Which off-campus team took 2nd in Trivia?


The Appleton Post-Crescent, February 9, 1980.

Lawrence University’s 15th annual Midwest Trivia Contest is history, but at least one contestant is looking forward to next year’s competition. And 69-year-old Ethel Andersohn of Marshfield vows that her team will be first in 1981.

Mrs. Andersohn’s team, Upper Echelon, took second place among off-campus groups with 2,150 points, only 15 points behind the off-campus winner, FIST (Forever In Search of Trivia). Happy Cadaver took third place, with 1,850 points.

Of the on-campus teams, Hordes From the North, a group of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity brothers and friends, ranked first with 2,120 points. Indira Gandhi’s Deli Sub Pub, operating in Sage Hall, was second with 1,925 points, and Sygyzy was third with 1,910. Sygyzy was composed of trivia buffs who came from South Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois, and Lawrence students. Their headquarters was Ormsby Hall.

Teams are given from five to 100 points for correctly answering trivial questions asked on Lawrence radio station WLFM between 10 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday on the first weekend in February. They are allotted from three to 20 minutes, depending upon the difficulty of the question.

Mrs. Andersohn said she first learned of the trivia contest about four years ago from relatives in Appleton and began playing three years ago.

“That year we were 13th, the second year eighth, and this year, second,” Mrs. Andersohn said, “Next year, we’ll be first.”

Mrs. Andersohn said she plays “because I like to look things up, to delve into things.”

Although she was not reluctant to talk about herself, Mrs. Andersohn would not divulge the name of other team members or reveal where they played the trivia game. “They’d kind of like to remain anonymous,” she said.

She would say, however, that their head-quarters was an attic, hence the name. Upper Echelon, and that the players ranged in age from “about 20 to 69.” She also said that the Friday night crowd of about 25 dwindled to “six or eight” who played the entire weekend.

“It’s such a nice group. We sit and talk and have wonderful foods,” she said.

Mrs. Andersohn said she got about eight hours of sleep in the 50 hours of the contest between 10 p.m. Friday and midnight Sunday. She had no trouble keeping up with the younger players “because I’m young at heart.”

Mrs. Andersohn’s team was one of nearly 200 that participated in Lawrence’s annual anti-intellectual exercise. Larry Page, Lawrence’s director of broadcasting, estimated the average number on a team at around 15. The thousands of telephone calls to WLFM in response to the 395 questions asked put as much of a load on the university’s telephone system as it ordinarily gets in a year, Page said. The phone system showed the effects of the strain on Monday morning, when for about an hour there was no dial tone on campus telephones.

Point totals were kept with the aid of a computer, Using a program written by former students Mark Piper and Gary Kohls, who are now with Arthur Andersen and Co.,in Milwaukee, student computer operators supplied information to the university’s computer from a terminal at WLFM and kept an up-to-date listing of team rankings.

At the end of the contest, the first-place winners were given what Page called “A gigantic clay-fired urn from Mexico – the ugliest thing you ever saw.”

Mrs. Andersohn claimed second prize for Upper Echelon. It was a bathtub toy tugboat that gives a toot when it’s pulled in the water. Mrs. Andersohn left the trivia tug in Appleton, and a trophy case will be made for it at Upper Echelon’s headquarters.