austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I'll follow the sun

And now that we're caught up on the water park vacation, I can get things caught up on The Price Is Right. Last Wednesday they played ``Pay The Rent'' again and for only the second time --- by my accounting and by Drew Carey's host announcements (obviously he's worried about my records falling out of synch with the show's) --- the contestant put everything in the right order to win the big $100,000. She walked out at the third level, taking home $10,000, and I'd agreed with her during the playing, but still, there's something odd in that so many of the people who've got it wrong insist on going through all the levels yet the two players who've gotten it right took a sure payout instead.

The prizes this time were: Breyer's Sherbet ($5.79); Ramen noodles ($0.59); Francesco Rinaldi spaghetti sauce ($2.29); Instant coffee ($9.99 and I didn't know it was that pricey); Gum ($1.09); and French fried onions ($3.39).

The contestant put the Ramen noodles in the mailbox ($0.59 for the level); then the gum and onions on the first floor ($4.48); then the sherbet and spaghetti sauce ($8.08); and the coffee in the attic ($9.99). I couldn't imagine the coffee being more than $8.08 so I endorsed her walking after the second floor.

It turns out, though, not only was this a winning layout but there were eight distinct winning solutions, the most I've encountered. Any of these patterns would be good for a $100,000 win:

  • Ramen noodles ($0.59); Spaghetti sauce and Gum ($3.38); Sherbet and Onions ($9.18); Coffee ($9.99).
  • Ramen noodles ($0.59); Gum and Onions ($4.48); Sherbet and Spaghetti sauce ($8.08); Coffee ($9.99).
  • Ramen noodles ($0.59); Spaghetti sauce and Onions ($5.68); Sherbet and Gum ($6.88); Coffee ($9.99).
  • Gum ($1.09); Ramen and Spaghetti sauce ($2.88); Sherbet and Onions ($9.18); Coffee ($9.99).
  • Gum ($1.09); Ramen and Onions ($3.98); Sherbet and Spaghetti sauce ($8.08); Coffee ($9.99).
  • Gum ($1.09); Spaghetti sauce and Onions ($5.68); Sherbet and Ramen ($6.38); Coffee ($9.99).
  • Spaghetti sauce ($2.29); Ramen and Onions ($3.98); Sherbet and Onions ($6.88); Coffee ($9.99).
  • Spaghetti sauce ($2.29); Gum and Onions ($4.48); Sherbet and Ramen ($6.38); Coffee ($9.99).

Given that there are only 180 distinct ways of grouping six items in the pattern ``Pay The Rent'' demands (two groups of two each, two groups of one each), that's ... well, only about a one in 26 chance that a randomly selected arrangement will be a possible $100,000 solution. It's the second time I've noticed that putting the cheapest item at the start offers a chance to win, though, and I wonder if that indicates the show is trying to find someone to win the $100,000 grand prize. Earlier in March they had six winning combinations, after all.

Anyway, the range of price prizes this season has been $3.90, $4.80, $4.70, $3.10, $7.90, and now $9.40. The most generous range in pricing levels has been $3.20, $2.00, $2.10, $1.30, $7.90, and now $9.40.

Trivia: Paul Terry sold his cartoons studio to CBS for $3,500,000 in 1955. Bill Weiss, who took over as Terrytoons executive producer for CBS, claimed the network recouped the investment in two years. Source: Of Mice And Magic: A History Of American Animated Cartoons, Leonard Maltin.

Currently Reading: Just One More Thing: Stories From My Life, Peter Falk. I'm surprised and amused to learn that Falk, apparently, didn't know that The Great Race was (phenomenally loosely) based on reality, although the idea of a 1908 New-York-to-Paris motor race sounds like something that has to have been made up for a joke.

Tags: price is right

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