Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

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Zarte Siempre
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Countdown Team wrote:
Mark Deeks wrote:Hansford solved that PARQUETRY more instantly than any conundrum I've ever seen since.
Definitely floored his opponent.
Usually I like having the team's clarification, but if there's any more of that I'm going to file a petition for them to muted xD *winces with pain under full force of pun*
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Jennifer Steadman
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jennifer Steadman »

Zarte Siempre wrote: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.
+1, especially the bits in bold.

Good to see a prompt response from the Team. Dave, what does Mark win from your bet?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Jon Corby wrote:
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?), etc etc......
Jon- to clarify , you're asking about this scenario...

Contestant A - 7
Contestant B, currently with a 6, then gets looking for a 7.
Nick to Contestant B - "and yours" ..
Contestant B - (now having seen the 7), "7 not written down" ?

If this is what you mean, then yes technically it can happen, but not very often and it's not provable at all. I don't want to make a radical change to the rules over something so rare and unlikely. If someone spots a word after 29.9 seconds and starts to write it down, especially when it's their turn to declare first, then they'd be writing down in front of the camera, after time, possibly for 2 or 3 seconds more, depending on their age and how good or bad their eyesight is. This is far worse than the unlikely scenario above. We can't give the green light for people to write down words 2 or 3 seconds after time, yet at the same time, haul the over the coals for hesitating for 2 or 3 seconds on a conundrum buzz. BTW - shutting off the monitors does nothing when the conundrum board is 20ft away in the studio - plus the mix-ups are easy to remember. You can still unscramble GORYPITCH in your head without seeing monitors or boards.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon O'Neill »

Zarte Siempre wrote: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.
You should be penalised for this, just like on Apterous. You're gaining an advantage by not writing it down, which is more time to look for the 7.
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Jon Corby
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Zarte Siempre wrote: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.
+1, especially the bits in bold.

Good to see a prompt response from the Team. Dave, what does Mark win from your bet?
Sorry, I thought I was clear enough that I was talking specifically about letters rounds when I said that I was talking specifically about letters rounds. Numbers are a whole different kettle of fish.

Sure, you'd spot a 6 straight away and not bother writing it down because you thought there was a 7. But... if the rules were that you had to write it down, then you'd have written the fucking 6 down, wouldn't you?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jennifer Steadman »

Jon Corby wrote:
Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Zarte Siempre wrote: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.
+1, especially the bits in bold.

Good to see a prompt response from the Team. Dave, what does Mark win from your bet?
Sorry, I thought I was clear enough that I was talking specifically about letters rounds when I said that I was talking specifically about letters rounds. Numbers are a whole different kettle of fish.

Sure, you'd spot a 6 straight away and not bother writing it down because you thought there was a 7. But... if the rules were that you had to write it down, then you'd have written the fucking 6 down, wouldn't you?
The words 'mountain' and 'molehill' spring to mind. By introducing different rules about writing things down/not writing things down for letters and numbers, you're pretty much just overcomplicating things for the sake of it. You can't regulate absolutely everything to prevent a tiny chance of someone exploiting it to cheat. I mean, technically it's probably possible to lipread a word a friend in the audience has seen but you haven't, but you're not going to force the entire audience to wear burkas just to eliminate that negligible possibility, are you?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Countdown Team wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:
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?), etc etc......
Jon- to clarify , you're asking about this scenario...

Contestant A - 7
Contestant B, currently with a 6, then gets looking for a 7.
Nick to Contestant B - "and yours" ..
Contestant B - (now having seen the 7), "7 not written down" ?

If this is what you mean, then yes technically it can happen, but not very often and it's not provable at all. I don't want to make a radical change to the rules over something so rare and unlikely. If someone spots a word after 29.9 seconds and starts to write it down, especially when it's their turn to declare first, then they'd be writing down in front of the camera, after time, possibly for 2 or 3 seconds more, depending on their age and how good or bad their eyesight is. This is far worse than the unlikely scenario above. We can't give the green light for people to write down words 2 or 3 seconds after time, yet at the same time, haul the over the coals for hesitating for 2 or 3 seconds on a conundrum buzz. BTW - shutting off the monitors does nothing when the conundrum board is 20ft away in the studio - plus the mix-ups are easy to remember. You can still unscramble GORYPITCH in your head without seeing monitors or boards.
I'm on chiefly about that scenario, yes. That is where it stings the most. By telling everybody that words must be written down (but that you're allowed to finish if you've started when the time is up), you remove this happening, and happily also happen to pick up other instances where words are spotted well outside the time.

