THUNDER Discussion

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THUNDER Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:33 pm

First off, thanks to the writers and editors of this tournament producing a house-written set of 14 rounds. This is a ton of work and I appreciate the effort involved in doing this.

That said, I had some reservations with this tournament.

First, the distribution was very odd. I haven't gone through the packets and counted, but one thing that definitely stood out was that several rounds completely lacked visual arts questions. How did this happen? If this was an oversight, why wasn't this fixed for the later mirrors of the tournament?

The other big issue was that this tournament was pretty fucking hard for a "regular difficulty" tournament, especially in the later rounds. It definitely seemed a lot tougher than TIT, the most recent other "regular difficulty" tournament I played. What are answers like "Alfred Tarski", "Nino Rota", "Cesar Pelli" and countless others doing as tossups in this tournament?

I'll probably have some more to say about specific questions in a later post.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Kwang the Ninja » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:51 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: First, the distribution was very odd. I haven't gone through the packets and counted, but one thing that definitely stood out was that several rounds completely lacked visual arts questions. How did this happen? If this was an oversight, why wasn't this fixed for the later mirrors of the tournament?
A lot of the art questions (I think in almost every round) got pushed back into the tiebreaker for some reason. I'm not sure if this was an oversight, but that was one thing that stood out to me when I looked over our hard copies of the set after we played it.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:11 am

This was one of the poorer recent tournaments I can remember. The history portion of the distribution was comprised of unnecessarily long, poorly-worded, and often apyramidal tossups. The literature, philosophy, and social science questions on authors of works were often filled with unbuzzable descriptions and very early title drops. A lot of those questions contained poorly constructed sentences and devolved into find-the-pronoun exercises. There were several pretty difficult tossup answers interspersed throughout the tournament. The tournament was also plagued with the lateness issues that recent tournaments have suffered from, which certainly couldn't have helped any of the above problems. Trygve said that part of the difficulty problem was that the packets were improperly randomized and the finals material was littered throughout the tournament; this is a particularly good example of why getting this stuff done sooner than later is extremely important.

Overall, I was happy that this tournament existed so that I could play it, but I would have been a lot more angry if I didn't play this as a glorified scrimmage against Rob, Brendan, Bernadette, and Carleton folks. All of the writers of this tournament are capable of much better.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:20 am

I agree with Andrew in this regard. I also was rather puzzled at some of the answer selection, particularly the Fine Arts. While I guess I appreciate a little bit of attempts to slip things through, tossups on Glenn Miller, Bob Fosse, and Nino Rota, all of which I answered using trash knowledge, were probably not the best of ideas. Multiple bonus parts that rewarded Broadway knowledge (I can think of three, maybe four) were also somewhat eccentric.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by 49-Mile Scenic Drive » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:11 am

I'll have to agree that this was rather hard for a "regular difficulty tournament." Correct me if I'm wrong (because it has been a month since I've played the set), but it seemed like most of the mythology was very obscure egyptian/babylonian/etc. but then again I'm from Alabama and alot of things I find obscure may not be deemed that by most people. The difficulty did fluctuate from time to time. My friend and I were both buzzing on the Hartford Convention at "Harrison Gray Otis" and were both surprised it was still a power, of course that could also be because he's a history major and I was a history major. Aside from that, the power marks seemed to be placed at appropriate points, except for maybe the apartheid question still being power after "Rivonia Trials" and "this policy."

As for the visual arts questions, I too was surprised that several of the rounds did not have them. Despite all of that I would like to thank the writers for putting this tournament together and say that I thoroughly enjoyed playing it, and hope to play the next incarnation of it next year providing it happens. 14 rounds of house-written question isn't something you come by every day and like Mike said above the effort is greatly appreciated.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:14 am

Mark wrote: Aside from that, the power marks seemed to be placed at appropriate points
I disagree in a technical sense. Most of the powers in this tournament were placed at the end of sentences, or before words like "the." In the big picture, perhaps power placement doesn't matter all that much, but like all things it is worth doing right.

Please see my old thread at viewtopic.php?f=30&t=2249&start=0 for an overview of the basic principle of power placement.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by 49-Mile Scenic Drive » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:38 am

Matt Weiner wrote:
Mark wrote: Aside from that, the power marks seemed to be placed at appropriate points
I disagree in a technical sense. Most of the powers in this tournament were placed at the end of sentences, or before words like "the." In the big picture, perhaps power placement doesn't matter all that much, but like all things it is worth doing right.

Please see my old thread at viewtopic.php?f=30&t=2249&start=0 for an overview of the basic principle of power placement.
That could've been true and I had just overlooked that, like I said it had been almost a month since I had played the set. I apologize for my overlooking it.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by ClemsonQB » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:22 am

Matt Weiner wrote:
Mark wrote: Aside from that, the power marks seemed to be placed at appropriate points
I disagree in a technical sense. Most of the powers in this tournament were placed at the end of sentences, or before words like "the." In the big picture, perhaps power placement doesn't matter all that much, but like all things it is worth doing right.

