Tuesday, March 30, 2004

A paper on Necessities of Conducting a FAIR quiz.(main round only)


I feel that in general discussions on improving fairness in quizzes the most important factor, i.e. with regards to quizmaster has been neglected. Therefore I take it upon myself to chalk out general as well as finer details that are necessary and must be followed by quizmaster.

a)The quizmaster must have a complete knowledge of topics at hand, he should be able to comment on questions/answers from his personal experience. He should be able to solve disputes and in general must be a step ahead of the contestants. This is not possible in the general sense esp. when we have all the sirs among our contestants. However whenever a quizmaster is setting questions for a quiz, he can make sure that he knows a little if not more about the history/background of the question. This is esp. Not possible when the questions are pilfered/dhapped and a def. attempt must be made by the quizmaster and his team of people setting the question to come up with original questions. This is a huge step in ensuring the quality of a quiz and ensuring the knowledgability of the QM.

b) The quizmaster will not at any time drop hints regarding the question/answer if an answer given by the team is incorrect/imprecise. Comments like 'way off the mark' are giving a hint to other teams and unfair to the teams who have already answered.

c) The quizmaster should not disclose at anytime if an answer given by the team, is partly correct. Now this put forth a very pretty problem, what does the QM say then ? If he says that the answer is not correct other teams are misguided and therefore that is not fair. If the QM says that "I will came back to you" then that tells other teams that at least a part of the answer is correct. That also is unfair. Now a good policy to adopt is to move on to the next team if the answer given by the team is unacceptable/partly precise. This method should be adopted even when the question is not contential. Therefore the general rule is to never say that an answer is not correct, but just to move on to the next team. However I personally feel that a certain bit of discretion is to be adopted by the QM and ensure that whatever his comments are he does not give an unfair advantage to other teams. It is as important for quizzing to be fun as it is for it to be fair. Therefore if the QM can pass some funny comments without being unfair then he should do so. I would even stick out my neck and say that the QM can sacrifice a little bit of fair play for the purpose of humour.

4) Audience Factor: Though many people feel that a quiz should give max importance to the quizzers I strongly disagree. I feel it is the audience that matters and the audience that must be catered through. I feel a giant leap in this respect is using proper audio-video aids like a projector and microphones. These are essential if a large audience has to enjoy a quiz. Also this greatly benefits the quizzers as the QM does not have to repeat long questions and the mikes help other participants to listen to other people's answers. A QM must make the answers clear. He must understand that the audience is not at as high a plane as the participants and must before starting the quiz get a pulse of the audience. He MUST at all times repeat the perfect answers clearly even if a participant has given a right answer. There is no greater frustration that listening to questions and not getting the answers. He must be clear at all times and make sure he is understandable to the audience.


There have been considerable discussions on the format of scoring, and which system is better. There has been considerable discussions regarding the various formats like IR, D&P and some of the new ones that have been proposed.

Therefore while discussing which format is good I would like to give my own parameters which I feel should be incorporated to make a quizzing system good.

1.No of Attempts must remain same :
There is universal agreement that the total no. of questions attempted should remain the same. This is I feel the most important parameter with regards to a quizzing pattern and must be around a particular constant value for all the participants.

2.No. of Direct Questions must remain same.

This is , I feel the most contentious issue with regards to setting, proposing a new format. Following are the cases when/how the number of direct questions becomes most important.
a)When a sitter is asked (notably the only case when the team to whom the question is asked direct gets an advantage)

b)When a PMQ is asked (not so important and I never intended to make an issue out of it. Never myself felt that if a quizzing system does not take this into account it is not good)

*note: PMQs are popular misconception questions, to which obvious answers are actually wrong.

c)Now sometimes teams know the answers but they think on the wrong lines and thereby do not get the answer. This I feel is fair and they should not get any points for thinking on the wrong lines. However if they get to hear other peoples answers who have thought on the right lines (but do not have enough knowledge) then they might get the correct answer which they might have not got if they had been asked the question in direct.

d)Now a major event is when multiple answers are solicited for a particular question, notably in connects and while asking the names of certain people. Now ideally full marks should be awarded to teams that know the whole answer. If this team had got the direct then they would have scored full points. Now if another team before them gets half the answer, then even though this team in question knows the full answer from the start they get only half the points.

