Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

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Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:58 pm

This set is going to be mirrored at VCU in December for staffers at a VCU high school tournament, so if you're planning on playing that, stop reading this thread! If you want the set, e-mail me at cborglum at valenciacollege dot edu, as I'm not going to send it for posting to the archive till after that VCU mirror. But as that seems more like a fun side event than a serious mirror, I don't think we need a invite-only discussion thread.

Thanks to Billy Beyer for writing all the science and a lot of other stuff, as well as to Dallin Kelson and Ian Mackenzie, who contributed a lot, too. Mickey Sizemore of the fledgling UCF program also helped. And thanks to the Charles Hang and Gordon Arsenoff of WUSTL for their own writing and editing of three packets and wrangling other WUSTL folks to help.

We still had a few minor repeat issues, partly due to my not having as full a time to edit as I would've liked, and I hope these didn't cause any grief at the mirrors. The 30 teams at DB in Orlando all seemed to have a fine time, though the packets overmatched more than half of the field. But now they have a better idea of what collegiate QB is like.

The word "penis" only appears to have come up twice, once in a legitimate biology use, and there were no scatological references at all! And only two Republicans (Scott Walker and Rick Scott) got bashed, and even other Republicans don't seem to like them much. So I hope that part made folks happy. Anyway, fire away!
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:05 pm

Well, first, I suppose if I'm going to include a definite article before his name, I should refer to THE Charles Hang (sorry, didn't edit, I guess). Next, now I know that on this board we replace the anatomically correct term for the male reproductive organ with "nice to meet you"! Who knew?
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by Ianissimo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:12 pm

I feel like Bouguereau is ready to enter the CC canon as a tossupable answer. Bear in mind for next year. This is, um... Mark Prather, btw.

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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by bradleykirksey » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:06 am

Mark, you should come to quiz bowl some time. Are you still at UCF?

I think that the best possible way to improve it would be more scatalogical references. It just isn't Delta Burke without it.

After looking at the 2002 to 2007 packets, I was holding my breath the whole tournament for the inevitable "How well do you know your teammates" bonus and the tossup about the secondary Simpsons character. And to think I actually made an effort to get to know my teammates., What a waste!
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by cornfused » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:48 am

ValenciaQBowl wrote:Well, first, I suppose if I'm going to include a definite article before his name, I should refer to THE Charles Hang (sorry, didn't edit, I guess). Next, now I know that on this board we replace the anatomically correct term for the male reproductive organ with "nice to meet you"! Who knew?
I believe that "Chancellor of the Exchequer" comes up if you a) are racist or b) misspell a certain African river, too.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:39 am

Well, even as a free speech absolutist, I don't mind the replacement you're noting, Greg, but I do wonder about any worry over a non-profane, biological term for the male reproductive organ. But whatever--I don't want to get banned for questioning decisions from on high.

I always enjoyed the four-part bonus in which players couldn't confer, which I used to run as the first bonus of Round 4 most years, but when nationwide mirrors became routine, I dumped it, knowing the QB nation's frowniness regarding fun(n) in QB. Still, maybe that's a discussion to have here, since no one's discussing the questions. I'll post an example after I get done teaching and people can share whether they think it's evil fun(n) or quasi-legitimate.

Oh, and no more Simpsons since that show is so completely terrible now.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:42 pm

So this discussion thread may become something different from a discussion of the actual 2011 DB questions, but since I'm bored, here's the type of bonus Bradley referred to above:

Okay, Captain—by now you should know who on your team knows what. There are four questions in this bonus, and you must designate a different player to answer each one without consultation based on the category designation; you’ll have to designate yourself for one. Other players: the captain must pick you, so don’t say you want a certain question. If you get them all, you’ll get a ten-point bonus. [READER: read the category to the captain and tell him/her to designate someone, but don’t let players call out that they want to answer].
RUSSIAN HISTORY
A. What czar ruled during the Russian victory in the Great Northern War and cut the beards of his nobles in his attempt to modernize Russia?
A. Peter the Great (or Peter I)
AMERICAN LITERATURE
B. What 20th-century novelist wrote The Naked and the Dead, Armies of the Night, and The Executioner’s Song?
A. Norman Mailer
ANATOMY
C. What small, pear-shaped organ is connected to the liver and stores bile for digestion?
A. gall bladder
MYTHOLOGY
D. What name is given to the Rainbow Bridge that linked Asgard to Midgard (among other places) in Norse myth?
A. Bifrost

