MetaFilter Quizzing Game Show Contestants? June 25, 2003 6:40 AM   Subscribe

Let's say a MetaFilter member is going to be on a game show in a month... a game show where one answers in the form of a question...
Would it be wrong to ask the various MetaDenizens for great links to quizzes and other sources that might help one prepare for such an undertaking?
(Just a hypothetical question here, no real reason...)
posted by jpburns to MetaFilter Gatherings at 6:40 AM (51 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

There's at least one other member here who's been on that game show (which I am addicted to, by the way) ...driving me crazy trying to recall who it is. Please tell us when your show airs, and don't forget to say hi to me ;)

And good luck! What have you done to prep so far?
posted by iconomy at 6:53 AM on June 25, 2003

Quiz books, Cultural Literacy book, Google searches... I guess I'm looking for ways to study things I don't know, like sports, religion, and US Presidents. Oh, and the obligatory Canadian questions...
posted by jpburns at 7:04 AM on June 25, 2003

You've probably already seen it, but there's an interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor a few years back about preparing for a certain game show that sounds remarkable similar to the hypothetical one you are referring to: Masters of Quiz-Show Prep (if that link is messed up try this one). The article referrs to a book entitled "On the Tip of Your Tongue" that one contested found invaluable. It is out of print and hard to buy, but I did an OCLC search and found 80 libraries that have copies, including two in GA. I can email you the list if you like; your local library should be able to get a copy for you through inter-library loan. (I'm a librarian; I'm counting this as a reference question!)

You also might want to look at the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy; a new edition recently came out and should be available at most bookstores.

Good luck!
posted by arco at 7:13 AM on June 25, 2003

I meant to say the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy.
posted by arco at 7:16 AM on June 25, 2003

You might want to bone up on your Nebraska knowledge.
posted by COBRA! at 7:25 AM on June 25, 2003

I may not be the person iconomy is referring to specifically, but I was indeed a contestant on said game show about ten years ago.

If you've already passed the audition and are slated for a taping, my suspicion is that you probably don't need to waste your time on studying material for questions.

The trick to Jeopardy! is that the "questions" themselves are not particularly difficult if you can get past the way the "answers" are phrased. The audition quiz was way more difficult than the game itself.

Also, practice the buzzer. It is the key to the whole experience.

I'd be glad to talk with you about it individually if you want to e-mail me.
posted by briank at 7:32 AM on June 25, 2003

Is there some kind of rule against mentioning the names of game shows here?
posted by crunchburger at 7:46 AM on June 25, 2003

posted by Marquis at 7:50 AM on June 25, 2003

Go play lots of bar trivia. Wheel of Fortune, Pyramid!
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:17 AM on June 25, 2003

Friend of mine was someone's "lifeline" a few years ago. She got it wrong (it was about Thomas Jefferson, and we all went to U.Va., and alummi the world over cringed), and he believed her, and got cut.

But Regis did comment on the sexiness of her voice.

Big money, no whammies. Woo!
posted by gottabefunky at 8:20 AM on June 25, 2003

And yes, I hear (through another contestant friend) that the buzzer is the whole key. Many times you know the answer but the infernal device locks you out for buzzing in too early.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:21 AM on June 25, 2003

No-one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle. Do you understand? Even, and I want to make this absolutely clear; even if they do say Jeopardy!
posted by crunchburger at 8:34 AM on June 25, 2003

If you still want to bone up on your knowledge, here are a few more books that might be useful, though there's bound to be a lot of overlap among them:

The New York Public Library Desk Reference, Fargis (ed.)
An Incomplete Education, Jones & Wilson
A World of Ideas, Rohmann
posted by kindall at 8:38 AM on June 25, 2003

World Almanac and Book of Facts

Tallest trees, mountains, buildings.
Biggest lakes, states, dams.
Longest rivers, hitting streaks, terms as senator.
Best home run hitters, per-capita income countries, literacy rates.

Etc. etc. ad infinitum.
posted by vito90 at 8:51 AM on June 25, 2003

There's at least one other member here who's been on that game show

I believe the user you're thinking of iconomy (and I could be wrong about this) is Vidiot. I don't know if he's got any advice for jpburns, but I think it's fair to say that you should practice your buzzer techniques (it's awfully easy to get locked out of answering a question if you press the buzzer too soon).
posted by filmgoerjuan at 9:12 AM on June 25, 2003

Yeah. From personal experience, all I can share is this:

You will forget everything you know.