Please see my old thread at viewtopic.php?f=30&t=2249&start=0 for an overview of the basic principle of power placement.
If I remember correctly, Eric forgot to powermark the science questions (and probably mythology and painting too) so someone went through and put power marks around halfway through the question.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:20 pm

Yet another reason to get done sooner rather than later.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:34 pm

Cheynem wrote:I agree with Andrew in this regard. I also was rather puzzled at some of the answer selection, particularly the Fine Arts. While I guess I appreciate a little bit of attempts to slip things through, tossups on Glenn Miller, Bob Fosse, and Nino Rota, all of which I answered using trash knowledge, were probably not the best of ideas. Multiple bonus parts that rewarded Broadway knowledge (I can think of three, maybe four) were also somewhat eccentric.
I'm responsible for all three of those tossups and probably the bonuses you're talking about. Are you saying that 1/1 each of jazz and dance, and 1/0 film music and 0/1 Broadway is too much for a set of fifteen packets? Or is your problem specifically with having those artists as answers (i.e. would it have been better to ask about Thelonious Monk and Anna Pavlova)? I may be prejudiced because these are some of my areas of study and because I've read academic books on these subjects, but I don't see why knowledge of influential Broadway lyricists/composers and choreographers, or serious composers who wrote film music, or pre-bebop jazz is necessarily un-academic or trashy in principle, when ballet composers and choreographers and later jazz artists seem to be kosher.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:47 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
Cheynem wrote:I agree with Andrew in this regard. I also was rather puzzled at some of the answer selection, particularly the Fine Arts. While I guess I appreciate a little bit of attempts to slip things through, tossups on Glenn Miller, Bob Fosse, and Nino Rota, all of which I answered using trash knowledge, were probably not the best of ideas. Multiple bonus parts that rewarded Broadway knowledge (I can think of three, maybe four) were also somewhat eccentric.
I'm responsible for all three of those tossups and probably the bonuses you're talking about. Are you saying that 1/1 each of jazz and dance, and 1/0 film music and 0/1 Broadway is too much for a set of fifteen packets? Or is your problem specifically with having those artists as answers (i.e. would it have been better to ask about Thelonious Monk and Anna Pavlova)? I may be prejudiced because these are some of my areas of study and because I've read academic books on these subjects, but I don't see why knowledge of influential Broadway lyricists/composers and choreographers, or serious composers who wrote film music, or pre-bebop jazz is necessarily un-academic or trashy in principle, when ballet composers and choreographers and later jazz artists seem to be kosher.
There was really only 0/1 Broadway? It seemed like there was at least 2 or 3 questions on that, since my teammates who are apparenlty big Broadway fans knew them. Also, 1/0 "film music" doesn't strike me as outrageous, but asking people to identify the composer of the Godfather as a tossup was just a bad idea for a regular difficulty tournament. I'd be surprised if more than 10% of teams converted that. Conversely, if you made it a bonus part on like Rota/Godfather/Some Medium part it would be more in line with what to expect at such a tournament.
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Re: Better author questions

Post by Auroni » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:51 pm

I got that Osborne question on the description of the songs from The Entertainer and was sort of incredulous that so much time on that tossup was spent on non-Look Back in Anger works, since I thought that Osborne was pushing it for an answer choice at a regular difficulty event.


Also, who the hell got the tossup on the Chola king Raja Raja I?
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:01 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:There was really only 0/1 Broadway? It seemed like there was at least 2 or 3 questions on that, since my teammates who are apparenlty big Broadway fans knew them. Also, 1/0 "film music" doesn't strike me as outrageous, but asking people to identify the composer of the Godfather as a tossup was just a bad idea for a regular difficulty tournament. I'd be surprised if more than 10% of teams converted that. Conversely, if you made it a bonus part on like Rota/Godfather/Some Medium part it would be more in line with what to expect at such a tournament.
I actually bet my room a cookie that it wouldn't be converted, but unfortunately Doug Yetman pulled it out at the last possible second. I still owe him baked goods.

To the point: The music answer selection was particularly all over the board in terms of difficulty, as was literature selection. I empathize with the "oops, finals questions got randomized in with everything else" issue, but this can't possibly explain every difficulty fluctuation in the tournament.
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Re: Better author questions

Post by Auroni » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:03 pm

Haha, I forgot that this thread was just for author questions. Someone move the second part of my previous post to the THUNDER thread.
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Re: Better author questions

Post by Sir Thopas » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:23 pm

jpn wrote:Also, who the hell got the tossup on the Chola king Raja Raja I?
Damn, I missed a tossup on this?!
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:25 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
Cheynem wrote:I agree with Andrew in this regard. I also was rather puzzled at some of the answer selection, particularly the Fine Arts. While I guess I appreciate a little bit of attempts to slip things through, tossups on Glenn Miller, Bob Fosse, and Nino Rota, all of which I answered using trash knowledge, were probably not the best of ideas. Multiple bonus parts that rewarded Broadway knowledge (I can think of three, maybe four) were also somewhat eccentric.
I'm responsible for all three of those tossups and probably the bonuses you're talking about. Are you saying that 1/1 each of jazz and dance, and 1/0 film music and 0/1 Broadway is too much for a set of fifteen packets? Or is your problem specifically with having those artists as answers (i.e. would it have been better to ask about Thelonious Monk and Anna Pavlova)? I may be prejudiced because these are some of my areas of study and because I've read academic books on these subjects, but I don't see why knowledge of influential Broadway lyricists/composers and choreographers, or serious composers who wrote film music, or pre-bebop jazz is necessarily un-academic or trashy in principle, when ballet composers and choreographers and later jazz artists seem to be kosher.
Well, leaving aside concerns of whether these choices were sufficiently "academic" or not (don't feel like wading into that minefield right now), Fosse and Rota were simply way too hard to be tossups at this tournament. While I personally feel Glenn Miller is a bit easier, I wouldn't be surprised if he went dead in most rooms as well. FWIW, I spent most of that question sitting on the buzzer thinking "hey, this is clearly a swing-era bandleader who played the clarinet, time to wait for a clue which will allow me to distinguish between Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman."
Last edited by Theory Of The Leisure Flask on Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:26 pm

While I think one of them might have been fine, I think having all of them made the Fine Arts distro seem odd, like you were trying to completely shake up the distributions all in one tournament. All of them are vaguely borderline academic subjects anyway, in my opinion--I answered Fosse off movie knowledge (yay, Kiss Me Kate!), Glenn Miller is really popular jazz, and I got Rota off The Godfather clues.

I guess inherently I don't decry the writing of these questions per se, but it really did feel like you were trying to do "different" things with the Fine Arts distribution.

