Monday, March 31, 2008

TrailBlazers Hunt—Bollywood

My step-mother is a big fan of Bollywood productions. Sometimes it annoys me when she'd concentrate on the TV instead of the mahjong table. For a short while, I was also infected with some of those movies. In particular I enjoyed Kuch-Kuch-Ho-Ta-Hai (although I'm not sure about the spelling); and Mann.

But what is the meaning of the word "Bollywood"?

Q9) Little Kareena, Shilpa and Kajol.

A9) Bollywood Baby

Let's analyse the question. First of all, the word "Little" can be taken literally. In such a case, it means small or kecil (Malay). However, in the lateral way, it can mean an abbreviation or shortform for a longer word. In this particular question, however, the CoC had intended the literal meaning for "Little", and indirectly equated it to the word "Baby". Fine, I can live with that.

But now we come to a stumbling block. How do we deal with "Kareena, Shilpa and Kajol"? They are of course some of the Bollywood actresses—and they're very successful ones too. However, I can't agree equating "Bollywood" with "Kareena, Shilpa and Kajol".

As you can see from this link, "Bollywood" is the informal term popularly used for Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India. It is not a reference to a particular person or actress.

Notwithstanding the above, however, there is one possible way out for the CoC in this case, and that is to treat the answer in a slang way. We all know that a girl—in fact even a matured woman—is commonly referred to as a "baby" in a slang way, especially if that woman is a beautiful one. Considered from this point of view, Kareena, for example, qualifies as a "Bollywood Baby".

Unfortunately, the question still fails on grammatical grounds. In the question, it says "Kareena, Shilpa and Kajol". Three women together. Even if we are to take the answer in the slang way, that answer can only qualify if it were plural, i.e. Bollywood Babies.


Anonymous said...

I once knew a neighbour who was obsessed about clean water, and was overly concerned about the the water cleanliness emitting from our Klang Valley taps. After she had kids, she decided that she would only let her kids drink mineral water that had to be re-filtered at home, and boiled once to ensure it was safe for drinking.

This process went on for months and then years. One day she and her husband had to travel overseas at short notice and could not bring along the kids. So she left her 2 young kids with his parents. And you guessed it, that occasion the 2 kids became sick, very sick, after drinking water from the tap (that was boiled).

Moral of the story, Corny, I think you are causing more harm than good to the new Sabahan hunters, by promoting "questions that have perfect grammar!". From my experience, there is only 1 regular CoC in the country that doubly scrutinizes his questions to the T to ensure it is grammatically correct and still remain deceptive (And since he lives up in the North, we in the Klang Valley too are deprived of such "Queen's English"). The others either do not follow this "best practice" or can't be bothered.

By grooming the local hunters to expect "perfectly worded questions" each time they take part in a hunt, they will end up extremely frustrated when the question (or answer) "comes with flaws". (Taman Bunga Raja from a recent hunt in Sabah was a good example)

In my mind, a good hunter is one that can adapt to the styles of each CoC, including their "flaws".

However, on the other hand, I will recommend these postings as a good read, for the next CoC wannabe.

Cornelius said...

Hahaha!... 2R1I, I think you get me all wrong!

The message that I'm trying to convey here is the necessacity to be exact in analysing hunt clues. I am sure that my Sabahan comrades are well aware of the little inaccuracies by most CoCs. When the time comes, we will all automatically adapt accordingly. And I am also sure that had they been hunting last Saturday, and having no other better choices, they would've chosen "Bollywood Baby" too. At least I would!

But if they never learned to be meticulous, there will come a time when a hard-working—and perfectionist—CoC would throw in some "red-herrings", and they will all fail with "Bollywood Baby" when there's, say, "Indian Celebrities" hidden somewhere within that sector.

By the way, you are correct about the "Bunga Raja" question. But in that case, I didn't get the wrong answer because of wrong analysis. It would have been interesting had there been a "Indian Celebrities" within that "Bollywood Baby" sector, don't you think? Which one would you have chosen? Would you have chosen "Bollywood Baby" anyway because you say to yourself, "Nah... this CoC is not that accurate. I will still take "Bollywood Baby" even though the other board is a better fit!" I doubt it very much!

Adaptation depends very much on the circumstances! When we run out of viable options, you'd be surprised at our adaptation skills—we can adapt so well that we come up with all sorts of dubious explanations!

And so, I would still choose the GIANT logo instead of Taman Bunga Raja, because to me the latter is obviously a decoy. I can't help it if it turns out that the CoC didn't even realise that there was a GIANT within that sector, can I? Would you, 2R1I, accept "Bollywood Baby" had there been "Indian Celebreties" within that sector? And would you accept it if the CoC insisted that "Bollywood Baby" is the better fit in the end?

Anonymous said...

Meticulous yes by all means, but not at the expense of time!

My advice to new hunters, don't go out searching for the "perfect answer" for a flawed question. Acknowledge the flaw and move on.

If you have to get out of the car, do ensure that you have that buffer to spare. Many new and regular hunters follow the Mastercard mentality, of spend first and worry later (or make up for it later). More often than not, these same hunters end up dropping the last 5 easy questions at the end of the hunt, or end up 2 minutes away from disqualification.

Lastly, all teams need a disciplined time-keeper. Give this role to the least cryptically inclined member of your team. The "Master" in the team has the tendency to exclaim that he is 5 minutes away from the solution, and is a wrong choice to keep time!

Regarding the Taman Bunga Raja question, it is unlikely that the CoC could have missed "Giant" in a sector with limited signages. My guess is that he was swayed by the "flower" in one and lack of it in the other. In this situation, once has to balance between "grammatically correct" and "what the CoC" wants!

