community question clinic

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.
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community question clinic

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:36 pm

Welcome to the community question clinic! We fix your questions but good!

The main idea of this thread is to enable people to receive feedback on their questions. This idea grew out of the previously attempted ACF feedback program, which was less successful than we'd hoped mainly because people's email stacks grow very fast and requests for feedback go unanswered. Instead, I think it's much more useful to have a thread for question feedback so that the whole community can get involved. That way no one has to rely on one person excavating their emails to receive feedback, and you can get commentary on any question in any category.

In order to keep this thread on topic and on target, I've received special dispensation from The Management to lay down some ground rules. The purpose of these rules is basically to keep the thread useful and not drift off into peripheral debates.
  1. Don't be an asshole! People are posting here for feedback, not for condescension or to be shamed.
  2. Be constructive. Offer concrete suggestions for improvement and explain why your suggestion makes sense.
  3. Post only your own questions from sets that are clear. When posting a question, please specify what tournament it was written for.
  4. Don't spend an inordinate amount of time on a single question. Any aspect of the question is fair game for criticism, but don't write 5 pages of text breaking down a single tossup.
  5. Don't resurrect discussions of old questions without a good reason. I hope this thread runs for a long time, so let's not revisit solved problems if we don't need to.
  6. It's fine to correct another poster if you think they said something wrong, but don't get bogged down in technical minutia. I don't want this thread to degenerate into endless debates about some minor aspect of the question.
  7. Keep style discussions to a minimum. Ambiguous wording should be corrected, obviously, and everything should be written in comprehensible English, but beyond that let's not get digress into more "aesthetic" topics.
I hope this thread generates a lot of concrete useful information for people interested in improving their writing. I think practice and example are the best ways to learn, so I hope this thread will provide lots of examples. Don't be shy in posting your questions! We've all written clunkers in our time, so there's no shame to admitting it. Use this thread instead to not make the same mistakes again.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Kyle » Fri May 02, 2014 2:49 pm

I find it sad that nobody has come to Jerry's clinic, so I am going to kick things off by posting a tossup. This tossup was part of a packet submitted for Oxford Open by a completely inexperienced writer who asked for feedback on the packet. I did give fairly extensive feedback on the history questions, but I don't think the rest of it ever got much attention, and I didn't have a lot of time, so I stopped after the history. I think this is a good opportunity for the writer to learn. I'm posting the question exactly as it was submitted.
OOT 2014 submission wrote:This religion espouses the adoption of a global auxiliary language, recommended by its founder's son, a man born ‘Abbàs Effendi. A history of this religion is given in Shoghi Effendi’s book God Passes By. The central tenets of this religion are the unities of god, religion and humanity, as stated in its holy book, the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Members of this religion often wear rings bearing the ‘ringstone’ symbol, symbolising the connection between God and Man. This religion sees both Abrahamic and Dharmic figures as messengers of God, and its most recent messengers are its founder and a man known as the Báb. FTP, name this Eastern monotheistic religion founded in the 19th century by Bahá’u’lláh, whose symbol is a nine-pointed star.

The Baha’i Faith
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Re: community question clinic

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Fri May 02, 2014 3:02 pm

I have a literature and two physics questions that I wrote for our ACF Regionals packet that I'd love to hear feedback on. Here are the questions (we ended up having to split the science, so I ended up writing the physics for our packet):
Truman's ACF Regionals submission wrote:In one speech, this character describes himself as “the king of courtesy” and states that he is “a Corinthian, a lad of mettle” and that he shall eventually “command all the good lads in Eastchap.” With Pointz, this character robs Bardolph and Petro of money they had stolen from some “grand-jurors.” The prologue to the play named for this character asks for “a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.” This character chases off the Earl of Douglas and kills Hotspur near Shrewsbury. In one play, this character disguises himself as a foot-soldier and is given the glove of Michael Williams. That play sees this character give a speech about going “once more into the breach.” This character likes to hang out at the Boar’s-Head Tavern with his companion, Sir John Falstaff. For 10 points, name this Shakesperean character who succeeds Henry Bolingbroke as King of England.
ANSWER: Prince Hal [or Prince Henry; or Henry V; or equivalents such as the Prince of Wales from either part of Henry IV; prompt on a partial answer of “Henry” or “Hal”]
A September 2010 experiment at the University of Milan created a laboratory where it was claimed that this phenomenon was observed. The namesake temperature of this phenomenon is proportional to the surface gravity of the source. That temperature can be found by multiplying the Schwarszchild radius and the Stefan-Boltzmann constant to the surface gravity of a source. The temperature experienced by a uniformly accelerating detector that is named for Unruh allows a Rindler observer to see an analogue of this phenomenon. This phenomenon eventually leads to black hole evaporation. For 10 points, name this type of radiation named for the author of A Brief History of Time.
ANSWER: Bekenstein-Hawking Radiation [prompt on “Black-body Radiation”]
With von Neumann, this man names some axioms that allow for a rigorous description of quantum mechanics. Heisenberg reinterpreted his namesake “field theory” as a quantum field equation that accurately describes elementary matter particles. A solution to this man’s namesake equation can be expresses as a spinor, and this man wrote the textbook Principles of Quantum Mechanics. A “sea” named for this physicist refers to a description of the vacuum, and he showed that the existence of magnetic monopoles would explain charges being a quantity. For 10 points, name this English physicist who predicted the existence of antimatter.
ANSWER: Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri May 02, 2014 3:42 pm

Not really a physicist here, but that Dirac tossup seems like it rewards name based association as much as it does understanding actual physics. Knowing that The "Dirac sea" is a thing gets you as much as knowing what the Dirac sea actually is, especially with the way you've worded the question, dropping "sea" before a description.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by grapesmoker » Fri May 02, 2014 3:47 pm

Thanks to Kyle for taking the plunge into the frozen waters of enlightenment (or, well, duking someone else into them). I'll let others handle that question but I will tackle the two physics questions Jacob posted.
A September 2010 experiment at the University of Milan created a laboratory where it was claimed that this phenomenon was observed. The namesake temperature of this phenomenon is proportional to the surface gravity of the source. That temperature can be found by multiplying the Schwarszchild radius and the Stefan-Boltzmann constant to the surface gravity of a source. The temperature experienced by a uniformly accelerating detector that is named for Unruh allows a Rindler observer to see an analogue of this phenomenon. This phenomenon eventually leads to black hole evaporation. For 10 points, name this type of radiation named for the author of A Brief History of Time.
ANSWER: Bekenstein-Hawking Radiation [prompt on “Black-body Radiation”]
I think the first clue is not very informative. One rule I like to follow if citing current research is to tell people just who is doing it, and by what means. The way that first sentence is written right now, you can't get any more information from it besides "some people in Italy claimed to have done this." The second clue is more useful, in that it clues you into the physical mechanisms in play and describes a relevant quantity, but I think it probably makes sense to combine it with the following sentence since you're just giving the formula for the Hawking temperature. I think the Unruh detection clue is pretty good here, but after that, this question should actually describe the mechanism of Hawking radiation (e.g. pair production on either side of the event horizon).
With von Neumann, this man names some axioms that allow for a rigorous description of quantum mechanics. Heisenberg reinterpreted his namesake “field theory” as a quantum field equation that accurately describes elementary matter particles. A solution to this man’s namesake equation can be expresses as a spinor, and this man wrote the textbook Principles of Quantum Mechanics. A “sea” named for this physicist refers to a description of the vacuum, and he showed that the existence of magnetic monopoles would explain charges being a quantity. For 10 points, name this English physicist who predicted the existence of antimatter.
ANSWER: Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac
The bit about the axioms is good; I didn't recollect it, but it's a useful clue. I don't exactly know what the second clue means though, and as far as I can tell, it's not that informative. The next clue seems to me to be too general; I would tighten that up by describing the Dirac spinor in more detail. I would also omit the extremely generic name of his textbook, which also happens to be the name of a very popular graduate quantum text by R. Shankar; as a general rule, textbook titles are not very informative. The other clues are decent. Overall, I think this question can use more specific information about things named after Dirac; especially the Dirac equation should be described more prominently in the second half of the question, and you could also do well to mention the Fermi-Dirac statistical distribution.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Galadedrid Damodred » Fri May 02, 2014 4:11 pm

Here are the religion questions I wrote for Louisville's SUBMIT packet. Both were rejected and I'd like to determine if it was for being too hard or for another reason.