*note: a suggestion that is implemented is that the quizmaster does not disclose his comments if the answer is right or wrong. Our esteemed quizmaster 'Sir' Brijesh did this notably in Shyam Bhat Quiz '04. However still when one team answered half the question right and another team got the full question right he split the points between the teams.(I think it was some question about ENIGMA etc..)Personally don't know why he did that because it is assumed that one team did not benefit from another team.

3. Round reversal :
Mathematically a good way of accounting for errors is not by getting rid of them but my negating them. This method works especially in the D&P system, where some teams suffer from a very brilliant team ahead of them and these very famous problems in D&P. Anyway this is also implemented in IR sometimes and I feel is necessary in any scoring/passing system.

There might be some points, which I might have missed out. I would like to know if there are any other things that are necessary. The process of pointing out points is not at all over with this paper and I am still trying to identify points which I may I have left out.

There are a many other factors like SETTING A QUIZ(order of questions et al), SCOPE OF QUESTIONS(i.e. topics) etc. I will try and address these issues in concluding part of this article.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Here my friends comes a speciality quiz, that i myself and i am sure many of you will enjoy. Co-written in association with my cousin Shaunak(who by the way is a walking talking pottermaniac). A set of 20 questions to enthrall you and wait for the answers next week. If you get all twenty you may post it to me before 5th of April at cheerfulguy@rediffmail.com
(prefer if you guys do not refer the books and send it to me straight away)
So here goes,

1.Gordic, Helga, Rowena, and ______. Complete the blank and give me the connection.
:Salazaar - these are the first names of the house founders.

2. Phineas Nigellus, Armando Dippet, Everard,Dilys,_________(Complete the blank and give me the connection).
Dumbledore These are the Hogwarts headmasters.

3. There are only two links on the first page of official website for the Harry potter website. What do these two links say ?
The two links say : (for) MUGGLES and (for) witches and wizards

4.Complete the following address by which the first letter to Harry addressed ?

Mr. H.Potter
4 Privet Drive,
:The Cupboard Under The Stairs,Little Whinging

5. What is the maiden name of Mrs.Petunia Dursley ?
Evans (remember Lily Evans and she is the sister of aunt petunia)

6.Name the model of the Weasely's car which Harry and Ron manage to fly ?
Ford Anglia

7. If you were angry at someone you would send a Howler. What would you send someone if you were happy?
You would send an Owler.

8. Connect servants flesh, enemy's blood and father's bones ?
These are the three things needed by Lord Voldemort.

9. What is the password to work the Marauders's Map ?(additional pat on the back for the person who gives password to conceal it)
For working it : I solemly swear i am upto no good
to conceal : mischief managed

10. Give me the password to the Slytherin common room? (simple and sweet eh!)
Good trivia : the password is Pure Blood

11. What significant piece of literature is written on a particular travelling bag that JKR carried on one of her continental flights ?
She actually worked out the names of the four houses Griffindyor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin and Ravenclaw on her travelling bag.

12. Connect Miranda Goshawk, Bathilda Bagshot, Adalbert Waffling , Phylida Spore, Emerick Switch ....
These are the authors of the books first tears need to go to Hogwarts

13. What is the significance of a quaint unused shop called "Purge & Dowse Ltd."(which had chipped dummies in its windows modelling fashions which were atleast 10 years out of date).
This is the entrance to St. Mungos' Hospital ...

14. Give me one word for 'Flight of Evil' .

15. Why are the French supposedly very angry with JKR ?
(courtesy Ulka) Apparently she has named all the villians in french(she herself was a french teacher)

16. Which shop would you go to, if you wanted to buy robes ?
Madam Malkins'

17. If Daniel Radcliffe plays the role of Potter in the movies who plays the role of Hermione ?
Emma Watson

18. What is kept in Vault No. 713 in the Gringotts's Bank ?(turkey of the quiz)
The Philosophers Stone

19. Connect feed the chickens, you are late, make tea, mortal peril, home ....
These are the various title on Mrs. Weasleys special Clock.
20. What are the only pets allowed at Hogwarts ?
Owls, Toads and Cats

Monday, March 22, 2004


I agree with ramanand's suggestion that this method is too complex. Though at start i didn't think that would matter coz only the scorers would have to know. But he gave me an example of the D/L method used in cricket(but the major reason why ppl dont like is because it dosen't work!!)

