BATE Discussion

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BATE Discussion

Post by Tower Monarch »

As of 4:00 today, the last mirror of Bloomfield High's BATE has been completed at Cosby High School of Midlothian, VA, so this discussion may now commence. I understand that Aaron from RPI had made (possibly significant) changes before sending it to me, and I continued with some basic grammatical/spelling checks as well as some formatting and removal of unnecessarily unclear wordings.
Overall, I found had few issues with the set as a whole, though some answer choices proved interesting. (tossups on that Tuskegee syphilis study on Negro Males and common links on people named Damon are going to be interesting no matter what) The only thing close to a complaint I heard throughout the day was something I immediately noticed when reading through: bonus variability in terms of difficulty. Extreme examples include a bonus with three parts I would be fine with inserting as written into the first slot of GSAC bonus: Japan (from Shintoism)/Kami/Amaterasu and bonuses with von Hayek and Palestrina as middle parts far with appearances of Fogel and that guy who wrote that treatise on trumpet playing coming up in fascinating third parts.
Let me finish going through rounds 8, 10 and the two finals first, but I will send them to Chris Carter before I leave for FIChTe tomorrow.
Thank you to Nick from Bloomfield, Aaron from RPI and all other writers for producing a quality set and allowing free mirrors. Let the responses begin.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by dtaylor4 »

For the sake of full disclosure:

The myth and religion tossups were written by me. The philosphy was written by Trygve Meade. The night before the initial tournament, I sent Aaron everything I had from the singles tournament I ran.

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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by ... and the chaos of Mexican modernity »

Just out of curiosity. How many packets were in this set?
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Golran »

10 +2 for finals.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot »

A couple of things I'd like to mention in this thread:

1. First, I'd like to thank all the writers: Nick Petrilli, Ian Drayer, Matt Greenbacker, Sandy Huang, Donald Taylor and Trygve Meade. Also, I want to thank all the playtesters: Mike Cheyne, Eric Mukherjee, Matt Weiner, Jonathan Magin, Charlie Rosenthal and probably some other people I've forgotten. Thanks to Nick, Ian and Cameron for running the mirrors.

2. Moving on to difficulty... I think I'll say what everyone is thinking in stating that this was not a regular difficulty tournament. This alone is not necessarily a bad thing, but this tournament was advertised as "regular difficulty" and in that sense this was a problem.

3. I agree with Cameron and everyone else that there was too much variability in the bonuses. This was probably a combination of various writers, each with their own idea of "regular difficulty", me writing bonuses in areas I'm not too familiar with and writing hard parts that I thought the top 10% could get, when in fact they were simply way too difficult for any high school tournament/

I'd like to say that by and large the tossups were good, and despite the variability and difficulty, the bonuses were still fairly good, however I'd love to what everyone thinks.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by master15625 »

Will there be a copy of these questions available online?
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot »

I think Cameron sent them to Chris (or should have). They should be up soon
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by cdcarter »

aarcoh wrote:I think Cameron sent them to Chris (or should have). They should be up soon
I have not received any set from Cameron.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Tower Monarch »