Shutting off the monitors does plenty too - do you play apterous, where exactly this is implemented? If you see an 'ING' in the scramble (and it's not the series finals!) a lot of people would back themselves to unscramble the remaining 6 letters inbetween buzzing and having to give their answer. Some scrambles just are of the type that you can get quickly, and you know that from seeing them. Losing the scramble from under your nose, while being asked for the answer, should be deterrent enough not to buzz in when you think you've almost got it, or can probably solve quickly.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Jennifer Steadman wrote:The words 'mountain' and 'molehill' spring to mind. By introducing different rules about writing things down/not writing things down for letters and numbers, you're pretty much just overcomplicating things for the sake of it. You can't regulate absolutely everything to prevent a tiny chance of someone exploiting it to cheat. I mean, technically it's probably possible to lipread a word a friend in the audience has seen but you haven't, but you're not going to force the entire audience to wear burkas just to eliminate that negligible possibility, are you?
It's hardly a massive shift to ask people to write their words down. Everybody does it at the moment, but you're just allowed not to as well. But why is that? Genuinely, what advantage does it bring anybody, other than allowing bad things to happen? I genuinely don't see that somebody would pretend to write down a word on 30 seconds to try and gain a second or two, why would they be backing themselves to spot something after 31s that they hadn't in 30s? It's a ridiculous objection.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Zarte Siempre wrote: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.
You should be penalised for this, just like on Apterous. You're gaining an advantage by not writing it down, which is more time to look for the 7.
Personally I found the very nature of the 2 beasts entirely different. Most people can time without looking at the keyboard, meaning that I can hammer at the keys whatever I see (usually everything twice in case I typo) - under lights, and when I worked out that I couldn't write something down (legibly) and look at the display at the same time, I'd save my writing down until the end. Plus, if you notice you're near the end of time on apterous, you can hit a letter you view most likely to yield something, and buy yourself an extra 5 seconds that way. Not something I do in normal play, but bloody useful in bullet *shrug* If anything I see that as a bigger flaunting.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by sean d »

I expect the ones to suffer most from a strict written down rule would be the more casual players. Apterites are used to having to commit words during the 30 seconds. A little old lady who playsalong at home is not and she's the one who's going to get flustered and distracted and end up with nothing to declare.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

sean d wrote:I expect the ones to suffer most from a strict written down rule would be the more casual players. Apterites are used to having to commit words during the 30 seconds. A little old lady who playsalong at home is not and she's the one who's going to get flustered and distracted and end up with nothing to declare.
Bollocks :lol: All the little old women on the show nonchalantly play through rounds without writing stuff down, right? Oh yeah, they're the worst, always with their "oh yeah, I got a n. Haven't written it down tho 8-) "
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Mark James »

Countdown Team wrote: Contestant A - 7
Contestant B, currently with a 6, then gets looking for a 7.
Nick to Contestant B - "and yours" ..
Contestant B - (now having seen the 7), "7 not written down" ?

If this is what you mean, then yes technically it can happen, but not very often and it's not provable at all.
I think this happens more often than you think. I certainly do it all the time watching at home. You may not be able to prove it but you could eliminate it as Jon is saying and then you wouldn't have to worry about proving it. As for continuing to write after the 30 seconds I'm pretty sure I did this at least once when I was filming. On apterous if you have the word started you're able to finish it off so I figured there would be similar leeway on the show. For what it's worth I prefer not writing stuff down and would have gladly said not written down for every round when I was on but I thought it kind of goes against the spirit of the game and I find myself agreeing with Jon that it would clear up any ambiguity. I have a bit more to say about it but will have to wait till my episode airs.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by sean d »

We'll have to agree to disagree Jon ( because you're wrong! ;-) )

Yes the apto kids don't bother writing down to save a few seconds. If they had to, by the rules, they would and it'd affect them less than the casual players.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

sean d wrote:We'll have to agree to disagree Jon ( because you're wrong! ;-) )

Yes the apto kids don't bother writing down to save a few seconds. If they had to, by the rules, they would and it'd affect them less than the casual players.
It's not supposed to affect anybody in terms of the time taken to write stuff down. If an apterite has a 7 in a round, and hears their casual-player opponent declare 8, they'll probably back themselves to spot it in the time they have available to do so.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Jon Corby wrote:
sean d wrote:We'll have to agree to disagree Jon ( because you're wrong! ;-) )

Yes the apto kids don't bother writing down to save a few seconds. If they had to, by the rules, they would and it'd affect them less than the casual players.
It's not supposed to affect anybody in terms of the time taken to write stuff down. If an apterite has a 7 in a round, and hears their casual-player opponent declare 8, they'll probably back themselves to spot it in the time they have available to do so.
When I got outdeclared (probably CSW valid) - I spent more of the time looking at my opponent confusedly :P
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jack Worsley »

I like the idea of using the online dictionary for the reasons that others have outlined. It's going to feel very strange for the first few shows but hopefully it's a change for the better and over time we'll get used to it.

Countdown is a game which is noted for its honest contestants and it's very rarely that we see any form of cheating. I've never liked the idea of punishing the majority for the actions of the minority and I think this should apply to the show too. I don't see the point of forcing people to write down their words when there's hardly ever an issue; having to declare it "not written down" is fair enough. The systems already in place to deal with the exceptions are fine in my opinion so there's no need to change them, as it would create more problems than it would solve. I don't think we should be swayed by the recent actions of Abdirizak and I don't think there was any form of injustice. The first one was clearly over the limit so he was rightly disqualified. The second one was borderline but I thought it was just about OK.

I do have one minor suggestion to cut out some attempts to cheat though.
Countdown Team wrote:
Jon- to clarify , you're asking about this scenario...

