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Dec. 25th, 2012

They played ``Pay The Rent'' again on Friday's episode of The Price Is Right, and it will not surprise you to learn the contestant once again failed to win the $100,000 grand prize. He also screwed up what would have been a perfectly respectable $10,000 prize by carrying on in the belief that a 24-ounce tin of designer popcorn would cost more than $7.68, which, yeah, wasn't going to happen. Contestants need to figure out whether they want to just aim for a sure $10,000 prize or else know to walk away when the third level is implausibly high.

For the record, the prizes were: Bruce's Yams ($3.19); the popcorn ($5.99); energy bars ($1.29); Ziploc containers ($3.69 --- they didn't name them, due to some weird licensing thing, but you try describing them efficiently otherwise); grape juice ($3.99) and a candy cane of Rolos ($2.49).

The contestant's ordering was, for the first level, the Rolos ($2.49 for the level); then the yams and energy bar ($4.48 total); then the grape juice and Ziplocs ($7.68) and by any good sense that should have been enough. The popcorn ($5.99) cost him the prize money.

I make out two perfect solutions again, as with the last couple, ever since I wrote a script to seek them out. I'm beginning to suspect it's worth searching out all the records of these games so I can see how often multiple solutions do come up. But one solution is: Ziplocs ($3.69); energy bar and grape juice ($5.28); yams and Rolos ($5.68); popcorn ($5.99). The other is to start with grape juice ($3.99); then the energy bar and Ziplocs ($4.98); then yams and Rolos ($5.68); and popcorn ($5.99).

For this season, the range of prize prices, from most to least expensive, have been $3.90, $4.80, and $4.70. The range in winning levels, taking the more generous range, has been $3.20, $2.00, and $2.30 so far this season.

Trivia: Honeywell's first large computer offering was the Datamatic 1000, delivered in 1957, and already obsolete: it was a vacuum tube computer, soon withdrawn while the company worked on transistorized machines. Source: A History Of Modern Computing, Paul E Ceruzzi.

Currently Reading: Level Playing Fields: How The Groundskeeping Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball, Peter Morris.

PS: Could ``Arthur Christmas'' Happen In Real Life? for my first venture into the inevitable field of working out the plausibility of something in an entertaining movie. Actually, I mean to riff on something a little broader than just whether something could happen as described.

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