One of this religion’s texts describes an imprisoned man who stays healthy by licking honey, flour, and grape juice off his wife’s body when she visits him. This religion is defended in the Parable of the White Path. In this religion, humans are classified into nine ranks and contemplating the setting sun is the first of thirteen progressively harder meditations. One sacred location in this religion is surrounded by seven tiers of railings, seven layers of netting, and seven rows of trees. This religion’s chief deity has names meaning “Boundless Life” and “Boundless Light” and lives in Sukhavati. That deity made forty-eight vows before becoming enlightened, of which the eighteenth is the basis for the practice of nianfo or nembutsu. For 10 points, name this religion, the world’s most popular form of Buddhism, whose followers repeatedly invoke the name of Amida in order to be reborn into his Western Paradise.
ANSWER: Pure Land Buddhism [accept Amidism or worship of Amida Buddha before mentioned; prompt on “Buddhism” or “Mahayana Buddhism”]

This movement’s followers believe in the existence of spiritual gurus dubbed Masters of the Ancient Wisdom and a messianic figure known as the World Teacher, and one of its major texts is titled Isis Unveiled. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this esoteric religious movement whose namesake Society was founded by Helena Blavatsky in 1875.
ANSWER: Theosophy [accept word forms]
[10] The Theosophical Society’s main branch headquarters are in this country’s city of Chennai, where its leaders groomed local boy Jiddu Krishnamurti to become the World Teacher until he decided that Theosophy was bunk.
ANSWER: India
[10] This Theosophical text by Blavatsky is divided into volumes titled Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis and discusses the idea of “root races,” of which the fourth lived in Atlantis and the fifth is, predictably, named “Aryan.”
ANSWER: The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Fri May 02, 2014 4:13 pm

I would appreciate it if Jerry (and other physics people) would comment on my modified version of the perturbation theory tossup I wrote for Lederberg; it may be instructive for how to write evocative clues in the more mathematically-oriented sciences.
LEDERBERG 2 tossup - original wrote:One extension to this method defines a function Y in terms of two different values of t; that is the method of multiple scales. Weinberg developed the “chiral” version of this method to apply it to nucleon-nucleon interactions in QCD, where it can be used to construct an effective Lagrangian. This approach can be used to find the Rabi formula and the rate of spontaneous emission when applied to a forced two-level system. The interaction representation has to be used alongside this method to calculate the time-propagator when the system is time-dependent. When applying this method to a (*) degenerate state, a re-diagonalization of a certain operator in terms of degenerate states is required to solve the vanishing denominator problem; that method is used when this method is applied to the linear Stark effect. This method involves splitting the Hamiltonian into a “bare” Hamiltonian and another term, V, and then expanding in terms of a power series of some small parameter. For 10 points, name this method of approximating solutions to physical systems by considering the effects of a small namesake external force on the eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian.
ANSWER: perturbation theory
rewrite wrote:Weinberg developed the “chiral” version of this method to apply it to nucleon-nucleon interactions in QCD, where it is typically applied in the high-energy regime to predict the ratios of the products of electron-positron annihilation. The interaction representation has to be used alongside this method to calculate the time-propagator when the system is time-dependent, and in such systems this method is used to define the evolution operator in terms of the time-ordering operator via a Dyson series. When applying this method to a (*) degenerate state, a re-diagonalization of a certain operator in terms of degenerate states is required to solve the vanishing denominator problem; that method is used when this method is applied to the linear Stark effect. This method involves splitting the Hamiltonian into a “bare” Hamiltonian and another term, V, and then expanding in terms of a power series of some small parameter. For 10 points, name this method of approximating solutions to physical systems by considering the effects of a small namesake external force on the eigenvalues of the Hamiltonian.
ANSWER: perturbation theory
I'd be particularly interested in how to describe multiple-scale analysis in a way that makes it a good clue and how to write the Rabi formula clue.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Fri May 02, 2014 4:20 pm

Kyle wrote:I find it sad that nobody has come to Jerry's clinic, so I am going to kick things off by posting a tossup. This tossup was part of a packet submitted for Oxford Open by a completely inexperienced writer who asked for feedback on the packet. I did give fairly extensive feedback on the history questions, but I don't think the rest of it ever got much attention, and I didn't have a lot of time, so I stopped after the history. I think this is a good opportunity for the writer to learn. I'm posting the question exactly as it was submitted.
OOT 2014 submission wrote:This religion espouses the adoption of a global auxiliary language, recommended by its founder's son, a man born ‘Abbàs Effendi. A history of this religion is given in Shoghi Effendi’s book God Passes By. The central tenets of this religion are the unities of god, religion and humanity, as stated in its holy book, the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Members of this religion often wear rings bearing the ‘ringstone’ symbol, symbolising the connection between God and Man. This religion sees both Abrahamic and Dharmic figures as messengers of God, and its most recent messengers are its founder and a man known as the Báb. FTP, name this Eastern monotheistic religion founded in the 19th century by Bahá’u’lláh, whose symbol is a nine-pointed star.

The Baha’i Faith
I don't think this is a particularly horrible question. Many clues are not in order of difficulty, but I'll chalk that up to the author not knowing the relative difficulty of these clues, which is not unusual for a novice. Here are some quizbowl-theory related points I have to say to the author:

(1) One of your goals as a question writer is to distinguish between knowledge and lateral thinking. By "lateral thinking", we mean educated guessing based on context clues. In a good quizbowl match, people with actual knowledge of the thing being asked about should be able to beat people who are merely applying lateral thinking (though it's OK for people who are better at applying lateral thinking to beat other people applying lateral thinking). This tossup becomes latterable as soon as you start giving the names of various Effendis: only so many religions have been founded by people with binomial, Middle Eastern-sounding names. It would be better if you took some information that only somebody very familiar with Bahai would know (such as the ring clue) and put it ahead of any clues that made it laterable. In any tossup, you're going to eventually divulge information that enables lateral thinking, but drop some real knowlege upstream of that.

(2) With few exceptions, the name of a religion's holy book is one of the most famous things about it. Under the principle of pyramidicity (start with the hardest clue, end with the easiest), the name of the holy book should be closer to the end. Likewise, the name of the founder (another very famous thing about any religion) should come after the clue about their symbol.

(3) Pay close attention to whether your clues are uniquely identifying: that is, are any of them also true of another religion. Avoid clues that are too generic or apply to multiple possible answers. For example, I believe that "This religion sees both Abrahamic and Dharmic figures as messengers of God" may also technically be true of Din-i-Alahi, another religion that there are often questions about (at least at very high levels of quizbowl). "Unity of God" is a very generic thing for a religion to believe in, there's not much there that distinguishes it from, say, Islam or Sikhism, both of which would also claim unity of God as a major tenet. Many organizations also advocate for a universal auxiliary language, and some of them are religions.

When talking about Bahai beliefs, I would mention specific doctrines (if they have names), I would mention specific parables and metaphors used in Bahai texts (Bahai has like a dozen sacred texts, its an excellently sourced religion!).

EDIT: So my memory is very hazy, but for example there's a metaphor somewhere in Bahai scripture where Bahaulla is asked about the differences between Bahai Law and Islamic Law. If the Bahai God is also the Islamic god, the interrogator asks, why has he changed his laws? Bahaulla replies with something to the effect of "what's in the sky often changes, but it is the same sky". This metaphor illustrates the Bahai belief in unity of God, but is also unique to Bahai and makes a much better clue than "this religion believes in the unity of god" - both because it isn't ambiguous, and because it rewards people who have actually read Bahai holy texts, surely something you want to reward over people who are less familiar with the religion.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by grapesmoker » Fri May 02, 2014 4:28 pm

On first glance, I don't see anything particularly problematic with either the Pure Land tossup or the bonus. They both seem like solid questions; perhaps they overlapped with something else in the set?
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri May 02, 2014 5:22 pm

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:
Truman's ACF Regionals submission wrote:In one speech, this character describes himself as “the king of courtesy” and states that he is “a Corinthian, a lad of mettle” and that he shall eventually “command all the good lads in Eastchap.” With Pointz, this character robs Bardolph and Petro of money they had stolen from some “grand-jurors.” The prologue to the play named for this character asks for “a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.” This character chases off the Earl of Douglas and kills Hotspur near Shrewsbury. In one play, this character disguises himself as a foot-soldier and is given the glove of Michael Williams. That play sees this character give a speech about going “once more into the breach.” This character likes to hang out at the Boar’s-Head Tavern with his companion, Sir John Falstaff. For 10 points, name this Shakesperean character who succeeds Henry Bolingbroke as King of England.
ANSWER: Prince Hal [or Prince Henry; or Henry V; or equivalents such as the Prince of Wales from either part of Henry IV; prompt on a partial answer of “Henry” or “Hal”]
This is a pretty good question. You've got a couple of typos (Poins*, Eastcheap*) and some of the clues are probably out of order (I'd definitely move Hotspur down at least one and possibly flip the prologue and robbery clues), but overall it's something I'd be happy to see submitted to me.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by grapesmoker » Fri May 02, 2014 5:37 pm

I'm going to slightly bend my own rule about stylistic remarks for a moment: I think "This play sees" is an example of an unfortunate quizbowlese locution that we should probably avoid. You lose nothing by simply saying, "In that play, this character etc." There are times when that phrasing makes sense, but often it just sounds weird and "off."
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Re: community question clinic

Post by jekbradbury » Fri May 02, 2014 5:48 pm

As long as we're pummeling Jerry with physics questions...

I wrote this for ACF Nats; like virtually all of our disgustingly late packet it wasn't used. Benji was almost sure it would show up in the rejects packet because he thought (probably correctly) that it wasn't actually gettable. What I'm wondering is a) is this really only prominent in the popular scientific press this year, or is it something Real Physicists are aware of/interested in and b) how would one go about converting this into a tossup on an easier answer line (maybe even "black holes") while keeping the basic idea of the question?

