There is much celebration of Trivia's past champions throughout this archive. Indeed, an honor roll of winners is the first sight to greet the visitor. However, those teams that finished in 2nd place are accorded substantially less acclaim.
But does that mean we should neglect the valiant efforts of those who fell just short of their goal? That the runners-up, having glimpsed Trivia's Grail, should be shunted into obscurity with no additional ado? Must we forget their gallantry and pluck? WHY, OF COURSE NOT!
For if we did that, how could we mock them? And so, here's to all the big, fat, smelly LOOOoosers!
(* = indicates that the team bounced back to win the following contest, alleviating its horrendous, burning pain.... somewhat.)
Not currently known.
Not currently known.
The Grand Duchy of Fenwick (*)
The name of the tiny nation that accidentally conquers the United States in "The Mouse that Roared". Or IS it? See the list of WINNING team names for the full story.
NONE; contest cancelled by student strike. (Ignoring this interruption in play, Grand Duchy won the next chance they had, one year later.)
The Sparkletones were the backup band for Joe Bennett (as in "Joe Bennett and the..."), who recorded the 1957 hit single "Black Slacks." Their followup, "Penny Loafers and Bobby Socks," continued their clothing-obsessed ouvre, but the single topped out at #42. Alas, the band then fell out of fashion, never hitting the Billboard Top 100 again.
The Agard Memorial Tube Team
Dedicated to an ill-fated television set destroyed during a rowdy shindig. The men of Agard House were the ones who revived Trivia after the strike-lost non-contest of 1970. See the list of WINNING team names for the full story.
The Grand Duchy of Fenwick
See Winter 1969, and the Winning Team Names list.
The Grand Duchy of Fenwick (lost in OT)
See Winter 1969, and the Winning Team Names list.
Not currently known.
A narcotically-impaired take on Bonomo Turkish Taffy, recalled in sobriety by one or more of the team's members. Their first of seven 2nd-place finishes (to go with three wins and three times running) in a consecutive 13-contest span.
The General (*)
Mills House, besides fielding this trivia squad, was doing various "General Mills" promotions at the time, hence this name (which also referenced the 1927 Buster Keaton classic). The team, reinforced by another 12/73 contender, B. Bumble and the Stingers, won the next contest as "General Bumble."
Not currently known.
Their second of seven 2nd-place finishes in a 13-contest span.
Their third of seven 2nd-place finishes in a 13-contest span.
Their fourth of seven 2nd-place finishes in a 13-contest span.
Buda Bear (*)
A dog owned by Ed Spencer, and the Morgan Hall mascot from 1974-75.
A combination of two teams' names, "The General" and "B. Bumble and the Stingers." See Winter 1973, when the merger took place.
Their fifth of seven 2nd-place finishes in a 13-contest span.
Their sixth of seven 2nd-place finishes in a 13-contest span.
Maximus Drott (*)
A combination of "Drott," the name seen on the sides of heavy construction equipment that was tearing up the Williams campus at the time-- and Circus Maximus, an arty rock band beloved by some members of the team. See Winter 1979.
Alphabet Soup (*)
The name was derived from the team's freshman origins in Freshman entries A, B, C, D, etc. See Spring 1980.
Their seventh of seven 2nd-place finishes in a 13-contest span.
See Spring 1978.
See Winter 1978.
The name derived from the usual over-use syndrome in slang speech. When words like "mega-genius" or "mega-tired" were no longer emphatic enough, only the prefix "giga-" could raise the ante. (It also had a pleasingly nonsensical sound.) The team, with giga-reinforcements, won the next contest as "Phasers on Stun."
In Winter 1980, "Death Squadron" came in 9th, and "Ethel the Frog" finished 3rd. This 1981 combination of the two teams improved on each's stats.
Not currently known.
Paul Lynde to Block
From "The Hollywood Squares" game show, which had just ended its original 15-year run. Paul Lynde was the perennial center square and star of the show. Contestants hoping to obstruct their opponent's X or O would often invoke the above phrase when calling upon Lynde.
