Countdown:Recap checking style guide

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This page is an attempt to help with the task of recap checking. It is written in three sections. First, an illustration and description of a complete recap. Second, definitions of the templates. And third, a set of suggestions as to how such a recap can be produced.

Contents

Illustration and Description

Here's an example of a recap of a fictitious cut-down game, with one example of each type of round.

Rnd Selection Jeremy Corbyn Score Theresa May Others Max.
1 NTSOIEZNV INVEST 6 – 0 VENTS INTONES, INVENTS*, TENSION*, TENZONS*, VENISON 7
2 100 7 4 1 3 2 → 623 627
100 × 3 × 2 + 7 × 4 × 1
13 – 0 615

CV: 624 Best: 623 = (100 + 4) × 3 × 2 − 1

17
TTT CANNOTGET On an event-related digression, it was the conundrum in the Leamington Spa final. COTANGENT
3 FIESTATED fitseated ☓
(13 seconds)
13 – 10 DEFEATIST
(29 seconds)
27


The column headings are fixed, and pretty self-explanatory.

The Rnd column contains the round number, normally 1 to 15, with the tea-time teaser shown as TTT, as it is not actually part of the competition.

The Selection column contains the selected letters for each round or the numbers together with the target.

The third column heading is the name of the contestant sitting closer to dictionary corner, and the column contains that contestant's offerings.

The Score column contains the cumulative score of the two contestants.

The fifth column heading is the name of the contestant sitting closer to programme presenter, and the column contains that contestant's offerings.

The Others column contains answers not offered by the contestants.

The Max. column contains the cumulative score that would have been achieved by the "perfect contestant".

Now to look at each of the four types of round in more detail.

Letters rounds

In the Selection column, the letters are given in the order chosen and displayed.

Under the contestants' names, if a contestant gives an incorrect solution because they've given a word not in the dictionary or they've used a letter which isn't in the selection, then the word is given in a smaller font, and is followed by a cross. If a contestant gives a valid word, but declares the wrong word length, then the misdeclared template is used:

{{misdeclared|WORD|DECLARED_LENGTH}}

Both are illustrated here, Jeremy Corbyn not realising that there was only one D in the selection, and Theresa May thinking that TOTAL had only four letters.

Rnd Selection Jeremy Corbyn Score Theresa May Others Max.
1 DLONATGIT adding ☓ 0 – 0 total ☓4 DOTTING, LOADING*, LOTTING 7

If words are found which equal or better those given by the contestants, they are listed in alphabetical order in the Others column. Only the longest words found are listed, and an asterisk is appended to any word which was not offered during the programme, by Dictionary Corner or by anyone else. In the above example, DOTTING and LOTTING were offered by dictionary corner, and the recap writer discovered LOADING. Dictionary Corner also came up with GLOAT, but that is not listed because longer words were found.

If a contestant fails to offer any word at all, then a dash is given. For example:

Rnd Selection Jeremy Corbyn Score Theresa May Others Max.
1 DLONATGIT adding ☓ 0 – 0 DOTTING, LOADING*, LOTTING 7


Numbers rounds

In the Selection column, the numbers are given in the order displayed, followed by an arrow, and then the target number.

In the contestants' columns, a winning offering is shown as the number offered, with the method of solution shown below. An offering which is beaten by the other contestant is simply shown as the number offered. If a total is offered, but the contestant then fails to produce it, the number is shown followed by a cross. If the contestant fails to make a declaration, then a dash is shown. These are illustrated here:

Rnd Selection Jeremy Corbyn Score Theresa May Others Max.
5 100 7 4 1 3 2 → 623 627
100 × 3 × 2 + 7 × 4 − 1
19 – 0 615


49
10 100 9 6 2 5 1 → 938 938 ☓ 26 – 0


85


The Others column only contains entries if a winning contestant's score in that numbers round can be bettered, and there are four different possibilities.

  1. The arithmetician gets better than the contestants, shows her method, and it's impossible to beat her.
  2. The arithmetician gets better than the contestants and doesn't show her method, but it's impossible to beat her.
  3. The arithmetician gets better than the contestants, but she herself can be beaten.
  4. The arithmetician can't beat the contestants, but can be beaten.

