Laurie Wojtaszczyk, Chris Kizer, Lisa
Gutermuth and Sean McCulloch are among the early arrivals claiming
Technology in the form of projected
answers has improved the event in recent years.
Double the Fun! ...
Added temporary seating in the front
and back row has proved necessary as our Lancaster run nears
A big thank you to everyone who came out this year -- we shattered
the attendance record by a wide margin! Not bad for an event
that has been around forever. In fact, we're outgrowing our room!
Fortunately, the media rooms at 7 Springs are much larger so
the sky will be the limit shortly. A special thank you to Ed
Fear and Eric Kleist for helping to pass out answer sheets and
especially to Ed for staying around to grade and score papers
after the event; our normal stalwart Assistant GM Greg Crowe,
who usually handles most of the boring filing work while I focus
on fun stuff like presenting the categories, unfortunately (for
me) made a Final elsewhere and had to miss the first half of
the event. As always, the crowd was great, being full of energy
and laughter despite being late on a Saturday after a week of
intense thinking and strategizing.
The results of our epic group adventure are below. We'll give
the categories and the letters, as well as the results by round,
and some highlights of answers that might not have helped people's
scores, but made the GM laugh. Names have been withheld to prevent
embarrassment, so feel free to claim to all of your friends that
they were your answers.
Round 1 Categories:
· Wimbledon Singles Winners, 1968 - present
· Guest Stars on the Muppet Show
· Brands of Chocolate Bars
· Types of Snakes
· Actors who have portrayed Batman
Round 1 Letters: A, B, C, K, W
Round 1 Results: As normal for the first round, this
was a pretty easy set of questions and the average score was
10.93. Ted Drozd pulled out to an early lead, with an amazing
21 out of 25 correct, followed in close order by Sean McCulloch
(20), Richard Irving (19), Edward Fear (19), and Rich Meyer (18).
Great, if erroneous answers: Guest Stars on the Muppet
Show had the most "almost correct" answers; however,
we're not sure if we want to live in the world where Henry Kissinger,
Christopher Walken, King Kong, Charles Bronson, or Col. Khadaffi
Also, where most people incorrectly guessed that Alan Alda
had hosted the Muppet Show, only one person was so bold as to
guess that he had portrayed Batman. Between that and someone
guessing Alan Arkin, we now have thoughts of remade Batman scenes
that will make us giggle for weeks, so thank you both!
One person made us sad with his chocolate bar answers, having
"Crackle" as one and "Krunch" as another
that's 2 points he could have had if only he'd remembered
which one was misspelled and which one was not. That's Facts
in Five for you.
On the "common names for snakes" category: for the
record, Whitesnake is a band, not an actual snake. Also: pronouncing
Viper with a bad Russian accent does not turn it into a "W"
answer. Special thanks to the person who answered, "A**holes"
for the A row; while that's a common epithet, that's not quite
the same thing as a common name.
Special thanks to the player who, deciding he was going down
in flames already, answered "Adam West" to all the
categories for the W row. One of those was actually right!
Round 2 Categories:
· Master's Tournament Champions
· Forms of Pasta
· Nominees for the Oscar for Best Picture, 2001
· American Syndicated Newspaper Comic Strips
· 20th Century Monarchs of Europe
Round 2 letters: G, M, O, P, Z
Round 2 Results: The gloves were off for this round
the average score dropped to 8.44 out of 25 correct. Amazingly,
the top six scorers for this round - Sean McCulloch, Jason Arvey,
Mark Guttag, Andrew Wright, Mike Hischak, and Brandon Buchanan
- all tied at 14. I suppose I should mention that, since the
players don't actually directly fight with each other, "the
gloves were off" actually means "I made this round
Great, if erroneous answers: I think there was a common
misinterpretation that "Oscar Nominees 2001 - present"
meant Oscar nominees after the movie "2001" was made,
i.e., after 1968; it's the only way to explain how so many people
guessed "The Godfather" or "One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest" for this category. One player decided to
keep a theme going after answering "Master & Commander"
for Oscar Nominees, and followed it up with "Pride &
Prejudice" and "Officer & A Gentleman". Final
note: Ben Stiller should be proud - even if it wasn't an Oscar
nominee, when asked to name a film starting with the letter "Z",
"Zoolander" seems to be the top choice.
We also should have been clearer on the directions for Master's
Tournament Champions, that we were only looking for non-fictional
winners, and so "Happy Gilmore" did not count. In other
news, less than half of the people who can recall Jose Maria
Olazabal can also spell his name.
While clever, we cannot give credit to "Spaghetti-Os"
as a correct "O" answer for forms of pasta. Also, there
is no such thing as "Zfettuccini" with a silent Z.
Good try. Well, not actually, but it made us laugh nonetheless.)
We also appreciated the person who put "Peter Parker"
as a possible newspaper comic strip, because hey, he's there
half the time, why should that other guy get all the attention?
We liked the social commentary of the person who answered
"Putin?" for 20th Century Monarchs. Our heart goes
out to the person who wrote "Mussolini", then wrote
next to it "This shouldn't be right", then scratched
both of them out to write "Mary". Which was also incorrect.
Round 3 Categories:
· Radioactive Elements
· Country Music Awards Entertainer of the Year
· Airlines carrying over 10 million passengers
· Moons of the Solar System
· Creatures listed in the original Advanced Dungeons
& Dragons Monster Manual
Round 3 letters: D, L, N, R, U
Round 3 Results: Minds stretched by the previous category,
people got into the groove for this one, averaging a score of
8.75. Jason Arvey blew this round away with an amazing 21/25
right, a full six points ahead of second place John Riston's
15, with Ed Beach, Eric Kliest, Jarret Weintraub, and Bruce Rae
tied for 13.
