interview, provincials, recap, uts

More Highlights from 2018 Provincials

(Write-ups of three rounds I covered, highlights from staff chat, and an interview with a team from Hamilton.)

White Oaks vs Richmond Hill B

White Oaks enter the room frustrated because they lost a close game to Lisgar. It turns out they lost by 30 points — they could have tied it by 30ing the final bonus, but instead they got 0. One player regrets losing a race to a musical instrument tossup. Another player hopes for more questions about “international heroes,” by which he seems to mean Marx and Lenin.

White Oaks listening to moderator.

Both teams stumble on some general knowledge questions. They get excited for a neat physics tossup. Tossups #4 through #8 all get negged, and then the next two go dead. The score is 70-70 at half time. Richmond Hill players ask their spare to sub on, but he is not interested at this time.

In the second half, White Oaks buzzes some history questions early, and they start getting some easier bonuses, including 30 on a bonus about Edward Cornwallis. Richmond Hill gets a good buzz on a bio tossup, but they do not know the U.S. lit bonus.

Some more negs and more dead tossups. White Oaks slowly clinches a low-scoring game, 220-70. The last tossup is on a U.S. city and no one answers it.

UTS B deciding who gets to answer the bonus.


UTS seems to have 3 players on their A team and 5 players on their B team. The B team sits out their top scorer (Oliver) this round, so the game is not close.

Gareth gets some history tossups on the first clue. The B team gets a math tossup from what seems like sports knowledge, and then a geography tossup based on sports knowledge. The players low-five their opponents for answering a gaming tossup, though it went surprisingly late. The teams do not enjoy the lit bonuses. Oliver cringes when no one can buzz classical music.

UTS A defeats their UTS B, 450-105. (In round 9 these teams will play again and the B team will win.)

UTS B vs Lisgar

Lisgar enjoying some quizbowl.

Lisgar 30s a Christianity bonus and UTS 30s a space bonus. Players on most teams here can’t answer the questions about British novels, but the coaches always get emotional on those questions — maybe all the coaches have read these novels. Lisgar gets a fast power on a European War and gets a wacky bonus as reward for this.

The game is almost tied at half. Lisgar powers the next two tossups but runs into two hard bonuses, so they only lead by 40 points. UTS then gets the next five tossups in a row — mostly on science and international history clues. UTS wins 345-265.

After this round, Lisgar played UTS A twice in a row and lost 420-260 and 510-165. There were four games in the tournament that totalled 600+ points, and three of them were UTS teams beating Lisgar.

Interview with a team from Hamilton

Four players from Hamilton played the tournament as “Montcalm Collegiate Institute.” They eventually finished 7-3 for second place, but at lunch they were only 3-2. They arrived back early at lunch, so I got to interview them while they ate sub sandwiches.

What did you do to prepare for this tournament?
“We used Protobowl a lot.”
“No, don’t say that.”
“Sporcle and Wikipedia.”
“Naps on the train — Lakeshore West.”
“I also read books.”
What books?
“The Communist Manifesto, The Prince. Wolf Hall, but that was for fun.”
“How about My Struggle?”

What is your goal for this tournament?
“Definitely to beat Richmond Hill A, which didn’t end up going as planned.”
“He’s focused on them, but I say UTS A. Because of Gareth.”
“Our goal is to be ONQBA champions.”
“Also to win the neg prize.”

What’s a question you wish you got?
(It’s a question on a U.S. city.)
“Yeah, he negged it with [the same neg that was made in other rooms].”
“The [dictator] question.”
“[The other dictator]!”
“We all knew it was [the dictator], and you went with [the other dictator].”
What clue did you know?
(They knew a clue about memes.)
“We also lost to UTS on sports question – [a baseball team].”
“We lost to Richmond Hill on their last bonus, about [a kids movie].”
“Baseball should be struck from the quizbowl.”
(All the players agree baseball should be removed from quizbowl.)

What are your club meetings like?
“The venerable [coach of our team] calls us to his room, and we play ‘the cursed format.’”
How many people are at the meetings?
“Eight. But on the team it’s only six.”

Do you guys do any other competitive activities?
“History bowl, that’s it.”
“The protobowl trash room.”
What’s DECA?
“Business competition. And I do wind orchestra.”
Does anyone play a sport?
(No one plays a sport.)
“I go to competitive swim practices, but I don’t participate in the meets.”

What kind of questions are you hoping to hear in the afternoon?
“Something involving [a sparsely populated region that is easy to notice on a world map] maybe. There’s already been [a question about exactly that topic], but it’s never enough.”
“I’d like to hear transit-oriented questions. Joe Su wrote some questions about train cars for a past event….”
What other topics?
You like jazz?
“Haha, jazz.”
“It’s a meme.”
Jazz is a meme?
“No, saying ‘you like jazz’ is a meme. Like in The Bee Movie, where Barry B. Benson turns around and memetically says, ‘D’ya like jazz?’ It’s an iconic scene in the movie.”
Do you like jazz?
“Yes. Jazz is great.”
I only saw Bee Movie in French.
“Le Film B.”
Histoire des abeilles.
“Oh, in Hungarian they completely change the name.”
“You watched Bee Movie in Hungarian?”
“No, but it’s called ‘Mezenguz,’ which is a play on ‘gezenguz,’ which means rascal. And ‘mez’ means honey. It’s a portmanteau. In communist times in Hungary, we had this thing, there’s a Czech children’s book series-slash-TV show about this mole guy.”
(The player now pulls up a picture of a cartoon mole on his phone. A teammate recognizes the mole.)
“Wait, no. I know who that is! I’ve seen this guy so much! There’s an elephant on opium.”
(The players try to sort out which cartoon is which.)
“There was [a question tangential to opium] this morning and they didn’t even mention the opium!”

Are you guys any good at lit?
“I would say so.”
“I’m OK.”
“Not as good as Tony Chen though. He has become a top lit player.”
Were your opponents other than Tony any good at lit?
“The Lisgar guy with the curly hair.”
“Thomas. He knew some lit.”
“But Tony. He got some math and some science, last year when I first met him. But now he’s become a really high tier lit player. It’s impressive.”
“Wait, why were you asking about lit.”
“He always thinks the players are bad at lit.”


Highlights from Staff Chat


I can’t reveal what Tim half-lined the tossup on, but I can say it’s an entertainment product intended for children.

Many people should be praised for the success of 2018 quizbowl provincials. Meghan, Joe, Rein, Milan, Paul, Rico, Aaron, Sherry, Zhenglin, Raymond, and Peter all staffed on site. Coaches Crabtree, Whitney, and Bitidis all escorted their teams to the event, following perfect school-board standards. I did some prep work and coverage.

Top teams should be congratulated for their performances. Teams at every level should be congratulated for battling in a hard tournament against a field of the best quiz teams in Canada.

Chaminade drinking small coffees.
A small fraction of the Oreo supply.



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