These are illustrated below in rounds 1, 2, 3, 4 respectively.

Rnd Selection Jeremy Corbyn Score Theresa May Others Max.
1 100 7 4 1 3 2 → 623 627
100 × 3 × 2 + 7 × 4 − 1
7 – 0 615

CV: 623 = (100 + 4) × 3 × 2 − 1

10
2 100 50 25 75 1 7 → 394 394 ☓ 7 – 0

CV: 393 Best: 393 = (75 − 25 − 1) × 7 + 50

17
3 100 7 4 1 3 2 → 623 627
100 × 3 × 2 + 7 × 4 − 1
14 – 0 615

CV: 624 Best: 623 = (100 + 4) × 3 × 2 − 1

27
4 100 1 9 6 2 5 → 938 933
100 × 9 + 6 × 5 + 2 + 1
21 – 0

Best: 938 = (100 + 5) × 9 − 6 − 1

37

When giving solutions, either in the contestants' columns or in the Others column, the following are guidelines, but not obligatory.

  • Use + for addition.
  • Use either - or − for subtraction.
  • Use either x or × for multiplication.
  • Use either / or ÷ for division.
  • Use brackets only when necessary. e.g. ((50 × 3) + 4) × 5 is better written as (50 × 3 + 4) × 5. The brackets around the addition are necessary, but those around the multiplication are not.
  • For contestants' solutions and those given by Carol or Rachel, show the solution as given.
  • For other solutions, with a string of additions and subtractions, put the additions first, and remove brackets if possible. e.g. 100 − (50 − (25 − 1)) is better written as 100 + 25 − 50 − 1
  • For other solutions, with a string of multiplications and divisions, put the multiplications first, and remove brackets if possible. e.g 100 ÷ (8 ÷ 2) is better written as 100 × 2 ÷ 8
  • To improve readability, it is suggested that each of the four arithmetic symbols has a space on either side, but there should be no other spaces in any numbers solution.

Tea-time Teasers

The only entries required here are:

  • under Selection, the scrambled word
  • under the central three columns, the clue as given by the programme presenter
  • under Other, the solution

No scores are given, as this is not part of the contest.

Conundrums

In the Selection comment, the nine letters are given, in the order displayed.

A contestant's response is given in the contestant's own column, and beneath it is given the time that elapsed before the buzzer sounded. If the response is wrong, then it is given in a smaller typeface, and is followed by a cross.

If neither contestant gets the solution, the solution is given in the Other column.

If a candidate doesn't offer a solution, then the space in the candidate's column is left blank.

In the special case of a tie-break conundrum, there are just two differences. "TB" is entered in the "Rnd" column, and the score in the Max. column is not increased beyond the score as given in the previous round. This is because is would be impossible for either of the contestants to have scored any more than the maximum score as given in the first conundrum round.

These situations are all illustrated here:

Rnd Selection Jeremy Corbyn Score Theresa May Others Max.
15 GIVENPRAM 35 – 35 amperving ☓
(2 seconds)
REVAMPING 135
TB FIESTATED fitseated ☓
(13 seconds)
35 – 45 DEFEATIST
(29 seconds)
135


Template Definitions

The recap is produced using an overall template, within which there a number of individual templates, one for each round.

Overall template and contestant names

This takes the form:

{{Rounds-start|aaa|bbb}}

individual-template ...

{{Rounds-end}}
  • aaa is the name of contestant one
  • bbb is the name of contestant two

Note to people creating pages for new contestants alongside new recaps: If a contestant is a challenger (i.e., has not previously won any games during the current series) and shares his or her name with a person who appeared in a previous series, and it is unknown whether he or she is returning to the show for a second run or coincidentally shares the name of a previous contestant, the convention is to assume that he or she is a returnee.

There are four types of individual templates

  • letters template
  • numbers template
  • conundrum template
  • tea-time teaser template

Letters template

There are two version of the letters template, taking the forms:

{{R-letters|nn|aaa|bbb|ccc|ddd|xx|yy|zz}}

and

{{Rx-letters|nn|aaa|bbb|ccc|ddd|xx|yy|zz}}

The only difference between them is that the R-letters version should be used in recaps for programmes which have been broadcast, while the Rx-letters version should be used for recaps of any other games. This is because the R-letters template has the side effect of producing a category which is only applicable to broadcast programmes. (This is all despite the fact that R-letters includes a parameter to suppress the category.)

