Minnesota Open discussion

Old college threads.
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6368
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Minnesota Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

I assume that it's ok to discuss the questions now, since they've been posted by Christian.

I'll have more to say on specific things later, but right now, I just wanted to briefly note that I enjoyed the hell out of this tournament. With the exception of a few questions, everything was very solid and well-edited; the bonuses were very hard, but I never felt like there was a great unevenness in the difficulty. It was a great set and I want to thank the Minnesota crew for producing it.

Perhaps the only real problem I had with the set was not with the content but with the fact that it was pitched as something like a "regular difficulty" event. From the original announcement, I read:
Target difficulty: The target difficulty for this event will be similar to that of the Deep Bench quads set last year, which is probably just a tick easier than Illinois Open or Cardinal Classic, but still comparable. Basically, we want any team that has played regular-difficulty events to be able to convert tossups and average at least one part per bonus answered. At the same time, we want the top teams to be challenged with the early clues, third parts of the bonuses, and a few tossup answers.
I think this was an understatement of the eventual difficulty of this set, to put it mildly. When the first question of the tournament is on Eugenio Montale (well, it was at MIT anyway), I think we can all safely agree that this is going to be way harder than the Deep Bench quads from last year. I felt this set was substantially more difficult in its answer selection than either IO 2007 or Cardinal Classic of last year. Again, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy myself (any tournament where I can answer a tossup on "Naming and Necessity" is a good tournament in my book) but I think it might have been quite the trial by fire for some of the weaker teams that showed up at the MIT site.

Anyway, great job by all involved, and thanks to MIT for another quality tournament experience. You guys rock.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
Theory Of The Leisure Flask
Yuna
Posts: 843
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:04 am
Location: Brooklyn
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

This was a fantastic set, and a fantastic tournament. Kudos to MIT for hosting the mirror, and for Minnesota for a top-notch editing job. I do agree with Jerry that it was a good deal harder than advertised.

A couple quick specific things:

*The economics bonus on Giffen goods/Veblen goods/complements was much, much, much easier than everything else. Beyond that I agree with Jerry w/r/t bonus difficulty.

* I was surprised that the first clue on the "fifth symphony" tossup was on Tchaikovsky; my impression is that Tchiak V is better-known than any others save Beethoven and maybe Shostakovich. Also, much as I love pure musical clues, I'm not quite sure St. Paul's Suite was the best piece with which to write a tossup so full of them; I'd be interested to know if anyone got that tossup before the giveaway. The rest of the music in this tournament was superb, especially the tossups on Dvorak symphonies and Different Trains. Who was responsible for that particular bit of high-difficulty awesome?
Chris White
Bloomfield HS (New Jersey) '01, Swarthmore College '05, University of Pennsylvania '10. Still writes questions occasionally.
Rayford Smuckles
Lulu
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:44 am
Location: California

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Rayford Smuckles »

As another mirror attendee, I echo Jerry's sentiments. We had six teams at the Stanford site, three from Berkeley, two from USC, and a Stanford house team composed of myself and Brian Lindquist. I won't be able to positively verify this until the stats are posted, but I believe that we were the only team above 10 ppb, and that if you exclude the rooms where we played each round, more than half the tossups went unanswered. As the day went on, it was pretty clear that people were getting discouraged, disengaged, not having fun, etc. This is clearly not meant as a criticism of the set, which I thought was phenomenal, probably the best I've played in a year, but rather, as Jerry said, of the way it was advertised. There was simply a large gap between the sort of questions that the majority of people at our site expected/were prepared for and the reality of the tournament. Obviously, it would be moronic to try to cater your set to the weakest mirror field, and if the tournament had been advertised as "harder than last year's ACF regionals" or whatever it "actually" was, we might not have gotten anyone, so I don't see that there's any reasonable way this could have been avoided/fixed other than simply strengthening the field at our site. Ahh, west coast qb.
Mike

Stanford
User avatar
Not That Kind of Christian!!
Yuna
Posts: 847
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:36 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! »

I agree with the harder-than-advertised criticism, and wanted to offer up a few more specific tossup issues:

1. The tossup on Different Trains contained a factual error: Short Ride in a Fast Machine was not written by Philip Glass.
2. The tossups on ablutions, assassination attempts on both Roosevelts, big balls, alpine glaciers, and heads that talked after death were particularly weak. The ablutions tossup simply contained extremely poor clue choices and a strange answer choice that probably would have been a better bonus part. The rest, though, were examples of common-link tossups with qualifying adjectives that were way too specific. I saw negs on every one of those tossups on "assassination attempts on FDR/Teddy Roosevelt," "balls," "glaciers" and "heads," and other players confirmed that many rooms had similar negs.
3. There was a strange emphasis on titles of literary collections, and, I think, on battles.

The music was indeed very well-done. There were also some great lit tossups (Snow, for one), and some fun and original answer choices all around. Thanks, Minnesota, and thanks to MIT for hosting the tournament!
Hannah Kirsch
Brandeis University 2010
NYU School of Medicine 2014

"Wow, those Scandinavians completely thorbjorned my hard-earned political capital."
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6368
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

I heard several people mention that literary collections were overemphasized in this set, but I did not notice it myself. I agree that military history was slightly overrepresented, but I attribute that to the vagaries of the submitted material.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Lots of cool things I didn't know. I felt that the chemistry was weighted towards orgo more than usual, but I didn't even come close to minding that one bit.

The tossup on dienes was weird, but I'll have to take a look later.

Also, the Berry phase has to be my favorite bonus part ever that I couldn't pull. I was so happy it came up since there was a point where I learned about it and realized that it'd be super if it came up at some hard tournament. At that point, it didn't matter so much whether I actually pulled it or not.

Other comments once I have time to look at the set.

EDIT: I'm really interested in feedback, public or private, on the science in the Harvard packet (round 15 at the MN site). It was hard, I know; I'm mostly concerned with whether it was good.
Last edited by Mechanical Beasts on Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Andrew Watkins
User avatar
Theory Of The Leisure Flask
Yuna
Posts: 843
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:04 am
Location: Brooklyn
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

HKirsch wrote:I agree with the harder-than-advertised criticism, and wanted to offer up a few more specific tossup issues:

1. The tossup on Different Trains contained a factual error: Short Ride in a Fast Machine was not written by Philip Glass.
2. The tossups on ablutions, assassination attempts on both Roosevelts, big balls, alpine glaciers, and heads that talked after death were particularly weak. The ablutions tossup simply contained extremely poor clue choices and a strange answer choice that probably would have been a better bonus part. The rest, though, were examples of common-link tossups with qualifying adjectives that were way too specific. I saw negs on every one of those tossups on "assassination attempts on FDR/Teddy Roosevelt," "balls," "glaciers" and "heads," and other players confirmed that many rooms had similar negs.
3. There was a strange emphasis on titles of literary collections, and, I think, on battles.

The music was indeed very well-done. There were also some great lit tossups (Snow, for one), and some fun and original answer choices all around. Thanks, Minnesota, and thanks to MIT for hosting the tournament!
Huh, either our moderator corrected the Short Ride error on the fly, or I totally missed that.

