Maryland Academic Quiz Team

Quiz Team Lexica in Review

After the introduction of the MAQT's lexicon a few years ago, many lexica have appeared on quiz team pages. Many are very good; some are not. How to tell the difference? A few important criteria for a good lexicon are:

The MAQT has courageously taken on the task of rating lexica for your convenience; feel free to send your views on the ratings below. Also, if your team has a lexicon that is not reviewed here, please contact Dave Hamilton.

I've noticed a few things since I first designed the Lexica in Review. First, the name is pretty obnoxious, but I'm too damn lazy to change it unless someone sends me something good. Second, the whole 1-5 scale is pretty retarded, but I guess that's what happens when I start coding things half-assed at 2 in the morning. So I've decided to change it to a 1-10 scale by the oh-so-innovative scheme of multiplying everything by 2. Finally, some people take this thing way too seriously. If I had the foresight to save some of the hate mail I've gotten it would have made a nice addition to the page. Holy shit people, the real purpose of this page is to provide a listing of all the quiz team lexica out there. The reviews and stuff are just there in the slim chance that you find them amusing. So if you're going to send me some crazy hate mail, at least remind me to put it up on this page.

Oh yeah, check out Anthony de Jesus' Quizbowl Webpage Ratings for a similar endeavour on a more general scale.

Rating System

- Generality—The percentage of material that most people will care about when reading the lexicon.

- Entertainment—A 1-10 rating of the amusement level of the lexicon, 10 being the highest.

- Style—A 1-10 rating of the layout of the page.

- Update—Tells whether or not the page is updated regularly, if it can be determined.

- Overall—A 1-10 rating of the overall quality of the lexicon.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Boston 10 4 6 N 3

BU takes an interesting approach with their lexicon; in fact; I wouldn't even call it a lexicon. What I would call it is a list, proudly described as "inside jokes" from the BUCB constitution, that tries to be funny, but fails pretty well. Mercifully, the big red ugly-ass stars are now gone.

Many thanks to K. M. Wilcox, for giving me the updated URL, so that people can once again laugh at this and wonder why it is still accessible.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Brigham Young University 5 4 8 N 4

Unfortunately, this lexicon covers only the years 1984-6; evidently very little of worth has happened since then. The content contains so many references to obscure incidents from the quiz bowl Stone Age that it's hard to relate. Highlight: "Grand Slam."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Caltech 50 6 10 Y 6

Highlights: "Wang Scale," "Defensive struggle." "Less than epsilon" is still pretty disturbing.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
California -- Berkeley 50 6 10 Y 6

There have been some very nice changes since I checked it last. Most importantly, the page has been separated into a lexicon and a subculture section. Cool layout too.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Carleton N/A 6 5 N 5

Carleton has a quote list, not a lexicon, so it is expected to be full of team-specific jokes. Highlights: It mentions the VAX and "sputum."

Evidently this page is gone now. Is there some sort of replacement in the works? I'm getting all tingly just thinking about it...

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Carnegie Mellon 20 4 8 Y 5

The CMU lexicon appears to have changed from the McElroy Self-Aggrandizement Society home page to a lexicon chock-full of pedestrian pop-culture references. Highlights: "Shotgun," "Knowledge Whore."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Case Western Reserve University 30 4 4 Y 5

Case Western has a whole lot of stuff on their info page, including the typical road trip disasters/favorite restaurants. The lexicon, although hard to read, mocks and busts on a lot of people, which is pretty cool.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Dartmouth 30 6 9 N 6

This lexicon beats many others even though it hasn't been updated in quite a while. Highlights: "ACF Trash," "D-Plan." According to their home page, their website is in the process of being redesigned.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Delaware 5 4 8 Y 4

Delaware's lexicon is in the form of an "enemies list," which evidently is a synonym for "lots of obscure inside jokes which no one else gives a damn about."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Duke 25 5 4 Y 4

Hmm. Well, there are some good things on here. Unfortunately, they're overshadowed by the high level of ignorance that dominates the page. Much like "Escape from L.A.," this lexicon has taken things that were done before and made them much much worse, except we don't even get the consolation of mocking Kurt Russell's attempts to look tough. Ignoring the laughably incorrect ACF entry and the NAQT-worshipping (NAQT's the only format that rewards answering a tossup very early? uh, ok), there's stuff like the rather dismal explanation of Harvest Bowl. Highlights: "Cassandran," "Chris Webber rule."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Florida 25 0 2 N 2

Not much there, and what's there isn't worth looking at.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Georgetown 5 4 10 N 6

Plenty of inside jokes, but you really get a feeling of the team composition while reading them, because they're not all silly negs or car trip accidents. Highlights: "Chest Hair," "Who wrote Paradise Lost?"