(NOTE: Final scores for this contest are not currently available. And while
it is most likely that "Paul Lynde to Block" were runners-up, it is possible
that #3 team "The Spanish Inquisition" might have squeaked into 2nd place.
Yes, that name refers to the Roman Catholic reign of terror led by Torquemada
in the late 15th century. But the far more likely source for the name choice
is the recurring sketch from "Monty Python's Flying Circus," in which a trio
of red-robed monks repeatedly burst into rooms without warning, clucking
"Noooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!")
Odds and Ends for 20, Art
Contestants on the original "Jeopardy!" (with the non-annoying host Art Fleming) would often ask for this category and dollar amount.
Walter J. Zwircon
In the 1982-83 semester, unsuspecting Walter's was the very last name in the North Adams phone book. (He was not part of the team.)
The Rest on Gift Certificate
Contestants on the original "Wheel of Fortune," having bought all the laughably inflated prizes available to them, but still having a surplus amount of cash too insignificant to purchase anything else, were obliged to ask for the remainder thusly.
Round Up the Usual Suspects
From the film "Casablanca," this is Chief of Police Louie Renault's standard reaction to any crime committed under his jurisdiction that he wishes to whitewash or otherwise ignore.
Not currently known.
General Tso's Chicken
A dish offered on innumerable Chinese food menus.
Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems
The top-secret bad guy factory in the film "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension."
Chernobyl Homeowners' Association (*)
A fanciful name inspired by the complete core meltdown suffered by the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, USSR two weeks earlier. The team would win the next contest as "We Begin Bombing in Five Minutes."
All The Sugar, Twice the Caffeine (lost in OT) (*)
The cheery slogan for Jolt! Cola, the system-jarring, tooth-tingling, unofficial beverage of Williams Trivia. The team would win the next contest as "I Don't Have to Answer That Question."
Venezuelan Beaver Cheese
From the Monty Python "Cheese Shop" sketch, in which a customer's attempts at obtaining any variety of cheese whatsoever are invariably and maddeningly rebuffed. After unsuccessfully running through more typical options such as cheddar, gouda, limburger, et al, John Cleese eventually requests this esoteric variety. This same team would employ a SECOND name taken from the same Python sketch, one year later (see Spring 1988).
Lick My Love Pump
From "This is Spinal Tap," Nigel Tufnel plays a slow, sweet piano melody in E, "the saddest of all keys." The composition reveals a reflective side of Nigel, one not ordinarily associated with the troglodytic metalhead. However, the above is the melody's working title.
Entirely Uncontaminated by Cheese
From the Monty Python "Cheese Shop" sketch in which a customer's attempts at obtaining any variety of cheese whatsoever are invariably rebuffed. After multiple failures, the shopkeeper tries to point out that though his store is not the best-stocked, it is very clean. The disgruntled customer offers the above assessment of the shop.
Ralph the Wonder Llama (*)
Ralph is one of the various mammals listed in the absurdist credits of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." The team would, with reinforcement, win the next contest as "Harry 'Snapper' Organs."
There Can Be No Dialogue with Fungus
From the syndicated TV series "The War of the Worlds," representatives of Earth seek to negotiate with the invading Martian forces. This is Mars' official diplomatic reply.
Not currently known.
Miserable, Fat Belgian Bastards (*)
From the "Monty Python" TV series, a game show called "Prejudice." Home viewers were invited to submit useful ethnic slurs directed at the citizens of Belgium. With "Let's not call them anything, let's just ignore them" and "Nothing could be more derogatory than Belgians" taking 3rd and 2nd place, the above entrant is the clear victor. The team would win the next contest as "Five is Right Out."
I Will Not Do That Thing With My Tongue
From the second-season "Simpsons" episode "Bart Vs. Thanksgiving," which originally aired two weeks before this contest. (It's the one where Bart burns Lisa's centerpiece.) This is the chalky admonition Bart repeatedly writes on the blackboard during the usual opening sequence.
Beaker, I Find You Hauntingly Attractive
The romantic aftermath of a Muppet Labs experiment gone horribly wrong.