Anonymous said...

2R1I, thanks for the advice. You correctly analyzed that we (the not so regular hunters) typically spend too much time front-end while dropping seemingly easy questions at the back. actually, i have made this mistake many times but still tempted to find the answer. of course, in many occasions, it did cost us dearly.

Cornelius said...

TIME! Oh tell me about it, 2R1I! I have no defence—I was guilty of that "Mastercard" crime as recent as the KK City Hunt in February! I shall be guided by your advice, the almighty one!

Regarding the GIANT vs BUNGA RAJA question, this is one issue where I disagree with you. I think CoCs should be prepared to accept superior answers than their intended answers. And if there is an equally-correct answer, then the CoC should accept it too, instead of simply dismissing other answer (s) for the sake of face-saving or avoiding complications.

Consider this treasure question which a friend was kind enough to share with me:

Fruit in gift-wrap, please.

Or something like that. A typical cryptic clue. However, such a question might not survive close scrutiny and might even fail in the sport of treasure hunting. Let me explain.

As a cryptic clue, it is normally accompanied with "(5)". It means that the setter wants the answer to comprise only of 5 letters. That is a very specific requirement. But as a treasure clue, no "(5)" is given, resulting in a much wider choices of answers.

Solving from the cryptic approach, the solver begins by zooming in on the word "Fruit". Then he understands the word "in" is a container indicator. He then looks for a 5-letter name of a fruit found within the remaining words in the clue. Thus in such a way, he will find APPLE, i.e. "... gift-wrap, please." Very nice, you see.

However, can the CoC deny the points for the treasure if a team submits an orange which is literally wrapped up in a gift-wrap?

Just because the CoC intends the answer APPLE, it does not necessarily follow that the orange in the gif-wrap is wrong.

It is in situations like this that will tell a good CoC from those who are not.

I do not claim to be perfect all the way, but whatever I do, I try to be fair to the hunters, because I'd imagine that if I were the hunter in that same situation, I'd appreciate it if I do not get punished simply because of the CoC's whimp and fancy.

Cornelius said...

Don't worry too much about it, Mr Anonymous. Time-mismanagement is a classic problem that is still haunting most teams—masters and non-masters alike. Grandmaster Vincent Woo puts it nicely; he said, "We just never learn!" And it's so very true!

If you care to browse through Mike's previous blog, there was one hunt where there were THREE missing signboards in a row. Must be some sort of record, I'm sure! And for that particular hunt, the winning team won mainly because they were able to force themselves to make a move when they had to. Treasure hunt is a very challenging sport—it is challenging in many ways including time management, discipline, lateral thinking, teamwork, etc.

Anonymous said...

In an ideal situation, believe me that CoCs would love to scrutinize every single answer to every single question, be it from the regulars or the new-comers to determine whether their "alternative" answer would also fit the bill.

However, imagine the situation:
- > 100 teams in the hunt
- organizers pressure to complete everything by 5pm.
- more than 1 person doing the marking of papers.
- Gosh, does this alternative signboard exist? I dont have the time to check, the signage is 100km away.

And you will come to realise that it will not be always possible to review every "alternative" answer.

Cornelius said...

2R1I, if we are not careful, someone is gonna suggest that we have our debate over the phone instead of in this blog! hahaha!

I fully agree with you, given those scenario you have outlined, 2R1I. Under those circumstances, I would treat the CoC sympathetically. In fact, I have been in some of those situations myself!

But my objections are mainly directed to hunts of different scenario.

I've had some very creative answers given to me in my hunts. Did I actually go and check out the existence of those creative answers? No, I did not. The board might have been put up on the day of the hunt itself. But if that really happened, it is something that I can't control.

But what happens when several teams give that same "creative" answer? They can't possibly all collaborate with each other? The only reasonable conclusion to make is to assume that that board did exist! At least I would give the benefit of the doubt to the hunters. Then the next thing to consider is whether that answer fits. If it does fit, then I'd accept it.

In a >100-team hunt, it is obviously much harder to do that. But to counter the problem a bit, I always make sure to double check at least to top finishers. Say if they're 10 places eligible for prizes, the CoC should double-check the answers of top 20 for possible "creative answers". The position of the rest can wait a little later I guess.

Beyond that, if I still missed an alternative correct answer, I would be brave enough to admit it, even if by then it's too late to change the results of the hunt. It's the least that I can do! Like I said, I don't claim myself to be perfect.

Mind you, I am not complaining about Bollywood Baby. The question could have been better constructed, but that is besides the point. Hopefully we can all learn from this discussion—hunters and CoCs alike.

So, I acknowledge that it's not always possible to review every alternative answer. But when the thing is over, I will review them all the same; and in the event of finding an alternative answer, I will be man enough to admit it!

Now, should I call you, or should you call me on my phone?... hahaha!

Cornelius said...

It is strange that although I've analysed this question at length, I've totally forgotten to suggest a possible improvement to its construction—until one of my readers reminded me in her email.

One possible reconstruction of the question is like this:

Q) Kareena, Shilpa or Kajol, for example.

In this revised version, the word "Little" has been dropped, because I think it is no longer required since we're approaching the solution from the slang way.

The word "and" has been replaced by "or" to satisfy grammatical requirement. With the word "or", we're now referring to either one of those women, but not all of them at once. We're therefore able to account for the singular "Baby".

The words "for example" are there to inform the solver that there are other persons who might also qualify for the same intended answer, i.e. Bollywood Baby.