General Discussion (Maryland Spring 2014)

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General Discussion (Maryland Spring 2014)

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Mon May 05, 2014 8:46 pm

Post here with any general comments about the set!
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Tue May 06, 2014 1:36 am

I really liked the questions Isaac wrote
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Reesefulgenzi » Tue May 06, 2014 5:41 pm

I enjoyed the set, although I feel that it overshot the difficulty; it was about on par with or slightly harder than the 2012 set for us.
The trash seemed to focus on sports (I don't think we broke 15 ppb on trash), and the chemistry seemed to be more difficult than the other sciences overall.

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Re: General Discussion

Post by Off To See The Lizard » Tue May 06, 2014 7:22 pm

I enjoyed this set. I thought it was very well written and the answerlines were good and unique. I agree with Reese that the set may have overshot its targeted difficulty and that might be reflected by the PPB across the brackets, but i don't think that detracted too much from many people's experiences. I want to especially commend the writers of the music and arts distribution. I think the music and arts may have been a little tough to get for some teams until the end of the question, but i genuinely enjoyed a lot of the answer lines and clues that were used (from the tossup on composers from the United States to the tossup on artists from England).

Thanks for a great set and a great end to my high school regular season career.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Panayot Hitov » Tue May 06, 2014 9:42 pm

Off To See The Lizard wrote:Thanks for a great set and a great end to my high school regular season career.
Me too.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Chef Curry » Wed May 07, 2014 1:46 pm

I would like to start out by saying that I had a great time playing so many skilled teams. I am curious as to the distribution of the set, because it seemed that there was a little more science and lit. Also the history seemed a little "non-standard at times." This might just be my incorrect perception, but I would just like to see the distribution. I had a great time though, so Thanks!
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Wed May 07, 2014 10:03 pm

ahan108 wrote:I would like to start out by saying that I had a great time playing so many skilled teams. I am curious as to the distribution of the set, because it seemed that there was a little more science and lit. Also the history seemed a little "non-standard at times." This might just be my incorrect perception, but I would just like to see the distribution. I had a great time though, so Thanks!
The distribution was the same as BHSAT, so there was 4/4 science and literature per packet. Could you define "non-standard" (I assume you mean tossups on things like "fighter pilots")? I think both Jordan and I think history isn't just regurgitating people's names/conflicts back at the moderator, so that philosophy definitely made its way into the tournament.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Chef Curry » Thu May 08, 2014 6:29 pm

The distribution was the same as BHSAT, so there was 4/4 science and literature per packet. Could you define "non-standard" (I assume you mean tossups on things like "fighter pilots")? I think both Jordan and I think history isn't just regurgitating people's names/conflicts back at the moderator, so that philosophy definitely made its way into the tournament.
I see now, I think I just misperceived the extent to which science and literature were apparent in the set. By "non-standard", I meant like sort of like textbook history, not like vague things such as fighter pilots, and that again was probably my incorrect interpretation. I definitely agree with your philosophy that history is more than a bunch of names and conflicts, and I think that exposed players to new information. I am by no means attacking the quality of the set; I think it was well written and I had enjoyed playing it. The history was just a little bit different, and I liked that because it educated me about things that I had not known about before, while also being fun to play.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by TSIAJ » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:10 pm

First off, I’d like to thank the University of Maryland for the set, and the quality of many of the questions. However, there were some less-than-stellar questions that I remember (specifically music tossups and a few bonuses).

The difficulty of the music was much more difficult than I expected from a high school set, and the variance of the difficulty bothered me greatly. In addition, some major mistakes that actually affected the outcome of one of my games need addressing…

