2011 HSNCT discussion

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2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun May 29, 2011 3:18 pm

This is your discussion thread for the just-completed 2011 NAQT HSNCT.

Two disclaimers:

1. If you are playing a mirror of this event, please do not read this thread. The two scheduled mirrors are in London on June 11th (contact Kyle Haddad-Fonda) and in Chattanooga on a date to be determined in mid-June (contact Charlie Steinhice).

2. Between now and NSC I will be on my usual post-HSNCT birdwatching trip. I will check in on this thread once a day, but do not expect moment-to-moment updates.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Sun May 29, 2011 3:31 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:1. If you are playing a mirror of this event, please do not read this thread. The two scheduled mirrors are in London on June 11th (contact Kyle Haddad-Fonda) and in Chattanooga on a date to be determined in mid-June (contact Charlie Steinhice).
Just to reiterate with slightly more forceful language, if you use this thread or the available videos to cheat in my tournament, I will find out and you will be disqualified very, very publicly.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by PennySalem » Sun May 29, 2011 3:48 pm

I feel like the questions this year were much, much more answerable than those from last year.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by kayli » Sun May 29, 2011 7:30 pm

I thought the bonuses fluctuated pretty significantly in difficulty, but overall the set was pretty great. The playoff system seemed unfair to a lot of teams, but it's hard to find a better system for so many teams so I guess it's just how it is. Overall, I really enjoyed my last HSNCT. Also, the venue was beyond fantastic.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Sun May 29, 2011 10:02 pm

I proofread several packets (namely 1-10 and 23-26) of this set, subject-edited about half of the math, and wrote the following questions. I would appreciate feedback on any and all of this work.
  • Packet 1: bonus on Purim, tossup on prime factoring, bonus on oil drop experiment/Bell Labs/Claude Shannon, tossup on the letter delta in math
  • Packet 2: tossup on color blindness, tossup on complex conjugation
  • Packet 3: tossup on Ampere, bonus on Mozart
  • Packet 4: tossup on new year holidays, bonus on types of curves
  • Packet 5: tossup on lengths of sides of triangles, bonus on Canova, tossup on databases
  • Packet 6: bonus on subdisciplines of math
  • Packet 8: bonus on string theory
  • Packet 9: bonus on people associated with Jewish holidays, tossup on symmetry
  • Packet 11: tossup on The Power and the Glory, tossup on Fountain of the Four Rivers
  • Packet 13: tossup on differential equations
  • Packet 14: tossup on Sousa
  • Packet 15: bonus on compass/straightedge construction
  • Packet 16: bonus on Brancusi, tossup on the Y chromosome
  • Packet 17: tossup on interferometers, tossup on aphasia, tossup on variance
  • Packet 18: tossup on division, tossup on transformers (the electrical device), tossup on Andrew Carnegie
  • Packet 20: bonus on brain parts, tossup on Jerusalem
  • Packet 23: bonus on photography, tossup on the xylophone, tossup on mathematical induction
  • Packet 24: bonus on differentiation
  • Packet 25: tossup on Cauchy
  • Packet 26: bonus on methods of solving equations, tossup on the factorial function, bonus on anatomical terms of location
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Khanate » Sun May 29, 2011 10:29 pm

I agree that the bonus difficulty did fluctuate quite a bit.

I thought that "length of sides of triangles" was a bit awkward for an answer choice. Otherwise, I thought those questions (that I did play or watch) were well written.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by sir negsalot » Sun May 29, 2011 10:37 pm

The execution of the tournament was ridiculously flawless. The only minor issue was the ineffective elevators, but as far as my experience was, everything was good. Almost all of the readers were excellent, and the rooms were great. It was a lot of fun, and that was a good hotel in which to hold the tournament.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Sun May 29, 2011 10:48 pm

I also felt like this set had a pretty wide range on bonus difficulty, but I expect that at this level. What I was surprised about was how my perception of the distribution was so different this year from previous years. In the past, I felt like I saw more philosophy, more music, and more literature; yesterday, I thought the day was dominated by geography questions involving rivers, mountain chains, and shifting borders. I think coaches are, of course, more attuned to what we aren't watching our students pick up than what we are, but it was interesting to see my own perceptions shift so radically when I know the distribution hasn't changed a great deal. Maybe someone interested in perception and cognition wants to run a study next year on coaches, aggravation levels, and perceptions? :)

I thought the fountains question and the Power and the Glory tossups were fine. The Brancusi bonus was tough for my kids, who knew Brancusi/Mobiles/Bird in Space as their knowledge base for that artist, and I had never heard of the two other works, but depth is perfectly reasonable at Nationals. The "sides of a triangle" question threw my two math kids pretty hard, because they weren't expecting to come up with that sort of phrasing for an answer, but they had the same problem with the "immolation" question. Databases was pretty obvious to me, esp. by the time we heard SQL and Oracle, but it still went dead in my room.

