2013 NSC Set Discussion

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2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

Post your comments about the 2013 NSC Set in this thread.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Kilroy Was Here »

High Noon was much too obscure of a movie for the target audience of this set for it to be a tossup, I'm not saying every movie tossup should be on Hitchcock, but High Noon is out of range for high school, and I've only heard one person convert it so far. Of course I could just be disillusioned and the people I've asked just happen to be other people who don't know what that movie is.

Asside from that ill-conceived tossup, this set was great. This was the best group of history tossups I have ever heard, so I give thanks and kudos to the writers and editors.

Of course other than the lack of Byzantine history :sad:

Edit: I will add that the other sprinkling of film in the set was very WELL-conceived and very well written, so kudos so whoever was responsible for that.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love »

High Noon was powered in my room, if I remember correctly.
My personal favorite tossups were "entrances to the Underworld" and "Democratic Party of Wisconsin." Lots of fun, unique, gettable answerlines. There were very few tossups that I thought seemed way too hard, and though some of the bonuses were a bit harsh compared to others, that's to be expected. All in all an awesome set and a fun tournament!
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by samus149 »

Whoever wrote the questions on High Noon and Rebel Without A Cause, I love you, please write about good movies for more tournaments. Ignore what everyone else says (or will say); those were great fine arts tossups and not at all trashy. They are both culturally significant, and while the average high school player probably hasn't seen either, they should have at least heard of them in passing.

Oh yeah, and anyone else get a lot of repeats in some rounds? I don't mean exact repeats, but some topics did come up multiple times, in one form or another (one round had both Swan Lake and swan, which tripped some people up).
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I didn't write the High Noon tossup--there was some internal discussion about whether or not it was too hard. I defended it, even though I recognize a large portion of the field probably hasn't seen it or studied it, in the same way that I would defend a couple hard lit questions or painting questions--it rewards broader knowledge of important things (in this case, one of the unquestioned classics of American film) outside of either the canon or what you learn in school.

For the record, High Noon was one of my favorite movies when I was in high school (which was NOT when the movie came out, thank you very much, Fred Morlan).
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots »

samus149 wrote:Whoever wrote the questions on High Noon and Rebel Without A Cause, I love you, please write about good movies for more tournaments. Ignore what everyone else says (or will say); those were great fine arts tossups and not at all trashy. They are both culturally significant, and while the average high school player probably hasn't seen either, they should have at least heard of them in passing.
Thank you! I edited the High Noon question and wrote the Rebel Without a Cause tossup (from Tommy Casalaspi's idea). High Noon was a fairly difficult tossup answer, but I let it in figuring that it was exciting and the rest of the VisArts questions were pretty accessible.

On a different note, I'd like to note that the problems with the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial answerline were my fault. The academic sources I used to write the question all called it the "Vietnam Veterans' Memorial," and I honestly didn't anticipate so many teams only knowing it as the Vietnam Memorial or the Vietnam War Memorial. So, my bad on that one.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE »

Cheynem wrote:For the record, High Noon was one of my favorite movies when I was in high school (which was NOT when the movie came out, thank you very much, Fred Morlan).
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Mewto55555 »

Thus Spoke Zarathustra twice in the finals (though music, phil, so whatever)


One very specific thing I would like to be clearer is tossups on slightly more nebulous yet specific answerlines like that "Nixon-Kennedy debates" -- in my room it got prompted on pres. debates and wasn't pulled by our opponent, but even when they were describing the televised one and i knew it, I didn't realize it wanted their names until the very end when it said that. I think for tossups that will obviously see people get prompted, they should do a better job of specifying earlier what they wanted, like "One of these events involving these people" or similar.

Also stuff like "speeches by Khrushchev" is stupid, especially if you're going to say "these orations" and such. Why can't this just be a Khrushchev tossup which only clues from speeches?
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Hmm, I'm not quite sure how to make the Nixon/Kennedy debates answerline clearer--if the person got prompted on "presidential debates" and didn't know what to say...well, it seems like this would be a fairly clear response to that prompt (otherwise...what were you buzzing on?). I don't know if the answerline had "election of 1960 debates"--if so, it should have had that.