In terms of bonuses, there were bonus parts on Gypsy/Sondheim/Funny Girl, a bonus where one of the parts was about Lady in the Dark, and a bonus about Fall River Legend (I know, it's a ballet) and a random part about the musical version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or something.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Pilgrim » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:30 pm

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:FWIW, I spent most of that question sitting on the buzzer thinking "hey, this is clearly a swing-era bandleader who played the clarinet, time to wait for a clue which will allow me to distinguish between Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman."
Miller played trombone. I guess his music did prominently feature clarinet, though.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:37 pm

Pilgrim wrote:
Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:FWIW, I spent most of that question sitting on the buzzer thinking "hey, this is clearly a swing-era bandleader who played the clarinet, time to wait for a clue which will allow me to distinguish between Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman."
Miller played trombone. I guess his music did prominently feature clarinet, though.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:37 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: There was really only 0/1 Broadway? It seemed like there was at least 2 or 3 questions on that, since my teammates who are apparenlty big Broadway fans knew them.
There's only 0/1 that's explicitly on Broadway music, but the dance tossup is on Fosse, who's clued through his Broadway work, and one part of the dance bonus asks about Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, which is a jazz ballet Balanchine for a Broadway musical. I suppose, in retrospect, you could also get one part of the jazz bonus on Harlem stride pianists through familiarity with the revue Ain't Misbehavin', but it didn't occur to me that anyone would know Fats Waller who hadn't heard of him otherwise.
Bentley Like Beckham wrote: Also, 1/0 "film music" doesn't strike me as outrageous, but asking people to identify the composer of the Godfather as a tossup was just a bad idea for a regular difficulty tournament. I'd be surprised if more than 10% of teams converted that. Conversely, if you made it a bonus part on like Rota/Godfather/Some Medium part it would be more in line with what to expect at such a tournament.
Yeah, if conversion was that low, I definitely overestimated how tossupable he is. Sorry about that. But if he isn't tossupable, then really there are only three or four film composers who will be. He's one of the only famous film composers to be both very successful in foreign art film and Hollywood commercial big pictures and taken seriously (at least in his own country) as a composer of concert music.
Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote: To the point: The music answer selection was particularly all over the board in terms of difficulty, as was literature selection. I empathize with the "oops, finals questions got randomized in with everything else" issue, but this can't possibly explain every difficulty fluctuation in the tournament.
My problem was not time, at least not for the the classical music, which were written back in August, but inexperience: it's my first time writing a category for a collegiate set. I'm curious to know which answer choices you thought were too hard or wacky, so I can avoid making these mistakes in future.
Cheynem wrote:I guess inherently I don't decry the writing of these questions per se, but it really did feel like you were trying to do "different" things with the Fine Arts distribution.In terms of bonuses, there were bonus parts on Gypsy/Sondheim/Funny Girl, a bonus where one of the parts was about Lady in the Dark, and a bonus about Fall River Legend (I know, it's a ballet) and a random part about the musical version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or something.
Ah, what happened here is that I originally was only responsible only for the 1/1 classical music. I offered to help them on the misc. fine arts if they needed it, but was originally told that someone else would take care of it. Someone else in the end did write most of the misc. fine arts, but a couple of days before the tournament, I got an e-mail asking if I could help out with writing 2/2-3/3 jazz/dance, so I did that. So I'm responsible for that 3/3 in the misc. fine arts, but not the overall distribution for misc. fine arts or the questions involving the Lady in the Dark, Fall River Legend, or Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:47 pm

Ah, I see. Thanks for the explanation. I also dont' want to discourage you; it's your first major writing project and it IS hard to estimate difficulty--the onus here is for the experienced editors to get their stuff done quickly enough to be able to give you appropriate feedback.

For what it's worth, I thought those tossups I mentioned did reward deep knowledge quicker--the Fosse and Rota ones would have probably been better for like ACF Nats level difficulty (I was actually quite interested to know that Rota did the Fellini scores, something I didn't know).
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:53 pm

Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote:To the point: The music answer selection was particularly all over the board in terms of difficulty, as was literature selection. I empathize with the "oops, finals questions got randomized in with everything else" issue, but this can't possibly explain every difficulty fluctuation in the tournament.
I don't know why we should empathize with this, unless "empathize" here simply denotes that we understand why it happened. For all of the times that we roll our eyes at late tournaments, this is a perfect example of lateness directly affecting the game experience of teams who expect better, and I don't understand why we're seemingly giving the writers a pass here. It seems to me that this was one of the most disappointing tournament sets in a long time, and lateness of the packets played a major role in that.

Sure, most of the mirrors of this set were a long time ago, but for a community that is willing to spend hundreds of posts discussing minor issues with well-edited questions, we're sure loath to point out the several recurring problems that were endemic to this set.
everyone wrote:Broadway music blah blah blah
Regardless of what John might think, there was a lot of crossover-1900s-pop-culture in the music, and a lot of it was too hard. But that is maybe 15th on the list of problematic trends that this tournament contained, and there's no reason for us to be sidetracked by a music discussion yet again. I'd much rather talk about how the difficulty of the tossup answers fluctuated wildly, how the poor packet construction made knowing painting unimportant, how the author tossups in all categories were full of unbuzzable descriptions and convoluted grammar, how the history questions were often ten-plus lines with an extremely notable clue dropped in the second line, how the bonuses ranged from easy thirties for anyone who has played recent packets to very difficult twenties, how the powermarks were not placed correctly in the sentences, how the grammar was generally confusing and pronouns were tough to follow and not always present, and how the late writing of some of the distribution and late production of the packets exacerbated all of these problems.