The only questions that left me wondering were the two nearly-identical bonuses on diaphanous (?) numbers. Both were on the first day, and both occurred between packets 5 and 13, I think.


NAQT amazes me when they manage to turn an event around like this and run it as well as they do. The hotel itself was very comfortable, as were (IMHO) the rooms where the matches took place; the broken elevators were a huge pain in the legs, but out of NAQT's control, and the hotel staff was very helpful in pointing out ways to deal with it. Having a pool at the venue + a food court immediately next door = HUGE plus. Free internet: HUGE plus. I liked the venue and would be happy to be back, but would love to see HSNCT move regularly in a rotation from Midwest to NE to SE to W so everyone gets a chance to bring multiple teams now and then. There were certainly a lot of SE teams there that would not have come to Chicago, and the fact that the field was larger than ever and filled nicely says something about the region desiring good quizbowl opportunities. I know at least one team that was there and told me that that they would have been at :chip: NAC if NAQT hadn't held this year's tourney in the Southeast. They were very impressed by the difference in games, quality, and professionalism.

Thanks for a good tourney, and congratulations to the talented squads who won. Props to KDS DAR, our state's co-champs, who finished tied for 5th in the small school division!
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Sun May 29, 2011 10:50 pm

Khanate wrote:I thought that "length of sides of triangles" was a bit awkward for an answer choice.
Could you expand a bit on that? Other than it being a bit unconventional, I'd like to understand what bothered you. I consider it not dissimilar to answer lines like "symphonies by Mozart" or "sonnets by Shakespeare", which people don't seem to particularly mind.

For your reference, the question is as follows.
I wrote:Weitzenböck's inequality bounds sums of squares of these quantities, whose equality is required by the hinge theorem. They are multiplied and divided in Ceva's theorem, and are divided by the (*) sines of opposite angles in the law of sines. Hero's formula uses them to calculate area. For 10 points--name these quantities that are squared in the Pythagorean theorem, whose sum is the perimeter of a 3-sided figure.

answer: lengths of sides of triangles (accept logical equivalents; prompt on partial answers; prompt on answers like "sides of polygons")
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Sun May 29, 2011 10:55 pm

Joshua Rutsky wrote:The only questions that left me wondering were the two nearly-identical bonuses on diaphanous (?) numbers. Both were on the first day, and both occurred between packets 5 and 13, I think.
The fault for this is mine, and I apologize. I assume you are referring to the two bonus parts on Diophantine equations, although I don't think the bonuses as a whole were very similar. (One bonus was about Catalan's conjecture; the other was about Hilbert's problems.) The main reason this passed unnoticed is that I took over as math subject editor after one of those questions was submitted but before the other, and I dropped the ball on going through all the math questions in the set at once to make sure things like this didn't happen. But there's no excuse, and I'm sorry.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Andrew's a Freshman » Sun May 29, 2011 10:59 pm

I don't know the stats or what the question actually looked like, but the new year holidays tossup seemed very generous on powers. Other than Diophantine equations, I think Fibonacci was repeated in some form as well.

Fun tournament.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by theflyingdeutschman » Sun May 29, 2011 11:04 pm

One tossup that struck me as especially difficult was the Alvar Aalto tossup.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by rz100 » Sun May 29, 2011 11:13 pm

I think there might be an error in the "sides of triangles" TU. In Ceva's theorem you aren't multiplying the lengths of the sides, you're splitting up the lengths and then multiplying the ratios of the lengths.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun May 29, 2011 11:20 pm

rz100 wrote:I think there might be an error in the "sides of triangles" TU. In Ceva's theorem you aren't multiplying the lengths of the sides, you're splitting up the lengths and then multiplying the ratios of the lengths.
Yeah, that might have been better phrased as "portions of these" or something; alternatively maybe Stewart's theorem, which mostly involves full sides, would have made a better clue.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Sun May 29, 2011 11:25 pm

rz100 wrote:I think there might be an error in the "sides of triangles" TU. In Ceva's theorem you aren't multiplying the lengths of the sides, you're splitting up the lengths and then multiplying the ratios of the lengths.
Yeah, that clue shuld've been worded more precisely, probably by changing "they" to 'portions of them". Sorry for any confusion there; presumably upon protest a (yet more cumbersome) answer of "lengths of parts of sides of triangles" would have been accepted based on that.