I agree that the creative answer choices were one of the best parts of this tournament- had the "big balls", "talking heads", and other similar questions not been excessively underlined, I think we'd be talking about them as high points instead of low points. I also have no problem with a large proportion of questions on literary collections- it's a particularly effective strategy when trying to write tossups on short lyric poetry, for instance.
Last edited by Theory Of The Leisure Flask on Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Chris White
Bloomfield HS (New Jersey) '01, Swarthmore College '05, University of Pennsylvania '10. Still writes questions occasionally.
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6368
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

A general tip on underlining: there's no need to underline generic words like "factor" or "coefficient" or "constant" in science questions. These are all words that mean "a number," to scientists and there's no reason to ask for that in questions.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
Wall of Ham
Rikku
Posts: 420
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:28 am

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Wall of Ham »

For the alpine glaciers question: I buzzed on bergschrunds and said glaciers, I was prompted and said Cirque glaciers, and was ruled incorrect. With the previous clues, it seems that Cirque glaciers, as a subset of alpine glaciers, still was correct in terms of the previous clues. Players should not be trying to figure out what the hell the question writers are asking. There is only a fuzzy line between continental and alpine glaciers, and each type has a subset of many more different glaciers. Many glaciology terms apply to both "types" of glaciers.

Also, answers that are a phrase are bad. Questions should also not be on "Paintings with dogs in them" or "assassinating a Roosevelt" or "people wearing eyepatches" as these may be easily confused with other possible answers.

I thought the United State of America question mentioning the Asian treaties was a hose. People who knew specific US Treaties with East Asia could buzz, but for the other 90% of teams, they either sat there thinking it couldn't be the USA or just waited for the giveaway, which turned into an ugly buzzer race.

However I would like people to note that these questions along with many other bad ones were in amalgam packets, presumably replacing the not-turned-in packets, and thus the editors did not have as much time to change them for the better.
Last edited by Wall of Ham on Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Barry
Cornell
User avatar
AndyShootsAndyScores
Yuna
Posts: 806
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:33 pm
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by AndyShootsAndyScores »

HKirsch wrote:2. . . .The rest, though, were examples of common-link tossups with qualifying adjectives that were way too specific. I saw negs on every one of those tossups on "assassination attempts on FDR/Teddy Roosevelt," "balls," "glaciers" and "heads," and other players confirmed that many rooms had similar negs.
At some point (I'm not exactly sure where), answering with either of the Roosevelts would be incorrect. If you answered before this point with the correct Roosevelt, you should definitely be ruled correct. In order to avoid being ruled incorrect with answering only one of the Roosevelts after the point in the question where both names are required, there should have been a note at the beginning of the question. This note should have said something along the lines of "Two people required in your answer" and should have been read to the players.

Someone in our room answered with "heads" on the question and it was given to them. The end of the question made mention of one of the heads (Orpheus's) that sings as it floats down the river. I can't remember if Orpheus sang or simply talked when he gave his prophecies at Antissa, but singing is not necessairly the same thing as talking. I think the question was somewhat poorly written and should have just been revised into something a little less confusing.

The advertised difficulty was strikingly different from the actual difficulty of the set, but it was still an excellent set overall. A big thanks to all who contributed to its writing.
Andy Knowles
Brindlee Mountain, '08
University of Alabama, '12
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6368
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

The "talking heads" question was horrible precisely because there was nothing in the text before the giveaway that indicated that you have to say "talking" to be ruled correct. These were all obviously heads from mythology, something that I knew very early in the question, but getting someone to say "talking" is like trying to get them to read your mind.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
ClemsonQB
Tidus
Posts: 511
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:12 pm
Location: Clemson, SC
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by ClemsonQB »

AndyShootsAndyScores wrote:At some point (I'm not exactly sure where), answering with either of the Roosevelts would be incorrect. If you answered before this point with the correct Roosevelt, you should definitely be ruled correct. In order to avoid being ruled incorrect with answering only one of the Roosevelts after the point in the question where both names are required, there should have been a note at the beginning of the question. This note should have said something along the lines of "Two people required in your answer" and should have been read to the players.
The two people who were the targets for this action were both present at the younger one’s wedding, with the elder standing in for the bride’s deceased father Elliott. One person who attempted to do it wrote extensive letters to Dr. Adin Sherman, and claimed that his target was not the “citizen.” Another person who tried to do this was executed after admonishing capitalists for trying to take his picture. One person who tried to do this was an anarchist named John Schrank who claimed that that William McKinley’s ghost told him to do it, while another was an Italian named Giuseppi Zangara, who killed Chicago mayor Anton Cermak instead. This action was once thwarted by a pince-nez eyeglasses case, after which the target gave a speech claiming it would take more to down a Bull Moose. For 10 points, name this action attempted in 1912 and 1933, against a certain Theodore and Franklin Delano.

ANSWER: attempting to assassinate a Roosevelt [accept attempting to assassinate Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt; accept equivalents like shoot/kill; prompt on shoot/assassinate the U.S. President or equivalents]

It started off by saying that TWO people were involved, and thus, at no point would either only TR or only FDR be acceptable.
George Stevens

Dorman High School 2008
Clemson University 2012
User avatar
cvdwightw
Auron
Posts: 3446
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Southern CA
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by cvdwightw »

Wall of Ham wrote:I thought the United State of America question mentioning the Asian treaties was a hose. People who knew specific US Treaties with East Asia could buzz, but for the other 90% of teams, they either sat there thinking it couldn't be the USA or just waited for the giveaway, which turned into an ugly buzzer race.
Here's the question as written, I don't think much was changed.

An 1879 voyage by one man on behalf of this country resulted in a treaty with Abdallah III of Anjouan and a recommendation that this country annex what is now the island of Bioko in Equatorial Guinea. This country nearly succeeded in setting up a conference at Prinkipo Island that was intended to resolve the Russian civil war. The use of Chinese tutors was the focus of Article 18 of the Treaty of Wangxia, which this country signed with China. This country recognized Japanese rule of Korea in a secret agreement partially named after Katsura, and recognized Japanese control over Taiwan in a more public agreement partially named after Takahira. For 10 points, name this country whose more recent treaties include a 1994 free trade agreement with its northern and southern neighbors, Canada and Mexico.
ANSWER: The United States of America (accept either; accept U.S.; accept U.S.A.; accept any facetious answer obviously referring to the country in question)

As the author of that question, I am confused as to what you mean by "hose". This was a relatively straightforward tossup with hard clues on American foreign policy. Perhaps I underestimated the difficulty of Taft-Katsura, but people who knew Wangxia or Root-Takahira (I took out "Taft" and "Root" as those would have been instant buzzer races) should have been buzzing there, and if you had knowledge of Robert Shufeldt's diplomatic voyage to Africa you deserved to get it on the first sentence (maybe I should have mentioned Robert Shufeldt in the opening clue, but I erred on the side of opacity). By my definition a hose is a clue that prompts players to buzz in with knowledge of the clue, only to be incorrect. If you were negging with a more obscure answer, then you didn't have knowledge of the clues you were buzzing on, tried to lateral it based on the assumption "this tournament is too hard to have a question on the United States", and failed - that's not a hose.