To start off:
Many of the themes in this symphony were inspired by Harry T. Burleigh, who arranged it. This symphony’s second movement, its longest, is in 4/4 time in D-flat major and opens with a French horn solo. William Arms Fisher adapted a theme from that Largo movement into the song “Goin’ Home.” This symphony was composed shortly before its composer’s String Quartet No. 12, which was inspired by a vacation in (*) Spillville, Iowa. This symphony includes a first movement flute passage reminiscent of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” and scenes from Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha were a strong influence on its composition. For 10 points, name this symphony inspired by a trip to the United States, a work of Antonin Dvořák.
ANSWER: From the New World (Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor)
This tossup starts off on a clue that I would be hesitant to use; Harry Burleigh did not “arrange” the symphony. Burleigh was said to have arranged some folk tunes into his own work, which some melodies of his inspired Dvořák. So, in a sense, Dvorak arranged some folk tunes into the symphony, not Burleigh. And Burleigh definitely did not arrange this symphony.
The next clue includes a wildly incorrect part as well. Anyone who’s listened to this piece can tell you of the major English horn solo in the second movement, but the only French horn solo/tutti in that movement is in measures 39-46, and is definitely not major enough to be included as a clue.
Irvine Arditti mastered a set of virtuosic violin etudes by this composer originally written for Paul Zukofsky. This composer referred to the hexagrams of the I Ching to determine the compositional elements of his Music of Changes. This composer required placing screws, bolts, and an eraser between the (*) strings of an instrument in preparation for performing his collection of Sonatas and Interludes. Kyle Gann’s No Such Thing As Silence is about one of this man’s pieces, which consists of three movements of ambient noise for the title length of time. For 10 points, name this experimental American composer of the completely silent 4'33".
ANSWER: John Cage
This tossup is a lot better than the Dvorak one, but the giveaway is not very correct. 4’33” is actually not completely silent; there’s nothing on the sheet music except instructions for not playing anything, but it’s the audience that makes the noise. The whole point of the piece was that the audience makes the music, and music all around us. In fact, if the audience were completely silent, I’d think John Cage would be disappointed. This one’s fairly minor, and I probably would’ve missed this if I didn’t see the tossup, but I thought it’d be worth noting.

Still, not a big deal at all, and it doesn't affect the question.
Bach wrote a Partita in A Minor for this instrument, which appears alongside the violin and harpsichord in his fifth Brandenburg Concerto. A solid gold one of these instruments was owned by Jean-Pierre Rampal, a 20th century master of it. Georges Barrère premiered a work for this instrument that takes its title from a physical property of platinum, Edgard (*) Varèse’s Density 21.5. This instrument represents the little bird in Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. This instrument, which plays the opening bars of Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, is closely related to the fife and piccolo. For 10 points, name this reedless woodwind instrument, which appears in the title of a Mozart opera featuring the Queen of the Night.

ANSWER: flute
This one really irked me, as I negged it after Partita (violin), so I may be slightly biased.
To begin, the first clue should be worded differently, perhaps with “It’s not a violin, but Bach wrote a partita…” Heck, before A minor is mentioned, this could even be harpsichord. This first clue also seems too easy. A music specialist who knows anything about the flute knows the Partita in A minor, as it’s a staple in the flute repertoire, and one of Bach’s most famous instrumental pieces, so writing it as a first clue is unwise. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the Density 21.5 clue.
Nigel Kennedy’s 1989 recording of this work is one of the best-selling classical recordings in history. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this set of four violin concerti originally included in The Contest Between Harmony and Invention that depicts the different divisions of the year.
ANSWER: The Four Seasons (or Le quattro stagioni)
[10] This Italian composer, known as “The Red Priest” for his fiery red hair, composed The Four Seasons.
ANSWER: Antonio Vivaldi
[10] This other Italian composer of several Sonata da chiesa and Concerti grossi greatly influenced the work of Vivaldi and is perhaps best known for his Christmas Concerto.
ANSWER: Arcangelo Corelli
The one thing that bothered me about this bonus is the difference in difficulty; a team with no music specialist could easily 20 this. Everyone knows The Four Seasons and Vivaldi, but even a team with a decent to good music specialist might not get the Corelli part. It seems like the writer wanted a Four Seasons and Vivaldi bonus, but could not think of a third part, and slapped on a third part that is unnecessarily difficult for a high school set.
This piece contains a leitmotif associated with Prince Gvidon, who is a character in the opera in which it appears. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this orchestral interlude about the journey of a certain insect. It is included in Act III of its composer’s opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan.
ANSWER: “Flight of the Bumblebee”
[10] “Flight of the Bumblebee” was composed by this man, who included chants from the Obikhod in his Russian Easter Festival Overture.
ANSWER: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
[10] Rimsky-Korsakov taught this other Russian composer, who wrote a Violin Concerto in A minor for Leopold Auer and the music for the ballet Raymonda.
ANSWER: Alexander Glazunov
Similar to the Four Seasons/Vivaldi/Corelli bonus, this also seems very odd. Any team could 20 this, as Flight of the Bumblebee is super popular, and if one knows that, they probably know Rimsly-Korsakov. However, Glazunov would be more fitting to college sets. Granted, I haven’t played many high school sets at all, but Glazunov is in my opinion, way too difficult with those clues.

