ACF Fall discussion

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ACF Fall discussion

Post by theMoMA »

Now that all of the sites have concluded their tournaments (except for the University of Washington site, which Mike Bentley is holding later this month), I am opening the floor for discussion. I will do my best to ensure that if you post a question about the set in this thread, one of the editors will respond directly. Also, if you spot errors of any kind in the packets, please let us know (via email, unless it's a grave error). Whether it's a typo, grammar error, factual error, or anything else detrimental to the set, we'd like to have the set as polished as possible for the Washington site.

The packets will be available via email. Because of the mirror in Washington, it will not be posted on quizbowlpackets.com, the Stanford Archive, or any other public site until that mirror concludes.

Thanks to my co-editors, Rob Carson, Trevor Davis, Ted Gioia, and Gautam Kandlikar, for your excellent work. Thanks also to the tournament directors; from what I hear, most everyone did a great job. Besides the editors, Evan Nagler, Guy Tabachnick, and Matt Weiner helped write a few questions and proofread the set, so here's a quick shout out to them.

Finally, thanks to the players, especially everyone who is new to college quizbowl. This tournament was really written for you guys, and I hope that many of the new faces start appearing at other tournaments now.

I now open the floor to general discussion.

The Washington mirror is concluded. No further restrictions on the ACF Fall set are in place. —Mgmt.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by theMoMA »

Also, to tournament directors: please post stats by tonight if you hosted yesterday, and by Monday night if you hosted to day, as mandated by ACF's hosting guide. Thanks!
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Golran »

I had a lot of fun at the tournament, and I liked how the questions were so accessible towards the end, and I had at least heard of most of the answers, even if I didn't know anything about them. The only problem I saw was a bit much of repeats, but I guess that is to be expected with so many packets submitted. I'm really looking forward to trying another ACF tournament!
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by lasercats »

This was my first ACF tournament (and college tournament in general), and I had a great time. Everything went smoothly and the packets were very good. Thanks!
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

For the moment, I'll post effusive praise off the top of my head; I might have something more substantial later. This was obviously the easiest ACF Fall to date, and it was obviously intended to be, and it fulfilled that target admirably while still having some awesome clues. It is incredibly good for quizbowl that this set exists.

Things that I specifically remember loving: the Watt/ Zoot suit/ Stonewall riots; the Sgt. Pepper's, the My Last Duchess, the colors, the Abbasids. These were all really satisfying tossups (and one bonus, sure) and a pleasure to play.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat »

This set was a lot of fun to play. It had a low-difficulty answer selection, but still managed to give me lots of stuff to learn about. I'm really looking forward to flipping through the packets I haven't heard.

Favorite moment of the tournament: We got our prize books before the final so other teams could leave. I picked Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. First bonus of the final says something like "At the beginning of this work, the central characters are flipping coins...." We all laughed.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Cheynem »

Good tourney. Nice mix of stuff that was highly accessible.

*I loved the toss-ups on James Agee, Sgt. Pepper's, and the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald. The "Manny being Manny" toss-up was clever, but it was a little hard to figure out what they were looking for (I thought anyway). The Alger Hiss toss-up was awesome...sadly, my in-depth knowledge of Alger Hiss did not come in handy during a close game. I also got Ernest Hemingway on apparently some obscure works.

*Knowing stuff about "Get Christie Love!" apparently is helpful for quiz bowl.

*Questions I got about stuff I knew nothing about before reading old ACF Fall packets: Monteverdi, Grignard reagents, Oliver Goldsmith, Octavio Paz.

*Embarrassing negs: Marx for Engels, buzzing in for Troubadour and realizing that I had no idea what the answer was.

*Stuff Pulled From Who Knows Where: Hohenzollerns, John Constable, rulers named Henry.

*Best Neg Ever: not mine, but Eric Gruber--"Freakanomics" for "The Wealth of Nations."

*My only lament was my inability to rake in Bible toss-ups due to playing with Bernadette. I did get St. Thomas though.

In other news, Brendan Byrne needs to bone up on his villainous-denizens-of-the-Mushroom-Kingdom knowledge.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! »

Obviously, I wasn't playing, but I thought these were good, well-edited questions. I did note an error in one question (Sethe does not drown Beloved, she cuts her throat, I think), but it didn't really affect the bonus it was part of.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by dtaylor4 »

Cheynem wrote:*Embarrassing negs: Marx for Engels
I made this same neg, and this pair of negs: Hedda Gabler for Sorrows of Young Werther, Master and Marguerita for Hedda Gabler, blitzing "Ibsen's Mayor of Casterbridge" after buzzing on the third or fourth clue.