  • nn is the round number
  • aaa is the list of letters (upper case, with no spaces)
  • bbb is contestant one's offering
  • ccc is contestant two's offering
  • ddd is the contents of the Others entry (each word in upper case, with no spaces - see definition section, above, for details)
  • xx is contestant one's cumulative score
  • yy is contestant two's cumulative score
  • zz is the cumulative maximum possible score

Parameters bbb and ccc are provided in upper case, with no spaces, provided the offering is a valid one, whether or not it wins. If the offering is invalid, it is written in lower case, and followed by a cross, and, if necessary, a superscripted suffix. The cross is formed using either the ☓ character (copying and pasting it from another location), or by typing &#x2613;, or better still using the new template {{X}}. A superscripted suffix is formed by typing <sup>n</sup>, where n is the suffix. An improved way of showing misdeclarations is to use the template {{misdeclared|word|5}}, which is displayed as word ☓5 , the 5 indicating that although the word was otherwise correct, it had been declared with the wrong length of 5.

If a contestant makes no offering, then the appropriate parameter, aaa or bbb, is a dash, formed by typing &mdash;.

Numbers template

This takes the form:

{{R-numbers|nn|a|b|c|d|e|f|ggg
|hhh|sol1=iii
|jjj|sol2=kkk
|cv=mmm|solcv=ppp
|rr=mmm|solrr=ppp
|other=qqq|solother=rrr
|xx|yy|zz}}
  • nn, xx, yy, zz are the round number and the scores, as in the letters template
  • a, b, c, d, e, f are the six numbers in the order displayed
  • ggg is the target
  • hhh is contestant one's declaration
  • iii is contestant one's method. This is omitted if the contestant was not asked for a solution, or made a mistake.
  • jjj is contestant two's declaration
  • kkk is contestant two's method. This is omitted if the contestant was not asked for a solution, or made a mistake.

If a contestant declares nothing at all, then the hhh (or jjj) is a dash, entered as &mdash;

Optional parameters, given only if relevant:

  • mmm is Carol's or Rachel's declaration, if any.
  • ppp is Carol's or Rachel's method
  • qqq is the best possible declaration, if not found by Carol/Rachel or the contestants.
  • rrr is corresponding best method.

In all cases, if a parameter is omitted, then so is its preceding |.

If the winning contestant(s) in the round cannot be beaten, then the fourth, fifth and sixth lines of the template are omitted.

The fourth and fifth lines of the template are alternatives, depending upon whether it is one of Carol's or one of Rachel's shows.

If Carol/Rachel gets better than the contestants, shows her method, and cannot herself be beaten, then the other and solother parameters are omitted.

If Carol/Rachel gets better than the contestants, doesn't show her method, and cannot herself be beaten, then the solcv/solrr parameter is omitted, and qqq is a repeat of mmm.

In entering a method of solution, iii, kkk, ppp or rrr, the following apply:

  • A single arithmetic expression is given, using numbers, the four basic arithmetic operators, and brackets
  • Brackets are always entered using the ( and ) characters, no matter how deep the nesting
  • Addition and subtraction use the obvious + and - symbols.
  • Multiplication uses x.
  • Division uses /.

The symbols may be replaced with the correct symbols (+, −, × and ÷) but these are awkward to enter manually. The conversion will be performed automatically in the future.

Example

An example from Episode 3942:
{{R-numbers| 5|3|8|10|100|50|75| 423
|413
|430|sol2=50 × 8 + 10 × 3
|cv=423|solcv=3 × 100 + 75 + 50 − 10 + 8
|28|26|41}}

produces:

Rnd Selection C1 Score C2 Others Max.
5 3 8 10 100 50 75 → 423 413 28 – 26 430
50 × 8 + 10 × 3

CV: 423 = 3 × 100 + 75 + 50 − 10 + 8

41


Conundrum template

This takes the form:

{{R-conundrum|nn|aaa|c1sol=bbb|c1time=cc|c2sol=ddd|c2time=ee|sol=fff|xx|yy|zz}}
  • nn is the round number for the first conundrum, and TB for any tie-break conundrum
  • aaa is the string of letters to be unscrambled, upper case with no spaces, in the correct order where available but otherwise alphabetical with a * after it.
  • bbb is contestant one's offering
  • cc is contestant one's time in seconds
  • ddd is contestant two's offering
  • ee is contestant two's time in seconds
  • fff is the solution
  • xx, yy, zz are the scores, as in the letters template

If a candidate misdeclares, then bbb (or ddd) is entered in lower case, and is followed by ☓.

