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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Seventh annual


Third annual













and fifth annual

Trans-Canada Championship Match

It's over! See the results in Vancouver and Toronto, and the Trans-Canada Championship Match.

The Vancouver Estival Trivia Open (VETO) is the nation's longest-running annual quiz bowl tournament. There will again be a mirror in Toronto and a championship match between the site winners. This web page will be kept up to date with the most current information about all three events.

July 14:   Everyone who is writing a packet should know by now where to send it. Everyone who will be receiving a packet should know by now who will be sending it.
The two University of Toronto teams have merged, so there will be only 7 teams in Toronto.
The Vancouver schedule is now set. We'll meet on Saturday at 8 a.m. in room 1520 of 515 West Hastings St.

July 12:   Now back to 8 teams in Vancouver, but only 6 packets. New tentative Vancouver schedule posted.

July 10:   FOMO has withdrawn, so the number of teams in Vancouver is back down to 7, but there may be another team to replace FOMO.

July 7:   Ottawa has split into two, so 8 teams in Toronto.
Tentative schedules posted for Vancouver and Toronto.

July 5:   Vancouver site is full, with 8 teams.

June 29:   Now 7 teams in Vancouver. One slot left!

June 20:   OK, 7 teams in Toronto. One slot left!

June 19:   Now 8 teams in Toronto. A 9th team in Toronto will be allowed only if it can supply extra players for staff.

June 8:   Now 6 teams in Vancouver, and 5 teams in Toronto.
Added the list of game rooms in Vancouver and a link to a virtual reality tour of one of them.

May 24:   Toronto information posted.

May 13:   Initial page posted.

VETO will be run ``guerrilla'' style, meaning:

Since there are two sites, every team must e-mail its packet to someone at the other site. Some teams will also be asked to bring packets to be received through e-mail from the other site.

As always, this event is FREE of charge.

See the CAQL results page for links to full reports on previous VETOs and their mirrors in Ontario.

Who can play

VETO is an ``open'' tournament in the sense that we don't exclude anyone because of age, student status, degrees obtained or not obtained, nationality, inability or unwillingness to pay us money, etc.

The following is for the VANCOUVER site only:

However, recognizing that people come to VETO with vastly different levels of experience, we'd like to give priority to those who have a history of providing good questions in the tossup/bonus format.

So instead of accepting teams on a ``first come, first served'' basis until space fills up in Vancouver, this is what we'll do:

Don't feel intimidated by this application/invitation procedure. The point is to make sure that the people who will be writing the questions for VETO have experience writing questions. This is important because it's a guerrilla tournament, and nobody else will be editing. As for how high our standards are: the vast majority of the packets in the Stanford Archive would meet our criteria for acceptance.

The following is for the TORONTO site only:

In Toronto, entries will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. But: As we would like to contribute as many packets to the cause of the two sites, it would be appreciated that teams with question-writing experience contribute a packet to the event. It would also be appreciated if prospective squads that wish to contribute questions submit two old full-length quiz bowl packets, such that the majority of questions in both packets were written by your team's prospective members (as in Vancouver), in order to ascertain the suitability of your team's questions (as there is no central editing). However, the willingness (or unwillingness) to contribute questions will not jeopardize your team's entry into the Eastern mirror.

Even if your team doesn't write questions, we expect you to have enough familiarity with the quiz bowl format to be able to staff games during your bye rounds.

A team can have any number of players, but no more than four can play at a time. If you don't have a full team of four, we can match you up with other players. Solo teams are OK, too: we'll set the schedule so that other teams will have byes and you won't have to staff more than one room by yourself.

The size of the field is capped at 8 teams at each site, but a 9th team is possible under the following circumstances: during every round the 9th team must provide at least three surplus players to moderate games instead of playing. So typically a 9th team will have six or seven or eight players who rotate between staffing and playing. If you're on such a team, you'll get to play only about half as many games as players on other teams, but viewed more positively, you can think of this team as a group of volunteer tournament staff -- who actually get to play a few games. A 9th team will not have to write questions.