I pulled this one from 2006, and I may not have done this much since then (certainly not the last 3-4 years). I'm going to assume that the majority of folks here will hate such a question out of hand, seeing in it an example of the "funn" so abhorred in the Southern circuit. I'm actually sympathetic to much of that abhorrence myself, but not all. For instance, my players always liked having Moon Pies hurled at them at that tournament in Chattanooga, and I don't think that one bonus of the type above is a bad thing to have in a novice tournament. Sure, it might be less appropriate for a "regular difficulty" invitational or certainly a regional or national type tournament, but I could see how, if better written, it could be fun with one 'N' as a structure even for something like Chicago Open. One obvious problem would be the sort of non-existence of a true "captain" at most tournaments, as well as the fact that many teams won't have four players, but those are easily solved for just this one question.

For novices, my idea was that captains are more necessary for many of our tournaments (or certainly were then), and it offered a chance for folks to show that they know the strengths of teammates.

Okay, I'm ready for your abhorrence.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by ACPackers » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:08 pm

I like it! It punishes the teams that aren't balanced and kinda rewards the teams that are. Also it can promote a kind of team chemistry
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by Charbroil » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:21 am

What is the target difficulty of this set? When I first played it, I was told that it was meant to be roughly the difficulty of an IS set (or even easier in some ways--especially in the desire to avoid "canon" things that are nevertheless hard for new players) to reflect the experience level of the field. In reality, this tournament seems to be more like ACF Fall, with occasional answers which are much harder. For example, here are some bonuses from our (WUSTL's) packets:
Delta Burke, Packet 8 wrote:1. He is convicted despite having a withered arm which makes him physically incapable of assaulting Mayella Ewell in the way described. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this black man who dies after being convicted of attempted rape and trying to escape the prison in despair.
ANSWER: Tom Robinson
[10] This figure, a crack marksman who kills a rabid dog with one shot, defends Tom Robinson in court.
ANSWER: Atticus Finch
[10] Tom Robinson and Atticus Finch are figures in this novel by Harper Lee.
ANSWER: To Kill A Mockingbird
I wrote this bonus to reflect what I think of as roughly high school difficulty, with an increased emphasis on "real knowledge" clues as opposed to titles and such. It's definitely very easy, and since my packet mostly included bonuses of this difficulty, I'm not surprised that it was the only one with a PPB of over 15. I assume that this is the desired difficulty of bonuses for this set, given that I submitted my packet at the beginning of June (in other words, with ample time for editing).

In contrast, my teammates largely targeted ACF Fall difficulty, and so we have bonuses like these:
Delta Burke Round 5 wrote:3. Answer the following about an ancient Hindu text FTPE:
[10] In this Sanskrit epic, whose name translates as “Rama’s Journey”, the title avatar of Vishnu rescues his wife Sita from kidnapping by the demon king Ravana.
ANSWER: Ramayana
[10] This monkey general and companion of Rama aids in the recapture of Sita. When his tail is lit on fire by Ravana’s forces, he uses it to burn down much of Ravana’s stronghold of Lanka.
ANSWER: Hanuman
[10] This sage, traditionally India’s first poet, is credited with writing the Ramayana. He appears in the last book of the epic as a hermit who welcomes Sita to his ashram after Rama banishes her for suspected infidelity.
ANSWER: Valmiki

4. In this play, Lord Illingworth discovers that his secretary is his illegitimate son. FTPE:
[10] Name this play in which the secret pasts of Lord Illingworth and Mrs. Arbuthnot catch up with them.
ANSWER: A Woman of No Importance
[10] This playwright wrote A Woman of No Importance as well as Lady Windermere’s Fan, in which the title character has an affair of her own after discovering her husband’s affair.
ANSWER: Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde
[10] Oscar Wilde is best known for this novel, which sees the title character remain perpetually young by transferring all of his evil into the title object.
ANSWER: The Picture of Dorian Gray
I think these are fairly reflective of ACF Fall difficulty (the first bonus is a little harder, maybe, but not outrageously so). Moreover, they reflect the overall difficulty of the set.

