Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
January 18th, 2005
Quiz Team


Quiz Team beats Purcell

This afternoon, the St. Xavier Quiz Team played against Purcell Marian on two levels. As usual, I was chauffeur. This was the first game for today’s moderator, so things got a little confusing for her, since we were all used to a fast-paced game.

Both teams’ performances were frustrating for me today; I’ll elaborate on that if you’ll just read on. Read on for scores and sample questions…


The Varsity team of Kiger, Barber, Kelly, and Knadler started off slow, scoring an impressive zero points against Purcell’s five during the first round. (If I leave anyone out of these mini-rosters, please let me know. Leave a comment on this entry.)

During several rounds, no one seemed to know the answers to any questions. Whereas in previous years we would have explained that the guys were tired or out of it today, this year we have various explanations for the poor Varsity performance: either we hadn’t been studying enough (true for some of us), or we were simply too young and unprepared (somewhat true), or they just picked bad questions. I’m inclined to believe the latter of the three, though I would’ve been quite prepared to answer many of the questions (more on that later).

Anyhow, St. X finished the Category Rounds ahead, 15–23. The Alphabet Round was then scored, giving us an additional two points over Purcell, bringing the two schools into the Lighting Round at 22–32.

After a decent Lightning Round, St. X emerged slightly on top, 32–43. And yes, an 11-point lead is a slight one.

Junior Varsity

The Junior Varsity started off a bit better, maintaining a small lead throughout the Category Rounds, which we finished ahead at 20–35. The Alphabet Round increased our lead by five points, bringing the scores to 25–45. To me, the Lightning Round seemed to get more answers from both teams than any other point in the day.

The JV made a strong finish, beating out Purcell 27–60.


During both matches, I became frustrated when several easy questions went either unanswered or answered incorrectly. Here are several notable ones from the JV game that no one got correct. Click on the Answer button for the answer, a link to more information, and a worthwhile anecdote:

What unsupported theory holds that some organisms form from non-living material?
What Italian scientist famously disproved the theory of spontaneous generation using meat in covered and uncovered jars to attract flies?
In 1939, what singer held a historical concert on the steps of the Licoln Memorial in Washington, DC?
What Washington organization refused to host her performance at Constitution Hall?

And here’s one from the Varsity match:

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, what character starts a famous speech with the following?

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time…

Getting an answer

I noticed that during the JV Lightning Round, Purcell’s members started spouting out intentionally-wrong answers, once they figured that they no longer had a chance to win.

Maybe that’s why when we lose, we lose by just a bit: we at least put in an effort to the end.

Getting my answers

I answered around five questions correctly, all of them during the JV Lightning Round – that was the only time I was allowed to play. The answers had to do with such diverse topics as “Ireland” and “liver.” That’s the Lightning Round for you in a nutshell.

Among the questions I didn’t get right were the following:

What is the common name for riboflavin?
What work has the subtitle, “The Modern Prometheus”?

Coming attractions

The Quiz Team will play next Tuesday, the 25th of January, against Hamilton-Badin. This meet will be for the Varsity team only.

  1. If I ever leave anyone’s name out in these mini-rosters, please let me know; place a comment on this entry.