Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:30 pm

I can't agree with you there, Ahmad. I feel like what you're saying is: a bonus on three different Japanese authors might be acceptable because they have been historically over-represented in the game and the novice tournament should prepare people for that. On the contrary, I say that, if anything, novice tournaments are obliged to ignore historical answer trends; they should write on important things that novices know, which is as disjoint from the frequency distribution of things that have come up in the past as for any field. This duty is redoubled in my view because novice tournaments have added impetus for presenting a responsible vision of the game, regardless of what comes up at higher levels (which is too often irresponsible,) because the novice tournament's notion of the game is especially important in the formation of those of its players'. That is to say, novice tournaments in my have have an even greater responsibility to buck anomalous or questionably meritorious answer trends than do other tournaments.
Also, Chris, to respond to your (perhaps apt) joke bonus, I was thinking today about how I might work one of those dudes in without resort to three bonuses with easy part "Japan." The first solution that came to mind was that we could write bonuses predicated on commonalities different from nationality. For example, we might write a bonus on writers with suicidal protagonists (maybe Tolstoy and Mishima) or reincarnation as plot element (maybe Rushdie and Mishima, again.) That way, we can still have a strongly themed* bonus, still have world literature, still get our JAPAN! on, and have easier bonuses.

MaS

*Actually, it seems to me that important textual similarities predicate deeper, better themes than do surface similarities like nationality.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by tiwonge » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:48 pm

Speaking as somewhat of a novice, I enjoyed the tournament. In reading the commentary on the tournament, I might have a few things to offer.

My strongest area is probably religion/mythology, so that's probably where I'll start.

I felt that the bonuses for this area were somewhat inconsistent in difficulty. The bonus on popes were all 20th and 21st century popes (Benedict XVI, John XXIII and Pius XII), which strikes me as relatively easy without a hard part. The bonus on the Epic of Gilgamesh (answers: Enkidu, Bull of Heaven, Humbuba) didn't seem to have an easy part (a part I'd define as "answerable with cursory knowledge of the topic" which, for this question, should be either Gilgamesh or Ishtar, I'd think). While I should have 30d it, I butchered the pronunciation, so I missed points on it. Maybe it's just my background (Catholic, and not having read the Epic of Gilgamesh until recently--I was told by somebody else that he had read it in high school) that makes me feel these were very different in difficulty. (I'd have 30d the Marian apparition bonus, too, but I do think that was closer in difficulty to what I'd expect at this tournament.

I also think the science/math was a lot closer to what I'd call novice than in other tournaments.

And, even though this was a novice tournament, I was excited to hear answers and clues I hadn't heard in previous tournaments and practices. I was thrilled to hear a bonus on Rabelais (although disappointed that it was directed to the other team--they got a 0, and I would have gotten a 20 on that bonus), and to have been able to buzz in on Tuscarora. I don't know if Rabelais is novice--the fact that he hasn't come up elsewhere makes me wonder why I don't hear him as often--but I was excited to hear it. (Also, I noticed a Chagall question later on in the tournament, but we didn't get to that round.) I love hearing clues and answers that I can answer but that don't pop up as often in other tournaments. I think that this tournament did a great job with that. This is sort of the opposite of the recent discussion about Japanese authors. That bonus was more of a "this sort of thing comes up a lot so you need to know it" instead of the "this doesn't come up often, but is interesting" answer choice that I liked to hear.

(As an aside, there was an inaccuracy in the 4 Corners question. It's much further than 15 miles from Window Rock. That's not why I negged on it--I got my directions wrong and went northwest from Window Rock instead of northeast. And that I expected a question mentioning Navajo cities to be about something culturally important to the Navajo, instead of a geographic coincidence, so I was thinking along the lines of Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, or Shiprock. edit: after looking at a map to confirm this, 4 Corners is nearly due north from Window Rock. I'd guess that the person who wrote "15 miles southwest" might have gotten Window Rock confused with the Teec Nos Pos mentioned in the previous clue. Window Rock is closer to 100 miles due south.)
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:32 am

I think the pope thing is made a little trickier by remembering the numbers. I always screw up which Pius is pope during WWII.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:50 am

Cheynem wrote:I think the pope thing is made a little trickier by remembering the numbers. I always screw up which Pius is pope during WWII.
This is true, even with a Catholic education. I am more surprised that there was a bonus on Marian apparitions!
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by tiwonge » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:34 am

tetragrammatology wrote:
Cheynem wrote:I think the pope thing is made a little trickier by remembering the numbers. I always screw up which Pius is pope during WWII.
This is true, even with a Catholic education. I am more surprised that there was a bonus on Marian apparitions!
Round 6 Bonus #14 wrote:Identify the following Catholic holy sites believed to have been visited by an apparition of the Virgin Mary from description for ten points each.
[10] In 1858, Bernadette Soubirous claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in this town in France at the foothills of the Pyrenees.
ANSWER: Our Lady of Lourdes
[10] In 1917, the Virgin Mary is believed to have also appeared in this Portuguese town to three children and communicated three secrets.
ANSWER: Our Lady of Fatima
[10] In 1531, the Virgin Mary is said to have revealed herself to Saint Juan Diego near Mexico City and she asked that a church be built at that site in her honor.
ANSWER: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Reading that, I see they're giving the title of Mary for the name of the town. Odd.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:07 am

Thanks for the feedback, Colin.

I'm particularly gratified to hear that you feel you were able to hear some non-canonical things that you could still consider novice-worthy. My main goal in writing toss-ups for this tournament is to try to provide an answer space allowing conversion by brand-new teams while opening with clues which can challenge national-championship-contending CC teams (and which also help me learn stuff).