Play To Win and I'll Kill You (~*)
A note of intent written on the blackboard by one team member to greet all who arrived. The rest of the blackboard was soon filled with name suggestions which were wiped out one by one. When the name chosen by the team ("My Nipples Explode with Delight") was rejected by the same person for "disgustingness," it was already past midnight and only the original note remained un-erased. About half of the team would split off, join a subset of Phasers:TNG, and win the next contest as "Phasers on Stun: The Next Generation."
Unadulterated Mayhem for a Good Cause (*)
Everybody's favorite monosyllabic green behemoth fighting the good fight, from a Peter David issue of "The Hulk," circa #390. The team would win the next contest as "Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun to Be With."
I Want To Come Back As Your Trousers
Secretly-recorded sweet talk from the Maestro of Love himself, Prince Charles of England, to his mistress, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Charles also mused aloud about being reincarnated as Camilla's tampon, as an entire nation joined Princess Di in woofing up truffles.
A Thermos of Phlegm
An unsavory lunch selection allegedly brought to school by Calvin in the "Calvin & Hobbes" comic strip.
The inane laugh of MTV's Butt-Head (or perhaps Beavis, depending on your choice of inflection), this anti-name was chosen for its annoying subverbal properties. The team would win the next contest as "How DARE They Challenge Us with Their Primitive Skills?"
There'll Be No Blaming Mother Tonight!
From the TV series "Frasier." David Hyde Pierce says it all: "My name is Niles Crane, and I'll be hosting the show tonight. My brother Frasier is a Freudian, whereas I am a Jungian, so...."
Sinusoidal Tupperware with Gumption
This upper freshman team had debuted in 4th place the previous contest as "Shiny Happy Tupperware of Doom." So "Sinusoidal Tupperware" was an obvious update. But.... where did EITHER name come from, then? Team poobah Brian Wecht reveals the truth: "Nowhere, really. Just something we made up as ignorant frosh. I think it might have been invented on the spot in lieu of something that actually made sense. Or perhaps it just sounded good at the time."
The Weak and Cowardly Have No Place in Shuffleboard (*)
A line of dialogue from the February 5th episode of "Saturday Night Live" earlier in the year. The SNL host was Patrick Stewart, and the sketch was "Love Boat: The Next Generation." The team would win the next contest as "Elvis Needs Boats!"
Vicious Chicken of Bristol
From the bottomless source of a gajillion team names, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." This was one of the formidable opponents "nearly stood up against" by somewhat brave Sir Robin.
Uncle Doobie, Goodtime Slim, and the Great Frisco Freak-Out (*)
One of the many, many, many, many fine film credits in the career of "Simpsons" B-movie superstar Troy McClure. The team, with reinforcements, would win the next contest as "We Make Holes in Teeth!"
Certain Unnamed Persons in Taffeta (lost in OT) (*)
The TV version of "The Weekly World News" once ran a videotaped brawl between bridesmaids battling to grab the bouquet. One of them was quoted expressing her pain about the whole violent incident, but especially her resentment towards the instigators, "certain unnamed persons in taffeta." The team would win the next contest as "Gentle Tongue-Tongue, He Weeps, For He Has But One Tongue with Which to Taste an Entire World."
Bob Ross III: Pimpbot 2000
The "Bob Ross" prefix came from the team's debut name a year previous, "The Artist Formerly Known as Bob Ross." Pimpbot 2000 is a recurring jive-soul cyborg who spits out computer-harmonized blaxploitation talk on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." A "Bob Ross" preface was also used in Spring '96; by the 4th edition of this team (Mr. Sparkle), they'd dropped the recurring "Bob Ross" monicker.
The Challenge of Mr. Sparkle (*)
From the "Simpsons" episode in which a Japanese cleaning product's logo looks just like Homer. In the TV ad, "Mr. Sparkle" announces that he is "disrespectful to dirt," before berating three women: "Get out of my way, all of you! This is no place for loafers. Join me or die. Can you do any less?" Despite its incoherence, the women duly "accept the challenge of Mr. Sparkle." The team, with reinforcements, would win the next contest as "A Dead Postman Doesn't Deliver Much Mail."