Anyways part of the prob is that we cant understand it.

So looking for suggestions to improve it

A Proposal For new Centaurian system of Scoring/Passing in quizzes

There has been plenty of discussion on notes and stones blog and indeed at the various quizzes and meets that i have been a part of about infinite rebounds and D&P. However the major argument in the favour of IR is that
1. The final ranking is flatly based on the number of questions each team gets right.
2. The scoring for a correct answer should be the same
3. The number of questions each team gets to answer should be the same.

It has been seen by the data compiled till now that in IR 'mostly' the number of questions answered per team is same. However for eg in the VIT quiz the number of questions attempted varied very less from 23 to 25. That is really acceptable. However there is a large deviation in the total no of questions each team answered on the direct. This number varies from 7 to 15 which is huge considering the total no of questions answered is in 20s. Therefore there is more than 30% deviation of the total questions answered direct. This is the main argument in the case of D&P. The number of questions each team gets to ans direct is same. Many would say that does not matter whether a team answers it right or wrongly. There are many a questions to which a very obvious answer is wrong. The Frasier question is an example. Another example is the "god of construction and building" question in AFMC(though that was in the elims if in the finals it would have given a very obvious advantage to the passing teams). Many such examples can be given and i would say that there is a certain charm in these questions . They might be a good form of knowledge and entertainment(and indeed clearing basic fundas). We could call them PM(popular misconception) questions. These PMQs are the major bone of contention and this is the only point where D&P is better form than IR. While discussing this point with some ppl from FC there was a suggestion that such questions should not be set by the quizmaster in the finals. I feel this is escapism and too easy a way to solve the problem. There must be some method to cope with the problem of PMQ. Thus the major faults(which i percieve) in IR can be summed up as

1. Inequality in the no of direct questions
2. Give undue advantage in the case of PMQs.

My proposal intends to solve the both the problems.

What can be done is that the total no of direct attempts by each team be noted down. Once a question is answered or attempted by each and every person and there comes a time for the next question then the team with the least no of direct questions should be posed the next question. Following is some sample data



. .

(where the dots represent no of direct attempts)

Consider following case. Direct Q to A - no one gets it. Therefore every team gets an attempt.Now B,C,D all have min no of direct Q answered. Then we go by alphabetical or round order(clockwise/anticlockwise)Then B gets direct Q. C answeres correctly. Therefore as C & D both have min no of direct questions the order is decided by no of attempted questions(ie D gets next question). It is worth remarking that in this case the order is exactly like IR.


. . . .
. .
(where the dots represent no of direct & indirect attempts)

Now when D gets direct question suppose A answers it. Then according to above rule as C is the team with lowest no of direct attempts it should get the next question instead of B as in the case of IR. We must notice that IR penalizes team C for answering correctly by not giving it a direct question. This can be totally avoided by this method . It ensures that total no of direct questions remains the same. What we do is that we fill up the gaps in the table so that each team gets the same no of direct questions.
Now of both the no of direct attempts and total attempts show the same no, the the next question should go to the teamwhich would have been asked the question if IR was followed(ie next team than the team to which the last question had been asked)
Thus one major drawback in the IR method is avoided and a major plus point of the D&P is added to the IR format. (see table)Therefore this is a kind of marriage between the two methods. I would like to call it the Centaurian method of scoring.
The second problem i feel gets automatically eliminated once the no of direct questions each team gets is the same. By the law of averages the no of such questions going direct or passed to each team will remain generally equal. Thus in a limited sense this problem is solved.

