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Countdown is a very long-running game show in the UK.

I was watching a comedy-take on the show, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and the (non-crucial) conundrum was:

T W A R T E H A B

The scientist in me unscrambled this to:

W A T E R B A T H

However on the show one of the contestants correctly gave the answer as:

B A T H W A T E R

(facepalm)

Have there ever been any ambiguous Countdown Conundrums (on the original show) and have they ever affected the outcome of the game?

By ambiguous I mean that the 9-letter conundrum can be unscrambled into (at least) two different words?

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    Is there any implication on the show that one of the two answers would be counted as "wrong" if it were suggested? If both answers are valid, I don't see how it would affect the game's outcome. – Catija May 20 '16 at 22:25
  • Well the 'reveal' of the answer is rather old-school, and a pre-arranged set of letters is spun into view, so the 'correct' answer must be set before the conundrum begins. For instance – Simon O'Hanlon May 20 '16 at 22:36
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    Ah, gotcha. I don't know that I've seen the game, so I wasn't aware of that game mechanic. – Catija May 20 '16 at 22:38
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As a rule, they try not to have ambiguous Conundrum solutions to avoid confusion. However, according to Wikipedia:

Each conundrum is designed to have only one solution but if, unintentionally, the conundrum has two answers (e.g. CARTHORSE and ORCHESTRA) then either is accepted.

As for an example of this happening, there's episode 1332 from Jan 1993, in which the production came up with an interesting workaround. From the Countdown Wikia:

According to [contestant and series 22 champion] Waddington, the conundrum round was originally set with the answer as RELAPSING, to which he 'incorrectly' buzzed with the answer SPANGLIER. It was then discovered that the word was indeed valid, and so a retake was shot with the original intended answer as the scramble. [You can see the relevant scene here.]

There are also cases where the 2nd solution is displayed upfront, probably to throw contestants off. Here's one instance of it where a contestant indeed fell for it, answering GERANIUMS, the word that is already displayed (which is plural and isn't allowed) instead of MEASURING [the relevant bit is at 6:47]:

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