2017 NSC set discussion

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2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:44 pm

Hello everyone,

As there are no mirrors of the set of any kind, you are free to publicly discuss the 2017 PACE NSC questions in this thread. A copy of the set as played should be posted within the next day or two, but until then you're free to request the text of individual questions; my only caveat, as always, is that you provide a brief explanation of why you'd like to see a given question.

I'll probably expand this section in the near future with some more extensive praise and thanks, but for now I'd like to make sure to thank all of my fellow editors (Adam Silverman, Jordan Brownstein, Ike Jose, Ankit Aggarwal, Matt Bollinger, and Eric Mukherjee), as well as Mike Bentley, who wrote over a quarter of the set.

I hope you all enjoyed it!
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby High Dependency Unit » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:02 pm

Will the All-Star packet be included when the set is posted?

I want to remark that while I thought the set was well-written, it skewed very difficult, particularly in the history distribution (Stephen Decatur, Navarre, Uighirs, etc -- I didn't write down answerlines, so this is all from memory). I'd like to see the tossup on "ice" because I'm curious where it went after One Hundred Years of Solitude clues.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Your Genie Felon, Me » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:05 pm

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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Pascal Plays Poker » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:15 pm

This being my first time going to PACE, I thoroughly enjoyed the set! I just had a few complaints with it:

- I thought the difficulty fluctuated a lot between rounds (University of Alabama and Lisbon being two I think; Michael also expressed his concern above)

- While common links tossup are a nice change, I think you guys overdid them a bit in favor of regular answer lines that I thought would've been better.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby 1992 in spaceflight » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:19 pm

Pascal Plays Poker wrote:- While common links tossup are a nice change, I think you guys overdid them a bit in favor of regular answer lines that I thought would've been better.


Obviously, I'm not speaking for the NSC editors, but common-link tossups allow for people to test knowledge of harder clues without having to make the harder thing itself an answerline. From last year's NSC, the tossup on Sylvia Plath's father in her poetry made for a much more interesting tossup (in terms of the clues that were available to use) than just a tossup on "Daddy." I only heard 14 rounds of the tournament, so I don't know if they were overdone. I certainly didn't think so.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby browen » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:20 pm

Your Feline Genome wrote:
2017 in amusement parks wrote:I'd like to see the tossup on "ice" because I'm curious where it went after One Hundred Years of Solitude clues.


On that note, when will the set be posted? I think people would like to be able to see the set while they discuss it.



It says in a day or two in the initial post. Second Michael on the Decatur question. Talking about the his duel with James Barron, but not explicitly mentioning James Barron makes for a pretty difficult tossup.

The tossups on MacGuffins (Sam Brochin is just too good) and works of literature set in New Jersey were something else as well.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby csa2125 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:21 pm

I'll write up a larger commentary on the set later, but overall I enjoyed it very much.

One question I was curious about, however, was the bonus asking for "The Hebrew Bible," which prompted but did not outright accept "the Old Testament," when asking about some philosopher who did not consider the God worshipped by the pre-Christianity Jews to be the same as the God worshipped by the Christians. Could someone post that bonus and explain why "Old Testament" wouldn't have been entirely correct there?
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby sambrochin » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:23 pm

You're too kind.

But seriously, what was with that MacGuffin tossup? And why was it basically the only film tossup in the whole set?
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:33 pm

From the perspective of someone who mainly just watched games on line and heard on-the-ground reports, it seemed like there were an extremely large number of common links. While there's nothing wrong with common links in the abstract, I think it may be worth examining what sorts of content that these common links are serving up to the players - based on what I heard from players, I have a suspicion that this may have been a way of shunting in hard content while keeping the middle and later.

Common links are an important way of bringing in content that would be difficult to ask about in an interesting manner otherwise, but if these kinds of questions predominate then you can easily end up with a set where there are too many early clues drawing on material that is "peripheral" (if you will) to the high school canon. Thinking about this a bit - this can result in the same problem as having all literature questions be on authors be of format (Describe Obscure Work Z, Describe Obscure Work Y, Title Drop Z and Y, Describe Famous Work X, Giveaway) - but I feel that since the answer is "creative" then people will give themselves a pass more easily. Worse, some of these common links often end up being thematically disjoint - take that Byron tossup that led in with some clue about the Battle of Edgehill, which I personally found rather suspect.

Again, this is largely speculative on my part - and it is certainly not intended as a Gioia-esque "First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Common Links" - but may nonetheless be useful as a point of discussion.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Geriatric trauma » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:41 pm

Code: Select all
PPB, NSC 2017
Min.   1st Qu. Median  Mean   3rd Qu.  Max.
6.48   13.84   15.66   15.84   18.07   22.53

PPB, NSC 2016
Min.   1st Qu. Median  Mean   3rd Qu.  Max. 
8.97   13.48   16.21   16.34   18.99   24.39

Powers/game, NSC 2017
Min.   1st Qu. Median  Mean   3rd Qu.  Max. 
0.000   1.133   1.733   2.154   2.700   6.889

Powers/game, NSC 2016
Min.   1st Qu. Median  Mean   3rd Qu.  Max. 
0.2667  1.3920  2.3000  2.6390  3.6520  7.1500

The set does appear to have been a bit harder for the field than last year's, although nothing outside of reason.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby nitzuga » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:48 pm

As a whole I really enjoyed the tournament. While there were a lot of common link questions, I personally like them a lot. They add a fun twist to some questions, and I think doing more of them in easier tournaments would be cool to see. I also didn't notice too much variance in difficulty, but then again I don't have the expertise to make a sound judgement on that.

