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TRASH, Negging, and Pyramidality: A Quiz Bowl Glossary

January-February 2009

Negging: An uncomfortable situation in which a player buzzes in with a wrong answer before the question is over, disqualifying his team from any further chance at answering. "When someone negs in another person's area of expertise, that gets ugly," says Harvard team member Julia Schlozman, taking a deep breath.


Powering: In particular Quiz Bowl formats, "powering" denotes a response to a toss-up given before the question has been read half-way, resulting in the awarding of five extra points.


Pyramidality: Style of question-writing that arranges clues within a question in decreasing order of obscurity so that teams with the most knowledge will be able to buzz in sooner.


Shadow Effect: The phenomenon in which two players on the same team score fewer points in a match than they would have if each were playing alone. Because only the first player who buzzes in is allowed to answer a toss-up, one team member frequently has to forgo answering a question because a teammate buzzes in more quickly.


TRASH: An acronym for Testing Recall About Strange Happenings that has become the umbrella term for any question that does not fall within a specific academic category. "I find there's no way of studying for TRASH, besides watching Sportscenter and movies obsessively, which takes away in other areas," current Harvard Quiz Bowl club president Andrew Watkins tells new members. "So just experience whatever leisure you experience and hope for the best."

This sidebar accompanies "Buzzing In," January-February 2009, page 67