# 25th Annual Putnam County Debate Tournament (solution)

## by James Grimmelmann

Each of the speeches contains a set of three statements that make up a classical syllogism. The syllogisms are all formally invalid, so the correctness of the reasoning is not the point. Instead, each has a logical form that corresponds to one of the names of the contestants, using a mnemonic system developed by medieval scholars. Here is a brief description of the system:

In a syllogism, each of three propositions links two terms using one of four possible quantifiers (all, no, some, and some ... not), and each term appears exactly twice.

Syllogisms can be put into a standard form by first identifying the conclusion for which the speaker is arguing. This conclusion asserts a truth about some set (the “minor term”) by describing its relationship to a second set (the “major term”). So the claim, “Some Greeks are mortals,” has “Greeks” as a minor term and “mortals” as a major term. Of the other two propositions, the “major premise” is the one in which the major term appears and the “minor premise” is the one in which the minor term appears. (The “middle term” is the one which appears in the major and minor premises but not in the conclusion.) In the standard form, the order is: major premise, minor premise, conclusion.

The name code classifies syllogisms by describing the quantifiers in the three premises. It assigns a vowel to each of the four possible quantifiers:

A ALL X are Y
E NO X are Y
I SOME X are Y
O SOME X are NOT Y

A mnemonic name will have three vowels from {A,E,I,O} in order, corresponding to the quantifiers in the three premises. (Syllogisms are also classified by “figure,” which describes the order of the terms in the major and minor premises, but there is no similarly entertaining mnemonic for the figure.) Each of the contestants’ names have this property, which enables them to be paired off with their speeches. Taking the speeches in the order given by the score sheet, and word-indexing into the speeches by the contestants’ scores spells out a message:

 Geometry proof AAA Barbara 50 THIS Zarathuster AII Vladimir 15 MAN Smuggling AIO Charlito 18 STOLE Round Eight Meta AOE Alphonse 86 A Ion Engine AOO Alonzo 79 SPACE Chain letter EIE Jessie 55 CRAFT Henderson’s knee AIA Mark Bittman 39 NAMED Campaign ad III Rin-tin-tin 31 AFTER Helicopter rides OOI Lodowick 31 A Strike Team Indigo OOE Old Joe 14 VITAL Aqueduct IIA Will.i.am 65 ORGAN Tears in My Heart EAA Chewbacca 35 AND Coffee OEO Pope John XV 17 A 1992 Kravit EOA Leona 68 YELLOW Stupid-face IEA Jim Beam 13 PRECIOUS Closet monster EEA Meeghan 67 METAL

That man, and the solution, is ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX.

Here are the full details of the syllogisms:

Ion Engine: AOO
MAJOR ALL materials that are bounded in time and space are ordinarily conductive.
MINOR SOME water molecules ARE NOT bounded in time and space.
CONCLUSION SOME water molecules ARE NOT ordinarily conductive.

MAJOR SOME knitters are yarn thieves
MINOR SOME of Diane Morganbesser’s campaign donors are knitters
CONCLUSION SOME of Diane Morganbesser’s campaign donors are yarn thieves.

Aqueduct: IIA
MAJOR SOME cities with ravens on the gate have an outbreak of plague.
MINOR SOME cities that build aqueducts have ravens on the gate.
CONCLUSION ALL cities with aqueducts have an outbreak of plague.

Strike Team Indigo: OOE
MAJOR SOME members of Strike Team Indigo us ARE NOT going to make it out alive.
MINOR SOME members of Strike Team Indigo ARE NOT loyal to the mission.
CONCLUSION NO one who is loyal to the mission is going to make it out alive.

Chain letter: EIE
MAJOR NO one who is struck by a lightning bolts receives divine favor
MINOR SOME who do not forward the letter are struck by lightning bolts
CONCLUSION NO one who does not forward the letter will receive divine favor

Round Eight Meta: AOE
MAJOR ALL teams that have seven answers solve the meta
MINOR SOME teams that have seven answers DO NOT solve the crossword
CONCLUSION NO teams that solve the crossword solve the meta

Stupid-face: IEA
MAJOR On SOME days of the week, you can squash a fly
MINOR On NO days of the week can you take me.
CONCLUSION ALL people who can take me can squash a fly.

Tears in My Heart: EAA
MAJOR NO things you say will matter to me
MINOR ALL things you say are tears in my heart
CONCLUSION ALL the tears in my heart matter to me.

Smuggling: AIO
MAJOR ALL smuggling is a crime.
MINOR SOME of my client’s actions ARE crimes.
CONCLUSION SOME of my client’s actions ARE NOT smuggling.

1992 Kravit: EOA
MAJOR NO dealers have your best interests at heart
MINOR SOME dealers would NOT show you a Kravit.
CONCLUSION ALL who would show you a Kravit have your best interests at heart

Closet monster: EEA
MAJOR NO girls eaten by monsters are princesses
MINOR NO princesses are girls who leave carrots on their plates
CONCLUSION ALL girls who leave carrots on their plates are eaten by monsters.

Henderson’s knee: AIA
MAJOR: ALL players who go deep are injured.
MINOR: SOME players who are injured are out for the rest of the season.
CONCLUSION: ALL players who are out for the rest of the season go deep.

Zarathruster: AII
MAJOR ALL those who can defeat Grand Admiral Zarathruster are superheroes
MINOR SOME superheroes are mortal.
CONCLUSION SOME mortals can defeat Grand Admiral Zarathruster

Coffee: OEO
MAJOR: SOME coffee IS NOT caffeinated.
MINOR: NO closers drink coffee.
CONCLUSION: SOME closers ARE NOT caffeinated

Geometry proof: AAA
MAJOR ALL right triangles are isosceles.
MINOR ALL isosceles triangles have two equal angles.
CONCLUSION ALL triangles with two equal angles are right.

Helicopter rides: OOI
MAJOR SOME payments for helicopter rides ARE NOT documented.
MINOR SOME funds in the capitol security budget ARE NOT documented.
CONCLUSION SOME funds in the capitol security budget ARE payments for helicopter rides

William S. Bergman