If a candidate does not declare, then the c1sol and c1time (or c2sol and c2time) parameters are omitted.

If one of the candidates offers a correct solution, then the sol parameter is omitted.

If any parameter is omitted, then so is its preceding |.

Note: If the solution to the conundrum (fff) is available but the actual order of the letters in the scramble (aaa) is unknown, the letters in the conundrum should be typed in alphabetical order, with an asterisk after them (to indicate an "unofficial" scramble), in aaa. For example, CONUNDRUM becomes CDMNNORUU*. These are mostly seen on older recaps from Series 20 and earlier.

Tea-Time Teaser template

This takes the form

{{R-TTT|aaa|bbb|ccc}}
  • aaa is the set of letters to be unscrambled, upper case and no spaces
  • bbb is the clue
  • ccc is the answer

It is recommended that the clue ends with whatever punctuation mark is appropriate - e.g., a question mark, exclamation mark, or full stop.

Categories

There are a number of categories in the wiki for applying to recaps. The following should be applied to all recaps:

  • [[Category:Episodes in Series number]]
  • [[Category:number-round games]]
  • [[Category:Episodes presented by whoever]]
  • [[Category:Episodes with whoever as arithmetician]]
  • [[Category:Episodes with whoever as lexicographer]] — if the information is present
  • [[Category:Episodes with whoever as a guest]] — if the information is present

and the following where applicable:

  • [[Category:Partial recaps]] — usually applied by Dumper, but can also be applied after checking if some game data is missing
  • [[Category:Recaps with missing or incomplete Teatime Teasers]] — for 15-round games only, if TTT anagram, clue and solution aren't all there

Suggestions and Tips

Producing a recap in the Countdown Wiki is a two stage process. Firstly running the recap dumper, and secondly manually editing the output of the dumper.

Recap dumper

The dumper is run by a sysop here, and attempts to convert the original recap (from the Countdown Corral) into the Countdown Wiki format automatically. An additional template is added before the recap, depending on the success of the dumper's conversion process:

  • {{Rounds-to-check|nnn}} if it believes all rounds were interpreted successfully.
  • {{Rounds-partial|nnn}} if it knows that some rounds are missing.
  • {{Rounds-blank|nnn}} if it none of the rounds could be converted.

Each of these causes an explanatory message to be displayed, saying that the manual editing is still required, and most importantly, provides a link to the recap in the Countdown Corral.

Manual editing

In the second stage, a human must check the original Corral recap (as linked to) against the version on the wiki, correcting mistakes and adding missing rounds. There are, of course many ways of doing this. Each person has his/her own preference; what follows is just one suggestion.

  1. First ensure that a template is present for each round. If any are missing, copy and paste an appropriate one, from another completed recap if necessary.
  2. After this stage, and again after any further editing, it's advisable to use the Show preview facility to check the output.
  3. Edit the tea-time teasers as necessary. This stage is always required, as the dumper (currently) never picks up the clue correctly.
  4. Check and, if necessary, edit the numbers rounds. This is probably the most awkward of the tasks due to the complexity of the template, and the large number of different options.
  5. Check and, if necessary, edit the conundrum round, including the tie-break if applicable.
  6. Check and, if necessary, edit the contenstants' declarations in the letters rounds
  7. Check that all of the offerings in the Others column for the letters rounds really are in the appropriate dictionary, and that asterisks are not included for words offered during the programme.
  8. Check and, if necessary, edit the contestants' cumulative scores in each round.
  9. Check and, if necessary, edit the maximum score in each round.
  10. Check that all applicable categories are set.
  11. When all is done, and you are completely happy with the outcome, delete the additional template inserted by the dumper to indicate that manual editing is required, put a brief comment in the Summary box, and press Save page.

