Trivia buffs didn't need a Super Bowl

by Bob Lowe
The Appleton Post-Crescent, January 29, 1990.

Despite a telephone snafu and competition from the Super Bowl, Lawrence University's 25th annual Midwest Trivia Contest went off in its usual zany fashion this weekend.

"We were a little bit worried about the problems of staging it on the same weekend with the Super Bowl," contest master Larry Page said today. "I think those involved with the trivia contest watched the game with the sound off, which probably improved the quality of the game."

While the San Francisco 49ers were annihilating the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, a team called "Who Fed Roger Ebert?" gained off-campus honors in the trivia contest. The on-campus champion was Beta Theta Banastitude Lining in Subway.

Second among the off-campus entries was Pedro Look At The Fuel Gauge. Third place went to the Infomaniacs.

Second in the on-campus category was Ormsby Orphans Devour The Sandwich Factory. Third place went to Colman and Joyce Eat Domino's Dammit.

The first-place teams received an ice chest in the form of a football. Second-place teams got an alarm clock made in the shape of a football. Third-place teams were given a lawn flamingo similar to the geese used to determine the wind direction.

The gifts were tied in with the competing Super Bowl. They also reflected the fact that "you can buy almost anything these days in the form of a football," Page said.

None of the estimated 125 teams were able to answer the final, 100-point question: "Where was and at what event was the largest ever gathering of bassoonists for a crab fest held?" (Answer: The Towson Bassoon Symposium, Towson, MD., in 1988).

"Our source for this was the International Double Reed Society Journal, the fall issue of 1988," said Page.

By tradition, that question, No. 377, will become the first one asked in next year's contest, scheduled for Jan. 25-27. Page dais he has booked the dates for the contest right up until the year 2002.

"Actually the contest never stops," said Page, LU's director of broadcasting. "We just have a pause of 362 days so that the teams can think of the answer."

Some of the participating teams were hampered for the first 14 hours because of a malfunction that developed with the telephone system, which kept giving a busy signal to callers with a 700 prefix. Those with an 832 prefix, which is used on campus, got through without any problems.

"It turned out that those with the 700 prefix had to dial from one telephone company machine into another and it caused unbelievable delays," Page said. "So for the first time in the history of the contest, we had to change the telephone number. The problem was corrected about noon Saturday and it went pretty smooth from there."

Page said this year's teams were as good as ever. The teams which consist of 4-50 members apiece, are given 4-5 minutes each and have two chances to answer the question correctly.

"Generally, if a team gets 60%, they are doing pretty well," Page said.