The lead-in to Sgt. Pepper's was a bit too easy, and after Trygve showed me the original, I feel that the original lead-in was better. If I could find the message, I'd post it, but alas, I do not.

Also, as I have no clue as to what packets were read where, if by some chance the Illinois D packet was read, I would like to know if anyone has any specific criticism. If so, feel free to email me at (handle)@illinois.edu.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by yoda4554 »

HKirsch wrote:Obviously, I wasn't playing, but I thought these were good, well-edited questions. I did note an error in one question (Sethe does not drown Beloved, she cuts her throat, I think), but it didn't really affect the bonus it was part of.
IIRC, she beats her to death against a post in the shed, no?
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

I liked: My Last Duchess, Lee Harvey Oswald getting shot by Jack Ruby (my favorite), Scotland, the riot bonus, Alger Hiss, the Dirty War/Peron/Falklands War bonus, Rastafarianism, Octaivio Paz, The Great Fire of London, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Guy du Maupassant, Plains of Abraham, Li Po, Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Gustavus Adolphus, and lots and lots of other stuff I can't remember.

It was a freaking awesome tournament. There were only like 5 questions I didn't like (knowledge, flames, colors, the Oregon bonus, Burial at Ornans, maybe some others). Overwhelmingly a positive introduction to college quiz bowl (since I excised ECSO from my memory). Much thanks to all the editors and everyone who contributed questions.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by JackGlerum »

HKirsch wrote:she cuts her throat, I think.
This is right.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Blackboard Monitor Vimes »

I wish I could have been in two places at once and come to this. Sounds like it'll be an awesome set to read in practice once the final mirror is done.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

la2pgh wrote:I liked: My Last Duchess, Lee Harvey Oswald getting shot by Jack Ruby (my favorite), Scotland, the riot bonus, Alger Hiss, the Dirty War/Peron/Falklands War bonus, Rastafarianism, Octaivio Paz, The Great Fire of London, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Guy du Maupassant, Plains of Abraham, Li Po, Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Gustavus Adolphus, and lots and lots of other stuff I can't remember.

It was a freaking awesome tournament. There were only like 5 questions I didn't like (knowledge, flames, colors, the Oregon bonus, Burial at Ornans, maybe some others). Overwhelmingly a positive introduction to college quiz bowl (since I excised ECSO from my memory). Much thanks to all the editors and everyone who contributed questions.
Knowledge was legitimately irksome; colors had one wonky clue but was otherwise gold. (/me watches Minnesota coin yet another meme re: gold)

Oh yeah, Li Po was an awesome tossup. I was sad not to get it. Dennis, regrettably, buzzed with the other dude.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Jeaton1 »

I enjoyed this tournament a whole lot despite me channeling the negging ability of Chris Ray and getting negs in the mid-20s. However, one of these negs was my best ever in that in the final round against Penn I exuberantly buzzed with "vagina" for "small intestine". Kudos to all the writers and editors for a bang-up job.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Golran »

I remember watching that match (Finals for us too) and for most of it I was thinking fallopian tubes.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by JackGlerum »

This may be an obvious question to someone who is in-touch with ACF and the college game, but why doesn't ACF have powers? Seems like a positive practice that doesn't take that much time (as opposed to actually writing a question), but that helps distinguish who is decent and who is really good.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I've never done any ACF editing, so don't view my opinion as that of some insider, but I know my take on ACF not doing powers is that it seems to me that getting the tossup early can be viewed as reward enough, since you get the points and the other team doesn't.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Cheynem »

The Oregon bonus was a little odd what with its trash/geography conflation. I think I would have thirtied it (it wasn't my bonus) based on knowlege of Oregon trail (Willamette) and watching Pac-10 football (Eugene and Corvallis).
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

I loved this tournament since it was incredibly edited, no real clunkers outside of an Engels repeat, and nothing too hard or wacky. I applaud the work of the editors and am very excited for future tournaments involving them.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by AndyShootsAndyScores »

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I've never done any ACF editing, so don't view my opinion as that of some insider, but I know my take on ACF not doing powers is that it seems to me that getting the tossup early can be viewed as reward enough, since you get the points and the other team doesn't.
Could you not also view negs this way? Like, teams should not be penalized 5 points when the opposing team having an easier chance to get the question and subsequent bonus points is penalty enough? I'm not saying there shouldn't be negs/should be powers, this just seems like a weak reason.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

For the record, that's exactly the point that happened the last time this was discussed.

Neg Theory

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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

Cheynem wrote:The Oregon bonus was a little odd what with its trash/geography conflation. I think I would have thirtied it (it wasn't my bonus) based on knowlege of Oregon trail (Willamette) and watching Pac-10 football (Eugene and Corvallis).
Yeah. I went through the exact same process, except I got the bonus.