Contestant A - 7
Contestant B, currently with a 6, then gets looking for a 7.
Nick to Contestant B - "and yours" ..
Contestant B - (now having seen the 7), "7 not written down" ?
Suppose that instead, contestant B hadn't spotted a seven by the time (s)he was asked by Nick but unconvincingly said seven and didn't write it down, or say "not written down". Nick's been the host for almost two years now and in that time, if both contestants declare the same length written down, he has almost always gone back to the first contestant to ask for their word first. In my opinion, if the second contestant shows any sign of doubting their word or even trying to fudge one when they haven't got one (these two cases are often visible but not always), they should be asked for their word first to give them less time to come up with a word or a safer alternative. I seem to remember that although Jeff always asked the person who made the selection for their length second, he was more flexible when it came to who to ask for the actual word first. Surely Nick can do the same. This probably wouldn't change much and would keep the integrity of the show in tact.

That brings me to another question which I've always wondered about. Suppose that you've got two words in mind, for example you note both CAPTIONER and RECAPTION but you're equally unsure of both. If it's you to declare second and your opponent declares a nine confidently, you could just copy and say you've got the same when they declare RECAPTION. Where do other people stand on this? Should you have to make it clear on paper which one you want to go for by the end of the 30 seconds or is the luck of who declares first part of the game that adds to the fun? Sorry if this moves the thread further off topic but it's something I'd be interested to hear other people's opinions on.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Graeme Cole »

Jack Worsley wrote: That brings me to another question which I've always wondered about. Suppose that you've got two words in mind, for example you note both CAPTIONER and RECAPTION but you're equally unsure of both. If it's you to declare second and your opponent declares a nine confidently, you could just copy and say you've got the same when they declare RECAPTION. Where do other people stand on this? Should you have to make it clear on paper which one you want to go for by the end of the 30 seconds or is the luck of who declares first part of the game that adds to the fun? Sorry if this moves the thread further off topic but it's something I'd be interested to hear other people's opinions on.
It's accepted that there's an advantage to declaring second. In deciding whether to go for your safe six or your risky eight, you can base it on what your opponent declared. It's part of the game. That's why the declaring order alternates, and why apterous tells you what your opponent declared (if they declared first) before asking you which word you're going for.

Choosing your actual word based on what word your opponent gave I think is fine too - part of the game. You wouldn't be able to prove whether someone was doing that anyway. As long as you spotted it within the 30 seconds and wrote it down I don't think it's a problem. As you say, Nick usually asks for equal-length words in the same order he asked for the declarations. Jeff usually asked the second declarer for their word first. Either way is fine, as the requirement to give your word first shouldn't be more likely to fall on one player than the other.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Jack Worsley wrote:I don't see the point of forcing people to write down their words when there's hardly ever an issue; having to declare it "not written down" is fair enough. The systems already in place to deal with the exceptions are fine in my opinion so there's no need to change them, as it would create more problems than it would solve.
Be a dear and list all these "problems it creates" please, or at least give me a flavour of them?

What is actually gained by allowing not-written down words, what's the advantage of it that makes it so worthwhile?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Callum Todd »

Seems as we're all having a mass debate, I'll join in too. I don't see any problem with people saying 'not written down'. It is necessary for people who spot a word at the last second, and especially on the numbers rounds, where it can take quite a while to write down a tricky solution. Some people will try to cheat, but I don't think this happens very often. And when it does happen, more often than not their cheating doesn't work and they just embarrass themselves. On the numbers rounds especially, it's painfully obvious when somebody is attempting to fudge it.

I am in favour of Jon's idea of cutting out the monitor upon conundrum buzzing though. While the conundrum board is still visible (although not entirely, especially from the challenger's chair) and the scrambles can be remembered, it would certainly make it much more difficult for a conundrum cheat to succeed in their unsporting efforts, and would make it even more obvious that they're cheating.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Callum Todd »

Oh and while I'm here, I like the whole ODO idea. It opens up a whole new range of possibilities, makes it more fair on the unlucky people like Andy with ODORIZES and Dylan with OWLERIES, and is a very brave move. Sad to see the pencam going though. Perhaps it could be retained, but focused on the laptop/tablet screen instead of on the dictionary?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Callum Todd wrote:It is necessary for people who spot a word at the last second, and especially on the numbers rounds, where it can take quite a while to write down a tricky solution.
Yes - numbers are completely different. You can think you've got a numbers solution and be not sure (I was 49 away, but I think I had a spare 6 to use before I multiplied by 8, and did I still have that 1 left over?), it's totally different. There's no point in giving you extra grace to write it down either, as you just do that anyway with Rachel (and everyone watching you). There is still opportunity for nicking your opponent's declaration if it sounds like a nice round number that you can easily get (e.g. Carl Williams), but I don't have a simple solution for that.