One of the only issues I noticed was a sort of poor placement of questions, both within rounds and between rounds... In Round 9, a bonus part on Australia comes soon after a tossup on Australia, in Round 15 a mention of Lord Byron in a bonus immediately precedes a tossup on Byron, and in the video I'm currently watching (DCC v Barrington Round 17), the first three tossups and one of the corresponding bonuses are all science, and there are two mentions of Thomas De Quincey in the bonuses.

My teammates and I were a little disappointed with the math tossups. For example, the lead in for "point" could be buzzed on if one had just vaguely heard of point-set topology, and I personally thought the "arithmetic" tossup was a little weird; describing it as a branch of math threw me off (although apparently that's a thing, darn) and dropping modular arithmetic was a little early IMO. In both tossups the clue placement made me hesitant to buzz. However, this might be less about the questions and more about me being picky or not reading enough math tossups to make that real knowledge -> good buzzes transition, but idk.

Related to this, however: when talking to people about the math questions, a couple responded that answers had to be fairly simple (e.g. point, vector, arithmetic) to accommodate the knowledge provided in high school. I think this is fair for some levels of play, but I don't see how this is reasonable for PACE-- if I asked people at my school those math tossups, I'm sure many (hopefully most) of the people in honors math classes could answer them by the end. On the other hand, I'd be surprised if like, any could convert Daphne du Maurier or The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Why do other categories get to ask about stuff high schoolers have never heard of, but math can't?

I hope my comments don't sound overly critical; I truly, genuinely enjoyed playing this tournament, and my comments on the math are more about starting a discussion than attacking the writers.

PS: Could I see the answer line for the In Search of Lost Time common link tossup? I buzzed in with flashback and was surprised to not even receive a prompt...
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby nsb2 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:52 pm

Rob,

I appreciate everything you and everybody else involved have done for PACE. This was definitely the best high school set I've played this year.

I also felt there were a few areas where the set could be improved (and have not been mentioned extensively by other people). These include:

-Reuse of clues. I don't remember precisely which rounds this happened, but I remember thinking "Is this really Egypt again?" after Egypt came up for the 3rd time. I don't think that reusal made me miss any tossups, but it did make me confused. IMO, some of the tossups with reused clues could be replaced with answerlines on underrepresented categories (e.g. geography, film).

-Opening most music tossups with 3-4 lines of description. I wouldn't call this practice wrong, but it was rather unexpected given the balanced approach taken by most other sets I played this year.

-The preponderance of classical (Greek/Roman) history answerlines. I enjoyed getting powers on Roman history and culture, but objectively speaking, the amount of it seemed excessive.

Keep in mind that these thoughts come from when I played the set, and thus I was more concerned about buzzing in than evaluating the quality of a tossup. This also means that I don't have any statistical evidence for or against my claims until the packet is released.

Once again, thanks for a great tournament!
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:54 pm

csa2125 wrote:I'll write up a larger commentary on the set later, but overall I enjoyed it very much.

One question I was curious about, however, was the bonus asking for "The Hebrew Bible," which prompted but did not outright accept "the Old Testament," when asking about some philosopher who did not consider the God worshipped by the pre-Christianity Jews to be the same as the God worshipped by the Christians. Could someone post that bonus and explain why "Old Testament" wouldn't have been entirely correct there?

[10] The dualist Marcion of Sinope taught that the God described in this religious text was not the God taught by Jesus. The protocanonical books, but not the deuterocanonical ones, derived from this text.
ANSWER: Tanakh [accept Hebrew Bible or Hebrew Scriptures or Mikra; prompt on the Old Testament; prompt on the Bible; anti-prompt (ask the player to be less specific) on the Torah or the Pentateuch]

The second sentence here was intended to point you towards something that preceded the Christian Old Testament, though perhaps that was unclear or insufficiently helpful. I apologize if so; it was a change I made while trying to calibrate the bonus's difficulty.

sambrochin wrote:But seriously, what was with that MacGuffin tossup? And why was it basically the only film tossup in the whole set?

I'm not sure what you're looking for with the first question--it was an attempt to write on a less-often-asked but important element of the works of an important director, though it may not have ideally reflected the knowledge of the field. As for the second question, it was an unfortunate result of randomization: the set had the same 3/3 film as last year, but one of the tossups ended up at #21 and the other was in Finals 2. Perhaps an increase in the film distribution in future years is warranted.

2017 in amusement parks wrote:Will the All-Star packet be included when the set is posted?

It sure will.

nitzuga wrote:One of the only issues I noticed was a sort of poor placement of questions, both within rounds and between rounds... In Round 9, a bonus part on Australia comes soon after a tossup on Australia, in Round 15 a mention of Lord Byron in a bonus immediately precedes a tossup on Byron, and in the video I'm currently watching (DCC v Barrington Round 17), the first three tossups and one of the corresponding bonuses are all science, and there are two mentions of Thomas De Quincey in the bonuses.

