Ahhhhh… Geek Bowl. It has become one of my favorite days of the year. And this year, it was held in Denver once again (as it was for its first 5 years, before moving on to Austin and then Albuquerque.) So I saved a little travel money, and didn’t have to ask Laura for as much childcare time. Woo!
Geek Bowl would be super fun even if I was terrible at it, but enormous good fortune has landed me on an incredible team of trivia players. Two years ago, at Geek Bowl VIII, we won the whole thing as “How I Met Your Mothra“. Last year we came in 2nd place as “The Mothras Of Retention.”
This year we were going to be “Mothra Hoople” (my personal favorite Mothra joke so far) but then our team captain got a peculiar message from Geeks Who Drink CEO John Dicker: “Hey Brian – weird request… any chance I can talk you into having your Geek Bowl team be named How I Met Your Mothra? I can’t explain why, but it will make sense at the event. Trust me, you’ll understand and be happy I asked.” Who are we to refuse a request like that? So we were “How I Met” again, and it did indeed make sense at the event. More about that in a bit.
This year we decided to splurge and get ourselves some team t-shirts — 6 shirts, each with its own letter to spell out “MOTHRA”. You know what, it’s just easier if I show you. Here we are in our MOTHRA t-shirts.
From left to right, that’s Larry, me, Don, Jonathan, George, and Brian. And here we are in our MOTHRA t-shirts holding the oversized novelty check that came with our SECOND PLACE FINISH!!!
For perspective, last year we came in 2nd out of 134 teams. This year we came in 2nd out of 228 teams. Did I mention it’s an incredible group? Wow. The team we lost to last year came in 3rd this year. Who came in 1st? And 4th? And lots of other places? Little story there.
Five years ago I went to the first annual TCONA, or “Trivia Championships Of North America”, which they aren’t really. It’s more like a big woolly 3-day Basement Bowl, but with lots of different kinds of trivia events, held in Las Vegas, and attended by some of the real elites in the American trivia world — people who run trivia companies, kick ass at quiz bowl, and/or have won life-changing money on Jeopardy!, Millionaire, and elsewhere. Obviously, not everybody there is at that level, but enough are that it’s pretty heady company.
TCONA has been going on for 5 years now, and it has created a community among these players. Most of my teammates have been to it multiple times, and in fact that’s how Larry connected with and later recruited Jonathan for our team. (I’d have been happy to go back, but can never quite justify the money + time commitment to myself each year. Hopefully as Dante gets older, summer will get less complicated.) Geek Bowl has now become a big enough deal that it draws quite a few people from that TCONA community, who travel to wherever it’s held and compete in teams.
In fact, for the last couple of years the estimable Bill Schantz has hosted a Geek Bowl Eve get-together for this group, in which everybody converges on a rented house and quizzes the night away. This year, the game was a Jeopardy-inspired buzzer format called “5×5” — 5 players compete across 5 categories. So, I spent my Friday night getting absolutely slaughtered on the buzzer by a bunch of game-show/quiz-bowl champs, and loved every second of it. I also got to read/host a number of games, which was fun, and spend a little social time with trivia rockstars. Awesome.
On Geek Bowl night, many of those same faces graced the stage, and no surprise: they are really good. It’s quite a privilege to be up in that company, and I think part of how Mothra gets there is through its excellent team dynamic. There is a whole lot of mutual trust and respect there — everybody gets a voice, nobody puts their ego on the line, and we’ve gotten really good at sifting quickly through a large number of inputs to find the output we collectively feel best about. We’ve also got some good ground rules in place, refined a bit from last year:
Mothra’s Rules Of Pub Trivia
- Read/listen to the damn question.
- Read it again.
- Pay attention to the category.
- Don’t interrupt the question/audio; let it finish before guessing out loud.
- If you think of an answer, say it/write it.
- Make sure at least two other teammates hear/see it.
- If you heard a teammate suggest a good possible answer that’s not being discussed, throw it out there again.
- Everyone look over each answer sheet before turning it in.
