Minnesota Open Discussion

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Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:18 am

Unless there is a secret mirror I am confused about, all three sites playing this tournament have finished. I'll let someone else wax more effusively about the project as a whole, but discuss away.

I personally edited or wrote all of the history except a few questions here and there, mostly in the world history sections (don't blame the Wolof Empire on me!). This was the first time I have edited history for a high difficulty level tournament, and I think it ended up being a mixed bag. There were certainly some questions I liked very much, some that didn't play well at all in retrospect (the Hundred Flowers tossup), and some that I liked but just needed clearer wording at times (Sevastopol, Titus). I heard some complaints about the uselessness of the history lead-ins, and this could certainly be true--the lead-in generally was something that amused me or something historiographical. At the very least, I found them more interesting than firing off names, laws, or battles.

I also wrote a handful of questions in other categories, mainly American Lit, Religion, Social Science, and Trash.

It doesn't seem like we succeeded in making it easier than last year, but I'm too tired to determine what happened.

I noticed the tournament seemed to have a very modern flavor at times, which I think reflects some of my interests, perhaps too much so. I will admit that it was certainly easier in the last days of writing to dip into the 20th Century well for topics that I knew well.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:41 pm

I thought this was a very enjoyable tournament. It had lots of really good questions and a few questions that I thought were a little weak but which aren't really worth discussing too much. I want to note two things that jumped out at me about this set. First, it seems like there was a disproportionately large number of questions, primarily in chemistry, which were about specific scientists. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I'm not sure that there are a lot of people out there who have a great deal of knowledge regarding Staudinger's work; in our room, it basically came down to me putting together "German scientist + namesake ligation," but then again, no one on either team playing at the time was really a chemistry expert. Another thing I noticed about the history questions was the preponderance of not-very-useful anecdotes. They seemed to show up more or less randomly in various parts of the question. I'm not particularly opposed to the judicious use of a neat anecdote as a leadin clue, but too often those clues ended up being unhelpful or were placed in the middle of the question where you'd otherwise be expecting a more substantive clue. I don't think it particularly impacted the overall quality of the questions themselves, but it was just something I thought worth noting. Other than that, it was a fun time; thanks to Bernadette and Rob for their hospitality and the whole Minnesota team for a solid tournament.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:16 pm

I'll freely admit that the anecdote thing dominated lead-ins quite a bit for the history questions, but I was wondering if you had specific examples of tossups in which middle clues also were unhelpful anecdotes. I will say that one of the way I personally learn history is through more anecdote driven memories, as I have a hard time keeping track of specific names (thus the Lisbon tossup mentioning the EuroVision entry being played before the Carnation Revolution, the Cambyses tossup talking about his Lost Army and him fighting his imposter brother, etc.). I understand that these sorts of clues are not always helpful and will perhaps try to be more varied if (and that's a big if) I edit history related things again.

There were a number of clunker questions that just didn't work out. I labored a long time on the Hundred Flowers tossup and it still turned out to be crappy. The Sevastopol one was worded improperly. The Titus one should have said "his father" before "assault on Jerusalem." The Robert Moses tossup (which I liked as an idea) was written on the fly to fill a last minute gap.

I did not powermark the history questions very well.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:35 pm

Cheynem wrote:I'll freely admit that the anecdote thing dominated lead-ins quite a bit for the history questions, but I was wondering if you had specific examples of tossups in which middle clues also were unhelpful anecdotes.
If you can send me the set I can tell you.
There were a number of clunker questions that just didn't work out. I labored a long time on the Hundred Flowers tossup and it still turned out to be crappy. The Sevastopol one was worded improperly. The Titus one should have said "his father" before "assault on Jerusalem." The Robert Moses tossup (which I liked as an idea) was written on the fly to fill a last minute gap.
As the author of the original "Sevastopol" tossup, I was kind of confused by the way it changed during editing. Here's my version:
The opening actions of this battle saw the destruction of the battery situated on Mount Rudolph, which prevented the eventual victors from capitalizing on a similarly successful artillery action. A relief action by General Liprandi failed to aid the losing side at this battle after Liprandi was defeated at Fedioukine Hills. During this battle, which followed the success of the eventual victors at Alma River, the defenders relied on fortifications constructed under the direction of Eduard Totleben, and this battle saw an unsuccessful attempt to sieze the Redan redoubt, which was eventually burned by the retreating defenders. Following the death from cholera of Lord Raglan, the French forces at this battle under Canrobert captured the Malakoff fortification, causing Prince Gorchakov, who had taken command from Alexander Menshikov, to abandon the city over which this battle was being fought. For ten points, identify this siege of a Black Sea city which lasted from October 1854 to September 1855, whose end effectively concluded the Crimean War.

ANSWER: Battle or Siege of Sevastopol
Here's the edited version:
This battle began with the destruction of a battery on Mount Rudolph, which prevented the eventual victors from making a general assault. P.P. Liprandi failed to relieve the losing side after his defeat at Fedioukine Hills. John Burgoyne’s illegitimate son was made a baronet for his engineering accomplishments in this battle. The losing side in this battle aided by engineer Eduard Totleben, while the victors received supplies from a railway constructed out of pocket by independent contractors. Lord (*) Raglan was blamed for not taking weather conditions into account during this battle and he ultimately died during it of dysentery. A key moment in this battle saw General Patrice Mac-Mahon seize the Malakoff fortification, forcing the retreat of Prince Gorchakov, who had take control after the Battle of Inkerman. For 10 points, name this siege of a Black Sea city, whose end effectively concluded the Crimean War.