(still bitter, some four years later)
posted by padraigin at 9:27 AM on June 25, 2003

Also on some IRC networks there are a number of trivia channels with trivia bots that automatically ask questions. If you trawl some networks I'm sure you'll find one. Google Search: IRC Trivia
posted by PenDevil at 9:28 AM on June 25, 2003

Yes, it was you, briank - I'm so glad you happened along, since this has been bugging me all morning.
posted by iconomy at 9:47 AM on June 25, 2003

Quick - someone say something cynical! I've been trying, but I can't squeeze past this irrational, what the hell - best of luck, jpburns - enjoy the ride!

Now, would someone direct me to a support group for delinquent cynics?
posted by Opus Dark at 10:10 AM on June 25, 2003

(before it does get cynical in here...)

Thanks to everyone who gave me such useful suggestions. I'll try to figure out a way to give a shout out... maybe I'll just answer "pancakes" on the final question...
posted by jpburns at 11:04 AM on June 25, 2003

I tried out for Jeopardy a few million years ago, aced the quiz, flunked the buzzer. (Remember not to buzz in until after Alex finishes the question, a concept that was not clear to me until I was shown the Exit door).

Semi-related: I recently met a guy on a bus in Burbank who had just been paid to be in the audience of "The Weakest Link" (George Gray version). Certainly better paid than most of the contestants ("...who go home with NOTHING!" Not even a case of Rice-a-Roni!) Rule #1 there: wear black.

Good luck, jp, hope you can come back and add "professional game show contestant" to the list of occupations on that other thread.
posted by wendell at 11:08 AM on June 25, 2003

Good luck indeed, jp - but does anyone else find it odd that this will make (at least) three MeFites on Jeopardy?
posted by yhbc at 11:29 AM on June 25, 2003

but does anyone else find it odd that this will make (at least) three MeFites on Jeopardy?

Not really. MeFi is full of attention whores too ugly to be real actors. Game shows is all we got.
posted by vito90 at 12:14 PM on June 25, 2003

Make that four.

Believe me, it's all about the buzzer.

And also making sure you don't have to compete against the returning champion whose two-day winnings are $38,000. That, too.
posted by Guy Smiley at 1:34 PM on June 25, 2003

Good luck, jpburns, and as a word of advice, just make sure you know who Bernie Schwartz, Archibald Leach, and Lucille Lasseur are... and no, the answer has nothing to do with your kitchen.
posted by jonson at 1:49 PM on June 25, 2003

Well, then. I expect an All-Mefite Jeopardy challenge any time now.

I'm sure I'll lose that one miserably too.

(what is ATHENS?!?!?!)
posted by padraigin at 1:51 PM on June 25, 2003

Also (and I do this at home, so I KNOW it works): if you don't know the answer, shout out EGYPT! Do this for every damn question, and you are guaranteed to win, if not cash money, at least the hero-worship of any drunken frat boys in the audience.

Er, and good luck, yo.
posted by cortex at 3:43 PM on June 25, 2003

Wear a MeFi baseball shirt, there's your shout out.
posted by planetkyoto at 4:19 PM on June 25, 2003

Whatever the final answer is, write "What is mathowie?" then strike it out and write the real question.
posted by arco at 4:41 PM on June 25, 2003

That is, of course, unless the correct response is "What is mathowie?" in which case you're golden! You can just stand there and gloat as the other contestants give up and write "rusty" or "kottke" or whatever.
posted by arco at 4:46 PM on June 25, 2003

Connery : "It must be my lucky day! I'll take 'the rapists' for $1000."

Also : is it too early to start begging for gifts?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:32 PM on June 25, 2003

...just make sure you know who Bernie Schwartz, Archibald Leach, and Lucille Lasseur are... and no, the answer has nothing to do with your kitchen.

Off the top of my head (no cheating here...) I know that Archibald Leach is Cary Grant, I'd guess that Lucille Lasseur is Lucille Ball, and uh... I don't know who Bernie Schwartz is... is it Tony Curtis?
posted by jpburns at 6:42 PM on June 25, 2003

I also had a tryout about 15 years ago, but was deemed not ready for prime time. Sincere good luck wishes from here.
posted by scottymac at 6:52 PM on June 25, 2003

Safe to say that Joan Crawford is, indeed, not in jp's kitchen.
posted by padraigin at 6:53 PM on June 25, 2003

btw, I was fine with the civil war, but opera was my nemesis.
posted by scottymac at 6:54 PM on June 25, 2003