This system needs to be tested both in simulation as well as in real time. I am also working out a few details whether it would be better to see the indirect attempts table or the total attempts table(as i have done here) if the no of direct attempts is the same. I am trying out a comp. simulation for the same(but it is going to be in very very outdated QBASIC) I want comments from people on improving this system, will it really work, is it feasible to use it in real time etc etc. Also comments solicited on what the second table should be and what should be done if all the table are equal.x
Please do tell me if there are any flaws. There are a few which i would list out here :

1. Method too cumbersome - I don't subscribe to this point as it is not cumbersome for the participants or the audience but only to the scorer(who i feel have too easy a job with IR). The only problem will be the constant need of the scorer to communicate to the QM which team to ask the question next.Also if a comp is at disposal then the question of whom to answer the next question to becomes very easy with a simple program.

2. The problem of PMQs not completely and satisfactorily solved as this method quintessentially relies upon IR.

3. I personally do not have my simulator working and prob. wont have it working by day after. Therefore i yet have to test if the total no of attempts per team remains the same. If there is huge variation that will be a major fallacy in this method and probably will render it as good or as bad as the others. I will post my results again on sunday(provided my sim works). Lets keep our fingers crossed.

Hope to discuss this method with you in future.

Abhishek Nagaraj(cheerfulguy@rediffmail.com)

( PS : another idea is instead of using the direct questions table as given above we can directly give the next question to the team with the least no of questions attempted)

(PS: Just discussed this with a friend. He feels that for a quiz to be enjoyable the audience, and also the quizzers, socreers etc. need to understand the format. I dont agree)


A Question of Fun Art.1


Starting off with Greek Myth( a fav of quizmasters) we delve into the details of Hercules(nee Heracles) and his twelve tasks

(trivia - Agatha Christie ended the detective career of Hercule Poirot by writing 12 detective stories compiled in a book called THE LABOURS OF HERCULES . This book has a detective story in which Hercule Poirot completes a detective story which is very similar to the twelve labours)

So here we go:

Hercules was the Roman name for the greatest hero of Greek mythology -- Heracles. Like most authentic heroes, Heracles had a god as one of his parents, being the son of the supreme deity Zeus and a mortal woman. Zeus's queen Hera was jealous of Heracles, and when he was still an infant she sent two snakes to kill him in his crib. Heracles was found prattling delighted baby talk, a strangled serpent in each hand.

The Labors
When he had come of age and already proved himself an unerring marksman with a bow and arrow, a champion wrestler and the possessor of superhuman strength, Heracles was driven mad by Hera. In a frenzy, he killed his own children. To atone for this crime, he was sentenced to perform a series of tasks, or "Labors", for his cousin Eurystheus, the king of Tiryns and Mycenae. By rights, Hercules should have been king himself, but Hera had tricked her husband Zeus into crowning Eurystheus instead.

Labor One: The Nemean Lion
As his first Labor, Heracles was challenged to kill the Nemean lion. This was no easy feat, for the beast's parentage was supernatural and it was more of a monster than an ordinary lion. Its skin could not be penetrated by spears or arrows. Heracles blocked off the entrances to the lion's cave, crawled into the close confines where it would have to fight face to face and throttled it to death with his bare hands. Ever afterwards he wore the lion's skin as a cloak and its gaping jaws as a helmet.

Labor Two: The Hydra
King Eurystheus was so afraid of his heroic cousin that when he saw him coming with the Nemean lion on his shoulder, he hid in a storage jar. From this shelter he issued the order for the next Labor. Heracles was to seek out and destroy the monstrous and many-headed Hydra. The mythmakers agree that the Hydra lived in the swamps of Lerna, but they seem to have had trouble counting its heads. Some said that the Hydra had eight or nine, while others claimed as many as ten thousand. All agreed, however, that as soon as one head was beaten down or chopped off, two more grew in its place.

Labor Two: The Hydra (continued)
To make matters worse, the Hydra's very breath was lethal. Even smelling its footprints was enough to kill an ordinary mortal. Fortunately, Heracles was no ordinary mortal. He sought out the monster in its lair and brought it out into the open with flaming arrows. But now the fight went in the Hydra's favor. It twined its many heads around the hero and tried to trip him up. It called on an ally, a huge crab that also lived in the swamp. The crab bit Heracles in the heel and further impeded his attack. Heracles was on the verge of failure when he remembered his nephew, Iolaus, the son of his twin brother Iphicles.