cdcarter wrote:
aarcoh wrote:I think Cameron sent them to Chris (or should have). They should be up soon
I have not received any set from Cameron.
Wow, sorry for the 36+ hour delay from what I originally said (and expected myself), but I did finally send these about an hour ago.
After looking through them one more time since the tournament, I enjoy the set even more. The science was especially well written, a feat not often seen at the high school level. The difficulty was probably overshot, but I didn't hear any complaints from the local teams, and those of us who played Westbrook's Experiment the next day enjoyed things like this:
BATE Round 8 wrote:....In addition to the Scythian Suite, this man’s Opus 60 contains a troika movement written for a work based on the court of Emperor Paul. Another work by this man sees Truffaldino hired to make the Prince laugh and also sees Fata Morgana fall in love with the title fruits. In addition to Lieutenant Kije and The Love for Three Oranges...ANSWER: Sergei Prokofiev
which allows people with good memory to power this:
Experiment II Round 3 wrote:This piece opens with an offstage cornet followed by whimsical military music on piccolo and snare drum, after which comes its theme of flute and tenor saxophone, which repeats itself in the final movement. The allegro fastoso third movement depicts a wedding with a cornet, but quickly moves into a raucous tavern song, hinting at the setting of the festivities. It concludes with a mock funeral march marking the burial of the central character, whose birth in the first movement resulted from the misreading of a military report, when a syllable in that report was combined with an expletive by Emperor Paul I. The fourth movement depicts a ride in a troika with ► sleigh bells. Based on a story by Yury Tynyanov, FTP, name this suite composed for a Russian film by Sergei Prokofiev, in which some officers invent a fake lieutenant.
ANSWER: Lieutenant Kijé Suite (or just “Kije” is fine after you read “lieutenant”)
Things like this are just awesome, and this was far from an isolated case.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by cdcarter »

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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by TheCzarMan »

I'm surprised at the lack of Hunter/Kellenberg weighing in, I'm interested in what they thought, as well as Daichi.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot »

I did receive emails from members of Hunter and Kellenberg after the Bloomfield tournament
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

We read a few of the packets at practice.

*I thought the tossups were for the most part pretty solid--pyramidality seemed to be in effect. The only problem with some of them seemed to be mild transparency, like, being able to guess stuff like "Inchon" because it is a naval invasion in the Pacific occurring obviously after WWII or guessing "The Planets" because you hear of a musical work inspired by a horoscope. But I know the writers really worked hard on this set and I saw some tossups I remember playtesting and giving feedback on which were changed for the better.

*There were a few oddball ideas to toss up, like in my opinion the "raising the flag at Iwo Jima" tossup is so hard to write that it ends up having to rely on trivia for the most part. "The White Man's Burden," using clues about actual philosophical/literary content, was interesting.

*I wasn't a fan of most of the current events in this. I mean, part of that stems from my intense dislike for current events in general, but they seemed to be either trivial-until-difficulty-gap (Blago) or susceptible to transparency (Gitmo). Different strokes, perhaps. I also retain my intense dislike for trash tossups that require you to memorize names and dates (common link Damon that just spat sports stats at you for a few lines).

*The biggest problem seemed to be the bonus parts. A lot of them tended to go like this: really really easy part, a medium easy part that either was still easy or a good hard part, and an INSANE ACF NATIONALS part.

Examples: A sculpture bonus that asks for David (this character sculpted after slaying Goliath), The Thinker, and then Kritios Boy. A WWII bonus that asks for Battle of the Bulge, Operation: Market Garden (which is still pretty hard for high school), and Hurtgen Forest. An opera bonus that asks for Carmen, Bizet, and then the dudes who wrote the libretto. A massacre bonus that asks for the Boston Massacre, Mai Lai, and Malmedy. A Steinbeck bonus that asks for The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and The Wayward Bus. A "robber baron" bonus that asks for Carnegie, Frick, and Henry Flagler.

And that's just in the first four packets. I don't mean to sound shrill, but the idea of the hard part of a bonus, especially in high school, is that it is a little challenging but still gettable. I am not sure how many high schoolers can identify Henry Flagler, the Hurtgen Forest, the authors of the libretto of Carmen, and The Wayward Bus.

