, wouldn't that mean the unrevealed scramble and answer would face the contestants?
Yes! HAHAHHA.
Dave Preece wrote:Sometimes you 'clever' boys and girls try too hard!!!

Especially young Jack.
Yeah, like you'd know there wasn't a back on the conundrum stand. Or even if there wasn't one, get this - you could just put a curtain or something over the back of it. I'm pretty sure that no contestants ever* look at the board for the conundrum, they look at their monitors. Your suggestion was a perfectly good one (notwithstanding other more technical objections to do with camera shots or anything that we wouldn't know anything about).

I disagree that Hansfording (proper style, like v Callum) is rife, but when it does happen it is appalling. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of instances where the player double-checks during the time between buzzing and answering (which can help you decide between something like CONDEMNED and COMMENDED) and it's not fair.

* based on my time, and obviously it's a different studio now so I don't know positionings etc.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by sean d »

Whatever about the morality and gamesmanship of Hansfording it is clearly NOT cheating. No rules are being broken. Gamesmanship yes, cheating No.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jennifer Steadman »

I think shutting off the monitors is a good idea after a conundrum buzz (esp with an extremely competitive series finals coming up), but turning the conundrum board round seems a bit unnecessary - it's already kind of awkwardly placed for the contestants to see. Not impossible, but awkward. (Plus I can't really see how the logistics of moving it round would work - it would get in the way of the cameras/audience's view of the set.)

There will always be ways that people can try and buy a few extra seconds, but there's a thin line between cheating and genuine forgetfulness/nervousness, and the latter hugely outweighs the former. I imagine some people glance back at the monitor simply because it's there/on rather than because they're changing their answers, but turning off the monitor might make it a little clearer.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

sean d wrote:Whatever about the morality and gamesmanship of Hansfording it is clearly NOT cheating. No rules are being broken. Gamesmanship yes, cheating No.
Why, what do "the rules" say regarding conundrums? I don't have the current contestant pack.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jennifer Steadman »

From the main body of the email sent to series finalists:

"Just a reminder that when we get to the Conundrum round you MUST have the answer to say straight away when you buzz in. If you delay in saying your answer then the clock will be restarted and the rest of the time will be given to your opponent immediately."
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Jennifer Steadman wrote:From the main body of the email sent to series finalists:

"Just a reminder that when we get to the Conundrum round you MUST have the answer to say straight away when you buzz in. If you delay in saying your answer then the clock will be restarted and the rest of the time will be given to your opponent immediately."
Right. So it is cheating then.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by sean d »

Ah, so it is cheating in the series final, but hasn't been up til now! Simplest solution is a strong host who says just the contestant's name on buzzing with nothig else extraneous along the lines of "and Jen buzzes in to say...", and who will then enforce a Paxman on University Challenge style immediate answer policy. Shutting off the monitor also works against the opponent, who may be furiously stemming only to see the letters disappear. Or do you just turn off the buzzer's monitor?

Now, where do we stand on 29.5 second buzzers who obviously haven't got the solution ;-)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by sean d »

Incidentally does a mod want to split this into 2 or 3 threads
? This started off about the new dictionary but now we've got sidetracked into 'not written down' and Hansfording. All 3 worth debating on their own imo.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jennifer Steadman »

sean d wrote:Ah, so it is cheating in the series final, but hasn't been up til now!
The message is a REMINDER, not a new rule. Surely if you've ever seen an episode of Countdown in your life you know you're supposed to buzz and answer instantly. Otherwise why is there not an influx of people buzzing instantly and sit back for 30 seconds before saying an answer? Answer: because that's obviously not allowed. Not all rules need to be written down to be completely bleedin' obvious. And if they do, well then I plan on mooning the camera if I get a 9 during finals, because "no mooning" isn't in the rules either.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Graeme Cole »

sean d wrote:Incidentally does a mod want to split this into 2 or 3 threads
? This started off about the new dictionary but now we've got sidetracked into 'not written down' and Hansfording. All 3 worth debating on their own imo.
This.