Even with these peculiarities and pickiness on my part, the music questions and general set was a good challenge and enjoyable!
Last edited by TSIAJ on Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:33 pm

TSIAJ wrote: This tossup is a lot better than the Dvorak one, but the giveaway is not very correct. 4’33” is actually not completely silent; there’s nothing on the sheet music except instructions for not playing anything, but it’s the audience that makes the noise. The whole point of the piece was that the audience makes the music, and music all around us. In fact, if the audience were completely silent, I’d think John Cage would be disappointed. This one’s fairly minor, and I probably would’ve missed this if I didn’t see the tossup, but I thought it’d be worth noting.
I agree with this. The question really through me off by not fully explaining the theory behind 4'33". Wow, UMD, get your act together.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:46 pm

TSIAJ wrote:
Nigel Kennedy’s 1989 recording of this work is one of the best-selling classical recordings in history. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this set of four violin concerti originally included in The Contest Between Harmony and Invention that depicts the different divisions of the year.
ANSWER: The Four Seasons (or Le quattro stagioni)
[10] This Italian composer, known as “The Red Priest” for his fiery red hair, composed The Four Seasons.
ANSWER: Antonio Vivaldi
[10] This other Italian composer of several Sonata da chiesa and Concerti grossi greatly influenced the work of Vivaldi and is perhaps best known for his Christmas Concerto.
ANSWER: Arcangelo Corelli

The one thing that bothered me about this bonus is the difference in difficulty; a team with no music specialist could easily 20 this. Everyone knows The Four Seasons and Vivaldi, but even a team with a decent to good music specialist might not get the Corelli part. It seems like the writer wanted a Four Seasons and Vivaldi bonus, but could not think of a third part, and slapped on a third part that is unnecessarily difficult for a high school set.
This piece contains a leitmotif associated with Prince Gvidon, who is a character in the opera in which it appears. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this orchestral interlude about the journey of a certain insect. It is included in Act III of its composer’s opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan.
ANSWER: “Flight of the Bumblebee”
[10] “Flight of the Bumblebee” was composed by this man, who included chants from the Obikhod in his Russian Easter Festival Overture.
ANSWER: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
[10] Rimsky-Korsakov taught this other Russian composer, who wrote a Violin Concerto in A minor for Leopold Auer and the music for the ballet Raymonda.
ANSWER: Alexander Glazunov

Similar to the Four Seasons/Vivaldi/Corelli bonus, this also seems very odd. Any team could 20 this, as Flight of the Bumblebee is super popular, and if one knows that, they probably know Rimsly-Korsakov. However, Glazunov would be more fitting to college sets. Granted, I haven’t played many high school sets at all, but Glazunov is in my opinion, way too difficult with those clues.