Why shouldn't ACF Nationals have questions on Mark Twain and Henry James that use almost exclusively hard clues? Part of the excitement of a harder tournament is the larger answer space; just because we have the liberty of writing on harder topics does not mean that we are expected to do so.
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry
Kyle
Auron
Posts: 1125
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Ifrane, Morocco / Oxford, UK / Issaquah, WA

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Kyle »

My team managed four negs-off-prompts: "glaciers" for "alpine glaciers," "Boers" for "Boers who undertook the Great Trek," "aromaticity" for "Mobius aromaticity," and "failed attempts to assassinate a former or future president of the United States" for "failed attempts to assassinate a former or future president of the United States with the last name of Roosevelt." Dallas was also originally negged for "decapitated heads" for "talking heads" before the moderator relented and gave him the points. I feel like this was an unusually high number of tossups for one team to get right enough to prompt but not right enough to earn ten points for. In the case of glaciers, it actually cost us the game. I'm quite confident that, in each instance, the more specific answer was the correct one; I'm just annoyed at the number of times this tournament we failed to specify it. I'm curious whether anybody else had this problem at this tournament?

(Also: thanks to Minnesota and MIT!)
Kyle Haddad-Fonda
Harvard '09
Oxford '13
User avatar
AndyShootsAndyScores
Yuna
Posts: 806
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:33 pm
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by AndyShootsAndyScores »

ClemsonQB wrote:
AndyShootsAndyScores wrote:At some point (I'm not exactly sure where), answering with either of the Roosevelts would be incorrect. If you answered before this point with the correct Roosevelt, you should definitely be ruled correct. In order to avoid being ruled incorrect with answering only one of the Roosevelts after the point in the question where both names are required, there should have been a note at the beginning of the question. This note should have said something along the lines of "Two people required in your answer" and should have been read to the players.
The two people who were the targets for this action were both present at the younger one’s wedding, with the elder standing in for the bride’s deceased father Elliott. One person who attempted to do it wrote extensive letters to Dr. Adin Sherman, and claimed that his target was not the “citizen.” Another person who tried to do this was executed after admonishing capitalists for trying to take his picture. One person who tried to do this was an anarchist named John Schrank who claimed that that William McKinley’s ghost told him to do it, while another was an Italian named Giuseppi Zangara, who killed Chicago mayor Anton Cermak instead. This action was once thwarted by a pince-nez eyeglasses case, after which the target gave a speech claiming it would take more to down a Bull Moose. For 10 points, name this action attempted in 1912 and 1933, against a certain Theodore and Franklin Delano.

ANSWER: attempting to assassinate a Roosevelt [accept attempting to assassinate Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt; accept equivalents like shoot/kill; prompt on shoot/assassinate the U.S. President or equivalents]

It started off by saying that TWO people were involved, and thus, at no point would either only TR or only FDR be acceptable.
In that case, there is no way you could accept either Roosevelt. I hadn't re-read the question before I posted. Thank you for correcting me.
Andy Knowles
Brindlee Mountain, '08
University of Alabama, '12
User avatar
ericblair
Wakka
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon May 12, 2003 10:19 am
Location: Kentucky

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by ericblair »

I was really surprised at the difficulty level as well. I feel kind of silly for submitting the questions I did because they were nowhere near the difficulty of the questions used in the tournament. But, how was I supposed to know? I tried to make them easier than the Illinois Open questions which is how this tournament was advertised.
I was looking forward to going in to each round knowing maybe 15 of the tossups by the end of the questions, but instead it was more like seven or eight that I knew per round. It's OK though. It was good to test the limits of my knowledge. It actually inspires me to want to learn some of the (what I consider) very difficult material in more depth so that I can compete on a higher level.

As far as the questions go, I too thought there weren't enough American history questions. And there seemed to be too many "doubly-eponymous" things that I had no clue about and "polities." In many of my matches people seemed to just zone out for the first five or six lines, wake up, and then get prepared for the "For Ten Points" and subsequent giveaway, the only place where they would have a shot at answering a tossup. This created many buzzer races. Perhaps one way to avoid people zoning out is to vary the wording of questions. As much as I love questions on "polities" I was definitely sick of the word by the end of the tournament.

Overall, I had lots of fun. Would participate again.
Eric Blair
Pikeville '04
Georgetown College '08
Currently vagabonding in other countries
User avatar
setht
Auron
Posts: 1191
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:41 pm
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by setht »

I want to apologize for the underlining on the "talking heads" tossup, which I wrote. I haven't looked at the edited version of the packets so I don't know what the answer line looked like in the final version; as submitted, I suggested "severed heads" and equivalents as acceptable answers. In fact, "heads" should have been acceptable without qualifiers, since no one is going to buzz in and say "heads" while thinking incorrectly that the tossup was talking about "heads that are still attached to bodies."

Sorry about that.

-Seth
Seth Teitler
Formerly UC Berkeley and U. Chicago
President of NAQT
Emeritus member of ACF
User avatar
BuzzerZen
Auron
Posts: 1517
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 11:01 pm
Location: Arlington, VA/Hampshire College
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by BuzzerZen »

setht wrote:"heads that are still attached to bodies."
[Mitch Hedberg reference goes here.]
Evan Silberman
Hampshire College 07F

How are you actually reading one of my posts?
User avatar
dtaylor4
Auron
Posts: 3733
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:43 am

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by dtaylor4 »

grapesmoker wrote:The "talking heads" question was horrible precisely because there was nothing in the text before the giveaway that indicated that you have to say "talking" to be ruled correct. These were all obviously heads from mythology, something that I knew very early in the question, but getting someone to say "talking" is like trying to get them to read your mind.
I think someone else mentioned it happening to them, but I also said "heads no longer attached to bodies" after being prompted, and was given the tossup. I'm too lazy to look it up, but what exactly was the answer line for the William of Normandy tossup? I got a puzzled look after buzzing on the sarcophagus clue with William I, and spilled out William of Normandy, William the Conqueror, etc. to make sure i got the fifteen.

Other than the difficulty issues, this was a good set. Also, much props to Matt Weiner for the meta bowl packet. The room I read for (Magin, Ike, Eaton, Gautam, some guy I can't remember vs. Tryg, Chris, Bentley, other people I can't remember) saw several embarrassing powers and many, many, many laughs, and even went down to the last question.
User avatar
Lapego1
Tidus
Posts: 675
Joined: Sun May 02, 2004 8:06 pm
Location: Richmond, VA/Philadelphia, PA

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Lapego1 »

So, aside from the acceptable answers and/or weird prompting issues that people have mentioned, the ablution tu seemed to be a hose, on which I negged fairly early with "ghusl".