- If the answer is a name and surnames are enough, we don’t need to write the first name.
- If spelling doesn’t count, don’t sweat it.
- If an answer is used once in a quiz, nothing prevents that answer from being used later in the same quiz (the Quincy Jones Rule).
- Avoid facetious answers (the Ernie Banks Rule – so named after we got a question wrong in a practice round when somebody jokingly said that Ernie Banks, aka “Mr. Cub”, was “obviously from the Mets,” and then our non-sporty scribe dutifully wrote down “Mets.” Heh.)
- Put an answer for each question, even if the whole team believes it’s probably/certainly wrong. You can object to that bad answer, but have a better answer at the ready.
Having these rules in place, and following them as consistently as possible, allows our scores to become a true measure of our collective team knowledge without any distortion or missed opportunities from arguments, confusion, or miscommunication. That really helped us out this year, because with the Geek Bowl time limits in place, there’s no room to get sidetracked. We also worked out a joker threshold in advance, which really really helped. (If the words “joker threshold” mean nothing to you, see the Geek Bowl format info below.)
The team met at Ernie’s Pizza on Saturday afternoon for lunch, and warmed up with some homemade questions. Since it was the 10th Geek Bowl, Don thought they might ask about various 10s — 10th Academy Awards, 10th Super Bowl, etc., so we brushed up on those. (Of course, they did do 10-themed rounds, just not anything we’d thought to study. Heh.)
Jonathan brought a sheet he’d made, listing #1 songs from the 80s forward, anagrammed. Some examples:
Me Fattier Item
Avalanche Heater Ponies
Salsa Bathtub Alto
(Answers provided in the answers post.) After a fine afternoon, we headed to the Magness Arena, where the Geeks had set up tables, stage, screens, and so forth. As in the past few years, Geek Bowl was extremely well-run. They’ve figured out that if hundreds of teams are playing (and paying), but only 5 are getting money, everybody else had better have a great time. Consequently, they make the entire night very entertaining, and reduce tedium (i.e. during scoring breaks) as much as they possibly can. It’s amazing to me that they processed as many answers as they did and I still never felt like I was waiting too long.
They also bring in talent to provide musical entertainment during those scoring breaks, and this year the featured band was Metalachi, self-proclaimed as “The World’s First And Only Heavy Metal Mariachi Band”. They lived up to their billing — lots of fun, with legit musicianship underneath. This Geek Bowl was also the first to have a semi-celebrity host, in the person of Eugene Mirman, comedian and voice of Gene on Bob’s Burgers.
This, in my opinion, was less successful. I hope he didn’t charge the Geeks very much, because he did virtually no comedy material, and in fact occupied his sections with all the panache of a middle manager on “Beyond Casual” Friday. Every time he came out, the best he could do was stuff like, “Who here is from Vancouver? Raise your hands! Wow, how about that. Who’s from Arizona? Great to see you!” He tried to engage the longstanding GWD animosity against Philadelphia (not going to try and explain that one here), but just landed on (paraphrasing), “Aw, Philly is a sort of nice place!” Sheesh.
The Geek Bowl Format
This is the part where I copy and paste the Geek Bowl info, rules, and disclaimers from previous years, slightly updated. Feel free to skip to the Opening Ceremonies section if you know all this already.
As I’ve done in previous years, I’m going to recap the questions and answers here. A few caveats about this, though. First, the Geeks are pretty careful about their intellectual property, and the agreement we’ve worked out is that I won’t post these recaps until at least a week has elapsed since the Geek Bowl. (Though all things considered I’d have a hard time getting this together in less time anyway!)
Second, I consider these recaps a tribute to the excellent question writers of the Geek Bowl, and an advertisement for a really fun event, but I am in no way officially associated with Geeks Who Drink, and I have not been supplied with question material. The recap below is not a verbatim representation of the Geek Bowl 10 questions. They are reconstructed from my notes and memories, which are very fallible. I do take photos of some of the question slides — cameras are allowed at Geek Bowl as long as they can’t receive data. However, even those slides are very frequently paraphrases rather than verbatim reproductions of the questions as read. I am certain I have left out some of the cleverness, some of the humor, and some of the pinning precision. Anything in the questions and answers below that is wrong or crappy is my fault, not theirs.