Even with these peculiarities and pickiness on my part, the music questions and general set was a good challenge and enjoyable!
OK, I understand difficulty concerns. I'll just respond to your concerns about the bonuses and let Chris Manners respond to your concerns about the tossups. You are completely incorrect in assuming that any team could 20 those bonuses. I do sympathize with your concern about the difficulties of the third parts, although I question why Glazunov is too difficult "given those clues", as those are the most famous things he did. For the Corelli part, again, I sympathize (but do not necessarily agree) with your difficulty concerns, but that was not thrown in there as a random third part. Corelli, like Vivaldi, was an Italian Baroque composer and is also very notable.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by TSIAJ » Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:03 pm

Gonzagapuma1 wrote:
TSIAJ wrote:
Nigel Kennedy’s 1989 recording of this work is one of the best-selling classical recordings in history. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this set of four violin concerti originally included in The Contest Between Harmony and Invention that depicts the different divisions of the year.
ANSWER: The Four Seasons (or Le quattro stagioni)
[10] This Italian composer, known as “The Red Priest” for his fiery red hair, composed The Four Seasons.
ANSWER: Antonio Vivaldi
[10] This other Italian composer of several Sonata da chiesa and Concerti grossi greatly influenced the work of Vivaldi and is perhaps best known for his Christmas Concerto.
ANSWER: Arcangelo Corelli

The one thing that bothered me about this bonus is the difference in difficulty; a team with no music specialist could easily 20 this. Everyone knows The Four Seasons and Vivaldi, but even a team with a decent to good music specialist might not get the Corelli part. It seems like the writer wanted a Four Seasons and Vivaldi bonus, but could not think of a third part, and slapped on a third part that is unnecessarily difficult for a high school set.
This piece contains a leitmotif associated with Prince Gvidon, who is a character in the opera in which it appears. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this orchestral interlude about the journey of a certain insect. It is included in Act III of its composer’s opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan.
ANSWER: “Flight of the Bumblebee”
[10] “Flight of the Bumblebee” was composed by this man, who included chants from the Obikhod in his Russian Easter Festival Overture.
ANSWER: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
[10] Rimsky-Korsakov taught this other Russian composer, who wrote a Violin Concerto in A minor for Leopold Auer and the music for the ballet Raymonda.
ANSWER: Alexander Glazunov

Similar to the Four Seasons/Vivaldi/Corelli bonus, this also seems very odd. Any team could 20 this, as Flight of the Bumblebee is super popular, and if one knows that, they probably know Rimsly-Korsakov. However, Glazunov would be more fitting to college sets. Granted, I haven’t played many high school sets at all, but Glazunov is in my opinion, way too difficult with those clues.

Even with these peculiarities and pickiness on my part, the music questions and general set was a good challenge and enjoyable!
OK, I understand difficulty concerns. I'll just respond to your concerns about the bonuses and let Chris Manners respond to your concerns about the tossups. You are completely incorrect in assuming that any team could 20 those bonuses. I do sympathize with your concern about the difficulties of the third parts, although I question why Glazunov is too difficult "given those clues", as those are the most famous things he did. For the Corelli part, again, I sympathize (but do not necessarily agree) with your difficulty concerns, but that was not thrown in there as a random third part. Corelli, like Vivaldi, was an Italian Baroque composer and is also very notable.
Perhaps most teams would 20 those? I'd say this at least for the Four Seasons bonus. Perhaps I'm just out of the loop for high school difficulty, but if someone's looked at any top fifty list for music, The Four Seasons is bound to be up there, along with Flight of the Bumblebee, and they are among the most popular works for someone just getting into "classical" music.

I understand your questioning of my assumption that Glazunov is too difficult, and I see how it works.

Please note I did not say "thrown in there as a random third part"...
I personally feel Corelli was a bit difficult, but more experienced players may think otherwise. Just my $.02.
I don't think Corelli is nearly as notable as Vivaldi, and even though I don't totally agree with it as a third part, I can see how you would write it.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Bloodwych » Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:03 pm

Yeah "arranged" was the wrong word to use there.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:19 pm

TSIAJ wrote:
Perhaps most teams would 20 those? I'd say this at least for the Four Seasons bonus. Perhaps I'm just out of the loop for high school difficulty, but if someone's looked at any top fifty list for music, The Four Seasons is bound to be up there, along with Flight of the Bumblebee, and they are among the most popular works for someone just getting into "classical" music.
Yes, they are very popular and saying things like, "name this piece by Antonio Vivaldi" or "name this piece named for an insect by Rimsky-Korsakov" would make them easy parts. However, their lack of those clues makes them middle parts. You can't just look at an answerline and go, "Oh, that's easy", without looking at the context.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by TSIAJ » Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:23 pm

