Advanced Stats Television: Mental Samurai Episode 9

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.

Boris Chernin

41-year-old Emergency Consultant. He was born in Russia and came to the US in 1979. He says he learned english watching game shows and is often told he has a game show host voice!

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1PuzzlesWornado0300296417.7
2SequenceAlpha Order9287278918.8
3KnowledgeToss Up10268260819.6
4MemoryBlackout72532411221
5PuzzlesMissing Piece8233226722.1
6MemoryEcho Chamber92172061124.1
7KnowledgeSpellbound7199192726.5
  1. Combine word fragments to form insomnia. Clue is “Nighttime Disorder.”
  2. Arrange seven, nine, eight alphabetically.
  3. Which coffee drink is traditionally prepared with milk? Americano or Latte?
  4. What was the tattoo of? Lion.
  5. Missing piece. C completes a picture of a bear.
  6. Repeat pattern of Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo.
  7. Spell the nine-letter word that is both a popular cocktail and a New York City Borough.

We’ve seen this error before – he was asked to spell a word and he said it instead. He also broke the lever doing so! Which, I believe if we’re placing him using clues from Chris Yeh’s podcast, places him right in front of Nathan Gonzales. He had a really strong run going but answered too quickly.

Marlie Clarke

27-year-old Flight Attendant. She prepared for the show doing trivia and crossword puzzles in the jump seat during turbulence.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1KnowledgeToss Up0300291917.7
2SequenceAlpha Order92822641818.4
3MemoryHear Say102542381618.2
4PuzzlesMissing Piece82302181218.4
5MemoryBlackout72111971419.4
6SequenceBack Order81891593020.1
  1. Which app is used to primarliy rate restaurants: Yelp or Zillow? Yelp.
  2. Arrange Pope, rope, soap in alphabetical order.
  3. Which sound was heard twice in animal noises? Parrot.
  4. Which puzzle completes photo of singers. C.
  5. Which fruit was not in the bowl in the photo? Strawberries (they were to the right.)
  6. Arrange these words in the order they appear in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (Crowd, Peanuts, Back)

A theme we’ll see in this week’s show, Marlie gets the order right but says it in reverse! For good measure Rob Lowe has the audience sing the song at the end. Marlie wasn’t breaking any records but was on good pace, and a rough way to go out.

Courtney Courter

33-year-old model. They give her a model runway walkout intro. An annoying giveaway is she gets a very rushed intro after that with no interview time with Rob Lowe. I can now say definitively, no Rob Lowe interview on screen = no shot at winning.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1KnowledgeReality Check03002831717.7
2SequenceMeasure Up92742462817.6
  1. Which picture of Da Vinci’s Last Supper is real? Fake has a big piece of meat.
  2. Arrange metals in price lowest to highest: copper, silver, gold.

Just like Marlie, Courtney gets the order right but says it in reverse. To be fair, the show occasionally baits contestants on things like this (repeat Eenie, Meanie, Mo, Miney, for example). Would have loved a longer run, oh well.

Myles Nye

37-year-old Games Developer. He develops real-world games, not video games. So Mental Samurai is right up his alley. Like Courtney he gets a “fast count” entrance with no Rob Lowe time, and sadly we know his fate as a result.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1KnowledgeToss Up03002891117.7
2SequenceAlpha Order72822691318.4
3MemoryBlackout92602431718.8
4PuzzlesWordnado82352251019
5SequenceTime Warp72181873120.3
  1. Gates or Jobs, who co-founded Microsoft?
  2. List nine-letter occupations alphabetically. Astronaut, Chauffer, Conductor.
  3. How many cupcakes (in photo of 12 St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes) had yellow shamrocks. Two. Holy cow, he’s a wizard!
  4. Mosquito from word fragments. Clue is familiar pest.
  5. Arrange artists in order of when they recorded a song for a James Bond film from earliest to most recent: Paul McCartney & Wings, Duran Duran, Adele.

A decent run but not knowing music history sinks him. To be fair, this one was rough as it spanned 40+ years. He knew ahead of time he was guessing and guessed wrong. As a consolation though, this is absolutely the right strategy and meant Myles stayed in the game.