Labor Two: The Hydra (concluded)
Iolaus, who had driven Heracles to Lerna in a chariot, looked on in anxiety as his uncle became entangled in the Hydra's snaky heads. Finally he could bear it no longer. In response to his uncle's shouts, he grabbed a burning torch and dashed into the fray. Now, as soon as Heracles cut off one of the Hydra's heads, Iolaus was there to sear the wounded neck with flame. This kept further heads from sprouting. Heracles cut off the heads one by one, with Iolaus cauterizing the wounds. Finally Heracles lopped off the one head that was supposedly immortal and buried it deep beneath a rock.

Labor Three: the Cerynitian Hind
The third Labor was the capture of the Cerynitian hind. Though a female deer, this fleet-footed beast had golden horns. It was sacred to Artemis, goddess of the hunt, so Heracles dared not wound it. He hunted it for an entire year before running it down on the banks of the River Ladon in Arcadia. Taking careful aim with his bow, he fired an arrow between the tendons and bones of the two forelegs, pinning it down without drawing blood. All the same, Artemis was displeased, but Heracles dodged her wrath by blaming his taskmaster Eurystheus.

Labor Four: the Erymanthian Boar
The fourth Labor took Heracles back to Arcadia in quest of an enormous boar, which he was challenged to bring back alive. While tracking it down he stopped to visit the centaur Pholus. This creature -- half-horse, half-man -- was examining one of the hero's arrows when he accidentally dropped it on his foot. Because it had been soaked in poisonous Hydra venom, Pholus succumbed immediately. Heracles finally located the boar on Mount Erymanthus and managed to drive it into a snowbank, immobilizing it. Flinging it up onto his shoulder, he carried it back to Eurystheus, who cowered as usual in his storage jar.

Labor Five: The Augean Stables
Eurystheus was very pleased with himself for dreaming up the next Labor, which he was sure would humiliate his heroic cousin. Heracles was to clean out the stables of King Augeas in a single day. Augeas possessed vast herds of cattle which had deposited their manure in such quantity over the years that a thick aroma hung over the entire Peloponnesus. Instead of employing a shovel and a basket as Eurystheus imagined, Heracles diverted two rivers through the stableyard and got the job done without getting dirty. But because he had demanded payment of Augeas, Eurytheus refused to count this as a Labor.

Labor Six: The Stymphalian Birds
The sixth Labor pitted Heracles against the Stymphalian birds, who inhabited a marsh near Lake Stymphalus in Arcadia. The sources differ as to whether these birds feasted on human flesh, killed men by shooting them with feathers of brass or merely constituted a nuisance because of their number. Heracles could not approach the birds to fight them - the ground was too swampy to bear his weight and too mucky to wade through. Finally he resorted to some castanets given to him by the goddess Athena. By making a racket with these, he caused the birds to take wing. And once they were in the air, he brought them down by the dozens with his arrows.

Labor Seven: the Cretan Bull
Queen Pasiphae of Crete had been inspired by a vengeful god to fall in love with a bull, with the result that the Minotaur was born -- a monster half-man and half-bull that haunted the Labyrinth of King Minos. Pasiphae's husband was understandably eager to be rid of the bull, which was also ravaging the Cretan countryside, so Hercules was assigned the task as his seventh Labor. Although the beast belched flames, the hero overpowered it and shipped it back to the mainland. It ended up near Athens, where it became the duty of another hero, Theseus, to deal with it once more.

Labor Eight: the Mares of Diomedes
Next Heracles was instructed to bring Eurystheus the mares of Diomedes. These horses dined on the flesh of travelers who made the mistake of accepting Diomedes' hospitality. In one version of the myth, Heracles pacified the beasts by feeding them their own master. In another, they satisfied their appetites on the hero's squire, a young man named Abderus. In any case, Heracles soon rounded them up and herded them down to sea, where he embarked them for Tiryns. Once he had shown them to Eurystheus, he released them. They were eventually eaten by wild animals on Mount Olympus.

