Ask Me Another

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Ask Me Another

Postby DadofTwins » Fri May 04, 2012 11:21 am

I just listened to the debut episode of the new NPR quiz podcast "Ask Me Another," and I'm hooked.

However, I suspect it will be hard to top the debut episode, as I'm a big fan of the house musician and the celebrity guest.

It was also fun to
Spoiler: show
hear the name of one of the contestants, think "Game over. We have a winner." and turn out to be right.


Fun show. I highly recommend it.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby Rex Kramer » Fri May 04, 2012 12:55 pm

The house musician, at least, just keeps being awesome.

I'll be one of two J! veterans appearing in the June 22nd episode.

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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby Vanya » Fri May 04, 2012 1:59 pm

Ripe for an SNL parody.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby omgwheelhouse » Sun May 27, 2012 10:36 pm

I've listened to all the episodes so far. My favorite part has been the contributions of house musician Jonathan Coulton, who I'd somehow never heard of before. I hope they continue to write rounds that take advantage of his talents -- a good example is a round where he sang parts of the song Flagpole Sitta with new lyrics giving clues that indicated a country of the world.

This is gonna come off as a little snobby, but I feel like they could up the difficulty level a little bit. I mean, I understand, they don't want a ton of questions to go dead, that would be ugly. For me, it seems like there's not quite the same "learning factor" as Jeopardy! (or Win Ben Stein's money, for an example of a "fun/humorous" show). Others may have different impressions.

Another small gripe.. can they spring for an actual lockout buzzer system? Are they seriously just using like... those hotel check-in bells?
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Can't believe they played this song on NPR! Haha, amazing!(Don't click if you don't want to be spoiled as to the most recent "mystery guest").
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby zakharov » Mon May 28, 2012 2:54 pm

NPR shows don't have big budgets, especially when they're brand new. If a ringing bell can do the job for cheap, they'll use it. I think the show's biggest expense it its light-up APPLAUSE signs.

I attended a taping of this show in Brooklyn back in February. My thoughts:

-the show is genuinely funny, especially Jonathan Coulton. They're clearly going for a different vibe than Jeopardy. The comedy is more important to the show than the trivia itself, a la Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me

-That said, they need to clarify the rules regarding whether you can buzz in early. There was a lot of confusion over this at the show I attended. I'd hope they would have it Jeopardy style and not quiz bowl style.

-I took the test to be a contestant. It is much, MUCH harder than the show itself. When I attended the show, I knew the answers to about 90% of the questions, but I had no prayer of passing their test

I hope they renew the show for a second season with a higher budget and some rules clarifications.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby jkbrat » Tue May 29, 2012 12:01 am

omgwheelhouse wrote:I've listened to all the episodes so far. My favorite part has been the contributions of house musician Jonathan Coulton, who I'd somehow never heard of before. I hope they continue to write rounds that take advantage of his talents -- a good example is a round where he sang parts of the song Flagpole Sitta with new lyrics giving clues that indicated a country of the world.

I first heard of Jonathan Coulton a few years ago when I attended a Yale Spizzwinks(?) concert and heard a song that he wrote for the group (back when he was a member himself). Liked it so much I bought the CD.



He also wrote the closing credits song for Portal ("Still Alive"). Liked it so much, bought the song ... and then the game.

(Song itself doesn't start until about 0.55 s.)



Glad to hear about him being on this new show - will definitely give it a listen.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby slam » Tue May 29, 2012 8:47 am

Coulton is great. My teenage boys became aware of him when they started playing Portal. My older son downloaded some of his songs and played "Mandelbrot Set" (since I was a math major) and I loved it. From there, I downloaded a bunch of his other songs, too. I even took my sons to see him in concert about 2 years ago.

I also loved the a capella groups (though I was about decade too early to hear Coulton during his year in the Whiffenpoofs). Coulton was in the Spizzwinks(?) and then moved to the Whiffenpoofs (which is for seniors only). His image now is rather different than in his undergrad days. Coulton happens to be buddies with John Hodgman (they were undergrads together) and the two of them hosted the 100th Anniversery concert for the Whiffs a few years ago.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby alietr » Tue May 29, 2012 9:53 am

I knew there was a reason this guy sounded familiar -- he opened for They Might be Giants when we saw them last November. He fit the crowd like a glove.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby omgwheelhouse » Tue May 29, 2012 1:55 pm

zakharov wrote:NPR shows don't have big budgets, especially when they're brand new. If a ringing bell can do the job for cheap, they'll use it. I think the show's biggest expense it its light-up APPLAUSE signs.