Look, it's great that you guys wrote an entire tournament. You're all good writers and capable of doing great work. But this tournament was not great. In fact, it was pretty bad, for a number of systematic reasons. I hope that I'm not discouraging any of you when I say that I expected a lot better, and I hope that my criticisms are not taken as mere complaints, but instead as constructive ideas for doing better in the future.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by ak47 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:55 pm

I think Bob Fosse is a fine choice for a regular difficulty tournament. My art film class delved pretty deeply into the Fosse film canon (most specifically Cabaret and Lenny), and cinematically, he is pretty relevant to the development of film as an art form. Even though Fosse only shows two relevant hits in a quick packet search, I think this is one of those times where an answer that hasn't come up before but should come up finally shows up at a tournament. I don't think the majority of quizbowlers are huge art-film aficionados, so the TU may have gone dead in many rooms--but this should at least encourage more teams to learn some cool stuff about a pretty important director.

Looking at the TU, it seems like a lot of it was spent on Bob Fosse's choreography experience, which probably should not have been the focus of the TU since I think (while he was a fantastic choreographer) his lasting impact will be his cinematic stylings.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Gautam » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:59 pm

Hey,

I want to apologize for the tossups on the Burial at Ornans and James Ensor that were used at THUNDER. I wrote them kind of quickly either on Friday or the day of the tournament to fill out needs, and didn't immediately pick on the fact that the former ended up being kind of transparent and the latter ended up having poor middle clues with a weird title drop. I'll do my best to avoid that in the future.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:19 pm

Before I dive any deeper, I want to make one thing clear about the "lateness" of this tournament. I understand that this is an important issue, and I appreciate your criticism of my writing schedule, Andrew, as it'll remind me never to push the envelope this badly again. But, you're slightly missing the mark.

Trygve and George had their parts finished well before the Friday of the tournament, so the only things that would be affected by "lateness" are the science, painting, and mythology, ie the parts that I alone was responsible for. I hear your complaints about the placement of the visual art, and that was partly my fault for not being done with them and partly the fault of the randomization, which was done before any of my questions were inserted. Furthermore, I did place power marks in my questions the night before the tournament. I tried to use previous tournaments as a guideline (mainly MLK2007, which I use as a guideline for a lot of things) for how to place them, and a cursory glance shows that I didn't put them at the end of sentences or before "the". If you have specific issues with how the power marks were placed, I would love to hear them, and if you have specific issues about my answer choices or clue ordering, I would love to hear those too (Matt and Jerry have been kind enough to offer me some criticism privately, which I will leave to them to make public if they so choose), but don't blame the issues of this tournament on "lateness" because that's clearly not the case, especially because the only person that was late was me and you haven't complained about my stuff.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:23 pm

Eric's post reminds me: something I took issue with earlier was that people involved in this tournament were crowing about "getting done early." Guess what, if your questions are bad or unreadable, or you need to ask someone else to randomize the packets and end up shuffling the finals questions into the whole set, you didn't really get done early. You aren't done until you actually complete the questions to an acceptable standard. Please take the extra time and make your questions good, rather than trawling for credit over your ability to meet deadlines by rushing through shoddy work. Optimally, yes, we would all write perfect questions weeks in advance, but until such time as that happens, please choose the former over the latter.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by endersdouble » Tue Nov 24, 2009 2:37 am

I certainly appreciated the points I got from them, but I also question the high rate of CS and especially math. For something that's supposed to live only in "1/1 other science" there sure was a lot of it: cantor, lebesque integral, tarski, dirichlet, dijiskstra just off the top of my head, just tossups, and I think I'm missing a couple.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Magister Ludi » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:49 am

I was disappointed with this tournament. I don't blame Eric because it seems like his questions were good. From the art questions I've read and the lack of criticisms of the science I feel pretty confident that Eric should bear very little responsibility for this tournament. I agree with Matt's post as I think this tournament suffered from several fundamental problems that are unrelated to the lateness. The primary problems were overly difficult tossup answers, wildly inconsistent bonuses, and vague clues for literature questions.

I never became comfortable with the difficulty of this tournament--I never got a feel for what could be asked. Even in the last few rounds I refused to buzz on the Reformation Symphony after clues that I knew because I felt it was too difficult and several games later I negged guessing Bulgakov's White Guard because that seemed like something that could reasonably come up at this tournament. While this is surely a greater testament to my own stupidity than the inconsistency of the set, I think this tournament's identity was torn between trying to be a real regular difficulty tournament with questions on unquestionably important subjects like "Tintern Abbey" or "A House for Mr. Biswas" and then asking for silly things like Kurt Lewin or Unamuno.

However, my primary problem with the tournament was the vague way literature questions were written. I think that this lack of specificity is a problem endemic to Trygve's writing and while it has improved since IO last year it still has room for improvement. Today at practice Dallas was joking that he could write the leadins for THUNDER tossups off the top of his head by saying, "One character in this novel takes a bath early in the morning and another character has a bumpy carriage ride after leaving her former home." This joke is actually pretty revealing. I often found that minor factual errors and picking poor overly general clues often prevented me from answering questions on topics I was very knowledgeable about.

For example here is a tossup on July's People:

One character in this novel, after being asked how to use a gun, refuses to show the chief of a local tribe how to do so on the grounds that black revolutionaries should not be resisted. Another character in this novel is forced to ask someone else to sign his pass book so that he can remain in the city, but he later regains power by speaking in a language that the character can't understand when they get removed to a settlement. One character in this novel feels guilty when she looks at a picture of her servant Lydia holding her school bag for her. In a fight, that same character snaps at the title character that if he'd wanted to, he could have left his wife Ellen for her. For 10 points, name this novel in which Maureen and Bamford Smales are saved by their titular servant, a novel by Nadine Gordimer.