Yeah, I'm unclear what the point of the "speeches of Khrushchev" tossup was if it was just going to keep saying "these orations." Part of this I think is the (correct) backlash against questions that kept saying "these works" or other such vague pronouns, of which having the player realize you were talking about speeches as opposed to essays or YouTube videos was an actual component. On the other hand, the answerline basically says "accept anything that is 'things Khrushchev said,'" so I hope this didn't really confuse anyone.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Mewto55555 wrote:Thus Spoke Zarathustra twice in the finals (though music, phil, so whatever)
We'll be sure to budget more time for finding (and actually fixing these things) in the future, now that we know that QEMS has a terrible habit of placing the two questions on similar things in the same packet!
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by 13roachb »

I thought that the science on the whole was excellent, in that the answer lines were actually of reasonable difficulty. I only have a few comments:

1. The tossup on "bacteriophages" was somewhat unfortunate, since "virus" was not listed in the prompt line.
2. The tossup on "Uranus [planet]" was very nice (Uranus has been underrepresented in the astronomy canon as of late), but seeing as the original paper described both Uranus' and Neptune's putative water oceans (and that Lassell discovered the largest moons of both planets), I would imagine a lot of teams assumed the answer was Neptune. At that point in the question, knowing anything about the clues described became secondary to knowing that Uranus was the smaller of the ice giants.

In the unlikely event that I remember anything more about the set that's pertinent, I'll post it. Otherwise, like I said, great job PACE for another enjoyable tournament.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by samus149 »

Oh yeah, one other comment I heard was that there was an abundance of jazz music in this tournament. I'm not entirely sure what the standard is, or if this is like the NAQT Geo-Effect where it just feels bigger, but was jazz expanded for NSC?
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Kilroy Was Here »

I think the clue for Polk about the secretary of the interior is incorrect. The first secretary of the Interior office took office on March 8th 1849, four days after Taylor had been sworn in.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Ian »

Weighted Companion Cube wrote:I think the clue for Polk about the secretary of the interior is incorrect. The first secretary of the Interior office took office on March 8th 1849, four days after Taylor had been sworn in.
I don't remember exactly how the lead-in to that tossup was worded, but according to Wikipedia, the bill enabling the creation of the Department of the Interior was passed on March 3, so that might have something to do with it.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love »

Weighted Companion Cube wrote:I think the clue for Polk about the secretary of the interior is incorrect. The first secretary of the Interior office took office on March 8th 1849, four days after Taylor had been sworn in.
The Department was created on Polk's last day, and every department has a secretary, so he still created the office even if he didn't preside over the first one.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

So I was the head editor of this set. I bear all responsibility for the questions as they were heard. Here is the list of who did what:

Rob Carson - Literature
Chris Ray - History
Me - Science
Matt Jackson - RMP
Matt Bollinger- Visual Arts
John Lawrence - Auditory Arts
Bernadette Spencer - Social Science
Kyle Haddad-Fonda - Geography and Current Events

My primary goal in this set, especially when editing my portion, was innovation and creativity. I think for a tournament like PACE, which has to simultaneously distinguish a wide spectrum of teams, it's important to ask about well-trod topics in new ways. I also personally believe that its also important to occasionally push the envelope on difficulty; this is a high school national, and we shouldn't be afraid to use this tournament as an introduction to harder topics. This is why I tried to write hard questions on easy answers (mitochondria and neutron, for instance) and ask about topics that may not come up frequently in the high school game (degeneracy). I think this set met that goal; I saw close, decently scoring games in both the top and bottom brackets, and it looked like everyone was having a good time.

That being said, I do think this set could have used a tad more polish. I realize there was the occasional insufficient answerline (bacteriophage), factual error (the Shostakovich tossup, apparently), feng shui issue, and more than the occasional typo ("explosion in a singles factory"). I believe if I had to write the set again, that would be the one thing I would change. I apologize if any of these things impaired your tournament experience.

Any comments on the set would be appreciated.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername »

Due to time difference where I am and because of my schedule, I managed to listen to only a couple of matches, but I was able to hear that in those matches at least, some of the questions in my categories did not reflect the final edits I had made to them on Tuesday afternoon. As far as I remember, only one of these was a substantive change for the purpose of accuracy, rather than a minor rewording, and hopefully that one made it in. I'll check the set, once it's released, to be sure. My apologies that this somehow happened.

