Here are some notes on the May, 2019 Williams Trivia Contest.
This contest was run by Four Oreos Away from Paradise, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The core of Four Oreos ran the contest in January, 2014 as Requiem for the Blue Civic, and were partners with many others in Taha Noa Noa in May, 2016. Four Oreos also included a number of current Univeristy of Michigan students who provided a lot of energy.
Mark Conger of Four Oreos says:
Hi All -
Here is a short postmortem on the contest, and a long description of the Miniatures bonus.
Four Oreos got a late start working on the contest, mostly because I was distracted with another unexpected (but very welcome) project that dropped into my lap in March. So we wrote most of the contest in the last month.
There were 10 of us who wrote questions and boni (Mark, Carol, Jacob, Louis, Esty, Dustin, Alex, Hailey, Ben, and Lizzy), and another 11 (Brian, Nina, Cameron, Cameron, Noah, Joe, John, Andrew, Sam, Liz, and Teddy) who joined us on May 10th to be chat hosts, pick songs, and write hints. Having a team of 21 to run the contest is unusual these days, but it sure makes things run more smoothly. Our spirits were mostly high all night long, thanks in large part to friendly players. Thanks to an intrepid team of graders led by Carol and Cameron The Younger, We managed not to fall behind on the grading.
I thought several of our boni were out of the ordinary mold, and we'd like to hear what people thought. I'll let my teammates comment on the ones they wrote. My contribution was the Miniatures bonus, though in truth I had help from lots of people along the way.
Joanie Loves Trotsky's "Our Old Toys Do Stuff" bonus has always been one of my favorites, and while thinking about it, we decided there was no reason not to riff on it. So we brainstormed ideas, and borrowed action figures. It turns out the Ann Arbor District Library allows you to check out little black bags containing lots of cool stuff, and I checked out two bags of toy animals. Louis & Jacob's Mom has a huge collection of Star Trek figures, so we borrowed that. My student Alexis has hundreds of pig figures, so we borrowed some of those, and my student Elijah had a Darth Vader Lego figurine. Brian had a castle a lot of ducks, and Liz had a rabbit. (A real rabbit.) I have a large box of football helmets I used to get out of a vending machine when I was a kid. I bought a few other things, but most items were improvised from stuff we already had. We kept coming up with new ideas as we went along.
- Most teams got Lady and the Tramp.
- Most teams got the Odyssey, though several said "Scylla and Charybdis", when in fact it is Ulysses tied to the mast to hear the sirens.
- Most teams recognized Abbey Road.
- Lots of teams recognized the Beheading of Ned Stark from Game of Thrones.
- Many teams recognized Botticelli's Birth of Venus. I thought that would be harder!
- Only Bender is Sleepy recognized this as the Mikey Likes it commercial for Life Cereal.
- Most teams recognized the Mighty Ducks, though some thought it represented the NHL team. The Flying V formation is from the Disney movie.
- Seven teams recognized this as the "Look at all these chickens" Vine. Several wanted it to be Make Way for Ducklings, which, in retrospect, would have been a good thing to do given how many ducks we had.
- Many teams wanted this to be Saruman and Galdalf on top of Isengard, but then it wouldn't make sense for one figure to be old and one young. No one correctly identified it as Hamlet meeting his father's ghost in Act 1.
- Most teams recognized The Grinch.
- Most teams recognized The Martian. Barista Bob wanted it to be "Backstage at the faking of the moon landing". Dude. Occam's Toothbrush had it right with "Matt Damon sciencing the shit out of surviving on Mars".
- Everyone got Atlas.
- Everyone recognized the Iwo Jima memorial.
- So, ships can send messages using flags, and there is a flag for every letter of the alphabet. The message on this ship is the most famous message ever sent in this manner: Lord Nelson's message to his fleet before the Battle of Trafalgar. It says, "ENGLAND EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY." And at the bottom it says "WILLIAMS TRIVIA MAY 2019". I thought someone might be able to work it out from that, but alas, no.
- Most teams recognized 2001, but a handful wanted this to be King Kong. The building would need to be taller and square for King Kong.
- An impressive number of teams recognized this as The Catch: Joe Montana's pass to Dwight Clark to win the 1981 NFC championship and begin the 49ers dominant streak.
