2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Private forum for discussion of the 2019 Masonic/Reinstein set. Only people who have already played, seen, or will not ever be playing the set are allowed access to this forum.
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2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:42 pm

Feel free to make any comments about the question set here. Comments can be praise or damnation, and they can be specific or general. If you want to comment on some aspect of the tournament that isn't related to the questions, that's probably best done in a public forum.

Writers and editors should be very careful about mentioning specific questions for now, since half of them won't be played for two weeks--feel free to ask me where something ended up.

Thanks to:
Jonah Greenthal for doing a ton of editing on all questions
Sanjeev Uppaluri for writing Geography and some World Lit (32 questions)
Adam Sperber for writing Myth, Current Events, and Musicals (30 questions)
Austin Wang for writing some Chemistry (30 questions)
Christy Jestin for writing Psychology, Grammar, and Sports (14 questions)
Young Fennimore Lee for writing some Fine Arts (11 questions)
Last edited by Deviant Insider on Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:45 am

It is OK to discuss individual questions in here. However, requests for many questions or a list of questions within a category will not be honored until after State is played.
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Re: Set Discussion

Post by MLaudermith » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:45 am

Not a criticism, just an observation...

In Round 7 (iirc), there was a teamwork question on the languages of India. Part 1 was worded something like, "This is the first language for only 0.1% of Indians, but a majority of Indians learn it as a second language in school." In both playoff rooms at the Fenton Sectional, the team in control said "Hindi" and the other team did not convert on the bounceback. In my room, the rebound answer was "Sanskrit". The correct answer is "English".

I really liked that this part basically required a team to listen carefully to the very end. In each case, I suspect the teams heard "first language" and then immediately stopped paying attention. I wish more bonus parts required this kind of thought and deliberation.
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Re: Set Discussion

Post by Ben Fry » Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:51 am

Could I see the "islands" tossup from (I believe) Round 2?
I heard "barrier" and reflex-buzzed with "reefs."
I was somewhat confused when later in the question I think it mentioned the "coral" type of these things, which to me still indicated reefs.
I don't really know too much about coral reefs or islands, though, so I could be an exception.
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Re: Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:40 am

Surtsey is one of these things that was created naturally during the 1960s. Some locations can gain and/or lose their classification as this type of place, such as Mont Saint-Michel [mawn sahn mee-shel] in France, which is sometimes called the “tidal” type of this kind of object. Seamounts sometimes grow to become these objects. Some of these objects are on continental shelves, like most “barrier” ones, which are parallel to coastlines. Some of these objects are made of coral, including atolls [“AT-awls”] and the ones that combine to form the nation of Maldives [MAHL-deevz]. Identify these land formations that are much smaller than continents and occur in bodies of water.
I could see how that is ambiguous towards the middle.
Although hundreds of languages are spoken in India, their constitution recognizes 22 official languages.
1 Although less than 0.1% of India’s population learns this language first, many people learn it second due to it being taught in public schools.
This part was rebounded in the match I watched after the first team said Hindi. I usually don't write questions where somebody has to figure something out, but Sanjeev wrote it, and it seems reasonable to me. If a team says Hindi after hearing that clue, then that shows a lack of knowledge about languages in India.
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Re: Set Discussion

Post by TheAngryBavarian » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:25 pm

Overall I feel that this was a pretty good set. However, it felt slightly worse than in previous years. Probably my biggest complaint is inconsistent difficulty on the teamwork questions (Odd questions felt significantly easier than even questions overall.) More specifically, there was a teamwork question in round 3 regarding St. Louis, Aro Saranen and some other thing that my team and I all felt was really easy compared to some other ones. I also recall a stretch in Round 7 where something like 4 straight teamworks (2nd section, specifically) all went completely dead, and I don't think anyone in the room would've known them. My apologies if I'm being overly critical, I understand that writing a set is no easy task.
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Re: Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:01 pm

Here is the pairing of questions involving St. Louis:
This city’s Old Courthouse, designed by Lavielle and Morton, is part of Gateway Arch National Park.
1 Name this city along the Mississippi River.
St. Louis, Missouri
2 This Finnish-American architect designed the Gateway Arch.
Eero Saarinen
3 Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan designed this red brick office building in St. Louis, considered the prototype of the modern tall office building.
Wainwright (State Office) Building

Six figures are doing this in the background of The Joy of Life.
1 Name this action that inspired the title of two different paintings of five contorted figures in front of a blue and green background.
dancing [or Dance]
2 This painter created Dance and a painting titled The Dessert: Harmony in Red, which is commonly called The Red Room.
Henri(-Émile-Benoît) Matisse [awn-ree mah-teess]
3 Matisse led the Fauvism movement in this country.
France [or French Republic or République française]

I could see that a team from your area of the state would find the St. Louis question significantly easier, and it probably is easier in general.