The GWD question material leans heavy on pop-culture and light (though not zero) on sports. In between, there is plenty of academic trivia: history, geography, science, and so forth. They have also always tried to make a point of being edgy, often self-consciously so. This has evolved over the years from “We insist on sex, cursing, and gross-outs” to “Don’t be surprised when you encounter sex, cursing, or gross-outs.” Especially at Geek Bowl, it used to feel like there was some obligatory raunch, and that those questions were kind of pandering, lowbrow stuff that didn’t really match the rest of the quiz. Now the raunchy stuff is just as erudite and clever as anything else in the question set, and its prominence has been toned way down, but it’s also always still there.
Here’s the format: each team has its own small table, with 6 chairs. (Though some late registrants had to sit in the fixed arena seats, which had to be a bummer. I salute you, arena seat teams!) Quizmasters read questions from the stage, and the questions are also projected onto large screens throughout the venue. Some rounds are all-video, meaning rather than anyone reading questions, the whole round is encapsulated in a video presentation on the screens. Once all the questions in a round have been asked, a two minute timer starts, by the end of which you must have turned in your answer sheet to one of the roaming quizmasters. (Though rounds 3 and 4 had a 4-minute timer, for reasons that will become clear in the recap.)
The game consists of 8 rounds, each with its own theme. Each round contains 8 questions — usually, each question is worth one point, so there’s a maximum possible score of 8 points for each round. However, some rounds offer extra points — for instance, Round 2 is traditionally a music round, with 8 songs played, and one point each awarded for naming the title and artist of the song. In a regular GWD pub quiz, it’s only Round 2 and Round 8 (always the “Random Knowledge” round) that offer 16 possible points. However, in this year’s Geek Bowl, one other round was upgraded from 8 potential points to 15 — we could see from the pre-printed answer sheets that question #8 in Round 3 would have 8 answers, for a total of 15 answers in the round.
Finally, teams can choose one round to “joker”, meaning that it earns double points for that round. Obviously, you’d want that to be one of the 15 or 16-point rounds, unless you really believed you wouldn’t score above 8 in any of them, which is highly unlikely. We discussed our jokering strategy ahead of time, and decided on thresholds. In previous years, our Round 2 threshold has been 14 — in other words, if we felt very confident about 14 out of 16 answers in Round 2, we would joker it. However, last year’s Round 8 was really freakin’ hard, so in fear of that we lowered the Round 2 threshold to 13. We didn’t do a good job of settling on a Round 3 threshold — that’s a note for next year, because it did cause some unnecessary debate. In any case, if we didn’t joker Rounds 2 or 3, we would automatically joker Round 8.
The doors had opened at 6pm, and at 7pm, the event began! Three runners carrying huge read flags bearing a “G”, “W”, and “D” sped around the perimeter of the arena, heralding the entrance of a miniature marching band, complete with drum major. Behind this legion came the rest of the quizmasters, dozens strong, all carrying little pennants and wearing sashes. Some carried effigies of the GWD logo characters, who have names that I can neither remember nor Google at the moment. These official Geeks ascended the stage to sing the GWD fight song, which was hilarious but on which my memory also fails me. My note-taking mojo was not yet in gear! Hopefully GWD will release a video of it at some point.
Speaking of video, the next event was a special video welcome from Colorado’s head geek, John Hickenlooper. That one, we do have:
Gubernatorial shout-out for How I Met Your Mothra! Totally worth keeping our old name. As Gov Hick said, the first round was homecoming-themed, since this was Geek Bowl’s triumphant return to Denver. So let’s jump right into the recap! Our team’s experiences are in [square brackets], and as with previous years, answers are in a separate post, since this one is already too long.