On submit: what Andy said.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by centralhs » Sun May 29, 2011 11:32 pm

Turing was an answer in two consecutive rounds (18 and 19, I think), once as a tossup and once as a bonus.

I thought the questions were excellent, with just a few extraordinarily hard bonuses. There was one asking for the name of an Israeli songwriter that I can't imagine was converted successfully by many teams. (I personally don't know the names of any Israeli songwriters and still can't remember the name of the one that came up yesterday.)
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Sun May 29, 2011 11:34 pm

centralhs wrote:Turing was an answer in two consecutive rounds (18 and 19, I think), once as a tossup and once as a bonus.

I thought the questions were excellent, with just a few extraordinarily hard bonuses. There was one asking for the name of an Israeli songwriter that I can't imagine was converted successfully by many teams. (I personally don't know the names of any Israeli songwriters and still can't remember the name of the one that came up yesterday.)
Naomi Shemer. That was certainly supposed to be the hard part, and it was probably way too hard.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonpin » Mon May 30, 2011 12:07 am

jonah wrote:
Joshua Rutsky wrote:The only questions that left me wondering were the two nearly-identical bonuses on diaphanous (?) numbers. Both were on the first day, and both occurred between packets 5 and 13, I think.
The fault for this is mine, and I apologize. I assume you are referring to the two bonus parts on Diophantine equations, although I don't think the bonuses as a whole were very similar. (One bonus was about Catalan's conjecture; the other was about Hilbert's problems.) The main reason this passed unnoticed is that I took over as math subject editor after one of those questions was submitted but before the other, and I dropped the ball on going through all the math questions in the set at once to make sure things like this didn't happen. But there's no excuse, and I'm sorry.
I didn't think those were a problem at all. The one repeat that bothered me from within Saturday's games was Fibonacci, with a tossup on the numbers in round 3 and then a tossup on the person (with multiple sequence-based clues) in round 12.

I kept a (thankfully short) list of "questions that it was a bad idea to ask" which wound up with: relegation, God (in movies), Bejeweled, parentheses... there may have been a few more, but I forget them. Unless it came up on Sunday, I was surprised that Lady Gaga / Born This Way didn't come up.

Organization was nearly flawless. We finished pre-lunch games EARLY, and if I hadn't foolishly tried to join my team I would have had more than enough time for lunch. Round 16 was done in my neck of the woods before 6:30, which for a tournament of 20 rooms is impressive; with 70 rooms and so much potential for delay, it's amazing. I'm sad about the bad break that knocked my team out, but I know that botches can happen at any time, and I'm glad the proper procedure was followed regardless of the unfortunate result. The kids had a lot of fun.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Scobowls and Speedos » Mon May 30, 2011 12:13 am

jonah wrote:
centralhs wrote:Turing was an answer in two consecutive rounds (18 and 19, I think), once as a tossup and once as a bonus.

I thought the questions were excellent, with just a few extraordinarily hard bonuses. There was one asking for the name of an Israeli songwriter that I can't imagine was converted successfully by many teams. (I personally don't know the names of any Israeli songwriters and still can't remember the name of the one that came up yesterday.)
Naomi Shemer. That was certainly supposed to be the hard part, and it was probably way too hard.
Jacob Rebnord loved the question on Naomi Shemer. Then again he is our SuperJew.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by kingsley11189 » Mon May 30, 2011 12:33 am

The tournament was fun. However i felt that it hurt the small schools. We had more points than some other teams but still didn't make it into the playoffs when the other teams did. We also got stuck with byes during the rounds that had our type of questions
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Mon May 30, 2011 12:41 am

jonpin wrote:I kept a (thankfully short) list of "questions that it was a bad idea to ask" which wound up with: relegation
See, Andy! I told you people were going to complain about this one!