Innis posted a good question about adjectives, but that's now been buried under an unrelated discussion about conundrum buzzing. Not that we shouldn't be discussing that of course, but this seems the wrong thread for it.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

sean d wrote:Ah, so it is cheating in the series final, but hasn't been up til now! Simplest solution is a strong host who says just the contestant's name on buzzing with nothig else extraneous along the lines of "and Jen buzzes in to say...", and who will then enforce a Paxman on University Challenge style immediate answer policy. Shutting off the monitor also works against the opponent, who may be furiously stemming only to see the letters disappear. Or do you just turn off the buzzer's monitor?

Now, where do we stand on 29.5 second buzzers who obviously haven't got the solution ;-)
I'll dig out my old contestant guidelines if I still have them to see what it says, but I can't imagine there's going to be any wording which suggests it is "allowed" for you to buzz in and then solve (or confirm/change your answer). It's a bit of a nonsense to suggest it's "allowed by the rules" as it's fairly clear that you should buzz to give your answer, i.e. at the exact point when you buzz, you have your answer. I daresay there's no explicit rule that you shouldn't smuggle in a solver, it should just go without saying, shouldn't it?

Yeah, you can just shut off the buzzer's monitor though, although TBH I don't think it matters much, as once your opponent has buzzed your focus shifts to them for the time being anyway. (I daresay that Callum solved ACCEPTING after Adbi had buzzed, but before he gave his answer though...)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Graeme Cole wrote:
sean d wrote:Incidentally does a mod want to split this into 2 or 3 threads
? This started off about the new dictionary but now we've got sidetracked into 'not written down' and Hansfording. All 3 worth debating on their own imo.
This.

Innis posted a good question about adjectives, but that's now been buried under an unrelated discussion about conundrum buzzing. Not that we shouldn't be discussing that of course, but this seems the wrong thread for it.
TBF the thread is titled "Series 70 - 2014 onwards", not "New Dictionary" so it seemed a decent place for other suggestions to be put to Countdown Team.

I realise this post hasn't helped with the bloating issue though.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Jennifer Steadman wrote:And if they do, well then I plan on mooning the camera if I get a 9 during finals, because "no mooning" isn't in the rules either.
I expect a good old nork flap for a successful numbers solve too then.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

Innis Carson wrote:It's been noticed that ODO will recognise some comparatives and superlatives of monosyllabic adjectives (from what I've seen, mainly everyday ones like WILDEST and GRANDER) and redirect you to the root word, whereas other ones (such as apterous abominations FAUXER and HINGEDEST) throw up "no results found". Will the show now take these as official adjudications of whether or not these words are valid, or carry on allowing all comparatives/superlatives of single syllable adjectives?
Unless there are cases where this throws out stupid results, it seems that this should be definitive in all cases, whether here or with mass nouns or something else. That way we would have perfect clarity and consistency and nothing can ever go wrong again. So just type in a word and see if it recognises it.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Dave Preece wrote:
I bet the 'team' don't reply!!!
There will be a reply. Only if you promise to get your blood pressure checked out first.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Dave Preece wrote:
You allowed a cheat to win on Tuesday an it was DISGUSTING to watch!
Right. The issue relating to Tuesday's show was perhaps made bigger by what happened with the 1st conundrum. I dare say if the first conundrum had never happened, i don't think many people would be crying foul over what took place in the 2nd one, ie if it were in isolation, it probably wouldn't come across as unsporting play.

We took appropriate action with the 1st conundrum and what you can't see or hear on screen, is that while the contestant in question is saying "er is it? er is it?" for several seconds, the gallery is telling NH that he's taken too long as is disqualified from the round. The decision is made very very quickly, but by the time it's relayed to the presenter, there can be a few more seconds of guessing and hesitation from the contestant, which makes it look like he's getting a long time to answer, when in fact he isn't. NH then gave a polite reminder to both guys that when you buzz in, you must say the answer straight away.

In order to DQ the chap from the 2nd conundrum, we had to be 100% sure that when be buzzed, he didn't have the answer. Yes there was another 'is it'?' again, but the answer followed immediately, so although it was very very close to being a DQ, it wasn't close enough. We did also get lots of emails and tweets to the office after the show, people saying what a great contest and how much they enjoyed it etc, but we didn't get 1 solitary complaint about foul play. That's a statistical fact.