One special form of this act involving soil was once performed by 'Amr Ibn al-Aas when he had a wet dream on a particularly cold night. In that form, whose name translates as purpose, the act can be violated by the sight of water. The more full form of it is required upon ejaculation, though a lesser form of it is required if one only ejaculates pre-seminal fluid, and the more full form is not required if the penis penetrates to the point of circumcision. Abu Rafi' related that the prophet Muhammad would perform the full form of this each time he visited one of his wives on the same day, although one fatwa recommends only the lesser form of this between goes as it is "more energizing for the second time." If Andy Watkins performed the lesser form of this and punched the wall of a mosque, leading to blood, he would have to repeat it. Tayammum is done without water, while ghusl and/or wudu' are necessary before performing salat. For 10 points, name this Islamic act of ritual washing.
ANSWER: Islamic _ablution_ [prompt on wudu', ghusl, tayammum or taharah, they are all different things and there is no Arabic overarching term for them; prompt on washing or equivalents]

I could just be completely wrong here, but it seems to me that ghusl applies to everything up to perhaps "lesser form". The first sentence is describing tayammum, which is a "special form" of ghusl or wudu using soil/dirt (in this case the reference is to ghusl), and without going into detail, everything not referring to "lesser form" is explicitly ghusl. If we're being particular, I might even consider wudu a "lesser form" of ghusl. Still entertained somewhat by the rest of the question and enjoyed most of the set even though I averaged -5ppg in the playoffs :). Going into it, I thought this might be a little harder than ACF Regs at most, but boy was I off.
Mehdi Razvi
Maggie Walker Gov. School '07
University of Pennsylvania '11

"A goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid."
-James D. Watson (1928-)
User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5796
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by theMoMA »

When we announced Minnesota Open, we had no idea what kind of field was coming to our tournament. It turned out that a lot of teams traveled to this tournament. In case some of these mirror sites haven't noticed, the teams who played this at Minnesota were pretty damn good. For the most part, our difficulty was dictated by the field of the tournament, both in what we wrote and what we allowed to remain from submissions. The field wrote many of the tossups on harder answers, no doubt with the many excellent teams in mind. Apologies if people were expecting "regular difficulty," but that was never our intention, and we explicitly stated that. From the beginning, we pitched this as a tournament of a difficulty between regionals and nationals, and while it may have strayed further from regionals than we may originally have intended, I think the numbers support our success in that regard.

I would like to mention that the answer line for "talking heads" specifically said to accept equivalents that were as general as "severed heads." Similarly, the tossup on "Big Balls" said to prompt on "Balls." If moderators didn't follow our specific instructions, I apologize, but I don't really know why we're talking about this in a thread ostensibly about the questions. Also, keep in mind that excessive underlining is grounds for protest. So even if we do make a mistake as writers (which I don't think is the case here), or the moderator makes a mistake and doesn't follow our guidelines, you still have a recourse.

For most the complaints on glaciers, I can't say I much sympathize. All of the clues in the question are terms that refer solely to features on alpine glaciers. The answer line correctly instructed the moderators to prompt on "glacier," and generously allowed answers like "mountain glaciers," or equivalents (I think I've heard "upland glacier" used before). Negging with "glaciers" seems akin to negging a tossup on a specific kind of scattering with "scattering" and then not being able to come up with it when prompted; i.e., if you don't want to do that, don't buzz if you don't know what subclass of the general thing is being described.

However, it is my mistake that it didn't include "cirque glacier" as an acceptable answer. Again, this can easily be resolved via protest.

The Roosevelts answer was probably just a bad decision on my part, but I tried to make it as clear as I could that there were two different people involved.

Also, that was my mistake on "Short Ride in a Fast Machine." I often get the titles of Glass and Adams confused, and that's what happened here. I hope the fact that the tossup was on "Different Trains," which is awesome and well-known but almost never comes up, makes up for my error.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8419
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

I am astounded that the only tournament in recent memory to feature a question on WS Merwin somehow did not mention the finest poem ever superimposed over a Youtube montage of scenes from Final Fantasy X, "The River of Bees."
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org
User avatar
Maxwell Sniffingwell
Auron
Posts: 2163
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:22 pm
Location: Des Moines, IA

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

Matt Weiner wrote:I am astounded that the only tournament in recent memory to feature a question on WS Merwin somehow did not mention the finest poem ever superimposed over a Youtube montage of scenes from Final Fantasy X, "The River of :bees: ."
Which I shall now post in its entirety, mostly 'cause it's a pretty good poem.
Study up, folks, this is now officially fodder for ICT.



In a dream I returned to the river of bees
Five orange trees by the bridge and
Beside two mills my house
Into whose courtyard a blind man followed
The goats and stood singing
Of what was older

Soon it will be fifteen years

He was old he will have fallen into his eyes

I took my eyes
A long way to the calenders
Room after room asking how shall I live

One of the ends is made of streets
One man processions carry through it
Empty bottles their
Images of hope
It was offered to me by name

Once once and once
In the same city I was born
Asking what shall I say

He will have fallen into his mouth
Men think they are better than grass

I return to his voice rising like a forkful of hay

He was old he is not real nothing is real
Nor the noise of death drawing water

We are the echo of the future

On the door it says what to do to survive
But we were not born to survive
Only to live

W.S. Merwin
Greg Peterson

Northwestern University '18
Lawrence University '11
Maine South HS '07

"a decent player" - Mike Cheyne
User avatar
Coelacanth
Rikku
Posts: 277
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:41 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Coelacanth »

Some quick thoughts from someone who got to read this whole thing:

First and foremost, I want to commend the entire field for being uniformly fun to read for and for having generally positive attitudes throughout what must have been a very long day playing some very trying questions against a very competitive field. I don't get to see "national" teams very often and it was great to put faces to some of the names I see in here and to know that, contrary to some reputations, you're all really nice people.

As a corollary to this I would like to publicly beatify Selene Koo for volunteering to read her team's packet in my room during their bye. My throat thanks you!

As to the questions...

I thought the tossups were very well-edited with regard to clue placement. I probably averaged one power per round in my room, I did not see any buzzer races on inappropriately early clues, and in general the distribution of "when people got stuff" was right about where you'd want it to be. For questions at this difficulty level, there were very few of the form "blah-blah-blah-giveaway".

Bonus difficulty was consistent as well, with few zeroes and even fewer 30s. Some bonuses had a "free 10 points" clue for their easy part ("this carpenter and water-walking enthusiast") and some did not. The luck of the draw as to which team got which of these bonuses probably decided some games between the weaker teams in the field. I know it's impossible to have the easy clue of every single bonus be the same difficulty, but this dichotomy (either we throw you a bone or we don't) was noticeable.

The set had some issues from a copy-editing standpoint. Many questions were missing verbs or prepositions, such that the syntax broke down even though the important clue words were all there. There were also a couple of obvious factual errors, such as the Sullivan tossup which referenced the "Sullivan Building" instead of the Wainwright Building and the bonus part which mentioned Andrew Jackson's violation of the Tenure of Office Act. Another set of eyes would have helped, but I think you can say that about just about every tournament.

< vent >
This was a very difficult set to read. The editing issues I just mentioned did not help, and it seemed like the tossups were maybe a line too long. I get the reasons for not including pronunciation guides, but reading 15 rounds of Incan deities, Icelandic placenames, Japanese authors, esoteric (to me) biochemicals and medieval Hungarian noblemen is just physically exhausting. Apologies to any teams who missed out on points because of my inability to pronounce Old Norse.
< /vent >

Overall, I think the editing team did a really good job. You could definitely see how much work went into it. Kudos to Andrew, Rob, Gautam, Bernadette et al. I hope this becomes an annual event; I'll bring more throat lozenges next time.
Brian Weikle
I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More, I cannot say.
User avatar
Gautam
Auron
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:28 pm
Location: Zone of Avoidance
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Gautam »

Hey,

First of all, I'd thank people for all their submissions; they were really great, and it definitely put less of a strain on us to produce good questions from scratch.

I'd like to know what people thought of the science at this tournament. I mostly worked on Bio/chem/phys/math and most of the other science (earth sci/astro/comp sci) was taken care of by Andrew and Rob.