Gonzagapuma1 wrote:
TSIAJ wrote:
Perhaps most teams would 20 those? I'd say this at least for the Four Seasons bonus. Perhaps I'm just out of the loop for high school difficulty, but if someone's looked at any top fifty list for music, The Four Seasons is bound to be up there, along with Flight of the Bumblebee, and they are among the most popular works for someone just getting into "classical" music.
Yes, they are very popular and saying things like, "name this piece by Antonio Vivaldi" or "name this piece named for an insect by Rimsky-Korsakov" would make them easy parts. However, their lack of those clues makes them middle parts. You can't just look at an answerline and go, "Oh, that's easy", without looking at the context.
The clues of "orchestral interlude about the journey of a certain insect" and "depicts the different divisions of the year" make for a pretty easy first part, and usually, but not always, those who know the Four Seasons and Flight of the Bumblebee also know their respective composers (perhaps more so for Vivaldi).
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:37 pm

Hey, writing a bonus where the first part is a famous work (painting, composition, book, whatever) and the creator is not given as a medium part, and then asking for that creator in the second part as the easy part is a very common idea and is frequently very effective. If you know lots of things about Flight of the Bumblebee, then you can answer the first part - that's great! Good for you, you know something, receive points! If the only thing you know about Flight of the Bumblebee is who wrote it, you will not get that part, but will get the second part, and thus receive fewer points than someone who also can identify it without knowing the author.

Also, since you're a freshman, I'll just post this instead of making fun of you: a lot of college players will frequently make many posts criticizing minor details in music questions. These people are pretty much universally unappreciated and their commentary is not helpful for any writers. Your comments in post-tournament discussion will be much more helpful and widely appreciated if you focus on specific things that did not work or were factually inaccurate rather than making claims about how something was too easy because you happen to know it or too hard because you didn't, or pointing out technical or semantic problems that do not actually hurt anyone's ability to answer the question or get rewarded for knowledge.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by TSIAJ » Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:18 pm

Madagascar Serpent Eagle wrote:Hey, writing a bonus where the first part is a famous work (painting, composition, book, whatever) and the creator is not given as a medium part, and then asking for that creator in the second part as the easy part is a very common idea and is frequently very effective. If you know lots of things about Flight of the Bumblebee, then you can answer the first part - that's great! Good for you, you know something, receive points! If the only thing you know about Flight of the Bumblebee is who wrote it, you will not get that part, but will get the second part, and thus receive fewer points than someone who also can identify it without knowing the author.

Also, since you're a freshman, I'll just post this instead of making fun of you: a lot of college players will frequently make many posts criticizing minor details in music questions. These people are pretty much universally unappreciated and their commentary is not helpful for any writers. Your comments in post-tournament discussion will be much more helpful and widely appreciated if you focus on specific things that did not work or were factually inaccurate rather than making claims about how something was too easy because you happen to know it or too hard because you didn't, or pointing out technical or semantic problems that do not actually hurt anyone's ability to answer the question or get rewarded for knowledge.
Thanks for the criticism on my part. I understand where I was out of line.

My initial comment was only to point out the error in the Dvorak 9 tossup as it was pretty major. However, I stand by my belief that many parts of this set were incompatible as a high school set, and many bonus parts were more college-leaning than regular difficulty high school.

Getting that out of the way and new subject: Is this supposed to be a regular difficulty set or more difficult, etc.?
Last edited by TSIAJ on Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Jason Cheng » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:16 am

One of the biggest problems I saw with this set was the general lack of answer line instructions for a lot of the tossups--the UCSD site had a shortage of experienced moderators, and it was worrying to see tossups that said "..._Mobutu_" but did not include something like (accept "..._Sese Seko_..."), or "_Boston Marathon bomb_ings," or "_Crime and Punishment_" but nothing to account for the occasional pretentious high schooler who says the name in Russian. I had to resolve more than a couple of protests in the playoffs over confusing answer lines.