Then we have some bonuses like these (not by WUSTL):

Delta Burke 2010 Round 1 wrote:11. This city houses the Teatro Carlo Felice and Cathedral of San Lorenzo. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this birthplace of Christopher Columbus, a seaport on the Italian Riviera.
ANSWER: Genoa [or Genova; or Zena]
[10] Genoa is located on its namesake gulf, which is part of this arm of the Mediterranean. The islands of Corsica and Elba are in this sea, which is located to the north of the Tyrrhenian.
ANSWER: Ligurian Sea
[10] This river flows through Pisa and Florence before emptying into the Ligurian Sea.
ANSWER: Arno River

17. AT&T included fine print on a recent commercial to let viewers know that its images of famous monuments being draped in orange fabric had nothing to do with this artist and his wife Jeanne-Claude. FTPE:
A. Who is this Bulgarian-born artist known for wrapping buildings like the Reichstag and the islands in Biscayne Bay?
ANSWER: Christo
B. One of Christo’s more recent projects was this installation of a series of rectangular colonnades in Central Park in New York.
ANSWER: The Gates
C. Christo and Jeanne-Claude created a multitude of large-scale versions of these household objects in large scale for an installation in California and Japan in the late 1980s.
ANSWER: umbrellas
It's possible my knowledge of modern art and Italy is just weak, but I think these bonuses are much harder than the ones we wrote that I listed above. Thus, what's the goal of this tournament? Most of the questions resemble the ACF Fall difficulty ones in the second group, which as Borglum noted above, "overmatched more than half of the field," but the reputation of this set has been that it is easier than ACF Fall (especially given that it's been repeatedly mirrored for a high school tournament). Thus, is Delta Burke supposed to essentially be ACF Fall, Part Two, or is it supposed to be more like ACF Novice? I assume it's not supposed to be harder, but if not, then people should probably stop submitting questions like the last two above.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:01 am

I generally want the set to be easier than ACF Fall, but I don't worry overly about a couple outliers per set, as we do have teams at the top of my field (mostly Valencia and Chipola) who will enjoy the slightly tougher questions. And then there's some quirkiness associated with me that makes certain things get in (Pynchon, Nouveau Realiste artists) that might even be tougher than ACF Fall.

But in any case, you're quoting from 2010 or 2009 there, bro. Those two bonuses above are most definitely not in DB 2011 Round 1.

EDIT: PS--I think the second two parts of the geography bonus above are both a bit on the hard side, but not too egregiously so, but I have zero problem with the Christo bonus--he comes up in CC quiz bowl, though maybe this is one of those crazy "Magritte/"Time Transfixed" type issues we had last year. And that bonus was close to the time when the umbrellas were up, so it may be over two years old; I'm not sure).
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by Papa's in the House » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:05 pm

I have two major gripes with this set and I'll leave it at that: 1) if you're going to make one packet significantly harder than the rest, it shouldn't be played before finals (I don't know which packet is which, but I'm referring to the packet used for our, IL B's, second match against Harding); and 2) repeats are going to occur in any given set, but there shouldn't be as many as were in this set (i.e., if you're going to receive packets from an outside source, make sure they aren't around on the same things you are; send them a list of topics to avoid, etc.).
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by bradleykirksey » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:08 pm

A teammate of mine has the packets so I can't quote anything and may have it wrong.

But the "To Kill a Mockingbird" bonus and the bonus on Pynchon with Gravity's Rainbow and the Crying of Lot 49 were maybe the two easiest 30's I've ever had while we got 10 on each of the Sanskrit epic and Oscar Wilde bonuses despite the fact we had a practicing Hindu on our team. The difficulty wasn't extremely consistent. I personally thought it was a great tournament, and I had a lot of fun, but if all of the bonuses were supposed to be the same difficulty, then I don't think it was even close.

I loved the old "How well do you know your teammate" questions. I vote bring it back, but I'm sure you didn't write more than ... maybe 70% of the questions maybe... to make me personally happy. So I understand.

Maybe next time, you can have a Kelson only division and make them play by themselves.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by The Friar » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:38 pm

Papa's in the House wrote:if you're going to make one packet significantly harder than the rest, it shouldn't be played before finals (I don't know which packet is which, but I'm referring to the packet used for our, IL B's, second match against Harding)
That game was in Round 9. A quick linear model at the packet level, using logit(0.1*bonus points/bonus parts heard) as dependent variable, weighted by bonus parts heard, controlling for team (using only teams from the Wash U site), confirms that bonuses in packet 9 were significantly harder (p=0.015) than those in packet 1, lowering the expected bonus conversion of a median team (approximately Harding) by about 4 (-3.978, 95% CI: [-.6892,-0.835]) PPB compared to packet 1.