I know the difficulty was rather up and down; basically, I realized while reading that some of the bonuses which I thought should have been easy 20s for people who're familiar with bio/chem/physics/math were almost impossible for anyone else not familiar with those subjects. I certainly am not a big fan of bonuses which are hard 20s for a vast portion of the field, and I will try to be reasonable with that in future tournaments.

I also tried to introduce tossups on a bunch of things that seemed noteworthy but (AFAIK) hadn't been done before this tournament. I wrote the tossup on Mobius aromaticity, Dean-Stark apparatus, Monsanto process, Meselson-Stahl experiment, Trouton-Noble experiment, and some others I cannot remember. There were also some great submissions, like the triphenylphosphine tossup by Eric and the one on things represented by H by someone on Chicago Roast Beef.

There was a tossup on "symplectic" which I thought was really really hard, but due to some time constraints I decided to leave it in there and see how that would turn out. While reading the tossup on the Heine Borel theorem I realized that the first half of the tossup might have been useless for people who actually know stuff about it, but due to my knowing little math beyond multivariable calc, linear algebra, and quizbowl famous algebraic structures... that just got put in there.

I know some of the stuff was rather terribly executed. While reading the IR spectroscopy tossup I realized that it didn't contain any clues that would allow it to be distinguished from some other forms of spectroscopy. The physics bonus in the Finals 2 packet did contain factually incorrect information, as was pointed out. The tossup on Thomson scattering was not the best way it could have been written, as was the bonus on the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect and related things, which caused a protest issue at our site.

I also thought there was an excess of biochemistry, given that there were 2 tossups on amino acids, and a whole bunch of bonuses on biochem related things. I hope that didn't hurt the teams playing.

Those were my observations. What do you guys have to say about this? Please do comment, so that I can assure you of the questions at the Brown Open only being better than the questions you got here.
Gautam - ACF
Currently tending to the 'quizbowl hobo' persuasion.
User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 3084
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by DumbJaques »

This was a very difficult set to read. The editing issues I just mentioned did not help, and it seemed like the tossups were maybe a line too long. I get the reasons for not including pronunciation guides, but reading 15 rounds of Incan deities, Icelandic placenames, Japanese authors, esoteric (to me) biochemicals and medieval Hungarian noblemen is just physically exhausting. Apologies to any teams who missed out on points because of my inability to pronounce Old Norse.
Er. . . what? Andrew/Rob/Gautam/Bernadette shouldn't have written those excellent questions because. . . they're hard to pronounce? I can only hope this leads to an end to orgo tossups once and for all.

I mean, I know it's annoying to read sets with problems, but really, I just don't understand bringing it up in these threads. Nobody wants to avoid copy-editing, but it's quizbowl and things don't get submitted months in advance and there just isn't time. I'd infinitely prefer time be spent on substantive issues, and I know Andrew feels the same way. Maybe if there are egregious and consistent problems it's worth it to mention it as someone might not realize that a particular thing is bad in terms of that stuff, but really, this kind of stuff never seems productive to me. Start a thread to talk about pronunciation guides, which might be worth doing, but I don't think we should make it out that a set that these guys killed themselves to make awesome can (or should) really be productively criticized for random mental errors copy editing might not even catch or tossups on things that are hard to pronounce.

Also I assuredly was not nice in your room and reject your libelous characterization of me.
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE
User avatar
Mike Bentley
Sin
Posts: 6130
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:03 pm
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

As I mentioned in the common link thread, this tournament was very good. I pretty much expected the difficulty to be at this level, so that wasn't a huge deal. My thanks to the editors for working hard on this event.

I don't know how crazy I was about the round robin structure of this tournament, or most tournaments in general which follow this approach with a large number of teams. First off, there were simply too many rounds to play in this tournament, especially when there was a literature tournament following it. I'm of the opinion that you reach a point of diminishing returns after playing between 12-14 rounds. It results in the editors having less time to refine the set, it results in tournaments going really long (and interfering with tournaments later in the day), and people not fully appreciating the questions at the end of the day.

Next, the round robin structure means there are not a lot of meaningful games played. The top of the field has to play each and every crappy team in the tournament, and the bottom of the field has to play a lot of sure lose games against the top of the field. I'm not advocating creating divisions or anything, but I do think that tournaments with brackets offer a chance to play more games against comparably skilled teams, which is what I think everyone is shooting for. Sure, it's nice to see how much your team is going to get blown out by Chicago A or how many points you'll put up against House Team C or whatever, and this will still happen at least once in a bracketed tournament. But I don't really feel it's necessary to make each team play each other team in the tournament in a lot of cases, and this results in teams being able to play games where every contribution is meaningful.

I'll also raise my standard complaint about there not being enough comptuer science in this tournament. By my count, there was 1/1 CS in the 15 packets of prelims. The one tossup that did come up, hashes, was pretty good. It's a shame that more didn't come up, especially when some packets seemed to double dip on biology or chemistry.

But, again, despite these complaints the tournament was very good and very enjoyable.
Mike Bentley
VP of Editing, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008
User avatar
naturalistic phallacy
Auron
Posts: 1454
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions, especially MIT, Eric, Jerry, and all those who contributed to Packet 17, which made our full round robin possible. Also, thanks to almost everyone submitting on time, we were able to be done with the set at a reasonable hour and still have time to sleep.

Regarding copyediting, while it would be ideal to have a fresh set of eyes go over the packets before they are finalized, I don't feel that that is a realistic expectation. Unless there are volunteers out there independent from both writing and playing, there is little time for looking over sets very carefully for little grammatical errors. That said, factual errors should be corrected before the set's release, and I am sure we will be more careful to avoid those in the future.

We did have the option of running two brackets and having a rebracket, but the spirit of Ryan Westbrook overtook us and insisted on a round robin. :grin:

In all seriousness, though, we felt that a round robin would be more enjoyable considering the field of the tournament, but perhaps we should have inquired further into the desires of our attendees before making a final decision. I am sure we will consider different formats for next year's MO.
Bernadette Spencer
University of Minnesota, MCTC
Member, ACF
Event Manager, PACE
Order Support and Administrative Assistant, NAQT
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8419
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

I like the round-robin format at these large tournaments and would be more likely to pay the substantial monetary and chronological costs of attending future opens far from Richmond that used CO- or MO-like epic formats, rather than being overly concerned about promptness of side tournaments or ending times. To me, the main event is of overriding importance and round-robins are the most fair and most enjoyable formats when the field size makes them at all possible.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org
User avatar
Coelacanth
Rikku
Posts: 277
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:41 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Coelacanth »

DumbJaques wrote:
I just don't understand bringing it up in these threads.
Sorry if the tone of my original post was less than clear; that's one reason I tagged that paragraph with a <vent>. The point is that if the worst thing someone can say about a question set is that it lacked pronunciation guides or that it contained a few caused-by-late-night-editing typographical errors, then it must have been a pretty good set.

Which is the point I was trying to make in my backhanded way: great job by the writers and editors. Keep focusing on actual clue content; I'll work on my Icelandic pronunciation when I visit there.

Re: Mike's comments about the format. From what I saw, the teams involved in the "non-meaningful" games had the right attitude: yes, we have no business playing this team on these questions, but we can still have fun waiting for the 2 or 3 tossups we CAN get and learning about stuff we don't know on the rest of the questions.