ANSWER: Battle or Siege of Sevastopol
I really am not sure what exactly the edited version adds. The clue about Burgoyne's illegitimate son seems utterly useless to me unless it's one of those cute anecdotes; I had no idea of any such connection and it didn't come up anywhere in my research on the battle. Besides, is there some harm in giving the guy's name? I really don't like these oblique references. Furthermore, does it matter that the railway was constructed by "independent contractors?" I fail to see what this adds at this stage of the question. Also, note that the original version (in my view) avoids the ambiguity over Raglan (which I'm sure caused some negs) by specifying in advance of his name that this was the battle where he died. I guess I just don't understand the motivation for changing this question around so drastically and I don't see what was improved from the original to the edited version.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:38 pm

I negged on the Raglan clue, but it didn't end up mattering in the game.

Perhaps there could have been something early on to indicate that this is a long operation rather than a one-off battle.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:44 pm

Morraine Man wrote:I negged on the Raglan clue, but it didn't end up mattering in the game.

Perhaps there could have been something early on to indicate that this is a long operation rather than a one-off battle.
Honestly, I think if you know a lot about the Crimean War, you're not really justified in buzzing just because you heard "Raglan." Dude was pretty much involved in every major action of the war up to and including the last (i.e. Sevastopol) so I don't think you can just buzz because you heard that.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Ringil » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:06 pm

I liked this set a lot. I also didn't mind too much regarding the anecdotal nature of the early clues, as very few buzzes came super early. I was very glad this tournament had power marks, even if I felt the history powermarks were a bit tough sometimes. One thing that I felt was missing was the lack of coverage of the Middle East and India before the modern period (Sepoy Rebellion is kinda in there). Off hand, I can't remember any tossups on that, and just two bonuses.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:46 pm

The lack of Middle East and India were on me--it just happened to fall through the cracks. There was an India bonus that was claimed but never written. I have no idea why the Middle East didn't appear and it would have certainly made writing a lot easier--I guess it was just an inexplicable blind spot for me when thinking of answers. (Also, there were almost no submissions in this vein)

Regarding the Sevastopol tossup, I admit to not knowing a lot about this battle, so I tried to read about it a bit beforehand. The John Burgyone clue (the guy's name is John Burgoyne, it wasn't intended to be an oblique reference, just a way of distinguishing from his dad) was something humorous I found and in retrospect should have just been a lead-in. I thought it was a way of indicating the importance of engineering at this battle, as Burgoyne the Bastard was the British Chief Engineer. It also noted the British were there, I guess. It probably was an unhelpful clue, but it seemed interesting to me.

I don't see the tossup changed that drastically--aside from some wording changes, which sometimes were there to make it shorter. My reading about the battle suggested the railway was really important, as a way of bringing in much needed supplies, so that's why I added it. I thought it was interesting that the railway was not built by the British government funding it, but by some dudes who read about the siege in the paper and thought they could fund a solution. The only things I deleted were the Alma River and the Redan Redoubt, and if these were essential clues, I'm sorry. I admit the wording got changed a bit and perhaps definitely could have been punched up for the Lord Raglan bit.

My philosophy with submitted history tossups was that I basically took the submissions (assuming I liked the answer lines) and wrote a new tossup using the clues in the submission as a foundation. This is because in cases where I did not know the topic well, I wanted to take a "buck stops here" approach so that problems with them could be traced to me and not to a submission. In many cases, this led to dramatically reworded questions. This was not a slam or jab at the original tossup; it more reflects my general conclusions from a brief attempt to learn about the topic at hand.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:08 pm

Cheynem wrote:The only things I deleted were the Alma River and the Redan Redoubt, and if these were essential clues, I'm sorry.
The battle at the Redan redoubt was the major action of the siege.

I don't want to harp on this one tossup but I think it's a good example of the way in which the anecdotes, while sort of amusing, aren't terribly helpful. Not that they hurt as such, but I doubt they were particularly beneficial to anyone.
My philosophy with submitted history tossups was that I basically took the submissions (assuming I liked the answer lines) and wrote a new tossup using the clues in the submission as a foundation. This is because in cases where I did not know the topic well, I wanted to take a "buck stops here" approach so that problems with them could be traced to me and not to a submission. In many cases, this led to dramatically reworded questions. This was not a slam or jab at the original tossup; it more reflects my general conclusions from a brief attempt to learn about the topic at hand.
I have to say, this strikes me as odd. I mean, everything comes back to the editor anyway; if you let through a question that has a problem, that's a missed judgment call by you, so I'm not sure the whole "buck stops here" rationale makes any sense. In general, my feeling is that if a question doesn't need work, the editor should leave it alone. That's the model I generally operate on, anyway, and although I certainly do my share of complete rewrites, those tend to be on questions that are just bad to start with. I don't think there's much to be gained from rewriting a question that's already fine. That just sounds like making extra work for yourself.