However...
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: factual error (the Shostakovich tossup, apparently)
This was not one of those questions. What factual error might this be?
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername »

samus149 wrote:Oh yeah, one other comment I heard was that there was an abundance of jazz music in this tournament. I'm not entirely sure what the standard is, or if this is like the NAQT Geo-Effect where it just feels bigger, but was jazz expanded for NSC?
Yes, I reduced the amount of opera in this tournament, and slightly increased the number of questions for all of the other Misc. Auditory Arts as consequence, including jazz. But by my count, there was 3/3 in a 25-packet set. I'm not sure if this qualifies as an abundance, but to my mind, that is certainly not an over-abundance.
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: factual error (the Shostakovich tossup, apparently)
This was not one of those questions. What factual error might this be?
I just re-read this tossup and I don't see any factual errors.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Angstrom »

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:My primary goal in this set, especially when editing my portion, was innovation and creativity. I think for a tournament like PACE, which has to simultaneously distinguish a wide spectrum of teams, it's important to ask about well-trod topics in new ways. I also personally believe that its also important to occasionally push the envelope on difficulty; this is a high school national, and we shouldn't be afraid to use this tournament as an introduction to harder topics. This is why I tried to write hard questions on easy answers (mitochondria and neutron, for instance) and ask about topics that may not come up frequently in the high school game (degeneracy). I think this set met that goal; I saw close, decently scoring games in both the top and bottom brackets, and it looked like everyone was having a good time.
I really enjoyed the slightly-out-of-normal answer lines - degeneracy, Boolean formulas, rate constant, nuclear charge, binomial numbers, positive, etc. I also liked the Nernst and spin tossups - I don't think I've ever heard the spin-statistics theorem come up in quiz bowl, and it was good to see hard clues about Nernst that weren't generalizations or applications.

I had a couple of quibbles about difficulty in tossups, mostly consisting of "this seemed a little too easy" (EDTA in the first clue for acetic acid? Tennis racket theorem in the first clue for moment of inertia? SO3 in the first clue for rotations - which was done, same clue, same answer, same location, at HSNCT? LiAlH4 and NaBH4 in the second clue for reduction? The big offender: jwL as the first clue for impedance?). It got slightly better for the superplayoffs/finals, but not especially.

In bonuses, I have the exact same issue, but more strongly. Lagrangian/energy/Noether's is the one that comes to my mind right now (I didn't write bonuses down), but I had the strong feeling throughout most of the matches that "had any other top team gotten this bonus, they would have 30'd it, no big deal, just like we did" for most of the physics, chemistry, and math, which (I don't know my game theory well enough) I think is non-ideal. This did not improve for the superplayoffs/finals.

All in all, the question style was fun to play - lots of thinking on tossups, very few clues I'd heard before.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Cody »

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:Yes, I reduced the amount of opera in this tournament, and slightly increased the number of questions for all of the other Misc. Auditory Arts as consequence, including jazz. But by my count, there was 3/3 in a 25-packet set. I'm not sure if this qualifies as an abundance, but to my mind, that is certainly not an over-abundance.
The jazz in this set was far too hard.

Edit: as one staffer noted: "I'm an alto sax player and I own over a thousand jazz CDs and even I wouldn't have powered that Bird question!"
Last edited by Cody on Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas »

SirT wrote:The jazz in this set was far too hard.
Yeah, I love jazz, and I'm happy to see it come up more, but most of the jazz was just too hard for the teams playing this [and me, honestly. Wasn't there a bonus where Art Tatum was the middle part?]
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

The bonus went Tatum/Thelonious Monk (the easy part!)/Teddy Wilson.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername »

Emily Krok wrote:
SirT wrote:The jazz in this set was far too hard.
Yeah, I love jazz, and I'm happy to see it come up more, but most of the jazz was just too hard for the teams playing this [and me, honestly. Wasn't there a bonus where Art Tatum was the middle part?]
My apologies if the jazz was too difficult. When I asked about target difficulty, I was told to aim for approximately ACF Regionals-level difficulty, but with a more restricted canon, which I thought I did. I'm surprised to find that, Art Tatum, the musician most often called the greatest jazz pianist of all time, cannot be a middle part, but I'm willing to accept that this is true. The tossup answers were Dave Brubeck, Charlie Parker, and bass, none of which strike me as inappropriate for this level.