Labor Nine: Hippolyte's Belt
The ninth Labor took Heracles to the land of the Amazons, to retrieve the belt of their queen for Eurystheus' daughter. The Amazons were a race of warrior women, great archers who had invented the art of fighting from horseback. Heracles recruited a number of heroes to accompany him on this expedition, among them Theseus. As it turned out, the Amazon queen, Hippolyte, willingly gave Hercules her belt, but Hera was not about to let the hero get off so easily. The goddess stirred up the Amazons with a rumor that the Greeks had captured their queen, and a great battle ensued. Heracles made off with the belt, and Theseus kidnapped an Amazon princess.

Labor Ten: the Cattle of Geryon
In creating monsters and formidable foes, the Greek mythmakers used a simple technique of multiplication. Thus Geryon, the owner of some famous cattle that Heracles was now instructed to steal, had three heads and/or three separate bodies from the waist down. His watchdog, Orthrus, had only two heads. This Labor took place somewhere in the country we know as Spain. The hound Orthrus rushed at Heracles as he was making off with the cattle, and the hero killed him with a single blow from the wooden club which he customarily carried. Geryon was dispatched as well, and Heracles drove the herd back to Greece, taking a wrong turn along the way and passing through Italy.

Labor Eleven: the Apples of the Hesperides
The Hesperides were nymphs entrusted by the goddess Hera with certain apples which she had received as a wedding present. These were kept in a grove surrounded by a high wall and guarded by Ladon, a many-headed dragon. The grove was located in the far-western mountains named for Atlas, one of the Titans or first generation of gods. Atlas had sided with one of his brothers in a war against Zeus. In punishment, he was compelled to support the weight of the heavens by means of a pillar on his shoulders. Heracles, in quest of the apples, had been told that he would never get the them without the aid of Atlas.

Labor Eleven: the Apples of the Hesperides (concluded)
The Titan was only too happy to oblige. He told the hero to hold the pillar while he went to retrieve the fruit. But first Heracles had to kill the dragon by means of an arrow over the garden wall. Atlas soon returned with the apples but now realized how nice it was not to have to strain for eternity keeping heaven and earth apart. Heracles wondered if Atlas would mind taking back the pillar just long enough for him to fetch a cushion for his shoulder. The Titan obliged and Heracles strolled off, neglecting to return.

Labor Twelve: the Capture of Cerberus
As his final Labor, Heracles was instructed to bring the hellhound Cerberus up from Hades, the kingdom of the dead. The first barrier to the soul's journey beyond the grave was the most famous river of the Underworld, the Styx. Here the newly dead congregated as insubstantial shades, mere wraiths of their former selves, awaiting passage in the ferryboat of Charon the Boatman. Charon wouldn't take anyone across unless they met two conditions. Firstly, they had to pay a bribe in the form of a coin under the corpse's tongue. And secondly, they had to be dead. Heracles met neither condition, a circumstance which aggravated Charon's natural grouchiness.

Labor Twelve: the Capture of Cerberus (concluded)
But Heracles simply glowered so fiercely that Charon meekly conveyed him across the Styx. The greater challenge was Cerberus, who had razor teeth, three (or maybe fifty) heads, a venomous snake for a tail and another swarm of snakes growing out of his back. These lashed at Heracles while Cerberus lunged for a purchase on his throat. Fortunately, the hero was wearing his trusty lion's skin, which was impenetrable by anything short of a thunderbolt from Zeus. Heracles eventually choked Cerberus into submission and dragged him to Tiryns, where he received due credit for this final Labor.

Heracles had a great many other adventures, in after years as well as in between his Labors. It was poisonous Hydra venom that eventually brought about his demise. He had allowed a centaur to ferry his wife Deianara across a river, and the centaur had attacked her on the other side. Heracles killed him with an arrow, but before he died the he told Deinara to keep some of his blood for a love potion. Deinara used some on Heracles' tunic to keep him faithful, little realizing that it had been poisoned with Hydra venom from the arrow. Heracles donned the tunic and died in agony.