The tossups on quicksort and tree left me wanting. I don't know anything about CS, but I got tree and was outbuzzed on quicksort. I think that those answers were a bit on the easy side. Also, that math or CS distribution seemed very biased towards math. These are, however, just tiny quibbles about what was otherwise the best tournament I've ever been to. I really can't explain how awesome this tournament was.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by JackGlerum »

Ah, okay, this is what I was looking for. I assumed that it had already been discussed (& a thread dedicated to it), but couldn't find it. Thanks for the link, Andy.

edit: pronouns
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by powerplant »

I just want to chime in and say that I thought the questions were really great. I thought the answers were the perfect level, and the Centre team is glad we made our debut on this set.

And the Manny being Manny tossup was amazing, I think.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

la2pgh wrote:The tossups on quicksort and tree left me wanting. I don't know anything about CS, but I got tree and was outbuzzed on quicksort. I think that those answers were a bit on the easy side.
So, uh, what is your complaint here, other than that an easy tournament had accessible answers?
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Ukonvasara wrote:
la2pgh wrote:The tossups on quicksort and tree left me wanting. I don't know anything about CS, but I got tree and was outbuzzed on quicksort. I think that those answers were a bit on the easy side.
So, uh, what is your complaint here, other than that an easy tournament had accessible answers?
I am pretty sure that those questions were fine to good, and there is no way they are too accessible, especially for those just being introduced to the game.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

This was a great tournament - I loved it, and so did my school's B-team, which consisted of three sophomores with little-to-no HS experience and a freshman at her first tournament. I never really felt like buzzer races were costing me (or giving me) a chance to beat the best teams, and the B-team never felt like the questions were impossible, inaccessible, or too long.

Favorites: Coetzee, Jack Ruby shooting Oswald, large amounts of other things.

May be a problem: Midnight's Children - in both rooms in which Lawrence played, 2-3 people tried to buzz on the first clue. Is nosebonking too easy of a leadin, or is Midnight's Children just widely read among Lawrence students/Shantanu Jha?

Complaint: Die Fledermaus - yes, operetta is technically a subset of opera, but referring to it as "this opera" early on convinced me the answer couldn't be Die Fledermaus, despite my having sung/heard most of Die Fledermaus earlier this term. "Opera" should be changed to "operetta" or, if that narrows the field by too much, "work."

Best neg: Brendan Byrne honestly guessing "Grey's Anatomy?" on a bonus part asking for the show that coined the catchphrase, "By the power of Greyskull!"


Major thanks to Ted, Trevor, and the Minnesotans for a great tournament - I can't even complain about the two Engels tossups because Andrew Hart was moderating and caught the second one, giving me the chance to neg on a solid Beowulf tossup instead.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Cheynem »

Oh man...there was a He-Man bonus? Was this in the finals packets?
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

Upon second reading, I'm an idiot. Not really a complaint at all, more of a factual statement. I guess what I was trying to say is that I shouldn't get computer science, but I take any points I can get, so, once again, I'm an idiot. Move along, nothing to see here.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by dtaylor4 »

cornfused wrote:May be a problem: Midnight's Children - in both rooms in which Lawrence played, 2-3 people tried to buzz on the first clue. Is nosebonking too easy of a leadin, or is Midnight's Children just widely read among Lawrence students/Shantanu Jha?
The clue has come up before, as I remember hearing it in practice last week, but not being able to pull it. Of course, I did this with at least a dozen questions.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

Cheynem wrote:Oh man...there was a He-Man bonus? Was this in the finals packets?
It wasn't a He-Man bonus, it was just a bonus with a He-Man part... I can't remember the other two parts because I (like the rest of the room) was laughing my ass off. But yeah, that was in the final - 1st finals packet, I suppose.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Complaint: Die Fledermaus - yes, operetta is technically a subset of opera, but referring to it as "this opera" early on convinced me the answer couldn't be Die Fledermaus, despite my having sung/heard most of Die Fledermaus earlier this term. "Opera" should be changed to "operetta" or, if that narrows the field by too much, "work."
No, there was nothing wrong with that wording.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

It was sports comedy, man. Also Earth, Wind, and Fire.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region »