However, this is an entirely different question than "was there too much jazz?". The difficulty (if excessive) was a result of my misjudging the required level, and not a result of my scrounging for material to fill 3/3. That 3/3 could have been filled with easier answers, and I would defend it as approximately the correct amount for a tournament of this length.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! »

What was the text of the Dave Brubeck tossup?
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

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Mr. Scogan wrote:What was the text of the Dave Brubeck tossup?
An accidental clatter created when the producer dropped one of the clavés inspired the title of this musician's "Upstage Rumba". The title Japanese zither-like instrument inspired this musician's "Koto Song", which he included on his Jazz Impressions of Japan. Two measures of 3/4 alternate with two of 4/4 in his piece "Three to Get Ready." His namesake quartet featured the drummer Joe Morello. One piece by him groups 9/8 as 2 + 2 + 2 + 3 and is titled "Blue Rondo à la Turk." That piece appears on an album by him that includes a Paul Desmond-composed song in 5/4 time. For 10 points, name this American jazz pianist who explored his love of unusual time signatures and polyrhythms on tracks like "Take Five" on his album Time Out.
ANSWER: David "Dave" (Warren) Brubeck
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump »

SirT wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:Yes, I reduced the amount of opera in this tournament, and slightly increased the number of questions for all of the other Misc. Auditory Arts as consequence, including jazz. But by my count, there was 3/3 in a 25-packet set. I'm not sure if this qualifies as an abundance, but to my mind, that is certainly not an over-abundance.
The jazz in this set was far too hard.

Edit: as one staffer noted: "I'm an alto sax player and I own over a thousand jazz CDs and even I wouldn't have powered that Bird question!"
I'm the staffer who made that quote. I agree that the answerlines were, for the most part, gettable on the jazz (though asking high schoolers about Teddy Wilson, even as a hard part at PACE NSC, seems a bit on the masochistic side), but some of the lead-in, power clues were stumpers for people with extensive backgrounds in jazz, and absolutely impossible for even elite high school quizbowl players unless they're jazz fanatics (a rare breed indeed). Dylan Minarik is the only player in this tournament whom I can think of off the top of my head who would've had any chance in hell at getting many of the jazz tossups before the giveaway or the penultimate clue, which tended to transform many of the jazz tossups into either dead questions or buzzer races. These clues I think would have been fair game at ACF Nationals (perhaps Regionals), Division I SCT or a music side tournament, but I agree that they were too hard, in general, even for PACE NSC.

Not that that was totally a bad thing. I had the chance to briefly educate many of the teams in my room on the musical legends in the questions, and recommend that they find and listen to their music. On the Art Tatum part, I mentioned that he may have been the greatest pianist to ever play the instrument (jazz OR classical), and that people like Stravinsky and Paderewski, who knew what they were talking about, shared that opinion. I told them that if they ever needed, for some reason, to have their tongue hang out of their mouths for three minutes, to listen to the 1933 version of "Tiger Rag" mentioned in the question (found on the album "Piano Starts Here"). So while these questions may not have been highly converted, they also served as excellent educational opportunities and motivations to "go learn more stuff", which I always thought was one of the points of good quizbowl. The eight intellectually-curious students that were in my room at the time may now go hunt down Tatum recordings, learn about him and his music, and that music may enrich their lives or even become a lifelong passion, as it is for me. The benefits of "too-hard" questions can sometimes stretch far beyond the immediate benefit of getting points in a quizbowl game, and that opportunity for discovery is one of the many things that makes this game so great.

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Last edited by Ithaca Cricket Ump on Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

Angstrom wrote:I had a couple of quibbles about difficulty in tossups, mostly consisting of "this seemed a little too easy" (EDTA in the first clue for acetic acid? Tennis racket theorem in the first clue for moment of inertia? SO3 in the first clue for rotations - which was done, same clue, same answer, same location, at HSNCT? LiAlH4 and NaBH4 in the second clue for reduction? The big offender: jwL as the first clue for impedance?). It got slightly better for the superplayoffs/finals, but not especially.