I first noticed it when I was looking through the "initial text" that NAQT lets you see of other people's questions in the set. I could see "This method of entering the Football Lea..." That was enough to know it was relegation. Even though I am a huge QPR fan, the tossup on "promotion" is going to have to wait until next year.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Guile Island » Mon May 30, 2011 12:42 am

Coming from a first-time HSNCT player, I thought the venue and organization were both fantastic. The Hyatt was very nice and accommodating, and being right next to a food court was very useful. Atlanta is a beautiful city and my team and I got to visit a few nice places within walking distance from the hotel. The questions were well written, but I did notice there were some bonuses that seemed a little tough. Power markers also seemed a little bit spotty to me.

@Jonah: I don't remember any of those tossups particularly well, but I don't remember having a problem with any of them.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon May 30, 2011 12:52 am

kingsley11189 wrote:However i felt that it hurt the small schools. We had more points than some other teams but still didn't make it into the playoffs when the other teams did. We also got stuck with byes during the rounds that had our type of questions
This isn't really a way to evaluate the tournament at all. The HSNCT is meant to reward the most knowledgeable teams, so the set will be difficult. If small schools aren't the most knowledgeable teams, then they'll lose games. George Mason certainly was able to keep up, and I see no way this event "hurts" other small schools. Your other complaints are basically not things that are actually important at all.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Mon May 30, 2011 1:15 am

theflyingdeutschman wrote:One tossup that struck me as especially difficult was the Alvar Aalto tossup.
Yeah, this seemed sorta out of left field, as did the tossup on the actress who played Trinity on "The Matrix". Besides a few outliers like this, most of the tossups seemed to be of similar difficulty. As for the bonuses, some were really easy (Barcelona/Gaudi/Sagrada Familia struck me as extremely straightforward), some were too hard (maybe it's just me, but some of the math seemed pretty hard to do in the alloted time, also some obscure trash) but on the whole I really thought that they were well-written.

Congrats to R. and the rest of NAQT for running the largest quizbowl tournament ever flawlessly.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Rothlover » Mon May 30, 2011 1:36 am

jonah wrote:
centralhs wrote:Turing was an answer in two consecutive rounds (18 and 19, I think), once as a tossup and once as a bonus.

I thought the questions were excellent, with just a few extraordinarily hard bonuses. There was one asking for the name of an Israeli songwriter that I can't imagine was converted successfully by many teams. (I personally don't know the names of any Israeli songwriters and still can't remember the name of the one that came up yesterday.)
Naomi Shemer. That was certainly supposed to be the hard part, and it was probably way too hard.
Considering some of the hard parts, this would have been reasonable to my mind with some of the harder 30's (my thoughts on bonus variability notwithstanding.) The fact that it's near impossible to get a Naomi Shemer CD in Israel doesn't change the fact that she is linked with a recognizable song that is essentially a co-national anthem. Of course, it would've been just as interesting as a bonus theme for Chicago Open or something.

I saw a lot of teams really into the knowledge and learning aspect of quizbowl, which was heartening. It was just nice to read for teams, great or less great, who were doing quizbowl as an offshoot of their academic interests, and even if graduating seniors don't go on to play college qb, at least we saw a good thousand+ people and their contingent who valued knowing/understanding things.

As an offshoot to that. The team I read for that got only 1 tu, that being a trash tu, and who screamed "who the F*** cares" in response to the "Greed" bonus part, your team was impossibly poorly behaved, and your distaste for the competition was palpable and deplorable.

Logistics from a moderator's side were generally solid. I appreciate that it seems we are moving towards fewer staff per room sleeping-wise.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by kayli » Mon May 30, 2011 2:20 am

I think the computational math bonuses should be taken out. There wasn't enough time to reason out the math within the 5 seconds after the end of the question which was frustrating. Additionally, a lot of the bonuses seemed really hard. The one that stuck in my mind was the one on scalar fields where I think the easy clue was path integral. This isn't really something normal high school students come close to covering in their classes so that one was perplexing. Also, I think I answered contour integral for that but it was counted wrong. Do you have the text of that bonus?
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by centralhs » Mon May 30, 2011 6:04 am