But carping aside, it is a strong achievement to put together your own set, and even better to put together a set with really only minor issues and one recurring issue.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Sir Thopas »

Mike summed up pretty well most of what I had to say. I thought that a good number of the tossups were fairly transparent and came down to chicken (Lily can tell you about that one), but I've found that happening more and more on high school packets; I think they were fine for the average high school team in not giving away the answer immediately.
Cheynem wrote:Examples: A sculpture bonus that asks for David (this character sculpted after slaying Goliath), The Thinker, and then Kritios Boy.
That segues nicely into the other major problem I had with the set, which was that a lot of the clues, especially bonus parts, were really vague. Here's one part which should illustrate my point:
Round 2, Bonus 4 wrote:10: There have been many forgeries of this sculpture from ancient Greece that is now missing parts of its arms and legs. It is one of the first statues to exhibit contrapposto.
ANSWER: Kritios Boy or Krition Boy
We went over the Kritios Boy in art history class, so I did manage to pull this, but it took me a while to figure out what was going on. It probably should have been pinned down better, mentioning that it basically demarcates the start of the Classical period, or something like that. These types of bonuses came up quite a bit; it would have been nice had they been cut down.

Other than that, this set was really solid, especially for a first attempt.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot »

I agree with some most of your criticisms, transparency was an issue, not too prevalent, but certainly some tossups had this issue. I'm not really sure what was so strange about the white man's burden tu:
A 1903 work by Edward Morel mentions a trinity of material gods and has a title that takes the form of this work. Another work that parodies this work tells the reader to use Maxims and shells and is written by Henry Labouchere. Interpreted as a work of satire by Chris Snodgrass, this work mentions the “lightly proferred laurel, the easy, ungrudged praises” and tells the reader to “check the show of pride, by open speech”. Noting “no tawdry rule of kings”, the reader is told to “seek another’s profit, and work another’s gain”. Telling the reader to “bind your sons to exile” it describes “new caught, sullen peoples, half-devil and half-child”. FTP, identify this work by Rudyard Kipling that is often viewed as an European defense of colonialism.
ANSWER: The White Man’s Burden
For poetry tossups, I like to have earlier clues be on interpretation/other "deeper knowledge", but's a personal taste.

I understand your point on CE in general (there was only 6/6 for the whole tournament so there wasn't too much). I'm not sure what the issue with blago was:
A 2006 speech by this man promising to renew federal bans on military style weapons prompted harsh responses from manufacturers like ArmaLite and Les Baer Custom Inc while his feud with speaker Michael Madigan lead many to label it an instance of the “Hatfield’s and McCoy’s”. Notable achievement by this man include a PreSchool for All program along with All Kids, a program that provides subsidized health care. However, he may most famous for an event involving Patrick Fitzgerald and was previously referred to as Public Official A in the trial of Tony Rezko. Managing to appoint Roland Burris in his final days, FTP, identify this man who was accused of trying to sell Barack Obama’s senate seat and succeeded by Pat Quinn as Governor of Illinois.
ANSWER: Rod Blagojevich (be nice with pronunciation)
I don't think any of these clue is really trivia, and I know in the news they mentioned how he had a health care program for children, so it is certainly gettable before it mentions the scandal.

The damon was kind of bizarre, looking back on it. I'm not a huge fan of common links tu, I wrote this one mainly because I was watching Team America and thought there depiction of Matt Damon was hilarious. But that's probably a bad reason to write a tu

Again, bonus variability was the biggest issue, although don't underestimate what high school teams know (I know of teams that got Hurtgen Forest and the librettist for Carmen). Hard third parts are not necessarily terrible but in the case of Grapes of Wrath/East of Eden/Wayward Bus it is a problem since the first two are both fairly famous, you figure a decent team will twenty this and basically no one will 30 it (out of curiousity did anyone get Wayward Bus?), thus it does not distinguish decent teams from top teams
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Nah, the White Man's Burden tossup is written fine, it's just something that I don't recall coming up a lot recently and I was just bemused that the tossup was slightly more about what the poem actually says, rather than its historical usage. It's fine.

The Blago one is okay, I guess. It's just that it seems like the events you are describing in the lead-in are important but not really THAT important. To put it another way, would that tossup have worked if Blago hadn't had a political scandal (I realize this could be applied to a number of current events topics, but that's why I don't like them)?