Plus, you never know when you'll see an epic upset. Sean Skaar, playing solo as Minnesota B, was ahead of Maryland after 6 tossups. Anything can happen, which is a positive for the RR format, I think.
Brian Weikle
I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More, I cannot say.
User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

DumbJaques wrote:
This was a very difficult set to read. The editing issues I just mentioned did not help, and it seemed like the tossups were maybe a line too long. I get the reasons for not including pronunciation guides, but reading 15 rounds of Incan deities, Icelandic placenames, Japanese authors, esoteric (to me) biochemicals and medieval Hungarian noblemen is just physically exhausting. Apologies to any teams who missed out on points because of my inability to pronounce Old Norse.
Er. . . what? Andrew/Rob/Gautam/Bernadette shouldn't have written those excellent questions because. . . they're hard to pronounce? I can only hope this leads to an end to orgo tossups once and for all.
I sense an impending fight to the death, as my attempts to pronounce unfamiliar Chinese names end in laughter or tears. Any history that happened east or southeast of Russia didn't happen, man.

Moderating is a difficult task. I've always made a point of learning how to pronounce things, or how to learn to pronounce them (organic chemistry's actually really easy, once you know the values for vowels like the y in ylides, since you just put the syllables together. It may be hard to find the place to put the emphasis in "dimethylamidophenyldimethylpyrazolone" but it's not bad or hard to understand if you say "die methyl -- aa mee do phenyl -- die methyl -- pie raz oh lone" in most any intonation. Given who you are, it seems odd to say that practice will help, but that's the best I've got. While I certainly word my tossups both for clue rhythm and density, I also make sure that it will be comprehensible for a team, in the sense that a perfect mod, able to pronounce all my clues, can easily make the sentence structure sound good for the teams competing. But I don't select my clues or tossup subjects based on what's easily pronounced unless there's a clue that's just as good in every way and easier to pronounce. It seems silly to do that.

EDIT: You've just recanted all the weird stuff you said, so fine. Things that are still relevant: I support round robins because last year I didn't have teammates of, say, the caliber of Ted and Bruce, and I was very lucky to get to play in a crazy prelim bracket at ACF Nationals against a lot of fantastic teams. If I had my druthers, every round of every tournament I'd be playing a much better team than my own, so that I learn lots of things about where to buzz. Having a round robin gets closer to that. If the field is more than 16 teams, it becomes a little ridiculous except in special cases like summer tournaments. Otherwise, I vote for.
Andrew Watkins
User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5796
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by theMoMA »

I'd just like to note that we in fact did go through and copy edit all of the packets, as did Charles. Realize that there are approximately 170 pages of questions for this tournament, so even then, it's still really hard to catch all of the missing words and minor errors. This was actually one of the better sets I've recently read in terms of writing errors, for what it's worth.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum
User avatar
Not That Kind of Christian!!
Yuna
Posts: 847
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:36 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! »

I obviously didn't see any of the packets until they were posted after the tournament, but the copy-editing seemed just fine. None of our readers had any complaints.

Also, Gautam, our math person told me that he particularly enjoyed the math tossups. So, from him, good job on that.
Hannah Kirsch
Brandeis University 2010
NYU School of Medicine 2014

"Wow, those Scandinavians completely thorbjorned my hard-earned political capital."
User avatar
fleurdelivre
Tidus
Posts: 535
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 3:35 am
Location: ???

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by fleurdelivre »

theMoMA wrote:I'd just like to note that we in fact did go through and copy edit all of the packets, as did Charles. Realize that there are approximately 170 pages of questions for this tournament, so even then, it's still really hard to catch all of the missing words and minor errors. This was actually one of the better sets I've recently read in terms of writing errors, for what it's worth.
Eh, I'm surprised to see copy-editing mentioned here, but the set was solidly mediocre on that front. I definitely came across one tossup where the leadin had two verbs of near-opposite meaning listed one after another and we had to pause and determine which was correct and which should have been edited out of the sentence. These things happen; readers know that these things happen. Nothing was egregious, so I don't really understand the complaints. Indeed, the substance isn't something a good reader can correct on the fly; typos are.
Katy
Vanderbilt '06 / Harvard '11 / freelance moderator
User avatar
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Chairman of Anti-Music Mafia Committee
Posts: 5640
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:46 pm
Location: Columbia, MO

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I loved everything about this tournament but those really bad common link tossups being discussed, and since there were only like 3 that is quite an achievement. Actually, one other thing was that there were 2 or 3 games without any classical music tossups. I'm unsure what the editing goal for fine arts should be, but I was always under the impression a packet should aim for 1/1 visual and 1/1 classical, and then use the other to fill in some potential holes. None of this affected any of our games, but we had enough close ones that it might have been a concern and I'd like for some experienced editors to enlighten me on what the general aim for arts is anyway. As I said though, I had a fantastic time here, and really liked some of the things that came up like Different Trains and Bruce Barton that I almost never hear come up. I really learned a lot and got to spend time around a lot of people I like, and hope this or something like it can become a mainstay of the circuit over the next couple years. Minnesota really seems to have become an editing powerhouse, helped by all the good teams submitting good packets as best as I can tell.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White
User avatar
cvdwightw
Auron
Posts: 3446
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Southern CA
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by cvdwightw »

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I'm unsure what the editing goal for fine arts should be, but I was always under the impression a packet should aim for 1/1 visual and 1/1 classical, and then use the other to fill in some potential holes
I was always under the impression that given the standard ACF 24/24 packet submission distribution, the eight questions that get cut from the 20/20 are 1/1 each of literature, history, science and 1/1 between arts and RMP, with one of those five categories being the category of the tiebreaker. In that case, I don't find it especially problematic that a couple of rounds did not have a "pure" classical music tossup - perhaps it was the tiebreaker in those rounds, or perhaps there was a far superior opera/ballet/jazz tossup than the submitted classical music bonus, and it got paired with a good classical music bonus.
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry
vandyhawk
Tidus
Posts: 584
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 3:42 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by vandyhawk »

gkandlikar wrote: I also tried to introduce tossups on a bunch of things that seemed noteworthy but (AFAIK) hadn't been done before this tournament. I wrote the tossup on Mobius aromaticity, Dean-Stark apparatus, Monsanto process, Meselson-Stahl experiment, Trouton-Noble experiment, and some others I cannot remember.
I haven't read the set yet, but damn dude, those are some hard tossups. It would appear that none of those have been tossup answers before, and while I recognize some of those names as coming up occasionally as clues or hard parts of bonuses, that is a lot of new things to have as tossup answers in a single, theoretically-easier-than-Nats-or-CO event. Maybe people who have been undergrads more recently than I can comment, but I don't recall learning these things in general undergrad classes either, though of course I could be wrong, and more likely I came across a couple of these concepts without the names attached. It's a tricky thing to pick "important" things that don't get much qb coverage. I tried to do this a little bit with CO, although most of the more "out there" answers were things people submitted, and I put on my Westbrook hat and left them in. I think a good way to judge this kind of thing is to break out your text books / class notes and see how prominent the names are, and whether they really are significant, rather than getting bored of writing on certain things and trying something new.