I read at the Florida site, and most everything I saw was excellent. I'm looking forward to seeing all of the packets at some point. The Bork tossup was a personal favorite. Repeats aside, the only major problem I saw that ended up determining a match was a tiebreaker tossup in which the answer was Macedon. One team buzzed in early and said "Macedonia", and the question instructed the reader not to accept or prompt on Macedonia. I negged them per my instructions, the team didn't protest, and thus they lost the match. However, after a moment of research this evening, I can't see any way that Macedonia is not an acceptable answer. That should be changed before the final tournament, and I hope that that tiebreaker wasn't used elsewhere.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by AndyShootsAndyScores »

cornfused wrote:
Cheynem wrote:Oh man...there was a He-Man bonus? Was this in the finals packets?
It wasn't a He-Man bonus, it was just a bonus with a He-Man part... I can't remember the other two parts because I (like the rest of the room) was laughing my ass off. But yeah, that was in the final - 1st finals packet, I suppose.
I believe one of them was New York Giants. Can't remember the other one. Now that I think about it, the first may have been the former New York Giant that said the line was like Voltron.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Pilgrim »

Parson Smirk wrote:I read at the Florida site, and most everything I saw was excellent. I'm looking forward to seeing all of the packets at some point. The Bork tossup was a personal favorite. Repeats aside, the only major problem I saw that ended up determining a match was a tiebreaker tossup in which the answer was Macedon. One team buzzed in early and said "Macedonia", and the question instructed the reader not to accept or prompt on Macedonia. I negged them per my instructions, the team didn't protest, and thus they lost the match. However, after a moment of research this evening, I can't see any way that Macedonia is not an acceptable answer. That should be changed before the final tournament, and I hope that that tiebreaker wasn't used elsewhere.
My thought process at the time of writing said question was that there was no place known as Macedonia until the Romans created their province there, which was after the events of the question, so it would be kind of like buzzing on a tossup describing the capital of the Byzantine Empire with Istanbul. However, I'm completely willing to accept that negging someone who answers with that is too harsh - I'm interested in hearing whether other people agree.

Edit: I see now that noted reputable source Encyclopedia Britannica actually refers to the Kingdom of Macedon as Macedonia, much to my surprise. So I guess not accepting that as an answer was just plain wrong, and I apologize for my mistake.
Last edited by Pilgrim on Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Dartmouth College Bowl »

First of all, thanks to Minnesota for producing a very well-edited tournament.

Second, I would like to bring up a rather regrettable situation that I think could have been avoided. In our game against Brown, Eric buzzed in on clue about the Corey-Fuchs reaction and answered: "alkenes, alkynes, alkynes, alkynes". Now, according to section G.1 in the ACF Rules, once a player has said one word of the potential answer, it is deemed that the player has "given an answer", thus making any correction to this answer invalid. However, the moderator of the game accepted the corrected answer, at least partially because Eric said that he had received an IM from Matt Weiner stating there was a new ACF rule that allowed for the moderator to accept the second answer offered by the player if their correction was deemed immediate. I am not making a judgment on the nature of immediate corrections, but what I think is inherently unfair is that this rule change was not publicly posted or in any way brought to my attention. I think everyone would agree that we all should have the same access to the rules of the game. Since we obviously had an issue with the ruling, the moderator lodged our protest and gave Brown their bonus, which they subsequently 30ed. Thus, in order for the protest to matter, we would have to be within 85 points of Brown at the end of 20 tossups. However, at the end of the game, the score was 355-265 and it seemed that the protest didn't matter.

However, looking over the stats this morning, I noticed that only 19 tossups (10 by Brown and 9 by us) were answered in that round. I could not remember a tossup going dead in that round, so I looked at the scoring sheets that our team keeps in order to see what happened. To my surprise, I found that none of the tossups went unanswered and that we were officially read 19 tossups in the round. How is that possible? One of the tossups in the second half of the game (the NRA tossup) ended up getting thrown out because we successfully protested Brown's answer to the tossup. We then were read a tossup off the clock, which we successfully converted. My guess is that these two questions were counted as two tossups instead of just one. So in reality, the score was 355-265 after 19 tossups and we should have had a chance to convert the last tossup to make the earlier protest matter. I also recognize that it is partly our fault in not realizing that only 19 tossups had been read during the course of the match. Further, if we had won the game, we would have been tied with Harvard and Brown for first place with only one loss.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Matt Weiner »

I sent no such IM and the rule remains as it is written.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by dschafer »

Prelude

This tournament was amazing; we played a lot of the packets in practice before we staffed the tournament, and having heard most of the set twice now, I thought it was among the best sets at this level I've ever heard. Any and all suggestions I offer in the following post are in the spirit of constructive criticism, and on the whole, I think this tournament was superlative in nearly every way.

