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Worst Question EVER...

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 9:34 am
by quizbowllee
At a tournament this weekend, I heard some real stinkers. But, this one took the cake. Has anyone ever heard a question worse than this one?

At the age of 45, an elephant's tooth weighs how much?

Answer: 9 pounds


This is quiz bowl gold! I'm not even going into all of the virtually infinite reasons that this question is horrible.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 9:40 am
by DrakeRQB
Oh come on, you didn't know that??? That is basic, basic stuff.

At a tournament in Lincolnton, N.C. last year (not exactly a quiz bowl hotbed), we got this three-part bonus:

1) At what fast-food restaurant did a finger end up in an article of food last year?
2) In what type of food was the finger found?
3) WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THE WOMAN THAT PLANTED THE FINGER IN THE FOOD?

...and all their bonuses were all-or-nothing. We knew it was Wendy's chili, but we didn't know the name of the woman. And frankly, it would've been sad if we had known.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 9:51 am
by Deviant Insider
I remember a question that started out "Which human organ has nostrils, ..." It was the most antipyramidal question of all time.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:24 am
by DrakeRQB
ReinsteinD wrote:I remember a question that started out "Which human organ has nostrils, ..." It was the most antipyramidal question of all time.
WRAL-TV Brain Game this year:

"Rome is the capital of what country shaped like a boot?"

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:30 am
by Deviant Insider
If you were in a museo in Spain, what kind of building would you be in? (In a tournament where the rules forbid foreign language question.)

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:34 am
by quizbowllee
See, but those last few examples are answerable and easy. This elephant thing sucked. First, there's no way that all elephants that are 45 years old have teeth that weigh exactly 9 pounds. Also, where would one even look to find this information? Also, don't elephants have several different kinds of teeth... and wouldn't they be of different sizes?

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:38 am
by DrakeRQB
quizbowllee wrote:See, but those last few examples are answerable and easy. This elephant thing sucked. First, there's no way that all elephants that are 45 years old have teeth that weigh exactly 9 pounds. Also, where would one even look to find this information? Also, don't elephants have several different kinds of teeth... and wouldn't they be of different sizes?
Point taken. I was just trying to show more examples of lousy questions. The Wendy's chili thing isn't academic... hell, it isn't even trivia - it's just minutae, but at least there's a definite answer.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:04 pm
by Strongside
There was once a tossup that asked if Al Gore's recently deceased mother was dead or alive.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:22 pm
by quizbowllee
bjb87 wrote:There was once a tossup that asked if Al Gore's recently deceased mother was dead or alive.
Excellent.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:20 pm
by Strongside
quizbowllee wrote:
bjb87 wrote:There was once a tossup that asked if Al Gore's recently deceased mother was dead or alive.
Excellent.
The question didn't mention that Gore's mother had died recently, it just asked if she was dead or alive.

Later in the round there was question that asked if Bob Ross was dead or alive.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:26 pm
by DrakeRQB
bjb87 wrote:There was once a tossup that asked if Al Gore's recently deceased mother was dead or alive.
Sounds like Celebrity Jeopardy! on SNL:

Alex: Is the hot tea hot or cold?
Tobey Maguire as Keanu Reeves: Is it iced tea?
Alex: NO, IT'S HOT TEA!
Keanu: Oh, well then I have no idea.

:grin:

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 2:06 pm
by AndyShootsAndyScores
quizbowllee wrote:... Also, don't elephants have several different kinds of teeth... and wouldn't they be of different sizes?
To defend that question, it did ask the weight of an elephant's molar.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 2:21 pm
by quizbowllee
AndyBrindlee Mountain wrote:
quizbowllee wrote:... Also, don't elephants have several different kinds of teeth... and wouldn't they be of different sizes?
To defend that question, it did ask the weight of an elephant's molar.
I ought to kick you off my team for defending that, you tool!