Since the first paragraph may not be all that coherent, let me try a few specific things here. For Mobius aromaticity, I'm wondering if anyone has a reasonable shot at this before I presume the question says something about them looking like Mobius strips (I had to look up what this property was). Sure, another tu on aromaticity would be boring, but writing on a very specific and difficult subset doesn't seem to lend itself to a good, pyramidal tossup, but rather lends itself to a bunch of hard clues followed by a semi-fraudulent giveaway. For Meselson-Stahl, the concept of that experiment is important, but I'd wager that their names are not, unlike some other early DNA type experiments. It seems like the experiment could be used as a clue for a tu on something related to replication, or covered in a bonus. Similar thing for Monsanto - has very little qb history, don't believe I've ever come across it in classes, and lends itself to being frauded at the end. If you want the Monsanto process included, perhaps center a bonus around it, or use as a clue for making acetic acid or some other aspect of it that is shared with other, well-known things.

I hope this doesn't come across as too critical, as I'm sure there were many fine questions by Gautam, and these answers may have had wonderful text with them. I just think we need to be careful about busting out tossups on "important" science things that haven't come up much before, especially at a tournament where, even with a ramped-up difficulty from its theoretical target, people aren't expecting such things. Different schools tend to place different emphases on different topics, so what seems to one person like something people who study science should know, it's hardly a given that that will be the case (besides the core tenets of major subjects and such). I'm hardly advocating a stale "canon" here, as new topics are a way to keep the interest up among more experienced people. CO and VCUO had several new tossup topics, and even with those masters-intended fields, the response wasn't tremendous. That said, unless you announce that your tournament is going to have lots of new subjects as tossups, I think that tu answers like those above are really pushing the line.
Matt Keller
Vanderbilt (alum)
ACF editor (emeritus)
NAQT editor (emeritus)
User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

I certainly agree about Mobius aromaticity; it's noteworthy, I guess, but only very recently has any experimental evidence for it been introduced. It has many neat properties, and I'm pretty sure I can think of at least one neat theoretical application, but it's impossible to expect that tossup to get even 50% conversion at MO's main site. Without the gimme clue, I feel like it'd be harder than the middle part of a bonus ought to be, even.

I don't do experiments and processes very well yet, so I never got the same feeling when I was playing; I just lumped them all together as experiments and processes I need to know to get points. Dean-Stark apparatus I got, and it was a neat tossup.
Andrew Watkins
Strongside
Rikku
Posts: 475
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Strongside »

This tournament was pretty awesome.

I agree that it was more difficult than advertised, but I felt this enhanced the quality of this tournament. This could also be due to the fact that I like playing on harder tournaments more than I do easier tournaments.

The full round robin made for a long tournament, but I completely agree with Matt that this was the best format given the number of teams, and some form of a full round robin is usually the most fair way to run a tournament.

It was great that so many teams came from other regions of the country to play this tournament, and it was good to play on above average difficult questions against a really strong field.
Brendan Byrne

Drake University, 2006-2008
University of Minnesota, 2008-2010
User avatar
Lapego1
Tidus
Posts: 675
Joined: Sun May 02, 2004 8:06 pm
Location: Richmond, VA/Philadelphia, PA

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Lapego1 »

Meselson-Stahl has come up before, and I know it was in one of our AP Bio chapters. The question was well-written, but it seems like people that know it would get it off the part where it's talking about N15 and other radioactive isotopes. Mobius aromaticity was something I'd never heard of so I ended up negging with aromaticity, though in retrospect that was just something that seemed to fit at one point but didn't really make sense with the rest of the question. Glad I know about it now!
Mehdi Razvi
Maggie Walker Gov. School '07
University of Pennsylvania '11

"A goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid."
-James D. Watson (1928-)
User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Yeah, I should clarify that I negged with anti-aromaticity, which didn't make any sense at all but I knew it was a phenomenon that wasn't aromaticity but was caused by similar principles. A fine thing to become canonical, I don't dispute.
Andrew Watkins
wd4gdz
Tidus
Posts: 740
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 5:40 pm
Location: Tallahassee

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by wd4gdz »

everyday847 wrote:Yeah, I should clarify that I negged with anti-aromaticity, which didn't make any sense at all but I knew it was a phenomenon that wasn't aromaticity but was caused by similar principles. A fine thing to become canonical, I don't dispute.
Buzzing with antiaromaticity on 4n makes some sense.
Billy Beyer, formerly of FSU
User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Only if it's locked into being planar, which most things aren't, right? And at that point it didn't seem like these things were locked into being planar much at all. Which is the cool part. But I (and the discussion) digress[es].
Andrew Watkins
User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
Posts: 1232
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Well, now that I'm finally home, I'll pitch in some comments - it should come as no surprise that I thought this tournament was fantastic. When it comes to high-quality qb, there are "good tournaments" and there are "superlative tournamnts" - MO clearly belongs in the latter category. Just looking through the detail and depth of clues in every tossup and bonus, I have an immediate feel for the impressive amount of work that the Minnesota people put into this set.

People have talked about most of the questionable tossups in this thread, so I'll skip that; it's pointless to peck at a few errant tossups. Aside from the hastily-assembled packet 17, where some roughness is understandable, every packet was really entertaining.

I also heavily support a full round robin for these types of open events with really strong fields. Looking at the field at the main MO, there were all kinds of really good teams - I appreciate the ability to play all of them, both because it's more fair in terms of gameplay and because it's simply nice to see everyone. These events thrive because of deep fields full of really capable players - and a full RR lets you see that field.

As for copy-editing, I agree that this set actually seemed pretty decent in terms of limiting the number of errors. I noticed very few errors in the set that a good moderator shouldn't be able to fix. I mean, really, if you see Andy Jackson instead of Andy Johnson next to Tenure of Office Act - just read Johnson, don't sit there chortling "haha, this is so funny, it can't be right!...how could they say Jackson...he wasn't alive then!" Mistakes happen, and I know some moderators are better at covering for them than others, but most of these errors are fixable on the fly.

On the matter of Gautam's new science topics, I think all of those tossups are great, with the probable exception of Mobius aromaticity - if only because it's just too easy to neg with aromaticity or anti-aromaticity (which I did, of course). The other topics (Dean-Stark, Trouton-Noble, Meselson-Stahl, Monsanto) are reasonably hard answers, but I had no problem getting any of them (I didn't actually answer Meselson, because I negged stupidly, but I would have gotten it after a few more words). And, I'd like to take this opportunity to again mention that I haven't taken a single one of these "classes" you guys keep talking about...I know all of those things simply because they've appeared in packets at some point or another (as clues or bonus parts or whatever), and I memorized crap about them. So has the Berry Phase, for that matter. So, it's not like you really need to take graduate classes to know what's going on with this stuff - you probably do if you want to understand those concepts in an in-depth scientific way, but you can get answers in quizbowl without doing that.

Yeah, of course, this event was harder than advertised - but the numbers and the general play at the main MO event conclusively show that it was a quite manageable difficulty for that field.

And, lastly, I don't think we've sufficiently blasted Carleton on the message board yet, so let me try to rouse the sleeping beast. I'm sympathetic to the idea proposed by Matt Weiner at the tournament that Carleton should be sent a bill for a portion of every team's MO entry fee. Hey, Carleton people - if you don't want to go to an event, don't go, you'll save everyone a headache. Your aborted presence at this tournament effectively forced the editors to cobble together another packet so that a full round robin could be played, for no damn good reason.
Ryan Westbrook, no affiliation whatsoever.

I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!