I'm talking about letters only. You've either got a word, or you haven't. And once you have it, you can write it down. If you've spotted it at the last second, you can write it down, and you're allowed to finish writing it down, but it's pens down at the end of the clock, and if you've seen something after that, tough shit. Why is everyone trying to make this sound complicated?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Callum Todd »

Jon Corby wrote:You've either got a word, or you haven't. And once you have it, you can write it down. If you've spotted it at the last second, you can write it down, and you're allowed to finish writing it down, but it's pens down at the end of the clock, and if you've seen something after that, tough shit. Why is everyone trying to make this sound complicated?
Let's suppose somebody spots a word on 29.5-30.0 seconds. It can happen, I get it a lot on apterous or watching Countdown at home. They have spotted the word within the time and have every right to play that word. But in that very short amount of time, the pen may not even hit paper until after the clock has stopped. Under your idea, they would either look like they're writing a word down after time, or be unable to play the word because they haven't got it written down.

I understand your problem with the exploitability of NWD, but I think it would shut some people out unfairly. We have to leave some of the game down to trust in your opponent's willingness to cooperate with the game rules. If we make the whole show a thoroughly policed process, it takes a way a lot of the the game's charm.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Callum Todd wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:You've either got a word, or you haven't. And once you have it, you can write it down. If you've spotted it at the last second, you can write it down, and you're allowed to finish writing it down, but it's pens down at the end of the clock, and if you've seen something after that, tough shit. Why is everyone trying to make this sound complicated?
Let's suppose somebody spots a word on 29.5-30.0 seconds. It can happen, I get it a lot on apterous or watching Countdown at home. They have spotted the word within the time and have every right to play that word. But in that very short amount of time, the pen may not even hit paper until after the clock has stopped. Under your idea, they would either look like they're writing a word down after time, or be unable to play the word because they haven't got it written down.
If they spot it on 29.5-30.0 seconds, they can write it down. I'm on about the rule being "pens down at the end of time", but if you're clearly writing down a word, you can finish. It's just a word, we're not going to be sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting for them. Somebody can intervene if a contestant clearly starts well after the time, but if they've done it on even 30.5 seconds, I doubt anyone will notice or care. I'm not really interested in separating a 29.5 second spot from even a 30.5 second spot. What is unsatisfactory is when words are found well after the time, often based on hearing their opponent's declaration.

I don't understand what you're trying to preserve tbh. If they've got it in 30 seconds, they're still allowed it. Can you be clearer about how anyone misses out on anything unfairly under my rule?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Someone writing something clearly could just be someone doodling to flaunt your rule, and get themselves an extra 5 seconds, because there'd be a delay in someone saying "Oi, cut it out" as there would be with someone Hansfording now. So I'd just look like I was writing at the end of every round to flaunt your nice new rule. I'd probably gain no advantage, I'd just do it to piss you off.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Also,
Callum Todd wrote:Seems as we're all having a mass debate, I'll join in too.
Giggidy
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Callum Todd »

Zarte Siempre wrote:Also,
Callum Todd wrote:Seems as we're all having a mass debate, I'll join in too.
Giggidy
I was hoping somebody would notice that. And I was expecting it to be you :)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Callum Todd wrote:
Zarte Siempre wrote:Also,
Callum Todd wrote:Seems as we're all having a mass debate, I'll join in too.
Giggidy
I was hoping somebody would notice that. And I was expecting it to be you :)
Glad to be of service :)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Adam Gillard »

Countdown Team wrote:
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.
Cool, thanks for the info, Damian!

All this talk about the in-desk monitors - I couldn't even see mine in the new studios (MediaCity) without leaning right over the desk so I was directly above it, due to the position of the chair, the angle of the monitor and the lights hitting it, so I gave up (as it required me to lift myself out of the chair and looked stupid). Instead I used the actual letters / numbers board for the letters and numbers rounds. I tried to use the conundrum board for the conundrum round, but realised after a second or so that it was completely obscured by a camera, so ended up using the ceiling-mounted monitor instead (which was lagging slightly behind real time, which is why I used the actual board for the letters / numbers rounds). I don't think the "not written down" rule should change and anyway Damian gave a full and considered answer at 2:01pm today (c4ctime) before much of this debate took place.
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)

Another niner for Adam and yet another century. Well done, that man."
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Zarte Siempre wrote:Someone writing something clearly could just be someone doodling to flaunt your rule, and get themselves an extra 5 seconds, because there'd be a delay in someone saying "Oi, cut it out" as there would be with someone Hansfording now. So I'd just look like I was writing at the end of every round to flaunt your nice new rule. I'd probably gain no advantage, I'd just do it to piss you off.
Well, yeah, but if you want to cram an extra few seconds, there are myriad ways to do so now.

I'm ducking out of here now anyway (and not because Damian said "no" Adam - the discussion doesn't have to end there!) because I'm just repeating myself over and over again and I've been accused previously of being too "brute force" in discussions. If I see anybody making a proper logical point then I'll return to counter that but otherwise, laters.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by johnslater »

Remember, it's just a mass-market entertainment programme on the teevee. For those who want to take it seriously, maybe someone should come up with a web site where we can play online.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Martin Bishop »

What do OUP think about this? Loads of people must buy their dictionaries specifically for Countdown.

I don't like the idea much. I'm generally a fan of the physical world. I think a book makes a much nicer prop for a tv show about words. The switch to a laptop/tablet goes against the low-tech casual pen and paper feel the show has. Everyone is also going to assume Susie is cheating.

