Sunday, April 29, 2007

At home with Duckworth and Lewis - Zephirine

[“In the sport of cricket, the Duckworth-Lewis method is a mathematical way to calculate the target score for the team batting second in a one-day cricket match interrupted by weather or other circumstance.” Wikipedia]

(A scrupulously tidy kitchen. Two BOFFINS appear, in old-fashioned dressing-gowns and pyjamas).

Lewis: Morning Duckworth.

Duckworth: Morning Lewis.

Lewis: Sleep well?

Duckworth: Sadly not. I woke up at 4.09 which meant I had to get back to sleep in less than 17 minutes in order to reach my revised target of 7 hours 45.5 minutes’ sleep.

Lewis: Did you manage it?

Duckworth: Unfortunately after 37 minutes I was still awake and I was too sleepy to recalculate before I did drop off again, so I have no idea if I’ve had a mathematically appropriate amount of sleep or not.

Lewis: My dear chap! That’s terrible. Have this average sized slice of toast. It’s been done to 3.35 minutes as you prefer.

Duckworth: Most kind.

(He takes the toast and starts to butter it, but there is very little butter left in the dish.)

Lewis: Ah. We’re going to need…. 0.235 of a pack of butter, would you say?

Duckworth: Based on a consumption of two slices each at a consistent level of greed I would say that would be a defensible target.

(Lewis gets the butter out of the fridge and measures it with a small slide-rule before cutting a section off and putting it in the butter dish.)

Duckworth: Getting back to sleep within 20 minutes should have been possible on a basis of my resources, ie tiredness level, physical exercise taken, softness of bed and pre-sleep mug of cocoa.

Lewis: I think you get a clearer set of numbers with a pre-sleep single malt, myself. Tea?

Duckworth: Thank you. I shall need an extra 0.36 grams of sugar to compensate for my estimated loss of energy through sleep deprivation. Why is the phone off the hook?

Lewis: They kept phoning up from Barbados last night and I got fed up with it. I was busy revising the calculation of how many chimpanzees it would take to write the Wisden annual.

Duckworth: How many was it, in the end?

Lewis: Chimpanzees? 73,050,025 over a period of five years. Assuming some of them are cleverer than others across a 40 percentile range.

Duckworth: I think the television needs repairing. I had the cricket on with the sound off while I did my Super Sudoku, and the picture was terribly dark.

Lewis: No, that was from Barbados, it was actually night-time. They kept going on about it.

Duckworth: Well, that’s nonsense. You can’t use our targets at night. It would require a completely new set of calculations.

Lewis: I told them that. They were quite abusive.

Duckworth: Ah well. Let them fret, our system’s only a temporary measure. Once the ICC gets all one-day internationals played in Dubai, rain won’t be a problem.

Lewis: Er-

Duckworth: Sorry, I mean it’ll be approximately 95.3 % less of a problem.

Lewis: Indeed. And we can get on with more important things. More tea?

Duckworth: Just 0.45 of a cup, thanks.

(A knock at the door. Lewis goes to open it. A DELIVERY BOY hands him an enormous bunch of flowers.)

Lewis: (surprised) Thank you. (shuts the door) How very odd. Flowers. Almost 90% unforeseeable.

Duckworth: Is there a message?


Duckworth: Ah, cricketers… so charmingly unpredictable.


mimi said...

Zeph: brilliant!
I think this will stand as my World Cup highlight.

offside said...

Zeph, I have no idea what (and who) you are writing about, hell, I'm not even sure who won the world cup (Australia, is it?), so I'm a bit puzzled that I found this funny. Can you explain?

BlueinBetis said...


Duckworth and Lewis I see a new comedy show.

Are they gay?

Do they even like each other?

When do the chimpanzees start typing?

Are the Australian cricket team gay?

All these questions and more entered my head whilst reading this.

Haven't seen much of this World Cup, in fact none at all. I have been following it, for what seems like six months now. Has it been a success on ANY front? I know the best team won, but apart from that nothing good seemed to come from it. That's the impression I get, would you agree?

Offside, it's the pakalolo silly!

bluedaddy said...

Like it Zeph. It's definitely got legs.

Sometimes cricket with no real point can have a zen like joy, but that tends to apply to the longer version. The one day game is nothing without a bit of edge. When you hear the pathetic response of the ICC to this fiasco you know it will probably get worse not better on the subcontinent.

I reckon AHWD&L could potentially offer more excitement than the world cup in the long run, and so I hope to see it on screen, or even better on the radio, very soon, starring Gilbert and George of course, or Vic and Bob.

Zeph said...

Mimi - you've gotta laugh, eh?