If you have any problems at all, don't worry. If the problem can be described briefly, explain it in the Summary box, and press Save page, but don't erase the additional template indicating that manual editing is required. Alternatively, if the problem takes a little more explaining, put it in the Discussion section for the appropriate episode, and again save the work without clearing the manual editing template. If you have a general comment, then make it here on this page, in the Discussion section. Whichever way, someone will quickly see it and answer the problem.

Finals Progress Template

Normal finals progress

Example:

Richard Whiteley (1) vs Des Lynam (8) Richard Whiteley (1) vs Jeff Stelling (4) Richard Whiteley (1)
vs
Cathy Hytner (3)
Des O'Connor (5) vs Jeff Stelling (4)
Cathy Hytner (3) vs Beverly Isherwood (6) Cathy Hytner (3) vs Linda Barrett (2)
Carol Vorderman (7) vs Linda Barrett (2)
The winner of each game is displayed in bold.

You do this by typing:

{{finals progress
| 1 = [[Richard Whiteley]]  | q1w = 1 | s1w = 1
| 8 = [[Des Lynam]]
| 5 = [[Des O'Connor]]
| 4 = [[Jeff Stelling]]     | q4w = 4
| 3 = [[Cathy Hytner]]      | q3w = 3 | s2w = 3 | fw = 3
| 6 = [[Beverly Isherwood]]
| 7 = [[Carol Vorderman]]
| 2 = [[Linda Barrett]]     | q2w = 2 
}}

16-contestant COCs

Taken from COC13:

David O'Donnell vs James Hurrell David O'Donnell vs Steve Briers Steve Briers
vs
Nick Wainwright
Steve Briers
vs
Charlie Reams
Steve Briers vs Debbi Flack
Richard Priest vs Kai Laddiman Kai Laddiman vs Nick Wainwright
Nick Wainwright vs Steve Baines
Junaid Mubeen vs Tony Warren Junaid Mubeen vs Charlie Reams Charlie Reams
vs
Jon Corby
Charlie Reams vs Peter Davies
Richard Brittain vs Jon Corby Jon Corby vs Jonathan Coles
Anita Freeland vs Jonathan Coles
The winner of each game is displayed in bold.

So type:

{{CoC progress
|  1 = [[David O'Donnell]] | h1w =  1
|  2 = [[James Hurrell]]
|  3 = [[Steve Briers]]    | h2w =  3 | q1w =  3 | s1w =  3 | fw = 3
|  4 = [[Debbi Flack]]
|  5 = [[Richard Priest]]
|  6 = [[Kai Laddiman]]    | h3w =  6
|  7 = [[Nick Wainwright]] | h4w =  7 | q2w =  7
|  8 = [[Steve Baines]]
|  9 = [[Junaid Mubeen]]   | h5w =  9
| 10 = [[Tony Warren]]
| 11 = [[Charlie Reams]]   | h6w = 11 | q3w = 11 | s2w = 11
| 12 = [[Peter Davies (Series 58)|Peter Davies]]
| 13 = [[Richard Brittain]]
| 14 = [[Jon Corby]]       | h7w = 14 | q4w = 14
| 15 = [[Anita Freeland]]
| 16 = [[Jonathan Coles]]  | h8w = 16
}}

8-contestant COCs

Taken from COC8:

Alan Sinclair vs Chris Rogers Chris Rogers vs David Acton Chris Rogers
vs
Kenneth Michie
David Acton vs Dennis Fearon
Chris Colsmann vs Kenneth Michie Kenneth Michie vs Darren Shacklady
Darren Shacklady vs Satbir Gupta
The winner of each game is displayed in bold.

Acheived by typing:

{{CoC8 progress
| 1 = [[Alan Sinclair]]
| 2 = [[Chris Rogers]]     | q1w = 2 | s1w = 2 | fw = 2
| 3 = [[David Acton]]      | q2w = 3
| 4 = [[Dennis Fearon]]
| 5 = [[Chris Colsmann]]
| 6 = [[Kenneth Michie]]   | q3w = 6 | s2w = 6
| 7 = [[Darren Shacklady]] | q4w = 7
| 8 = [[Satbir Gupta]]
}}

Good luck.

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