One proposed solution to this problem claims that it is moot due to quantum computational restrictions on the sort of experiments that can be carried out in finite time; another solution interprets Hawking radiation particles entangled with their partners as a landscape of Einstein-Rosen bridges based on Van Raamsdonk’s theory of EPR-ER correspondence. Other than those proposals due respectively to Harlow and Hayden, and Maldacena and Susskind, this problem can only be resolved by accepting with Hossenfelder that Hawking radiation is impure, with Hawking that event horizons are temporary, or with the original authors that infalling observers encounter violations of Einstein’s equivalence principle. Proposed in a 2013 paper by Polchinksi et al., for 10 points, name this puzzle in black hole thermodynamics centered on the existence of an energetic curtain inside the event horizon.
ANSWER: black hole firewall paradox [accept AMPS firewall]
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Guile Island » Fri May 02, 2014 9:26 pm

Here are a few tossups I wrote for ACF Nats that didn't end up making the set and that I would love to hear some feedback on.

At one point in this work, its author compares viewing a housefly and a nail head from one hundred miles away, comparing the impossibility of both. The author of this work also highlights a change from “book-talk” to “base dialects” in the speech of a certain character and criticizes the meaningless narrowing of a stream. This work also criticizes the constant addressing of females as “women” and the use of a broken twig, and attacks one book for “accomplishing nothing and arriving nowhere.” The author of this work later refers to the same novel as “delirium tremens.” This work begins with a list of eighteen rules that are “coldly and persistently violated.” For 10 points, name this work that focuses on a “Crime of the English Language,” The Deerslayer, an essay by Mark Twain.
ANSWER: “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses”

One siege in this war began after the II Corps crossed over the Vuoksi River, and one side effectively employed anti-submarine nets in order to neutralize one nation’s navy. One nation joined this war in order to secure transportation of raw metals from Petsamo. This war, which saw trenches employed near the Svir, also saw the city of Vyborg change hands multiple times over its course. One city in this war was targeted by Operation Silver Fox, and though it’s not the Great Northern War, this war saw a notable Battle of Narva. This war, which saw frequent participation by Nazi Germany on one side, ended with the lease of Porkkala and the cession of Karelia to the winner. For 10 points, name this follow-up to the Winter War fought during World War II by the USSR and Finland.
ANSWER: Continuation War (prompt on just World War II)

Early in this man’s career, he gave asylum to Protestants during the turmoil surrounding the St. Bartholemew’s Day Massacre. In one position, he supported both Frobisher’s explorations in search of the Northwest Passage and Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the Earth. This politician, who spent his early years exiled in mainland Europe, helped negotiate the Treaty of Berwick with James VI of Scotland while serving as Secretary of State. In a more famous role, this man hired Sir Amias Paulet, who smuggled letters intended for a certain royal in a beer keg. The interception of those letters led to the discovery of the Babington Plot and the eventual execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. For 10 points, name this man who also received news of the Spanish Armada while serving as “spymaster” to Elizabeth I.
ANSWER: Sir Francis Walsingham

EDIT: Bolding/Underlining
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Re: community question clinic

Post by rylltraka » Fri May 02, 2014 9:40 pm

My own work is by no means the gold standard of question-writing, but there are some prominent issues to correct here:
Goole by-election, 1971 wrote:
One siege in this war began after the II Corps crossed over the Vuoksi River, and one side effectively employed anti-submarine nets in order to neutralize one nation’s navy. One nation joined this war in order to secure transportation of raw metals from Petsamo. This war, which saw trenches employed near the Svir, also saw the city of Vyborg change hands multiple times over its course. One city in this war was targeted by Operation Silver Fox, and though it’s not the Great Northern War, this war saw a notable Battle of Narva. This war, which saw frequent participation by Nazi Germany on one side, ended with the lease of Porkkala and the cession of Karelia to the winner. For 10 points, name this follow-up to the Winter War fought during World War II by the USSR and Finland.
ANSWER: Continuation War (prompt on just World War II)
1. The first sentence is fine enough - I don't know if the submarine net idea is noteworthy or unique. The problems come thereafter.
2. Petsamo is well-known enough to be deep in the middle clues, and I'm not sure why you don't mention the most important thing it produced (nickel).
3. Vyborg/Viipuri is also a famous Finnish city which changed hands in both the Winter and Continuation Wars, so the clue might lead to confusion.
4. Operation Silver Fox (unless it's more famous than I've heard) and Narva are both 'harder' than earlier clues, although if you mention Narva, people will use lateral-thinking to be in the right place immediately.
5. The lease of Porkkala is not particularly notable, to my knowledge; it's more likely that someone has heard of Hanko/Hango.

In sum, some of the clues are fine, but many are problematic. I think it could be a better and more interesting tossup if you included perhaps more 'anecdotal' and less straightforward factual clues. They're less likely to be frauded and more likely to reward deeper knowledge. Were there any unusual/memorable tactics used in this war? Any weird engagements? Memorable personalities, either in generals or statesmen? Maybe there's more to that interesting submarine-net idea - who came up with it? Did it actually 'catch any fish'? I think the addition of different kinds of clues, in tone and content, would really help here.

Of course, if I'm wrong on my assertions, lemme know.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Fri May 02, 2014 9:41 pm

Easy to see why the Walsingham tossup didn't make it - very little in the tossup is uniquely identifying.
Goole by-election, 1971 wrote: Early in this man’s career, he gave asylum to Protestants during the turmoil surrounding the St. Bartholemew’s Day Massacre.
Lots of people gave asylum to Protestants after the French Wars of Religion. This clue is absolutely non-unique. What was special about Walsingham's support of Protestants? Was there a specific law he supported? A specific policy he enacted? A specific pamphlet he wrote?
In one position, he supported both Frobisher’s explorations in search of the Northwest Passage and Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the Earth
Again, probably every major politician in England at the time supported these things. Not uniquely identifying. What did he, specifically, do to support these things? Did he write a specific bill, did he get into a specific debate with some other guy, etc.
This politician, who spent his early years exiled in mainland Europe
Again, virtually every politician in that era in England was exiled in mainland Europe at some point - the Prods were exiled during Mary's reign, the Papists were exiled during Henry VIII/Edward VI. What makes Walsingham's exile unique - where did he go in Europe, who did he seek refuge with, what did he write? I have no clue where Walsingham went, but for example when John Knox was exiled he notably went to Geneva where he was protected by John Calvin, was made minister of a particular church with a name, wrote a specific book. When Charles II was exiled he wrote the Declaration of Breda. Thomas Hobbes self-exiled himself after he was embarrassed by his failed attempt to square the circle. These are unique, buzzable clues. "He went into exile" is not.
helped negotiate the Treaty of Berwick with James VI of Scotland while serving as Secretary of State.
This is better. Lots of people negotiated a Treaty of Berwick, but how many did it with James VI? See, unique.
In a more famous role, this man hired Sir Amias Paulet, who smuggled letters intended for a certain royal in a beer keg.
Very good. This is a unique clue.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri May 02, 2014 10:44 pm

Goole by-election, 1971 wrote:At one point in this work, its author compares viewing a housefly and a nail head from one hundred miles away, comparing the impossibility of both. The author of this work also highlights a change from “book-talk” to “base dialects” in the speech of a certain character and criticizes the meaningless narrowing of a stream. This work also criticizes the constant addressing of females as “women” and the use of a broken twig, and attacks one book for “accomplishing nothing and arriving nowhere.” The author of this work later refers to the same novel as “delirium tremens.” This work begins with a list of eighteen rules that are “coldly and persistently violated.” For 10 points, name this work that focuses on a “Crime of the English Language,” The Deerslayer, an essay by Mark Twain.
ANSWER: “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses”
A fine tossup, if a little transparent--if I had to guess, it probably didn't make the set since it spent a few years as a pretty trendy thing to write on or include as a clue, and core-minded editors are likely still a little leery about including it.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by kayli » Fri May 02, 2014 11:37 pm

I wrote this for ACF Nationals, and I thought it was a decent idea. Feel free to tear me to shreds, music mafia.

In 1958, during the height of the Cold War, this American pianist won the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto. For 10 points each:
[10] Identify that pianist whose recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto was the first classical record to go Platinum. This pianist is also the namesake of a quadrennial international piano competition held in Ft. Worth, Texas.
ANSWER: Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn
[10] In addition to the Tchaikovsky’s First, Van Cliburn played this piano concerto in d minor for his finale. In this notoriously difficult concerto, the piano opens after a diatonic melody with a D-F-E-D-C#-D-E-D opening theme.
ANSWER: Rachmaninoff piano concerto no. 3
[10] Another notable recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto was produced by Sviatoslav Richter and this conductor. This conductor controversially tried to hire Sabine Meyer as deputy first clarinetist during his 35 year tenure in the Berlin Philharmonic.
ANSWER: Herbert von Karajan
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Auroni » Fri May 02, 2014 11:47 pm

That bonus is fine; there must have been something else in the packets that I wanted to use instead. The only concern I have is that von Karajan might be insufficiently easy as an easy part.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Cheynem » Fri May 02, 2014 11:54 pm

I would guess Van Cliburn was supposed to be the easy part.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by vinteuil » Sat May 03, 2014 12:10 am

Touko Kettunen wrote:I wrote this for ACF Nationals, and I thought it was a decent idea. Feel free to tear me to shreds, music mafia.