The following teams will be playing in VANCOUVER:

  1. FARSIDE (VETO champions in 1999, 2000, 2001):   Peter (2 original packets)
  2. SFU Junta (VETO champions in 2002):   Hanson, Mike (1 packet from Djibouti Call in Toronto; buzzers from SFU)
  3. B2B (VETO champions in 2003):   Brock, Bruce, Meghan, Joanne (1 original packet + 1 packet from UWO alumni in Toronto)
  4. University of British Columbia (VETO champions in 2004):   (1 original packet shared with other UBC team; buzzers from UBC)
  5. Brad Rutter Fan Club, Version 2:   Daniel, Jack, Adam, Andrew (1 original packet + 1 packet from Teddy Bears in Toronto; buzzers from Templeton and St. George's)
  6. Mischa, Geoff, Ross, Shaun (1 original packet)
  7. other UBC team (1 original packet shared with first UBC team)
  8. other SFU students and alumni:   Dean, Paulman, Rajon, ... (1 packet from Teddy Bears in Toronto)

The following teams will be playing in TORONTO:

  1. There Is No "Team" in "I":   Ben, ... (1 original packet; buzzers from Ottawa)
  2. There Is No "I" in "Team":   Shauna, ... (1 original packet)
  3. Djibouti Call:   Jonathan Klein, Adam Lazier, Mark E., John (1 original packet)
  4. Teddy Bears of the Apocalypse:   Andy Saunders, Paul Paquet, Roger, Mark H. (2 original packets)
  5. McMaster University:   Stephen, ... (1 packet from BRFC in Vancouver)
  6. University of Toronto:   Bobby, ... (1 original packet)
  7. University of Western Ontario alumni:   Adam, ... (1 original packet + 1 packet from B2B in Vancouver)


Saturday, July 16, 2005, from 8 a.m. (yes, be there at 8 in the morning) to 6 p.m. in Vancouver, or from 9 a.m. in Toronto.

This date fits nicely into the North American summer calendar of quiz events that invite participation from all interested people:

If you would like to participate in VETO, please notify us by July 1, 2005. This date should be easy to remember because it's Canada Day, a day when the media give us more than the usual amount of Canadian trivia — which may become useful question material.

VANCOUVER location

In the heart of downtown Vancouver, B.C., Canada: Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St. We'll meet in room 1520, the Placer Dome Lecture Room. This attractive, intelligent, and extremely convenient location is directly across the street from the Waterfront SkyTrain station, the SeaBus terminal, and, for those who really want to arrive in style on a Sikorsky S-76, the Harbour Heliport.

By road, using Yahoo!'s directions but more realistic (longer) times, Vancouver is about:
3 hours from Seattle;
9 hours from Eugene, Oregon;
18 hours from Berkeley, California;
24 hours from Los Angeles, California, or Las Vegas, Nevada;
39 hours from Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Chicago;
60 hours from Fairbanks.
All-day parking on Saturday runs up to about $5 at Harbour Centre.

Vancouver International Airport is a premier global gateway served by more than 40 airlines with scheduled direct flights from 31 communities in British Columbia, another 33 locations elsewhere in North America, 12 cities in Asia/Pacific, and 3 cities in Europe.

Devotees of Southwest Airlines or JetBlue may prefer to fly to Seattle/Tacoma and then take the Quick Shuttle or rent a car. Non-residents of Canada should have no problem driving an American rental car across the border, but anyone with a Canadian driver's licence is not permitted to do so. Also keep in mind that even if it's cheaper to fly to Sea-Tac, if you factor in the time and money you spend on the 3—4 hours ground transportation each way, it may work out to be more worthwhile to take Air Canada or another airline directly to Vancouver.

Check out Raymond Kam's QuickTime Virtual Reality tour of Vancouver's harbour. Harbour Centre is the building with the big saucer on top.

Take a QuickTime Virtual Reality tour of actual VETO 2005 game room 1510! The other game rooms, 1500, 1520, and 1530 are adjacent to this one and all have exterior windows. These are the same rooms we used for VETO last year.

For lunch, you won't even have to leave the building. The Harbour Centre Food Fair downstairs contains Amazing Wok, Vana Vietnamese Cuisine, Salad Loop, Arabella Mediterranean Cuisine, joe veg Natural and Organic, Kamakura Japanese food, Phoenix Dim Sum, Curry Express, Cinnamon City, Carmelo Ricco, Orange Julius, A & W, Fusion (soups, wraps, frozen treats), and Harbour Deli and Meats. At the same level there are a Pharmasave drugstore with a full-service post office, and shops selling books, clothes, flowers, etc.

See below for other stuff to do in Vancouver, and places to stay.