Round 1: Hormones On Ice
The homecoming round was a bunch of questions about, well, coming home. The questions themselves were adorned and interspersed by little skit vignettes depicting moments at a homecoming dance: teens dancing, a sleazy DJ, kids hanging out around the edges and chatting, a misfit yelling at popular classmates, everybody making out, etc. These sketches didn’t really have a whole lot to do with the questions themselves, and they went by too fast for me to take really detailed notes, so I’m not going to attempt to recap them. Just envision a little bit of high school drama between each question and you’ll get the picture.
1. First and last name required: What name is shared by the authors of You Can’t Go Home Again and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test?
2. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, C.J. goes home to fix shit in what L.A.-lookalike city that was also the setting of Grand Theft Auto V? [Some of us are gamers, but none of us are GTA-ers, so we tried to cobble together a guess based on what tiny scraps of knowledge we do have.]
3. Young adult Jews can get dirty in the Dead Sea through what 10-day heritage trip program that has been sponsored by Sheldon Adelson? [Oy. No clue on this one.]
4. Which Star Trek movie was subtitled The Voyage Home? [Here, on the other hand, is a wheelhouse question for all 6 of us.]
5. The Prodigal Son’s homecoming story appears in which gospel, the only one that is purportedly written by a medical doctor? [Very grateful for that “medical doctor” clause, which led us in the right direction.]
6. In his 2001 essay “On The Justice Of Roosting Chickens,” University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill infamously compared 9/11 victims to what Holocaust organizer with the same first name as the Führer?
7. Allegedly mistaken for an elk, which explorer was shot in the ass on his way back from the Pacific: Lewis or Clark? [Lots of pooling general knowledge to weight the coin flip towards one side or the other.]
8. What was the name of the Sean Combs-led band that did the poignant Top 20 single “Coming Home” in 2010? [And here we fall into another knowledge gap: Puffy bands. Took a wild guess.]
[This was a dispiriting round. We ended up with 5 correct answers.]
See the answers
Round 2: Metalachi
Round 2 is always a music round, and at Geek Bowl, always a live music round. This time the featured artist was Metalachi, who performed a variety of non-metal songs in heavy metal mariachi style. Well, not exactly non-metal songs: each song had the name of a metal in its title or artist.
The funny thing about this is that the last time Geek Bowl was in Denver (for Geek Bowl V), the Round 2 artist was also a mariachi band, albeit a traditional one. In fact, my team that year (The Anti-Social Network) won partly on the strength of a team member recognizing when the band played Johnny Cash’s “Orange Blossom Special”, which very few other teams got. So perhaps this was yet another callback to Denver Geek Bowls of ages past. Anyway, as usual I can’t describe this round without giving away the answers, so here they are:
1. Beastie Boys – “Brass Monkey”
2. No Doubt – “Platinum Blonde Life” [We were absolutely clueless on this one. We guessed “Nickelback” just to have some plausible metal in there, and “How You Remind Me” because that is the name of the one Nickelback song we know.]
3. Nirvana – “Lithium”
4. Steely Dan – “Peg”
5. “Weird” Al Yankovic – “Foil” [We recognized the tune of this as “Royals” by Lorde, but of course that has no metal in it. I think it was Jonathan who first figured out that it was the Weird Al cover, which also doesn’t exactly have the name of a metal in it, but is close enough, and in any case was absolutely the song that Metalachi was playing.]
6. Chromeo – “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” [Not only did we not recognize this song, I don’t think we’d ever even heard of it. Possibly we are old. Anyway, we guessed “Iron + Wine” for the artist, and “Heart of Steel” for the song, following the dictum that even a terrible guess is better than nothing.]
7. David Guetta feat. Sia – “Titanium”
8. Shirley Bassey – “Goldfinger” [Several teammates Kreskined this one before the round even started.]
[We felt good about 12 of our answers, but that was below our jokering threshold, albeit only just. We stuck to our guns and did not joker the round. So we ended up with 12 points, plus our previous 5 made 17.]