We caught a lot of these distributional errors in packetization but unfortunately couldn't quite catch them all; I think next year, unless we have a truly robust automatic packetizing solution available, doing it fully manually might just be the better way to go. A minor correction, though: the second tossup of the three, Copernicus, was a history question, though of course it's unfortunately placed between two science tossups that also ideally wouldn't have been so close.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:59 pm

2017 in amusement parks wrote:I'd like to see the tossup on "ice" because I'm curious where it went after One Hundred Years of Solitude clues.

Round 17 wrote:12. A man who breaks plates without touching them opens a factory that produces this stuff, then builds a railroad to improve its business. In a tent, a giant with a copper nose ring opens a pirate chest containing this stuff, which is proclaimed "the greatest invention of our time." A character's only happy moments after his first sight of this stuff occurs while he sits in his workshop crafting tiny (*) gold fish. A man pays five reals (ree-ALLS) to touch this substance while searching for the gypsy Melquíades. In the first sentence of a 1967 novel, a man facing a firing squad, Colonel Aureliano, recalls when "his father took him to discover" this substance. For 10 points, name this cold substance, a motif in Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, in which it is initially mistaken for diamonds.
ANSWER: ice [or el hielo]


nitzuga wrote:PS: Could I see the answer line for the In Search of Lost Time common link tossup? I buzzed in with flashback and was surprised to not even receive a prompt...

Round 05 wrote:15. In one passage, this process is caused by things like a starched napkin, a clattering spoon, and some uneven paving stones. This phenomenon occurs at the end of a chapter in which the narrator's magic lantern makes him fear going to sleep without his mother's kiss. This phenomenon produces moments bienheureux (moh-MON bee-ANN-urr-oo) in a novel that it titles in C. K. Scott-Moncrieff's translation. A notable description of this (*) mental phenomenon occurs at the end of a chapter beginning "For a long time, I went to bed early" and is followed by the "Combray" chapter. The narrator experiences the "involuntary" form of this process after he eats a tea-soaked madeleine of the sort that he had eaten as a child. For 10 points, Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time has been titled for what mental faculty "of things past"?
ANSWER: involuntary memory [or remembrance]

"Flashback" seems at least deserving of a prompt; I imagine a protest on those grounds would have been upheld. My apologies for the oversight.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby nsb2 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:13 pm

One additional comment: there was one particular packet that was riddled with grammatical errors. I don't remember which packet number it was, but our moderator (don't remember who) had a lot of trouble reading it. I'm not sure what the production schedule for PACE is, but I would think these errors could be caught in advance.

(edit) One more issues I wanted to bring up: The very large amount of tossups on architecture (or with clues on architecture). Partially as a result of this, I think I buzzed in later on this packet's fine arts than I did on ACF Regs (which I find very odd).
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:41 pm

I'm busy formatting IHBB Asia packets, so I'm going to get this note in quickly while it's at a good point in the thread: pseudo-common link tossups like ice from only One Hundred Years of Solitude or memories from only Proust would do well to have an answer line confirming that fact for the moderator. (i.e. "Answer: ice in One Hundred Years of Solitude".)

I loved reading this set, which once again earns the title "best HS set of the year," and will have more to discuss later.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby i never see pigeons in wheeling » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:53 pm

nitzuga wrote:My teammates and I were a little disappointed with the math tossups. For example, the lead in for "point" could be buzzed on if one had just vaguely heard of point-set topology, and I personally thought the "arithmetic" tossup was a little weird; describing it as a branch of math threw me off (although apparently that's a thing, darn) and dropping modular arithmetic was a little early IMO. In both tossups the clue placement made me hesitant to buzz. However, this might be less about the questions and more about me being picky or not reading enough math tossups to make that real knowledge -> good buzzes transition, but idk.

Related to this, however: when talking to people about the math questions, a couple responded that answers had to be fairly simple (e.g. point, vector, arithmetic) to accommodate the knowledge provided in high school. I think this is fair for some levels of play, but I don't see how this is reasonable for PACE-- if I asked people at my school those math tossups, I'm sure many (hopefully most) of the people in honors math classes could answer them by the end. On the other hand, I'd be surprised if like, any could convert Daphne du Maurier or The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Why do other categories get to ask about stuff high schoolers have never heard of, but math can't?


To address your last point first, you cannot, in general, treat the writing of technical subjects the same way you treat lit. Literature works entirely differently: there are some core works that virtually everyone tends to study in high school (Huck Finn, Gatsby, Catcher), some that are relatively common in high schools (Things Fall Apart, various Shakespeare works), and a vast, vast body of other work that is still important to western literature but will not show up in many curricula due to limited time. Of course, in math, there is a huge amount of material that cannot be covered in a standard high school curriculum, but the difference is that this material is far more based on sequentially building up on earlier works than literature, in which Du Maurier and Chabon are just as readable as the other works tested in high school quiz bowl. Your hypothetical high school freshman playing NSC could read collegiate or high school nationals packets, discover these authors, and proceed to read their works and enjoy them just as much as they could very canonical authors. By contrast, this high school freshman, unless extremely advanced in math, will find much of the math to be incomprehensible gibberish that will not become clear until they take the requisite math courses, and this sort of curricular progression is necessary to build an actual knowledge base. The barriers to converting math outside the standard curriculum are substantially higher than of converting a humanities question that's outside the standard curriculum.