TORONTO location

VETO's Eastern Trivia Open will be held at the University of Toronto's St. George campus in downtown Toronto, Ontario. The tournament will take place at Hart House near Queen's Park. This is the same location as last year.

For those coming from out of town, Toronto is easily accessible by airplane, train, bus, and car. See below for other stuff to do in Toronto, and places to stay.


VETO 2005 will be run ``guerrilla'' style (term coined by Caltech), without central editing and will be staffed by players. We'll play at least a full round-robin, as many rounds as packets from the two sites, likely ending in a site final (which some may consider an unfair format).

Games will be conducted according to NAQT rules, except that:

It is to your advantage to print out and bring a copy of the rules. If some discrepancy occurred in a game and you want to protest it, it's a lot easier to convince a judge if you can point at the text that justifies your case, rather than to point into the air and say "I think the rules say..."

As of July 14, here is the round-robin schedule in Vancouver. Key:

    room 1500 room 1510 room 1530   staff               : packet
 1. UBC2-SFU2 UBC1-GRMS FrSd-BRFC : B2B./SFUJ           : B2B.
 2. GRMS-SFU2 SFUJ-UBC2 UBC1-BRFC : FrSd/B2B.           : FrSd #1
 3. B2B.-BRFC FrSd-SFUJ UBC1-SFU2 : GRMS/UBC2           : GRMS 
 4. SFUJ-BRFC B2B.-GRMS FrSd-SFU2 : UBC1/UBC2           : UBC1/UBC2
 5. UBC1-UBC2 FrSd-GRMS B2B.-SFUJ : SFU2/BRFC           : BRFC
 6. B2B.-UBC1 UBC2-BRFC SFUJ-SFU2 : FrSd/GRMS           : FrSd #2
 Lunch break
 7. FrSd-B2B. SFUJ-UBC1 GRMS-UBC2 : SFU2/BRFC           : Toronto via SFU2
 8. FrSd-UBC2 B2B.-SFU2 GRMS-BRFC : SFUJ/UBC1           : Toronto via SFUJ 
 9. SFUJ-GRMS SFU2-BRFC ......... : FrSd/B2B./UBC1/UBC2 : Toronto via B2B.
10. B2B.-UBC2 FrSd-UBC1 ......... : SFUJ/GRMS/SFU2/BRFC : Toronto via BRFC

Let Peter know if you have any problem with this schedule.

As of July 7, here in a PDF file is the tentative round-robin schedule in Toronto. (Obsolete now that there are 7 teams instead of 8.)

After the round-robin, the teams will be ranked on their performance, first by win-loss record, and in the case of a tied win-loss record, then by average normalized points per game (ANPPG). ANPPG is computed as follows: In each round, find the mean total score of all games played during that round. Then, for every team in every game in every round, compute the normalized score by dividing the actual score by the mean total score in the round. A team's ANPPG is the mean of the normalized scores over all of the games it played.

The top two teams will advance to the finals, which will consist of one or two rounds. This will be a best-of-three series in which the round-robin game between the two teams will count retroactively as the first game of the series. These rounds will be played on packets from the other site.

Trans-Canada Championship Match

The climax of the day will be the fourth Trans-Canada Championship Match, which will begin at 5 p.m. Pacific time, 8 p.m. Eastern time. The winning team in Vancouver and the winning team in Toronto will play against each other over (Canadian-invented) telephones. As in previous years, the moderator will be in a third location reading questions written by Gabe Desjardins.

Question Packets

Detailed question guidelines are on a separate web page, which includes a section with useful links categorized by subject.

Rounds will be untimed, with 20 tossups played in each. But you will have to write more than 20 tossups and 20 bonuses, because:

So your packet should include (at least): Use the following subject distribution for both tossups and bonuses:
Science, Math, Technology 3 — 4
History 3 — 4
Literature 3 — 4
Geography 2 — 3
Current Events 2 — 3
Fine Arts 1 — 2
Religion, Philosophy, Mythology      1 — 2
Social Science 1 — 2
Popular Culture, Games, Sports 1 — 2
General Knowledge 0 — 3

Canadian content quota:
Of the first 20 tossups, at least 4 must refer to Canadian people, places, things, events, and created works. The same goes for the first 20 bonuses. But overall, don't exceed 50% Canadian content in your packet. Your Canadian questions should also cover diverse subject areas and not be clustered in Geography or Literature, etc.