In 1958, during the height of the Cold War, this American pianist won the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto. For 10 points each:
[10] Identify that pianist whose recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto was the first classical record to go Platinum. This pianist is also the namesake of a quadrennial international piano competition held in Ft. Worth, Texas.
ANSWER: Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn
[10] In addition to the Tchaikovsky’s First, Van Cliburn played this piano concerto in d minor for his finale. In this notoriously difficult concerto, the piano opens after a diatonic melody with a D-F-E-D-C#-D-E-D opening theme.
ANSWER: Rachmaninoff piano concerto no. 3
[10] Another notable recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto was produced by Sviatoslav Richter and this conductor. This conductor controversially tried to hire Sabine Meyer as deputy first clarinetist during his 35 year tenure in the Berlin Philharmonic.
ANSWER: Herbert von Karajan
This is a nice idea for a bonus (sort of "music history"). I agree that the bonus parts aren't sufficiently differentiated though (definitely no clear easy part); you could have turned the first part into Tchaikovsky, and the last part into a relatively hard part on Richter?
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Re: community question clinic

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Sun May 04, 2014 11:44 am

Jerry wrote:
I think "This play sees" is an example of an unfortunate quizbowlese locution that we should probably avoid.
Is this a widely shared opinion? I sometimes use the verb "sees" in this fashion, as in "The last chapter of this work sees the protagonist meet Joe Blow ...." I personally don't have a problem with it, but if this is a common expectation, it's no problem not to use it anymore.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun May 04, 2014 1:11 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote:Jerry wrote:
I think "This play sees" is an example of an unfortunate quizbowlese locution that we should probably avoid.
Is this a widely shared opinion? I sometimes use the verb "sees" in this fashion, as in "The last chapter of this work sees the protagonist meet Joe Blow ...." I personally don't have a problem with it, but if this is a common expectation, it's no problem not to use it anymore.
I think it's largely an issue of overuse; if it was just an occasional usage, it'd be one thing, but it's like every question writer's been giving peepers out to every literary work.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by grapesmoker » Sun May 04, 2014 1:42 pm

jekbradbury wrote:As long as we're pummeling Jerry with physics questions...

I wrote this for ACF Nats; like virtually all of our disgustingly late packet it wasn't used. Benji was almost sure it would show up in the rejects packet because he thought (probably correctly) that it wasn't actually gettable. What I'm wondering is a) is this really only prominent in the popular scientific press this year, or is it something Real Physicists are aware of/interested in and b) how would one go about converting this into a tossup on an easier answer line (maybe even "black holes") while keeping the basic idea of the question?

One proposed solution to this problem claims that it is moot due to quantum computational restrictions on the sort of experiments that can be carried out in finite time; another solution interprets Hawking radiation particles entangled with their partners as a landscape of Einstein-Rosen bridges based on Van Raamsdonk’s theory of EPR-ER correspondence. Other than those proposals due respectively to Harlow and Hayden, and Maldacena and Susskind, this problem can only be resolved by accepting with Hossenfelder that Hawking radiation is impure, with Hawking that event horizons are temporary, or with the original authors that infalling observers encounter violations of Einstein’s equivalence principle. Proposed in a 2013 paper by Polchinksi et al., for 10 points, name this puzzle in black hole thermodynamics centered on the existence of an energetic curtain inside the event horizon.
ANSWER: black hole firewall paradox [accept AMPS firewall]
During my tenure as the ACF Nationals physics/other science editor, I've been trying to trim the number of what I consider "exotic" topics in those areas of the distribution. That doesn't mean excluding them altogether, but it does mean that I try to keep down the number of fringe topics, and I think this qualifies as a fringe topic. The fact is that black hole theory is a relatively niche topic even among cosmologists and astrophysicists, most of whom focus on more pedestrian issues that can actually be tested by observation.

For me as an editor, this question presents several problems. First, I need to know whether anyone at all is actually going to convert it; on that basis alone I would probably make the decision to cut it because I'm not convinced anyone knows enough about the black hole firewall to convert this even at the end. The second problem is that even if I decide to use this question, I have to figure out whether these clues actually make sense. To do that, I have to become a lot better versed in the theory of black hole physics than I currently am. For example, the graduate text from which I learned GR, Wald's General Relativity, does not mention the firewall paradox (which is sensible if this is something that was proposed in 2013; Wald's book is several decades older). This means I have to spend a lot of time reading auxiliary sources to pick up on the details of the question just so I can evaluate the quality of the clues. If I already have a question that I can use or edit up to par without investing that much time into it, I'm always going to take that option, especially if I have good reason to doubt that anyone is answering this.

I guess as far as the details of this question are concerned, I'm punting, because, as I said above, I'd have to do a lot of work to really understand the details well enough to comment on it. As an editor, that's something I'm going to avoid doing if I can because editing is always a triage operation and spending two hours to understand a single question is just not that wise a use of my time.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by grapesmoker » Sun May 04, 2014 1:43 pm

Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:
ValenciaQBowl wrote:Jerry wrote:
I think "This play sees" is an example of an unfortunate quizbowlese locution that we should probably avoid.
Is this a widely shared opinion? I sometimes use the verb "sees" in this fashion, as in "The last chapter of this work sees the protagonist meet Joe Blow ...." I personally don't have a problem with it, but if this is a common expectation, it's no problem not to use it anymore.
I think it's largely an issue of overuse; if it was just an occasional usage, it'd be one thing, but it's like every question writer's been giving peepers out to every literary work.
Yeah, once in a while is no problem, but people tend to adopt this verbiage for literary works, events, whatever. It gets a bit tiring from overuse.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Sun May 04, 2014 5:21 pm

As long as we're posting ACF Nationals questions:
In one of this author’s plays, a character explains that the ghost of his father told him to find his song in life; that song is the Binding Song, which is used to bind people towards each other. That play is set in the boardinghouse of Seth Holly. In a 1999 interview, this author stated his major influences as the “four Bs:” the blues, Borges, Amiri Baraka and Romare Bearden. In a play by this author, the protagonist discovers that his lover Alberta is pregnant shortly before he gets into an argument with his son Corey about playing football at a university. That character created by this author, Troy Maxson, is a former Negro Leagues player who is now a trash collector. For 10 points, name this American playwright of the Pittsburgh Cycle, which includes Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Fences.
ANSWER: August Wilson [or Frederick August Kittel, Jr.]
After capturing the governor of a city, this character allows the governor to reveal where some gold is hidden before ordering him to be killed anyway. In a speech, this character asks his lover to wipe her tearful cheeks, since Flora will “sprinklest sapphires on thy shining face where Beauty, mother to the Muses, sits and comments volumes with her ivory pen.” After being captured by this character, Zabina and Bajazeth kill themselves by bashing out their brains against the bars of a cage. Four virgins plead with this character to spare their city, but this character orders Techelles to kill them and hang their bodies on the walls of Damascus. This king crowns his son Amyras shortly before being buried with his wife Zenocrate. For 10 points, name this conqueror of Samarkand whom Christopher Marlowe wrote about in 2 plays.
ANSWER: Tamburlaine the Great [or Timur the Lame; or Tamerlane]
Answer some questions about serfdom in literature. For 10 points each:
[10] This author included stories about a neighbor named Radiloff and a story about “the District Doctor” in his collection A Sportsman’s Sketches.
ANSWER: Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev
[10] This author wrote about a group of peasants who ask a woman, a former landlord and a town of peasants about the title question in his epic poem “Who can be Happy and Free in Russia?”
ANSWER: Nikolai Alexeyevich Nekrasov
[10] This literary character considers the emancipation a disaster, as he states that “an owl screamed and the samovar hummed without stopping” shortly before the announcement of the emancipation. This character dies shortly after being left behind at the estate by the other characters in the play he appears in.
ANSWER: Fiers (from The Cherry Orchard)
During the reign of one ruler with this name, Daniel Khomsky won the Battle of Shelon. A ruler with this name convinced the Khan in Sarai to allow his son Simeon the Proud to succeed him. One ruler of this name was given control of Novgorod by an agreement signed by Archbishop Feofil. During the reign of one ruler with this name, a new law code was compiled by Vladimir Gusev. Peter the Great initially ruled with his half-brother with this name. One ruler with this name is known as the “gatherer of the Russian lands” and confronted the Mongols on the Ugra River. A ruler with this name founded the streltsy and ordered the sack of Novgorod by his group of bodyguards, the oprichniki. For 10 points, give this name for Russian tsars known as “the Great” and “the Terrible.”
ANSWER: Ivan [or specific rulers, such as Ivan III Vasilyevich or Ivan IV Vasilyevich; or Ivan Grozny; or Ivan I Daniilovich; or Ivan V; or Ivan Kalita; or Ivan “Moneybags”]
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Sun May 04, 2014 5:29 pm

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:
In one of this author’s plays, a character explains that the ghost of his father told him to find his song in life; that song is the Binding Song, which is used to bind people towards each other. That play is set in the boardinghouse of Seth Holly. In a 1999 interview, this author stated his major influences as the “four Bs:” the blues, Borges, Amiri Baraka and Romare Bearden. In a play by this author, the protagonist discovers that his lover Alberta is pregnant shortly before he gets into an argument with his son Corey about playing football at a university. That character created by this author, Troy Maxson, is a former Negro Leagues player who is now a trash collector. For 10 points, name this American playwright of the Pittsburgh Cycle, which includes Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Fences.
ANSWER: August Wilson [or Frederick August Kittel, Jr.]
This is a fine question, but for like EFT. After the JTCaG clues, which even if you don't know them establish that he's a playwright, you immediately clarify that he's a twentieth-century playwright heavily influenced by African-American culture, and then you're right into his most famous play after that anyway. All of the clues are good, the "four Bs" one especially as an instance of useful biography, but this is way too easy for ACF Nationals.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Guile Island » Sun May 04, 2014 8:50 pm