The first sentence is incredibly transparent, but wasn't unique enough for me to buzz with confidence as the gun incident seems like something that could appear in many African novels. The second sentence also rewards lateral reasoning but doesn't discuss a specific enough incident to reward someone with real knowledge. Only on the third sentence was I able to answer this question on a book that I've read recently. This tossup seems exemplary of many problem in the set in which lateral thinking is rewarded because the early clues aren't about memorable or specific incidents in a work. Sometimes it seems like Trygve tries to obfuscate major plot points by describing them in odd ways. Needless to say this strategy does not lead to good questions. The tossups on Northanger Abbey, The Ambassadors, Waiting for the Barbarians, and others I cannot remember now also suffered from pointless or overly general leadin clues.

There were several times when small factual accuracies delayed me from buzzing. For example, the All My Sons question began with the clue "One character in this play notes that her neighbor is checking her horoscope to see if an unfortunate event could have occurred on another character's lucky days." I've read this play and was thinking that the question was probably describing how Frank Lubey is making a horoscope for Larry to see if he vanished on a lucky day, but Frank isn't really making the horoscope for Kate. Another example of this problem was in the A House for Mr. Biswas question, which began with the sentence, "The narrator of this noel has permanent stomach problems after he's forced to eat seven bananas after stealing a bunch of them from a politician." I had just read this novel and I was confused by the claim that Mr. Biswas "stole" these bananas from a "politician." In the novel, a young Biswas is training to become a religious pundit and is living with a pundit as an apprentice of sorts. During his stay Biswas sees that the pundit received a gift of a bunch of bananas that was going rotten, so Biswas eats one before they all decay. I don't mean to harp on these small mistakes, but I think they are tied to a larger problem of specificity and finding good sources for literature questions.


I don't want to discourage any of the writers of this set, which I actually found to be relatively enjoyable. I just hope that some of the recurring problems exemplified in this set can be fixed in the future.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by magin » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:54 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:While this is surely a greater testament to my own stupidity than the inconsistency of the set, I think this tournament's identity was torn between trying to be a real regular difficulty tournament with questions on unquestionably important subjects like "Tintern Abbey" or "A House for Mr. Biswas" and then asking for silly things like Kurt Lewin or Unamuno.
Kurt Lewin and Unamuno are both unquestionably important; it's probably more accurate to say that they are too difficult to be tossup answers for a regular difficulty tournament. However, I agree with everything Ted's saying about using precise, specific clues instead of vague plot descriptions that are either incorrect or don't allow players to buzz with confidence.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by cornfused » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:01 pm

Is the set up anywhere?
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:09 pm

This tournament had some neat questions but it was all over the place as far as difficulty was concerned. As much as I enjoy tossups on the The Open Society and Its Enemies and Kurt Lewin, that seems pretty hard to me. I'll have to go back and look at the science, but my initial (albeit somewhat dated at this point) recollection is that there was still a bit too many "things named after people" questions, especially in the bonuses. I'll go back and look at it more carefully and offer some specific comments.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by dxdtdemon » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:23 pm

If there was an intention of two finals packets that got mixed in with everything else, it seemed that that was about the amount of weird answer choices in the science, which otherwise seemed pretty consistent and mostly at the appropriate difficutly, except maybe some of the CS. I'm not completely sure about this, but it seemed like the "other science" part of the distribution was not randomized, i.e. it seemed like it was computer science at the beginning, then it went to math, and then it went to astronomy. I liked how Eric seemed to use a lot of "real academic clues" for most of his science questions as opposed to just spouting out how the answer is related to some doubly-eponymous principle that is only famous in a small subset of the quizbowl community. Outside of that, it seemed that this tournament didn't follow the distribuion as there were times where there was 2/2 religion or 2/2 philosophy while still having 1/1 of the other and 1/1 of mythology, and a bunch of extra social science. Maybe some of it was tagged as literature, which was what it displaced as well as the missing art that people have mentioned above. Is there a standard tagging convention on certain works of philosophy/social science that makes them literature? If so, where is the boundary, since it seemed to cross way into Ragabland.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:10 pm

I did enjoy playing the tournament, but like other people I was expecting much better.

A couple things: I'm a bit hesitant to comment on this, since I am not by any means a very good music player, but I think it's worth asking. And yes, I know there was a discussion over the summer about this stuff, but I think this is worth talking about. Here's the tossup on the Unfinished Symphony, a piece which I like quite a bit:
The second movement of this symphony opens with wind chords alternating with a lyrical polyphonic melody for the strings and is an Andante con moto in E major and 3/8 time. The first movement is in 3/4 and opens with a legato melody in the celli and basses, which is followed by a sixteenth-note ostinato for violins in thirds, and the main melody for oboe and clarinet. The second subject of the movement is first played in the celli, to the accompaniment of syncopated woodwinds and first violin, and is unusually in G major, instead of the D major expected in a B minor sonata-form. Incidental music from Rosamunde is used in some musicologist’s’ completions of, for 10 points, what orchestral work by Franz Schubert, which has only two movements instead of the usual four?
Where do you expect someone to buzz here?
1) wind chords alternating with a polyphonyic string melody. Well, I can hear what you are talking about while listening to it, but it doesn't seem distinct to me.
2) Andante con moto in E major. Other notably symphonies on my computer with a second movement andante con moto (a pretty common tempo, I think) include Beethoven's 5th and Mendelssohn's Italian. Are they in E minor? No idea. Do good music players know? Help me here.
3) 3/8 time. Well, that is a relatively unusual tempo. Edit: Not really that unusual, but at least not 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 2/2, or 2/4.
4) 3/4, legato melody in celli and basses. I feel like this could describe a lot of things. Maybe I'm wrong here?
The ostinato for violins in thirds might be unique; I have no idea. The clue about key signatures sounds unique. Rosamunde- hey, thing I've played by Schubert!- and used to complete this? hmm
This non-unique feel in the first half applies to a lot of music tossups on works I've heard recently. I feel like clues are not helpful even when sitting here staring at the question; when listening it sounds to me like "this piece has common time signature, common instruments playing common tempos, more common instruments playing common tempos and styles, possibly buzzable clue for someone." People who are actually good at music, do you feel the same way?
EDIT: A few of these clues are fine, since they can narrow down things, but I'd like to see something in the first few lines that is a clue I can certainly say is unique.