I'm not denying that high schoolers know some impressive stuff, but this just relates back to difficulty controllability. Bonus parts for a supposed regular difficulty high school tournament should not have almost all of the University of Minnesota's quiz bowl team totally dumbfounded (this is not me being arrogant, feel free to swap out "University of Minnesota" with other college level teams that might be equally dumbfounded). You seem to get my basic point--yeah, surely some teams somewhere might 30 it, but it's just a little pesky to have 20 points that can be obtained by most teams and another 10 that can be obtained by maybe one team at the tournament.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by TheCzarMan »

Cheynem wrote:Nah, the White Man's Burden tossup is written fine, it's just something that I don't recall coming up a lot recently and I was just bemused that the tossup was slightly more about what the poem actually says, rather than its historical usage. It's fine.

The Blago one is okay, I guess. It's just that it seems like the events you are describing in the lead-in are important but not really THAT important. To put it another way, would that tossup have worked if Blago hadn't had a political scandal (I realize this could be applied to a number of current events topics, but that's why I don't like them)?

I'm not denying that high schoolers know some impressive stuff, but this just relates back to difficulty controllability. Bonus parts for a supposed regular difficulty high school tournament should not have almost all of the University of Minnesota's quiz bowl team totally dumbfounded (this is not me being arrogant, feel free to swap out "University of Minnesota" with other college level teams that might be equally dumbfounded). You seem to get my basic point--yeah, surely some teams somewhere might 30 it, but it's just a little pesky to have 20 points that can be obtained by most teams and another 10 that can be obtained by maybe one team at the tournament.
I think that gets back into the whole discussion about what the ideal bonus conversion is, in a sense, how many teams you want/believe should be thirtying a bonus.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Sir Thopas »

TheCzarMan wrote:I think that gets back into the whole discussion about what the ideal bonus conversion is, in a sense, how many teams you want/believe should be thirtying a bonus.
Of course, but I should hope that the answer to that isn't "zero". This could be avoided by not having Rosalie Rayner—an actual third part from last year's Chicago Open—come up as a bonus part. And so on.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by aestheteboy »

My first impression about this set was that writers were too self-indulgent. It seemed like people were just using whatever they liked for the third parts. Many of the hard parts seemed pretty interesting and worthwhile to learn about, but it quickly became pretty annoying when it became a trend. So yeah, insane bonus parts were the biggest problem in this set. Also, as Guy mentioned, some bonus parts were not uniquely-identifying, or, at least, not well-written. I recall quite several factual errors, too.
I thought the tossups were much better than the bonus. I think many of the tossups could have been more tightly constructed with denser clues, but in general I enjoyed the tossups very much. Overall, I thought the writers did a good job, and I'd like to thank them all for writing the set.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

We starting practicing with these today.

I can speak for the team that (and this is through 3 packets) we really liked the tossups a lot, but the one about the "Manchu invasion of Japan" was a little odd in that we didn't know what it was looking for, among a couple others. Generally though, i actually thought they were excellent. Very good on the editing side, as well, which obviously you appreciate way more by seeing the questions and reading them aloud.

I'll echo the comments about the bonus questions, slightly. Generally, we liked them. But yes, some of the 30s were just ridiculous and even through just those 3 packets i found myself thinking "have i even heard of this before?" There was a progression (2nd packet maybe) where it seemed like it was "really easy - still easy - what the hell" for the bonus series. Didnt' mean the answers and clues weren't interesting, though.

Overall, this just made me wish we had had the opportunity to play this set, but it just wasn't possible for us. Still fun to read and practice on them, though. Good job the writers; the is one of the best house-written packets i've seen this year.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot »

I recall quite several factual errors, too.
Daichi, could you email/post these. I'm interested to know what errors there were.