I wrote all but one math question and edited the category. I'm sorry you didn't get a great experience out of playing the tossups, but I feel I did the right thing in terms of trying to claw back the difficulty of math writing to focus more on core concepts (this is not to say that I didn't have tossups that were more difficult--see my tossups on Fourier, harmonic, Bayes, and the one tossup I personally did not write but allowed into the set after editing, curvature). My writing and editing philosophy was very much tailored to end conversion (I'm actually glad that most people in your honors math classes could convert them by the end) and rewarding people who are knowledgeable about concepts outside the standard math curriculum with powers, particularly that set of people who take collegiate classes as high schoolers. These easier tossups were more clustered in early rounds because you have to do that in order to allow future tossups on concepts that reference these concepts, which might have influenced how easy you thought the questions were.

When I think about who I'm writing for, I'm writing for a group that has, overwhelmingly, not taken collegiate math. I wanted to reward interaction with the world of math at the collegiate level without becoming excessively abstruse for all the JV teams out there. That first clue on "point-set topology" was informed by thinking hard about what kind of student would have even *heard* about point-set topology. It's not particularly easy to hear of it; it requires actual engagement with the world of math or some sort of circumstantial interaction with the fields of graduate-level math courses (which point-set topology is) to have heard of it and to convert it there. I'm fine rewarding that sort of interaction with a first-line buzz. On the other hand, I was likely too early with that clue about the power of a point, which I understand is taught in some geometry courses (I personally did not learn it in those classes, so I assumed it was harder than it actually was).

As for the arithmetic tossup, I found it an opportunity to ask about something interesting and accessible once I learned that it was actually a field of math. I thought at first that the modulus clue was a little early because lots of people learn about what a modulus is in high school, but not too many people hear it couched within the term "modular arithmetic" (again, the substantive engagement with the world of math theme coming into play here), so I let that clue stand within power.

Your team is exceptionally talented in math, particularly in terms of higher education, and I hope my questions were able to get you a high power rate because of that. I read some of your teammate's criticisms on that Illinois Facebook group, and while including Math Monstrosity-esque clues in NSC would probably make it more exciting for him, I hope he realizes that it would not be particularly beneficial to the rest of the field. :grin:
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Mike Bentley » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:55 pm

nsb2 wrote:(edit) One more issues I wanted to bring up: The very large amount of tossups on architecture (or with clues on architecture). Partially as a result of this, I think I buzzed in later on this packet's fine arts than I did on ACF Regs (which I find very odd).


The amount of architecture in the tournament was the same as last year (4/4), although it's certainly possible there were more architecture clues in non-architecture questions.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Cheynem » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:59 pm

I thought this set was very good, if somewhat difficult in a few categories.

In regards to the common links, I will say that there were a lot of them. In almost all cases, I think they were interesting attempts at trying to be more creative than simply a work/author answerline. In most cases, I think they worked; in some cases, I think the common link made a tossup somewhat difficult or awkward. In the best examples of common links (my feeble brain means I can't think of the many good ones I liked), the questions reward true knowledge instead of just list memorization. In the weaker examples, I think they tended to be more of a "can you figure this out?" or "have you heard of this?" that doesn't reward this knowledge in a fair manner.

For example, the MacGuffin tossup seemed a poor idea--if you knew what a MacGuffn was, this was pretty easy to figure out (and the "Maltese Falcon" doesn't actually seem like a MacGuffin in the way Hitchcock would define it). Your mileage may vary on that, of course.

One thing that I'd suggest is that while common link questions can be fine, they aren't inherently any better than "regular" tossups on authors/works. Just pick out thematic clues instead. I think this set occasionally tried to be too creative (or perhaps betrayed a sense of ennui) at times.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Mike Bentley » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:08 pm

nsb2 wrote:-The preponderance of classical (Greek/Roman) history answerlines. I enjoyed getting powers on Roman history and culture, but objectively speaking, the amount of it seemed excessive.


I counted about 12/16 classical history in the set this year vs. 10/14 last year, which is four more questions over the whole set.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Father Comstock » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:24 pm

Ankit,

I won't quote your whole post, but I think you did a pretty good job differentiating between the different levels of talent. I am good at math and would have likely received power on most of these questions sort of late, but Gus and Jon got them earlier than that, because they love math. :lol:
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby nsb2 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:25 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:The amount of architecture in the tournament was the same as last year (4/4), although it's certainly possible there were more architecture clues in non-architecture questions.


This was indeed what I was referring to -- I believe there were a lot more architecture clues (referring to cities, for example) than I've seen in other sets.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby csa2125 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:24 pm

[10] The dualist Marcion of Sinope taught that the God described in this religious text was not the God taught by Jesus. The protocanonical books, but not the deuterocanonical ones, derived from this text.
ANSWER: Tanakh [accept Hebrew Bible or Hebrew Scriptures or Mikra; prompt on the Old Testament; prompt on the Bible; anti-prompt (ask the player to be less specific) on the Torah or the Pentateuch]


The second sentence here was intended to point you towards something that preceded the Christian Old Testament, though perhaps that was unclear or insufficiently helpful. I apologize if so; it was a change I made while trying to calibrate the bonus's difficulty.