Second: The hydrogen bonding tossup seemed really transparent. I'm sure it is possible to write a good college tossup on hydrogen bonds, but I think it is really, really hard.
In the Zimm-Bragg model, these interactions are responsible for moving molecules from the C state to the H state, and a double version of this phenomenon was discovered by Brown and Haseltine between certain metallic compounds and acidic groups. A bifurcated form of this phenomenon is present when two centers are involved, while a carbonylated aza-crown ether will show the low-barrier type of them. Histidine stabilizes O2 in a bent position above the porphyrin ring of hemoglobin using them. This interaction is responsible for the dimerization of carboxylic acids and the negative azeotropy of hydrogen flouride solutions, and their increased occurence in GC-rich DNA gives those segments their stability. Its responsible for giving alpha helices their shape, and also grants water its high boiling point. For 10 points, name this non-covalent interaction in which an electronegative acceptor pulls on a donor containing a namesake atom.
Ok, so, some "interactions." That could be a lot of things in physics; in chem it is one of a small number of types of bonding, and I would guess probably Hydrogen, van der Waals, or Lennard-Jones. Bonds with "Acid groups." Those have hydrogens in them. In fact, they have rather positive hydrogens in them. That's the whole point of being an acid. Most of the science was fine as far as I can remember, but this one to me shows why writing on really, really easy answers in middle to upper difficulty college tournaments is not always a great idea.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by theMoMA » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:26 pm

If you ask me, music questions on individual pieces have to do a better job allowing people to buzz. It can't just be five lines of tempo and structural description. I tried to do this with Minnesota Open tossups I wrote on pieces (Brahms's Violin Concerto and Saint-Saens's Organ Symphony, among others) by including things that seemed contextually important from various program notes and scores that I found. For example, I found a description placing the Organ Symphony in the context of the organ symphonies by Widor and Guilmont. I'm not shy about mentioning things like this; people who know about the Organ Symphony are also going to know that Widor and Guilmont are prominent organ composers, and it's going to help them place the piece in a proper context to either buzz or be ready to buzz when a clue they know comes up.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Lapego1 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:22 pm

squareroot165 wrote:Ok, so, some "interactions." That could be a lot of things in physics; in chem it is one of a small number of types of bonding, and I would guess probably Hydrogen, van der Waals, or Lennard-Jones. Bonds with "Acid groups." Those have hydrogens in them. In fact, they have rather positive hydrogens in them. That's the whole point of being an acid. Most of the science was fine as far as I can remember, but this one to me shows why writing on really, really easy answers in middle to upper difficulty college tournaments is not always a great idea.
I mean, "interactions" is a very broad term--it could mean bonds (ionic, covalent, metallic, coordinate covalent, etc.), intermolecular (h-bonds, van der waals/london, dipole-dipole), plus a number of other things that might pass at this tournament (hydrophobic, coordination complex, packing interactions, maybe enzyme-substrate off the top of my head). The second clue about acidic/metallic might narrow this list down but it's still not really screaming hydrogen bond at me. If you have the ability to lateral h-bonds from that lead-in, you're lucky.

I'll have more comments once I have the set--the science was pretty good, my only complaint being that the power marks may have been a little stingier than much of the humanities. Also, aquitards.....?
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Ike » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:26 pm

If you ask me, music questions on individual pieces have to do a better job allowing people to buzz. It can't just be five lines of tempo and structural description. I tried to do this with Minnesota Open tossups I wrote on pieces (Brahms's Violin Concerto and Saint-Saens's Organ Symphony, among others) by including things that seemed contextually important from various program notes and scores that I found. For example, I found a description placing the Organ Symphony in the context of the organ symphonies by Widor and Guilmont. I'm not shy about mentioning things like this; people who know about the Organ Symphony are also going to know that Widor and Guilmont are prominent organ composers, and it's going to help them place the piece in a proper context to either buzz or be ready to buzz when a clue they know comes up.
While I can follow this logic, I think you are playing with dice by assuming people are "ready to buzz" when a particular clue comes up they know. I can understand that there is a relative dearth of musical clues on individual pieces, but to say it is appropriate to write clues that bring the knowledge halfway to the buzzer seems like a bad idea. You are making the assumption that if both players know the next clue, the one who knew the previously guiding clue is going to be the one to win the buzzer race. (Otherwise why even throw in the clue in the first place?) To me, relying on a clue to give a split-second advantage to another player seems like a really bad idea because it makes some fundamental assumptions about people's reaction speeds, and the whole point of pyramidality is to decouple reaction speed with knowledge.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:41 pm

squareroot165 wrote:"this piece has common time signature, common instruments playing common tempos, more common instruments playing common tempos and styles, possibly buzzable clue for someone."
I may be not yet be a REAL music player, but that's totally how most of the tossups on musical works at THUNDER felt to me - lots of incredibly vague descriptions of things mixed with mentions of very common tempo markings and time signatures. When I write tossups on pieces of music, I try to make sure not only that my clues are unique, but that they sound unique. I think I generally succeed at this (aside: I would love your criticisms, music people), and I think that's something that many of THUNDER's musical-work tossups had varying degrees of trouble with.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by vandyhawk » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:03 am

After not touching a buzzer since ACF Nats '08, it was pretty fun to play again. I have to say I was a little surprised that the rustiness was more evident in being slower to remember things than outright forgetting things (which obv happened too though). Anyway, I don't have too much to add that hasn't been said - certain categories transparent, really inconsistent difficulty, etc. I will wholeheartedly agree with the critique of the vague music tossups. For the most part, the science seemed pretty reasonable, and a lot of the bio and chem tossups were answerable early on with "real" but not too-crazy knowledge (e.g. hydroxy, Alzheimer's, formaldehyde), so that was nice. I remember having some issues with a few of them, but I can't remember specifics now. Oh well.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:13 am