I want to thank everyone for there insightful feedback on BATE. This was basically my first real writing experience and such criticism is very useful for future writing projects I decide to tackle. I think the 3 main criticisms were:

1. Wide variability of the bonuses which was caused by a wide number of factors which I take full responsibility for. PPB was in general somewhat low for BATE and the extreme difficulty of several third parts caused a lot of teams to be clustered in the high teens-low 20's in ppb. As Mike mentioned, any bonus part that stumps the University of Minnesota team is simply ridiculous being in a high school set

2. Incomplete bonus parts-I don't how much of a problem this was (I can think of Kritios and maybe the third part of the Beckett bonus, I'm sure there were others). I wanted to keep bonuses short since I find long bonuses rather boring but there is still a distinct between a short bonus and an incomplete bonus.

3. Transparency-I think any high school set is going to have some simply because of the relatively small high school canon and the number of players who have mastered it. Still, we could have taken more steps to reduce this

So continue to post feedback on BATE, as it is greatly appreciated
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

aarcoh wrote:2. Incomplete bonus parts-I don't how much of a problem this was (I can think of Kritios and maybe the third part of the Beckett bonus, I'm sure there were others). I wanted to keep bonuses short since I find long bonuses rather boring but there is still a distinct between a short bonus and an incomplete bonus.
I LOVE the shorter bonus clues. After practically running out of breath reading bonus clues for Prison Bowl, these were a welcome sight and still generally quite good. Once or twice i thought "well that wasn't much info..." but that was rare. All in all, they were written quite well, the impossible-30-pointers notwithstanding.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

aarcoh wrote:
I recall quite several factual errors, too.
Daichi, could you email/post these. I'm interested to know what errors there were.
Is this one?
round 1, bonus 16 wrote:Identify these works of Nathaniel Hawthorne FTPE:
...
10: This short story published in Twice Told Tales deals with an attempt to find the fountain of youth.
ANSWER: Dr. Heidegger's Experiment
Is that an error? A student of mine who's read this told me that, in the story, the characters have already found the supposed "youth" potion and simply indulge in it, etc.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

When hearing that bonus part, I thought it seemed like an odd way to describe the story, but I hadn't read it in a while, so I wasn't sure.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot »

Is that an error?
Looks like you're right
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Well, that's pretty vague, so it could plausibly be true. Everyone but the title character does decide to trek down to Florida to quaff a bit more after they spill their vase of youth-water. But the bulk of the story doesn't "deal" with an attempt to find the fountain of youth, unless the writer is really digging deep into symbolism I'm not seeing. It deals with their vase-party.
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Not a big deal obviously, if that's the only thing wrong i've found in 3 sets so far, though, that ain't bad... just being picky here. :)
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Nevermind, here's a little error in the next packet...
round 4, bonus 13 wrote:Answer these questions about the fascinating geography of Idaho, FTPE:
...
10: The main campus of Idaho State University is located in this city in eastern Idaho.
ANSWER: Pocatell
The city is "Pocatello." Probably just a typo...
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico »

The main characters do, in fact, set out to find the Fountain of Youth at the end of "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," having discovered that the effects of its waters (a vial of which has been obtained for use in the titular experiment) are short-lived and the Doctor having determined that they are undesirable, since they restore the folly of youth along with its vigor, though the others apparently lack or ignore that insight. So that's not really an error.

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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot »

The city is "Pocatello." Probably just a typo...
The packet I have on my laptor has Pocatello. This must have happened after the sets were sent to Cameron. Not a huge deal though
The main characters do, in fact, set out to find the Fountain of Youth at the end of "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," having discovered that the effects of its waters (a vial of which has been obtained for use in the titular experiment) are short-lived and the Doctor having determined that they are undesirable, since they restore the folly of youth along with its vigor, though the others apparently lack or ignore that insight. So that's not really an error.
I think the main is that that bonus part should have been more specific (mentioning character names, etc...) to avoid confusion, although I don't how many Hawthorne works in twice told tale deal with a fountain of youth
Aaron Cohen, Bergen County Academies '08, RPI '12, NYU-???, NAQT writer, HSAPQ writer, PACE writer