Also, my mum can't work the internet. How is she going to check her words now? I don't really want to be fiddling with my smartphone between rounds either.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Martin Bishop wrote:The switch to a laptop/tablet goes against the low-tech casual pen and paper feel the show has. Everyone is also going to assume Susie is cheating.
That's a point, it looks quite cool at the moment that Susie is leafing through the dictionary for the 30 seconds. It's gonna look like she's playing fucking Candy Crush Saga to pass the time now.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Whilst I'm perfectly happy with the way things are, I did have a thought with regards to Jon's opinions.

If you DID want to make a change, is there a middle ground, to avoid people trying to match their opponent's declaration. Rather than ban "not written down" altogether, you could always get someone just to write down the length they were declaring. It's a single digit, no writing after time, they can show their opponent the number, but it allows for a late spot, or just being lapsed-minded.
Possibly the first contestant to accelerate with a mic clipped...
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

So everybody writes words down, nobody writes numbers, but now it's somehow better that they realise that it's late and they're probably not going to be able to write their word down, so instead they write down the length of it, and this is supposed to help the old grannies who might take a long time to write their word and probably need to count the letters in it anyway? And that's better and easier than everybody just writing words down, as they do now?

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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

Jon Corby wrote:So everybody writes words down, nobody writes numbers, but now it's somehow better that they realise that it's late and they're probably not going to be able to write their word down, so instead they write down the length of it, and this is supposed to help the old grannies who might take a long time to write their word and probably need to count the letters in it anyway? And that's better and easier than everybody just writing words down, as they do now?

Image
*shrug* It's not perfect, but at least I'm trying to work with what everyone but you is viewing as a shit idea :)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Ouch!
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Zarte Siempre wrote:*shrug* It's not perfect, but at least I'm trying to work with what everyone but you is viewing as a shit idea :)
I don't know how you've got the gall to call it a shit idea when you come up with that. Under your rules, you'd simply write down the number of letters in your declaration, right? Let's go back to your example of having a safe 6 but not bothering to write it down because you think there's a 7 there. And you're right, there is a 7 there. But when you see it, that gets you thinking, hey I'm sure there was an 8 before when I saw this word and maybe one of these other letters there, and you're back in the same boat. And just on time, you think "shit... yeah... no... yeah... was that it?" So now you've got a 7 and an 8 not written down. So what do you do? Write down 7 and 8? You've spotted both in the time, if your opponent declares 6 you're going with your safe 7, if your opponent declares 7 or 8 you've got a choice to make. Basically it's presumably fine under your method to have 7 & 8 written down for your "not written down declarations" - so essentially it can be easily circumvented by just having "6 7 8 9" written down regardless.

If you're suggesting a solution (which involves changing the current protocol far more than mine) then does that mean you accept there is a problem which needs solving? I mean if not, just say so (if you like you might also try to defend what is gained by allowing spots well after the time, and/or based on your opponent's declaration) and that's that really. But if so, can you explain clearly what the issue is with my suggestion? It's quite obviously by far the simplest and neatest solution. I mean, my way can be implemented without anything changing at all really, does anyone really get upset if somebody's finishing writing a second after the clock? Would they be disqualified from the round? I doubt it.

Alternatively, since I did say this earlier:
Jon Corby wrote:I'm ducking out of here now anyway (and not because Damian said "no" Adam - the discussion doesn't have to end there!) because I'm just repeating myself over and over again and I've been accused previously of being too "brute force" in discussions. If I see anybody making a proper logical point then I'll return to counter that but otherwise, laters.
this may have just been a trap to bait me back in, in which case: bravo, it absolutely worked like a charm, I'm literally seething here :x
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Shit idea(!)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Anthony Endsor »

johnslater wrote:Remember, it's just a mass-market entertainment programme on the teevee. For those who want to take it seriously, maybe someone should come up with a web site where we can play online.
That's a brilliant idea. I've got the perfect name for it as well. Why don't we call it apterous. :lol:

In other words, I think that ship's sailed mate. :P
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

By the way, whatever one may think of people's ideas, I definitely think it's good that there are people willing to make a sustained argument for something. I know some people probably think "shut up about this - it's getting boring now", but I consider arguments like this a good thing, even if it is mainly one person on one of the sides.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

Interestingly it finds the entry for SALMON if you type SALMONS, even though it says the plural is the same. No FABBER (or FABER), and no RAVIOLIS, even though it doesn't mention that it's a plural noun.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Zarte Siempre »

:lol:
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Graeme Cole »

I found a link somewhere on ODO that gave me all the words that have been added recently. Looks like it's a way of searching for the bit where it says "New words: <date>".

I've excluded words that aren't useful for Countdown or apterous, such as capitalised words, hyphenated words, and entries that are more than one word.

Mass nouns don't appear to be marked as such for these new words, so where there's doubt I've searched for the plural, and if it redirects to the root entry I've taken the plural as valid. Some words like BIOGENERIC use the plural in their usage example, and I've taken that as evidence of a valid plural too.