On the subject of bonus difficulty variation, one that stands out to me was the bonus on Canova. I felt like the Canova part itself was challenging enough to count as the hard part, but then there was an even more difficult third part on a sculpture (I can't remember what the sculpture was but it had a long name.) I would imagine that there were probably a handful of teams at the tournament that could name both Canova and this sculpture but this bonus was undeniably a whole lot more difficult for a team to earn 30 points on than other fine arts bonuses such as the "Barcelona/Gaudi/La Sagrada Familia" example that Raynell gave earlier.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by nadph » Mon May 30, 2011 6:19 am

centralhs wrote:On the subject of bonus difficulty variation, one that stands out to me was the bonus on Canova. I felt like the Canova part itself was challenging enough to count as the hard part, but then there was an even more difficult third part on a sculpture (I can't remember what the sculpture was but it had a long name.) I would imagine that there were probably a handful of teams at the tournament that could name both Canova and this sculpture but this bonus was undeniably a whole lot more difficult for a team to earn 30 points on than other fine arts bonuses such as the "Barcelona/Gaudi/La Sagrada Familia" example that Raynell gave earlier.
Wasn't the third part simply asking you to name "Perseus" from Perseus with the Head of Medusa, with clues indicating the person in question was in fact the same person in Greek mythology who slew Medusa? Apologies if this is incorrect.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by centralhs » Mon May 30, 2011 6:23 am

nadph wrote:
centralhs wrote:On the subject of bonus difficulty variation, one that stands out to me was the bonus on Canova. I felt like the Canova part itself was challenging enough to count as the hard part, but then there was an even more difficult third part on a sculpture (I can't remember what the sculpture was but it had a long name.) I would imagine that there were probably a handful of teams at the tournament that could name both Canova and this sculpture but this bonus was undeniably a whole lot more difficult for a team to earn 30 points on than other fine arts bonuses such as the "Barcelona/Gaudi/La Sagrada Familia" example that Raynell gave earlier.
Wasn't the third part simply asking you to name "Perseus" from Perseus with the Head of Medusa, with clues indicating the person in question was in fact the same person in Greek mythology who slew Medusa? Apologies if this is incorrect.
Yes, there was a part asking about Perseus (or possibly Cellini), but in my opinion that was the easiest part of the three. I just remembered the third part (the really hard one, in my opinion) which was Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss. I could be completely wrong, but I think that most high school students would find "La Sagrada Familia" (the "hard" third part of one bonus) easier than Canova (the middle difficulty part of the other bonus) as it seems to come up more often in the high school canon.

A way to ask the same material in a more "gettable" fashion is this question from the Stanford Packet Archive:

[10] Canova created a sculpture of this mythological figure being revived by Cupid's kiss. ANSWER: Psyche
Last edited by centralhs on Mon May 30, 2011 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonpin » Mon May 30, 2011 6:28 am

Ar$oni$t$ Get All the Girl$ wrote:I think the computational math bonuses should be taken out. There wasn't enough time to reason out the math within the 5 seconds after the end of the question which was frustrating. Additionally, a lot of the bonuses seemed really hard. The one that stuck in my mind was the one on scalar fields where I think the easy clue was path integral. This isn't really something normal high school students come close to covering in their classes so that one was perplexing. Also, I think I answered contour integral for that but it was counted wrong. Do you have the text of that bonus?
Thoughts on these two things:
1) I don't know about the existence of CMBs in general, but they seemed to be very probability "roll the dice" heavy from what I read on Saturday.
2) There's so much in history, literature, science, and other subjects that comes up that "normal high school students come close to covering in their classes". Luckily, the students at HSNCT aren't normal high school students, and the tournament distribution isn't intended to mirror the school curriculum precisely.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by pray for elves » Mon May 30, 2011 8:27 am

Reading the prelims and first few playoff rounds and observing the remainder, I can say the following:
  • This tournament was very well-organized. Joel did a fantastic job with the logistics and everything was great except for the elevator/stair situation, which was beyond NAQT's control.
  • Although I appreciated it, the Naomi Shemer part was hilariously hard.
  • Alvar Aalto was a totally inappropriate answer for a tossup at the high school level. He was a hard tossup answer at ACF Nationals in 2009 and generally a middle part of bonuses at that level and an easy part at Chicago Open.
  • Some of the computational math bonuses/parts were very hard to do in five seconds. Many teams I read for didn't even attempt to solve them; rather, they just guessed.
  • The trash was largely irrelevant to the audience. For example, Queens of the Stone Age and Audioslave questions from things done ten years ago aren't really easy enough, though they might have been in 2003 when they were probably written, and questions on Twin Peaks and the Andy Griffith Show are targeting a time well before the players were born. (Also, Harold Miner? Really?) It's not bad in and of itself to ask about older things, but it's important to keep in mind what students are likely to actually know from before their time.
  • The quality of the packets slid notably near the end of the playoffs. The bonus difficulty in the finals struck me as quite uneven, which is unfortunate. I heard a rumor that the finals packets were the last assembled; I didn't think NAQT's computer system worked this way, but if this is true, why is this the case? The finals should, if anything, be done first if possible.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon May 30, 2011 8:38 am