Anyway, I generally enjoyed the history questions about as much as the rest of the set, which is to say quite a bit. I'm just kind of puzzled at your approach.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:17 pm

I guess I felt a little antsy about leaving questions alone, maybe because it was one of my first major editing jobs. In the future, perhaps I will be more confident to leave tossups alone. I have to say though it didn't really produce any extra work--all of the history was finished well before the tournament date.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:36 pm

I really liked the mythology in this tournament -- it absolutely didn't sacrifice Greco-Roman for the sake of expanding the range of askable world myth tossups. Those world myth questions that were there, such as Bogatyrs and Kusanagi, were cool with the singular exception of that unpronouncable second wife of Tlaloc.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:00 pm

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:I really liked the mythology in this tournament -- it absolutely didn't sacrifice Greco-Roman for the sake of expanding the range of askable world myth tossups. Those world myth questions that were there, such as Bogatyrs and Kusanagi, were cool with the singular exception of that unpronouncable second wife of Tlaloc.
Those seeking to learn how to pronounce Aztec names should invest in some Chalchiuhtlicue cards.

(incidentally, Kusanagi was a bonus part)

That said, I am, as always, interested in hearing what people thought of the tournament. I edited or wrote the majority of the lit, most of the fine arts (other than some of the painting), the myth, and some of the trash, in addition to a few questions scattered here and there including at least one question in almost every subdistributional area in the editors' packets.

With the lit, I know there were a few things that didn't fly as well as I'd hoped, like the tossup on Once Were Warriors, and a few bonuses that were probably unnecessarily hard (I probably shouldn't've left the submitted bonus part on Congreve's Incognita, nor should I have taken Millet's name out of the bonus part on Bret Harte's "The Angelus", among other things), but I think overall it met my goals. What do you think?

I also want to hear what people thought of the music. I edited or wrote all of it and I want to see what both "music people" and non-"music people" have to say.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:04 pm

I've actually heard of Once Were Warriors; it has the status of the foremost illustration of the modern plight of the Maori, the way movies like Smoke Signals might be for Native Americans. I don't recall the tossup mentioning this status, or indeed making any sort of big deal of the fact that the people involved are Maori. I'm not sure if this would have helped anybody get the tossup.

Overall, I thought this MO was a lot less remarkable than last year's MO. I mean that in a good way: there are fewer wacky tossup choices or egregious questions to remark on.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:05 pm

Cheynem wrote:I guess I felt a little antsy about leaving questions alone, maybe because it was one of my first major editing jobs. In the future, perhaps I will be more confident to leave tossups alone. I have to say though it didn't really produce any extra work--all of the history was finished well before the tournament date.
Yeah, Mike was done far before the rest of us were and was awesome enough to help the rest of us out quite a bit.

I am glad that most of this tournament was well-received. There were a few things that I wish I'd done better in the R/P/SS (giving the On Liberty tossup a second look for transparency, moved a couple tossups into to the editors packets since they were harder, etc...). I didn't get too many comments from our site, so I'd love to hear more feedback on the stuff that I worked on.

I will probably have something to say about the submissions we received for this tournament, but that will wait until I feel a little less shitty
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:12 pm

Morraine Man wrote:I've actually heard of Once Were Warriors; it has the status of the foremost illustration of the modern plight of the Maori, the way movies like Smoke Signals might be for Native Americans. I don't recall the tossup mentioning this status, or indeed making any sort of big deal of the fact that the people involved are Maori. I'm not sure if this would have helped anybody get the tossup.
Here's the tossup:
For the Michigan packet, I wrote:15. This novel’s protagonist’s wife marries a man named Charlie Bennett in its second sequel, which is titled for the “Long Shadow” of its protagonist. One character in this work hangs out with a drug-addicted boy named Toot, while another, nicknamed “Boogie”, is sent to a Borstal. The protagonist’s eldest son Nig, who dies in this novel’s sequel What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?, joins the Brown Fists gang, whose attempts to reclaim ideal masculinity are reflected in this novel’s title. Near the end of this novel, its protagonist’s daughter Grace hangs herself after being raped, causing the protagonist to abandon his wife Beth and his other five children to live in a park. Its protagonist spends most of his time in McClutchy’s Bar, where his constant fighting earns him the nickname (*) “the Muss”. For 10 points, identify this novel by Alan Duff about the abusive Maori Jake Heke, which was adapted into a 1994 movie starring Temuera Morrison.
ANSWER: Once Were Warriors [accept Jake’s Long Shadow until “second sequel”]
I wanted to write on it because it is an important portrait of the modern Maori, but I thought shouting MAORI MAORI MAORI would not be the best way to go about it. You'll notice it does mention the fact that its protagonist is a Maori in the giveaway.
Morraine Man wrote:Overall, I thought this MO was a lot less remarkable than last year's MO. I mean that in a good way: there are fewer wacky tossup choices or egregious questions to remark on.
This was my primary goal while writing the set and I'm glad (at least some people) are perceiving it this way.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by itsthatoneguy » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:15 pm

Thanks to Minnesota for putting on a fantastic tournament. I had a lot of fun and thought the questions were great. I'll have more comments about distribution / difficulty once I have a look at the set, but I have no specific complaints about the Fine Arts at this time (except that tossup on The Metamorphosis of Narcissus; sure it's a memorable painting and I liked that tossup a lot, but I think it's too hard to toss up, even at this level).
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:33 pm

I enjoyed this set. I do think there were some kind of crazy answer choices, but more were crazy in a good way (the Gatsby's House tossup) than in a bad way (whatever the hell that Maori thing was; the tossup on Tolstoy that used only non-literary writings).