In bonuses, I have the exact same issue, but more strongly. Lagrangian/energy/Noether's is the one that comes to my mind right now (I didn't write bonuses down), but I had the strong feeling throughout most of the matches that "had any other top team gotten this bonus, they would have 30'd it, no big deal, just like we did" for most of the physics, chemistry, and math, which (I don't know my game theory well enough) I think is non-ideal. This did not improve for the superplayoffs/finals.
So I'll preface these comments by pointing out two things. First, if you know things about a subject, its perfectly ok to get 30 on a bonus or a very early buzz on a tossup. That's what the function of those early clues and third parts are. If you can recognize the tennis racket theorem, SO(3) [I didn't know this overlapped with an HSNCT tossup, though], and lithium aluminum hydride, you probably deserve points on those things. If this were a college tournament, I would feel much more comfortable asking uncomfortably deep clues about reductions (I probably have, much to many people's chagrin), but the fact remains high schoolers, on average, have very little exposure to organic chemistry and circuit theory . Same with the bonus on Noether's theorem. I can guarantee you that most people would not be 30ing that bonus, and that bonus would in fact be a little too hard even for a regular difficulty college event. I hope that you can attend NASAT and get some exposure to what I would consider 'nosebleed

That being said, I agree with your criticism of the tennis racket theorem question, since leading off with a named thing is a non-ideal way to begin a question. I also wasn't aware that EDTA was so popular in the high school chemistry canon (you're not the only person to make this comment to me) and that SO(3) came up at HSNCT. Had I known those things, I'd have probably changed that question.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Cody »

I don't have access to the questions, but:
Angstrom wrote:Tennis racket theorem in the first clue for moment of inertia?
This tossup had some problems, but tennis racket theorem was not one of them.
Angstrom wrote:SO3 in the first clue for rotations - which was done, same clue, same answer, same location, at HSNCT?
You can't seriously expect NSC editors to pore over HSNCT tossups to look for repeat clues. You know the group of all rotations in 3D space, take your points.
Angstrom wrote:The big offender: jwL as the first clue for impedance?).
This, however, is completely correct. That tossup was an anti-pyramidal travesty.
Angstrom wrote:In bonuses, I have the exact same issue, but more strongly. Lagrangian/energy/Noether's is the one that comes to my mind right now (I didn't write bonuses down), but I had the strong feeling throughout most of the matches that "had any other top team gotten this bonus, they would have 30'd it, no big deal, just like we did" for most of the physics, chemistry, and math, which (I don't know my game theory well enough) I think is non-ideal. This did not improve for the superplayoffs/finals.
This is not true. If anything, I thought the bonuses were too hard for the majority of teams (including some of the top teams). You're good at science, you're going to thirty a lot of things; that does not make them too easy.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Guile Island »

Yeah, I really like jazz and as a trombonist I would have probably powered all three jazz tossups in this set had I not stupidly negged the Parker tossup due to somehow constantly conflating him with Coltrane in quizbowl (Could I see this tossup posted)? I don't remember the other two bonuses, but I got twenty on the Tatum bonus which was definitely too hard for the field simply because most quizbowlers are not used to hearing that many jazz questions and as a result probably neglect to study jazz for the purpose of getting maybe two or three questions per tournament. Tatum is very important, though, and if this presence of jazz continues enough for most quizbowlers to deem it worth studying, is a perfectly convertable bonus part at this level. For a little while we might just have to expect lower conversion on jazz questions at the NSC level if we want to ask about more than just Armstrong, Davis, and Coltrane ad nauseum and get people to actually learn things about jazz.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by touchpack »

So I wrote the acetic acid question, along with a small handful of other questions for this set, which I consciously wrote to be easier than my DRAGOON questions (if you want to hear some "nosebleed" level hard parts of bonuses in chem come to DRAGOON!). The next clue was about TFA. I wasn't sure how to order those clues, but after thinking about it, I realized that if you're going to learn about TFA, you will definitely know its structure and be buzzing in with confidence for sure. However, it's very possible to learn what EDTA is WITHOUT learning its structure (like I did my freshman year--my knowledge of EDTA was at one point "it's a cool-looking hexadentate chelating agent." I figured that deep knowledge of EDTA was worth more than shallow knowledge of TFA, even if EDTA comes up more than TFA--if I misjudged this, I apologize.