I apologize for inaccuracies in the Four Corners question, which I wrote. Contra some in the community, I like straight geography questions, even those including "almanac clues" (if by that we mean directional and locational details), but I must've gotten something wrong from a source. I don't remember seeing Four Corners come up before, but I figured it could be made pretty gettable by the end.

Rabelais and "Gargantua and Pantagruel" may be one of those weird things that has become "Delta Burke common," even if it's not really novice level. I would bet there's either a toss-up or bonus on Rabelais in each of the last 6-7 DBs, which speaks to my own tastes and perhaps the "Borglumian feel" Andrew noted upthread. But the teams whose coaches come here regularly will make sure players learn about it since they know it comes up. If that means a bunch of freshmen and sophomores take a stab at reading "Gargantua," then surely the world's a better place.

In the meantime, I'm curious what others think: Rabelais--novice-knowable or not really? I don't want to start one of those "archive vs. college course material" debates again, but I know that both world lit and some humanities courses assign sections of "Gargantua" at Valencia.

Oh, and I didn't even know at first what you were referring to with the "Marian apparitions," so I'm glad you included the bonus. Someone at Wash U wrote that, and in retrospect I probably could've eased that one up a bit, though as editor I try to allow a writer's work to stand when I can.

And just one thing about the "Enkidu" bonus: that's another story that is written about at every single DB, as there's not a lot of Near Eastern myth that can be asked about for this target audience. But there was also an Ishtar toss-up somewhere, which eliminated that as a part.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:20 pm

I think Rabelais/Garganta are pretty well known. They come up in other novice-level tournaments like ACF Fall.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by tiwonge » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:53 pm

Other than being too Catholic, I didn't think that the Marian apparitions bonus was too bad. Maybe if nobody knows about Catholic culture, they might not get any of the bonuses, but both Guadalupe and Lourdes are pretty easy. If you want to make it less Catholic, maybe the "easy" bonus (replacing either Lourdes or Guadalupe) could have described the apparition without naming her, asking who appeared to Bernadette or Juan Diego, and having the answer be Mary?
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:00 pm

Indeed--we could include the grilled-cheese sandwich apparition of recent vintage, too!
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by 49-Mile Scenic Drive » Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:37 pm

I think both Rabelais and Gargantua and Pantagruel are very well-known and I can remember hearing toss-ups on both throughout high school. Now if you had asked about Alcofribas Nasier, the pseudonym he had used, that may have been pushing it for a novice set. I'm sure it would've been converted by the national-caliber CC teams and by some others, but a good many novices may not know that.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by Kwang the Ninja » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:18 pm

I did some math, and the average ppg for all mirrors of this tournament were:
Bevill=102.0
Valencia=137.4
VCU=192.3
WUStl=161.7
UW=176.2
Total=140.7
The PLEASE MAKE FUN OF ME BECAUSE I SPEAK NEITHER LATIN NOR ENGLISH were converted to the tunes of:
Bevill=7.6
Valencia=11.5
VCU=14.4
WUStl=13.4
UW=12.8
Total=11.2

PS I thought the Mary apparition bonus was pretty tough.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by Jesus vs. Dragons » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:11 am

The Rabelais seems pretty common to me, but that Mary bonus was very hard. We 10'd it off of total luck. (A teammate had been raving about his research paper on the Mary of Guadalupe)
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by swwFCqb » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:55 am

Is it really that hard for non-Catholics? Granted, I was raised Catholic, so I would have easily 30d it, but it doesn't seem too crazy to me, even for non-Catholics.

EDIT: I might have some more general comments when i get some time to look over the set again after my finals are done.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by 49-Mile Scenic Drive » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:20 am

Speaking on the Mary Apparition bonus, we didn't get the bonus but I thought it was rather hard especially for a novice set. The only one we would've gotten would've been the Guadalupe part with a slight possibility, but very unlikely, of us pulling out Fatima.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:49 am

Those are the three most famous Marian apparitions. I don't think you could make that bonus any easier without changing the topic, unless you made the first part "Mary".
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by Papa's in the House » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:21 am

swwFCqb wrote:Is it really that hard for non-Catholics?
Yes, yes it is that hard for (some) non-Catholics (like myself). Then again, I never purport to know anything about religion, but I'm pretty sure that bonus went dead in my room (I don't remember if we had it or if the other team had it, but I'm pretty sure we did NOT have it).
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:18 pm

This is why tournament criticism discussions don't do a whole lot: getting hung up on one question.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:51 pm

FredMorlan wrote:This is why tournament criticism discussions don't do a whole lot: getting hung up on one question.
Man, I apologize for sparking this discussion. I merely meant to express my surprise as to the presence of such a bonus; it was not intended to convey any sort of value judgment.

I would like to say that, from what I gathered looking over the packets, the vast majority of the religion answers seemed important, notable, and at a proper difficulty level (the outliers being the apparitions bonus and perhaps the Zohar bonus). While some questions could have been improved with a second look over and less vague clues, those criticism could probably apply to the whole set, not just this category.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:00 pm

I'm not blaming any particular person for it; it just seems to happen in about every single discussion thread. Someone makes a comment about a particular question, someone responds to that comment, someone responds to the response, and then we get to this point: a series of posts about one particular question from a tournament. It's the nature of these things.
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Re: Delta Burke 2009 Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:57 pm

That is true, Fred, but some discussion of individual questions can be helpful. I've certainly appreciated the commentary thus far.

As a matter of fact, at risk of creating more individually focused question discussion, I'd like to ask Bernadette (and, of course, all of you, too) if she'd provide some concrete examples of some of the "vague clues" she saw in the set. I really want to get an idea of what folks on the circuit define that way so I can try to avoid it in the future. I endeavored to offer uniquely identifying clues in the first sentences (the first lines, I hope) of questions, but I'd benefit from knowing where that failed. Thanks!
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