I Got My Head Shaved By a Zamboni
Robustly sung by several members as they walked into the room, this misheard lyric from Blur's "Song 2" (perhaps better recognized as the "WOO HOO!" song) won the day over more referential nominees. (Incidentally, the lyric is actually "I got my head checked/ By a jumbo jet.")
Mark Taylor Has Only One Ass. He Is Of No Use to Us. We Must Burn the Room, Burn the Room!
A bizarre pyro-colonic rebuke to the professorial buttocks of Mark Taylor.
Why Did Those Seagulls Take My Sister?
From the MTV show "Sifl and Ollie," hosted by two laid-back sock puppets. A regular segment of the program is "Calls From The Public," in which Sifl and Ollie try, and occasionally succeed, to address the concerns of their audience. During one such conversation (approximated below), a subdued yet distraught youngster beseeches the pair to explain why his family's beach outing turned suddenly, horribly tragic:
Caller: "The seagulls took my sister. They took her. Why did those seagulls take my sister?"
Ollie: "I don't know, dude."
Caller: "The seagulls. They took my sister. The seagulls. Why?"
Sifl: "We weren't there."
Caller: "They.... they took her."
Part Jedi mind trick, part tasty dessert, this concoction was seen in a "Star Wars Cafe" cartoon that had appeared in The New Yorker shortly before. The team would change its name every hour to other Force-feedings; namely "Princess Leia Cake," "Flan Solo," "Tart Vader," "Yoda Pop," "Java the Hutt," "Boba Fetuccine" and "Wedge of Cheese Antilles."
Reduces Mouse to a Souplike Homogenate in 0.3 Seconds
The eyecatching sales claim leading off a print advertisement for a scientific contraption called the "Polytron." The ad also boasts of the Polytron's other violent assets, from its impressive "tissue disruption by mechanical shearing and cavitation" abilities to its "foam-reducing generators." This ad was briefly discussed in a 1993 Dave Barry humor column. However, the specific wording in the original ad reads "Only the Polytron reduces an entire mouse to a soup-like homogenate in 30 seconds." In their trivial zeal, this vermin-pulping team inadvertantly shaved 29.7 seconds off their time.
We Have a Pregnant Geologist, And We're Not Afraid to Use Her
Simply enough, this team included among its membership one pregnant geologist. The rest of the name is an homage to a previous Trivia team of no major note, "We Have a Wench and We're Not Afraid to Use Her," which finished in 5th place seven years previous.... truly one of the more bizarre reference points for anyone to "update." Later in the contest, the team switched to "We Had a Pregnant Geologist, But We're Afraid She Had to Leave in a Hurry." But NOT because her water broke; she'd merely gone to sleep.
Not Everyone Can Experience the Glory that is Steve's Mom
A reference to Steve Wollkind, '01. For some reason, between 1998 and 2000, he became the butt of so many "your mom" jokes that "Steve's Mom" became a universal touchpoint for the WARPie contingency on campus. Steve himself would have played on this team, if not for 9am GREs the morning afterwards.
I've Got Spain Up My Nose
This team's name pursued a direct and unimpeachable logic, without ever making much sense. Apparently, the team had pre-determined to call themselves "I've Got ______ Up My Nose." Come contest night, it only remained for them to choose the appropriate object for nasal insertion. "Spain" emerged victorious.
Please Don't Shoot the Violist (*)
Taking its inspiration from the 1870's western saloon sign ("Please don't shoot the pianist, he is trying his best"), the team decided to insert "violist" because, in their words, "violas are rather funny." Like its previous incarnation "I've Got Spain Up My Nose," when taken as a whole, the new composite name refers to little besides the team itself. The team, with reinforcements, would win the next contest as "Joanie Loves Trotsky."
Culminating in a Spectacular Final Battle on the Surface of the Moon (*)
A blurb from the back cover of the videotape of the risible "Sinbad of the Seven Seas," featuring the incomparable acting talents of Mr. Lou Ferrigno. But as team member Brent Yorgey points out, "The funny thing is that the movie does NOT culminate in a spectacular final battle on the surface of the moon -- in fact, as far as we are aware (having watched it many times) the moon does not make any appearance in the movie whatsoever."