Will try and reply to other questions further up the thread later on. There's quite a mixture and it's got a bit full-on.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Innis Carson wrote:Great move. Regarding Graeme's point, I'd think that if the search bar recognises a plural and redirects you to the root entry, then that should be taken as an unequivocal indication that the plural is valid. If it doesn't recognise the plural, then you would have to look at the entry and make the decision in the 'traditional' way.
Yes i think that's more or less the method we'll use, but we're still getting directions from OUP about the ODO website and how it offers up results etc, but by and large i don't think you're far off with what you've said.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Innis Carson wrote:It's been noticed that ODO will recognise some comparatives and superlatives of monosyllabic adjectives (from what I've seen, mainly everyday ones like WILDEST and GRANDER) and redirect you to the root word, whereas other ones (such as apterous abominations FAUXER and HINGEDEST) throw up "no results found". Will the show now take these as official adjudications of whether or not these words are valid, or carry on allowing all comparatives/superlatives of single syllable adjectives?

From memory (am not at work today and don't have a dictionary at home), the ODE3 mentions 1-syllable adjectives and the comparatives and superlatives in the notes section at the front, and i think it says 'in most cases' but not in every case. We'll get this checked out though because it's a great point you make and it does need clarifying for definite. We're not running with this until late November so there are still things that need ironing out. Cheers, Innis.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Clive Brooker »

I can't think of any change in the history of the show which so radically changed the look and feel as much as this one will (changing to an online dictionary, that is). An uncharacteristically brave decision by Team Countdown. I suppose we'll have "Computer Corner" from now on, making an honest woman of Susie at last.

Stopping people declaring "not written down" would be an equally big change. I don't see how you could do it unless papers are inspected after every round, which would be a bit weird. What you could do is say that NWD no longer carries any influence on the game - your opponent declares 7, you declare 7NWD, he gives his word first and if you don't have a different one you lose the round. At the same time, I'd also warn players against embellishing declarations with stuff like "OK I'll risk a very dodgy 8 but I'm almost certain it's been disallowed many times before" which can obviously (whether intentionally or not) influence your opponent's declaration. So basically a declaration must simply be an immediate statement of the length of the word they want to declare - any hesitation or additional stuff and they risk forfeiting the round.

I think I forgot to take my blood pressure pills this morning.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Adam Gillard wrote:ODO is more up-to-date than the printed ODE and it's free! I think this is a very sensible decision, Damian. I hope it works out well in terms of validation of declarations! Presumably contestants will still get a proper dictionary in their goody bags though?
Yes and a shiny new Oxford Thesaurus to go with it.
Jon Corby wrote: I genuinely can't see the downside to doing this - it doesn't turn it into a "speed writing" contest or change anything at all - if you've got a word, you can write it down. Once the 30 seconds are up, it's pens down. If you're writing as the time is up, fine, you can finish.
The downside, Jon, is that we go from the very very rare instance of someone doing what you said, as in 'i'll try an 8 as well' and then working it out in the next few seconds, something which isn't visibly evident on-screen, to allowing every single contestant the opportunity to keep on writing after the time is up, which is obviously visible on screen. For the sake of solving a very rare minority issue, we're opening up all sorts of doors for exploitation.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Clive Brooker wrote:I can't think of any change in the history of the show which so radically changed the look and feel as much as this one will (changing to an online dictionary, that is). An uncharacteristically brave decision by Team Countdown. I suppose we'll have "Computer Corner" from now on, making an honest woman of Susie at last.
It's not a brave decision, it's just a necessary one, nor is it uncharacteristic. You just don't know the character very well.
As for computer corner, we'll be using the online dictionary on a computer, so it's still dictionary corner and the words offered by DC will be spotted without any aids, as has always been the case. We've definitely no plans to enforce a rule that says people have to write things down. There isn't any justifiable reason for doing so.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Mark Deeks »