I agree though that this set was not too easy on the science. There were some tossups that actually I thought were, if anything, too hard! (Bragg's Law, 2nd law of thermo, chem tossup on 4, mass spec, etc.) Like, these leadins are just really really insane--these tossups all head multiple early clues that I don't think anyone at all in high school has a chance of buzzing on. Like Eric said above, the function of leadins is so good players can buzz, and I don't think this was possible all of the time.

However, these were not bad tossups. Like, if these were ACF Regionals tossups, I'd probably be pretty happy to play them. But I'm not convinced that this is the type of stuff we need to be asking for high school. Allan, did you experience any buzzer races on these questions at all? Because it seems to me like you're just getting them before everyone else!

(However, I will agree that the impedance tossup was very, very easy)
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: If this were a college tournament, I would feel much more comfortable asking uncomfortably deep clues about reductions (I probably have, much to many people's chagrin).
Hah, you have. I enjoyed the sodium cyanoborohydride clues in your Penn-ance tossup.

On the subject of jazz, while I don't think that Parker tossup isn't crazy-impossible to power (Au Privave and Blues for Alice are both in the Parker Omnibook, and the latter is pretty QB-famous), I will agree that on the whole the jazz was pretty hard--especially the bonuses.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by The Stately Rhododendron »

Can you post the Mali/CAR/Guinea-Bissau bonus? I think I remember it saying that the MNLA's primary goal was to set up an islamic state. I thought they were mainly Tuareg nationalists.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername »

Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:
SirT wrote: Edit: as one staffer noted: "I'm an alto sax player and I own over a thousand jazz CDs and even I wouldn't have powered that Bird question!"
I'm the staffer who made that quote. I agree that the answerlines were, for the most part, gettable on the jazz (though asking high schoolers about Teddy Wilson, even as a hard part at PACE NSC, seems a bit on the masochistic side), but some of the lead-in, power clues were stumpers for people with extensive backgrounds in jazz, and absolutely impossible for even elite high school quizbowl players unless they're jazz fanatics (a rare breed indeed). Dylan Minarik is the only player in this tournament whom I can think of off the top of my head who would've had any chance in hell at getting many of the jazz tossups before the giveaway or the penultimate clue, which tended to transform many of the jazz tossups into either dead questions or buzzer races. These clues I think would have been fair game at ACF Nationals (perhaps Regionals), Division I SCT or a music side tournament, but I agree that they were too hard, in general, even for PACE NSC.
It seems that the jazz questions were too hard. I will admit that. I apologize for that. They are also probably too stingily power-marked. I'll apologize for that too.

But your rhetoric on this issue is way overblown! Look at the statement I have bolded above! First of all, "many of the jazz tossups"? Any team that didn't play the finals packet should have heard exactly two jazz tossups. One would be the Brubeck tossup I included above. The other is this Parker tossup I have included below.
Howard McGhee yells the word "Blow!" as this musician begins to weaken during a recording of "Lover Man". "Au Privave" is a tune on his album, Swedish Schnapps, which also features a piece that employs his namesake modification of the blues as a chain of II-V ["two-five"] progressions, "Blues for Alice". From 1949 to 1965, 1678 Broadway was the site of a jazz club on 52nd Street named for this musician. With Benny Harris, he wrote a tune that is a contrafact of "How High the Moon". The Ray Noble song "Cherokee" was the basis for his composition of "Ko-Ko". He is often co-credited with Dizzy Gillespie for creating the bebop style of jazz. For 10 points, name this alto saxophonist who wrote "Ornithology" and was nicknamed "Bird".
ANSWER: Charles "Charlie" Parker, Jr.
Look, if you want to say something like "These questions go too deep. I think the lead-in clues are too hard for the field, and these tossups would benefit from having one lead-in clue cut and replaced with another middle clue". I would gladly cop to that. Based on what I'm hearing about how these played, that seems true. But pretending that I packed these with arcana until the giveaways, so that "no one in hell" could get these is disingenuous. Your 1000+ CD collection notwithstanding, the first piece clued in the Parker tossup (with title drop) is on both of the most popular "best of" CD compilations covering his career that are currently selling: the 20th Century and the Ken Burns, and is one of the most cited Parker recordings of all time in articles on him, because of the audible drug-related weakening. Brubeck recorded "Koto Song" 17 times and opened the majority of his live concerts with that number for decades. The "Bird" Changes / "Blues for Alice" is one of the standard pieces for teaching ii-V-I in jazz instruction and was a standard throughout the 50's. The middle clues expected you to have heard of "Birdland" for Parker or to have listened to Time Out for Brubeck, which is not "fanatic" territory as you put it. I'm not saying "Stupid, high-schoolers! Why didn't you buzz on these clues?". If they're too hard for this field, they're too hard. I know if ever do work on an NSC again that the distance between the relative depth of cluing in classical and jazz questions should be much larger than I'm used to in questions, and I'll adjust accordingly. Sorry again. But this 1000-CD / "no way in hell" grandstanding is really silly.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by mithokie »