Highlights for me: Tossups on Liaisons Dangereuses and Man and Superman (which are both underasked, considering their real-world notability), and a Barthelme tossup chock full of clues from his best short stories. I really liked the tossup on North by Northwest, and the bonus that went: Third Man / William Wyler / Touch of Evil (I assume I have Mike Cheyne to thank for it); I'm always happy when the film distribution contains Hollywood classics, and isn't all foreign film.
Ukonvasara wrote: I also want to hear what people thought of the music. I edited or wrote all of it and I want to see what both "music people" and non-"music people" have to say.
Sketches of Spain was the only music tossup that seemed to have cluing problems (very transparent: after the lead-in, every clue seemed to mention something related to Spain). All of the cluing in the other tossups seemed really good: not useless description of generic attributes, but real clues. The jazz bonuses asked about some very real great jazz guys in need of exposure (Art Blakey and Woody Herman; the latter is my favorite bandleader so I was really pleased). The musicology bonus was a cool idea, and well-executed. The only real difficulty outlier was the tossup on Tchaikovsky's Winter Dreams Symphony. He wrote six symphonies, of which this is probably his least popular/well-known, and most lacking in quizbowl clues that would make it buzzable; so, it strikes me as kind of a strange choice and probably only viable at CO level. (I may be wrong, because I'm not a violinist, but I think the bonus part on Joachim's Violin Concerto No.2 is also a bit insane for a pre-CO hard part).
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:38 pm

Rob wrote the Touch of Evil bonus and I wrote the North by Northwest tossup. I also wrote the bonus that mentioned Woody Herman--I'm glad somebody likes him, he seemed important but hard.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:45 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:the tossup on Tolstoy that used only non-literary writings
That was a religion tossup. Tolstoy's religious works are a pretty important part of his life; this was a submission that I was quite pleased by.
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:the bonus that went: Third Man / William Wyler / Touch of Evil (I assume I have Mike Cheyne to thank for it)
You assume wrong!
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote: I also want to hear what people thought of the music. I edited or wrote all of it and I want to see what both "music people" and non-"music people" have to say.
Sketches of Spain was the only music tossup that seemed to have cluing problems (very transparent: after the lead-in, every clue seemed to mention something related to Spain). All of the cluing in the other tossups seemed really good: not useless description of generic attributes, but real clues. The jazz bonuses asked about some very real great jazz guys in need of exposure (Art Blakey and Woody Herman; the latter is my favorite bandleader so I was really pleased). The musicology bonus was a cool idea, and well-executed.
Gautam wrote SoS and the Blakey thing was submitted (originally it was a bit harder); Mike wrote the Woody Herman thing. I'm glad you liked the musicology bonus, and I'm glad my uneducated efforts at real-clue finding were successful.
ThisIsMyUsername wrote: The only real difficulty outlier was the tossup on Tchaikovsky's Winter Dreams Symphony. He wrote six symphonies, of which this is probably his least popular/well-known, and most lacking in quizbowl clues that would make it buzzable; so, it strikes me as kind of a strange choice and probably only viable at CO level.
Yeah, this was a submission; I was a bit conflicted about keeping it but ended up just leaving it due to running out of time to replace it.
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:(I may be wrong, because I'm not a violinist, but I think the bonus part on Joachim's Violin Concerto No.2 is also a bit insane for a pre-CO hard part).
Could be. My research suggested it was pretty important and/or highly-regarded, but I'm hardly a violinist either.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:49 pm

Ukonvasara wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:the tossup on Tolstoy that used only non-literary writings
That was a religion tossup. Tolstoy's religious works are a pretty important part of his life; this was a submission that I was quite pleased by.
I was also quite happy to receive this tossup from VCU. Tolstoy considered his work after his religious conversion/revival/whatever to be very important, and most of his late work, overtly religious or not, was heavily influenced by his belief in God.

EDIT: Formatting
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:00 pm

I'm a violinist and asking about Joachim's concertos is nutty. Winter Dreams being tossed up makes me sad I couldn't go though, that symphony kicks the Pathetique's ass.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:28 pm

Yeah, I think MO could be summed up as the model of a very competent hard tournament. If there were a "Writing Hard Tournaments for Dummies" book, it would be wise to use this event as the prototype. In this day and age, I feel like you know a tournament is good the same way that you know an umpire is doing a good job in baseball - you don't notice it/him. I assume that's what Bruce means with his "remarkable" comment too - five years ago, it was easier to go "wow!" when someone produce a very good tournament...but now, people going from round to round without much to complain about is really the highest praise.

I can understand Cheyne's hands-on approach to questions - while I'm not sure that the Sevastopol change was for the best, I can't really place fault on any editor who's putting that kind of effort into going through questions. But, yeah...as you do more tournaments, I can guarantee that the urge to alter Jerry-written tossups on Sevastopol will exponentially dissipate. You'll enter an era where you see Magin tossups on the biloquist Carwin and go "I'm sure that's fine, scan it for grammar and I'm done...now we concentrate on this Little Women tossup from North Dakota State...by removing it and writing a second tossup on Carwin."
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Gautam » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:51 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote: Sketches of Spain was the only music tossup that seemed to have cluing problems (very transparent: after the lead-in, every clue seemed to mention something related to Spain)
I wrote: 16. A 1997 re-issue of this album includes a composition called "Song of Our Country"
which had earlier appeared in its artist's album Directions. The third track on this album
has a tune based on a traditional Peruvian whistle song, while its fourth track has a solo
cadenza which emulates the voice of a muezzin calling out the adhan but was inspired by
a song sung in processions during Holy Week. In addition to "The Pan Piper" and "Saeta,"
this album includes a composition based on a theme from the Song of the Will o' the Wisp
from El (*)
Amor Brujo. The tracks on this album were composed and arranged by Gil Evans, and its
opening track was adapted from a Joaquin Rodrigo work named for a royal palace built by Phillip II. For
10 points, identify this jazz album which contains the piece "Concierto de Aranjuez" and adapts music
from a certain European country, a work of Miles Davis.
ANSWER: Sketches of Spain
Is this really transparent? I don't see anything Spanish mentioned until Song of the will o' the wisp. Perhaps the clue about the muezzin hinted Spain?