Left here since birth...forgotten in the river of time...I've had an eternity to...ponder the meaning of things...and now I have an answer!
User avatar
Pilgrim
Tidus
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:20 pm
Location: Edmonton

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Pilgrim »

I basically agree with what most people have been posting: some of the common link tossups were annoying, and I wish that there were less of them, but other than that the tournament was very good. It did seem like CS and ancient history were under-represented, but I assume that's not really anyone's fault and just had to do with how the submitted packets happened to be distributed.

I really doubt it would have effected anyone, but I did notice one small factual error, so I figure it might be helpful to point out:
The philosophy common link tossup on "blue" that my idealism tossup was changed into claims that the "missing shade of blue" was used as support for Hume's fork, but besides from the fact that both are talked about in the Enquiry, the two are completely unrelated. It's obviously a pretty minor error since nobody is going to go "oh, Hume talks about a missing shade of blue, but that means something other than his fork, so they must be looking for some other missing shade that he wrote about," and I didn't even notice it myself until I was looking at the packet later, but I just thought I would point it out for future reference.
Trevor Davis
University of Alberta
CMU '11
User avatar
pray for elves
Auron
Posts: 1050
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:58 pm
Location: 20001

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by pray for elves »

I had a great time playing this tournament

I submitted a CS tossup that was not included; admittedly, it may not have been a great question. I really didn't feel like there were that many questions on literary collections, which seems to have been a big complaint by some people at the MIT mirror. I also thought jazz music (another area in which one of my tossups was cut) was underrepresented, as I think I heard one bonus on jazz through the whole day; again, after talking to the editors, they basically told me "none of us knows anything about jazz, so we weren't sure if it was too hard or not."

There were a couple of questions that were bad, but I've already talked to the editors/writers about the couple I had issues with, so there's no need to rehash here.

Basically, by and large the packets were excellent, although it's been stated correctly that they were above the nominal difficulty. Thanks to Minnesota for putting on a great weekend, and thanks especially to Gautam for putting up with me staying in his room the whole time.
Evan
Georgetown Law Alum, Brandeis Alum, Oak Ridge High Alum
Ex-PACE, Ex-ACF
User avatar
Gautam
Auron
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:28 pm
Location: Zone of Avoidance
Contact:

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Gautam »

everyday847 wrote: EDIT: I'm really interested in feedback, public or private, on the science in the Harvard packet (round 15 at the MN site). It was hard, I know; I'm mostly concerned with whether it was good.
I'll get back to you sometime later this week.
Gautam - ACF
Currently tending to the 'quizbowl hobo' persuasion.
User avatar
Wall of Ham
Rikku
Posts: 420
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:28 am

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Wall of Ham »

No Rules Westbrook wrote:As for copy-editing, I agree that this set actually seemed pretty decent in terms of limiting the number of errors. I noticed very few errors in the set that a good moderator shouldn't be able to fix. I mean, really, if you see Andy Jackson instead of Andy Johnson next to Tenure of Office Act - just read Johnson, don't sit there chortling "haha, this is so funny, it can't be right!...how could they say Jackson...he wasn't alive then!" Mistakes happen, and I know some moderators are better at covering for them than others, but most of these errors are fixable on the fly.
I don't know, I think that factual errors are a big problem. I personally as a moderator and relatively inexperienced collegiate quizbowl player would not be sure whether they meant Andy Johnson or some obscure similarly named Tenure of Office Act that was during Jackson's Presidency. Also, I general trust questions enough to try to learn from, and factual errors in questions mean I learn false information. Grammar and spelling errors in copy-editing isn't a big deal, but I see factual errors as really important to avoid.
Barry
Cornell
User avatar
Wall of Ham
Rikku
Posts: 420
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:28 am

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by Wall of Ham »

cvdwightw wrote:
Wall of Ham wrote:I thought the United State of America question mentioning the Asian treaties was a hose. People who knew specific US Treaties with East Asia could buzz, but for the other 90% of teams, they either sat there thinking it couldn't be the USA or just waited for the giveaway, which turned into an ugly buzzer race.
Here's the question as written, I don't think much was changed.

An 1879 voyage by one man on behalf of this country resulted in a treaty with Abdallah III of Anjouan and a recommendation that this country annex what is now the island of Bioko in Equatorial Guinea. This country nearly succeeded in setting up a conference at Prinkipo Island that was intended to resolve the Russian civil war. The use of Chinese tutors was the focus of Article 18 of the Treaty of Wangxia, which this country signed with China. This country recognized Japanese rule of Korea in a secret agreement partially named after Katsura, and recognized Japanese control over Taiwan in a more public agreement partially named after Takahira. For 10 points, name this country whose more recent treaties include a 1994 free trade agreement with its northern and southern neighbors, Canada and Mexico.
ANSWER: The United States of America (accept either; accept U.S.; accept U.S.A.; accept any facetious answer obviously referring to the country in question)

As the author of that question, I am confused as to what you mean by "hose". This was a relatively straightforward tossup with hard clues on American foreign policy. Perhaps I underestimated the difficulty of Taft-Katsura, but people who knew Wangxia or Root-Takahira (I took out "Taft" and "Root" as those would have been instant buzzer races) should have been buzzing there, and if you had knowledge of Robert Shufeldt's diplomatic voyage to Africa you deserved to get it on the first sentence (maybe I should have mentioned Robert Shufeldt in the opening clue, but I erred on the side of opacity). By my definition a hose is a clue that prompts players to buzz in with knowledge of the clue, only to be incorrect. If you were negging with a more obscure answer, then you didn't have knowledge of the clues you were buzzing on, tried to lateral it based on the assumption "this tournament is too hard to have a question on the United States", and failed - that's not a hose.

Why shouldn't ACF Nationals have questions on Mark Twain and Henry James that use almost exclusively hard clues? Part of the excitement of a harder tournament is the larger answer space; just because we have the liberty of writing on harder topics does not mean that we are expected to do so.
I meant that I believe that there is a large difficulty cliff between the giveaway and the rest of the question, perhaps made better by insertion of an easier clue or at least changing the giveaway to something Asia related; "name this former owner of the phillipines" or something like that.
Barry
Cornell
User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5796
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Minnesota Open discussion

Post by theMoMA »

Wall of Ham wrote:
No Rules Westbrook wrote:As for copy-editing, I agree that this set actually seemed pretty decent in terms of limiting the number of errors. I noticed very few errors in the set that a good moderator shouldn't be able to fix. I mean, really, if you see Andy Jackson instead of Andy Johnson next to Tenure of Office Act - just read Johnson, don't sit there chortling "haha, this is so funny, it can't be right!...how could they say Jackson...he wasn't alive then!" Mistakes happen, and I know some moderators are better at covering for them than others, but most of these errors are fixable on the fly.
I don't know, I think that factual errors are a big problem. I personally as a moderator and relatively inexperienced collegiate quizbowl player would not be sure whether they meant Andy Johnson or some obscure similarly named Tenure of Office Act that was during Jackson's Presidency. Also, I general trust questions enough to try to learn from, and factual errors in questions mean I learn false information. Grammar and spelling errors in copy-editing isn't a big deal, but I see factual errors as really important to avoid.
Hey, no one is saying that we shouldn't strive to avoid doing this, but honestly, we went over this packet set at least three different times, and stuff like this still sneaks through.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum
Locked