The easy parts of Round 7 Part 2 were:
David (sculpted by Michelangelo in marble and Donatello in bronze)
The Scream
benzene (C6H6)
Volta (slightly shortened version of his name gives the strength of a battery)
Mount Kilimanjaro (tallest mountain in Africa)
Hindi (most common language in India)
Alice Walker
The Red Badge of Courage

Rounds 6 and 7 are a little harder than Rounds 1-5 because most teams go home after Round 5. The team questions all had easy parts, though these easy parts were not quite as easy.

I placed all the question in the set. I have no reason to think that odd questions were easier than even questions.

I am interested in more opinions. This year's set did have more writers than normal, though in general I was happy with how it turned out, and I did not get the sense that it was worse than other years. That being said, it is not for me to judge.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Ben Fry » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:34 am

Honestly, I thought the set was quite good.
It seemed a little easier than last year's to me, but this may be just due to our team being better this year.

On the tossups I enjoyed some of the tougher clues while keeping to reasonably canonical answerlines.
Every once in a while there was a pair of teamwork questions that seemed a little bit skewed in difficulty. Of course this happens in regular sets all the time, only if one team is better, they'll access more of the bonuses, (mostly) negating the effect of small difficulty inconsistencies.
In addition, after interrupting the Round 6 "Hydrogen Peroxide" Tossup, our opponents were ruled incorrect for just "peroxide." Did the set not mention to prompt, or was that simply a mod slip-up?

The above is of course criticism of a very polished set, which I highly enjoyed.
I'm definitely looking forward to more of this set next Saturday.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:08 pm

The answerline was: hydrogen peroxide [accept H2O2 [“H two O two”] before the end]. There were no instructions on how to handle an answer of peroxide, and it probably should have said to prompt. In common English, the two are synonymous, though scientifically hydrogen peroxide is an example of a peroxide (as you probably already know).
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by cftsoc3 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:40 pm

For what it's worth, if I recall correctly, we 10ed the Saarinen bonus and picked up both dance and Matisse on the bounceback. Our FA player wasn't there though and my architecture coverage is very shaky.

Overall I thought the set was quite decent and actually noticeably better than previous years. The third parts of bonuses tended to skew harder occasionally but generally were paired with another skewed bonus as well, so as to reward the teams with deeper knowledge, which I appreciated.

At the risk of being overly nitpicky I do remember being somewhat disappointed with the way some questions were handled, though. I don't remember too much about what bothered me particularly at the moment, but I do remember a bonus on Gordimer that (if I recall correctly) just asked for the author of The Conservationist that won a Booker Prize for it, with no indication of what the book was actually about.

Could I see the tossup on Lincoln? I had just read Lincoln in the Bardo the week before, and I only got the question on mention of his dead son (i.e. at the end of the clues about that book); I think the question even gave Willie's name, which seems quite fraudable for people with reasonable history knowledge. I feel like the lead-in could have benefited from more specificity (I think it did say 2018 novel, which does probably uniquely identify it, but not exactly in the best way possible), perhaps a character name or two, but maybe I just wasn't listening well enough.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:05 pm

In this novel, Shiva and Saleem are born on August 15, 1947.
1 Name this novel set in Bombay that was awarded The Best of the Booker in 2008, meaning it was chosen as the best novel in 40 years written in the British Commonwealth, Ireland, or South Africa.
Midnight’s Children
2 This author wrote Midnight’s Children. The Ayatollah Khomeini [“eye”-uh-TOH-luh koh-MAY-nee] pronounced a fatwa on him after he wrote The Satanic Verses.
(Ahmed) Salman Rushdie
3 One of the finalists for The Best of the Booker was this author’s The Conservationist.
Nadine Gordimer [nah-DEEN GORD-ih-mur]

It's fair to call this team question shallow. I don't think it is indicative of the set as a whole. I wrote it myself.