Hansford solved that PARQUETRY more instantly than any conundrum I've ever seen since. By which I mean, he said it as soon as he buzzed. Obviously he didn't have it when he buzzed, but, still. There was no lingering after the buzz.
Last edited by Mark Deeks on Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Graeme Cole »

Countdown Team wrote: In order to DQ the chap from the 2nd conundrum, we had to be 100% sure that when be buzzed, he didn't have the answer. Yes there was another 'is it'?' again, but the answer followed immediately, so although it was very very close to being a DQ, it wasn't close enough.
Totally agree. If you're going to disqualify someone's guess, and suggest that they haven't played in the spirit of the game, especially on such a crucial conundrum, you need to be very sure of your ground. To me, and to others on this forum, Abdi might not have solved ACCEPTING when Nick called his name, and might have deliberately stalled for time with the "is it...". But "might" isn't enough.

Tough decision to allow it, but I think it would have been tougher to disallow it.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Countdown Team wrote:
Jon Corby wrote: I genuinely can't see the downside to doing this - it doesn't turn it into a "speed writing" contest or change anything at all - if you've got a word, you can write it down. Once the 30 seconds are up, it's pens down. If you're writing as the time is up, fine, you can finish.
The downside, Jon, is that we go from the very very rare instance of someone doing what you said, as in 'i'll try an 8 as well' and then working it out in the next few seconds, something which isn't visibly evident on-screen, to allowing every single contestant the opportunity to keep on writing after the time is up, which is obviously visible on screen. For the sake of solving a very rare minority issue, we're opening up all sorts of doors for exploitation.
Yeah, I thought about that, and I just don't think it matters. If you're writing as the time is up, you're allowed to finish. How long does it take to scribble a word that you've got? A second? Two? Is it really conceivable that someone might pretend to be writing to gain an extra few seconds? I genuinely don't think I could multitask like that. The idea of sitting there once the 30 seconds is up, pretending to write, in order to give yourself an extra second or two (in which you're also concentrating on pretending to write) when you don't even know what your opponent is declaring? Don't see it.
Clive Brooker wrote:Stopping people declaring "not written down" would be an equally big change. I don't see how you could do it unless papers are inspected after every round, which would be a bit weird.
You're missing the point, I think. At the moment, everybody has to declare if something isn't written down. Most of the time, we don't actually know whether they have written it down or not, but we assume they have, because if they're asked to prove it and they haven't, they're disqualified. The worst cases (IMO) where the current protocol can be abused is where contestant B hears A's declaration, and can then look to spot their word. In these cases, contestant B would be required to show their paper.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Countdown Team wrote:We've definitely no plans to enforce a rule that says people have to write things down. There isn't any justifiable reason for doing so.
It's very clear to me (anyone else?), but maybe I'm just ridiculously anal about things like this?

To flip it over, what possible advantage is there to allowing not written down solutions [with the caveat I provide that you're allowed to continue writing if you're clearly noting a word as time is out]*, other than giving cheats the opportunity to exploit it? I genuinely don't get it.

* be very clear that I'm only talking about letters rounds here. I'm not particularly interested in discerning between a genuine spot at 29.9 seconds and 30.1 seconds - if you're scribbling your word down as the time ends, fine, finish. The idea that somebody could abuse this by gaining extra time by pretending to write a word is ludicrous. What isn't on is getting words well after the time, especially based on your opponent's declaration.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Mark Deeks wrote:Hansford solved that PARQUETRY more instantly than any conundrum I've ever seen since.
Definitely floored his opponent.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Jon, from my point of view, I had several people say that when I was on the show, I seemed to not write things down very much. There were 2 reasons for this. Sometimes I'd spot a 6 straight away, but be sure there was a 7 and spend so long looking for the 7, that I'd forget to write the 6 down.

I also got somewhat flustered with numbers rounds, and often spotted things at the last imaginible second. Are you saying I should've been punished for not being able to write down a 5 stage sum in 1 second? You get 30 seconds to find a solution, not to commit it to paper. I'm perfectly happy to trust that most people will not exploit the incredibly minor "flaws" (though I'm loathed to even call them that) to gain an advantage.
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