Michael Hausinger is absolutely right - our efforts to produce music tossups have there are lots of music questions like the very poor Unfinished symphony tossup. As writers, we need to learn to balance the theory-based descriptions with unique, buzzable clues. I am often confronted by people who don't seriously think there are music players who buzz off of theory based clues. The reason they think this is because when there is a vaguely written question, music players are forced to wait until the titles and names are dropped. If you want to write this kind of clue, it is absolutely necessary that you ground it in an actual context of notes that is unique to a clue. One way to accomplish this is to focus in on important motifs - when I wrote a tossup on third symphonies for VCU Open, I used the clue "Another work of this title may have derived a motive of F-A-F from the phrase “Frei aber froh”" - after I read F-A-F, Chris White confidently buzzed on it, leading me to conclude that this is proof that there are works with potential musical clues that are buzzable by good players (not to mention the many similar questions I've gotten that way). However, the difference here is that my clue was both grounded in something rather important and undeniably unique.

I think that Andrew is not wrong either - I am all for music tossups containing program liner and important context clues in tossups. Again, as long as they are unique, they help ground music players in what is wanted. I actually think that music tossups that contain more clues that might at first seem like they will help people lateral them might actually be a decent plan. It seems to me like, at the current time, music is a subject that outside of expert music players, nobody knows much about, meaning that the music players will be the ones who will recognize clues like "this three movement work" to help potentially cut the pool of answers down and start buzzing more. If the music at THUNDER was as vague across the board as what Michael has posted, then I would agree that that is not good.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:42 am

squareroot165 wrote: A couple things: I'm a bit hesitant to comment on this, since I am not by any means a very good music player, but I think it's worth asking. And yes, I know there was a discussion over the summer about this stuff, but I think this is worth talking about. Here's the tossup on the Unfinished Symphony, a piece which I like quite a bit:
The second movement of this symphony opens with wind chords alternating with a lyrical polyphonic melody for the strings and is an Andante con moto in E major and 3/8 time. The first movement is in 3/4 and opens with a legato melody in the celli and basses, which is followed by a sixteenth-note ostinato for violins in thirds, and the main melody for oboe and clarinet. The second subject of the movement is first played in the celli, to the accompaniment of syncopated woodwinds and first violin, and is unusually in G major, instead of the D major expected in a B minor sonata-form. Incidental music from Rosamunde is used in some musicologist’s’ completions of, for 10 points, what orchestral work by Franz Schubert, which has only two movements instead of the usual four?
Where do you expect someone to buzz here?
Perhaps I used my personal knowledge too much as a barometer, but I purposely wrote all the lead-ins in such a way that I could buzz with the correct answer by the end of the first full sentence. "Andante con moto in E major and 3/8 time" is where I would buzz, and where I'd expect someone with basic knowledge of the second movement of the piece to buzz. Of course, the second movement is a lot less well-known than the first movement. So the next question is "are you familiar with how this symphony opens"? The most famous theme is actually the second subject, so the next question is "do you know what this theme sounds like and why what key it's in is unusual?". Up to this point, you need some knowledge of the musical content of the piece. After that I give clues for people that don't; the tossup then asks: "do you know who wrote Rosamunde and what famous piece of his this might be?". And finally, before the giveaway, "can you think of a major symphony that needs to be completed?"
1) wind chords alternating with a polyphonyic string melody. Well, I can hear what you are talking about while listening to it, but it doesn't seem distinct to me.
2) Andante con moto in E major. Other notably symphonies on my computer with a second movement andante con moto (a pretty common tempo, I think) include Beethoven's 5th and Mendelssohn's Italian. Are they in E minor? No idea. Do good music players know? Help me here.
3) 3/8 time. Well, that is a relatively unusual tempo. Edit: Not really that unusual, but at least not 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 2/2, or 2/4.
Of course if you break them into individual components and regard them in isolation, these are not uniquely identifying. As you say there are lots of pieces marked Andante con Moto, there are lots of pieces in E, and there are lots of pieces in 3/8. Together, regarded as an Andante con Moto in E major and 3/8, however, that is a unique description (at least as far as I know). The "wind chords alternating with a polyphonic string melody" is there for context. If you're the person who's thinking of other Andante con Motos (let's say you don't know what key they're in), you can ask yourself, "do they match this description?". Presumably, they won't.
theMoMA wrote:If you ask me, music questions on individual pieces have to do a better job allowing people to buzz. It can't just be five lines of tempo and structural description. I tried to do this with Minnesota Open tossups I wrote on pieces (Brahms's Violin Concerto and Saint-Saens's Organ Symphony, among others) by including things that seemed contextually important from various program notes and scores that I found. For example, I found a description placing the Organ Symphony in the context of the organ symphonies by Widor and Guilmont. I'm not shy about mentioning things like this; people who know about the Organ Symphony are also going to know that Widor and Guilmont are prominent organ composers, and it's going to help them place the piece in a proper context to either buzz or be ready to buzz when a clue they know comes up.
I tried to use some programmatic, historical, and contextual clues where possible in the tossups (you can let me know which specific tossups you feel lacked those), but I will admit that I tried to keep them near the end of the tossup. Mentioning Widor and Guilmont sounds like a very smart way to tip off people that an organ is involved, but at that point you're letting people get this tossup who may have little to no knowledge of the musical content of the Organ Symphony, and while I'm happy to do something like that (and tried to do it), I wouldn't want to do it until all the people who have knowledge of the musical content of the piece in question have had their shot to buzz off that knowledge. For example, in the above, I didn't want to drop "Rosamunde" until all the content clues were done, for fear that someone who knew nothing more than that Schubert had written both pieces would beat someone who actually knew something about the Unfinished Symphony.
Ukonvasara wrote:
squareroot165 wrote:"this piece has common time signature, common instruments playing common tempos, more common instruments playing common tempos and styles, possibly buzzable clue for someone."
I may be not yet be a REAL music player, but that's totally how most of the tossups on musical works at THUNDER felt to me - lots of incredibly vague descriptions of things mixed with mentions of very common tempo markings and time signatures. When I write tossups on pieces of music, I try to make sure not only that my clues are unique, but that they sound unique. I think I generally succeed at this (aside: I would love your criticisms, music people), and I think that's something that many of THUNDER's musical-work tossups had varying degrees of trouble with.
I don't understand the rationale behind this at all. Is this for aesthetic reasons? Otherwise, if the clue is uniquely identifying and pertains to information someone could actually care about (i.e. something decently important), what is the reason for not using it? And I'm not sure I even understand what you mean by something that sounds unique. In the case of music, does that mean unusual instrument or time signature or what?
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Michael Hausinger is absolutely right - our efforts to produce music tossups have there are lots of music questions like the very poor Unfinished symphony tossup. As writers, we need to learn to balance the theory-based descriptions with unique, buzzable clues.
I don't understand why you seem to be saying that theory-based descriptions cannot be uniquely identifying clues. I also don't see why something like "the second movement is an Andante Con Moto in E major in 3/8" is described by both you and Rob as "vague". If you said it was "too dry" or something like that, I could understand that, but as far I know, it is uniquely identifying.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:23 am