Round 3: A Bag Of Dicks
Round 3 in the pub quiz generally has some kind of gimmick to it — true/false, multiple choice, speed round, a choice between hard clues and easy clues, etc. At Geek Bowl, most of the pub-sized stuff is hard to pull off, so it almost always ends up being a 50/50 round, and this time was no exception. The theme was all about bags, sacks, and so forth. Was the title just a case of GWD giving the round a gratuitously X-rated name? Put that thought on pause for a minute, while I recount the first 7 questions.
1. Who was the last named owner of Bag End: Meriadoc Brandybuck or Samwise Gamgee?
2. Dimebag Darrell Abbott was best known for playing in what band: Pantera or Sepultura?
3. Which purveyor of tea bags is genuinely based in jolly old England: Bigelow or Twinings?
4. Who has the NFL career record for getting sacked: Brett Favre or Peyton Manning?
5. Otherwise known as that bag you can’t afford, the Birkin handbag is named after someone. Is that person a designer or an actress?
6. What did Oliver Sacks primarily write about: neurology or paleontology?
7. Satchel Paige’s Major League Baseball debut was on the same team that broke the American League’s color barrier. Was that team the A’s or the Indians?
So far, so ordinary. But on the answer sheet, there was a section below the questions, saying that each team would be given a bag, that we were not to open the bag until instructed, and that there would be instructions inside the bag for what to do. Perhaps you might have an inkling of where this is going. The sheet had 8 spaces, with a color next to each: Green, Yellow, Teal, White, Red, Pink, Purple, and Orange. 8 points’ worth.
So. We were given a brown paper bag. Once we were allowed to open it, we discovered that yes indeed, it was a bag of dicks. Or, to be precise, dick-shaped candles, individually bagged in Ziplocs, and each with its own color and special, special scent. Like so:
The instructions in the bag told us that the challenge was to determine the scent of each candle, from the following list of 12 possibilities:
BRUT MEN’S COLOGNE
CHANEL NO. 5
HEINZ 57 SAUCE
People, these candles were horrible. Not because they were dicks, but because they smelled so, so awful. They ranged from merely unpleasant to “brutal assault.” About the ony one we felt sure on was “fennel” — the rest were brave attempts, especially given that some of the options (e.g. slim jims and bacon) aren’t terribly distinct from each other, odorwise.
Not that the smells are meaningful to anyone reading this recap (well, I suppose with the exception of other unfortunate dick-sniffers), but I’ll provide them in the answers post, along with the answers to the more traditional questions.
[No way did we feel good enough about this round to joker it. And rightly so: while we did well enough on the regular questions — 6 of 7 — we just barely scraped above 50% on the candles, getting 5 out of 8 correct. So 11 points, added to our running total of 17 for a grand total of 28. Or, as I stupidly wrote on the sheet and told people at first, because math is hard, 38. But really, 28.]
See the answers
Round 4: Mother’s Little Helper
Back on familiar trivia territory, this was a round about parenting and mind-altering substances.
1. Mommy’s Time Out and Dad’s Day Off are pandering brand names for what beverage?
2. With a runtime of just six minutes, Samuel L. Jackson recorded the definitive audiobook of what Adam Mansbach bestseller? [I think I was first with this answer, but I’m sure other teammates knew it too.]
3. To help induce labor contractions, women are sometimes given Pitocin, a synthetic version of what pituitary hormone. [Jonathan nailed this science question.]
4. Apparently, Dare To Discipline is a popular pro-spanking manifesto by what Focus On The Family asshole? [Gosh, it’s almost as if GWD has a point of view on this. Anyway, we struggled toward the name, and eventually Jonathan got it.]
5. In public restrooms nationwide, and perfect for snorting cocaine, what alliterative brand of wall-mounted changing stations has a cuddly brown-on-blue logo? [Thank goodness for that cocaine reference or I might have thought GWD was losing their edge.]