A recent novel about this historical figure, which focuses on the grief he felt when his son Willie died, is by George Saunders. A poem about this person asks “And who will bring white peace / That he may sleep upon his hill again?”. That poem by Vachel Lindsay is set at midnight. Another poem tells this person “Rise up and hear the bells”, but he cannot do so because he has “fallen cold and dead”. That poem begins a section of Leaves of Grass dedicated to this person, beginning with “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”. Name this subject of several poems by Walt Whitman, including “O Captain! My Captain!”.

This question was in a non-playoff round at Masonic Sectionals, and you got it on the first clue because you have some deep knowledge on the subject. I'm comfortable with the first sentence as is for this level, because at this level it makes sense to focus on the Whitman poems, and any knowledge of George Saunders makes me wish there were powers so we could give you fifteen points.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:04 am

The set is still not open to public discussion, since it will be used in Iowa and Missouri, but feel free to make any requests in this thread at this point.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:55 am

I was not able to make it to Masonic State, so I didn't see the questions play out. So far I have gotten exactly zero feedback. I'll take anything, good or bad! Did anybody notice any trends? Did any questions stand out?

I have seen the scores in 1A, and they are lower than I would like them to be. Anybody know whether the scores were better in 2A and 3A?
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by MLaudermith » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:32 pm

I was a moderator for 3A, including the championship. I thought the question difficulty was spot-on to differentiate the top teams in 3A, but some tossups were clearly too tough for the field median. I don't want to single out any teams here but there were definitely some in 3A with surprisingly wide gaps in their knowledge of the canon.

Among the questions I witnessed go unanswered that seemed to bemuse/anger the teams were the TU on "W-2 form" and the teamwork question on quantum numbers.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by db0wman » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:44 pm

(Assuming this is the place to post this, sorry if it isn't)

In general, I thought this set was decent. There were some minor things that stuck out, though:

-Court case being classified under "miscellaneous" when it should have been "history"
-Bio bonus where the easy part was either "protostome" or "blastopore", both of which are quite obscure. The bio bonus it was paired with was endosymbiosis/bacteria/Gaia theory, all of which are considerably easier than protostome or blastopore.
-Not a complaint, but the math seems to tend to what a high schooler would learn in their classes rather than to more advanced mathematics. I didn't really mind, but it felt like almost all content that one would find in a HS calculus course.

My one major complaint would be literature. This state set was reminiscent of the Scobol Solo finals in that while most of the set stayed true to the difficulty level, the literature would have a few per round that were way too difficult. Examples include a tossup on "The Lake Isle of Innisfree", which has only been tossed up at Penn Bowl 2012 and a few Chicago Opens, and a bonus where the easy part was "Eudora Welty", who, while notable, is probably around medium or even hard part difficulty at this level. This happened last year too, where "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" was tossed up. These difficulty swings made the category feel like a coin flip at times, especially when most of the literature questions were at a more appropriate level.

Outside of literature, this set was well-executed. The science, math, and history were all fine. Masonic editors, thank you for continuing to provide Illinois quizbowl with high-quality questions.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Ben Fry » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:59 pm

I agree here with Dylan on pretty much all points, especially that literature was a bit too tough at times.

While most of the Miscellaneous category was well executed, choosing W-2 as an answerline was somewhat frustrating. In my room at least it seemed like by the second or third line pretty much everyone knew it was "that form that you do your taxes with" but only one of us knew what it was called.

The only other complaint I had was that a couple bonuses seemed to have 2 easy parts and one hard part (or extra-hard to make up for the easy ones), most notably the "Ursa Major, Big Dipper" in round 3.

Overall still a fantastic set.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:55 pm

Here are the miscellaneous answers in round order:
Agriculture--plow
Pop Culture--Mission: Impossible
Industrial Arts--rivets
Journalism--Times v. Sullivan
Sports--Nick Foles
Consumer Ed--W-2
Technology--3D printing

I do not get to determine the categories, though I do get to determine what to do with them. With miscellaneous categories, there is always a tension between writing something that is clearly in the category and writing something that crosses over more into history and/or science. Times v. Sullivan certainly could be in the history distribution, but then I would have had to write, and you would have had to play, a more straight-up journalism question. I'm not sure what the solution is there.

