Advanced Stats Television: Mental Samurai Episode 7

And we’re back with another week of boxscores for this year’s hot new reality TV show Mental Samurai. In case you haven’t seen the show — which is streamable at Fox — contestants are strapped into a gyroscope, called Ava, flung around between four towers and asked a series of trivia questions. Answer 12 in a row, win $10,000. Answer four more, win $25,000 per question. Answer all 16, win the title of Mental Samurai. Miss a question or run out of time, and you’re done. I run down the category types and subcategories that appear in my week one writeup if you’re new.

Also, as always future contestant Chris Yeh’s podcast often has bonus content for the show, so subscribe to that if you haven’t already.

Below is each contestant’s “box score” with a little analysis. A reminder of the stats I’m tracking:

  • Category: The category of the question – Knowledge, Puzzles, Sequence, or Memory
  • Subcategory: Each category has a selection of types. I list these in depth in my week one write up.
  • Travel Time: How long it takes for Ava to settle the contestant in front of the tower with the question up in front of them.
  • Start time: What the countdown is at (in seconds) when the question is first visible to the contestant.
  • End time: When Ava flashes green or red, signifying the contestants’ answer has been registered.
  • Answer time: The time between the start time and end time. In theory, below 18 seconds is ideal for this.
  • Required Pace: How quick the contestant must, on average, answer each of the remaining questions. This assumes an average of 8 second travel time between each question.

Nick Bremner

27-year-old accountant. He works for a French cheese company. He lives at home currently and says he might move out sooner if he wins!

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1PuzzlesPicture Perfect03002901017.7
2KnowledgeFactfinder8282273918.4
3SequenceBack Order82652461919.3
4MemoryEcho Chamber82382241419.3
5SequenceMeasure Up92151952019.9
6MemoryChat Attack81871691819.9
  1. Identify four-word phrase by an image of a frog in a throat.
  2. Which symbol did Kesha officially remove from her stage name? Dollar sign.
  3. Place these words in the order in which they appear in the song “Jolly Good Fellow”: Jolly, Fellow, Deny
  4. Repeat a pattern using words: “Rome, Paris, London, Paris”
  5. Arrange these teaspoon cooking measurements in order from smallest to largest: Heaping, Level, Rounded, Heaping.
  6. Text message, “Dude, where r u? Where u @?” How many Us were there?

A pretty solid run stopped by a subtle question. Nick misses that the word “Dude” has a U in it. Going a little too quickly is a killer for a few contestants this week.

Matthew Schultz

46-year-old pastor. Does a lot of work in the community. He performs weddings and funerals and says this is a “leap of faith.”

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1KnowledgeFactfinder0300292817.7
2SequenceBack Order72852731218.6
3MemoryEcho Chamber92642521219.2
4PuzzlesWordplay82442341020
5SequenceAlpha Order72271656221.4
  1. Which talk show host is the voice of Dory in Finding Dory? Ellen!
  2. Put the words: “Dog, Farmer, Bingo” in order the appear in the song – “B-I-N-G-O”
  3. Repeat sequence of “Green, Yellow, Red”
  4. Rearrange letters to spell: “Kanye West”, clue is “Famous Rapper”
  5. List Jessicas in Alphabetical Order by Last Name. Alba, Biel, Chastain. He doesn’t know them all. Neither did I! He does guess, but puts Biel last, ouch!

Matthew fails for the classic of not recognizing the images of famous people. I didn’t either! He made an educated guess with the two Jessicas he recognized, but sadly the third name was Biel. Oof.

La Tawnya Robinson

40-year-old third grade teacher. Would love to inspire her classroom with a win. Rob likes her hair.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1PuzzlesWordplay03002891117.7
2KnowledgeToss Up72822691318.4
3SequenceAlpha Order72622461619
4MemoryBlackout82382221619.3
5SequenceTime Warp92131892419.6
6MemoryMind Field81811651619
7PuzzlesCompound Fracture101551451019.2
8KnowledgeSpecial Equation81371181921
9PuzzlesGridlock10108109821
10MemoryName Dropper8202-4.7
  1. Rearrange to spell “Frozen” clue is “Disney Film.”
  2. What does the K in K-Pop stand for. Korean!
  3. List “Hammer, Wrench, Screwdriver” alphabetically.
  4. What state is a License Plate with Just Married on it from? Michigan.
  5. Arrange TV Sitcoms in order of debut year, earliest to latest. That 70s Show. Modern Family, Blask-ish.
  6. The donut is located in spot #2.
  7. What four-letter word is a prefix for Works and a Suffic for Bon. Fire!
  8. Add Halloween’s day in October (31) with Valentine’s day in February (14), 45!
  9. Find three musical instruments in six by six letter grid. Violen, Piano, Flute.
  10. Doesn’t even finish :(

La Tawnya had a great run before being stumped by a puzzle. She did amazingly well on the “Compound Fracture” question, so it was brutal to get hurt on Gridlock. She completed it but became the second contestant to be mathematically eliminated from finishing.