Here are a few more of my ACF Nats questions for your enjoyment/critique

In one work, this economist argued that Marxist theory could be successfully applied to Dutch colonial endeavors in the Tropics, but fails when applied to places like New England. That work which includes the section “Can Socialism Work?” first introduces the theory this economist is best known for, which he explained using an example of the Illinois Central Railroad in another work. This economist also discussed the gold standard in his History of Economic Analysis. In another work, he used the Juglar model to break down a certain phenomenon into parts including the Kitchin Cycle and the Kondratiev Wave. This man’s most famous theory is sometimes known as his “gale” and proposes that economic development has a root cause of some other collapse. For 10 points, name this Austrian-American economist known for his theories of business cycles and creative destruction.
ANSWER: Joseph Schumpeter

One solo piece for this instrument is a transcription by Watson Forbes taken from España. In addition to Isaac Albinez’s Tango in D, Schubert’s Sonata in A Minor is often played with this instrument in replacement for the arpeggione. Robert Schumann wrote Märchenbilder for this instrument and piano, and the oldest extant concerto for this instrument was composed by Georg Philipp Telemann. One famous player of this instrument composed a concerto for it, Der Schwanendreher, as well as a series of eight works known as Kammermusik. A symphony prominently featuring this instrument includes a “Serenade” movement and was written after Niccolo Paganini’s anger over the abundance of rests in its predecessor. For 10 points, name this alto clef instrument played by Paul Hindemith that is the solo instrument in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy
ANSWER: viola
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Re: community question clinic

Post by vinteuil » Sun May 04, 2014 9:03 pm

Goole by-election, 1971 wrote: One solo piece for this instrument is a transcription by Watson Forbes taken from España. In addition to Isaac Albinez’s Tango in D, Schubert’s Sonata in A Minor is often played with this instrument in replacement for the arpeggione. Robert Schumann wrote Märchenbilder for this instrument and piano, and the oldest extant concerto for this instrument was composed by Georg Philipp Telemann. One famous player of this instrument composed a concerto for it, Der Schwanendreher, as well as a series of eight works known as Kammermusik. A symphony prominently featuring this instrument includes a “Serenade” movement and was written after Niccolo Paganini’s anger over the abundance of rests in its predecessor. For 10 points, name this alto clef instrument played by Paul Hindemith that is the solo instrument in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy
ANSWER: viola
So, most of this is very good, if a tiny bit easy for ACF Nationals. There are just a few non-unique clues:
Tango in D is most famous as a guitar piece (transcriptions are often non-unique, so it's a really good idea to google, e.g. "Tango in D Albeniz"). I know after searching that Watson Forbes is a violist, but I'm not sure it's a great idea to have him as basically the only clue from 1.5 sentences of a question.
The Schubert Arpeggione sonata is played quite frequently on the cello (same deal, it's always a good idea to google).
Also, "serenade" movement, isn't the most helpful clue, just because there are so many serenades (if you were to google "serenade," you probably wouldn't even find Harold in Italy). Also, be careful, the clue about Paganini is a little confusingly worded; it sounds like you're saying that Harold in Italy was written in response to Paganini saying that some other Berlioz viola symphony had too many rests, whereas the story goes that Paganini refused to play Harold in Italy itself because of the rests.
In general, it couldn't hurt to google whatever you're using as a clue.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun May 04, 2014 9:48 pm

So I know Ryan rejected this submission to Nationals because he thought it was overasked, but I wanted to see what others thought about it:
Dartmouth ACF Nationals 2014 submission wrote:A “convocation” version of this institution drew up a pacta conventa. Any single member of this institution could immediately end one of its sessions by shouting “I do not allow!” This institution was required to meet at least once annually under a series of eighteen articles named for the newly-elected King Henry. The last meeting of one version of this institution was held in Grodno. An act called Nihil novi nisi commune consensu was adopted by this body, whose members could employ the liberum veto. The privileges of this body’s members were known as “golden liberty.” A “Great” meeting of this body established a new constitution on May 3, 1791, whose reforms were later undone by the Confederation of Targowica. This body was composed primarily of szlachta nobility, and it approved the Union of Lublin in 1569. For 10 points, name this early modern parliament of Poland.
ANSWER: sejm [accept general sejm or sejm walny specifically; do not accept Sejm of the Republic of Poland; prompt on “Parliament of Poland” or other general answers, asking for the specific term]
Also, a question from SUBMIT that I sent in and thought was in line with that tournament's difficulty, but I guess was excluded on account of the Philip II question getting included:
Dartmouth A SUBMIT 2014 submission wrote:A canonized king of this name used the sword Lobera as a symbol of royal power and captured the Umayyad capital of Córdoba. Another king of this name was the first to be called Emperor of Spain. A man of this name known as the “felon king” disputed the Spanish throne with Joseph Bonaparte. Another Spanish king of this name supported Alfonso II against a ruler defeated at Fornovo and was advised by Cardinal Jimenez. A brother of Philip II with this name received the Habsburg lands in Austria following the abdication of Charles V. Another ruler of this name served as regent for his mentally ill daughter, Juana the Mad, and received the surrender of Boabdil. That man issued the Alhambra Decree jointly with his wife, with whom he reigned as the “Catholic monarchs.” For 10 points, give this name of the Aragonese king who united Spain by marrying the Castilian queen Isabella.
ANSWER: Ferdinand [or Fernando]
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Sun May 04, 2014 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun May 04, 2014 9:56 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Dartmouth ACF Nationals 2014 submission wrote:A “convocation” version of this institution drew up a pacta conventa. Any single member of this institution could immediately end one of its sessions by shouting “I do not allow!” This institution was required to meet at least once annually under a series of eighteen articles named for the newly-elected King Henry. The last meeting of one version of this institution was held in Grodno. An act called Nihil novi nisi commune consensu was adopted by this body, whose members could employ the liberum veto. The privileges of this body’s members were known as “golden liberty.” A “Great” meeting of this body established a new constitution on May 3, 1791, whose reforms were later undone by the Confederation of Targowica. This body was composed primarily of szlachta nobility, and it approved the Union of Lublin in 1569. For 10 points, name this early modern parliament of Poland.
I suppose I could nitpick a couple points of ambiguity or lateral-ness (insufficient distinguishment from the Croatian pacta conventa, saying "this legislature" and then naming a city in Poland) but the main problem here is that there are no real hard clues and perhaps only one middle clue. Anyone who doesn't neg with "Croatian estates" on the Pacta Conventa clue is going to be buzzing when you describe the liberum veto in the second clue.

Also I don't think you need to specify early modern. Even the current Polish parliament is called the sejm.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Sun May 04, 2014 10:28 pm

Goole by-election, 1971 wrote:
In one work, this economist argued that Marxist theory could be successfully applied to Dutch colonial endeavors in the Tropics, but fails when applied to places like New England. That work which includes the section “Can Socialism Work?” first introduces the theory this economist is best known for, which he explained using an example of the Illinois Central Railroad in another work. This economist also discussed the gold standard in his History of Economic Analysis. In another work, he used the Juglar model to break down a certain phenomenon into parts including the Kitchin Cycle and the Kondratiev Wave. This man’s most famous theory is sometimes known as his “gale” and proposes that economic development has a root cause of some other collapse. For 10 points, name this Austrian-American economist known for his theories of business cycles and creative destruction.
ANSWER: Joseph Schumpeter
I don't know what anything before "Kondratiev Wave" refers to, so I'm not really in a position to evaluate those clues, but that's not a great sign. The biggest thing wrong with this is a vague or non-existent leading description of "creative destruction," which I will attempt now: "the concept most associated with this economist holds that economic growth occurs when resources are re-allocated to more productive uses, which he thought happens in 'gales.'"

For reference, here's a tossup I wrote on "creative destruction" for PR which I think holds up well (that is, it's well written. I have no idea how buzzable it is.)
Peaceful Resolution wrote:This economic concept has been offered as an explanation for the divergence between supposed increasing employment volatility at the firm level and the Great Moderation, a reduction in the magnitude of business cycles. In “Endogenous Growth” models, this concept usually operates at the intensive margin, where firms choose their mode of production or R&D budget, while this concept may also work through the extensive margin, in which the distribution of firm productivity changes due to entry and exit, giving rise to the “evolutionary” form of this concept. This concept was thought by its originator to function more effectively in an economy characterized by market power, since the returns to innovation would be higher, though this concept would not operate in such a setting if innovations are complementary with existing product lines. For 10 points, name this economic concept that holds that technological advance occurs through “gales” of resource reallocation, which is associated with Joseph Schumpeter.
ANSWER: creative destruction
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Pilgrim » Sun May 04, 2014 11:19 pm

Dartmouth A SUBMIT 2014 submission wrote:A canonized king of this name used the sword Lobera as a symbol of royal power and captured the Umayyad capital of Córdoba. Another king of this name was the first to be called Emperor of Spain. A man of this name known as the “felon king” disputed the Spanish throne with Joseph Bonaparte. Another Spanish king of this name supported Alfonso II against a ruler defeated at Fornovo and was advised by Cardinal Jimenez. A brother of Philip II with this name received the Habsburg lands in Austria following the abdication of Charles V. Another ruler of this name served as regent for his mentally ill daughter, Juana the Mad, and received the surrender of Boabdil. That man issued the Alhambra Decree jointly with his wife, with whom he reigned as the “Catholic monarchs.” For 10 points, give this name of the Aragonese king who united Spain by marrying the Castilian queen Isabella.
ANSWER: Ferdinand [or Fernando]
In general, I think the clue choices and difficulty gradient are good. I think Joanna the Mad, Boabdil, and Alhambra Decree are all of pretty similar difficulty, but they don't take up much question room so that's probably fine. One general comment I would make is that when a name and number is possibly ambiguous for a ruler, you should try to be more specific. I definitely think that's the case for Alfonso II of Naples here.

