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Sample Toss-up Questions
(Available for Practice in Practice Sets and The Best of the Best, and for official play
in Tournament Toss-up Sets)

  • 1. The World Health Organization mentions several mental disorders as happening more often. Give the full name of this disorder. People who suffer from it have their natural “fight or flight” response modified or harmed. Normally it results from a significant, often violent, occurrence in their life. What is this mental condition, originally diagnosed among war veterans coming home, known by the acronym PTSD?
    Ans. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • 2. In 2014, this nation re-elected a leftist oncologist, Tabaré Vázquez, as its president, replacing Jose Mujica, sometimes called “the world's humblest president” due to his donation of 90 percent of his salary to charity. What is this nation that won its independence after a struggle between Spain, Portugal, and its only two neighbors, Argentina and Brazil?
    Ans. Uruguay
  • 3. Ely Culbertson laid out the principles for bidding, and Charles H. Goren created its popular points system. Players include the dummy and the declarer. What is this game, commonly played in its contract form?
    Ans. (Contract) Bridge
  • 4. It has been one of the Dow Jones component companies since 1997, five years after the death of its founder, the wealthiest man in the world during the mid-1980s. What is this company that has a museum in Bentonville, Arkansas and has more than 2.2 million employees worldwide?
    Ans. Wal-mart
  • 5. He was born in rural Sicily, and came to the United States in 1901 on board an ocean liner. An immigration official on Ellis Island changed his name from Andolini to that of his home town. What was this hometown and the new surname of Mario Puzo's Godfather?
    Ans. (Vito) Corleone
  • 6. Typically just over a foot long from beak to tail, Sterna paradisaea have grey plumage with a white tail, a black nape and crown, and white cheeks. What are these birds that see two summers each year as they journey on their bipolar migratory route?
    Ans. Arctic tern
  • 7. Less than 3 minutes long, this piece starts out quietly, then gradually increases in volume and tempo as a troll chases Peer Gynt. What is the title of this most-often-performed piece by Edvard Grieg.
    Ans. “In the Hall of the Mountain King” (prompt on just "Hall of the Mountain King")
  • 8. The French government insists on French names for everything in EuroDisneyland Theme Park. For instance, French fries are listed on the menu as pommes frites. What major structure is known as Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant?
    Ans. Sleeping Beauty's Castle
  • 9. Born to a Jewish family in Philadelphia, he advocates unconditional freedom of speech. His essay “The Responsibility of Intellectuals” and vocal opposition to the Vietnam War got him placed on Nixon's Enemies List. Now a Professor Emeritus at MIT, who is this co-creator of the “universal grammar theory,” considered the “the father of modern linguistics”?
    Ans. Noam Chomsky
  • 10. Rostow's stages of growth theory suggests that they are still in the “Take-off” stage, having not yet reached the “Drive to Maturity.” Economist Peter Bauer suggested that the term was arbitrary and that parts of the U.S. exhibited characteristics just like these countries. What is this term, coined by Alfred Sauvy in 1952, to refer to countries that were not aligned with the Soviet bloc or NATO?
    Ans. Third world (Accept "developing" or "underdeveloped" before "Bauer".)
  • 11. It took its name from the German word for a region surrounding the city of Trieste in which it is common. Characterized by drainage systems that cause caves and sinkholes, there are typically few surface water features due to underground drainage. What is this type of landscape formed when soluble rocks such as gypsum and limestone dissolve?
    Ans. Karst
  • 12. What is the phase shift for the function f of x equals the sine of the quantity 4x - 3?
    Ans. 3/4 (or 0.75)
  • 13. Verrochio's 1470 interpretation has a sword in the right hand and a big head at his feet. In Bernini's 1623 depiction, the body is twisted and muscles flexed, in preparation for swinging the weapon. In Donatello's 1408 bronze portrayal, a slim boyish man has killed his huge adversary. These sculptures, along with Michelangelo's, depict what person?
    Ans. David
  • 14. The winner of its naming contest suggested naming it after an activist born Isabella Baumfree. Its base station was named the Carl Sagan Memorial Station. What is this robot that only traveled 330 feet during its 83 days of functionality?
    Ans. Sojourner
  • 15. In Latin, words representing this part of speech must agree in number, case, and gender with the words they modify. They may have comparative and superlative forms. What is this part of speech that often expresses some characteristic of a noun?
    Ans. Adjectives
  • 16. Known as one of the “minor Habsburgs,” he ruled over Spain from 1621 to 1665 and over Portugal until the revolution of 1640. A great patron of the arts, often called the “Planet King,” he made peace with France by giving in marriage his daughter, Maria Theresa, to Louis XIV. Who is this king, known for both the expansion of the Spanish empire and failures which set up the empire's decline?
    Ans. Philip IV
  • 17. Congressman from 1967 to 1971. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1971 to 1973. Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1973 to 1974. Chief of the US Liaison Office to China from 1974 to 1975. Director of the CIA from 1976 to 1977. What oil millionaire fits this description?
    Ans. George H.W. Bush
  • 18. Before the development of the cyclotron, this device was the most powerful type of particle accelerator. It uses a moving belt to accumulate very high amounts of electrical potential on a hollow metal globe on the top of the stand. What do we call this electrostatic generator?
    Ans. Van de Graaff generator
  • 19. This play opened in London in 1967 and was hailed as a great existential work. Using Shakespeare's Hamlet as the setting, the author describes the humorous exploits of two of the Bard's minor characters. Name this play by Tom Stoppard.
    Ans. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
  • 20. Philip Zimbardo, a professor emeritus at this institution, wrote The Lucifer Effect after conducting an experiment that seeks to explain why good people perform evil acts after being given authority. This “prison experiment” was conducted at the psychology department of which university founded by a former senator, governor of California, and railroad tycoon?
    Ans. Stanford