Protostome was supposed to be the easy part of that bonus. It is fair to call that pair unbalanced.

The championship round paired Pound/Pisa/In a Station of the Metro with Why I Live at the PO/Welty/A Worn Path. Again, it is fair to call that pair unbalanced.

I also think the assessment of Ursa Major/Big Dipper/Bootes (which was paired with Mars/Io/cryovolcanoes) is accurate.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:24 am

Here is a list of lit tossups and team easy parts. It includes myth and grammar. Let me know what else stands out as bad ideas or bad implementations.

Tossups: Bible (in US Lit), The Lamb, spears, Flaubert, Mexico, subtitles, Gertrude Stein, Lake Isle of Innisfree, Rebecca, Argonauts, Gunter Grass, Kesey, On the Road, Doctor Zhivago, Wuthering Heights, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Strindberg, fire, Emerson, The Comedy of Errors, questions, Lovelace, Li Bai, Styron, Mamet, Hopkins, Heimdall, Primo Levi

Easy Parts: The Faerie Queene, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Turgenev, Remarque, Casey at the Bat (baseball), Gwendolyn Brooks (school poems), axe (Pangu), Sun (Lithuanian), psychopomp, Mordred, Falstaff, Tennyson, Vargas Llosa, Sappho, Perseus (mirrors), donkey (Midas), Maugham, Woolf, Hawthorne, Cather (midwest), Borges, Brecht (Gorky), Thomas More, Pinter, Pound, Welty, Mishima, Byron (Lermontov)
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Ben Fry » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:42 am

To be honest I enjoyed the NYT v Sullivan tossup. It was a little bit strange to hear "Topic: Miscellaneous" followed by "This court case," but it makes sense with the topics you were given, and I certainly agree it's preferable to make the Miscellaneous a little less trashy (as opposed to removing it to make room for a tossup about People magazine :roll:)
Looking at the lists of lit questions, most of it seems fine, with the stuff in the finals rounds (understandably) pushing the boundaries a bit more than the rest.
Now that I look back, I am reminded of the psychopomp part. I knew that there was a special name for it, but I couldn't remember it.I of course knew Charon was the ferryman of the dead. When the mod told us the answer was psychopomp, I thought "Shoot, should've remembered that," but when he said he could've accepted "ferryman" I got a bit frustrated.
Perhaps a sentence explaining what answers are acceptable would've eased it a bit, e.g. "Either the technical word from the Greek or the common name for these entities is fine."
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by db0wman » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:53 pm

To address the literature questions:

"The Lamb", while famous, is probably too hard to toss up at this level. It hasn't been tossed up before at any difficulty.
The Comedy of Errors is a bit too hard, a Shakespeare tossup cluing from his comedies would have been more appropriate.
Richard Lovelace is a little bit too obscure to toss up.
Primo Levi seems too difficult. A common link on the Holocaust with Wiesel clues would have been better, I think.
William Styron is too hard; he hasn't been tossed up at any difficulty in around 8 years.
Rebecca is maybe a little over the difficulty but it's not too bad. This should have been the upper bound of difficulty for this set's literature.
David Mamet is maybe too hard, he's about the same-ish difficulty as Rebecca.

As for bonuses, "Casey at the Bat" is too hard for an easy part. The others seem fine.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by jonah » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:37 pm

db0wman wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:53 pm
"The Lamb", while famous, is probably too hard to toss up at this level. It hasn't been tossed up before at any difficulty.
This is not true. (It was tossed up at the 2015 HSNCT, for one thing.)
db0wman wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:53 pm
William Styron is too hard; he hasn't been tossed up at any difficulty in around 8 years.
This isn't true either.

I don't agree with most of the rest of your difficulty judgments (especially those on "Casey at the Bat", The Comedy of Errors, and Lovelace, and secondarily that on Mamet), but I particularly want to disagree with the idea that "how often and/or where and/or when an answer has previously been tossed up" is a good, let alone decisive, metric for difficulty appropriateness.