Words added in August 2013
  • APOLS
  • BABYMOON(S)
  • BADASSERY
  • BALAYAGE/BALIAGE/BALLIAGE
  • BITCOIN(S)
  • BUZZWORTHY
  • CARNITAS
  • CRAMDOWN(S)
  • DAPPY/DAPPIER/DAPPIEST
  • DERP(S)
  • DITTOHEAD(S)
  • EMOJI(S)
  • ESE(S)
  • FAUXHAWK(S)
  • FLATFORM(S)
  • GRATS
  • GUAC (probably pluralisable because it's a food (guacamole) but GUACS not recognised)
  • HACKERSPACE(S)
  • JORTS
  • MICHELADA(S)
  • NEONICOTINOID(S)
  • OMNISHAMBLES
  • PEPITA(S)
  • PHABLET(S) (dislike this word, actually dislike the entire concept - too large to be a phone, too small to be a tablet)
  • PREPPER(S)
  • PREPPING
  • RAGER(S)
  • RES/REZ ("usually in singular", and REZES and RESES not recognised, but possibly pluralisable)
  • SELFY/SELFIE(S)
  • SHOWROOMING
  • SQUEE/SQUEES/SQUEED/SQUEEING
  • SRSLY (yes, srsly - it's been around since the 18th century)
  • SUPERCUT(S) (definition, and my favourite example)
  • TWERK/TWERKS/TWERKED/TWERKING
  • UNLIKE/UNLIKES/UNLIKED/UNLIKING
  • VATO(S)
  • VOM/VOMS/VOMMED/VOMMING
  • WINGSUIT(S)
Words added in May 2013
  • ABUELA(S)
  • ABUELO(S)
  • BIOGENERIC(S)
  • HYPEREMESIS
  • MURDERBALL
  • PARASOMNIA
  • PREPEND/PREPENDS/PREPENDED/PREPENDING (finally!)
  • SCREENCAP(S)
Words added in February 2013
  • APPLETINI(S)
  • BIOSIMILAR(S)
  • BLOOTERED (excellent Scottish word for drunk)
  • BRAGGADOCIOUS
  • BURRATA(S)
  • CRUFT (noun meaning useless clutter, especially in programming - surprised this wasn't in earlier)
  • DUMBPHONE(S)
  • FLEXITARIAN(S)
  • OMNIUM(S)
  • SCHLUMPY/SCHLUMPIER/SCHLUMPIEST
  • SILLAGE(S)
  • TOUCHLESS
  • TWEETABLE
  • UPCHARGE(S)
  • VOLUNTOURISM/VOLUNTOURIST(S)
Searching for earlier dates doesn't bring up any results, so I assume words are only marked "new" if they were changed this year.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

Anthony Endsor wrote:
johnslater wrote:Remember, it's just a mass-market entertainment programme on the teevee. For those who want to take it seriously, maybe someone should come up with a web site where we can play online.
That's a brilliant idea. I've got the perfect name for it as well. Why don't we call it apterous. :lol:

In other words, I think that ship's sailed mate. :P
Wasn't it a joke?
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Gavin Chipper wrote:By the way, whatever one may think of people's ideas, I definitely think it's good that there are people willing to make a sustained argument for something. I know some people probably think "shut up about this - it's getting boring now", but I consider arguments like this a good thing, even if it is mainly one person on one of the sides.
The same people on here contribute and the same ones don't, or at best take the piss!
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Dave Preece »

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Anthony Endsor wrote:
johnslater wrote:Remember, it's just a mass-market entertainment programme on the teevee. For those who want to take it seriously, maybe someone should come up with a web site where we can play online.
That's a brilliant idea. I've got the perfect name for it as well. Why don't we call it apterous. :lol:

In other words, I think that ship's sailed mate. :P
Wasn't it a joke?
Looks like the joke's on him [Anthony], or now me!
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

Martin Bishop wrote:What do OUP think about this? Loads of people must buy their dictionaries specifically for Countdown.
OUP are on-board with it, Martin. The problem they have these days, is it takes years to compile a dictionary, and by the time it's left the publishers, the language has evolved and the hard-copy is quickly out-of-date. Words like FRACKING and TWERKING are all over the mass media at the moment, and i think it would look bad on OUP if we were to disallow these words simply because the dictionary hasn't been updated. Technology is such now that most people have access to computers, smartphones, ipads or tablets etc. The ODE3 dictionary is still 99.99% bang-on to use for Countdown if playing at home, but it's just not as up-to-date as the online tool, which gets updated every 3 months.
Last edited by Countdown Team on Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Matt Morrison »

Corby makes a good argument. I'm largely sold.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by JimBentley »

Matt Morrison wrote:Corby makes a good argument. I'm largely sold.
On the writing things down? I've only just read through all this properly and don't understand why there's any sort of argument in the first place. If you know your declaration needs to be written down, then make sure you write it down. It's going to be obvious if a contestant is repeatedly trying to exploit the "spotted on 30 seconds" thing by scribbling on for ages afterwards, and Nick can quickly stamp on that. I don't see any downsides and it completely eliminates an opportunity for cheating (or gamesmanship, depending on how you see it).
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Jon Corby »

