Question for @imaperv

Hi @TheBarbieMovie2023

In Countdown, I know Rachel solves the numbers on her own, but when they go to Susie and ask if the players could have done any better on the words rounds, is she coming up with longer words because she’s the greatest player of all time, or does she have some solving machine? I know she had a dictionary, but I don’t see how that would greatly increase your chances of finding longer words, it would just help prove more obscure words are real.

Cheers pervo.


I haven’t been on countdown multiple times but I’ve always assumed she either gets help OR she gets longer than the telly shows and they edit that out.

I’m sorry, I thought this thread was titled Question for @TheBarbieMovie2023, not Question for @AnyOldChump


Has the term ‘thinking man’s crumpet’ now left the english lexicon or is it still used in the Daily Mail?




She’s a lexicographer and she’s been doing that job for a quarter of a century. It’s probably not a stretch to imagine that she might be better at it than the contestants are, without needing any extra help?

So you’re going with the “greatest player of all time” theory?

Maybe she is but also completely shit at numbers?

I use this phrase regualrly

On one episode of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown her and Rachel had to join the teams and take part in the games, and her first word wasn’t even a valid word.

i think they have producers researching and telling her

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Probably mostly for the hilarious bants and ensuing comedy gold from the Resident Funnymen™.

Let’s be clear about the “research” angle. I wrote a program that solved any solvable numbers game in under two seconds over twenty years ago, and now you can get java apps that’ll do it much faster. And the letters game is even simpler to do computationally. So if there’s any “cheating” going on then the barrier to entry to “perfect answer” is non-existent.

I vaguely recall SD saying that she has an earpiece, but that for the most part at least she uses her own best efforts (plus whatever Giles Brandreth craps out of course. Does Giles Brandreth still do it?)

I dunno, I havent seen the show for years



Standing in the way of Countdown!

Right here she comes.

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Susie has an earpiece to the producer, Damian, who is a former series champion. I’m sure she does see some of the words on her own, but I’m not sure how many. Also she has an online dictionary instead of a paper one these days.

Having a dictionary in front of you is helpful if you’re unsure of a word’s validity but really you need to have spotted it in the first place.

Additionally I think Susie would be ok as a contestant although struggle with the numbers, but Rachel would probably be a decent scoring octochamp. She’s actually pretty good at the letters.

Hope this helps.



The producer tells Rachel if the exact target is impossible but she will not let him tell her how to solve it; she insists on doing it herself even if it takes her ages.

Unfortunately Gyles Brandreth does still do it. He is odious, narcissistic and has no concept of personal space judging by how regularly he invades Susie’s.