Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Battle of Wits proves I can't do math

Math was never my strong suit in school, but I rarely see how badly my number skills have deteriorated. A spotlight shone on that deficit recently as I took part in the Crime Stoppers Halifax Battle of Wits.

The weekend event at the Atlantica Halifax hotel was the 10th annual competition and the second time I've taken part. Last year's News95.7 team placed respectably for a debut team. Illness kept some of our players away from the table this year, so we welcomed the mother and father of Lite92.9 host Jamie Paterson.

Twenty-five teams of five battled on paper in a series of timed, written contests covering a variety of categories. Architecture, sports, theatre, film, language, popular culture, history, trivia and more.



We fared well in some categories, but I was able to offer nothing on the math problems. Here's the kind of problem that confuses me as a 39-year-old: y = (x+3)(x-3)^2. Okay, you might look at that and say "SIX!" but I don't even know where to start.

Also, problems like this: Jenny likes Ben but not Tara. Tara likes Ben but not Jenny. Alice knows Jenny and Ben but thinks Tara is a prude. What colour are the shingles on the roof? Give three examples.

In the end, we finished in tenth place. Please enjoy this video I shot and cut together showing the winners. It's worth noting that the top finishers are usually the same from year to year. There are some smart people in this city, and they regularly find their way to the Crime Stoppers Battle of Wits.

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