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List of Countdown terminology

From Countdown

This is a list of Countdown terminology.

Alphabetical list of terminology

  • 15 round format (old) – the original 15 round format consisting of 11 letters games, three numbers games and one conundrum. Used from Series 46 until early in Series 68.
  • 480 club – informal name for the players that scored at least 480 points as an Octochamp during their runs under the 9 round format.
  • 800 club – informal name for the players that have scored at least 800 points as an Octochamp during their runs under the 15 round format.
  • Arithmetician – the member of the presenting team that provides solutions to the numbers rounds if such a solution evades the contestants, and also puts up the letters and numbers.
  • Board game – the Countdown board game used to be part of the Countdown goody bag. It uses over 100 lettered cards divided into vowels and consonants, 24 numbered cards, a plastic spinner, die or more number cards to generate targets, a set of conundrums, and a timer.
  • C4countdown – an online forum dedicated to Countdown, with over 1,500 members and over 190,000 messages. See the website.
  • Carol beater – a number solution that beats the solution found by Carol Vorderman on the show. Usually only applies to solutions not found on the show but rather on an online forum. (This term is now obsolete).
  • CECILCountdown's Electronic Calculator in Leeds, the computer that generates the random numbers between 100 and 999 for the numbers games. (As the show is now filmed in Manchester, presumably this term is no longer used).
  • Century – a score of 100 or more. This is quite common under the 15 round system, but also happened in the 14 round finals, first achieved by Clive Spate in Series 6.
  • Contestant – a Countdown player, someone who appears on Countdown as a player.
  • Conundrum – the nine-letter anagram at the end of the show. Players buzz in with the right answer, only the player that buzzes in first with the right answer gets the 10 points. If the player gets it wrong, the other player has the rest of the 30 seconds to buzz in.
  • DC beater – someone that beats the contestants and Dictionary Corner, usually referring to words found by members of an online forum such as C4countdown.
  • Darren – a word which is the longest in that given round, and the only word of that length. For instance, from the selection ACELOPQST, POLECATS would be the only eight-letter word.
  • Dictionary Corner – a special celebrity guest and a lexicographer together working to find the best words in selections where the contestants don't get the longest possible word. They're often helped by the show's producers, led by Damian Eadie, by way of an earpiece. The guest also gives a short anecdote between Rounds 6 and 7.
  • Duel – on the French and Spanish versions of Countdown, the equivalent of a conundrum. Contestants are given a word-based puzzle to solve, such as two words from nine letters with the same meaning.
  • Electronic game – an electronic game of Countdown, where players play individually selecting vowels and consonants for the letters games and numbers for the numbers game.
  • Final – see Grand final.
  • Goody bag – the prize received by all contestants, currently consisting of a Countdown mug, a pair of Countdown pens, a Countdown clock, Oxford Dictionary of English Third Edition, and Susie Dent's Modern Tribes. A teapot is included for contestants that win at least one game.
  • Grand final – the final game of each series, with the two players who have won their quarter-final and semi-final facing off to be a series champion. Until Series 46 this was a 14 round game, now it's always a 15 round game. See Category:Grand finals.
  • Guest – a celebrity guest invited on to Countdown for one day's filming (usually five shows). They help find the longest words in the letters rounds, and give a short anecdote between Rounds 6 and 7.
  • Inverted T – a numbers selection consisting of one large number and five small numbers, chosen in such a way that the selection makes a T-shape.
  • Letters game – a game using nine letters where the contestants make the longest word they can, using each letter no more than once. Words must be in Oxford Dictionaries Online.
  • Lexicographer – a resident expert who helps to find the longest words from the letters games, with the help of a celebrity guest.
  • Max game – a game in which the best possible score is achieved in every single round. These are incredibly rare: maximum scores are noted in the "Max" column of games tables on the wiki; max games are shown in bold.
  • Motown Selection – a numbers game consisting of four large and two small numbers. This expression was invented by contestant Tony Warren, and references the Motown singing group The Four Tops. David O'Donnell also enjoyed the expression.
  • Numbers game – a game using six randomly chose numbers between 1 and 100 and a target between 100 and 999. The aim is to use the six numbers once each to make the target number using the four basic mathematical operations (addition, division, subtraction and multiplication). The numbered cards available are 1 to 10 twice each, 25, 50, 75 and 100.
  • Octochamp – a player who wins eight games without being defeated. Eight games is the maximum, and after that the player retires unbeaten. The word is derived from champion and Octo- meaning eight.
  • Oxford English Dictionary (OED) – a set of 20 volumes of printed dictionaries awarded to series champions of Countdown up to and including Series 83, after which the prize was axed due to the books being considered out of date.
  • Pencam – a small camera shaped like a pen, which used to display words found in the dictionary from Series 22 until Series 70.
  • Phantom – a letter seen by a contestant although not actually in the selection. For example, declaring COUNTDOWN from DDNNOOTUW would be a result of seeing a "phantom C".
  • Raw score – a scoring system whereby one's opponent's scores are ignored, as if they were playing on their own.
  • Safe – a "safe" declaration is one declared by a contestant when they think they may have a more valuable answer, but decide not to risk it. For example "a safe seven" when the player thinks they may also have an eight- or nine-letter word.
  • Santagram – an old name for the Teatime Teaser when it was shown around Christmas.
  • Series – a sequence of over 100 episodes with just one eventual winner at the end. A series winner is a player that wins the grand final of a series.
  • Teapot – the individual prize for a player that wins a game.
  • Teatime Teaser – currently an eight-letter anagram shown during the commercial breaks. They used to be seven or nine letters. Unlike conundrums, they can have more than one solution.
  • Viscount – in Series 46, players were only permitted to win six games maximum instead of eight, the name Octochamp was not suitable for these players as the octo- is a reference to eight. So the players were called Viscounts, with reference to VI meaning six in Roman numerals, and -count referring to Countdown.
  • Whitehall – the term for a numbers game with one large number, when the numbers are chosen 1, 2, 1, 2 from the top row to the bottom row respectively. It comes from the old number for the Metropolitan Police (Whitehall 1212).
  • Xicount – an unofficial term for players who become Octochamps and then go on to win their series, giving them a total of 11 wins, the maximum possible in a single series. Xicount is from XI meaning 11 in Roman numerals, and -count referring to Countdown.