6. The 2008 documentary The Business Of Being Born featured a water birth — specifically a healthy baby boy emerging from what former talk show host?
7. This is a spelling question, so unlike most Geek Bowl questions, SPELLING COUNTS! That bald four-year-old Canadian fuck who’s had his own shitty cartoon since 1997: How do they spell his dumb French name? [Again, detecting a subtle non-neutrality here. Also detecting the awesomeness of Jonathan, who pulled out this name and its correct spelling.]
8. Starts with a D: In the Rolling Stones song that gives this round its title, what is the generic name for the “little yellow pill” mentioned in the lyrics? [The lyrics themselves don’t actually cite this D-word, or I might have had a shot at remembering it. We tossed out several candidates, and in the end, Mothra went with Jonathan’s answer. Good call as usual, Mothra.]
[Finally, a round we could feel unequivocally good about! We aced this one, for a total of 36.]
After round 4 but before the scoring break, there was one more question: a tiebreaker. In early Geek Bowls, ties would be broken by asking extra questions on stage to the teams involved, but that kind of left everybody else out of the fun. So recently GWD has taken to asking a complicated question with a numerical answer, and using it for a tiebreaker. This year they made a further improvement by asking that question at the end of Round 4, rather than at the end of Round 8 when everybody’s brains are fried. The question was this:
Take the number of kittens (K) in the children’s book Goodnight Moon, and multiply by the number of dog breeds (D) that compete in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show. Subtract from that product the number of women currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, and multiply the resulting number by the number of Sharknado movies (S) that have been made. Or, in other words:
[(K x D) – W] x S
See the answers
After this it was time for a scoring break. Metalachi played, people hit the restrooms or got food, and I went to check in with some geek friends on other teams. Let’s break up this post now with one of the excellent videos GWD made to kill time during scoring breaks. (They didn’t actually show this one until after round 7, accompanied by drag queen Bianqa LeGata and Harmony Chorale singing “My Way”, but I’m spreading the video love here.) Note that the following video has spoilers for: Arrow, Supernatural, True Detective, Inside Out, Hunger Games, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Agents of SHIELD, The Flash, Gotham, Jessica Jones, The Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You’ve been warned.
After the scores had been tallied, they scrolled through the standings on screen. We were in 55th place.
Round 5: X Gon’ Give It To Ya
It’s Geek Bowl X, so how about a visual round that’s X-themed? Or, I guess, kind of lightly X-themed: iconic images missing a key component, to the tune of DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It to Ya.” Thanks to the Geeks for posting this very fun video:
[This was a relatively easy round, and we got full points, for a new total of 44.]
See the answers
Round 6: Continental Fight Club
This round was, by the Geeks’ description, “highfalutin.” Basically, the theme was fancy things and ideas from France and Germany.
1. Headquartered near Dresden, NOMOS and A. Lange & Sohne are well-regarded makers of what luxury accessory? [We really talked this one out. People started throwing out luxury accessories — handbags, watches, jewelry. Don offered that Dresden was an industrial city, so perhaps machinery like watches was more likely than something like handbags. Then George recalled that Dresden is famous for china. While this didn’t precisely fit the bill of an “accessory”, it seemed plausible that the question could be referring to it as such, i.e. a home accessory, and we felt better about it than any of the other answers we’d discussed, so we went with it. Too bad we were wrong.]
2. If your wine tastes like elderberries or your weed smells like lavender, it’s due to what French T-word that describes a crop’s environmental conditions? [Thank you, Jonathan, for knowing yet another thing.]
3. Recorded by both Louis Armstrong and Bobby Darin, what song about a stealthy serial slasher is the most famous number from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera?
4. If your horse is doing a piaffe or a pirouette, you’re probably taking part in what specific competition?
5. Not to be confused with the capital of Lebanon, what Bavarian city is home to a very famous festival for the music of Richard Wagner? [Thank you Jonathan.]