For all the MOs I've tried to write at least one tossup for every category, and this was my "music" tossup for this year (though it filled the other fine arts distribution.) If everybody playing this thought it was transparent, sure, I'll admit it. I'm not going to claim any competence in writing music, and I made some judgment error. If this is indeed a fine tossup and is being labeled transparent, then I'm really bothered by the label.

EDIT: Okay, that came off as a little confrontational, but here's what I want to say: I'm fine with statements like "I didn't like this tossup" but not with claims like "this tossup is transparent" if, in fact, it isn't.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:03 pm

gkandlikar wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote: Sketches of Spain was the only music tossup that seemed to have cluing problems (very transparent: after the lead-in, every clue seemed to mention something related to Spain)
I wrote: 16. A 1997 re-issue of this album includes a composition called "Song of Our Country"
which had earlier appeared in its artist's album Directions. The third track on this album
has a tune based on a traditional Peruvian whistle song, while its fourth track has a solo
cadenza which emulates the voice of a muezzin calling out the adhan but was inspired by
a song sung in processions during Holy Week. In addition to "The Pan Piper" and "Saeta,"
this album includes a composition based on a theme from the Song of the Will o' the Wisp
from El (*)
Amor Brujo. The tracks on this album were composed and arranged by Gil Evans, and its
opening track was adapted from a Joaquin Rodrigo work named for a royal palace built by Phillip II. For
10 points, identify this jazz album which contains the piece "Concierto de Aranjuez" and adapts music
from a certain European country, a work of Miles Davis.
ANSWER: Sketches of Spain
Is this really transparent? I don't see anything Spanish mentioned until Song of the will o' the wisp. Perhaps the clue about the muezzin hinted Spain?

For all the MOs I've tried to write at least one tossup for every category, and this was my "music" tossup for this year (though it filled the other fine arts distribution.) If everybody playing this thought it was transparent, sure, I'll admit it. I'm not going to claim any competence in writing music, and I made some judgment error. If this is indeed a fine tossup and is being labeled transparent, then I'm really bothered by the label.

EDIT: Okay, that came off as a little confrontational, but here's what I want to say: I'm fine with statements like "I didn't like this tossup" but not with claims like "this tossup is transparent" if, in fact, it isn't.
I think John's referring to the stuff about the Peruvian whistle tune--obviously Peru isn't Spain, but it was enough to make me, for example, want to buzz with Sketches of Spain (although John justly beat me to it.)
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:14 pm

gkandlikar wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote: Sketches of Spain was the only music tossup that seemed to have cluing problems (very transparent: after the lead-in, every clue seemed to mention something related to Spain)
I wrote: 16. A 1997 re-issue of this album includes a composition called "Song of Our Country"
which had earlier appeared in its artist's album Directions. The third track on this album
has a tune based on a traditional Peruvian whistle song, while its fourth track has a solo
cadenza which emulates the voice of a muezzin calling out the adhan but was inspired by
a song sung in processions during Holy Week. In addition to "The Pan Piper" and "Saeta,"
this album includes a composition based on a theme from the Song of the Will o' the Wisp
from El (*)
Amor Brujo. The tracks on this album were composed and arranged by Gil Evans, and its
opening track was adapted from a Joaquin Rodrigo work named for a royal palace built by Phillip II. For
10 points, identify this jazz album which contains the piece "Concierto de Aranjuez" and adapts music
from a certain European country, a work of Miles Davis.
ANSWER: Sketches of Spain
Is this really transparent? I don't see anything Spanish mentioned until Song of the will o' the wisp. Perhaps the clue about the muezzin hinted Spain?

For all the MOs I've tried to write at least one tossup for every category, and this was my "music" tossup for this year (though it filled the other fine arts distribution.) If everybody playing this thought it was transparent, sure, I'll admit it. I'm not going to claim any competence in writing music, and I made some judgment error. If this is indeed a fine tossup and is being labeled transparent, then I'm really bothered by the label.

EDIT: Okay, that came off as a little confrontational, but here's what I want to say: I'm fine with statements like "I didn't like this tossup" but not with claims like "this tossup is transparent" if, in fact, it isn't.
Oh God, I did not mean to start a music thread derail yet again...Sorry...

I probably wouldn't have mentioned this tossup if Rob hadn't been soliciting comments on the music questions, but I'll defend my claim. I do think it's transparent, but it's always possible that I'm just being over-nitpicky or using the term too loosely, as usual.

How I played this tossup: I heard "Peruvian" and "muezzin". I thought to myself: "hmm...Latin American and Muslim influences on a jazz album, eh? I wonder if this is Sketches of Spain." If I were courageous, I would have buzzed there. I waited for additional Spanish-sounding things or confirmation that this was a Miles Davis album. When I received both at line 5, I buzzed and received power. I would not have been able to remember which Miles Davis album this was otherwise. Will, who I was playing, commented that he had been sitting on that answer for the same reasons. I talked to Dan Passner afterwards and he mentioned having a similar experience with this question.