Here's another way of looking at difficulty for a couple of those answers you called too hard: "The Lamb" was answered correctly in every room it was asked at the 2015 HSNCT, and powered in a third of them. Lovelace was answered correctly 58% of the time as a bonus part in an IS set in 2016–2017 and 48% of the time as a bonus part in the 2018 HSNCT. "Casey at the Bat" had 69% conversion as a tossup in a middle school set and 92% as a tossup in the 2017 SSNCT.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by cftsoc3 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:39 pm

I obviously didn't get to play State, but what was the intended difficulty? Styron, Primo Levi, Innisfree, The Lamb, Comedy of Errors all seem reasonable stretches at HS Nationals difficulty, but are all probably stretching too far for regs+.

Rebecca, Lovelace, and Mamet seem fine to me.

I don't think I can say meaningful things about the bonuses without the context, but assuming the questions were reasonable, I'd be surprised if a team in serious contention failed to convert any of the easy parts listed.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:11 pm

Sectionals are novice difficulty with harder leadins and hard parts. State is close to nationals difficulty, with the first five rounds being easier and the last two rounds being as difficult if not more difficult. The last two rounds are only played by the top four teams in each class. Of the two lists above, the last eight in each list were in the last two rounds.

All of the scores from State are now public. A total score for both teams below 320 in this format is a bad match, and it's my fault when that happens more than once or twice, which it did. Combined scores above 400 indicate that the questions are being answered, and fortunately that happened a good number of times. (If all the tossups and easy parts get answered, that's 320. If all the tossups and easy parts and half of the medium parts get answered, that's 400.)
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:25 am

Let me add:
A team scoring over 400 points in a match, which University Lab did twice and IMSA did once, is a very impressive feat in this format. If a team answers every tossup and every team part directed at them, that gets 400 points. To go over 400, you need to score more from rebounds than you lose from missing tossups and team parts.

In fact, a team scoring over 320 points in a match is pretty darn good, since that is half the points available in the match and the Masonic format causes the scores to be less lopsided than a regular tossup/bonus format. There were 18 times that a team scored from 320 to 390 points.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Ben Fry » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:53 am

Deviant Insider wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:11 pm
A total score for both teams below 320 in this format is a bad match, and it's my fault when that happens more than once or twice, which it did.
Honestly I think it's more the fault of the Masonic Class system than the packets. In particular, 1A schools are just so small that none of them are really state contenders at all. This means that, while the packets did well at differentiating top teams in 2A and 3A, this caused tossups and apparently entire teamwork parts to go over the heads of 1A players, most likely few of whom have heard nats-level packets before.

If my calculations are correct, out of 34 1A games, the total score was:
below 320 in 24 matches (of which 6 were 240 or below),
exactly 320 in 2 games, and
above 320 in 8 games.

No total score in any match broke 400, and the average total score in 1A was around 283.

These numbers signify questions that are too tough for the (1A) field.

But in 2A and 3A, out of 58 matches, the total score was:
exactly 320 in 3 matches (all in 2A), and
above 320 in the other 55.

The total score broke 400 in 48 matches, and broke 500 in 16.
The average total score was 454.
These stats show that the questions were definitely being answered in 2A and 3A.

The problem lies, I think, in the fact that the level of play in 1A was just so much lower than that of 2A and 3A. I doubt that any one set would've played well in all three classes. Any set easy enough to play well in 1A would've caused more buzzer races and 30s than preferable in 3A, and possibly the same problems in some 2A rooms.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Ben Fry » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:26 pm

Quietly resurrecting this thread to note that Extra Question 4 of Packet #1 is probably harder than any of the other lit questions mentioned here. The only hits I got on Quizdb for Marilynne Robinson as an answerline were a CO tossup and a hard part of an EFT bonus.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:08 pm

Agreed. The placement of that question was on purpose. When I wrote it, I thought I could put it in the Finals, and then I thought about it and buried it. I have to write a lot of extra questions for this set, so it's easier to bury questions than replace them. The set has 448 questions that get used no matter what and 208 questions that get used only if there is a tie/buzzer malfunction/emergency.
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Ehtna » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:34 pm

While this thread is resurrected, I'll beat the horse a little bit more...There were just a few literature answer lines in the set that I personally found kind of...questionable.

