Alright, after 60 comments lambasting me and another 20 lambasting some guy from Alabama, let me put down some retrospective thoughts on this experience, both as editor and writer:
First, in the interest of assigning blame and credit accurately, the breakdown was essentially that Ike took responsibility for Lit, RMP, and Other Academic, and I handled History, Arts, Social Science, and Geography/CE, with Gautam looking over Science, especially Bio and Chem. In the event, Ike did most of the constructive editing on Music since he knows way more about that than I.
My own writing and editing philosophy for this project was, in essence, to make it as straightforward as possible. Obviously I didn't succeed across the board, but (with the exception of the political cartoons bonus) there were literally no questions of which I thought in advance "this is an interesting idea and skirts the boundaries of quizbowl or received wisdom; let's see how it plays." That was definitely not true for Sack of Antwerp--so to the extent it isn't received that way, that's a failure in execution, not intention.
Now to thanks:
1. The first and most important is a huge thank-you to Ike, who worked his ass off for this tournament and put out what I consider a very worthwhile product. I don't think the fact that he knows a ton of stuff that spans lots of subjects is doubted by anyone. But he's also a great collaborator, useful sounding board for ideas, disciplined writer and editor, patient and foregiving co-editor when I incompetently locked myself out of my office at midnight the night before the tournament, and all-around great guy.
2. Thanks also to Gautam Kandlikar and Jonathan Magin, who both provided useful advice and constructive criticism on many questions. The science would simply have been impossible without Gautam, and they both took it upon themselves to contribute across the tournament simply out of benevolence--and their contributions were very helpful.
3. In addition, Jeremy Eaton and Jimmy Ready both joined up at the end and contributed when we had severe writing problems, filling important gaps where the editors couldn't really help out.
4. Matt Hill and Zach Pace did a great deal for this, in both cases more than they initially signed up for and they worked promptly and methodically. They are definitely welcome, constructive members of this community.
5. Sam noted above the science was largely written by newcomers (which include me), and I think we'd all like to hear specific feedback on questions. In my case, see below.
6. Although the criticism so far has focused on my history questions, I'm interested in hearing feedback especially about my writing in other categories since I'm already acquainted with how my history writing is received. For economics, I tried to tone it down but still keep the clues and answer lines "real" and related to actual economic research and ongoing debate. On art, Mike Bentley already pointed out problems with the "card-playing" and "Hockney" questions; on the card-playing one, I'm guilty of something I've criticized in the past, which is the indiscriminate inclusion of clues that are misleading if you know something, so I apologize for that.
In particular, here is a list of questions I wrote that I'd especially like to hear about.
Rogier van der Weyden
Toilette of Venus
bonus on professions of portrait subjects: astronomer/journalist/artist
Battle of Ayn Jalut
Act of Union
killing a son
translating the Bible into English
Marshall I. Steinbaum
"Edgy" and "cool" --Michael Arnold
Oxford University (1898-1927)
University of Chicago (2008-)
"I thought you were an old British man." --Matt Jackson