I think its transparency is basically a result of two things: 1. The small number of possible answers for a tossup on a jazz album (even at this level, there are only about seven or eight album max you could be tossing up), which therefore exacerbates the consequences of clues that help lateral thinking. Album + Spain = Sketches of Spain is a perfectly reasonable binary. 2. The length of the tossup (9.5 lines). There are a bit over three lines to go after you've said the unmistakably spanish title El Amor Brujo.

From line three forward we have the following Spanish-sounding things: Peruvian whistle song (line 3), muezzin/Holy Week (i.e. Muslim + Catholic, line 4), Saeta (even if one doesn't know that this is a Spanish genre, it is a Spanish word, line 5), El Amor Brujo (line 7), Joaquin Rodrigo (line 8), Philip II (line 8), Concierto de Aranjuez (line 9), the indication that the album is titled after the country (line 10) . That's a whole lot of buzzwords for Spain, one after another, in one fairly long tossup, more clues than you have that are ethnically neutral: "song our country" (line 1), Directions (line 2), Gil Evans (line 7), Miles Davis (line 10). Basically, I think the majority of this tossup rewards the ability to recognize things that sound Spanish and starts doing that within power. This is a unique pitfall for this particular album, because of the binary association of Spanishness that is present on pretty much every track, and probably makes it especially hard to write on this album well.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:56 pm

I'm fairly sure I powered that tossup by reverse-engineering "Spanish-type influences + jazz record." And I don't know Sketches of Spain from a hole in the ground.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:01 am

A few scattered things:

Thank you thank you thank you Mike Cheyne for that Robert Moses tossup.

Both the opposing team (I think was UVA?) and I were surprised to hear that Woody Herman was the dedicatee of Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto rather than Benny Goodman- probably since Goodman's recording is much more well known.

I actually own the Sketches of Spain reissue, so that question ended up being my only first-line buzz of the day.

Don't actually have a whole lot of comment on the rest of the music; it was by and large quite good, barring the occasional wackiness like Joachim #2 and whoever that third musicologist was (great idea for a bonus, though).

I was pleasantly shocked to see that Paul Simon/Derek Walcott's The Capeman passed muster as part of an academic question. If high level tournaments keep reducing pop culture (something I am actually not opposed to, despite my reputation as a quixotic Bob Dylan defender), I certainly hope that there can still be room for serious and serious-ish stuff like this and Laurie Anderson's "O Superman" (another thing I was quite pleased to see come up, seeing as it's possibly the single best example of a piece which is unquestionably both popular and art music).
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:02 am

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:Don't actually have a whole lot of comment on the rest of the music; it was by and large quite good, barring the occasional wackiness like Joachim #2 and whoever that third musicologist was (great idea for a bonus, though).
Are you possibly referring to noted musicologist Theodor Adorno?
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:05 am

Ukonvasara wrote:
Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:Don't actually have a whole lot of comment on the rest of the music; it was by and large quite good, barring the occasional wackiness like Joachim #2 and whoever that third musicologist was (great idea for a bonus, though).
Are you possibly referring to noted musicologist Theodor Adorno?
D'oh! Welp, that was stupid. Yeah, Adorno is super-important, and I've actually read a bit of his writings on music*; for some reason I had never heard of the specific stuff which came up in the question, and that's what I had remembered.

Clearly I am turning into a doddering fool in my old age.

*specifically, Philosophy of New Music
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:08 am

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote:
Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:Don't actually have a whole lot of comment on the rest of the music; it was by and large quite good, barring the occasional wackiness like Joachim #2 and whoever that third musicologist was (great idea for a bonus, though).
Are you possibly referring to noted musicologist Theodor Adorno?
D'oh! Welp, that was stupid. Yeah, Adorno is super-important, and I've actually read a bit of his writings on music*; for some reason I had never heard of the specific stuff which came up in the question, and that's what I had remembered.

Clearly I am turning into a doddering fool in my old age.

*specifically, Philosophy of New Music
I am glad that my suspicions about Adorno's music theory being real-world important. I didn't write this specific bonus but had planned on writing something about his musicology work in some form before Rob stole the idea.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:19 am

tetragrammatology wrote:
Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote:
Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:Don't actually have a whole lot of comment on the rest of the music; it was by and large quite good, barring the occasional wackiness like Joachim #2 and whoever that third musicologist was (great idea for a bonus, though).
Are you possibly referring to noted musicologist Theodor Adorno?
D'oh! Welp, that was stupid. Yeah, Adorno is super-important, and I've actually read a bit of his writings on music*; for some reason I had never heard of the specific stuff which came up in the question, and that's what I had remembered.

Clearly I am turning into a doddering fool in my old age.

*specifically, Philosophy of New Music
I am glad that my suspicions about Adorno's music theory being real-world important. I didn't write this specific bonus but had planned on writing something about his musicology work in some form before Rob stole the idea.
IIRC the Adorno part didn't mention his support for the twelve-tone system, which is one of the two big things Adorno is known for, music-wise (the other being his contempt for popular music).

I found Adorno to be a fascinating read, in large part because I disagree with so much of what he says, and enjoyed grappling with it.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:31 am

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:IIRC the Adorno part didn't mention his support for the twelve-tone system, which is one of the two big things Adorno is known for, music-wise (the other being his contempt for popular music).