I feel like in general, a lot of the literature felt a little too extra-canonical. I'm fine with the difficulty skewing towards HS-nats levels, but I feel like some of the answerlines don't really reflect that. Like, Styron is definitely a well-known author, but I don't think he's the wisest choice for writing a tossup about. I could see it fine being a bonus part, but I personally would never expect PACE to tossup him up (maybe HSNCT, they're a bit more whimsical about it).

There are a few minutiae I wanted to dwell on:

Rd. 2 Q.12, the hard part is Philip Levine. According to aseemsdb, the author Philip Levine has been mentioned three times ever: once as the first-line clue for a 2018 ACF Nats question, once as part of a clue for "Detroit" in a NASAT 2017 bonus, and once as part of a clue for Robert Lowell from a 2008 UTC open tournament. I'm not sure what other people have to say, but he seems a bit...unreasonable as an answer line.

Rd. 3, Extra Q. 8, the hard part(?) is Dead Souls. I don't think I have the authority to say that Stockton and "The Lady, or the Tiger?" make for a difficult bonus, but Dead Souls certainly had me scratching my head for a while. If anything, it seems like more "random" than anything else that I could say is wrong with it. The loose connection to TLOTT because the ending is uncertain is okay, but that's the only plot clue that is given. The whole thing about the burning of the manuscript seems like a completely out-of-nowhere clue. Like, if someone were to read Dead Souls, they would not know that. This might just be me, but I feel like there is something wrong with the clue, I'm just not sure how to properly articulate it.

Rd. 1, Q.17, tossup about "The Lamb." I'll just say this here because I've seen it happen a couple of times in both Masonic and Scobol Solo. The first line of the tossup is "This poem has two stanzas of ten lines each, and the last three lines of the first stanza end with question marks." For me and practically everyone else, this clue is impossible to buzz on. It feels like it's very pedantically asking about the structure of a poem, not the actual substance. If someone were to study "The Lamb," memorize it, or even memorize the Wikipedia page on it front to back, they're still not going to try buzzing on that clue. I honestly don't know enough about "The Lamb" to know if the structure has any significance, but judging by the way the clue is presented, it really just feels like filler to reach a clue quota more than anything else. This same type of clue has shown up in other tossups about poems in Masonic and Scobol Solo, and I really think there's gotta be better content to put in there instead of just stuff about how many commas are in the poem.

Anyways, those are just my nitpicks and I'm only one person. Besides those and a few of the other things mentioned above by others, I enjoyed the set. Can't wait to (hopefully!) play it again next year!
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Re: 2019 Masonic/Reinstein Set Discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:48 am

Thanks for the feedback. I'm actually working on next year's Solo and Masonic lit now, so this is good timing.

I don't really see a problem with tossing up Styron. It is difficult, but this was in a round played by the 12 teams remaining in a tournament that started with 300+. Styron came up in bonus parts in three recent NSCs. He wasn't tossed up, but the content is along the lines of what is in the last half of the tossup: "That woman cannot get over a decision she was forced to make at Auschwitz. Another novel by this author is about a real-life slave revolt in Virginia. Name this author of Lie Down in Darkness, Sophie's Choice, and The Confessions of Nat Turner." I'll add that a tossup in Masonics doesn't play the same role as a tossup in other tournaments--if it goes dead, you still hear all the bonuses/team questions.

Philip Levine probably is too difficult. In my defense, he fit well into that bonus, and I think that WP Kinsella, which is the hard part in the paired bonus, is also difficult. (Kinsella used to come up a fair amount when people playing quizbowl had seen Field of Dreams, but not so much these days.) That being said, I agree with you that it is over the top.

I actually kind of like the Dead Souls part. It is an important aspect in dealing with the novel, and editions of the novel do tend to note that the manuscript ends mid-sentence and leave it as is. ("This well-known Russian novel also has an uncertain ending---in fact, it ends mid-sentence. After part of this manuscript was burned in a fire, its author refused to eat, and he died nine days later.")

I agree with your comment on The Lamb. I am moving away from tossups on short poems because there is only so much I can do with them. They will still come up, but it will be in tossups about the poet or common link, or in bonuses. I could toss up one or two if I get a very good idea, but such tossups will be rare if they exist at all.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

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