I must say I was severely disappointed with the quality of this set. Generally speaking, the set was way, way, way too hard to be called "regular HS difficulty." At a very specific level, I can't say anything because the questions aren't cleared. Splitting the difference...
*Tossup answer selection generally skewed hard, usually treading the line between "it can (or cannot) come up as a HS tossup" and usually erring to be too hard. This was especially notable in categories that are usually poorly converted anyway - world literature, philosophy, and social sciences, and math/CS.
*Tossup clue selection omitted middle clues far too often; you'd often get multiple sentences of lead-in worthy material, followed by an immediate cliff to clues usually seen just before FTP.
*Bonus conversion was essentially <5 PPB for any team other than "Dragonstone," Belvidere North, or New Trier, partly because the knowledge base of these teams is still in the early stages, but primarily because a colossal number of themes rewarded study of college questions over anything else. Bonus themes drew on really hard topics; those topics might lend themselves to easy clues if you look hard enough and/or wreck the theme, but bonuses usually ended up with easy parts that would be medium parts at ACF Fall and/or hard parts that wouldn't look out of place at a hard-ish college tournament (not CO or anything, but...Sack of Antwerp?)
Looking at this field (after the first 4-6 teams, weak, compared to recent Illinois tournaments), I expect an argument to be made that these teams should be getting these low PPB numbers (stats aren't up yet, but having moderated I know what we're gonna see). This tournament had many, many teams that are still new to pyramidal quizbowl (and/or quizbowl, period) and have a lot to learn. But, aside from a smattering of science bonuses, very, VERY little in this set rewarded knowledge potentially gained in the classroom. Would (New Team X) have gotten <10 PPB on the day at Kickoff on an NAQT IS set?? Probably - many of these teams did just that. But IS sets, generally speaking, point you where to go to learn more. When the easy part is as off-the-wall hard as many of these bonuses were, you don't know where to go to learn more things. Nobody left Kickoff @ Sterling or Wheaton North early; today, multiple teams said "I don't want anything to do with another round of this, we're leaving," and it wasn't a factor of running late.
When the set is cleared, I'll have more specifics. As for now, Coach Powers - if you have teams making their first or second appearances at a pyramidal quizbowl event at your tournament next week, I strongly encourage you to warn them that this set is not a good example of what regular HS quizbowl difficulty is.
"Too long, didn't read" version: DAFT 3 was harder than HFT.
NHBB Director of Question Production and Upper Midwest Regional Coordinator
Coach, Keith Country Day School
Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)