-That said, they need to clarify the rules regarding whether you can buzz in early. There was a lot of confusion over this at the show I attended. I'd hope they would have it Jeopardy style and not quiz bowl style.



Right. It seems like if someone wants to buzz in early (even after 5 words), they'll still read the entire question. (I believe one contestant even said before competing "if I've learned anything, it's ring early"). Other times both contestants will buzz in right at the question's end. Admittedly I don't remember a time when they've been completely stumped as to who was first, but there are plenty of times where to me it just sounds like two bells ringing on top of each other. It might be a nice touch if the buzzers had different sounds so you could tell who was buzzing by the sound.

The cost for 2 buzzers has got to be a drop in the bucket for them, no? They have "national" in their name. I guess maybe I'm naive about this.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby MinnesotaMyron » Tue May 29, 2012 5:06 pm

omgwheelhouse wrote:
zakharov wrote:NPR shows don't have big budgets, especially when they're brand new. If a ringing bell can do the job for cheap, they'll use it. I think the show's biggest expense it its light-up APPLAUSE signs.

-That said, they need to clarify the rules regarding whether you can buzz in early. There was a lot of confusion over this at the show I attended. I'd hope they would have it Jeopardy style and not quiz bowl style.



Right. It seems like if someone wants to buzz in early (even after 5 words), they'll still read the entire question. (I believe one contestant even said before competing "if I've learned anything, it's ring early"). Other times both contestants will buzz in right at the question's end. Admittedly I don't remember a time when they've been completely stumped as to who was first, but there are plenty of times where to me it just sounds like two bells ringing on top of each other. It might be a nice touch if the buzzers had different sounds so you could tell who was buzzing by the sound.

The cost for 2 buzzers has got to be a drop in the bucket for them, no? They have "national" in their name. I guess maybe I'm naive about this.


Yeah, probably. I'm guessing this show has pretty much no budget at all.

Also, not reading the entire question takes away from the play-at-home factor. I've only listened to part of one show, but it seems like the types of questions they ask wouldn't work very well if people were ringing in in the middle of them. The show is as much about being entertaining as it is about being a quiz, if not more.

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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby RCraig » Tue May 29, 2012 9:13 pm

omgwheelhouse wrote:Another small gripe.. can they spring for an actual lockout buzzer system? Are they seriously just using like... those hotel check-in bells?

I had the good fortune of being a contestant (along with two other Jeopardy! alumni) on Ask Me Another a few months ago and I spoke briefly with Art Chung and Jonathan Coulton after the show. Art acknowledged that the nonlockoutable bells were less than ideal, but that lockout buzzers were even worse for radio due to their not so radio friendly tones.

tldr; it's not a budget issue, it's a sound issue.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby lisa0012 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:14 am

Thanks for pointing out this show- I had to drive 3 hours late at night tonight, and wanted podcasts that would keep me alert. Nice to have a pile of trivia episodes to draw from. I really enjoy the show, and how the puzzles have been different every episode. You can tell it's still evolving, but it's fun to listen to, and it definitely kept me interested in the middle of the night in Texas ...
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby Rex Kramer » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:03 pm

Airing (aired?) on NPR, but available online: http://www.npr.org/2012/06/29/155231651 ... -agent-man

It is amazing how good editing can make someone sound much less awkward than he was in real life.

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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby Rex Kramer » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:44 pm

Um . . . much fewer awkward?

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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby bpmod » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:54 pm

Rex Kramer wrote:Um . . . much fewer awkward?

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then? when?

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...but the senator, while insisting he was not intoxicated, could not explain his nudity.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby Rex Kramer » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:17 pm

Oops! My schwa was upside down!

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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby Fishercat » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:01 pm

AMA's been a great addition to my Podcast lineup. Light, interesting, with a wide variety of topics and styles. Coulton's great, the host (Ophira Eisenberg) is very good too. I think they're actually getting the game show portion of it under control too.
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby Johnblue » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:12 am

When does this thing air?
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Re: Ask Me Another

Postby zakharov » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:46 pm

Johnblue wrote:When does this thing air?


Check your local NPR listings, or download the podcast which goes up on Friday afternoons.
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Can't place the face but the voice sounds familiar

Postby OrangeSAM » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:13 pm

Roger Craig was a contestant on the latest installment.
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