Jack Worsley wrote:That brings me to another question which I've always wondered about. Suppose that you've got two words in mind, for example you note both CAPTIONER and RECAPTION but you're equally unsure of both. If it's you to declare second and your opponent declares a nine confidently, you could just copy and say you've got the same when they declare RECAPTION. Where do other people stand on this? Should you have to make it clear on paper which one you want to go for by the end of the 30 seconds or is the luck of who declares first part of the game that adds to the fun? Sorry if this moves the thread further off topic but it's something I'd be interested to hear other people's opinions on.
This is a great question too, and one I've thought about before. The only viable solution to this is to have your word clearly marked before your opponent gives their word - having to do so after declarations is possibly a bit messy (and, in this case, enough of a "departure" from what currently goes on to cause concern), having to do so before declarations removes the tactical element of being able to declare based on your opponent's declaration (but again, there's a sensible discussion to be had there as to how important that is, particularly if having it allows this situation to occur). But you're right that as it stands somebody declaring second can have one, two or many words written down and decide based on their opponent's word (most likely to say "same" to avoid losing the round), which, to me, does seem really unfair.

(Matt Shore actually told me this kinda happened in his CoC game against Mark Tournoff, and he was really embarrassed about it. Matt wrote down ANTHERISE and then HERNIATES. He had to declare first, and, deciding to go with HERNIATES, declares 9. So does Mark, and gets asked for his word first. Matt then had to show his paper, with both words on. He told me he was going with HERNIATES regardless, but, having not put a line through ANTHERISE or anything, had no way of assuring anybody that this was the case.)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

Jon Corby wrote:
Jack Worsley wrote:That brings me to another question which I've always wondered about. Suppose that you've got two words in mind, for example you note both CAPTIONER and RECAPTION but you're equally unsure of both. If it's you to declare second and your opponent declares a nine confidently, you could just copy and say you've got the same when they declare RECAPTION. Where do other people stand on this? Should you have to make it clear on paper which one you want to go for by the end of the 30 seconds or is the luck of who declares first part of the game that adds to the fun? Sorry if this moves the thread further off topic but it's something I'd be interested to hear other people's opinions on.
This is a great question too, and one I've thought about before. The only viable solution to this is to have your word clearly marked before your opponent gives their word - having to do so after declarations is possibly a bit messy (and, in this case, enough of a "departure" from what currently goes on to cause concern), having to do so before declarations removes the tactical element of being able to declare based on your opponent's declaration (but again, there's a sensible discussion to be had there as to how important that is, particularly if having it allows this situation to occur). But you're right that as it stands somebody declaring second can have one, two or many words written down and decide based on their opponent's word (most likely to say "same" to avoid losing the round), which, to me, does seem really unfair.

(Matt Shore actually told me this kinda happened in his CoC game against Mark Tournoff, and he was really embarrassed about it. Matt wrote down ANTHERISE and then HERNIATES. He had to declare first, and, deciding to go with HERNIATES, declares 9. So does Mark, and gets asked for his word first. Matt then had to show his paper, with both words on. He told me he was going with HERNIATES regardless, but, having not put a line through ANTHERISE or anything, had no way of assuring anybody that this was the case.)
But is this possibility any more unfair than the fact that someone has to declare their length first anyway possibly giving the second person the advantage? You might have a safe 6 and a risky 7 and decide to declare whatever your opponent does. If that's not deemed a problem, I don't really see deciding whether to pick a particular word (of ones you have written down) on the basis of what your opponent picks as any worse.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

Countdown Team wrote:
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.
I would say that unless it throws out stupid results, then the "traditional" way should go altogether. Someone from ODO has obviously gone through the entries and made some sort of decision on what derivatives are acceptable, so essentially the dictionary now tells us all the words that should be accepted. People should obviously go to the dictionary and type stuff in to see what it accepts and what it doesn't, and report any anomalies. But if there's nothing too ridiculous, we could find ourselves with a perfectly objective decision criterion, and I think it would be crazy to throw that away.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Adam Gillard »

I think they use computers on des Chiffres et des Lettres from the little I've seen of it, although it will look odd initially if Susie has a laptop instead of a dictionary.
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)

Another niner for Adam and yet another century. Well done, that man."
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Martin Bishop »

Adam Gillard wrote:I think they use computers on des Chiffres et des Lettres from the little I've seen of it, although it will look odd initially if Susie has a laptop instead of a dictionary.
Yeah, but they do everything on computers in des Chiffres et des Lettres and it looks like a bad channel 5 quiz show.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Countdown Team »

JimBentley wrote:
Matt Morrison wrote:Corby makes a good argument. I'm largely sold.
On the writing things down? I've only just read through all this properly and don't understand why there's any sort of argument in the first place. If you know your declaration needs to be written down, then make sure you write it down. It's going to be obvious if a contestant is repeatedly trying to exploit the "spotted on 30 seconds" thing by scribbling on for ages afterwards, and Nick can quickly stamp on that. I don't see any downsides and it completely eliminates an opportunity for cheating (or gamesmanship, depending on how you see it).
Indeed, Corby does make a great argument. But, what's not being addressed here is the need for any of this, based on the frequency of this alleged gamesmanship. The thing about writing it all down, then furthermore, indicating which word on your paper you're actually going to declare, it's all getting a bit serious and strict. Jen Steadman made a good point about putting the audience in burkas so they can't whisper a word to you. Do we also put up a dividing wall between the two contestants in case one of them glances over at the other to see if they can see a word on their paper? Eradicating possible ways of cheating is something that can be extended to incorporate the most ridiculous of rules to cover the most unlikeliest of scenarios. Where does it end?