I took the opportunity to play Blue Rondo a la Turk and Take Five for my team on the way home yesterday. 3/3 Jazz in a 25 packet tournament is about what I expected based on the published distribution. I enjoyed the questions in general and will echo the sentiments of those praising the number of unique answer lines and clues in the set. Thanks to all of you that put in so much hard work making this tournament and set possible. My team was motivated by the experience to learn more and certainly got to see some excellent teams.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by MorganV »

Would "pregnancy" have been acceptable at any point for the finals tossup answered with "childbirth"?
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Kyle »

Mr. Joyboy wrote:Can you post the Mali/CAR/Guinea-Bissau bonus? I think I remember it saying that the MNLA's primary goal was to set up an islamic state. I thought they were mainly Tuareg nationalists.
I believe I worded this bonus carefully enough to say that Azawad is an Islamic state, not that that was the goal of the MNLA, which was initially a secular nationalist organization that enjoyed support from several Islamist organizations.

EDIT – Wait, no, I didn't get the wording right. I'm really sorry about that. This should just say "an independent state in Azawad."

EDIT 2 - But at least you'll appreciate that I got the past tense right: they "sought" to establish Azawad.
Name these African countries where coups recently took place, for 10 points each.
[10] Amadou Toumani Touré was overthrown in March 2012 in this country after he failed to control the Tuareg rebels who sought to establish an Islamic state in Azawad, which would have included Timbuktu.
ANSWER: Republic of Mali
[10] Michel Djotodia deposed François Bozizé in April 2013 in this country, where the Seleka coalition of rebels was accused of widespread looting.
ANSWER: Central African Republic [accept CAR]
[10] Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, who was polling third, was elevated to the presidency of this former Portuguese colony in April 2012 in a coup against leading candidates Carlos Gomes Junior and Kumba Iala.
ANSWER: Republic of Guinea-Bissau [do not accept or prompt on "Guinea"]
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

MorganV wrote:Would "pregnancy" have been acceptable at any point for the finals tossup answered with "childbirth"?
The way I had it written, the answerline was specific to the actual labor/birthing process. I would have told Jerry to prompt you had you said that.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Panayot Hitov »

Just wondering, what was the Latvia tossup filed under? Also, when will the set be posted?
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area »

Willmune Sof Burrghtenstein wrote:Just wondering, what was the Latvia tossup filed under?
Geography.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by The Stately Rhododendron »

Kyle wrote: But at least you'll appreciate that I got the past tense right: they "sought" to establish Azawad.
I did appreciate that. In general, I thought the Current Events here were really well-written, relying on more than just the name of the most recently elected party/party leader.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by BlueDevil95 »

Like many people have said above, the NSC set was fantastic. It was filed with creative, new ideas, and most of it was difficulty appropriate, with just a few outliers.