Midnight's Children
dtaylor4 wrote:
cornfused wrote:May be a problem: Midnight's Children - in both rooms in which Lawrence played, 2-3 people tried to buzz on the first clue. Is nosebonking too easy of a leadin, or is Midnight's Children just widely read among Lawrence students/Shantanu Jha?
The clue has come up before, as I remember hearing it in practice last week, but not being able to pull it. Of course, I did this with at least a dozen questions.
I just read Midnight's Children, and this is effectively the first thing that happens in the book; I think that probably makes it a bit more notable than the average "random anecdote." At the same time, I don't think it's a terribly stock clue, so I suspect races on it were mostly between people who had read the book, and at the Fall level, I would expect most players who have read a work to get it on the first or second line.

Computer Science / Math
William Afham wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote:
la2pgh wrote:The tossups on quicksort and tree left me wanting. I don't know anything about CS, but I got tree and was outbuzzed on quicksort. I think that those answers were a bit on the easy side.
So, uh, what is your complaint here, other than that an easy tournament had accessible answers?
I am pretty sure that those questions were fine to good, and there is no way they are too accessible, especially for those just being introduced to the game.
I thought the quicksort tossup was average. I got that tossup when we played it in practice right after mergesort was mentioned, based on "hey, this sort sounds actually useful, and they've already mentioned every other actually useful sort," since heapsort was previously mentioned as well. Rereading it, the start said (paraphrasing) "this is recursive and has a worst case", which in hindsight should have clued me to quicksort, but that TU was gotten by process-of-elimination in a practice attended by multiple CS people, which doesn't seem ideal. Tree seemed like a really well-written tossup, though.

More on Math/CS:
Dartmouth A Bonus 4 wrote: [10] Identify this curve named for a female Italian mathematician, which asymptotically approaches 0 as x approaches plus or minus infinity, and which can be generated by extending all chords passing through a fixed point on the circle.
ANSWER: witch of Agnesi [or Agnesienne; or cubique d’Agnesi]
I looked this up on Mathworld after hearing that packet, and it's neat looking and all, but that seems pretty obscure. A search of my records reveals that it showed up in PACE one year; before that, it was the hard part of an ACF Nats bonus. I think this was very hard, even for the third part of a bonus.
Penn A + ULL Bonus 14 wrote: Every convergent sequence, wherein beyond some value of n, adjacent elements of become closer and closer together is named for this French mathematician who also names an inequality along with Schwartz.
ANSWER: Cauchy sequence
Cauchy sequences have the property for all e>0, there exists N such that for m,n > N, |x_n-x_m| < e, which is not the same as adjacent elements being close. It's also "Cauchy-Schwarz", not Schwartz, and all convergent sequences are Cauchy only in a complete metric space. No one will miss that part because of that, since the general ideas are still there for the bonus to be gotten, but I was disappointed with that bonus part.
Harvard A + New College, Bonus 5 wrote:This term, one of the tenets of OOP, refers to the ability of methods to accept as input a variety of types of objects.
ANSWER: polymorphism [accept word forms]
As it pertains to OOP, that's not the the best definition of polymorphism I've seen; might there have been confusion between Type polymorphism vs. Polymorphism in object-oriented programming?

Other Random Things

There seemed to be a few tossups which teased players into predictable negs. Both in practice and in the room I read it during the tournament, the question on Cuba that mentioned the major city of "Santiago" got negged with Chile, and in both practice and no less than three rooms at our site, the question on Carter that mentioned "full diplomatic relations with China" got negged with Nixon.

Finally, while the set overall seemed pretty typo-free, the "Penn + ULL" and "UCLA A + Missouri State + JSR" packets seemed to have a lot of typos and grammatical weirdness.

Really good things
I've spent too much time talking about exorbitantly minor things that had no noticeable effect on the tournament as a whole, so I will switch topics to large-scale things that did affect the tournament, and which were universally good things.

The tossup difficulty was spot on. Even in the lowest-scoring games I read for, 16-17 tossups were getting converted by the end, and those that weren't converted by those teams were met with the reaction "oh, I should have known that" rather than the dreaded "who? what?". The majority of my games had either 19 or 20 tossups converted. Ensuring tossup conversion is high is hugely important for making a set of appropriate difficulty, and this tournament was overwhelmingly successful in that regard.

I also really liked the tendency for lit bonuses to use the "Name the moderately famous title from plot, name the author, name another title from plot". Having the first part not mention the author makes that the hard part, and I think it is remarkably effective in allowing the teams with really solid knowledge of those works to grab a 30, while still allowing teams with more standard author-work knowledge to pick up the latter two parts.

Conclusion
This tournament was, on the whole, awesome, and every team at our site seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. Huge thanks to the editors, who did an amazing job on making this set a fantastic tournament.

