Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 6: Correctapalooza

Today’s questions were easy. Too easy. So easy, in fact, that they compressed the field, resulting in a slew of high scores, ties, and wasted strong performances. Even the harder questions had few possible wrong answers, so players like me could score points even where we weren’t entirely sure.

Of the 26 players in my division,
  • 9 of us got all six questions correct 
  • 13 got five correct 
  • 3 got four correct 
  • 1 got three correct 
That is kind of ridiculous. We are a B division, not the elite championship tier.

Judge for yourself:

1. Aldo, Avia, Naot, and Sebago are all companies best known for the manufacturing and selling of what? 

Shoes (official answer: footwear). I’ve been in Aldo stores in Chicago and New York, I’ve known forever that Avia makes running shoes, and my mom had Sebago(e)s when I was a kid. Naot was the only brand I had naot heard of. On a day when almost every question could have merited the 0, I gave this one the 0.

2. The protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which establishes a structure of rolling commitments of greenhouse gas emissions reductions for its ratifying nations, is commonly named after what city, where it was adopted initially in December, 1997? 

The Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto. Gave this a 1, would have liked to give it the 0.

3. In geometry, a tetrahedron is a regular polyhedron with four faces (a.k.a. triangular pyramid), and a cube is one with six faces. How many faces does a regular dodecahedron have?

This one, admittedly, was not a gimme. If you didn’t know a dodecahedron was a 12-sided figure, as childhood D&D nerds like me did, then you might have guessed either 12 or 20 based on the word itself.

4. What is the name of the imperial dynasty that ruled China at the start of the first millennium (roughly from 200 BC to 200 AD), and gave its name to what today is China's majority ethnic group? 

Neither was this a gimme. Everyone knows the Ming dynasty from its vases, but I felt somewhat sure that the Han dynasty was a bigger deal, dynasty-wise. It felt more central to Chinese culture, not that I know much about it. Although I wasn't positive, it felt like Han was a stronger guess, even though Han shot first.

Sure enough, Han was the correct answer. I gave this question the 3, as did a lot of other people; its average defense of 2.1 was the highest of the day.

5. St. Moritz, Gstaad, and Verbier are major ski resorts in what country? 

Switzerland. Gstaad, you may recall, is one of the cities whose current times are simultaneously shown by the wristwatch of Louis Winthorpe III.

I gave this question a 2 only because I could only give so many 0s and 1s.

6. Of the 40+ animated television series that have aired on the Nickelodeon channel and produced by the network, which one has been, by far, the longest-running? Over 330 original episodes have aired since the May 1999 premiere, where the title character first landed a job at the fast food restaurant central to much of the series. 

I don’t have kids but I knew that SpongeBob SquarePants is the longtime signature character of the Nickelodeon network. I only hesitated at the fact that he was a fast food restaurant employee, which I didn’t know. Then again, I don’t really know anything about the guy other than the shape of his pants.

My division’s performance on today’s questions pretty much tells the story, but it was more of the same all around the league. The “hardest” question of the day was the Han dynasty at 61% correct. Going up from there, it was Aldo etc. (70%), Dodecahedron (75%), Kyoto (80%), SpongeBob (82%), and Switzerland at a whopping 86%.

The Commissioner is entitled to ask whatever questions he wants, whenever he wants. I guess the reason I’m complaining about having so many easy questions on the same day is that usually I’m spoiled. Although I’m nothing compared to the true rock stars in this league, I’m generally competitive because I tend to know an answer here or there that my opposition doesn’t. While the converse is also true at times, I benefit from the random differences more often than not, plus I usually play pretty good defense.

So on a day like this, when I run the table and so does my opponent, we each get a tie and are effectively penalized for being unlucky enough to play each other. Our good performances cancel each other out and go to waste, and the whole exercise turns into a crapshoot based on who’s playing whom (and, less objectionably, which players among the many who answered five correctly were lucky enough to have their opponents assign a 0 to the one question they missed).

It’s not the end of the world, but it does feel like a waste of a day.


Bruce Wrighte said...

I'll always remember this as the day that I made one wrong dodecadecision. I blame D&D for having the temerity to confuse me by using 20-sided dice.

And it's reassuring that even the Chinese know that Han shot first.

Roger Craig said...

I enjoyed the Trading Places reference, Ben.