Alright, I see why that was that way. In common parlance though, I've heard and referred to the 33 books in the Christian Old Testament / Tanakh as "the Old Testament," and the Apocrypha as a separate, non-Biblical entity; perhaps this is just because I'm not Catholic or Orthodox. I don't see how you could have really made a distinction between "what Catholics and Orthodoxs refer to as the Old Testament (inclusive of the deuterocanonicals)" and "what other Christians and Jews refer to as 'the Old Testament' (exclusive of them)," though I'm not sure such a distinction needed to be made in that bonus in that way.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby wcheng » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:03 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:
csa2125 wrote:I'll write up a larger commentary on the set later, but overall I enjoyed it very much.

One question I was curious about, however, was the bonus asking for "The Hebrew Bible," which prompted but did not outright accept "the Old Testament," when asking about some philosopher who did not consider the God worshipped by the pre-Christianity Jews to be the same as the God worshipped by the Christians. Could someone post that bonus and explain why "Old Testament" wouldn't have been entirely correct there?

[10] The dualist Marcion of Sinope taught that the God described in this religious text was not the God taught by Jesus. The protocanonical books, but not the deuterocanonical ones, derived from this text.
ANSWER: Tanakh [accept Hebrew Bible or Hebrew Scriptures or Mikra; prompt on the Old Testament; prompt on the Bible; anti-prompt (ask the player to be less specific) on the Torah or the Pentateuch]

The second sentence here was intended to point you towards something that preceded the Christian Old Testament, though perhaps that was unclear or insufficiently helpful. I apologize if so; it was a change I made while trying to calibrate the bonus's difficulty.


Just want to note that when I originally wrote this bonus, "Old Testament" was the primary answerline, and this was changed during editing. I don't think that there's any particular reason why "Old Testament" should not be a correct answer, so I will let the editors explain their thought process on that one.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Deviant Insider » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:28 pm

Pascal Plays Poker wrote:- I thought the difficulty fluctuated a lot between rounds


Somebody else said the same thing to me during the tournament, so I looked at the round report to see what happened. My first impression in looking at the report was that this statement is false--the standard deviation of PPG/Team is 11.8, of TUPts/TUH is 0.5, and of BPts/BHrd is 0.9, all of which seem within reason. There are a lot of rounds close to the means.

I then looked at which rounds were high and which were low, and I saw where the impression of fluctuation was coming from. The most difficult rounds were 13 and 15, and the easiest round was 14. Looking just at bonuses, the easiest round was 2 and the most difficult round was 3. The fact that the easiest and hardest rounds were next to each other was unfortunate and was of course not done on purpose, and it's also difficult for editors to pick up on. That being said, it's the type of thing that people notice and can be a bit disorienting.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby i never see pigeons in wheeling » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:23 pm

nsb2 wrote:
Mike Bentley wrote:The amount of architecture in the tournament was the same as last year (4/4), although it's certainly possible there were more architecture clues in non-architecture questions.


This was indeed what I was referring to -- I believe there were a lot more architecture clues (referring to cities, for example) than I've seen in other sets.


That "cities" tossup was an "other social sciences question" with the intention to treat urban design as a social science in and of itself. It was not my intention to contribute to the perceived glut of architecture.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:25 pm

i never see pigeons in wheeling wrote:
nsb2 wrote:
Mike Bentley wrote:The amount of architecture in the tournament was the same as last year (4/4), although it's certainly possible there were more architecture clues in non-architecture questions.


This was indeed what I was referring to -- I believe there were a lot more architecture clues (referring to cities, for example) than I've seen in other sets.


That "cities" tossup was an "other social sciences question" with the intention to treat urban design as a social science in and of itself. It was not my intention to contribute to the perceived glut of architecture.

I think it's more likely they were talking about, e.g., buildings of various sorts being mentioned in geography tossups, which there were a fair number of (but I hardly think that's unfair or even that unusual, except in that indicates the geography was overall probably a little more human-focused than physical-focused).
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby nsb2 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:50 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:the geography was overall probably a little more human-focused than physical-focused

On that note, would it be possible to provide some examples of physical geography clues/tossups? I recall little to no physical geo in the set.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Father Comstock » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:39 pm

wcheng wrote:
Auks Ran Ova wrote:
csa2125 wrote:I'll write up a larger commentary on the set later, but overall I enjoyed it very much.

One question I was curious about, however, was the bonus asking for "The Hebrew Bible," which prompted but did not outright accept "the Old Testament," when asking about some philosopher who did not consider the God worshipped by the pre-Christianity Jews to be the same as the God worshipped by the Christians. Could someone post that bonus and explain why "Old Testament" wouldn't have been entirely correct there?

[10] The dualist Marcion of Sinope taught that the God described in this religious text was not the God taught by Jesus. The protocanonical books, but not the deuterocanonical ones, derived from this text.
ANSWER: Tanakh [accept Hebrew Bible or Hebrew Scriptures or Mikra; prompt on the Old Testament; prompt on the Bible; anti-prompt (ask the player to be less specific) on the Torah or the Pentateuch]

The second sentence here was intended to point you towards something that preceded the Christian Old Testament, though perhaps that was unclear or insufficiently helpful. I apologize if so; it was a change I made while trying to calibrate the bonus's difficulty.


Just want to note that when I originally wrote this bonus, "Old Testament" was the primary answerline, and this was changed during editing. I don't think that there's any particular reason why "Old Testament" should not be a correct answer, so I will let the editors explain their thought process on that one.


(I"m pretty sure) It changed the outcome of Clark's tie match against DCC in the super playoffs . I'm curious as well why Old Testament was not acceptable.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Ike » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:13 pm

(I"m pretty sure) It changed the outcome of Clark's tie match against DCC in the super playoffs.