Unfortunately, your question also contains some factual inaccuracies:
  • The first clue is at best misleading, since the Umayyads were long gone by the time Cordoba fell.
  • People were called Emperor of Spain before Ferdinand I (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperator_totius_Hispaniae).
  • If you want to shorten Jimenez de Cisneros's name, it should be Cardinal Cisneros.
  • HRE Ferdinand I was a brother of Charles II, not of Philip II.
Hopefully this reinforces the need to double-check your sources.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun May 04, 2014 11:24 pm

Oh yeah, I misremembered that since I wrote the question fairly quickly and mostly from memory. Thanks for pointing that out. However, to my recollection I've almost always heard Jimenez de Cisneros shortened to "Cardinal Jimenez" for some reason; perhaps I'm confusing him with somebody else?
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Geriatric trauma » Sun May 04, 2014 11:35 pm

A couple of more examples from ACF Nationals submissions. Thanks!
North Carolina's dreadfully late Nationals submission wrote:In one of these works, the narrator whispers “I love you” as a woman sleds down a hill. Another of these works concludes with a nurse strangling her baby due to the title condition. A character in one of these works claims “Your Diogenes was a blockhead” to his doctor. In addition to works titled “A Little Joke” and “Sleepy”, another of these works concerns a man who feels he must apologize to the person he has sneezed upon at the opera. That work is titled “Death of a Clerk”. Many of these works were first translated by Constance Garnett. Von Diderits is the husband of Anna in one of these works, and the former doctor Andrey Yefimitch is deemed insane and placed in the title location in another of these works. For 10 points, name these works, examples of which include “Lady with the Dog” and “Ward No. 6”.

ANSWER: short stories by Anton Chekhov [prompt on “works by Chekhov”; accept short stories by Antosha Chekhonte]

A poem by William Meredith is titled “In Loving Memory of” the author of this collection. One work in this collection talks of a woman with “complexion Latin” who is “filling her compact & delicious body with chicken paprika”. Another poem in this collection begins by stating that “Life, friends, is boring”, and talks of how “Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes/as bad as achilles”. The first work in this collection of 77 poems mentions that “All the world like a woolen lover once did seem on Henry's side”. This collection’s author was a Confessional poet who committed suicide by jumping into the Mississippi River. For 10 points, name this collection by John Berryman.

ANSWER: Dream Songs
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Pilgrim » Sun May 04, 2014 11:42 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:Oh yeah, I misremembered that since I wrote the question fairly quickly and mostly from memory. Thanks for pointing that out. However, to my recollection I've almost always heard Jimenez de Cisneros shortened to "Cardinal Jimenez" for some reason; perhaps I'm confusing him with somebody else?
There do appear to be some sources that refer to him as Cardinal Jimenez, but Cardinal Cisneros is far more common. The usual way I sanity check these things:
  • Google search for "Cardinal Jimenez": 5,000 results (many of which are using his full name)
  • Google search for "Cardinal Cisneros": 123,000 results
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Re: community question clinic

Post by at your pleasure » Sun May 04, 2014 11:47 pm

The Predictable Consequences wrote:A poem by William Meredith is titled “In Loving Memory of” the author of this collection. One work in this collection talks of a woman with “complexion Latin” who is “filling her compact & delicious body with chicken paprika”. Another poem in this collection begins by stating that “Life, friends, is boring”, and talks of how “Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes/as bad as achilles”. The first work in this collection of 77 poems mentions that “All the world like a woolen lover once did seem on Henry's side”. This collection’s author was a Confessional poet who committed suicide by jumping into the Mississippi River. For 10 points, name this collection by John Berryman.

ANSWER: Dream Songs
This is short and also kind of lacking in middle clues since it jumps from William Meredith to some of the more memorable lines in three of the most famous poems in the Dream Songs. This question would benefit from clues on some secondary poems in the dream songs and possible some more subtle clues on the poems clued already.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Pilgrim » Sun May 04, 2014 11:57 pm

The Predictable Consequences wrote:In one of these works, the narrator whispers “I love you” as a woman sleds down a hill. Another of these works concludes with a nurse strangling her baby due to the title condition. A character in one of these works claims “Your Diogenes was a blockhead” to his doctor. In addition to works titled “A Little Joke” and “Sleepy”, another of these works concerns a man who feels he must apologize to the person he has sneezed upon at the opera. That work is titled “Death of a Clerk”. Many of these works were first translated by Constance Garnett. Von Diderits is the husband of Anna in one of these works, and the former doctor Andrey Yefimitch is deemed insane and placed in the title location in another of these works. For 10 points, name these works, examples of which include “Lady with the Dog” and “Ward No. 6”.

ANSWER: short stories by Anton Chekhov [prompt on “works by Chekhov”; accept short stories by Antosha Chekhonte]
This feels lacking in middle clues, but I'm certainly no expert here. One thing I can say for certain: the answer line should just be Chekhov. You can still include only clues from his short stories, but the way this is currently written, you are going to confuse people as to what you want them to answer.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon May 05, 2014 12:00 am

The Predictable Consequences wrote:A couple of more examples from ACF Nationals submissions. Thanks!
North Carolina's dreadfully late Nationals submission wrote:In one of these works, the narrator whispers “I love you” as a woman sleds down a hill. Another of these works concludes with a nurse strangling her baby due to the title condition. A character in one of these works claims “Your Diogenes was a blockhead” to his doctor. In addition to works titled “A Little Joke” and “Sleepy”, another of these works concerns a man who feels he must apologize to the person he has sneezed upon at the opera. That work is titled “Death of a Clerk”. Many of these works were first translated by Constance Garnett. Von Diderits is the husband of Anna in one of these works, and the former doctor Andrey Yefimitch is deemed insane and placed in the title location in another of these works. For 10 points, name these works, examples of which include “Lady with the Dog” and “Ward No. 6”.

ANSWER: short stories by Anton Chekhov [prompt on “works by Chekhov”; accept short stories by Antosha Chekhonte]
Not gonna go super in depth on the clues on this one, but here's something: first, tossups on major, unremarkable genres of literature by given authors never really seem like a good idea to me. In most cases you're not really going to be able to give interesting clues about the genre itself when it's something like "plays" or "short stories" or "essays" that isn't easily translatable into a clue about the same thing which leads to an answer of the author. Sometimes there certainly might be a reason to do this for a major genre (transparency?) but I'm hard-pressed to think of an example, and this certainly isn't one. There's nothing like inherently wrong with it, per se, but you're not really gaining anything by not just writing on the author with a constrained clue set.

Also, Constance Garnett translated vast amounts of Russian literature (not just Chekhov, but Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, etc.), so that clue isn't particularly helpful. If you could find someone who had something interesting or important to say about a particular Garnett's translation, or something unique about them, that'd be one thing, but as is that clue is just telling you "this is a Russian author".
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Cody » Mon May 05, 2014 12:10 am

Pilgrim wrote:
The Predictable Consequences wrote:In one of these works, the narrator whispers “I love you” as a woman sleds down a hill. Another of these works concludes with a nurse strangling her baby due to the title condition. A character in one of these works claims “Your Diogenes was a blockhead” to his doctor. In addition to works titled “A Little Joke” and “Sleepy”, another of these works concerns a man who feels he must apologize to the person he has sneezed upon at the opera. That work is titled “Death of a Clerk”. Many of these works were first translated by Constance Garnett. Von Diderits is the husband of Anna in one of these works, and the former doctor Andrey Yefimitch is deemed insane and placed in the title location in another of these works. For 10 points, name these works, examples of which include “Lady with the Dog” and “Ward No. 6”.

ANSWER: short stories by Anton Chekhov [prompt on “works by Chekhov”; accept short stories by Antosha Chekhonte]
This feels lacking in middle clues, but I'm certainly no expert here. One thing I can say for certain: the answer line should just be Chekhov. You can still include only clues from his short stories, but the way this is currently written, you are going to confuse people as to what you want them to answer.
To build on this: literature is not like music, so tossups on _work_s by _author_ rarely work in the same manner: there's no reason to require the work as it is an insufficient barrier to answer and you don't gain anything from referring to them as a whole, i.e. there is not some cool clue that applies to the set of short stories by Chekhov as there often is for the set of X works by Y composer. So, this can be executed just as well - nay, better - as an author tossup that only sources clues from his short stories.