I found Adorno to be a fascinating read, in large part because I disagree with so much of what he says, and enjoyed grappling with it.
The bonus, in full:
In Editors 2, I wrote:5. Identify the following musicologists, for 10 points each.
[10] This promoter of Arthur Manns’s concerts at Sydenham discovered a number of previously-lost Schubert works, including Rosamunde, with the aid of his friend Arthur Sullivan. He may be more famous for editing his namesake Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
ANSWER: George Grove
[10] This German-American is likely most famous for making the first major revision to the Köchel catalog of Mozart’s works. His own best-known work is probably Mozart: His Character, His Work.
ANSWER: Alfred Einstein
[10] This part-time composer lamented the fall of prima donnas and castrioti and the rise of memorable popular music in such works as On the Fetish-Character in Music and On Jazz.
ANSWER: Theodor W. Adorno [or Thedor Ludwig Adorno Weisengrund]
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Nicklausse/Muse » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:22 am

I think MO could be summed up as the model of a very competent hard tournament.
I initially read this wrong......


It is the very model of a competent hard tournament
Not yet Chicago Open, there's bandleader Woody Herman in't
A tossup done on Tolstoy in a categ'ry not heard before
Sevastopol had Raglan, but so did the whole Crimean War
"Original was better" said the writer, J. Vinokurov
And Spain comes up in other arts: a country that there's Sketches of
Joachim's Concerto Number Two is deemed too hard for Quizbowl play
And unpronounceable was Aztec goddess Chalchiuhtlicue.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:38 am

Nicklausse/Muse wrote:Joachim's Concerto Number Two is deemed too hard for Quizbowl play
And unpronounceable was Aztec goddess Chalchiuhtlicue.
Ironically, these lines don't really rhyme.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Nicklausse/Muse » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:53 am

Gilbert, in [i]Patience[/i], wrote:In that case unprecedented
Single I must live and die –
I shall have to be contented
With a tulip or lily.
I'm not that worried.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:46 am

Nicklausse/Muse wrote:
I think MO could be summed up as the model of a very competent hard tournament.
I initially read this wrong......


It is the very model of a competent hard tournament
Not yet Chicago Open, there's bandleader Woody Herman in't
A tossup done on Tolstoy in a categ'ry not heard before
Sevastopol had Raglan, but so did the whole Crimean War
"Original was better" said the writer, J. Vinokurov
And Spain comes up in other arts: a country that there's Sketches of
Joachim's Concerto Number Two is deemed too hard for Quizbowl play
And unpronounceable was Aztec goddess Chalchiuhtlicue.
Sorry. I read this and I just couldn't resist:

We are the very model of a quizbowl music mafia,
Staging coups in forum threads, like Colonel Gadaffi. A
Tiny misplaced clue sends a shiver down our vertebrae
So that against our better judgment, we leap right into the fray,
To denigrate a question's use of music terminology
(E.g. to say: "F double-sharp is really not at all a G...").
Our aim is to accustom would-be writers to these niceties
And get a bigger slice of distribution at the ICT's!

And get a bigger slice of distribution at the ICT's!
And get a bigger slice of distribution at the ICT's!
And get a bigger slice of distribution at those yearly ICT's!

Forgive us please, oh forum readers, if our music passion
Leads to pedantry, (this parody), and constant question-bashin'...
That I would keep on writing this, shows that a prudent head I lack.
This is the very model of a music mafia thread hijack.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:03 am

I've got a little list, and if you don't start discussing the tournament at hand, you're going on that list.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:31 am

Stop tossing up so many people in the science distribution. It leads to negs on doubly-eponymous things.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by silverscreentest » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:26 pm

The teams in the room I was reading grumbled about the Versailles tossup. It seemed to be a list of recent art exhibitions and ended with a buzzer race at the Hall of Mirrors giveaway.

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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by setht » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:45 pm

silverscreentest wrote:The teams in the room I was reading grumbled about the Versailles tossup. It seemed to be a list of recent art exhibitions and ended with a buzzer race at the Hall of Mirrors giveaway.
I wrote that one as a current events question. I'd vaguely heard about all the monocle-dropping that accompanied the Jeff Koons exhibit a couple years back and more recently heard about similar shenanigans in connection with Takeshi Murakami's exhibition, and thought this would make for an interesting, non-impossible "things that are going on in the art world" question. I also tried to mention some non-current stuff (Salon of Mars, Lemoyne's ceiling painting) in the context of the recent exhibition clues that I thought would help clue people in, but perhaps I missed all the stuff people know about Versailles (or maybe the real problem is that people just don't know much at all about Versailles).

I'll readily admit that I'm not a current events player. Was I wrong to think that fine arts current events is a reasonable topic for a current events question, or does CE all have to be politics/trash because no one pays attention to other kinds of news? Or is it that there is a decent population of people who pay attention to fine arts current events, but I was wrong in thinking that the exhibitions at Versailles were noteworthy?

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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:55 pm

setht wrote:Was I wrong to think that fine arts current events is a reasonable topic for a current events question, or does CE all have to be politics/trash because no one pays attention to other kinds of news? Or is it that there is a decent population of people who pay attention to fine arts current events, but I was wrong in thinking that the exhibitions at Versailles were noteworthy?