Tossups should include at least two separate clues, preferably at least four. Multiple-choice bonuses should be used sparingly, if at all, and should provide at least four choices.

In order that we can keep to a reasonable schedule, questions must not be too long:

To promote fun and variety, teams are encouraged to bring multimedia questions (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory). These tend to work better as bonuses than as tossups. In Vancouver, cassette tape players will be available for auditory questions in every room. Every packet must contain at least one multimedia question: It can be as simple as presenting a printout of a picture you found through http://images.google.com and asking a few questions about the picture.

For our further amusement, we encourage rounds with hidden themes such as all answers beginning with the same letter or each question being connected to the next one.

Aim for a difficulty level approximating that of NAQT sectionals.

Please do read the separate packet guidelines page, because it offers many helpful tips. If you can't think of what to write about, we have loads of categorized links to websites you can browse to find possible material for questions.

The Stanford archive contains most of the question packets used at VETO in 2002 and 2003 and 2004. You might note that some writers did not follow all of the guidelines. :)


There are titles to be won by the leading individual scorer: the West Coast Dominatrix of Relevant Knowledge (WC-DORK) in Vancouver, and Nerd of the East (NOTE) in Toronto.

Anyone may sponsor a prize and select a winner according to any criteria. Last year, there were 12 prizes awarded to individuals and teams in Vancouver. Contact us if you're sponsoring a prize that you want listed on this web page. If you want to encourage others to write questions of your favourite type or on your favourite (broadly defined) topic, then announcing a prize here is a good way to do so.

Here is the list so far of prizes in Vancouver:

Award criteria Prize Sponsor
Worst repeat a broken record Peter of FARSIDE
Most deserved criticism of the organizer a giant blue star Peter
Best question on food from non-animal sources a gluten-free, fat-free, GMO-free, vegan ReBar 100% organic energy bar, made in B.C. Peter
Best audio question a tape of FARSIDE team's audio questions Peter
Most imaginative question Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Adult Edition) Daniel

VANCOUVER: Other stuff to do, and places to stay

Separate studies announced in 2004 by the U.K.-based Economist Intelligence Unit and in 2005 by the U.S.-based Mercer Human Resource Consulting both concluded that Vancouver offers the highest quality of life of any city in the entire world (or the world outside Switzerland, according to Mercer). We are not exaggerating; check the links yourself.

Special events:

See http://www.tourismvancouver.com for more information about Vancouver, including links to special promotions.

While Vancouver has a reputation for heavy rainfall, it does not rain much in the summer. Average precipitation during July is below that of seven of the 10 largest United States cities (by 2000 census population), the exceptions being the desert or semi-desert cities of Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Diego. And of course, during July, Vancouver has more hours of daylight than any American city outside of Alaska. On VETO day, sunset will occur at 9:11 p.m.

There are quite a few reasonably priced hotels in downtown Vancouver, within walking distance of the tournament location. Try findinghotel.com for looking up accommodation online, but do not be tempted by cheap rates in the East Hastings neighbourhood. This is identified by the V6A postal prefix area, which has the lowest median income in all of Canada.

You may also want to consider staying near a SkyTrain station, since trains on the main stretch from New Westminster to Waterfront run every 3—4 minutes all day on weekends. Weekend fares are $2.25 per person for 90 minutes of travel anywhere on the system, including buses and SeaBus.

A cheap option is a dorm bed at the HI Vancouver Downtown hostel, which we've checked out and found is pretty good as hostels go. It is in a nice neighbourhood 2.1 km from the tournament.

TORONTO: Other stuff to do, and places to stay

If you wanna look around T.O. before and/or after VETO, there are other events to enjoy while in Toronto around July 16th: If you're into sports: Toronto Concerts around July 16th: For those coming from out of town, Toronto is easily accessible by airplane, train, bus, and car. There is plenty of affordable accommodation located in the downtown core near the university within walking distance (or you can take the subway).


For questions, etc., contact the appropriate site coordinator. Updates will be posted on the web page http://caql.org/events/veto05.html which you're looking at right now.

"A lot of Imperialist ladies asked me to tea to meet schoolmasters from New Zealand and editors from Vancouver, and that was the dismalest business of all. Here was I, thirty-seven years old, sound in wind and limb, with enough money to have a good time, yawning my head off all day."
- John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps

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