Great, if erroneous answers: It's "Europa",
not "Uropa", people. Also, not only is "Dagobah"
not in our solar system, and not only is it fictional, it's never
referred to in Star Wars as a moon, only as a planet.
But we have a lot of sympathy for the person who gave for "N",
"R", and "U" the answers of "No clue",
"Really don't know", and "Used to work at NASA".
That's Facts in Five for you.
Speaking of fictional items, Dilithium is not a real element,
and if it were, I hope for Mr. Scott's sake that it's not radioactive.
On the creatures from the Monster Manual category: special
kudos to Rich Meyer, who was the only one to hit the trifecta
of putting down the three answers that I called out as being
shown on the cover of the Monster Manual. (Also, a side note
to one other person: "Nerd"s were not creatures in
the Monster Manual; they were the creatures reading the Monster
Manual. Slight difference.)
Round 4 Categories:
· Popes of the Catholic Church
· American Prime Time Sitcoms with more than
· London Underground Stations
· Authors nominated for a Tony for Best Play
· Rivers longer than 1000 km
Round 4 letters: E, F, H, P, S
Round 4 Results: The penultimate round is always one
of the toughest, and the responses proved it -- an average of
only 6.60 correct answers this round. Jason Arvey maintained
his lead with 14, though he was tied with Edward Fear and Louise
Strickland this time. Just behind at 13 was Eric Brosius, and
filling the rest of the top were Richard Irving, Roderick Lee,
and Sarah Beach at 12 each.
Great, if erroneous answers: As you might expect, not
much funny was said on the round where Pope Hilarius was a valid
answer. Most people were batting down and trying to answer as
well as they could against much tougher questions, and so only
a few funny answers were dropped, such as the person who put
down "Sexytime" as a station for the London Underground.
The GM remains mum on whose house the Sexytime train has to go
through before making its... delivery. We also appreciated the
ideas of Popes Egbert, Enoch, Eunuch, Fabio, Fabulous, Fine,
Harold, Howard, Sean, and Sinister. Disappointingly, Popes Fine
and Howard were on different sheets, so it's not what you think.
I think the entry of Pope "Sucky" was more a comment
on the category.
Props to the person who entered "Fresh Prince" as
an F answer for sitcoms, and running out of juice, put "Prince
Prince" as a P answer.
Apologies to the person who wrote "STOP MAKING ME FEEL
DUMB" across the column for London Underground Stations.
It's the nature of the game, don't blame the GM, he only picks
the questions, the letters, and watches you balefully during
the five minutes you're trying to think of the answers.
Our sympathies for the person who listed out six rivers next
to his answer column, all of which were the right length but
none of which started with the right letter, and who ended up
putting "Hadonsitzpulsky" and "Flipper" for
their answers. Facts in Five! For the rest of you
there is no "Pee" River. At least not over 1000km long.
If there is, see a doctor. And while many people incorrectly
guessed the Euphrates, I'm not sure what to make of the person
who guessed Eucalyptes. Maybe it's in Australia?
Round 5 (The International Round!) Categories:
· Members of the UN with a population of under
· Winners of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language
· Hosts of the FIFA World Cup
· Countries other than the United States with
· Modern countries which have had a female Head
Round 5 letters: A, B, C, I, S
Round 5 Results: The last round was a gimmick round:
while the questions weren't easy, the answers were all countries,
with the understanding that in the WBC Tournament game, duplicate
answers were allowable. The end result was an average score of
11.86, giving players an easy cushion to land on before being
patted on the back and sent off to party at Slapshot.
Richard Irving took the best score in this round, with 21
out of 25 correct. Mark Guttag, Roderick Lee, and Edward Fear
tied for second with 19 correct, and Del Laugel rounded out the
round winners with 18 points.
Great, if erroneous answers: Things that are not countries:
Asia, Bornea, Budapest, Caracoa, The Incas, Sicily, Swahili
Things that are not countries, and also do not start with
the letter I: South Yemen
Also, someone wrote on the bottom of their sheet, "How
come all the C countries are communists?" To which I can
only reply: alliteration.
Jason Arvey managed to be only a point behind on the second
round and had a small lead with the fourth, but it was his 6-point
lead in Round 3 that made the difference, allowing him to take
a comfortable win with 79 points.
Long-time player and previous host Richard Irving made a decent
score in every round and had a big finish, letting him pull into
second with 76 points.
Newcomer Ed Fear, however, not only was a great volunteer,
but also managed to score in the top 5 in three rounds, earning
a total of 74 and third place, followed by Bruce Rae and Roderick
Lee tied at 68. Finally, last year's winner Mark Guttag took
6th place with 67 points.
I hope everyone had fun -- you were a wonderful and responsive
audience, and I hope to see you next year! If you have any comments
or suggestions, please reach out to me at the address below --I'm
always happy to receive feedback!
The full answer sheet is available as a Google Docs spreadsheet
If you're interested in your full results and placing, you
can find that at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wq36Qn2dDFsy144fe3k9_Bt4V_WFAm-dOvzq_DgSwcs/edit?usp=sharing
GM John Corrado not only has to research
his "puzzles" well in advance, he also augments the
presentation with graphic displays of the answers.
A far cry from the old days when participants
voted on whether an answer was acceptable or not. Huge improvement
over the "Arguments R Us" days.