Vic MP qualifier
Next up was Trevor Halsall. A fairly cagy start, but my rack matured to SINTERY while he needed to change the Q; as the board sclerosed I slotted TETANUS, prompting him to try a speculative nonword, and he had no way back. This paired me with the ever-entertaining ockerina Carmel Doney; consecutive BRENTEST and DOGLIKE were helpful, then a phony on her part gave me the breathing space to overlook FORCEFUL (oops), though I did manage ROTOTILL next move. I think that was lunch, and I showcased the delights of Ra-Ramen to Aaron in the food court (where we engaged in conversation about Malaysian politics and culture with our random table-neighbours).
Peter Kougi in game 5. The newish BOOAI was helpful, but the rack didn’t improve much and I soon had to change all of DLTTUWW. I regained a small lead with LEDGERED (onto ED), having remembered Chris’s recent bewilderment that it was good while LEGERED* is phony; it seems a LEGER is a fishing line, and to LEDGER is to fish with a particular type of line, so of course it makes sense. More so than GREBO/GREBOS, GREEBO/GREEBOES anyway. My AGNOMINA was met by his INTERACT, and after a successfully fishing for an E, LAZIER for 75 helped me to a lead after he erroneously tried to S-hook AGNOMINA. That’s three games in a row my opponents phonied…always helps.
Geoff Wright was also undefeated after five, and in a low-scoring encounter he manufactured a strong lead. My much-needed bingo never came, though a 60-point WAQFS cut the arrears, and Geoff is pretty good at closing down a board when ahead. In game 7 I vied with Sandra Masel, who played solidly but ended with a 60-point deficit after I deployed TATTOOER.
Final of the day was with Jimmy Scarff, and here I had a fortunate start with IRONNESS onto his opening TSK, 30 points for GOMEREL and then ACERBITY. He was well behind even after conjuring WALISES, so my dangerously-placed POLITICO permitting his 99-point ZOOEA was worth the gamble. On 7-1 at close of play, Geoff having faltered late in the day, I came out on top. Jimmy’s an interesting case, clearly with a much better vocabulary than his rating suggests. He’s studying hard at the moment so could well claw his way up the rankings.