Of the remaining 8 packets used at Wash U, none of the others had bonus difficulties statistically distinguishable from those of packet 1 at the p<0.1 level (next lowest is packet 8 at p=0.19). Barely two outliers at the p<0.2 level out of nine packets isn't many. More rigorously, the one-sample Anderson-Darling goodness of fit test fails to reject the hypothesis that the t-scores of these nine packets' difficulty effects are drawn from a t distribution with 9 degrees of freedom (p=0.924). Thus, we should not be particularly convinced of the alternative hypothesis that the packet difficulties were anything other than random draws from a symmetric distribution of difficulty with constant mean and variance. Although it remains to be argued whether Packet 9 was, or should have been, known ex ante to be harder than other packets (through play-testing or whatever), there would appear to be no evidence that it could have been designed to be harder.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by The Friar » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:41 pm

I have yet not incorporated packets and teams that saw action (only) at the Florida site, or used similar methodology to compare the variability in the packet-design process of this tournament to that of any other tournament. I probably won't.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:16 pm

Ye gods! I didn't understand that post of yours at all, Gordon. But that's on me, obviously.

Yes, repeats suck, and they are the bane of my existence in this tournament. This is a lame excuse, I know, but the thin-ness of the canon at this level leads to lots of folks writing the same things (Hawthorne! anomie! Taoism!), but I need to do better at catching these. At least I can say we were significantly better than last year. But I still await the day that I have all my packets more than ten days out. That will certainly help if it ever happens.

But even there, I think there are only three significant repeats. Again, I'm not going to count, as I believe the QB community doesn't, things like the "Battle of Bouvines" oddly coming up twice as a clue but never as an answer, nor an answer which repeats as a clue to something else later. Regardless, like Boxer and Jurgis Rudkus, I will work harder.

And Bradley, I'm glad the Pynchon bonus was easy for you. Unfortunately, numerous players complained to me about the difficulty of that one, which shows how things go here sometimes. And I don't think the Ramayana bonus was that tough; just because one is a practicing Hindu doesn't mean s/he has necessarily read national epics.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by Charbroil » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:21 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote: But in any case, you're quoting from 2010 or 2009 there, bro. Those two bonuses above are most definitely not in DB 2011 Round 1.
You're right, it's 2010--sorry for the mistake. My general point stands, though--you say that you want questions easier than ACF Fall, but most of the material written and/or edited seems to be at or above ACF Fall level. Thus, are you going to start telling people to write easier questions next year?
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by Charbroil » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:23 pm

bradleykirksey wrote: But the "To Kill a Mockingbird" bonus and the bonus on Pynchon with Gravity's Rainbow and the Crying of Lot 49 were maybe the two easiest 30's I've ever had while we got 10 on each of the Sanskrit epic and Oscar Wilde bonuses despite the fact we had a practicing Hindu on our team. The difficulty wasn't extremely consistent. I personally thought it was a great tournament, and I had a lot of fun, but if all of the bonuses were supposed to be the same difficulty, then I don't think it was even close.
I agree with your general point about bonus variability (which is the point of my post), but this bonus is not that easy:
Delta Burke 2011 Round 4 wrote:1. Herbert Stencil searches for the title entity of this novel, which may at various times be represented by the rat Veronica, the legendary place Vheissu (vee-soo), Victoria Wren, or the city of Valletta. FTPE:
[10] What is this Thomas Pynchon novel which also features Benny Profane’s attempts to find an albino alligator in the sewers of New York?
ANSWER: V.
[10] This slim Pynchon novel features Oedipa Maas’s discovery of the age-old conflict between the Trystero and the Thurn und Taxis communications agencies; its title refers to an auction taking place at the novel’s end.
ANSWER: The Crying of Lot 49
[10] The sexual encounters of Tyrone Slothrop predict the sites of V-2 rocket attacks in London in this sprawling Pynchon novel which ends with rocket 00000 lifting off with Blicero’s sex slave Gottfried inside.
ANSWER: Gravity’s Rainbow
My To Kill a Mockingbird bonus is pretty easy, but it was designed to be 30'ed by anyone who's read the book. I presume someone on your team has done that?
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by The Friar » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:37 pm

Charbroil wrote:My To Kill a Mockingbird bonus is pretty easy, but it was designed to be 30'ed by anyone who's read the book. I presume someone on your team has done that?
That doesn't seem like a good target difficulty, then. I'd think very many teams indeed have a player who has read To Kill a Mockingbird. If all of them 30 the bonus, there will be inordinately many 30s. Isn't the rule of thumb supposed to be that about 10% of teams 30 any given bonus?
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by bradleykirksey » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:00 pm

Mr. Borglum, then I guess I probably just invalidated my opinion. I'm probably not the target audience then.