It did not. This question was used in the superplayoffs game that took place beforehand (where Dublin Scioto played Barrington), unless my memory is really failing me. Even though I was ostensibly the religion editor, Rob Carson overrode the submitted and my edited version of the question in place of the version that was played. I assume he did so because of difficulty reasons (indeed, the bonus as originally written shaded a bit easy in relation to the rest of the set) The allusion in the question to protocanonical and deuterocanonical books makes an answer of "Old Testament" not entirely correct, but certainly promptable.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Father Comstock » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:18 pm

Ike wrote:
(I"m pretty sure) It changed the outcome of Clark's tie match against DCC in the super playoffs.


It did not. This question was used in the superplayoffs game that took place beforehand (where Dublin Scioto played Barrington), unless my memory is really failing me. Even though I was ostensibly the religion editor, Rob Carson overrode the submitted and my edited version of the question in place of the version that was played. I assume he did so because of difficulty reasons (indeed, the bonus as originally written shaded a bit easy in relation to the rest of the set) The allusion in the question to protocanonical and deuterocanonical books makes an answer of "Old Testament" not entirely correct, but certainly promptable.


Okay, Clark and I were unsure but thought it was vs DCC. Either way, I think the change made the question become "you only get this if you're this religion." I'm curious of how many people converted this part, as I can imagine it being quite difficult to convert especially upon getting a prompt on the OT.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Pascal Plays Poker » Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:24 pm

Big Y wrote:
Pascal Plays Poker wrote:- I thought the difficulty fluctuated a lot between rounds


Somebody else said the same thing to me during the tournament, so I looked at the round report to see what happened. My first impression in looking at the report was that this statement is false--the standard deviation of PPG/Team is 11.8, of TUPts/TUH is 0.5, and of BPts/BHrd is 0.9, all of which seem within reason. There are a lot of rounds close to the means.

I then looked at which rounds were high and which were low, and I saw where the impression of fluctuation was coming from. The most difficult rounds were 13 and 15, and the easiest round was 14. Looking just at bonuses, the easiest round was 2 and the most difficult round was 3. The fact that the easiest and hardest rounds were next to each other was unfortunate and was of course not done on purpose, and it's also difficult for editors to pick up on. That being said, it's the type of thing that people notice and can be a bit disorienting.


That makes a lot more sense now. The latter of the two feelings was the one I felt the most (although I necessarily didn't feel it in those particular rounds).
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby dhumphreys17 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:56 pm

Big Y wrote:
Pascal Plays Poker wrote:- I thought the difficulty fluctuated a lot between rounds


Somebody else said the same thing to me during the tournament, so I looked at the round report to see what happened. My first impression in looking at the report was that this statement is false--the standard deviation of PPG/Team is 11.8, of TUPts/TUH is 0.5, and of BPts/BHrd is 0.9, all of which seem within reason. There are a lot of rounds close to the means.

I then looked at which rounds were high and which were low, and I saw where the impression of fluctuation was coming from. The most difficult rounds were 13 and 15, and the easiest round was 14. Looking just at bonuses, the easiest round was 2 and the most difficult round was 3. The fact that the easiest and hardest rounds were next to each other was unfortunate and was of course not done on purpose, and it's also difficult for editors to pick up on. That being said, it's the type of thing that people notice and can be a bit disorienting.


I would urge PACE to consider the round reports with a grain of salt in the later rounds; there was a packet snafu in Tier IV during the playoffs which caused Packet 9 to be read in Round 8 and so on that may have changed some of those round reports, although I can't be sure of by how much. For what it's worth, that packet snafu was rather well-handled in a rather quick and professional timeframe given its pervasiveness in Tier IV.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby jonpin » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:20 am

dhumphreys17 wrote:I would urge PACE to consider the round reports with a grain of salt in the later rounds; there was a packet snafu in Tier IV during the playoffs which caused Packet 9 to be read in Round 8 and so on that may have changed some of those round reports, although I can't be sure of by how much. For what it's worth, that packet snafu was rather well-handled in a rather quick and professional timeframe given its pervasiveness in Tier IV.


I believe the end result was that Round 8 was played on either Packet 8 or 9 in MNO, 9-10-11 were played on 10-11-12, and then Round 12 was played on TB B.

In any event, round-based statistics are always incredibly noisy. For instance, even "opponent-independent" stats like field PPB are incomparable between rounds at different phases of the tournament, because in Round 1, all the top teams might have a crack at a bonus, whereas in Round 13, at least half of the best teams won't have (first) crack at a bonus because they're playing the other half of the best teams.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby dhumphreys17 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:14 pm

Could I see the tossup on Easter, please? I interrupted with Great Lent and was ruled incorrect and want to see if that interrupt was reasonable given the clues (I buzzed immediately after Chrysostom).
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby An Economic Ignoramus » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:03 pm