6. Named for the color of all the costumes, what term refers to a classical 19th-century ballet style? [Another one we hashed out. We considered ballet blanc, ballet noir, and ballet rouge. Ballet rouge sounded slightly familiar to me and George, though Jonathan rightly inquired whether we were mixing it up with Ballet Russe, the Russian ballet company. Don argued that 19th century culture, with its Victorian love of purity, would be more likey to embrace blanc rather than noir or rouge. Good argument, Don.]
7. The Phenomenology of Spirit is the magnum opus of what 19th-century German philosopher, who revived the ancient Greek concept of dialectics? [Thank you Jonathan. I would have gotten there, but not as fast as you.]
8. Grand Central Terminal and the New York Public Library are examples of what architectural movement, named for a French school that taught exactly what it’s called? [Once again, thank you Jonathan.]
[We got 7 of 8 on this round. Thank you Jonathan. That brought our total to 51.]
See the answers
Round 7: Children Of Ten
This was another video round, this time focused on movies. Thank you Geeks for posting the video, because no description of mine could have possibly come close to communicating how much fun this was.
[Once again, we got 7 of 8, bringing our total to 58.]
See the answers
At this point, there was another scoring break. Metalachi played for a while, and then once again Bianqa LeGata and Harmony Chorale took the stage, this time to sing “Rocky Mountain High”, accompanying this glorious Colorado tribute video:
At the end of this break, the standings once again scrolled onscreen: we stood in 23rd place.
Round 8: Random Knowledge
Round 8 is always “random knowledge”, i.e. no particular theme, and questions that can span any domain. In the pub quiz, the point values vary from question to question (at first unpredictably, but now in a stable pattern of 1 2 1 3 1 3 1 4), but in Geek Bowl each round 8 question is always worth two points.
1. a) Who created the TV series Scandal? b) How about the TV series Orange Is The New Black?
2. a) What is the easternmost African nation that straddles the equator? b) Though it does so several times, what’s the only Asian country whose land is crossed by the equator?
3. a) In Japan, what is the only profession that still rocks the traditional chonmage haircut? b) What Unilever brand makes the Bed Head line of hair products? [George had a star moment on Bed Head — rocked it when the rest of us were clueless.]
4. a) Bill Simmons was removed in 2015 as chief editor of what ESPN web site that folded soon after? b) What other ex-ESPN guy once got shoved by Jim Everett for basically calling him a woman?
5. Math time! a) Express the base-10 number 69 in hexadecimal. b) Find the product of the following terms: (2x + 7) and (3x – 4).
6. a) Which Grace and Frankie title star married longtime partner Jane Wagner in 2013? b) What eight-letter hashtag trended highest after the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges?
7. a) A maar is a common landform caused by what geological rupture? b) The Smiths’ Johnny Marr more recently did a three-year stint in what Issaquah, Wash. band?
8. The only multi-time winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction are Booth Tarkington and what other two dead white guys? [We debated this one a lot, throwing out a variety of names. In the end, one of our guesses was right but not both.]
[We ended up with 14 correct answers in this round, and boy were we glad we’d saved our joker, giving us 28 points for the round overall. That brought our final Geek Bowl score to 86. I’ll note that our 2nd place score last year was 91, in a quiz with the same number of points available. Must have been a harder quiz this year, since we dropped 5 points and still retained 2nd place!]
See the answers
There you have it: the questions of Geek Bowl X! Thanks again to Geeks Who Drink for a fun night, a finely-wrought quiz, and that big, gorgeous check. See you next year in Seattle!
Post-credits stinger: For posterity and those who are interested, here are the rest of the #1 song anagrams:
Hide In Plots
Eek! Hurry Batman!
Spirited Hook Tilt
Black New Girl
Ephedrine Gin Toll
Madam Coke User
Africa Rolling Us
Rebid Sell Run
A Static Poet Ports
Mama Bye Cell
Mitts Redefine a Mop
Hebrew Toggle Note
Eyes Furl Solo
Whitish Wood Ties
One Puny Vinegar Vogue
A Fleece Photo Stat Hitler
See the answers