Monday, April 28, 2008

Hospis Hunt 2008—The Blind Hunter

Yet another question which caused something of a stir in the car that day. The debate on this clue wasn't as prolonged as that of the "infertile doctor", but it's equally mind-boggling. The clue was like this:

One who is blind might be able to tell you what is this article found in this menu here.

It was obvious that the mention of a blind person suggest something to do with the Braille character. With the modern technology of internet connectivity, it was just a matter of seconds for anyone to research by googling the above diagram up. So let me save you all the trouble and reveal that that diagram is the letter "A" in Braille.

OK, fine. So now that we have determined the "A", we're done with the "One who is blind" portion of the clue. Now from this point, how should we proceed to arrive at the answer? What's the thought process?

Firstly, there is a mention of a menu. That should be able to narrow things down a bit. We can start scanning all the signboards which are connected—one way or another—to a menu. Therefore, we are looking for, perhaps, restaurants, foodstalls and the likes where menus are likely to be found. However, we must also keep an open mind on other signboards, especially if all the restaurant signboards do not fit.

For that particular sector, there're several restaurants. But as far as the signboards are concerned, only one stands out and merits serious consideration. That signboard contains several food items, including Nasi Lemak, Prawan Mee, and some other noodles etc. Most of the items found on that menu have some "A"s in them. Now how does one connect to the clue?

Also found within that sector is another appealing signboard: LOGA. If we were to take away the "A", we are left with LOG. That sounds promising too. But the question we must ask ourselves is whether we can accept LOG to be equated to a menu. I doubt it. I know that a "log" is a record of an event or something in that nature, but a "menu" is more to a list where we have options to choose from.

Therefore, we are drawn to the menu found on the restaurant's signboard mentioned above. But somehow, the answer does not connect to the clue, even after reading the clue several times!

This was what happened during the hunt:

Margaret eventually settled with "Prawan Mee", and she seemed quite satisfied with that answer. But it was my turn to become "paranoid". That answer was not entirely satisfactorily to me. Yes, I was aware of the wrong spelling in "Prawan", but in what way is that wrongly-spelt word a correct fit to the clue?

Let's investigate the clue once again. That mention of "this article"; what article might that be? Could it be referring to the specific food which is found on the menu? If that is the explanation, perhaps a more suitable word is "item" instead of "article". The other possible meaning for "article" is referring to the letter "A" in "Prawan". But why "Prawan"? Why not the "A" in "Nasi Lemak", for example?

In the end, the concensus was on "Prawan" mee, but the decision was arrived at based on different justifications. Apparently Margaret thought that that answer must be it, but could not fully explain why "Prawan" specifically. I agreed to the "Prawan" because I thought psychologically it is the most likely answer. From the very little that I know about the CoC, I felt that I could almost guess the answer not on the strength of the clue, but rather from reading the character of the CoC!

I had the opportunity to observe the CoC. He's very chatty. And from what I have gathered, he has an inclination to make fun or be sarcastic on mistakes found on signboards, and thus quick to take advantage on them for his hunt questions. Check out his sense of humour in this clue:

Q25) Something smells in the AA?

A25) ashita

Anyway, we settled on the "Prawan Mee". Later on, we came back to the debate again, and Margaret suddenly asked me, "You are not very sure about Prawan, are you?" I said I wasn't convinced that's the answer, because it didn't seem to fit the clue. Somehow I felt there was something missing. But for the lack of a superior alternative, I had no choice but to accept it as the "best" answer within that sector. Vincent agreed with me too. We would have been much happier had the word "extra" been present in the clue, i.e. "what is this extra article found in..." If there's that "extra" in the clue, then it would make more sense, because we would then be able to account for the Braille "A" and connect that "A" with the extra "A" in the Prawan.

So that was that. It was one of the clues which we dwelled on until the answer presentation that night.

Then came the presentation by the CoC. And that word "extra" appeared almost magically in his version of the clue for the presentation. And everything fell into place! A seemingly useless mental torture, huh?

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