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2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:58 pm
by Alejandro Buendia
Please post any questions or comments about specific tossups or bonuses in this thread.

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:54 am
by Corry
I looked at the tossups in BELLOCO back at the beginning of February, after UCSD hosted the Southern California mirror of the set. There were a few specific tossups that I felt were rather ill-conceived. I know some tossups have been fixed already-- here are a few things I don't think were addressed yet, though.
  • U.S.S. Constitution - I don't have any problems with the clue or answer line selection here. However, I feel like the first line of this tossup encourages lateral thinking, so to speak. Here's what you learn in the first line: you know it's a battleship. You know it's captained by somebody who sounds vaguely British/American. You know that it fought the British (because it fought ships that started with "HMS"). Besides the Constitution (and maybe the Bonhomme Richard or something), this eliminates literally every possible answer line: it can't be the Bismarck, Monitor, Missouri (or any American WW1 or WW2 ship for that matter), Dreadnought, Victory... the list goes on. And you're still only 20 words into the tossup so far.
  • Paris Commune - It's a good tossup, but the answer line is probably too hard. Even in a best case scenario, the Paris Commune is really a college answer line (or at least a PACE/History Bowl Nats answer line). For instance, a quick search through the NAQT database shows that it's been a tossup in the following sets: 2012 ICT Div II, 2012 SCT Div I, 2010 HSNCT, 2008 ICT Div II.
I'll try to see if I can remember anything else for now.

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:22 am
by pajaro bobo
From the Neruda tossup: How commonly is "Odas elementales" translated into "Elementary Odes"? I sort-of-but-not-really knew it was a valid-ish translation but was under the impression that it was very uncommon and that most people knew it as "Elemental Odes". It seemed to confuse one of the teams when I read it in the match I was moderating, so I wanted to know what made you guys pick one over the other.

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:34 pm
by Corry
Okay, I looked at the packets again. Here are a few more:
  • Seamounts - Was this ever changed? Because this is an absolutely crazy answer line. I did a quick search through the NAQT database-- "seamounts" has never been an answer line (or even a clue!) for any tossup in NAQT, ever. While it's good to try to pursue "real knowledge" when writing a packet, this is probably a step too far.
  • assassination of Thomas a Becket - This answer line doesn't seem appropriate for a regular-difficulty high school set, especially since it's in a normal packet (as opposed to a finals packet or something). When you write a tossup on Thomas a Becket, you're essentially writing a tossup on Henry II. Frankly, I think it's unreasonable to expect an "average" high schooler to know too much about Henry II-- personally, I didn't learn anything about him until my senior year, when I decided to study for the HSNCT (coincidentally, the HSNCT be a far more difficulty-appropriate packet for a tossup on Thomas Becket).
  • Gulf Stream - I don't really have any problems with the clue or answer line selection here. However, the overall tossup seems very... guessable. I don't know anything about science whatsoever, but the first 2 lines hint strongly at it. Within 20 words, the question has already mentioned "gyre", "feature", "bends", and "temperature differences". And this is before it talks about something that "flows" into a "current". At a regular-difficulty high school tournament, what could this tossup possibly be asking about, besides the Gulf Stream? (Perhaps somebody better at science can expand on this.)

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:48 pm
by Jason Cheng
I didn't think seamount is unreasonably hard--it's definitely something you'd learn in, say, middle school earth science, because they're just underwater mountains that don't break the surface. The problem is, it's such an unorthodox answer line that it'll probably go unconverted in half the rooms it's played in, even though the tossup in question tries so hard to make it obvious*. In fact, it went unconverted in the finals round I read at Triton Winter between Westview and La Jolla. Usually, obscurity means difficulty, but in this case, I think it's not difficult, just obscure beyond belief. Of course, this led to the exact same problem as, say, the Shema Yisrael or Khyber Pass tossups did (not a whole lot of good clue space for them at the easy-intermediate high school difficulty)

*As in, how hard the question screams "This is underwater and it sounds a lot like mountains." HIlariously, this led to someone on Westview buzzing in at "...while knolls and pinnacles are smaller forms...." and saying "...mountains?"

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:43 am
by Schroeder
We changed both seamounts and Gulf Stream. I might get around to posting a list of questions that we changed completely after the UCSD mirror sometime.

We looked up Neruda again and have changed it to Elemental Odes.

As for the others (USS Constitution, Paris Commune, Becket), I'm thinking we should change those completely, but if there are too many to change then we might not want to go through yet another round of essentially editing the whole set.