This was, as stated above, a really good set, probably the best of the year, but, as with both sets, I had an extremely specific set of both issues and things I liked.
ISSUES:
1) There was a distinctive subset of literature tossups that, while not common links per se, singled out a specific element from single authors' works. In my opinion, these did a rather poor job of rewarding knowledge.
The following answerlines (and probably some more) followed this editing philosophy:
Ice
Hats
New Jersey
Remembrance
Let's zero in on the New Jersey tossup. I've read at least part of Goodbye, Columbus and knew that all of the clues involved Phillip Roth's works at least from the namedrop of Swede Levov. However, based on the setting of parts of Goodbye,
Columbus
, I negged this with New York and the other team picked it up on the geographic giveaway. Now, if the objective was to reward the team with the more in-depth knowledge of Philip Roth, this tossup objectively failed. The same happened with Hats and Waiting for Godot, as well as Remembrance and In Search of Lost Time. All of these would have played far better as tossups on the works they exclusively used clues from.
2) History common links on lesser-known members of famous families
There were two answerlines that I can recall fell under this category: Richelieu and Byron. I feel fairly confident in saying that absolutely nobody in High School knows figures who are solely notable for their surnames, such as the Byrons who fought at Edgehill and the Richelieu man who climbed the fortress wall in Minorca (?). The only purpose of a leadin if no one can convert a tossup on the first line is for entertainment value, and I do recall being somewhat amused by the first part of the Richelieu tossup, but there is no way to write questions like this that doesn't lead to gigantic cliffs as soon as the more famous family members are dropped.
3) Some variable difficulty in history
Basically the two poles I can think of for this are Stephen Decatur/Navarre and Lisbon. This is basically +- one difficulty level of the one that's being shot for, which in some cases can (and, I assume, did) swing matches.
4) Odd myth concentrations
The myth distro seemed a tad heavy on Hindu and Iliad questions. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but that was an issue that I heard brought up a lot.
5) Really difficult/peripherally academic answerlines
Godel Escher Bach stands out. There's no conceivable way someone who hasn't read this will convert it before the last line. Even so, do you really want to give people points for reading what the question itself admits is "pop philosophy"?
THINGS I LIKED:
1) Refreshingly non-Eurocentric and entertainingly written history
Even though I lost a buzzer race on it, the Sierra Leone tossup particularly stood out to me on this front.
2) Fun geo
Cuba (in packet 1) was a standout in this respect, but in general the Geo was extremely good, if a bit architecture-heavy, in this set.
3) Real Science
Science was far less heavy on Named Things and a lot more heavy on applied science. I know my science player appreciated this.

In general, as stated above, this was a very good set. Probably one of the greatest regrets of my career is not making it to more iterations of this tournament. I think I speak for my whole team when I say that, although getting bracketed with two of the top 4 teams from HSNCT was not fun, this was a great experience and a set that rewarded knowledge well. Thanks to all the editors!
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Your Genie Felon, Me » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:44 pm

Sit Room Guy wrote:The same happened with Hats and Waiting for Godot, as well as Remembrance and In Search of Lost Time.


Just curious, can you elaborate on your specific issue with hats and remembrance? I remember thinking hats was an especially good and creative tossup, since the hats in those scenes are pretty memorable in my opinion. I don't have anything to say about the remembrance tossup along those lines, though, since I haven't read that book (I don't have THAT much time on my hands) and am not actually a lit player. Also, for curiosity's sake, can I see the hats tossup?
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby An Economic Ignoramus » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:46 pm

Your Feline Genome wrote:
Sit Room Guy wrote:The same happened with Hats and Waiting for Godot, as well as Remembrance and In Search of Lost Time.


Just curious, can you elaborate on your specific issue with hats and remembrance? I remember thinking hats was an especially good and creative tossup, since the hats in those scenes are pretty memorable in my opinion. I don't have anything to say about the remembrance tossup along those lines, though, since I haven't read that book (I don't have THAT much time on my hands) and am not actually a lit player. Also, for curiosity's sake, can I see the hats tossup?

I was negged for buzzing with "Remembering" on Remembrance. Several other teams had issues such as "flashbacks" and other answers not being accepted even though they adequately describe what is happening in those scenes.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:58 pm

Sit Room Guy wrote:This was, as stated above, a really good set, probably the best of the year, but, as with both sets, I had an extremely specific set of both issues and things I liked.
ISSUES:
1) There was a distinctive subset of literature tossups that, while not common links per se, singled out a specific element from single authors' works. In my opinion, these did a rather poor job of rewarding knowledge.
The following answerlines (and probably some more) followed this editing philosophy:
Ice
Hats
New Jersey
Remembrance
Let's zero in on the New Jersey tossup. I've read at least part of Goodbye, Columbus and knew that all of the clues involved Phillip Roth's works at least from the namedrop of Swede Levov. However, based on the setting of parts of Goodbye,
Columbus
, I negged this with New York and the other team picked it up on the geographic giveaway. Now, if the objective was to reward the team with the more in-depth knowledge of Philip Roth, this tossup objectively failed. The same happened with Hats and Waiting for Godot, as well as Remembrance and In Search of Lost Time. All of these would have played far better as tossups on the works they exclusively used clues from.

None of Goodbye, Columbus, the novella, which is what clues in the tossup were drawn from, is set in New York; most of it is set in Newark (though there's a scene in Boston, so I probably could've been a little clearer).

Sit Room Guy wrote:4) Odd myth concentrations
The myth distro seemed a tad heavy on Hindu and Iliad questions. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but that was an issue that I heard brought up a lot.

There was 1/1 pure Hindu/Indian myth, and two other tossups drew clues from it, which seems about normal. I definitely deliberately tried to hit often-read texts pretty hard in the Greco-Roman myth (and to a lesser extent the rest of it--Prose Edda and Beowulf, for example).

