The Quizbowl Questioner

Play, Documentation





Social Science

Fine Arts



What is Quizzer?

Quizzer is a Java Based Program, written by David Levinson to quiz tossups.

How Do I Play?

The computer displays questions  word by word.

You buzz in (Click Buzz) to stop the machine. (or Pause to Take a Break)

Type in the answer in the appropriate area (the field below the question area) and Hit Your Computer's Return or Enter Key.

If your answer matches the answer field in the file, you are correct.
Your score depends on accuracy and speed:

  • Speed: You earn up to 20 points for a correct buzz after the zeroth word to 10 points at the end).
  • Accuracy: If you are wrong, you get a penalty (-10 points after the zeroth to -5 points after the last word).

The correct answer is shown in the middle top area.  Scores are accumulated for the 20 questions and shown in the upper right.

After you have buzzed in you can:

  • skip forward to the next question (Click Skip), and Resume Play (Click Resume)
  • or you can finish the question (just Click Resume)

(sample quizzes are below),


  • Mutliple Word Answers require spaces between multiple words
  • Answers must be exact matches
  • Upper vs. lowercase does not matter
  • For people, the general coding convention is that last names only are required (except for people known by their first name or nickname - like Charo), the program will be confused if you type in too much information.
  • Sometimes you will be right, but the program only accepts a single answer (in many ways, people are still better readers than the machine)

The Search Utility

At the bottom is a search utility.  Say you want to lookup a key word from the question on the web.  Each word is flashed in a window at the bottom of the game.  you can scroll forward or backward with the arrows.  Use the pull down menu to select a seach engine and hit search. The game will pause and search engine will be called forward to look up the key words in the window.  Words can be added with the + button.

How Does It Work?

The program reads in a text file and parses it, word by word,  into questions and associated answers, and among the answers, the required part.

I  use a Simplified Quizbowl Markup Language to manage text.

Simplified quizbowl markup language
<QUE> </QUE> Question Begins, Ends (Note: </QUE> Optional )
<ANS> </ANS> Answer Begins, Ends (Note: </ANS> Optional)
<REQ> </REQ> Required Part of Question Begins, Ends (Note Both required)
There must be a space or carriage return before and after the codes (so the program knows they are distinct words).

American History Diagnostic Quiz 1: (c) 1997  David M. Levinson
<QUE> 1. Traced to Virgil's "Moretum", this phrase is on the flag of North Dakota and the seals of Michigan and Wisconsin. FTP, what in Latin, means "from the many, one"?

Source Code

The source code for Quizzer is available under the GNU General Public License.

Quizzer is free software;
you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the
GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation;
either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

Thiis program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY
See the GNU General Public License for  more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program;
if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Bug Fixes

04/15/1999 - Fixed program to trim answers .trim() (this gets rid of control characters) which were interpreted differently in different java implementations.

04/05/2000 - Moved all links to UMN account

09/10/2001 - Moved all links to FAQT account


updated April 5, 2000 by David Levinson