Many of the bonuses were also randomly hard for what I imagined was a set targeting around regular-to-slightly-regular-plus high schoolers. There were entire bonuses on something like the Schrodinger Equation or the Kalevala that didn't seem cognizant of who was actually going to play the questions, whereas other bonuses were perfectly well-written in terms of difficulty. There were several complaints at the UCSD site over the strangely inconsistent and harsh nature of the bonus difficulty. The SoCal field for this set was gutted, with the first place team (Arcadia A) missing their science specialist, but I still find cause for concern when North Hollywood, a team that averaged 23.5 on several NAQT IS-sets last year with the same lineup, only scored 21.06 PPB on this set.

I did find the content very enjoyable to read, and I thank the writers for their hard work in that regard--my only concern is that much of it was poorly executed.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Panayot Hitov » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:29 pm

The SoCal field for this set was gutted, with the first place team (Arcadia A) missing their science specialist, but I still find cause for concern when North Hollywood, a team that averaged 23.5 on several NAQT IS-sets last year with the same lineup, only scored 21.06 PPB on this set.
Keep in mind that teams regress a bit over the summer.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Corry » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:35 pm

40th Day after death wrote:
The SoCal field for this set was gutted, with the first place team (Arcadia A) missing their science specialist, but I still find cause for concern when North Hollywood, a team that averaged 23.5 on several NAQT IS-sets last year with the same lineup, only scored 21.06 PPB on this set.
Keep in mind that teams regress a bit over the summer.
I think this a better example: http://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-te ... nt_id=5887 Either way, I would say that this set probably overshot in terms of difficulty (assuming this was meant to be "regular high school" difficulty).
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:01 pm

ALGOL 68 wrote:One of the biggest problems I saw with this set was the general lack of answer line instructions for a lot of the tossups--the UCSD site had a shortage of experienced moderators, and it was worrying to see tossups that said "..._Mobutu_" but did not include something like (accept "..._Sese Seko_..."), or "_Boston Marathon bomb_ings," or "_Crime and Punishment_" but nothing to account for the occasional pretentious high schooler who says the name in Russian. I had to resolve more than a couple of protests in the playoffs over confusing answer lines.

Many of the bonuses were also randomly hard for what I imagined was a set targeting around regular-to-slightly-regular-plus high schoolers. There were entire bonuses on something like the Schrodinger Equation or the Kalevala that didn't seem cognizant of who was actually going to play the questions, whereas other bonuses were perfectly well-written in terms of difficulty. There were several complaints at the UCSD site over the strangely inconsistent and harsh nature of the bonus difficulty. The SoCal field for this set was gutted, with the first place team (Arcadia A) missing their science specialist, but I still find cause for concern when North Hollywood, a team that averaged 23.5 on several NAQT IS-sets last year with the same lineup, only scored 21.06 PPB on this set.

I did find the content very enjoyable to read, and I thank the writers for their hard work in that regard--my only concern is that much of it was poorly executed.
I see your point on the alternate answer lines (although Sese Seko is not normally taken for Mobutu) and we'll work on fixing those. I also see your point on bonus variation and would love to hear other bonuses that you thought were out of whack. I will say that bonus conversion never dropped below 14 ppb at your site which, while not ideal, is not bad.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Jason Cheng » Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:56 pm

My bad, I was in a rush when typing that up. I meant to write "accept _Mobutu_ Sese Seko...", for which saying some combination of the entire name has annoyingly been a thing in SoCal for the last couple of years.