Just as NAQT made the commendable step of removing math computation from its tossups, it should now do same with math computation bonus questions. As i watched games on the livestream, both for the very talented and semi-talented teams, once again as in years prior the math computation questions were met with groans, apathy, and frustration. I'm sure if the numbers are crunched, they're going to be the lowest-converted bonus questions around.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon May 30, 2011 8:41 am

My questions:
  • Round 1: Iranian bonus
  • Round 2: labor groups bonus, Copley/Munch/Durer bonus
  • Round 3: supercontinents bonus, tossups on The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Declaration of Sentiments, Death of a Salesman, Wicked, Pinochet
  • Round 5: The Ransom of Red Chief tossup
  • Round 7: Community tossup
  • Round 9: Miguel de Cervantes tossup
  • Round 10: McCormick reaper/Francis Cabot Lowell/John Deere bonus, Johnathan Swift TU, Donatello TU
  • Round 11: Jeremy TU, Ed Wood/Tim Burton/Randy Savage bonus, AIM bonus
  • Round 12: Black and Yellow TU, Charles Martel TU
  • Round 13: Allen Ginsberg TU
  • Round 14: Kim TU
  • Round 15: A Good Man is Hard to Find TU, molluscs TU, Schoenberg bonus, Truman Capote bonus
  • Round 16: Rogue TU, Godfather bonus
  • Round 17: TUs: Babur, John Irving, Left 4 Dead 2
  • Round 18: Strokes TU, Dracula bonus
  • Round 19: Gilgamesh TU, Mega Man TU
  • Round 20: Le Corbusier bonus, German authors bonus
  • Round 21: Rolling in the Deep TU
  • Round 22: Matthew Arnold TU, Washington Irving TU, arthropod bonus
  • Round 24: Iliad TU, Gericault bonus
  • Round 25: Rolling Stones TU, House on Mango Street bonus
  • Round 26: Winged Victory TU, Gaudi bonus
  • Round 27: Gogol TU, System of a Down TU, Robert Smithson TU, Cyrano de Bergerac bonus, Bartholdi bonus
I also edited most (all?) of the pop culture music question, and a portion of the "general knowledge/miscellaneous" questions when Ken Jennings was unavailable for a couple of days.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Mon May 30, 2011 8:54 am

nadph wrote:
centralhs wrote:On the subject of bonus difficulty variation, one that stands out to me was the bonus on Canova. I felt like the Canova part itself was challenging enough to count as the hard part, but then there was an even more difficult third part on a sculpture (I can't remember what the sculpture was but it had a long name.) I would imagine that there were probably a handful of teams at the tournament that could name both Canova and this sculpture but this bonus was undeniably a whole lot more difficult for a team to earn 30 points on than other fine arts bonuses such as the "Barcelona/Gaudi/La Sagrada Familia" example that Raynell gave earlier.
Wasn't the third part simply asking you to name "Perseus" from Perseus with the Head of Medusa, with clues indicating the person in question was in fact the same person in Greek mythology who slew Medusa? Apologies if this is incorrect.
The parts were Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss/Canova/Cellini (from "Canova and this man both sculpted a Perseus with the Head of Medusa; he is also known for a salt cellar"). I would say this is pretty hard, but I'm unconvinced it was inappropriate for HSNCT.
Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:The quality of the packets slid notably near the end of the playoffs. The bonus difficulty in the finals struck me as quite uneven, which is unfortunate. I heard a rumor that the finals packets were the last assembled; I didn't think NAQT's computer system worked this way, but if this is true, why is this the case? The finals should, if anything, be done first if possible.
The rumor is untrue. I agree that bonus difficulty was uneven throughout the tournament, including in the finals packet; I'm not sure whether this was more true in the finals or merely whether it was more acutely noticed.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by pray for elves » Mon May 30, 2011 8:57 am