Eric Schroeder

29-year-old Tennis Pro. He was injured in his first match and is working his way back to compete at the world level.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1SequenceTime Warp03002861417.7
2KnowledgeToss Up9277268917.9
3MemoryChat Attack72612451618.9
4PuzzlesMissing Piece8237228919.2
5KnowledgeFactfinder8220211920.5
6SequenceAlpha Order92021881422
  1. Arrange these inventions by first successful use: trains, automobiles, planes.
  2. Which of these is a name of a grouchy muppet: Emmy or Oscar.
  3. How many points did Tigers score based on text message? 35.
  4. B completes a picture of people running with the bulls.
  5. Which of the following is not a grain: wheat, oats, or potatoes.
  6. List these six-letter dog breeds in alphabetical order: Poodle, Collie, Beagle.

Eric had one of the calmest and coolest demeanors on the show. Sadly, he didn’t know what type of dog a collie was by picture and like Myles before him, went out on a guess. Dang.

Josh Kronz

30-year-old Math Teacher. Recently lost his mother to cancer. If he wins he plans to scatter her ashes in Alaska and go kayaking with the Orcas with his wife. It was one of his mother’s life dreams.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1SequenceAlpha Order03002811917.7
2KnowledgeTrue Lies92722601217.5
3MemoryHear Say72532361718.1
4PuzzlesMatch Box82282101818.2
5KnowledgeReality Check9201192918.1
6SequenceMeasure Up81841681619.4
7MemoryName Dropper81601441620
8PuzzlesWordplay9135128720.6
9KnowledgeSpecial Equation9119962323.8
  1. List Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Anniston, and Jennifer Lawrence in order of their last name. Almost doesn’t recognize Anniston.
  2. Free is the last word of the Star-Spangled Banner. False.
  3. Chicken was the first of three sounds played.
  4. How many matching pairs are there of cats in a 3 by 4 grid? 3.
  5. Which picture of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” is real? Fake has a pine tree.
  6. Arrange muscles by location in body head to toe: Pecs, Abs, Quads.
  7. What is the name of the firefighter in the middle? James
  8. Food Processor rearranging letters. Clue is kitchen appliance.
  9. Number of U.S. Senators plus number of U.S. Supreme Court Justices.

The math teacher loses on a math equation? Production gold. Sadly, Josh miscounts how many U.S. senators there are and comes nowhere close. He was on a very solid run before then though, so nothing to be mad about.

Ben Bergstrom

26-year-old Bartender. Says being a bartender will help him stay calm.

ChallengeCategorySubcategoryTravel TimeStart TimeEnd TimeAnswer TimeRequired Pace
1SequenceAlpha Order03002901017.7
2KnowledgeToss Up82822711118.4
3MemoryChat Attack72642521219.2
4PuzzlesMissing Piece82442321220
5KnowledgeTrue Lies10222217520.8
6SequenceTime Warp82091911823
7MemoryHear Say81831681523.8
8PuzzlesOddball101581431525.2
9KnowledgeSpecial Equation91341132127.5
10MemoryPay Attention9104851929.3
11PuzzlesWordnado87768934.5
12SequenceMeasure Up1157441357
13KnowledgeFactfinder01361231328
14SequenceTime Warp71161011533.3
15MemoryName Dropper1091761541.5
16PuzzlesPicture Perfect1165461965
  1. List steak, wagon, zebra in alphabetical order.
  2. Which month has more days: June or July?
  3. How many carrot emojis were in the text message from the Easter Bunny to Santa? 3.
  4. B completes the photo.
  5. Sudoku is a form of Chinese Martial Arts. False.
  6. Arrange #1 hit songs from earliest to recent. Lose Yourself, Empire State of Mind, Humble.
  7. What is first sound played? Drums.
  8. D had a silver edge on the paintbrush unlike the others.
  9. Add the number of quarters in a basketball game with the number of quarters in $5. 24.
  10. Announcement about Lliam Neeson film festival. Taken is playing ay 6.
  11. Hypnotized from word fragment. Clue is “Altered Mental State.”
  12. Velociraptor, T-Rex, Brontosaurus. Arrange by estimated weight, lightest to heaviest.
  13. What does the G in the Tech Acronym GIF stand for? Graphics I believe.
  14. Arrange reality TV shows by their debut: Survivor, Apprentice, the Voice.
  15. Who is the blonde race car driver? Patty.
  16. Barking up the wrong tree from an image. Wow! Tough one.

Ben does Chris Yeh proud by repeatedly double-checking his answers. He almost missed an “unmissable question” (Missing Piece), but checks himself and gets it right. He wasn’t kidding about staying calm from being a bartender, throughout the entire run his temperament stayed great. His mother was behind the scenes though and more than made up for it. An amazing run and a great way to finish the season.

Alright, next week is the finale. I’m not sure the format or how the show will go, so we’ll find out together. Good job to all the competitors!

-Dre