1) Nobody knows anywhere near as much about music as I think you assume they do in quizbowl, so there is nowhere near as much need to fill it full of clues that maybe 5 people (if you are really lucky) playing the set can buzz off of. Doing that makes crazy buzz distributions that are inappropriate for a regular season tournament.
2) Tossups that are filled with clues about tempo markings and time signatures that are not completely unusual are essentially unbuzzable clues without any other proper context. If you say Tchaikovsky wrote a movement of the Pathetique symphony in 5/4, that will elicit nowhere near as many buzzes as if you say it contains a "limping waltz in 5/4." If you give a time signature that is 2, 3, or 4, unless you are trying to establish that it is a particular dance pattern, means that no people will actually be buzzing off of it. To say that it is technically a unique clue is nice, but you are just looking at the tossup on paper - when you're hearing these clues fly by, it is exponentially harder to place them in the right framework. Subsequently, they are way more likely to be useless in real life than in a non-quizbowl setting where it is easy to download the score and easy to listen to the work. Thus, loading your tossups with these clues for a quizbowl tournament intended to be played by all levels of players is a very bad idea.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:09 am

Well, I had a big post typed up with a bunch of my recent tossups where I talked about trying to use clues that actually sound interesting, unique, and recognizable when they're being listened to in a real-life quizbowl context, but it died somehow. Dees's latest post basically encapsulates exactly what I mean -- regardless of whether the fact that the second movement of a work is in 3/8 time and is in andante con moto is unique, it's boring to hear and, for the majority of players (who are not music experts!), all that's heard is a bunch of very common music terms flying by.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:39 am

cornfused wrote:Is the set up anywhere?
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Crimson Rosella » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:24 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Michael Hausinger is absolutely right - our efforts to produce music tossups have there are lots of music questions like the very poor Unfinished symphony tossup. As writers, we need to learn to balance the theory-based descriptions with unique, buzzable clues.
I don't understand why you seem to be saying that theory-based descriptions cannot be uniquely identifying clues. I also don't see why something like "the second movement is an Andante Con Moto in E major in 3/8" is described by both you and Rob as "vague". If you said it was "too dry" or something like that, I could understand that, but as far I know, it is uniquely identifying.
I think balance is the issue here that Charlie's trying to emphasize. I'm a fan of using theory/orchestration clues, and think they're entirely appropriate in lead-ins (and I happen to find them interesting and enjoy hearing them). Spending 2-3 lines trying to distinguish between players who have a knowledge of the theoretical structure of the second movement of a piece and players who have a knowledge of the first (even one as famous as the Unfinished Symphony) is a bit excessive, particularly for regular difficulty. I think you could easily restructure this question to achieve that distinction in the first line, and proceed on to give clues accessible to those who've studied other aspects of the piece.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:37 pm

Inkana7 wrote:
cornfused wrote:Is the set up anywhere?
Post the set!
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:41 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Inkana7 wrote:
cornfused wrote:Is the set up anywhere?
Post the set!
I still don't have it yet!
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:50 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:I tried to use some programmatic, historical, and contextual clues where possible in the tossups (you can let me know which specific tossups you feel lacked those), but I will admit that I tried to keep them near the end of the tossup.
I just want to note that the reverse of this is the entirety of the premise on which Ryan Westbrook and people who are not Ryan Westbrook agree: if you're spending 80+% of the tossup trying to differentiate between the <10% (<5%? <1%?) of players with a certain kind of primary knowledge that you deem more worthy than other kinds of primary knowledge, then you are doing something wrong.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:20 pm

George Berry
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by millionwaves » Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:03 pm

This should be the version of the packets that was played at the the first round of sites. I'll be sending George another version of the packets when I can get at my laptop.
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Re: THUNDER Discussion

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:18 pm

Ukonvasara wrote:I may be not yet be a REAL music player, but that's totally how most of the tossups on musical works at THUNDER felt to me - lots of incredibly vague descriptions of things mixed with mentions of very common tempo markings and time signatures. When I write tossups on pieces of music, I try to make sure not only that my clues are unique, but that they sound unique. I think I generally succeed at this (aside: I would love your criticisms, music people), and I think that's something that many of THUNDER's musical-work tossups had varying degrees of trouble with.
You are a real music player, you're just not part of the mafia yet. And i think you generally do succeed by writing that way.
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