[“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.
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?
Lewis: Yes. It says: TO D & L WITH LOVE AND KISSES FROM RICKY P AND ALL THE BOYS.
Duckworth: Ah, cricketers… so charmingly unpredictable.