Charles, all 4 players on our team read it. Maybe I'm underestimating everyone else, but I'd figure pretty much any team at the college level would have someone who's read it. I had it as required reading in 7th, 10th, and 12th grade. But then again, I may just be projecting myself onto everyone else.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by Deckard Cain » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:12 pm

I will agree that the To Kill a Mockingbird bonus stood out as too easy, even for this level.

In all I thought this was a pretty solid tournament minus the repeat issues that have already been alluded to. I might have some more thoughts later.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by Charbroil » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:12 pm

The Friar wrote:
Charbroil wrote:My To Kill a Mockingbird bonus is pretty easy, but it was designed to be 30'ed by anyone who's read the book. I presume someone on your team has done that?
That doesn't seem like a good target difficulty, then. I'd think very many teams indeed have a player who has read To Kill a Mockingbird. If all of them 30 the bonus, there will be inordinately many 30s. Isn't the rule of thumb supposed to be that about 10% of teams 30 any given bonus?
You're probably right that it was a little easier than necessary--my thought was that not many people would remember Tom Robinson's name, at least just off the description (and without mentioning To Kill a Mockingbird). My personal opinion is that more bonuses like this and fewer like the one below is more of the goal of this tournament.
Delta Burke Round 9 wrote:12. Developed by the author of Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, this cycle consists of two isothermal steps and two adiabatic steps. For 10 points each:
[10] Identify this most efficient theoretical cycle, named after a French physicist.
ANSWER: Carnot cycle
[10] This combustion cycle consists of four strokes: intake, compression, power, and exhaust. It was named for a German engineer, and has been adopted for use in automobile motors.
ANSWER: Otto cycle
[10] This scientist is the namesake of a steam engine cycle often used in power plants, in addition to a temperature scale in which zero degrees is equal to negative 459.7 degrees Fahrenheit.
ANSWER: William John Macquorn Rankine
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by bradleykirksey » Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:55 am

A weird bonus here and there aside, it was a good tournament. Worlds better than what I could write myself.

Out of curiosity, what's a normal bonus conversion rate for a team? Would 15 ppb or so be considered average?
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:28 am

bradleykirksey wrote: Out of curiosity, what's a normal bonus conversion rate for a team? Would 15 ppb or so be considered average?
In theory, bonus conversion should average 15 ppb for the middle of the field and trail off in both directions (so the highest-ranked teams are somewhere above 20 and the lowest-ranked below 10). In practice, tournaments tend to play somewhat harder than their writers expect and it is common to see average ppb land around 12 or so.
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Re: Delta Burke 2011 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:42 am

My general point stands, though--you say that you want questions easier than ACF Fall, but most of the material written and/or edited seems to be at or above ACF Fall level. Thus, are you going to start telling people to write easier questions next year?
Well, outside the packets we've been getting from y'all at Wash U of late (usually 3), Billy Beyer and I write about 85% of the rest, so I'll have to tell myself to be easier. And I do try. But it's easier to say one is going to do than to actually accomplish. We're talking 200 TUs and 200 bonuses, and we'd have a hard time keeping all of that at a level easier than ACF Fall. And I've always assumed this tournament was meant to be mostly similar to ACF Fall (which we predate, FWIW)--a beginner tournament meant to introduce people who've never held a buzzer to the game, but with some questions that are still fun for the top 4-5 teams.

I saw the discussion in the HS area on literature for middle school teams, and was amused that about 80% of the answers listed by one poster there as acceptable for middle school have come up at DB in the last couple years (with, one hopes, maybe harder opening and middle clues!). But that speaks to the audience problem I'm talking about.

We've actually had a bit of a slip in the strength of the top tier at Delta Burke the last two years. In 2007-2009, we would've had many stronger teams, but some programs are just naturally rebuilding, so usual heavy hitters like NW Florida and Pasco and Broward aren't as good this year as they often are. I think that affected the ppb of the field a lot.

But I still understand Charles's point--DB is a weird tournament, and every year I tell myself I'll try to make it a little more accessible, and every year I mostly fail at that. But I think it still succeeds overall: we didn't have a bunch of teams moping around down here over difficulty, with the possible exception of after Round 5, which I wish I'd have taken more time to edit.

To Charles's specific examples, first, I think the "Mockingbird" bonus is fine for DB. Not every bonus is going to be exactly the same, and that one may be a tad on the easy side, but I also don't think the Carnot/Otto/Rankine is too bad, though it's on the tough side. I was an English major in college, but I had HS physics, and we had to do problems on the Carnot cycle, and I figure most of our science-y folks have heard of the Rankine scale, right?

Anyway, Billy's going to do some conversion stats over time, and we'll share those when he's done.
Chris Borglum
Valencia College Grand Poobah

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