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 2:25 pm
by Tegan
quizbowllee wrote:
AndyBrindlee Mountain wrote:
quizbowllee wrote:... Also, don't elephants have several different kinds of teeth... and wouldn't they be of different sizes?
To defend that question, it did ask the weight of an elephant's molar.
I ought to kick you off my team for defending that, you tool!
I'm with Coach Lee on this ...... utterly indefensible as a question :twisted:

I have heard bonuses:

"In any order, name the five fingers" (I guess, counting the thumb as a finger)

and

"In any order, name the four planets closest to the sun"

and no .... these were varsity questions .....

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:21 pm
by AndyShootsAndyScores
quizbowllee wrote:
AndyBrindlee Mountain wrote:
quizbowllee wrote:... Also, don't elephants have several different kinds of teeth... and wouldn't they be of different sizes?
To defend that question, it did ask the weight of an elephant's molar.
I ought to kick you off my team for defending that, you tool!
Wasn't defending the question's quality, just one aspect of its suckiness.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:46 pm
by Trevkeeper
quizbowllee wrote:
AndyBrindlee Mountain wrote:
quizbowllee wrote:... Also, don't elephants have several different kinds of teeth... and wouldn't they be of different sizes?
To defend that question, it did ask the weight of an elephant's molar.
I ought to kick you off my team for defending that, you tool!
I agree, that's quite possibly the most awful I have ever heard.

And that's possibly the first time I've ever heard a teacher/coach call their student/player a "tool," I am highly amused.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:55 pm
by Matthew D
Those two have a more big brother - little brother relationship than teacher student :cool:

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 8:46 pm
by The Toad to Wigan Pier
I have heard a question before that asked something to the effect of "explain what causes high blood pressure."

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:00 pm
by JohnAndSlation
I seem to remember the answer to "Where in TV have you encountered a doubly diminished 7th?" being "when something bad is about to happen." :wink:

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:20 pm
by grapesmoker
tachyonwill wrote:I have heard a question before that asked something to the effect of "explain what causes high blood pressure."
The proper answer would have been "This question."

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:29 pm
by quizbowllee
JohnandSlation wrote:I seem to remember the answer to "Where in TV have you encountered a doubly diminished 7th?" being "when something bad is about to happen." :wink:
Awesome. Simply awesome.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:55 pm
by Irreligion in Bangladesh
I knew that something from Ultima (and therefore, questions supplied by Panasonic from past years) applied here, but all I could remember was a 2-parter where answer one found the number 5280 somehow, and part 2 simply asked "What is the significance of part 1?" I knew that wasn't the worst, so I didn't want to post it.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:57 pm
by AKKOLADE
grapesmoker wrote:
tachyonwill wrote:I have heard a question before that asked something to the effect of "explain what causes high blood pressure."
The proper answer would have been "This question."
Nice.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:17 pm
by AndyShootsAndyScores
Trevkeeper wrote:
quizbowllee wrote:
AndyBrindlee Mountain wrote:
quizbowllee wrote:... Also, don't elephants have several different kinds of teeth... and wouldn't they be of different sizes?
To defend that question, it did ask the weight of an elephant's molar.
I ought to kick you off my team for defending that, you tool!
I agree, that's quite possibly the most awful I have ever heard.

And that's possibly the first time I've ever heard a teacher/coach call their student/player a "tool," I am highly amused.
It's not the first time "tool" has been used by him to refer to me, but probably the frist on the board.
JohnandSlation wrote:I seem to remember the answer to "Where in TV have you encountered a doubly diminished 7th?" being "when something bad is about to happen." :wink:
That is the worst to me. I play guitar, and I wouldn't have been able to answer that.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:35 pm
by Tegan
grapesmoker wrote:
tachyonwill wrote:I have heard a question before that asked something to the effect of "explain what causes high blood pressure."
The proper answer would have been "This question."
Drat! I was just about to ask that ...... bravo Mr. Grapesmoker.

From a certain national tournament that was held in Chicago last year (I'm paraphrasing):

"Many states have state symbols of various kinds. I Oregon, voters recently selected a new state symbol, that being the state fruit. What is the state fruit of Oregon?"