Chris Yeh

43-year-old author. His nickname as a kid was “Encyclopeia Yeh.” He got his degree from Stanford at 19.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1PuzzlesPicture Perfect03002881217.7
2KnowledgeToss Up8280271918.2
3SequenceAlpha Order72642521219.2
4MemoryEcho Chamber82442311320
5SequenceTime Warp92222071520.8
6MemoryBlackout91981722621.4
7PuzzlesDouble Crossed111611342720.2
8KnowledgeToss Up7127119819
9PuzzlesMirror Mirror10109852421.3
10MemoryPay Attention877601720.3
11SequenceMeasure Up852391322
12KnowledgeReality Check83127431
13KnowledgeToss Up01171071023.3
14EchoHear Say899762327.7
15SequenceTime Warp967402729.5
16PuzzlesMissing Piece103072330
  1. Identify the four word phrase by the image: (Talk to the hand)
  2. Which musician had a hit in 1972 with the song: “Rocket Man” (Elton John)
  3. List Bull, Lion, Wolf in order.
  4. Repeat “Gold Bronze Gold Silver”
  5. List Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga in order iconic red carpet moments, earliest to latest.
  6. Which number is on the fire truck? 54.
  7. Roller Coaster from two crossword puzzle clues.
  8. T-Rex was a meat eater.
  9. Mirror image of post it note. A is the answer.
  10. What temperature is it in LA from captain’s announcement. 76
  11. Arrange amounts of data storage from smallest to largest- Mb, Gb, Tb.
  12. Which is the real Canadian Flag. Fake has blue background.
  13. Kale is a type of what? Fruit or cabbage? Cabbage.
  14. How many musical instruments were played? 3.
  15. Arrange viral Youtube videos by release date: Charlie Bit My Finger, Double Rainbow, Chewbacca Mask Lady.
  16. B completes an image of football players.

Oh, I’ll have much more to say about Chris in the future. I’m sure his podcast this week will be a hoot as well. The editors did a great job faking out Chris losing, so I was delighted when he won. He was amazingly “clutch” on his last question doing both a time check and double checking his answer. A great competitor and I couldn’t be happier that he’s a Mental Samurai! Let’s give him his own gif from show footage!

Kenyatta Smith

44-year-old firefighter. He says he’s excellent at make split second decisions.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1PuzzlesWordplay03002427617.7
  1. Rearrange to spell a beloved show: “Friends”

You’ve got to feel for the brain freezes that occur on the show. The original jumble said: “Finders” and Kenyatta just couldn’t find his way out. He did make a joking guess of “Derfinds”, which I appreciated.

Roz Paul

74-year-old travel agent. She was divorced 25 years, but re-entered the dating pool and has been with her current boyfriend since. Her promotion package looked amazing and Roz seems very active.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1KnowledgeTrue Lies03002881217.7
2PuzzlesWornado8280272818.2
3MemoryBlackout92632501319.1
4SequenceAlpha Order82422222019.8
5KnowledgeSnapshot82142041019.8
6PuzzlesCompound Fracture81961712521.1
7MemoryMind Field81631422120.5
8SequenceTime Warp9133934020.2
  1. The final word in the Pledge of Allegience is justice. False.
  2. Millionaire from word fragments. Clue is “Name a wealthy person.”
  3. What color wear the helmets in the image of white water rafters? Red.
  4. List barrel, cannon, castle in order.
  5. What band is represented by an image of a Pearl and Jam.
  6. Side is a prefix for ways and a suffix for blind.
  7. The dice are in the 5th spot.
  8. Arrange these cities in the order that they hosted the Summer Olympics from earliest to most recent.

Before her run started, Roz said her weakness was pop-culture. So when she got Pearl Jam, Rob Lowe was elated. I argue no one cares about the Summer Olympics, so I can’t fault the question that eventually downed her, as her run was fantastic before then.

Adam Thomas

37-year-old stay-at-home dad. He’s a former Marine Corps officer, and his wife is still in the Marines. They met in Iraq, and now have two kids.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1SequenceTime Warp03002851517.7
2KnowledgeToss Up82772661117.9
3MemoryBlackout72592421718.7
4PuzzlesWornado9233224918.8
5KnowledgeSnapshot7217210720.1
6SequenceStriking Distance82021891322
7MemoryPay Attention71821641823.7
8PuzzlesOddball8156148824.8
9KnowledgeSpecial Equation101381281028.5
  1. Arrange famous scientists by birthyear, earliest to latest. Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Neil Degresse Tyson.
  2. Which cereal mascot traditionally wears a red kerchief? Tony the Tiger.
  3. What was printed on the plane wings? US Navy.
  4. Combine floating word fragments to spell Versace. Clue is luxury brand.
  5. What band is represented by an image of a Nickel and a Back.
  6. Place events in order of their location from North to South. Iditarod, Burning Man, Daytona 500.
  7. Baseball play by play. Which player slid home? Hernandez.
  8. Which pizza is different than the others? C.
  9. Add number of minutes in an hour and number of hours in two days. 108.

Gotta feel for Adam, as he did the “chess blunder.” His verbal thinking had the correct answer, but he said the wrong answer and knew immediately.


For weeks I’ve been promoting Chris Yeh’s day on the show. And as an added surprise, he’ll be back for the season Finale! I’ll be back next week, and maybe before then with more content!

-Dre