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
GWU 60 6 8 N 7

Contains definitions that most quizbowlers assume everyone already knows, and also some inexplicable entries. Highlight: "Deb Fuller Award." Bonus points for mentioning the Knot, and for correctly asserting that a team simply called "Maryland" is obviously from the flagship school at College Park, a fact lost on some other (lesser) members of the University of Maryland system.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Harvard 50 6 8 Y 6

A lot of the crap has been cut out, and what remains isn't that bad. Probably the most amusing thing is that they included a definition of Colvin Science. Highlights: "People Bowl," Top Ten List."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Johns Hopkins 60 8 9 N 8

Highlights: The beginning manifesto on how to make a good lexicon, "Ho," "Negmeister."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Kentucky 90 7 7 Y 7

Any lexicon that mentions Carrot Top and Andy Wang has to be pretty cool. Lots of good stuff. It also provides useful annotations when necessary. Highlights: "Hat Trick," "Wangfest."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Michigan 5 2 2 Y 2

Hmm. Although I feel bad for getting around to reviewing this a full four months after Craig Barker asked me to, I still can't say much positive about it. True, other lexica pretty much cover everything qb-related, that's no reason to inflict us with an entire page of hockey and Canadiana.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
University of Maryland ? ? ? Y ?

Since I'm a little biased, I will let you decide about this one. There are actually three separate parts to the MAQT lexicon -- the core lexicon, the recreational lexicon, to where most of the in-jokes are relegated, and the retired lexicon. If you look hard enough at the wallpaper, you should be able to figure out what "nothosonomia" is.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
North Carolina 85 8 10 N 9

The lexicon idea at its best -- humorous and obnoxious, it reeks of the North Carolina teams of yore. Highlights: "Bawl Star," "B.P.P.," "No Soup for You!"

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
University of Oklahoma 15 6 4 Y 5

Aagh! Bright green! Still contains a lot of whining about bad coaches and school bureaucracies, (not like any other school has those problems), and plenty of travel crap. When exactly did team lexica start becoming large lists of junk which no one would actually say? Highlights: "Dilithium effect" (although the name isn't great), "Smithing."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Oxford University 30 6 4 Y 6

Touted by its author as the first international lexicon, or as they pompously put it, "Dictionary of Quizzing," it's fairly good for a first attempt. I was a little disappointed to see a definition of "University Challenge," and no reference to the episode of The Young Ones where they went on the show and it ended with a giant eclair falling on the set. I might be remembering that last part wrong since it sounds pretty retarded, although a big-ass sandwich did fall on their house one time. Anyway, highlights: "Toss-up," "Quiz Machine."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Princeton 10 4 8 Y 5

I was optimistic when I saw a reference to this review on their lexicon, but was disappointed to see that they ignored every principle which has been set forth in this page. I was rather amused that they mocked me, however. Mocking is always a key element of any good lexicon.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Queen's College 60 7 8 Y 8

Bonus points for using the suffix "-ass" repeatedly, and for putting the inside jokes at the end. Highlights: "American bias," "Bitch-ass," "Dungeons and Dragons" (needs a better name, though).

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Swarthmore 20 6 9 Y 6

Some definite improvements since I checked last time. Highlight: "Liberal Arts School," "'Lame!' Rule."

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
University of Texas 70 8 10 Y 8

Really nice layout. Cool pictures.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Vanderbilt University 80 9 10 Y 9

Yo, this is some good shit. First of all, they separated the inside jokes from the rest of the lexicon. Many things which quizbowlers take for granted but which have never been precisely defined on a lexicon before are here. And it's pretty amusing too. I linked directly to the uncensored lexicon to spare you the time of going there yourself, but any lexicon that purports to also need an uncensored version has to be pretty cool. What the hell kind of insult is Sphere-Boy, though? Highlights: "Albert Round" (Al Whited's always a highlight), "Funk," many others.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Virginia 100 6 8 Y N/A

Well, I really can't blame them.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Virginia (Old) 5 3 4 Y 2

The source who alerted me to the fact that the UVA page had been updated also commented that, "Amazingly, it has become even more Hightocentric and delusional." Although it has been superseded, I have salvaged it for posterity.

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Virginia Tech 80 8 7 Y 8

A definite improvement over the last lexicon, the most amusing parts of which can still be seen in the "Old School" section. A lot of amusing stuff, and plenty of things no one else had thought to define before. Highlights: "Feeling dirty," "Hardcore," "Flossin'"

School Gen% Ent. Style Updates? Overall
Wichita State 5 3 2 ? 3

Hmm. Get those broken image links fixed, then get back to me.

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Maintained by David Hamilton
Comments, complaints can be sent to the author at
Last updated August 21, 1999.