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Down and out in Quintana Roo
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Re: BATE Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

A couple minor issues as we continue to practice on this often-quite-good set:
Round 6, TU 3 wrote:In one scene, Cecil Jacobs ventures out and successfully scares two of the main characters. Later Cecil and one of the main characters visit a haunted house and miss a role in the pageant. During one scene, Mayella is asked how the right side of her face is bruised and it becomes clear she was beaten by her father. One recurring character runs away from his home in Meridan and earlier in the novel plays with the main characters every summer, named Dill Harris. At the end of the novel, Tom Ewell has been killed by a knife and Boo has revealed himself to be Arthur Radley. The main plot of the story, Tom Robinson’s rape trial, is shown through the perspective of Jem and his younger sister Scout. FTP, Atticus Finch appears in what novel by Harper Lee?
I think that character names, other than extremely minor ones who barely appear in it, should be avoided for quite some time in any question about TKAM. This is a book which practically every 9th and/or 10th grade student ends up reading, if not already prior to that, and there aren't too many Mayella's that come up in Lit, for sure. The name Cecil Jacobs even tipped them off. So to drop either one of those names that early, or really almost any name, probably is unwise, as i had three freshmen in the room have a buzzer race at "haunted house" anyway.
Round 5, TU 7 wrote:A later work that is based on this poem notes that the titular group “asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door”, in a work by Rudyard Kipling. Opening with “Half a league, half league” the speaker states “ Their’s not to make reply” in noting the ignorance among the group in focus that “Someone had blunder’d”. Asking “When can their glory fade?” in the final stanza, the reader learns that the titular action broke the line of “Cossack and Russian,” but surrounding cannons would ultimately seal their doom. Detailing an event from the Battle of Balaclava, FTP, a failed cavalry action occurring during the Crimean War is the focus of what Tennyson poem?
"Half a league..." seems to be given a little too early in this question for me, as it's certainly a relatively famous opening line about which even my students who hate/don't know poetry said they knew.
Round 4, TU 13 wrote:This political division saw limited economic activity at the Lupin gold mine. Containing a small minority from the First Nations group, this region's first commissioner was Helen Maksagak. Among the many islands this territory administers are the Sverdrup, Parry, and Belcher Archipelagoes. The capital of this territory is at the head of Frobisher Bay, located on the southern portion of its largest island, which is the fifth largest island in the world. That capital, Iqaluit, is a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle on Baffin Island. FTP, name Canada’s northernmost territory, created from the eastern portion of the Northwest Territories in 1999.
Aren't capitals usually given just about at the end of the question in geography TUs? Not that this is an "easy" one, i guess, but Canadian crap comes up so much in NAQT that i've had my kids practically memorize Canadian provinces, territories, and capitals, and this isn't really a city you're going to confuse with something/somewhere else.
Round 4, Bonus 3 wrote:Answer these questions about the U.S. Indian Wars of the late 1800’s
10: Custer’s last stand occurred at this 1876 victory for the forces of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.
ANSWER: Battle of Little Bighorn
10: This leader of Nez Perce said “I will fight no more forever” after surrendering on the Canadian border in 1877.
ANSWER: Chief Joseph (or Hinmuuttu-yalatlat or Hinmaton-Yalaktit)
10: This minor 1898 battle in Leech Lake, Minnesota saw U.S. troops arrive on an Ojibwe reservation to arrest two men for bootlegging.
ANSWER: Battle of Sugar Point
Really... the difficulty jump from getting a 20 to a 30 on this one is just insane. This is one of the more egregious examples of the "really easy - still kinda easy - holy crap" repetition of the bonus questions in here. And when it's a history one of something i've never even heard of before, it just makes me laugh out loud at it while reading.

On the plus side, the "Kramer" TU was exquisitely written. One problem though. The quote is "rabid anti-dentite" not "raging anti-dentite." Nonetheless, this is where i would have gotten the answer.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
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