Secondly, when writing tossups on _x_ by _y_ or such, you need to be very clear with your pronouns. This tossup would be improved greatly by simply changing the pronoun to "this type of work by this author" as it communicates very clearly to the player what you want and they aren't left guessing at what exactly the answerline is supposed to be. This is, in fact, a very general point: always be as specific as possible with your pronouns to guide players. For another example, using the pronoun "this work" should be a big no-no: there is very rarely a situation where obscuring what type of work you are asking about benefits the question. Instead, use constructions like "this opera", "this novel", "this play", "this poem", etc. etc.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Geriatric trauma » Mon May 05, 2014 12:18 am

Ukonvasara wrote:
The Predictable Consequences wrote:A couple of more examples from ACF Nationals submissions. Thanks!
North Carolina's dreadfully late Nationals submission wrote:In one of these works, the narrator whispers “I love you” as a woman sleds down a hill. Another of these works concludes with a nurse strangling her baby due to the title condition. A character in one of these works claims “Your Diogenes was a blockhead” to his doctor. In addition to works titled “A Little Joke” and “Sleepy”, another of these works concerns a man who feels he must apologize to the person he has sneezed upon at the opera. That work is titled “Death of a Clerk”. Many of these works were first translated by Constance Garnett. Von Diderits is the husband of Anna in one of these works, and the former doctor Andrey Yefimitch is deemed insane and placed in the title location in another of these works. For 10 points, name these works, examples of which include “Lady with the Dog” and “Ward No. 6”.

ANSWER: short stories by Anton Chekhov [prompt on “works by Chekhov”; accept short stories by Antosha Chekhonte]
Not gonna go super in depth on the clues on this one, but here's something: first, tossups on major, unremarkable genres of literature by given authors never really seem like a good idea to me. In most cases you're not really going to be able to give interesting clues about the genre itself when it's something like "plays" or "short stories" or "essays" that isn't easily translatable into a clue about the same thing which leads to an answer of the author. Sometimes there certainly might be a reason to do this for a major genre (transparency?) but I'm hard-pressed to think of an example, and this certainly isn't one. There's nothing like inherently wrong with it, per se, but you're not really gaining anything by not just writing on the author with a constrained clue set.

Also, Constance Garnett translated vast amounts of Russian literature (not just Chekhov, but Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, etc.), so that clue isn't particularly helpful. If you could find someone who had something interesting or important to say about a particular Garnett's translation, or something unique about them, that'd be one thing, but as is that clue is just telling you "this is a Russian author".
Thanks! When writing the tossup, I was trying to use what I had learned in the class on Chekhov I took this semester, where we treated the short stories as a defined area of study separate from the rest of Chekhov's works. I see now how this wouldn't translate well into a tossup, though.

There is an interesting clue that does apply solely to Chekhov's early short stories--he wrote them under the pseudonym "Antosha Chekhonte" so as to preserve his reputation while writing for small publications to make money. I didn't include anything about it because of the transparency saying the pseudonym, however.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by vinteuil » Mon May 05, 2014 12:21 am

Cody wrote:
Pilgrim wrote:
The Predictable Consequences wrote:In one of these works, the narrator whispers “I love you” as a woman sleds down a hill. Another of these works concludes with a nurse strangling her baby due to the title condition. A character in one of these works claims “Your Diogenes was a blockhead” to his doctor. In addition to works titled “A Little Joke” and “Sleepy”, another of these works concerns a man who feels he must apologize to the person he has sneezed upon at the opera. That work is titled “Death of a Clerk”. Many of these works were first translated by Constance Garnett. Von Diderits is the husband of Anna in one of these works, and the former doctor Andrey Yefimitch is deemed insane and placed in the title location in another of these works. For 10 points, name these works, examples of which include “Lady with the Dog” and “Ward No. 6”.

ANSWER: short stories by Anton Chekhov [prompt on “works by Chekhov”; accept short stories by Antosha Chekhonte]
This feels lacking in middle clues, but I'm certainly no expert here. One thing I can say for certain: the answer line should just be Chekhov. You can still include only clues from his short stories, but the way this is currently written, you are going to confuse people as to what you want them to answer.
To build on this: literature is not like music, so tossups on _work_s by _author_ rarely work in the same manner: there's no reason to require the work as it is an insufficient barrier to answer and you don't gain anything from referring to them as a whole, i.e. there is not some cool clue that applies to the set of short stories by Chekhov as there often is for the set of X works by Y composer. So, this can be executed just as well - nay, better - as an author tossup that only sources clues from his short stories.
I'd in fact submit that this construction is often much more trouble than it's worth in music too. The only case I can think of where that kind of answerline is useful is when a composer (or an author) is particularly known for writing a lot of works in one genre, in which case you can't just repeat "one [TYPE OF WORK] by this [CREATOR]."
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Cheynem » Mon May 05, 2014 12:22 am

Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with writing a tossup on Chekhov that ONLY uses clues from his short stories, which are indeed well known and studied as a discrete thing. But writing the same tossup to end with "For 10 points, name this author of Ward No. 6, etc." is a bit easier to parse.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Muriel Axon » Mon May 05, 2014 12:30 am

The Predictable Consequences wrote:
A poem by William Meredith is titled “In Loving Memory of” the author of this collection. One work in this collection talks of a woman with “complexion Latin” who is “filling her compact & delicious body with chicken paprika”. Another poem in this collection begins by stating that “Life, friends, is boring”, and talks of how “Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes/as bad as achilles”. The first work in this collection of 77 poems mentions that “All the world like a woolen lover once did seem on Henry's side”. This collection’s author was a Confessional poet who committed suicide by jumping into the Mississippi River. For 10 points, name this collection by John Berryman.

ANSWER: Dream Songs
There was a question on The Dream Songs in Nats last year, so even if this question were fantastic, it could still be cut. (That question also used the "Life, friends, is boring" poem fairly early.)

As for problems with the question: First of all, there are more than 77 Dream Songs. There were 77 published in the first collection, but 308 more were added with the publication of His Toy, His Dream, His Rest, as is noted in the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dream_Songs

I don't think it's wise to mention Henry's name so early in the question. In general, I think Doug is right about the lack of difficulty gradation. There are some hard clues ("filling her compact & delicious body" is a good upper middle clue), then a couple drops in difficulty with "Life, friends, is boring," and the mention of Henry's name. Then the question goes on to quote the first Dream Song - I could be mistaken, but I don't think this is notably easier than any previous clues. And then a useful but non-specific pre-FTP clue (Berryman wrote many collections). It would really help if there were just more clues - the question is on the short side, and there's a lot about The Dream Songs that can be clued.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen » Mon May 05, 2014 1:39 pm

vinteuil wrote: The Schubert Arpeggione sonata is played quite frequently on the cello (same deal, it's always a good idea to google).
And the flute, even. Good music written for obsolete instruments tends to be fair game for lots of transcriptions. :lol:

I don't think there was any discussion of the music from Fernando Arrabal; and I wasn't there, so I don't know how it played. Here are some of the "cutesier" questions/answer-lines -- I'm curious as to whether these worked or didn't work, for whatever reason. (Like, the saxophone stuff in the Stravinsky question was really only there to be funny.)
Mikhail Tushmalov replaced the first one of these with the final one, which is identical except for the ending sustained B-flat and the octave doubling of the opening theme. That theme returns transposed up a fourth to E-flat major in the finale, and an earlier quotation of it is accompanied by an F-sharp octave tremolo. One of these ends with a series of octave A's interrupted by a group of four sixteenth notes foreshadowing the opening motive of the following Scherzino. Several of these, including the first, begin with a monophonic statement of the opening theme for two bars, which is then harmonized in the next two bars. Those pairs of measures alternate between the time signatures of 5/4 and 6/4. The last one of these was omitted by Ravel, and follows "Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle". For 10 points, name these five movements, one of which precedes "Gnomus", in Pictures at an Exhibition.
ANSWER: promenades from Pictures at an Exhibition
One character of this profession has a conversation with Doctor Vigelius accompanied by offstage celesta and piano, and then dies in Grete's arms after having been haunted by the title phenomenon in a work by Franz Schreker. In another opera, one of these people sings "Du Venus' Sohn" and, in order to please the richest man in Vienna, makes an agreement with Zerbinetta that he immediately regrets. Silla, also a trouser role, is an apprentice of this profession in another work; unlike Ighino, he eventually leaves for Florence rather than continuing to study this pursuit with the allegedly old-fashioned title character. That character plies this craft all night long after being visited by nine ghostly masters of this profession, as well as his dead wife Lucrezia. For 10 points, name this profession practised by the aforementioned characters from Der ferne Klang, Ariadne auf Naxos, and the Hans Pfitzner opera Palestrina.
ANSWER: composers [prompt on "musicians", I guess]
This man remarked to Ingolf Dahl that the sound of the saxophone was like a "pink slimy worm" when he heard of Dahl's plan to write a concerto for it. One of this composer's works is bookended by two "dirge-canons" featuring a quartet of trombones, and is based on a five-tone row. That work is a setting of "Do not go gentle into that good night" and is called In Memoriam Dylan Thomas. He scored for a wind band unsurprisingly devoid of saxophones in his Symphonies of Wind Instruments, and added cellos and basses – and still no saxophones – for a work that also includes a choir and begins with a namesake E-minor chord. In an orchestral work by this composer of the Symphony of Psalms, six solo violas play the theme of the "mystic circles" movement, and a repeated crescendoing brass motive culminates in an 11/4 bar leading into the "Glorification of the Chosen One". For 10 points, name this composer of The Rite of Spring.
ANSWER: Igor Stravinsky
Answer the following about musical adaptations of Don Quixote, for 10 points each.
[10] This man's tone poem Don Quixote prominently features a solo cello, and uses flutter-tonguing in the winds to represent sheep in a field after Don Quixote's windmill encounter.
ANSWER: Richard Strauss
[10] In Ludwig Minkus's ballet version of Don Quixote, choreographed by Marius Petipa, this character's famous variation with a fan is part of her wedding to Basilio. Don Quixote dances a minuet with her, thinking she is Dulcinea.
ANSWER: Kitri
[10] Another ballet version of Don Quixote was written by this composer, whose Histoires for solo piano include "The Little White Donkey".
ANSWER: Jacques Ibert
This composer's shorter works include the March of the Bluebirds, for piccolo and piano. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this composer who recycled the March of the Bluebirds tune for the scherzo of his chamber work Mladi, but is better known for composing a Sinfonietta for the Sokol Gymnastic Festival.
ANSWER: Leos Janacek
[10] Janacek's sextet Mladi is scored for a wind quintet plus this instrument. Adding this instrument and a trumpet to a wind quintet would give you the ensemble called for in Hindemith's Septet.
ANSWER: bass clarinet
[10] Janacek's works for this instrument include In the Mists and On an Overgrown Path, as well as a sonata named for the first of October 1905.
ANSWER: piano
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Nicklausse/Muse » Mon May 05, 2014 9:12 pm