(Edits for grammar)
Last edited by dschafer on Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by swwFCqb »

I'd like to echo the sentiments above. This was a great set to play on, especially for novices like me and my team, and except for several repeats, most of which seemed to show up in one particular round, the set was pretty awesome. Major dap to the editors and everyone who worked on it. I very much look forward to reading the complete set, including the fabled "Manny being Manny" tossup, which I so wish we could have heard.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region »

Pilgrim wrote:
Parson Smirk wrote:I read at the Florida site, and most everything I saw was excellent. I'm looking forward to seeing all of the packets at some point. The Bork tossup was a personal favorite. Repeats aside, the only major problem I saw that ended up determining a match was a tiebreaker tossup in which the answer was Macedon. One team buzzed in early and said "Macedonia", and the question instructed the reader not to accept or prompt on Macedonia. I negged them per my instructions, the team didn't protest, and thus they lost the match. However, after a moment of research this evening, I can't see any way that Macedonia is not an acceptable answer. That should be changed before the final tournament, and I hope that that tiebreaker wasn't used elsewhere.
My thought process at the time of writing said question was that there was no place known as Macedonia until the Romans created their province there, which was after the events of the question, so it would be kind of like buzzing on a tossup describing the capital of the Byzantine Empire with Istanbul. However, I'm completely willing to accept that negging someone who answers with that is too harsh - I'm interested in hearing whether other people agree.
I can see your reasoning, but in their article on Philip II, Britannica says, "18th king of Macedonia (emphasis added) (359–336 bc), who restored internal peace to his country and then, by 339, had gained domination over all Greece by military and diplomatic means, thus laying the foundations for its expansion under his son Alexander III the Great." I should think that anyone who gives an answer deemed correct by Britannica should get the points.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by swwFCqb »

dschafer wrote:There seemed to be a few tossups which teased players into predictable negs.
I'd like to add one to this list which I thought fit this profile:

I think the answer was The Burial of Count Orgaz (it might have been The Burial at Ornan like Charlie said, but looking at it I don't really see a skull), but anyways, one of its earliest clues mentions (paraphrasing) that it depicts a skull underneath two figures. Now, at the point I buzzed it sounded a whole hell of a lot like The Ambassadors, despite the fact that that clue for the Ambassadors would have been too easy for that early in the question. Maybe I missed a crucial clue at the beginning, but I remember at the time that I felt (maybe mistakenly) that I got kinda hosed. If someone could inform me as to whether or not this was really a hose, I would be most appreciative.

EDIT: The answer came to me
Last edited by swwFCqb on Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I did the same thing, (it was Burial at Ornans I think) but I wasn't really feeling the set so I just chalked it up to being part of my cruddy play for parts of the day.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

Dartmouth College Bowl wrote:Second, I would like to bring up a rather regrettable situation that I think could have been avoided. In our game against Brown, Eric buzzed in on clue about the Corey-Fuchs reaction and answered: "alkenes, alkynes, alkynes, alkynes". Now, according to section G.1 in the ACF Rules, once a player has said one word of the potential answer, it is deemed that the player has "given an answer", thus making any correction to this answer invalid. However, the moderator of the game accepted the corrected answer, at least partially because Eric said that he had received an IM from Matt Weiner stating there was a new ACF rule that allowed for the moderator to accept the second answer offered by the player if their correction was deemed immediate. I am not making a judgment on the nature of immediate corrections, but what I think is inherently unfair is that this rule change was not publicly posted or in any way brought to my attention. I think everyone would agree that we all should have the same access to the rules of the game. Since we obviously had an issue with the ruling, the moderator lodged our protest and gave Brown their bonus, which they subsequently 30ed. Thus, in order for the protest to matter, we would have to be within 85 points of Brown at the end of 20 tossups. However, at the end of the game, the score was 355-265 and it seemed that the protest didn't matter.
Yeah I'm really sorry about this whole bit , but you're misrepresenting me slightly. By my recollection, I hadn't finished saying the word "alkene" when I tried to correct myself, and I remember having a conversation with Matt about changing your answer mid-word. I may be remembering the incident incorrectly, in which case you would have been completely right. I'm really glad that it didn't affect the outcome of that game, and I'm really sorry about any consternation it might have caused you. Incidentally the leadin about the CC coupling was really good in that tossup.
Dartmouth College Bowl wrote:However, looking over the stats this morning, I noticed that only 19 tossups (10 by Brown and 9 by us) were answered in that round. I could not remember a tossup going dead in that round, so I looked at the scoring sheets that our team keeps in order to see what happened. To my surprise, I found that none of the tossups went unanswered and that we were officially read 19 tossups in the round. How is that possible? One of the tossups in the second half of the game (the NRA tossup) ended up getting thrown out because we successfully protested Brown's answer to the tossup. We then were read a tossup off the clock, which we successfully converted. My guess is that these two questions were counted as two tossups instead of just one. So in reality, the score was 355-265 after 19 tossups and we should have had a chance to convert the last tossup to make the earlier protest matter. I also recognize that it is partly our fault in not realizing that only 19 tossups had been read during the course of the match. Further, if we had won the game, we would have been tied with Harvard and Brown for first place with only one loss.
Yeah I should've caught this also; my notebook confirms that there were 20 tossups counting the N(I)RA one that was thrown out. But even if you won that game, there would have been a circle of death for first place, which Harvard and Brown would have won by bonus conversion (in either the prelims, playoffs, or combination thereof).