Could I see the tossups on "white supremacy" and "Jamaica Kincaid"? I'm curious as to why _neo-Nazism_ wasn't right out acceptable at the clue about 88. Kincaid was one of the ones I thought was too hard to be tossed up at this level; we read Annie John in class and I'd like to see the rest of the TU. Thanks!
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Jack London's novel The Iron Heel influenced a a text about this belief The Organization pseudonymously published. The number 88 is a secret sign of this ideology, whose subscribers often chant the Fourteen Words. A poorly planned invasion of Dominica was led by another follower of this ideology that violently takes over the United States in The Turner Diaries. Don Black founded the (*) Stormfront forum, a rallying place for groups with this belief that include WSUs for "persons of European heritage". The biggest type of group that backs this ideology is usually led by a Grand Wizard, and its members burn crosses and don white robes. For 10 points, name this racist ideology against people of color held by the Ku Klux Klan.
ANSWER: white supremacy [or white nationalism; or white separatism; prompt on Neo-Nazism]
Some critics allege that this author's most recent novel, which depicts the crumbling marriage of Vermonters Mr. and Mrs. Sweet, was based on her own troubled marital life with composer Allen Shawn. This author of See Now Then wrote a prose poem in which she interjected the question "but what if the baker won't let me feel the bread?" into a list of advice from a mother to a daughter. Ma Chess uses (*) obeah to heal the title character of her most famous novel, who becomes depressed due to her estrangement from her mother and, while at her British school, befriends Gwen and the Red Girl. For 10 points, name this author of Lucy, "Girl" and Annie John, an Antiguan woman who took another Caribbean island as her pen name.
ANSWER: Jamaica Kincaid [or Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson]
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Chandragupta »

Where did power end on the Parker question? I buzzed on the clue referring to Birdland, and (like Dylan) stupidly said Coltrane for no good reason.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by deserto »

There was a toss-up on Brazil with a clue that went something like, "A massive statue of Jesus Christ towers over this country's capital." Ranjani from TJ C noticed this and commented that the question seemed to be referencing Christ the Redeemer, which is in Rio, not in Brasilia. Just thought I'd mention this.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

deserto wrote:There was a toss-up on Brazil with a clue that went something like, "A massive statue of Jesus Christ towers over this country's capital." Ranjani from TJ C noticed this and commented that the question seemed to be referencing Christ the Redeemer, which is in Rio, not in Brasilia. Just thought I'd mention this.
Stupid error on my part. Sorry.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Guile Island »

I actually didn't think the Miles Davis/modal jazz/Sketches of Spain bonus was particularly hard, it was probably the most convertable jazz question of the set. Modes and modality are important things beyond jazz that anyone who knows a bit of music theory should really know about, and Sketches of Spain is very quizbowl-famous in edition to being one of Davis's most notable works.

I also remember specifically what I did on the Parker tossup: mixing up the fact that, while Parker wrote "Blues for Alice", John Coltrane's wife was named Alice and I conflated those two things somehow. That tossup was challenging but not really impossible, and I'm guessing I'm not the only person who played this tournament with some jazz experience who could've gotten a pretty good buzz on it.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

Mewto55555 wrote:One very specific thing I would like to be clearer is tossups on slightly more nebulous yet specific answerlines like that "Nixon-Kennedy debates" -- in my room it got prompted on pres. debates and wasn't pulled by our opponent, but even when they were describing the televised one and i knew it, I didn't realize it wanted their names until the very end when it said that. I think for tossups that will obviously see people get prompted, they should do a better job of specifying earlier what they wanted, like "One of these events involving these people" or similar.

Also stuff like "speeches by Khrushchev" is stupid, especially if you're going to say "these orations" and such. Why can't this just be a Khrushchev tossup which only clues from speeches?
For the first one, I should have made it clearer that it wanted just the debates in 1960 and not presidential debates in general, although I'd have to go back and think about how I could have done that in a reasonable way.

I agree about the speeches by Khrushchev comment. I initially wrote this question trying to get something more "interesting" than a standard Khrushchev tossup, but I ended up making it very clear what was wanted to avoid ambiguity and should have just scrapped the whole "speeches of" part.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Shashmaqam »

Could I see the Persian myth tossup as well as the one on Hawaii. Thanks.
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Re: 2013 NSC Set Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

The set is now posted on quizbowlpackets.com.
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