In one speech, this character describes himself as “the king of courtesy” and states that he is “a Corinthian, a lad of mettle” and that he shall eventually “command all the good lads in Eastchap.” With Pointz, this character robs Bardolph and Petro of money they had stolen from some “grand-jurors.” The prologue to the play named for this character asks for “a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.” This character chases off the Earl of Douglas and kills Hotspur near Shrewsbury. In one play, this character disguises himself as a foot-soldier and is given the glove of Michael Williams. That play sees this character give a speech about going “once more into the breach.” This character likes to hang out at the Boar’s-Head Tavern with his companion, Sir John Falstaff. For 10 points, name this Shakesperean character who succeeds Henry Bolingbroke as King of England.
ANSWER: Prince Hal [or Prince Henry; or Henry V; or equivalents such as the Prince of Wales from either part of Henry IV; prompt on a partial answer of “Henry” or “Hal”]
Standard disclaimer that I'm very removed from quizbowl world and that, for all I know, the Henry plays have been subject to that phenomenon where people who haven't actually read/seen them have a clue/knowledge ordering that doesn't match up to typical orders of significant facts in the plays...but in my opinion as a Shakespearean, this question drops Eastcheap really really early. And as someone whose favorite scene in that play is the Mike Williams scene, is it really better known than the names of Poins and Bardolph or the killing of Hotspur? Or the muse of fire speech?

If you feel lacking in hard or middle clues - but this might be a novice-level question regardless, unless you overhaul it to incorporate lit crit - then maybe pull in a quote from the crown speech in Henry IV Part 2 (because if you don't actually recognize it, someone talking about a crown isn't very specific to character) or the wooing of Katherine.

Misspellings (Poins, Eastcheap, Peto) have been noted by others.

Edit: My comment implied that you had not read/seen the plays and, if incorrect, was unnecessarily dickish. Apologies.

Edit2: In case this is useful or interesting to anyone else, I discussed this question with Jacob over PM. What I said was that the Eastcheap speech was probably a fine lead-in but that name-dropping Eastcheap itself might be too much that early, and that there are probably too many clues of approximately equal difficulty (eg. you might not be able to write a question that includes the muse of fire, the breach, and Falstaff). I also gave another suggestion for a hard or mid-level clue, which is the three traitors scene in H5.
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Reesefulgenzi » Wed May 07, 2014 9:45 pm

These are literature questions intended to be on the easier side of college/harder side of high school questions. These were never used or submitted anywhere, but I would love to hear any feedback on them!

Reese
This author wrote that the title object “did not give of bird or bush / Like nothing else in Tennessee” in one work, while he opened another “Mother of heaven, regina of the clouds” For ten points each,
[10] Identify this poet of “Anecdote of the Jar” and “Le Monocle de Mon Ocle”
ANSWER: Wallace _Stevens_
[10] This is the Steven’s first book of poetry, containing the works “The Comedian as the Letter C” and “Bantams in Pine-woods”
ANSWER: _Harmonium_
[10] This poem by Stevens opens “Just as my fingers on these keys make music, so the self same sounds”, and repeatedly references Susanna throughout its four sections.
ANSWER: _“Peter Quince at the Clavier”_
This man frequently referred to as “The Boss” abandons his idealism once he becomes governor, much like his real-life counterpart. For ten points,
[10] Name this character from All the King’s Men that was based on Huey Long.
ANSWER: _Willie_ _Stark_ [accept either]
[10] Stark, like Long, was assassinated on the capitol steps by a man of this profession. In a short story by J. D. Salinger, Teddy does not want this profession.
ANSWER: _physician_ [accept _doctor_ or other equivalents]
[10] In the original manuscript for All the King’s Men, a verse play titled Proud Flesh, Willie was named Talos in reference to a character from this epic poem by Edmund Spenser.
ANSWER: The _Faerie Queene_
This author is spied “by the watermelons” in a poem by Ginsberg. For ten points each,
[10] Name this author featured along with Walt Whitman in “A Supermarket in California”, famous for a trilogy including the play Yerma.
ANSWER: Federico _Garcia Lorca_ [prompt partial]
[10] This character appears as an old female beggar in a play featuring the moon, Leonardo, and the Bride, Blood Wedding. This character narrates Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief.
ANSWER: _death_
[10] Specific answer required. Garcia Lorca wrote a “Lament” for the death of this man, a bullfighter who died at five in the afternoon. This man’s “eyes did not shut”, and although “no one knows [this man]”, Garcia Lorca sings of him.
ANSWER: _Ignacio_ Sanchez _Mejias_ [accept either; prompt on bullfighter , Absence of the Soul IV, or Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter]
Reese Fulgenzi
Loudoun County High School, 2015
University of Virginia, 2019

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Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Chairman of Anti-Music Mafia Committee
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon May 26, 2014 2:18 pm

I have a critique of Kay's Rachmaninov 3rd concerto question that I think applies to lots of Quizbowl. It seems to me like a lot of problems with listing series of notes in a melody is that you still lack the rhythm component, and without that, it's hard to fill in the gaps of what the melody sounds like. Times when I have successfully buzzed on lists of notes are for things like the promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition or Pachelbel's canon, where all the notes that start it have the same length. If you list off those Rachmaninov notes to me, I wouldn't be able to do the same even though I know the melody you're talking about.
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

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vinteuil
Auron
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Re: community question clinic

Post by vinteuil » Mon May 26, 2014 2:51 pm

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:I have a critique of Kay's Rachmaninov 3rd concerto question that I think applies to lots of Quizbowl. It seems to me like a lot of problems with listing series of notes in a melody is that you still lack the rhythm component, and without that, it's hard to fill in the gaps of what the melody sounds like. Times when I have successfully buzzed on lists of notes are for things like the promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition or Pachelbel's canon, where all the notes that start it have the same length. If you list off those Rachmaninov notes to me, I wouldn't be able to do the same even though I know the melody you're talking about.
Completely agreed—these clues are often impossible to parse without some idea of what's on the beat and if one note is much longer than the other. I've been experimenting with adding small, easy-to-execute rhythmic alterations to clues like that, as well as an injunction to read the clue SLOWLY. For instance (the Rach):
D-F-E-D-C#-D-E-D
becomes
"D. / F-E-D. C-sharp-D-E. / D"
With a note like "Read this slowly as letters. Pause briefly at the periods. Give a slight emphasis to notes after slashes"
And the little orchestral introduction becomes "D. E-D. E-D."

I'd also note that this kind of clue is also useless unless a melody is EASY to sight-sing, otherwise it's very difficult to buzz on, unless you happen to know the notes of a certain tune. If the melody has too many accidentals, the extra "sharp" and "flat" are also going to make it much harder to parse. Also, long clues of this kind are useless in actual tournaments (I had a few in my Beatles packet, because it was only going to be read online, not in person). I hope that the grouping effect of the slashes helps people, if nothing else.
Jacob Reed
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

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Tees-Exe Line
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Re: community question clinic

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon May 26, 2014 3:23 pm

vinteuil wrote:I've been experimenting with adding small, easy-to-execute rhythmic alterations to clues like that
Oh my god it's but a short hop from there to musical staffs in quizbowl questions, which amounts to the total gangland domination of the music mafia.

But just kidding--you're totally right.
Marshall I. Steinbaum

Oxford University (2002-2005)
University of Chicago (2008-2014)

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--Matt Jackson

"Leader of Lord Dumbass' Horse"
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vinteuil
Auron
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Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: community question clinic

Post by vinteuil » Mon May 26, 2014 3:30 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:
vinteuil wrote:I've been experimenting with adding small, easy-to-execute rhythmic alterations to clues like that
Oh my god it's but a short hop from there to musical staffs in quizbowl questions, which amounts to the total gangland domination of the music mafia.

But just kidding--you're totally right.
I would if I could (looking forward to being able to insert little audio clips into packets eventually…it's already happening with some online music journals!)
Jacob Reed
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

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