A presumably hi-tech update to the team that won the Winter contest 19 years earlier, "Rule Six." The January 2003 edition and December 1983 edition did share some of the same players.
Funny, These Fries Don't Taste Like Freedom
Something Seth Brown made up around 11:30, when the team was scrawling possible names on the blackboard. It's an obvious reference to the "freedomfries" debacle spawned by Congress in early 2003, when they decided to "punish" the nation of France for not siding with the U.S. attack on Iraq by officially changing the name of the fried potatoes served in the Congressional cafeteria.
From a fake news story on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" program. One of the Hindenburgs (Greg Pliska) was profiled as a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who was using helium-filled breast implants. In response to complaints, the imaginary Dr. Pliska is alleged to have said, "I don't understand why everyone's so upset. I'm using helium, not hydrogren. It's not as if I'm creating human Hindenburgs!"
From a production of the ancient Greek tragedy "The Bacchae," which had recently been directed by one of the team's members.╩ The name comes from a mispronunciation of a line by Agave, delivered while carrying the head of her son Penthius on a stick: "Bacchae of Asia..."╩ As the team put it, "the mishearing is, well, something that might happen if you had aphasia."
From the middle school trick of asking someone if you can write "Pen15" on their hand, then watching their horror as they realize the result looks a lot like "Penis." "Pen15" is also leetspeak for "penis." Since the team was in Philadelphia, playing the University of Pennsylvania's "Penn Bowl," they changed the first part of the phrase to reflect their location. Alas, the team never had 15 players, and as Dave Letzler observes, "Sadly, this was only the 14th incarnation of the annual "Penn Bowl" quiz bowl tournament." This also marks the first time in recorded history that anyone has ever exaggerated numbers regarding a penis.
A point upgrade to the Rule 6 team, presumably therefore maintaining backwards compatibility with the previous API.
It May Be Quiet on the Western Front, But It's Rowdy As Hell Out Here in EAST
A combination of the celebrated novel by Erich Maria Remarque, and the social culture of the Odd Quad.
Mother of Epoxy
One of the fishing lures on the poster that's positioned directly at eye level above a urinal at the Water Street Grill. Inspiration strikes in quiet moments.
The Ubernebulous Space Otters of Alpha Centauri (*)
There may be no more sensible explanation than their own Question #1: "What do you call super amorphous amphibious mammals of the subfamily Lutrinae who live in the vacuum surrounding the star system closest to our own?"
I'm Oxford Dot Com (*)
Source - Max Gutman explains: "The team was originally formed by students of the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford 2006-2007 for the [January] 2007 contest. áThe location of the team (Oxford) was combined with a reference to the television show "Arrested Development." áNear the beginning of season 3 of the series, George Bluth's brother Oscar has been wrongfully jailed and attempts to prove his innocence to the world through his blog "ImOscar.com." áThus, I'm Oxford dot Com was born."
Des and Dom's Bucket List (*)
"The Bucket List" is a movie about two old codgers who make a list of things they want to do before dying, or "kicking the bucket." For Des Devlin, this was his 48th consecutive contest. For Dom Grillo, it was #45. They're old. They were a two-player team. One thing they wanted to do before their imminent deaths was to finish in second place. Something they DIDN'T want to do was to actually win the contest as a two-player team. Four months later, they would accomplish this unwanted feat in their 49th and 46th games, respectively.
Ephraim Williams (1715-1755) was a military commander. He later donated his estate for the purpose of creating a safe haven for Williams Trivia.
The Inaugural Balls
Competing less than two days before Barack Obama's historic inauguration, the team saluted the many Washington parties scheduled to follow. Plus, balls. Heh heh heh. Balls.
(Yes, each of these teams struggled for eight hours, occasionally longer, before biting the big wazoonie. But..... NOT being obliged to assemble and run the following contest during the next semester explains why some of the above runners-up have been heard to chant, "WE'RE NUMBER TWO! WE'RE NUMBER TWO!")