Same tournament (remember now: "national" varsity championship caliber):

"While airplanes have fixed wings, what name is given to the rotating wings of a helicoptor?" (the team twhich answred "blades" was ruled incorrect, while "rotor" was accepted).

SAME tournament ....top teams in the nation need only apply here:
"Name the herb that is the reverse of the author of "The Stranger".
(and no one in the ten seconds could write down, "Camus" and turn the letters around to spell "Sumac" .... no one even TRIED to ring in!

And as they say, the piece de reistance! Same tournament ... remember, to crown the one true national champion of the United States of America:
"Name the four former presidents of the United States not buried in the U.S."

I didn't have a team entered, and I still wanted to through something at the modertor just to make myself feel better.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:43 pm
by grapesmoker
Tegan wrote:SAME tournament ....top teams in the nation need only apply here:
"Name the herb that is the reverse of the author of "The Stranger".
(and no one in the ten seconds could write down, "Camus" and turn the letters around to spell "Sumac" .... no one even TRIED to ring in!
I reversed "Camus" pretty quickly in my head, but I had no idea there was such a thing as an herb called "sumac." What tournament was this at anyway?

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:10 am
by Trevkeeper
Chip Beale's, I assume. I thought Mr. Egan went as a spectator last year, I might be wrong.

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:33 am
by JohnAndSlation
JohnandSlation wrote:I seem to remember the answer to "Where in TV have you encountered a doubly diminished 7th?" being "when something bad is about to happen." :wink:
That is the worst to me. I play guitar, and I wouldn't have been able to answer that.[/quote]

One of my teammates has been going through the AP Music Theory book, and he said he'd never heard of a doubly-diminished 7th, which was the first part. The second part was...

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:49 am
by Deviant Insider
Don't forget: Cleaning the windows on the South side of a building make it what?

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:00 am
by Matthew D
Lee and Andy, What was that question we had over there that had something about Ethan Hawks and a book made into a movie? That one was another that was just awesome

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:10 am
by David Riley
My favorite, from an Illinois tournament about ten years ago. I think the record stands:


Bonus question: Name the first four months of the year......in any order....

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:36 am
by quizbowllee
Matthew D wrote:Lee and Andy, What was that question we had over there that had something about Ethan Hawks and a book made into a movie? That one was another that was just awesome
The question you refer to was:

This book was made into a 1998 movie with Ethan Hawke and Robert Deniro.

Answer: Great Expectations


Although that was a crappy question (in that it was a statement and not a question at all), I still think that the elephant tooth was worse. If someone had ever seen Great Expectations with Hawke and Deniro, they had a fighting chance of recalling that information.

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:54 am
by fool_by_compulsion
Tegan wrote:SAME tournament ....top teams in the nation need only apply here:
"Name the herb that is the reverse of the author of "The Stranger".
(and no one in the ten seconds could write down, "Camus" and turn the letters around to spell "Sumac" .... no one even TRIED to ring in!
My parents have a picture hanging on the wall in the upstairs hallway entitled "Camus sees sumac," which depicts a dour-looking man smoking a cigarette and staring at a wilted plant about three feet high...

Anyway...

I seem to remember a question from somewhere during my freshman year that gave the dimensions of a room and then asked how many walls the room had.

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:01 am
by First Chairman
I'm so old school: curved yellow fruit.

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:11 pm
by Byko
From a practice when I played in high school in Texas in 1995:
"Who is Mao Zedong's wife?" Correct answer: Mrs. Mao Zedong

Another awful moment from a scrimmage with a nearby high school in 1995:
"If you drink it, it will give you a terrible death but a fine finish. What is it?" Correct answer: varnish

A final, game-winning question at the tournament mentioned in the avatar to the left:
"How many calories are in a cup of black coffee?" Correct answer: none

From the JV division of an otherwise well-written tournament in either 1999 or 2000:
"(equations from a two-equations-in-two-unknowns algebra problem followed by the values of x and y). Find the values of 4 and 5." Correct answer: 4 = 10 and 5 = 7

From that same national championship Tegan mentioned earlier only this time in Washington D.C. in 2003:
"What medium is currently posing a threat to radio?" Correct answer: the Internet

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:50 pm
by Matthew D
true the elephant tooth question was worse

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:11 pm
by Coelacanth
From a long-ago college invitational

Tossup: This isn't really a question, but don't you feel stupid answering it?
Answer: Yes

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:15 pm
by Deckard Cain
"Given a list of false statements about a person, identify the person."