- And an impressive number of teams also recognized The Immaculate Reception, which did likewise for Pittsburgh's dynasty in the 70s.
- But it was much harder for people to identify John Riggins breaking through the Dolphins' line on 4th down to put the Redskins ahead in Super Bowl XVII. Several teams wanted it to be Garo Yepremian's failed pass in Super Bowl VII, and several thought it was Joe Theisman's leg being broken. But DOA Hole got it right.
- Most people recognized Forrest Gump. That's a feather, even though it looks like a ball. We couldn't find a feather anywhere, so we ripped a hole in a down jacket to get one.
- Lots of teams saw that this was Rumpelstilskin. No one said Sleeping Beauty, which was the most common answer when I tested it on people.
- Many teams recognized this as the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter.
- Occam's Toothbrush recognized "a red VW microbus and implements of destruction, a dump closed on Thanksgiving, and 27 8x10 color glossy photos of the biggest crime seen in the last 50 years. With 4 part harmony and 5 part orchestration . . . Arlo Guthrie's song Alice's Restaurant, in which he got arrested for litering. Another case of America blind justice ...", and  got it too. Nice job. I actually bought the red VW microbus in order to do this one, and Carol made the shovels and rakes out of cardboard. I counted out 27 glossy pictures. :)
- Many teams recognized The Lion King, and Korzoff also said "(Darth Vader is a HILARIOUS touch - well done!)". :)
- This was pretty minimal, so I will concede not terribly fair. But, we had a moose, so... Many teams wanted it to be Rocky & Bullwinkle (but, um, sans Rocky?), and several saw it as "If You Give A Moose a Muffin." But Charlie saw it as intended, the opening sequence from Northern Exposure.
- This was harder than expected, but Vegetarian Steak Sauce and Bender is Sleepy recognized the last scene of The Breakfast Club, with Bender defiantly raising his fist to the sky. I know, a trench coat would have helped.
- Quite a few teams recognized a scene from Harriet The Spy. I wonder if I should have left off the sign, and just had the purple socks on a flagpole?
- Many teams recognized The Hunger Games.
-  has my undying love and respect for recognizing The Three Investigators, from the picture inside the front cover of my favorite series of books when I was a kid.
- Many different scenes involving pigs were guessed, but quite a few teams recognized Pigs in Space from The Muppet Show.
- Most folks recognized YMCA. But then it gets harder...
- And yet, lots of people also recognized The Macarena! However...
- The Time Warp was hard to stage, because the figures didn't bend quite the right ways. But , Blitzball Wizard, and Occam's Toothbrush still got it. Nice job!
- Only Occam's Toothbrush recognized Bilbo and the Dwarves escaping from Mirkwood by floating down the river in barrels. 12 dwarves inside, and one hobbit on top.
- My rule was no photoshopping, but my students used Snapchat to create this grid of faces for the Brady Bunch opening, so I couldn't resist putting it in. Most of you got it!
- Most folks recognized The Karate Kid: wax on, wax off. A few people wanted it to be Ferris Bueller (because of the sports car, I presume), but that wouldn't explain the pads on the hands.
- This proved much harder than expected, but Area 52 did recognize Inigo, Fezzik, and the Man in Black storming the castle in The Princess Bride, while the guards cower in fear. Sure, Fezzik should be on fire. But come on.
- Most of you recognized Monty Python and the Holy Grail, though some wanted it to be the battle with the rabbit at the cave of Caerbannog. But there's no castle in that scene. No, this is the giant wooden rabbit being rolled up to the castle. (If you look closely, you can see one of the knights has two pistachio shells on his hands.) Granted, the rabbit shouldn't be bigger than the castle, but it is corretly bigger than the people. :)
- This is technically NOT "The Trouble with Tribbles" from TOS. The presence of Dax and Sisko inside the grain compartment marks it as "Trials and Tribble-ations", the DS9 episode where they go back in time to find a bomb in one of the tribbles. But, we accepted Trouble with Tribbles. Given how many Star Trek figures we used, we thought there should certainly be one Star Trek scene! And we couldn't do better then this one. Carol found the little pom-poms on sale at JoAnn's. :)
So, this was a blast to put together. There were many more scenes I wanted to do if there had been time and the right props. So you might see more someday!