More comments later, but the tossup on Link was greatly appreciated.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by AndyShootsAndyScores »

swwFCqb wrote:
dschafer wrote:There seemed to be a few tossups which teased players into predictable negs.
I'd like to add one to this list which I thought fit this profile:

I think the answer was The Burial of Count Orgaz (it might have been The Burial at Ornan like Charlie said, but looking at it I don't really see a skull), but anyways, one of its earliest clues mentions (paraphrasing) that it depicts a skull underneath two figures. Now, at the point I buzzed it sounded a whole hell of a lot like The Ambassadors, despite the fact that that clue for the Ambassadors would have been too easy for that early in the question. Maybe I missed a crucial clue at the beginning, but I remember at the time that I felt (maybe mistakenly) that I got kinda hosed. If someone could inform me as to whether or not this was really a hose, I would be most appreciative.

EDIT: The answer came to me
I could be wrong, but the skull in The Ambassadors looks to sort of overlap onto the ambassador on the left's robe, which would mean it's superimposed, hence, not underneath.

Also, the skull in Burial at Ornans is almost invisible unless you really look for it, as it's the same color as the ground.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by evilmonkey »

First, let me say that I enjoyed this packet immensely.

dschafer pretty much nailed most of my complaints, so I'm just going to follow his lead on this...
dschafer wrote: Computer Science / Math

I thought the quicksort tossup was average. I got that tossup when we played it in practice right after mergesort was mentioned, based on "hey, this sort sounds actually useful, and they've already mentioned every other actually useful sort," since heapsort was previously mentioned as well. Rereading it, the start said (paraphrasing) "this is recursive and has a worst case", which in hindsight should have clued me to quicksort, but that TU was gotten by process-of-elimination in a practice attended by multiple CS people, which doesn't seem ideal. Tree seemed like a really well-written tossup, though.
I know nothing about CS, but the two CS guys on my team basically said this (although we got it at the giveaway because one was sitting out and the other was too buzzer shy).
More on Math/CS:
Dartmouth A Bonus 4 wrote: [10] Identify this curve named for a female Italian mathematician, which asymptotically approaches 0 as x approaches plus or minus infinity, and which can be generated by extending all chords passing through a fixed point on the circle.
ANSWER: witch of Agnesi [or Agnesienne; or cubique d’Agnesi]
I looked this up on Mathworld after hearing that packet, and it's neat looking and all, but that seems pretty obscure. A search of my records reveals that it showed up in PACE one year; before that, it was the hard part of an ACF Nats bonus. I think this was very hard, even for the third part of a bonus.
Witch of Agnesi, IMO, is fairly common. I don't know, every time I see examples of a polar curves, the Witch is there, at least once next to cycloids, another time as a homework problem. The clues make it difficult, although curve named after a female is fairly unique.
Other Random Things

There seemed to be a few tossups which teased players into predictable negs. Both in practice and in the room I read it during the tournament, the question on Cuba that mentioned the major city of "Santiago" got negged with Chile, and in both practice and no less than three rooms at our site, the question on Carter that mentioned "full diplomatic relations with China" got negged with Nixon.
I have to agree with this one. Like, I'll admit I know very little about Nixon, but I do know he was the first to go to China, and I feel like a lot of people know this too. Of course, the simple solution is to know more things, and know them better, but...
Really good things
The tossup difficulty was spot on. Even in the lowest-scoring games I read for, 16-17 tossups were getting converted by the end, and those that weren't converted by those teams were met with the reaction "oh, I should have known that" rather than the dreaded "who? what?". The majority of my games had either 19 or 20 tossups converted. Ensuring tossup conversion is high is hugely important for making a set of appropriate difficulty, and this tournament was overwhelmingly successful in that regard.
This is very true.