Fred wrote:I also edited most (all?) of the pop culture music question
This was beyond your control, presumably, and under the control of the compiling software, but it was unfortunate for the two pop music questions in one finals packet to be the Rolling Stones and a bonus on Marvin Gaye. Both are fine, but it was not nice to have two 1960s/70s music questions in the same round. Not knowing the system currently in place, I would suggest some sort of tagging system to help it be distributed better. If you tag the Rolling Stones and Marvin Gaye "1960s" and put in a rule that only one music question tagged "1960s" can be in a packet, you can better control a random packet compiler.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon May 30, 2011 9:06 am

Yeah, I definitely agree that's suboptimal and not something that I wanted at all, but it's also something that I would not be able to change, as you stated. It should be noted that the Stones TU was labeled "1960s" and the Gaye bonus "1970s."
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by nadph » Mon May 30, 2011 9:34 am

I apologize for being doubly wrong regarding the Canova question. Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss is ridiculously hard, even more so without Canova. I also agree that the computational math seemed too hard in the time allotted. That said, I think this year's HSNCT was one of the best I have ever seen.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Khanate » Mon May 30, 2011 9:54 am

I found the issue with the length's of sides of triangles, was that it was a lengthy and difficult to figure out. Even if one realizes that "hinge theorem", "Ceva's Theorem", or "Hero's formula" are inexplicable linked to triangles, he/she would be inclined to guess a quantity that can be explained by one word like "altitude", "area", "legs". In fact, I think the tossup could have been made better if they clues were shifted to make the answer "length of legs of a right triangle" or simply "legs", because it is not as difficult to extrapolate to.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Andrew's a Freshman » Mon May 30, 2011 10:39 am

Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:Queens of the Stone Age
This also came up in 2009. Can someone list the parts for this (assuming it was a bonus)?
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by kayli » Mon May 30, 2011 11:17 am

jonpin wrote:2) There's so much in history, literature, science, and other subjects that comes up that "normal high school students come close to covering in their classes". Luckily, the students at HSNCT aren't normal high school students, and the tournament distribution isn't intended to mirror the school curriculum precisely.
Even so, the bonus cycle far too difficult. If I remember correctly, the bonus parts tested a very high level of math knowledge (Calculus 3 up?) which is inaccessible to most students. I just don't think it's reasonable for players (even those who only do science) to know things about vector and scalar spaces in high school.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Balboa » Mon May 30, 2011 11:22 am

Fred wrote:My questions:
  • Round 26: Winged Victory TU, Gaudi bonus
Aha! So you are responsible for the Gaudi bonus.

No offense, but why was that bonus so simple? It's right on the You Gotta Know list which my school generally expects new people trying out for the quiz bowl team to know. Other posters seem to share the sentiment that it stuck out as a finals-match bonus.

Another repeat that I remember clearly is that there was a bonus naming and describing the Haymarket Square bombing asking for the Knights of Labor, and in a later round there was a bonus asking for the Haymarket Square bombing, which would have been a free 10 points for any team that had even one person paying attention in the earlier round.

And my team was just a bit more apprehensive than usual buzzing on Turing machine due to Alan Turing being a bonus answer in the round immediately previous.

Other than that, great tournament.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Andrew's a Freshman » Mon May 30, 2011 11:33 am

Ar$oni$t$ Get All the Girl$ wrote:Even so, the bonus cycle far too difficult. If I remember correctly, the bonus parts tested a very high level of math knowledge (Calculus 3 up?) which is inaccessible to most students. I just don't think it's reasonable for players (even those who only do science) to know things about vector and scalar spaces in high school.
That bonus set doesn't seem indicative of the math computation as a whole, though I don't think I played the round it was in. While computation was a drag, it seemed appropriate for the most part.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by sacagawea » Mon May 30, 2011 2:23 pm

And my team was just a bit more apprehensive than usual buzzing on Turing machine due to Alan Turing being a bonus answer in the round immediately previous.
Yeah, I'm nearly certain this was the only tossup in our match against Stevenson that went dead (with neither team even buzzing). I am also pretty sure that the answer line coming up in the previous round played a large role in the question going dead.