Heracles was the only hero to become a full-fledged god upon his demise, but even in his case there was his mortal aspect to be dealt with. By virtue of his spectacular achievements, even by heroic standards, he was given a home on Mount Olympus and a goddess for a wife. But part of him had come not from his father Zeus but from his mortal mother Alcmene, and that part was sent to the Underworld. As a phantasm it eternally roams the Elysian Fields in the company of other heroes.


Welcome to crossStyx , my blog on quizzing, quizzing and more quizzing. However do not be surprised if you find pieces of personal creativity, views , opinions and other things being discussed here.

The main objective of this blog is :

1.Giving info about college quizzing to the new people who will come every year. I hope that this blog will help make them the transiton between school and college quizzing.(am i charon???)

2.As a tool for online dissipation of my thoughts and comments on the various events and happenings at the quizzing circuits and indeed off it.

2. To discuss and consequentiall improve the systems of scoring in quizzing and to create a forum for improving data accumulation, assimilation and to apply it into real time.

4.To put up "A question of Fun" which will be a series of write ups on various things so that i make it a point to take up an issue and find out info/trivia on it and present it here. That i feel will be very beneficial to myself(if not to anybody else) and will probably help us keep in touch even when now the quizzing ckt is cold.

Statutory warning : anything other than this fourfold programme, of crossStyx will be deemed as a digression.(Digressions welcome )

College quizzing and getting prepared :

(recommended for the first time quizzer before entering into the quizzing quagmire that is PuneQuizzingCkt )

The objective of this article is very specific that it is mainly for the new people emerging in the Pune quizzing circuit. It is being made to guide all those first years who will take the plunge into a yearlong fiesta that the Pune quizzing circuit is. This blog is mainly meant to educate, and learn. This artcile will have details about the various quizzes what to expect and all from a very un-Quizzer point of view. It is mainly meant for those wishing to make the transition from School to the college quizzing scene. This will also provide a weekly article on myriad topics. I would strongly advice all those people who have just started quizzing to read these articles.

It must be remembered that quizzing is not about reading questions and memorizing answers. It is not about getting stuff from various websites and mugging it up or for a matter of fact being a know-it-all. It is systematic observation of everything that goes on about you and efficient storage in some dark recess of the mind. You never know when you might need it. It is a quest for digging the past and finding out about people who have been instrumental in changing the course of history. It is about knowing interesting bits of acts or events connected around people, places or civilizations - so that this knowledge can be effectively used sometime latter.

However to do this bcoz some one may ask it in a quiz is missing the whole point of quizzing.

We don't know because we want to quiz - but we quiz because we want to know.

There must be a burning passion and deep desire to find out about myriad things and believe me the joy that it gives you is amazing ! Anyways this is a very general and macroscopic overview and I am afraid that I may want to start from the beginning. I just got lost with the intensity of my thoughts - that I forgot when I attended my first quiz I didn't have a clue about what it was. So we proceed into a detail discussion into the many aspects of college quizzing.

Take for example a school question : "Who formulated the Uncertainty principle ?"
This same question can be asked in a college quiz as :
"He lies here somewhere" is rumored to be the epitaph on whose grave?*
(* question sourced from notesandstones.blogspot.com - where i read it for the first time)