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:50 pm
by RexSueciae
Off the top of my head:

Tossing up Langston Hughes and mentioning "Mother to Son" really early was probably a bad idea. Tossing up John Marshall and mentioning Gibbons v. Ogden in the second clue was an invitation to a massive buzzer race. Tossing up the Bahá'í Faith and mentioning the Báb in literally the first clue was utterly ridiculous. The Mayor of Casterbridge tossup might be difficulty-inappropriate. The bonus on Gerard Manley Hopkins was definitely difficulty-inappropriate.

In the first round, I buzzed on the lead-in to the pirates tossup (profession of the Victual Brothers etc. etc.) and said "mercenaries." I was negged. The Victual Brothers, while engaging in piracy, were also mercenaries and privateers, and either the answerline should have been expanded or that clue should be thrown out for not being uniquely identifying. (I did not protest, and it would not have made a difference, but it still irked me.)

The tossup on New Zealand contained a clue on the Hutt River. I buzzed and said "Australia," and was negged. There are three Hutt Rivers in the world; two of them are located in Australia (and are arguably more famous than the New Zealand one, since one of them is the namesake of a micronation).

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:05 pm
by Off To See The Lizard
The Nathaniel Hawthorne bonus mentioned that he wrote Scarlet Letter in a clue for the second part and then asked about it as a third part answer. That's the most egregious error that comes to mind at the moment.

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:10 pm
by cyclohexane
I'm pretty sure that the Yom Kippur War tossup was mentioned as being ended by the Camp David Accords. That was a very confusing moment, because the Yom Kippur War ended 5 years before the Accords were signed.

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:43 am
by Schroeder
The New Zealand tossup mentioned the Hutt Valley (specifically the Hutt Valley campaign), not the Hutt River, and it looks like there's only one of those in the world. (or at least, the one in New Zealand is the first result on Google)

Privateers was marked as promptable for pirates, but not mercenaries. I'll change that.

We'll fix the other questions.

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:18 am
by RexSueciae
I still think Hutt Valley is something of a hose, but that makes a lot more sense than Hutt River.

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:32 pm
by pajaro bobo
Could I see the tossup on The Last of Us? I remember liking that tossup very much and I just wanted to look it over again.

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:35 pm
by Schroeder
Packet 7 wrote:13. Key locations in this game include the Fort Duquesne Bridge and a fictional university whose mascot is the Bighorns. In one cutscene, one protagonist entrusts another with a pistol after nearly drowning; in another, giraffes stroll through Salt Lake City. This game’s developer was criticized for one protagonist’s uncanny resemblance to actress Ellen Page. Zombie-like enemies are categorized as runners, stalkers, clickers, or bloaters depending on the severity of their cordyceps (“COR-de-seps”) fungal infection. For 10 points, name this best-selling 2013 PS3 game in which Joel is tasked with delivering Ellie to the Fireflies, in hopes of saving the title group of survivors.
ANSWER: The Last of Us

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:10 am
by RexSueciae
Could someone post the D major and IQ tossups?

Re: 2014 BELLOCO Specific Question Discussion

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:02 pm
by Schroeder
Packet 6 wrote:10. This note’s Dorian mode contains only white keys on the piano. This note’s major key was “the key of glory” for Baroque trumpets until the invention of the valve trumpet. The entirety of The Art of Fugue is written in this note’s minor key, as is the first movement of Sibelius’ violin concerto. Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Beethoven all wrote their violin concertos in this note’s major key. Mozart’s Requiem and the beginning of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony are set in this note’s minor key. This note’s natural minor scale contains only B-flat, and its major scale contains F-sharp and C-sharp. For 10 points, name this musical note after which Pachelbel titled a Canon, a whole step above C.
ANSWER: D [accept Re]
Packet 6 wrote:16. Charles Spearman labeled task-specific variation in this quantity as s and attempted to explain correlations in this quantity by a general, or g, factor. That g factor can be measured through Raven’s Progressive Matrices. The long-term global increase of this value in populations is called the Flynn effect, and Raymond Cattell created a Culture Fair test to determine this quantity. Proposed by William Stern, this value is tested by tools such as the Stanford-Binet test. The median score for this quantity is defined as 100, and a high value of this can enable a person to join Mensa. For 10 points, name this score that supposedly measures how smart a human is.
ANSWER: intelligence quotient [or IQ score; prompt on “intelligence”]