Declaring 2nd is an advantage, and tactics can come into play, but that's part of the game, in the same way picking 4 large at the numbers is, if you've spent hours perfecting all the tricks. There is parity in the amount of times a player gets to declare last after all. The RECAPTION / CAPTIONER argument is getting into the realms of fantasy a little bit. The man with two 9's but not sure of which one to go for, but the same guy, on another day, only has an 8 but spots one of these 9's if his opponent declares 9 first. He then says 'also 9 but not written down, but please Nick, can you ask the other guy to declare his first so i can make sure i offer the same 9 as him'.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

Gavin Chipper wrote:I would say that unless it throws out stupid results, then the "traditional" way should go altogether. Someone from ODO has obviously gone through the entries and made some sort of decision on what derivatives are acceptable, so essentially the dictionary now tells us all the words that should be accepted. People should obviously go to the dictionary and type stuff in to see what it accepts and what it doesn't, and report any anomalies. But if there's nothing too ridiculous, we could find ourselves with a perfectly objective decision criterion, and I think it would be crazy to throw that away.
On this, what does everyone make of words that are hyphenated in the dictionary? If you look up READOUT or OUTTAKE, it takes you to the entry for READ-OUT or OUT-TAKE respectively, rather than not recognising it. Do we take that to mean they're valid?

In the NODE (so a few dictionaries back, but I imagine this might not have changed), it says that having one form as the headword (hyphenated, one word, or two separate words) does not mean that the other forms are incorrect, but it will just list one of them. So I would argue that if it recognises it as a single word when you search for it, then it should be allowed.

Edit - But then again, I'm not entirely convinced. I think it will take the unhyphenated form of any hyphenated word, and it also seems to take the unhyphenated single-word version of separate words. For example, it has an entry for STRUCTURAL STEEL, but it will find it if you type STRUCTURALSTEEL. So maybe this logic shouldn't apply, but this is the sort of thing we need to look at.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Innis Carson »

Yeah we can't quite simply matters to "if it brings you to a page then it's valid" as certain things which don't have entries of their own like 'faber' and 'melanogaster' will bring you to words whose entries they happen to appear in. If rules like "no words with capital letters" and "no words with hyphens/spaces" are still wanted then they'll need to take precedence over what the search bar says, but there's no reason why other less desirable rules like the monosyllabic adjective and mass noun ones can't be jettisoned in favour of the search bar (unless, as you say, the search bar turns out to be worse).
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Innis Carson »

One more question for the team - ODO has some entries (like SUPERSOAP) which are marked as "Entry from US Dictionary". Is this a separate dictionary to the ODE which was used before, with words like SUPERSOAP appearing in it but purposely being left out of the British dictionary? If so, would these words be allowed on the show?

Thanks for the answers so far, by the way.
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Robert Lozyniak »

And while you're at it, you can computerize the letters board like they did with Wheel of Fortune.
And ditto with the numbers board, having the board also automatically provide solutions (naturally), thus leaving Rachel with nothing whatever to do other than smile and look pretty.

If you're going to change something, make it the selections for the numbers game. Instead of instructing contestants not to use the 937.5 trick, change the "large" numbers so as to defeat it. Instead of 25, 50, 75, and 100, why not use 12, 30, 56, and 90? (Those aren't random; they are respectively 3x4, 5x6, 7x8, and 9x10.)
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Re: Series 70 - 2014 onwards.

Post by Gavin Chipper »

Innis Carson wrote:Yeah we can't quite simply matters to "if it brings you to a page then it's valid" as certain things which don't have entries of their own like 'faber' and 'melanogaster' will bring you to words whose entries they happen to appear in. If rules like "no words with capital letters" and "no words with hyphens/spaces" are still wanted then they'll need to take precedence over what the search bar says, but there's no reason why other less desirable rules like the monosyllabic adjective and mass noun ones can't be jettisoned in favour of the search bar (unless, as you say, the search bar turns out to be worse).
I noticed FABER earlier (when I was looking up FABBER as well). I suppose if it's just a word used in the description then we can discount it. You could end up with grey areas though. What if FABER had come up (by coincidence) under the entry for FAB?

Interestingly, although it mentions FUNNER and FUNNEST in the usage bit under FUN, it doesn't find the entry if you search specifically for them.

Also I looked up GAUCHER and it came up with the entry for Gaucher's Disease, so I wasn't immediately sure if you could have it as the comparative of GAUCHE, but if you look up CLEANER it has the entry for CLEAN down the side under "more results", which it doesn't for GAUCHER. So GAUCHER would be out.
Last edited by Gavin Chipper on Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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