Surprised of the connection between the two questions being similar. Well the similarity lies well beyond the fact that the answer to both the questions is same. It is Heisenberg the famous physicist who coined the principle of uncertainty. Now if the first question had been asked to some one then either he got the answer or not - that would have been like another fact , another entry into the endless register of theories and their inventors. The only knowledge required to answer this question is Heisenberg and the normal school quizzer may be able to answer this question. This same knowledge is required to answer the second question but I have seen many a school quizzers getting stumped even though they know that single bit of info that is required. The typical reaction of a school quizzer is to go back and look into his records of people and their epitaphs but unfortunately there is no entry under this epitaph - so he gives up. No we will consider the approach that is needed to answer such questions. Firstly we have to analyze the hint/s in the question -'somewhere' is a very uncommon term to be used on a grave and this should immdly spark of the thought chain of 'uncertainty' and hence leads us to the name Heisenberg.
Therefore trivia is very different from questioning, but only in the way that a question presented in a different way. The basic facts and the keys to unravel the mysteries behind these questions are the same but the process of finding these keys is different. Another major aspect of trivia is fun. Even though one does not know the answer to a particular question - once one knows it there is an immense feeling of joy , satisfaction. In fact trivia is no less fun than telling a joke or any other art form. For a knowledge hungry brain trivia is the staple diet which helps one to enjoy ourselves at the same time, as feeding our thirst for more. The one basic thing to remember and something which every college quizzer will tell you is that " The questions are obscure but the answers are obvious". Do not be surprised if you find yourself staring at really long questions (unlike which is the longest coastline). Remember the method is - mark out the clues, stare hard at then and try to spark of a thought chain and what you think will be probable answer. Unless you have read the question before you can never be hundred percent sure, but in trivia you are expected to guess and the most logical and reasonable guesses and many times the correct ones. On does not expect to get every question right. Infact in the eliminations of a good quiz be assured of a place in the finals if you get anywhere above 15 out of the 50 questions on offer. (very variable estimates). I think one is very clear about what exactly trivia is and expect every descent quiz(even half-descent quiz ) in the college quizzing circuit to be trivia based. Try and read a few questions of trivia from some website to get a hang of trivia. I will also try and include a basic quiz which will use school facts and twist them into trivial questions(That I harder than one thinks).

One must remember that no one gets it right the first time. I was a pretty decent school quizzer. I got the shock of my life when I went to my first college quiz and on reading the eliminations paper thought of quitting quizzing once and for all. I could neither make head or tail of the questions and quitting was the natural thing to think of. Fortunately I stayed on and once I heard the answers I really kicked myself hard. I had missed atleast 10 questions which I knew the basic fact that was required. However I went about it naively and never thought out of the box, the most essential thing to be a good quizzer. However I really enjoyed the finals( Mr. Mastermind. J.Ramanand winning as usual) That got me hooked. The first thing that one must remember is not to get over awed by the situation. It is most important to join the local quizzing club in one's college. If there isn't one form one. All one needs is a bunch of people ready to apply their brains and there you are. Make sure that the society is really active. many times it may happen that somethings may seem too obvious to many people and it may not be discussed in detail. Make sure you catch up with one of the seniors and clear the doubts. I will debate of the activities of a quiz society later.

I myself have just started quizzing for a year or so and am finally getting near making the finals. Remember it takes time - give yourself time and everything will fall into place. Just watching these events gave me so much fun that I make sure I attend most of the quizzes that happen. The main mantra is to get involved. Attend each and every quiz and get a copy of the question paper and make a record. I will try and maintain a record of all the elimination questions here and probably one can read it here. If your society is organizing a quiz make sure that you take part in every step. There are a lot of logistics that go into organizing a quiz and getting a firsthand experience is indeed enlightening. Help with the publicity and make sure that your talents are exploited to the fullest. If you are good at painting then contribute with poster designs, presentation design's etc.

It is also necessary as I said to keep one's eyes open and ears alert. Follow your passions alertly. You can never know everything about everything but there might be somethings you really like. Make sure you know everything about that and try and acquire depth of knowledge. Stay at the cinema till the end to watch the credits and note the names of the actors. Watch out for funny and enlightening snippets of knowledge that you may get
and try and read magazines, and probably evern watch TV. The bottomline is to be alert and watchful for and bit of interesting fact that may clamber out of nowhere.

As they say i have written long and deep into the night(who cares if it is only 10pm). Remeber however that these are personal experinces of a school quizzer turned college kid. It is not a great quizzer, nor an all conquering marauding champion speaking. These may be called a catalogue of my thoughts for people like me who will make the transition and it is for them that i write. I would just like to wish all of you guys an exciting journey and may you enjoy every moment of this wonderful, wonderful thing that is quizing.

(sorry to all my friends and co-quizzers whom i must have bored with this thouroughly obvious write up. However i promise you better things to come and that would include write ups on various topics to help us know more about certain things. It will also help me find out in detail about things that i have wanted to for ages)


Saturday, March 20, 2004

Hi guys just a test message