And I'd find a 2.5 ppb regression over the summer pretty hard to believe, although Corry is correct that the same lineup minus two of their "regular" players (as far as I can tell, people who answer lit and science bonuses) scored 22.88 PPB on 2014 SSNCT at a tournament three weeks ago
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:18 pm

Bonus conversion was down for all the teams at our mirror compared to their performances so far this year on sets considered to be regular difficulty. Every single player or moderator I talked to at our site thought this set was above regular difficulty. A few of our moderators (perhaps being hyperbolic, but maybe not considering some of the examples they cited) suggested this set more resembled a college novice set than a high school set.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:56 pm

Becoming hyperfocused on minute PPB differences is just plain silly; 23.5 to 21.5 is...not quite "random fluctuation" but certainly a small enough change that it doesn't really tell you a lot about how hard a set was that just looking over the set and noting "This seems really hard and I'd be surprised if people got it" or "I asked around and nobody at our mirror pulled this bonus part" wouldn't tell you.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Auroni » Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:41 pm

This set wasn't that great and in some places it was really hard. Given the authors listed in the packet header, I was astonished to find that many tossups did not have full answerlines, and that hard bonus parts on The Merry Widow, Treaty of Rapallo, Christ's Entry Into Brussels (without Ensor!), Gerhart Hauptmann, John Cotton, Menander, the infinite square well, Thomas Precession, Chikamatsu, 21 cm line, Francis II, Norman Thomas, Philip V, Alexander Glazunov, the People Power Revolution, mezuzah (from the first seven packets alone), and the cosmic censorship hypothesis (from a much later packet that I skipped ahead to because it just seared into my memory with how bad an idea it was), abounded and were not given the obvious vet that you'd expect any of these great editors.

Rounding out the old bad HFT flavor were numerous tossups on ill-advised hard things germane to college sets (peroxisomes, etc), and full bonuses on topics that are just too hard for high schoolers (the Kalevala, numerous computer science bonuses, world literature with full-blown bonuses on Coetzee and Japanese authors). I know it's a drag to write high school sets, but the bottom line is that you need to keep your audience in mind and this tournament did not do that.
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Re: General Discussion (Maryland Spring 2014)

Post by Blue, Red, Blue, Yellow » Sun Nov 02, 2014 2:55 pm

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Re: General Discussion (Maryland Spring 2014)

Post by ndikkala » Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:45 pm

I found the general difficulty of the set to be much higher than a regular level set, much worse than HFT, though I think HFT had longer length questions. I have to say that I found the inconsistencies in the difficulty level of the set to be frustrating. I haven't gotten a copy of the questions from the TD yet, but I found that some rounds were relatively easy while others had lots of dead tossups, and 0-10 on bonuses. This was really annoying because it screwed around with the results of the match. That was another issue I had: the trash tossups were linked to really easy bonuses, and that isn't fair when the other team powers Smash Bros. because they were playing it on their 3DS right before the match, and then gets 20-30 points on the bonus at a tournament where the top team had 20.53 PPB. There were also some questions that seemed really hastily written, including a bonus in Round 4 that was so poorly phrased that our reader had to recompose the question on the spot to even understand what it was saying.
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Re: General Discussion (Maryland Spring 2014)

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:04 pm

ndikkala wrote:I found the general difficulty of the set to be much higher than a regular level set, much worse than HFT, though I think HFT had longer length questions.
I'm sorry that the set was so hard. We did edit it to tone it down, but clearly did not tone it down enough.
ndikkala wrote: I have to say that I found the inconsistencies in the difficulty level of the set to be frustrating. I haven't gotten a copy of the questions from the TD yet, but I found that some rounds were relatively easy while others had lots of dead tossups, and 0-10 on bonuses. This was really annoying because it screwed around with the results of the match.
So, were these in-round difficulties or round-to-round difficulties, i.e., were the tossups and bonuses all too hard in a certain round (say, round 5) or were there a bunch of tossups and bonuses in every round that were too hard?
ndikkala wrote:That was another issue I had: the trash tossups were linked to really easy bonuses, and that isn't fair when the other team powers Smash Bros. because they were playing it on their 3DS right before the match, and then gets 20-30 points on the bonus at a tournament where the top team had 20.53 PPB.
While bonus variability may have been a problem, what you're saying here is incomprehensible.
ndikkala wrote:There were also some questions that seemed really hastily written, including a bonus in Round 4 that was so poorly phrased that our reader had to recompose the question on the spot to even understand what it was saying.
Do you remember what bonus? I just went through and scanned and didn't see anything. Do you have any other specific examples (yes, I know this is the "general discussion" thread)?
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