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:53 pm
by AndyShootsAndyScores
Deckard Cain wrote:"Given a list of false statements about a person, identify the person."
GLORIOUS!

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 12:39 am
by Tegan
grapesmoker wrote:
Tegan wrote:SAME tournament ....top teams in the nation need only apply here:
"Name the herb that is the reverse of the author of "The Stranger".
(and no one in the ten seconds could write down, "Camus" and turn the letters around to spell "Sumac" .... no one even TRIED to ring in!
I reversed "Camus" pretty quickly in my head, but I had no idea there was such a thing as an herb called "sumac." What tournament was this at anyway?

After hearing all of the bashing going on, I decided to sit in on 4 or 5 rounds of the NAC. I think I had what alcoholics have called "a moment of clarity"

The utterly most amazing thing: when that utterly stupid presidents questions came up, it looked like I was the only one who wanted to throw something (stone, lamp .....bomb). The "panel" that "got" the questions started whooping like a pack of pre-pubescent hyenas on nitrous, and the other team looked like their collective puppies had been shot. The host's response was to snicker at the situation.

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:23 am
by prewitt81
From the same oft-mentioned national tournament (1999):

Who becomes President of the United States if the Vice President dies?

Answer: The President is still President. We never said he died too.

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:00 am
by Pete Creedon
We had one in a bonus:

What is the largest ocean on earth?

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:17 pm
by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
That's because, with a few notable exceptions, the general quality of Missouri quizbowl is so horrendous. People keep buying questions like that.

At least :chip: never really caught on. But really and truly we have had some of the most abysmal State Championships ever created, and most of the coaches love it.

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:08 pm
by Bubiyuqn
Despite the fact that this question sucks anyway (not the worst I've heard, but hey), I love how loaded it is.

(From the SIAC conference series):
Planet A and B are 10 million miles apart. By what factor will their gravitational attraction be reduced if God moves them 60 million miles apart?

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:35 pm
by AKKOLADE
Bubiyuqn wrote:Planet A and B are 10 million miles apart. By what factor will their gravitational attraction be reduced if God moves them 60 million miles apart?
Was that an essay question by chance?

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:07 am
by NoahMinkCHS
Well since we're piling on...

* From a crappy local tournament -- "Explain why the narrator in Moby Dick was called Ishmael." I think someone actually got points on that.

And of course, the legendary "How are humans messing up the Everglades?" fiasco, that I am proud (hmm, not at all the right word...) to say I actually was one of the eight players on a buzzer to mercifully let that one fall dead. Glad to have been a part of history... Thanks, :chip:

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:10 pm
by jdd2007
In the OAC state championship match,

"What insurance company uses the slogan 'life comes at you fast?'"

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:22 pm
by Irreligion in Bangladesh
jdd2007 wrote:In the OAC state championship match,

"What insurance company uses the slogan 'life comes at you fast?'"
IMO, that's not a historically bad question because it is actually an answerable question. It's notably bad because it's in an important game, but it's just trash.

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 6:42 pm
by NotBhan
ReinsteinD wrote:Don't forget: Cleaning the windows on the South side of a building make it what?
What was the answer to this one?

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:13 pm
by Mike Bentley
So in the finals of a high school match we got the first tossup and our bonus was:

"All or nothing, sing the Oscar Meiner Weiner song". The one kid on our team who sort of knew it apparently messed up two of the words and we didn't get any points on it.

We lost the match be only a few points, despite having more tossups answered. Wonderful tournament.

Also, at a Pennsylvania State Championship tournament that our A team was in, I think they just took bonus parts from other packets and used them as tossup questions. There were at least 4 tossups on Catch 22 and military ranks. Classic.