On one page at the site we answered the question What is quiz bowl? and on another we attempt to give you insight into Why? Both of those pages describe our game with broad brush strokes, but quiz bowl has a culture of its own. It has its own vocabulary. This lexicon provides the definitions of words and phrases that players and coaches commonly use when talking about our game.
ACF (Academic Competition Federation): A college level format with grassroots origins, it hosts Fall, Regionals, and National level tournaments and requires packet submission. Matches are not timed, questions are academically oriented, and there are no powers. HSAPQ and PACE produce questions that emulate the ACF format.
Bagel (n/v.): earning 0 points on a bonus
Blitz (v.i.): To buzz in and say everything you know about a subject after buzzing in without knowing what the question is looking for; this is generally a bad strategy.
Bonus (n.): Three related questions that follow a correctly answered tossup. Generally only the team that correctly answered the tossup can answer the bonus, which is worth a total of 30 possible points.
Bonus Conversion (n.): the average number of points a team receives per tossup. The total number of bonus points divided by total number of tossups correctly answered
Buzzer race (n.): the situation when multiple players buzz in at the same time after hearing a clue that is often considered stock or widely known.
Canon (n.): the total set of all knowledge found in quiz bowl questions. The gradual increase in the breadth and depth of the quiz bowl canon at all levels over time is a widely recognized phenomenon.
Captain (n.): The individual who serves as the spokesperson for a team during a bonus.
Circle of Death (n.): most commonly it is the scenario when three teams have the same record and each team has taken an win and a loss to the other two; a situation in which team A beats team B who beats team C who beats team A and each team has the same record.
Defer (v.): to redirect bonus-answering authority to a player other than the captain
Distribution (n.): The number of tossups and bonuses allotted to each academic subject within a given packet. NAQT utilizes tournament-wide distribution, while PACE and ACE use a packet-distribution model
Difficulty Cliff (n.): a sharp drop from hard clues to easy clues near the end of a tossup
Doubly eponymous (adj.): named after two people; in quiz bowl this phrase is often used to describe answer lines like Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium or Michelson-Morely experiment
Giveaway (n.): The end of a tossup (following for 10 points) that is intentionally written with easiest clue so that players can answer it.
Grail (v.): to correctly answer all tossups in a single match, preventing the opponent from having any chance to score
HSAPQ: acronym for High School Academic Pyramid Questions. The company runs NASAT and provides ACF-style questions for high school competition.
Hose (n.): A badly written question that tricks players by pointing towards one answer but suddenly switches to another.
HSNCT (High School National Championship Tournament): Annual NAQT secondary school event that has been hosted since 1998 and is the largest high school quiz bowl tournament in the nation. In 2002 St. Johns School from Houston won the Championship. Texas has hosted two HSNCT’s—2002 in Austin and 2004 in Houston. The championship has grown in attendance each year; in 2002 54 teams participated while in 2011 224 teams participated.
Impossible Third Part (n.): A very difficult part of a bonus written which typically follows up two easy parts.
Lead in (n.): the first clue in a tossup question
Littrell Diversity Index (n.): A quantitative measure of distribution of team scoring.
NAQT (National Academic Quiz Tournaments): The company runs national tournaments for middle school (MSNCT), high school (HSNCT), and college (ICT) circuits. Official NAQT rules require timed matches, power tossups, and a distribution with more general knowledge, trash, current events and geography than ACF or PACE. NAQT is led by R. Robert Hentzel.
NASAT (National All-Star Academic Tournament): Annual HSAPQ event that draws hybrid school teams selected by state organizing groups. In 2011 Texas won the NASAT championship.
Neg (n.): five-point penalty for an incorrect buzz that interrupted a tossup.
Neg storm (n.): when an individual negs multiple times in a short time span, often happens when a player tries to atone for previous negs with risky buzzing to get a power
PACE: acronym for Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence, an organization that operates the annual National Scholastics Championship (NSC), the format of which follows closely that of ACF.
Pity Points (n.): An easy bonus part that typically follows two hard parts
Polity (n.): a state, nation, empire, region, or any geopolitical area from history
Power (n.): tossup answered before a certain point indicted in the question that earns 15 points for the respondent.
PPG (points per game): the average number of total points scored per game by a player or team
PP20TH (points per 20 tossups heard): a normalized stat used to compare individual player scores when players play different number of questions per game due to timing
Prompt (v.): to request a more detailed answer from a player
Pyramidal (n./adj.): The a characteristic of a tossup in which clue difficulty decreases over the course of a question, rewarding the players with the deepest knowledge; tossups of this type are used by ACF, NAQT, and PACE.
Ratio (n.): The total number of tossups (10’s + 15’s) answered correctly divided by the total number of negs; seen on SQBS as G/N; useful as a guide for playing more aggressively or more conservatively.
Ride the Pony (v.): Giving the same bonus answer to all three parts of a bonus; typically used when a team lacks knowledge in the subject area of the bonus
Romero Method (n.): 1. Buzzing in and using the full 5 seconds in (m)ACF to figure out the answer from previously stated clues 2. An efficient way of studying for quiz bowl
Stock Clue (n.): A notable clue that is commonly used to indicate a particular answer line.
Sitting on a question (v): To know the answer to a tossup but waiting to buzz to make absolutely sure and avoid a neg.
Titular (adj.): phrase used to indicate that the answer in question is named after the person or thing being described
Tossup (n.): A lengthy questions open to both teams. However, each player plays individually because no conferring is permitted. Tossups are worth ten points except for a power tossup in NAQT, which is worth 15 points. No penalty is incurred for an incorrect response unless the plaer interrupts the reading of the question.
Trash (n.): This subject area deals exclusively with popular culture including film, music, movies, television, science fiction, toys, games, and general knowledge.
Vulture (v.t.) to buzz in after the opponent negs but before the question is finished in order to beat teammates to the points and increase individual PPG