Regarding the math comp bonuses, honestly, I thought that NAQT did a great job vastly improving the reasonability of what was being asked. Last year at HSNCT, our team felt completely overwhelmed by these bonuses, but this year were able to 20 and 30 most, if not all of them, without having made much of a concerted effort to improve our qb math skills. We may have been lucky in not playing the rounds with the more ridiculous comp bonus cycles.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by sir negsalot » Mon May 30, 2011 2:57 pm

A lot of the geography was very hard, like a tossup on The Gambia
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by PennySalem » Mon May 30, 2011 3:06 pm

I found it a bit odd that there was a question on Syracuse and a question on Sicily in the same packet (I think it was Round 5). It seems like that would have favored those who are knowledgeable in Mediterranean history a lot.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Mon May 30, 2011 3:18 pm

sir negsalot wrote:A lot of the geography was very hard, like a tossup on The Gambia
I think at this level, any country can be tossed up, especially one as distinctive as Gambia.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Scobowls and Speedos » Mon May 30, 2011 3:37 pm

Wurzel-Flummery wrote:
sir negsalot wrote:A lot of the geography was very hard, like a tossup on The Gambia
I think at this level, any country can be tossed up, especially one as distinctive as Gambia.
Agreed. I didn't have a problem with any of the geography questions, and the difficulty was probably at a good level for a national tournament. The only thing I found interesting is that Eritrea and Ethiopia were both tossed up and they are bordering countries (in fact, Eritrea was once part of Ethiopia)
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by etchdulac » Mon May 30, 2011 3:39 pm

Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:[*]The bonus difficulty in the finals struck me as quite uneven, which is unfortunate.
jonah wrote:I agree that bonus difficulty was uneven throughout the tournament, including in the finals packet; I'm not sure whether this was more true in the finals or merely whether it was more acutely noticed.
Thirded. Especially in a game decided by 20 points, I think it's easy to say that the final was greatly influenced by bonus variability and luck of the bonus draw. But I'm a bit biased.
Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:it was unfortunate for the two pop music questions in one finals packet to be the Rolling Stones and a bonus on Marvin Gaye.
Though I feel like many people know Marvin Gaye's dad killed him, I agree also with this sentiment.

There was also a bit of a "Gorman-Dorman" situation on how long SC was given to produce Schrödinger. Haven't rewatched the contest, but it seemed similar. Again, in a tight final, these minor things simply become magnified.

Though I'm told State College had 3.5 seconds to answer, which seemed like a lot of time, we can't be certain when the player was recognized, which is when the two seconds rule comes into effect. We can only speculate, which is inadvisable.

I should say unequivocally though that I do not mean to criticize in any way the outcome of the match. State College is a more than worthy champion, and with the final tossup, even an actual poor timing ruling, not a mere subjective one, would've been moot. Bonus variability and subjective timing rulings are all part of quizbowl, and in citing these, I do not mean to take anything away from a State College program that I believe has now finished in the top three in six of the last seven years.

Edit: Principally to backtrack regarding timing issue.
Last edited by etchdulac on Mon May 30, 2011 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Mon May 30, 2011 3:55 pm

I had a lot of fun staffing this tournament and hope to go to another national tournament next year.

Have there been issues with hotel elevators (out of order or otherwise) at previous HSNCTs? I distinctly remember having similar issues at a Model UN tournament in Washington DC back in high school; it seems like you'd have that sort of problem at any event where you have hundreds of people moving in the same direction at once.
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Re: 2011 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Mon May 30, 2011 4:06 pm

Andrew's a Freshman wrote:
Ar$oni$t$ Get All the Girl$ wrote:Even so, the bonus cycle far too difficult. If I remember correctly, the bonus parts tested a very high level of math knowledge (Calculus 3 up?) which is inaccessible to most students. I just don't think it's reasonable for players (even those who only do science) to know things about vector and scalar spaces in high school.
That bonus set doesn't seem indicative of the math computation as a whole, though I don't think I played the round it was in. While computation was a drag, it seemed appropriate for the most part.
That bonus was not computational. (On that note, I should clarify that when I say I edited math, I am referring only to noncomputational math.) I agree that it was slightly too difficult; more fundamentally problematic is that it didn't really have an easy, a medium, and a hard part—I suspect it was 30 or 0 in almost every case. That bonus was also from before I took over as math editor; I made a note to work on it, but unfortunately never got to it.
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