2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

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Adventure Temple Trail
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2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun May 23, 2010 6:58 pm

Now that the last mirror of this year's Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament is finished, the set is open for view and discussion. I've sent the set to George Berry for posting on quizbowlpackets.com, and have attempted for the first time in my life to create a .zip file, which I'll attach here in the hopes that it works.

Thanks again to Vandy, Champaign High School, and Mizzou for mirroring this. Discuss away!

EDIT: For some reason, the .zip file is about 400 KB, which is both too big to be attached and not actually compressed at all. Still attempting to figure this whole "zipping" thing out.
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sun May 23, 2010 9:02 pm

I'll talk about specifics in a while when i see the set again, but this was probably the best-written house-write we saw all year. There were weird issues with powermarks but i really can't think of any big complaints at all from when i remember from two months ago.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue May 25, 2010 9:21 am

Matt J.
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue May 25, 2010 10:16 am

This was a fun set. As a rule, I seemed to be doing a little too well on the physics, but I suppose I might just have been lucky. Conversely, I did rather badly on tossups on books I've read, but that may be my fault. Anyway, I especially enjoyed the tossups on Governor of New York and Justinian, and a bunch of the leadin clues for standard answers were exciting. Thanks for writing this, Matt/GDS/others.
Matt Bollinger
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Tue May 25, 2010 10:43 am

I want to say that in particular I was very excited by the appearance of the chess tactics bonus in this set. I don't think I've ever heard any other questions of that type in my career, and I think quizbowl could support asking about a few more tactical or theoretical chess ideas.
Aidan Mehigan
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed May 26, 2010 1:37 pm

As a reader, there were a number of technical errors and poor sentence constructions that meant I had to do a lot of rewording on the fly. One particular thing I want to talk about is the phrasing of the following sentence, which was an extremely common construction in this set and others, but which I believe sounds awful.
Another book of hers argued that each society decided upon a certain few personality traits to emphasize, Patterns of Culture.
If I am wrong, then someone correct me, but I have a hard time imagining writing a complete sentence, and then tacking on a title with no actual word linking it to the preceding clause is the proper way to get across this information. Rather, I think you need to change the wording and find a way to link the clues, or else split the sentence and have Patterns of Culture named after the period. In play, these sentences just sound like the author just took a bunch of clues and decided to just throw them on the page and just have them be read in a list, association style, which can be really confusing to less experienced players.
Some other comments - I think high school sets should make an effort to include a pronoun referencing what the answer is at least once per sentence, and I believe there were a few examples in this set, which can be confusing if a player loses focus. There were some other clues that seemed really light on actually buzzable information. For example:
...Oleg Kostoglotov, who is shocked by the state of life outside the titular location. Another of his works details the life of a man who has been falsely accused and imprisoned for being a German spy.
Obviously Oleg Kostoglotov is concrete, but it seems to me that everything else in that quote is really vague and probably would not help any players who aren't already thinking Solzenitsyn going in. Things like that would probably be much better if you can figure out a way to at least include a couple more names or places in descriptions.
In general, I thought this set did a much better job at being high school appropriate than most of the recent housewrites. There were some answer lines I thought were sort of inappropriate, but luckily my field was attending for Nationals prep, so those kinds of things are less of a concern for my use. Many teams were able to buzz in on a bunch of questions in the middle when I read, and while leadin buzzes were few and far between, my field didn't have any teams that made Chiego's prediction sheet, so that is to be expected. I do think that the powers were systemically too hard - however, they were pretty uniform, and power placement is a low-end concern, so I won't talk more about that. One last comment I want to make is to point out how pleased I was to see extremely well written and accessible high school math come up in this set at such a high rate. I have become more and more of a fan of theoretical math getting a 1/1 distribution in high school, so I think this set showed that it can be done without having to focus on way too hard topics. I hope more sets decide to try tackling this feat, because it is a positive move in my estimation. Thanks for writing a set that played so well at my site!
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Auroni » Wed May 26, 2010 8:03 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
Another book of hers argued that each society decided upon a certain few personality traits to emphasize, Patterns of Culture.
Yeah, I feel like this is a very common error that plagues a lot of sets, but that can very easily be dealt with. This is not a grammatically sound sentence. You have a few options here. Either make the entire description of Patterns of Culture into one sentence, then follow that by "In addition to Patterns of Culture, this anthropologist..." or, find a way to work the title in seamlessly into the description. An example of the latter is "In another of his stories, a wizard sees "concentric fire licking the walls" of 'The Circular Ruins.'" I really like this construction; you don't have to squeeze in extra words to fit the title in, and it is perfectly buzzable for anyone who has read or knows the plot of "The Circular Ruins."
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by jdeliverer » Thu May 27, 2010 2:02 am

I liked this set overall.

Just one question that stood out to me as particularly weird:

[10] In Syntactic Structures, Chomsky famously considers a nonsensical sentence, that this type of “ideas sleep furiously”. In order, give the two contradictory adjectives that modify the word “idea.”
ANSWER: colorless and green

I just don't get the point of this question. It seems really trivial.
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Dan-Don » Thu May 27, 2010 2:04 am

jdeliverer wrote:I liked this set overall.

Just one question that stood out to me as particularly weird:

[10] In Syntactic Structures, Chomsky famously considers a nonsensical sentence, that this type of “ideas sleep furiously”. In order, give the two contradictory adjectives that modify the word “idea.”
ANSWER: colorless and green

I just don't get the point of this question. It seems really trivial.
That's actually a really important (and very, very famous) statement in the contemporary study of linguistics. Usually it comes up as a close-to-the-end clue in a Chomsky tossup, but I liked it as a bonus part. It was a little awkward sure, but it rewarded good knowledge.
Dan Donohue, Saint Viator ('10), Northwestern ('14), NAQT

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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by jdeliverer » Thu May 27, 2010 2:10 am

I know the sentence, and the idea behind it - it just seems like there's no understanding being tested by asking what the adjectives are. You can totally understand the importance of what Chomsky was trying to demonstrate but be punished for not knowing the specific words used.

(I know, people are punished all the time in quizbowl for not knowing unimportant details, but this just seems particularly egregious)
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Dan-Don » Thu May 27, 2010 3:22 am

Well despite these issues, I found this to be my favorite set of the year because it had very good writing (grammar aside) for extremely appropriate--and often unique/inventive--answer space. I haven't yet read it over, but I seem to remember there being an abundance of ancient history and a lack of sculpture or architecture (I can't remember which). Those are literally my only complaints.
Dan Donohue, Saint Viator ('10), Northwestern ('14), NAQT

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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Kwang the Ninja » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:12 pm

Just noticed this hilarious clue:
common link tossup on purple wrote:yet another asks “Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?” after the addled vocalist says “Scuse me while I kiss this guy”
Dallin Kelson
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Re: 2010 Ben Cooper Memorial Tournament set & discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:25 pm

Kwang the Ninja wrote:Just noticed this hilarious clue:
common link tossup on purple wrote:yet another asks “Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?” after the addled vocalist says “Scuse me while I kiss this guy”
Hendrix actually performed those lyrics in concert a few times in homage to fans who didn't hear the lyrics right themselves.
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