Offside (and other footballers and rowers)... The CWC final last Saturday: it rained on and off all day, the targets for the Sri Lankan team were recalculated (using the DL method) until the poor guys didn't know how many runs they needed to make, and it all took so long that the match ended in darkness. The Chinese company who rebuilt the Barbados stadium didn't put in floodlights. Everybody's very pissed off about it, except Ricky Ponting and the Australian team, who won.

BinB: Yes, it's a classic comedy show pairing - think The Odd Couple... as for the Aussies, well, who knows?
The Cricket World cup was a disappointment for everybody except the Australians, the Irish team (who are mostly Australians)and the ICC committee members who've made a lot of money. But I miss it already...

Zeph said...

Bluedaddy, thanks. Gilbert and George, yes...
At least if the ICC mess up that badly again on the subcontinent there'll be a proper riot and not just a few boos.

jonnydog said...


I can't wait for the next episode. It's time D+L were unleashed on the wider world. I'm sure they could come up with ingenious solutions for all kinds of problems: the French presi elections for starters, maybe? And only last week, the vet asked me how much my dog was eating in relation to how many poos I was picking up in the park, and I was stumped. D+L, we need you!

offside said...

So you had a world cup that lasted six months, and in the end they couldn't manage to hold the final on a sunny day in the Caribbean?

Dog, I'm so sorry I missed all this.

Duckworth said...

Mr Jonnydog: I refer you to the excellent article on our method in Wikipedia (I wrote it myself). You will see that a calculation needs to be based on your hound's resources - eg food consumed, snacks obtained by emotional blackmail, body fat accumulated by lying on sofa - as against calories to be expended in activities - barking, running, jumping up and down, chasing cat up stairs etc. You will then arrive at your Canine Duckworth Lewis Poo Target. But of course it will have to be recalculated after each meal.

lewis said...


you know full well you only wrote 61.7% of that wikipedia article. I wrote the remaining 28.3%.

Malcolm Speed said...

Hang on, 61.7 plus 28.3 equals 90, you blokes can't bloody add up. No wonder the final was a bloody farce and I'm left eating the shit sandwich.

You're fired, hear me. FIRED!

jonnydog said...

Dear D+L,

Thank you for your kind advice as regards my dog poo. I fear the calculations may be beyond my comprehension. Could you recommend the services of any poo consultants in the Barcelona area?


J. Dog

lewis said...


how dare you suggest our figures are anything other than precisely precise? The remaining 10% of the wikipedia entry was written by randomly selected internet users representing the non-quantifiable element known as the "rub of the green". Which duckie and I have actually quantified. To seven decimal places. There.

Duckworth said...

I've told you before, Lewis, don't call me duckie. It gives people entirely the wrong idea.

MotM said...

I've found Duckworth and Lewis here

Zeph said...

Ah, Mouth, such genius!

mimi said...

How extraordinary that Bluedaddy thought about Gilbert and George after reading this! At 4.30 this morning when I read it, I thought too of those artistes of the poo, but decided not to say it, in case it seemed as though I was self-aggrandising and referring back to my own Sport and Art piece. So glad this idea of G&G in cricket (and poo) is so universal!

Zeph said...

Must confess Mouth was spot on - definite M & W inspiration, two guys living together in an unexplained manner. But Gilbert and George have the deadpan. And the two old buffers Caldicott and Charters in Hitchcock's 'The Lady Vanishes... steal from the best, that's what I say.

mimi said...

off topic here but we're doing humour. Can anyone help me with an old Monty Python sketch? How to identify different trees from quite a long way away - the Larch.
Help from all appreciated. I have one youtube link but it's not what I was thinking about more out there?

Nigel Kersten said...

brilliant! loved it...

jonnydog said...


Try this one:

mimi said...

jonny: noo, i got so excited but that's the same one that I have. Very funny, but I'm sure that there is a longer "larch" joke. Or maybe this is just me making more of "the LARCH" than they ever wrote.

jonnydog said...

Wasn't it just the same larch joke repeated trhough one episode?

Lee said...

this is a fabulous post that had me giggling throughout - top one Zeph

levremance said...

I've been having a few laughs over this one too, very funny Zeph. Geez that Malcolm Speed's a bit grumpy though, isn't he.

Zeph said...

Thanks, guys! - Levremance, perhaps Mr Speed's exhausted from counting his money late into the night...

rubofthegreengrass said...

Lovely, Zeph!

I got on here a bit late - I was computer-free until the 2nd. of May, and I had made a sub-standard calculation of the time needed to watch the Red Devils lose, pen a "good loser" post and have my teeth unclamped.

I had simply failed to factor-in the possibility of the pub being shut.

This piece finally erased my PMD (post-Milan depression) - thanks for bringing me 99.99999% back on course!

Tweet it, digg it