To address Steven's concern about the ambassadors:

I distinctly remember some clue about a man dressed in red prior to the skull clue - otherwise I would have totally negged with The Ambassadors. Actually, it may have been some other clue, but I think thats what it was.

EDIT: So, now seeing the question, the clue I remembered - notably after the skull clue - said his clothes were from the French Revolution. It must have been the titular location thing that tipped me off at the time.

Finally, my own concern:
I felt bonus difficulty was inconsistent - some bonuses were easily 30'd, some easily bageled, some with fairly perfect distribution, some that couldn't possibly have awarded 10 points (if you knew one part, you knew two). However, I do not have my sheet in front of me, so I won't try to recall which was which. I'll try to do that sometime when my Arabic homework (and Dr. Faustus and sleep) aren't calling me.
Last edited by evilmonkey on Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by swwFCqb »

For any interested/curious souls, here's the question:
Its artist also depicted his father listening to a musician playing a violin in an After Dinner party at the titular location. A skull lies by the feet of one of the two oddly dressed figures at this painting's center, whose clothes are from the French Revolution. One figure kneels on his right knee and stares at a choirboy, and another figure staring at the viewer holds a crucifix. Two clergymen in the center are dressed in red, and a dog stands to the center right as several people walking in an S-shaped line are depicted dressed in mourning. For 10 points, identify this gigantic painting depicting a funeral, a work of Gustave Courbet
ANSWER: Burial at Ornans [or A Painting of Human Figures, the History of a Burial at Ornans; or Un Enterrement à Ornans; accept Interment at Ornans; or Funeral at Ornans; or other synonyms for “burial”]
Seeing as it states that there is a titular location, it looks like it was a pretty shitty buzz that would have been avoided had I listened closely.
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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by grashid »

Hey, I don't know Andrew Hart's email, so I was wondering if someone could email me the questions? Thanks.

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Re: ACF Fall discussion (don't read, players at U Wash. site)

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

Alright comments time.

I don't want to completely deflate the love-in, because I had a great time at this tournament, and there were very few questions that I found unpalatable. Of those handful, there's a couple that are worth mentioning:
-The 3rd part of the chromatography bonus was making an oblique reference to UV/Visible spectroscopy, and also gave a wavelength range that overlaps with visible, so I answered "visible" but wasn't given the points.
-The tossup on electron capture had some issues, I felt. The decay of 40-K to 40-Ar proceeds by both electron capture and beta decay, making that clue non-identifying, and furthermore beta decay should have been prompted because electron capture can be referred to as "inverse beta decay" (I wasn't actually playing in this round, so it didn't really affect me). I do realize that the clue about the Auger effect and fluorescence was uniquely identifying, however.
-I wasn't a fan of the tossup on Grieg; I felt that there could have been some more obscure titles before "Lyric Pieces", which probably produced a buzzer race in many rooms.
-Horner was far too early in the Wittig tossup.

Apart from these brief complains, I found several examples of answers that were genuinely very enjoyable and interesting (Atalanta, Heimdall, Oe, Coetzee, The murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the Cori Cycle, the Bouncer, Willy Brandt, Tintern Abbey, Rorschach Inkblot test, dogs in art, trees, etc, etc), and both my teammates and I learned a lot and had some pretty furious games against good teams. We had no interesting negs during the day (with the possible exception of "Scientology" for "Nation of Islam"), however. Just stupid ones :(

My main issue with this tournament is a more systemic complaint; in short, I don't feel like this tournament accurately differentiated between the top teams at our site. I think this can largely be explained by the bonuses, which would often have one easy and two medium parts, meaning that the hard part couldn't serve as a differentiating factor for those critical playoff games. I realize that Andrew was trying to hit a certain average points per bonus, but the problem is past ~25 or so ppb teams tend to hit a wall where their bonus conversion is dictated more by stochastic factors like imperfect memories, poor hearing/fatigue, or luck-of-the-draw than by their actual level of knowledge. I also think that some of the tossups could have done a better job of screening out lateral thinking (eg Ansel Adams, Sanskrit), but this is less of a factor.

Perhaps teams like us, Harvard A, and Dartmouth A, who were essentially in an statistical deadlock somewhere around the 25ppb mark, had no business playing this tournament, but I'd like to think there can be a balance between accessibility and ability to differentiate. Last year's ACF fall featured a pretty fine gradation between medium, good, and great teams statistically (a team with Chris Ray and Charles Meigs getting 24 ppb, while a team of me, Aaron, and Lisa getting 22 ppb seemed about right at the time), and I felt that element was missing this year. Perhaps there's been a paradigm shift in the writing of "easy" tournaments that excludes the need for this property, in which case I'd call for bringing it back.
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