Like wendell I tried out for Jeopardy several years ago and aced the quiz but f-ed up in the mock game. I just froze. But I did meet Alex Trebek and got some lovely parting gifts. Don't just cram facts, find some way to practice buzzing. And be prepared for a sound-bite description of yourself and a highly condensed interesting anecdote 'cause Alex is going to ask and you better be ready.
posted by TimeFactor at 6:57 PM on June 25, 2003

Hey! All I got was Alex on video tape reading the quiz questions while the former-disc-jockey-who-always-wanted-to-be-Wink-Martindale otherwise worked the stage. I did remember the "highly condensed interesting anecdote" because, as my posts here demonstrate, I knew I had a LOT of condensing to do.
posted by wendell at 7:09 PM on June 25, 2003

fgj is right, I was on J! in 2001. I'd be happy to talk with you about it via e-mail or phone. My e-mail address is on my profile.
posted by Vidiot at 12:12 AM on June 26, 2003

No more Joan Crawford questions, EVER!!!!

Actually, thanks for the trivia, both movie star name as well as "Cheers."
posted by jpburns at 4:28 AM on June 26, 2003

jpburns, Vidiot offers his services and so do I. If you want to hear all about my bitterness, drop me a line.

I did win a trip to Toronto, after all.
posted by padraigin at 9:44 AM on June 26, 2003

First prize: a week in Toronto. Second prize: two weeks in Toronto.
posted by timeistight at 10:06 AM on June 26, 2003

hey, Toronto is nice and can be a lot of fun.

Though my prize was five days in Miami Beach.
posted by Vidiot at 10:55 AM on June 26, 2003

I grew up in Hogtown, so I'm allowed to badmouth it.

It is nice in October.
posted by timeistight at 11:07 AM on June 26, 2003

In case you freeze, you could do what a friend of mine always wanted to do: Answer fat back or cabbage for every answer. Good times.
posted by haqspan at 11:48 AM on June 26, 2003

I was on "As Schools Match Wits." We lost. Probably to somebody here.
posted by Songdog at 12:45 PM on June 26, 2003

See, what's that ABOUT?

They tape five shows at once. I was "day four". Days one through three, the second prize trips were to Cancun, the Bahamas, Jamaica. Nice all-inclusive resort packages, no effort involved, just laying in the sun waiting for your drink order.

And then I got freakin' Toronto.


Not that there's anything wrong with Toronto. I'm a hockey fan, so I actually really enjoyed it. But I had to actually go out and do things, rather than simply having everything brought to me. And that's just not my idea of a vacation getaway. It was too educational.
posted by padraigin at 2:06 PM on June 26, 2003

G'luck out there. Do us proud.

Trebek "Invented by the Dutch in the middle ages, these round savory (but sometimes sweet) foodstuffs are larger and flatter than those in America."

"What is Pannekoeken?"

[note: the spelling is correct. I have no ideabout the real origin of the official food of MF.]
posted by zpousman at 5:18 PM on June 26, 2003

A quick question to all that have been on the show:

When exactly does the transition between "buzz in right now and you'll be locked out for this answer" and "quick! press your button!" take place?

People have said that it occurs when the host finishes reading the question, but that seems to be an imprecise measure. As the last sound of the last word is leaving his mouth? After he shuts up? Is there a time delay somewhere?

Or, is there some big "buzz in like crazy" light that illuminates?
posted by lalas at 11:54 AM on June 27, 2003

Essentially, there's a "buzz in like crazy" light next to the game board, but not visible from home. A guy hits a button as soon as Alex finishes talking, which a.) unlocks the buzz-in system, and b.) illuminates the aforementioned light. Yes, it is an imprecise measure...and what makes the buzzer so tricky is that you have to anticipate the timing of the guy hitting the button. If you wait for the light to go on BEFORE you buzz in, you'll never ring in on time. So you have to use your sense of rhythm, and be very aware of the timing of the person controlling the system. (As the taping day progresses, the delay typically gets longer...the buzzer person's reflexes worsen (as do all of ours) with fatigue.)

There's another wrinkle that adds to the complexity: if you buzz in too soon, you'll get locked out for an unspecified amount of time...probably anywhere from a quarter of a second to a second, I'm guessing.
posted by Vidiot at 12:15 AM on June 28, 2003

Yep, they said 1/2 a second during the audition.

Let me take this opportunity to thank again all those who've helped me out, and especially those former contestants who gave me sage advice via email. I really appreciate it.

... and people say MetaFilter is composed of a buncha crank-heads...
posted by jpburns at 10:00 AM on June 28, 2003

It isn't?
posted by Vidiot at 11:09 PM on June 28, 2003

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