Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 10: I'll take it

After more than my share of shaky defense lately, I finally flashed the leather at shortstop.

1. This photograph was taken in what city, where this sort of thing happens around 80 times a year?  

“This sort of thing” is the sausage race around the field at the Milwaukee Brewers’ home ballpark, which occurs “around 80 times a year” because the Brew Crew have 81 home games. Knew it, ate it up with sauerkraut and spicy mustard. 

2. Identify the national capital city highlighted in red on this map. 

Once again my spotty geography knowledge cost me. Somewhat at a loss to name an East African nation other than Madagascar, I was sort of proud to come up with Ethiopia, not to mention its capital city, Addis Ababa, thanks in part to a local Ethiopian restaurant by that name. But it turns out that although Ethiopia does border the (not Coral but) Red Sea, due east of it is Somalia, whose capital of Mogadishu was the correct answer. I would have earned a 3 for this one, but I did hold my opponent to a 0. 

They have Ethiopian pirates, don't they?  When they're not shooting horses?

3. First discovered in 1869, and now a fundamental component in many branches of scientific research, nucleic acids (polynucleotides) are large biological molecules which are plentiful in all living things on earth. All naturally occurring nucleic acids are known commonly by one of two names -- give either name.

This one hurt me in my soul, in that the question gave away the answer and I still blew it. I wasn’t sure of the answer, but surely it wasn’t DNA and RNA as their N and A (for Nucleic Acid) appeared right there in the question. I think you can see where I’m going with this. Once again I took a wild stab in the faint hope of fooling the teacher, guessing Peptides, but might as well have guessed The Prince of Tides.

4. In the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, what was the trademark catchphrase of Sylvester the Cat?

This was a classic “you either know it or you don’t” and thanks to my misspent youth I did, getting credit for Thufferin’ Thuccotash although the correct answer was Sufferin’ Succotash. This both defensed as the easiest question of the day at 0.9 and played that way at 76% leaguewide.

5. The last film which featured Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra together was what 1984 film, itself a sequel to a 1981 movie (which featured Sammy and Dean but not Frank)?

This wasn’t exactly a “you either know it or you don’t,” but it was a rare film question where I couldn’t even come up with a respectable guess. Sure enough, it played as the toughest Q of the day at 27% correct.

Due to a technical error my guess was not emailed to me, and a few minutes ago I compounded the problem by closing a window from several days ago containing my guess, but it went more or less like this: We’re All Going To Die Soon, First Sammy, Probably, Then Dean, Then Frank.

I did make a good guess as to the order in which they died, but my poor taste likely doomed even my bid for a Best Wrong Answer. The Best Right Answer was Cannonball Run II. The good news was that my gaudy statistics in the Film category presumably caused my opponent to give this one the 0.

6. The plot for the John Fletcher and William Shakespeare comedy The Two Noble Kinsmen is based on what earlier English work?

This one I figured out by the process of elimination. There are very few classic pieces of English literature that predate Shakespeare and would be fair game for a trivia question among non-PhD candidates.

My first thought, of course, was “Shakespeare needed a cowriter? That’s like Stacey King (jokingly) boasting about the night he and Jordan combined for 70 points after Jordan dropped 69 on the Cavs.” But I soon got to work thinking what the right answer could be. Something by Marlowe? Would the Commish be tricky enough to use an earlier work by Shakespeare himself? No and no. Spenser’s The Faerie Queene? Not likely; too obscure and maybe not even before Shakespeare. Milton? Not comedic, later than Shakespeare. La Morte D’Arthur? Hell no. Beowulf? Some other circle of hell no. 

That left Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, which I read in college and have largely forgotten. Although I was not entirely clear on the two noblemen thing, I felt like it pretty much had to be the correct answer, and indeed it was. 

My opponent and I each got three correct answers, but with immaculate defense I allowed the minimum 2 points and won 4(3)-2(3).


Martin said...

I also put Thuffering Thuccotash.

I'm surprised that CR2 was such a tough question. A gimme for me, but then I'm older.

I guessed Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Poop.

Andy Saunders said...

I feel slightly better about my own answer of "peptides", even though I also kicked myself after missing "nucleic acid" in the question.


Aaron Mintz said...

Ethiopia doesn't actually border the red sea, it's landlocked (after the war of Eritrean independence). Nowadays, most things ship into Djibouti and come via rail to Ethiopia.

(when I was in Addis last year, I heard the story of how the railroad was approved: Menelek, the emperor in the late 19th century, was approached by european engineers wanting to build it. He didn't know if they were just gladhanders, so he locked them in a room with some leather, scissors, and thread, telling them that if they could make him a pair of shoes he'd allow it to go forward. They managed to take apart their one of their shoes to figure out the correct design, and away it went!)

There's some talk of rail/shipping through Somaliland, which is a really interesting not-quite-a-country - relatively stable for 10 years or so, denied recognition mainly because the AU fears a domino effect of independence movements along pre-European ethno-political lines.

And that's more than you ever needed to know about industrial transportation in Ethiopia.

I thought DNA was too obvious but couldn't think of anything better, but assumed that I'd have to know what the D stood for.

Joon said...

how fleeting is time, how transitory our existence! it feels like only last season that ethiopia was the answer to a learned league question about the world's most populous landlocked nation.

Ben said...

I have no recollection of that. Shame on me. Need I even add that I suck?

Gary Sherman said...

It was because of that Ethiopian Landlock question that I consulted a map of the area and noted that Mogadishu is in fact right on the coast.