-Seth
You are not wrong in thinking any of these things; perhaps people were just unaware of the contemporary art exhibitions at Versailles. At our site, the mention of Jeff Koons made me neg (stupidly) with "Guggenheim Bilbao," despite the fact that where I buzzed, the Salon of Mars was already mentioned. Berkeley just had a temporary lapse because of the Japanese art exhibitions, I guess, and said something Japanese when the question was over despite the mention of the Hall of Mirrors.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:24 am

This tournament is now posted at http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/archive/2010MO/, with a zip copy available on the main page.

I hope this incites more question specific (or overall) discussion.

The non-history I wrote

Tossups: The Old Curiosity Shop, William Saroyan, Man and Superman, William of Baskerville, This Side of Paradise, Henry James, Jimmy Porter, edited Interpreter of Maladies, edited Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Photographs of Bourke-White, Louis Sullivan, Philippians, Pentecostalism, Gideon, Self-Reliance, Harry Harlow, North by Northwest, Texas Rangers, Grover, UCLA, Kill Bill, Carmen Electra

Bonuses: Vanity Fair bonus, Angels in America bonus, American Indian lit bonus, edited English Patient bonus, Glackens bonus, Courbet bonus, Bingham bonus, Lichtenstein bonus, German film bonus, Khachaturian bonus, Gospel of John bonus, voodoo bonus, Gorgias bonus, Bourdieu bonus, communication theory bonus, John Sayles bonus, Lesley Gore bonus, singing in movies bonus, popular historians bonus, poodles bonus, The Big C bonus, old songs about people dying bonus
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:53 am

Cheynem wrote:Tossups: The Old Curiosity Shop, William Saroyan, Man and Superman, William of Baskerville, This Side of Paradise, Henry James, Jimmy Porter, edited Interpreter of Maladies, edited Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Photographs of Bourke-White, Louis Sullivan, Philippians, Pentecostalism, Gideon, Self-Reliance, Harry Harlow, North by Northwest, Texas Rangers, Grover, UCLA, Kill Bill, Carmen Electra
I thought most of these were pretty good; the only question in this collection I had an issue with was the Harlow tossup. Again, I felt like the "he changed his super-Jewish name" anecdote was not terrible helpful, and I thought the rest of the question was kind of figure-outable in the sense that it was "this guy devised various experiments that kinda sorta tortured his animal subjects." So that's my two cents. But I really liked the William of Baskerville question, and I thought "photographs of Bourke-White" was a really great idea. Also Henry James from hard clues was a nice change-up.
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:58 am

The Harlow one was a bitch to write. My original draft was even crummier, so ultimately I had to add some other stuff to pad it out a bit, as it just kept falling over a cliff. I'll admit it probably didn't go that well--my intent with the name-changing anecdote was to also give a clue about the dude's mentor (Lewis Terman, the Stanford psychology dude), but perhaps that wasn't helpful either.
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Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:19 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Again, I felt like the "he changed his super-Jewish name" anecdote was not terrible helpful
This prompted me to google it, and according to a Publishers Weekly review of Deborah Blum's Love at Goon Park (she's a prominent critic of Harlow), he apparently was not actually Jewish and just by pure chance was named Harry Israel but still got anti-semitic flack. I agree that's not a terribly useful clue, but I just now found it interesting enough to be worth posting here.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Auroni
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auroni » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:17 pm

I'm just curious, but why did you need to write a tossup with the answer line ANSWER: _photographs_ of Margaret _Bourke-White_, when it seems to me that she was best known as a photographer? Isn't that like writing a tossup on the _painting_s of _Titian_?

I really liked the rest of your questions though, maybe with the exception of Jimmy Porter since I buzzed in with "that dude from Look Back in Anger and couldn't remember his name. That's not on the question though, that's totally on me, it goes without saying.
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Cheynem
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:22 pm

I think I did it to avoid two things--giving away that it was a photographer early (I guess I could have said "one of this artist's works") or giving away that it was a woman early (I guess I could have said "this artist" over and over). I'm not sure if it really was necessary or not, but I can't see it tripping up someone who knew what was going on.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

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Auroni
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Auroni » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:25 pm

When I was playing the question, it still became abundantly clear around the middle that you were describing photographs; I think that at the level of MO, there are something like 6-8 tossup-able photographers, so you wouldn't have been giving away too much by either implying that she was a photographer using "this artist," or even outright saying "this photographer."
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Cheynem
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:32 pm

I guess that's fair...but I didn't. I mean, was this like confusing to someone? Did someone think this was like a specific series of Bourke White photographs or like some weird-ass tossup on "Twentieth Century Photographs"? Unless this question was drastically confusing (which I maintain, if you know what's going on, I'm not sure why it would be), then this is really coming down to just an aesthetic difference in answer lines, which is understandable if fruitless to discuss. I used "Photos of Bourke-White" as an answer-line, you wouldn't, and that's great.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

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grapesmoker
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Re: Minnesota Open Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:01 pm

Cheynem wrote:I guess that's fair...but I didn't. I mean, was this like confusing to someone? Did someone think this was like a specific series of Bourke White photographs or like some weird-ass tossup on "Twentieth Century Photographs"? Unless this question was drastically confusing (which I maintain, if you know what's going on, I'm not sure why it would be), then this is really coming down to just an aesthetic difference in answer lines, which is understandable if fruitless to discuss. I used "Photos of Bourke-White" as an answer-line, you wouldn't, and that's great.
I thought it was perfectly clear what was being asked for.
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