Sit Room Guy wrote:5) Really difficult/peripherally academic answerlines
Godel Escher Bach stands out. There's no conceivable way someone who hasn't read this will convert it before the last line. Even so, do you really want to give people points for reading what the question itself admits is "pop philosophy"?

I do, yes--this was a "general knowledge" tossup, and I think that's the perfect place in the distribution to ask about popular nonfiction and the like (e.g. John McPhee in the tennis tossup). Perhaps I'm biased due to my entire quizbowl career relying heavily on getting middle-clue buzzes on stuff I haven't read, but I'm doubtful of your other claim as well. (I can't confirm for sure if they'd read the book, but the player in my room got a solid buzz just outside of power.)
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:00 pm

Sit Room Guy wrote:
Your Feline Genome wrote:
Sit Room Guy wrote:The same happened with Hats and Waiting for Godot, as well as Remembrance and In Search of Lost Time.


Just curious, can you elaborate on your specific issue with hats and remembrance? I remember thinking hats was an especially good and creative tossup, since the hats in those scenes are pretty memorable in my opinion. I don't have anything to say about the remembrance tossup along those lines, though, since I haven't read that book (I don't have THAT much time on my hands) and am not actually a lit player. Also, for curiosity's sake, can I see the hats tossup?

I was negged for buzzing with "Remembering" on Remembrance. Several other teams had issues such as "flashbacks" and other answers not being accepted even though they adequately describe what is happening in those scenes.

Well, that certainly shouldn't've happened--the answerline should've been a little more detailed to not make moderators think an incredibly specific word was being sought (which is on us, the editors), and I hope it would be obvious that a protest on those grounds would've been more or less instantly upheld.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Cheynem » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:06 pm

In Goodbye, Columbus, they drive to New York to go to the doctor's office. Neil wanders around Central Park and ends up in Saint Patrick's Cathedral.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:09 pm

Cheynem wrote:In Goodbye, Columbus, they drive to New York to go to the doctor's office. Neil wanders around Central Park and ends up in Saint Patrick's Cathedral.

Ah, fair--the clue should've been more specific.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:50 pm

Our fault on the "memory" tossup, we didn't anticipate the need to list other equivalents, which we should have done.

I like that style of literature tossup because, if you recognize clues for a novel but can't explain how they interrelate, you'll probably get it later than someone who can. I think the knowledge that Goodbye, Columbus is (mostly) set in New Jersey is fair game to test. Those tossups may have been more difficult to power, however.

I'm genuinely surprised to hear Stephen Decatur singled out as a difficult history topic.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby On a lurgid bee » Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:32 pm

I read Anna Karenina, loved it, remembered the clue I buzzed on exactly, and still couldn't produce the answer you wanted. I may be an idiot (I'm sure many would agree with this point!) but I knew the peasant fumbling in the sack represented death and all of this still wasn't enough for me. Indeed they specifically say afterwards that she's going to die Again, I may just be stupid and that's my problem, but I had just about as much knowledge of the book as anyone could reasonably be expected to have. Also from quickly searching through it doesn't look like the word train appears near the passage about the dream so it was a seemingly pretty difficult connection to make, at least in my view.

EDIT: Yeah I just forgot to say that I overall loved the set, particularly the literature and it was definitely the best set I played in my HS career. The tossup on parentheses was particularly amazing.
Last edited by On a lurgid bee on Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby ahuff » Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:33 pm

I would like to thank everybody who made this set. This was definitely the best high school set I played this year, and was above all else just a ton of fun to play.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby dnlwng » Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:46 pm

I really enjoyed playing this set. I liked the tossup on "harmonic" as we just recently covered Laplacians in class. Overall I really liked the math especially although the other science was also very good too.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Mike Bentley » Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:33 pm

Pascal Plays Poker wrote:I thought the difficulty fluctuated a lot between rounds (University of Alabama and Lisbon being two I think; Michael also expressed his concern above)


Given that Lisbon has been mentioned at least twice in this thread, I'm curious to learn more about this comment.
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Mike Bentley
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby nsb2 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:28 pm

On a lurgid bee wrote:I read Anna Karenina, loved it, remembered the clue I buzzed on exactly, and still couldn't produce the answer you wanted.


I have also read Anna Karenina within the past two months and was not able to convert the same tossup there. In general, the issue I had with common links was their vagueness (the number of acceptable answers) and the ways in which answers can be interpreted by the moderators (which clearly varied from room to room).
Pranav Sivakumar
Barrington Station MS '13, Barrington High School --> IMSA '17
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Father Comstock » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:14 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:
Pascal Plays Poker wrote:I thought the difficulty fluctuated a lot between rounds (University of Alabama and Lisbon being two I think; Michael also expressed his concern above)


Given that Lisbon has been mentioned at least twice in this thread, I'm curious to learn more about this comment.


I (maybe incorrectly) thought I knew a lot about the Lisbon Earthquake, and I still didn't get it until natural disaster was dropped. I'm curious what higher caliber players have to say about it as well.
Ben Anthony
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby dnlwng » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:30 pm

Could we see the tossup on Lisbon? My teammate buzzed on the leadin and said "Portugal", and complained about the use of the pronoun "this port" because apparently Portugal means port or something.
Daniel Wang
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