Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lexis Nexis Hunt 2008—Miscellaneous

Some minor inaccuracies which I would categorise as "I can live with them":


It is a good practice to try to solve hunt questions before reaching the respective sectors. By the time we arrive at the sectors, we should have at least narrowed down the scope of search. But sometimes we would stumble upon questions which are just too short that they are "incapable" of much analyses.

Q17) Blunt hit?

Hardly anything to help us narrow down the search. I think I can safely say that most of the strong hunters would immediately "see" the possibility of the double jeopardy in their minds when they are faced with such a question. Therefore, when I saw the above question, I immediately thought of the double jeopardy.

However, it turned out to be a simple question involving the name of a singer named Blunt. The question refers to his hit song entitled You Are Beautiful.

A17) U'R Beautiful Shop

Two issues have been raised in connection with this question.

Firstly, whether we can accept the fact that there is no apostrophe followed by the letter "s" after the word Blunt? We know that grammatically, since the word "hit" is owned by Mr Blunt, it follows that to be correct, we should have written it as "Blunt's hit". However, in spite of my obsession with grammatical accuracy in hunt questions, I am inclined to accept the omission of the apostrophe S in this case on the grounds of "trickery". I can accept it because it is acceptable in other similar cases too, so we must be consistent. For example, we can accept Safety First = S, even though it should have been Safety's First = S.

Secondly, the song by Mr Blunt is entitled You Are Beautiful. That is a specific name, a title. Even a small change to that title will render it no longer the song of Mr Blunt. Therefore, strictly speaking, U R Beautiful is NOT Mr Blunt's hit song! Perhaps it would have been better had the setter thrown in a sounds like indicator into the question.

However, in this particular case, I think I can accept the answer because of the question mark (?) at the end of the clue. I view that "?" as something suggestive—that the answer might involve some sort of indirect solution.



I have come to accept that it is very rare to find a treasure hunt that is free from grammatical mistakes. Unfortunately, the Lexis Nexis hunt is not immune from this common problem too.

Q24) A fashionable girl who would initially likes it loose in England.

It is not exactly something that will negate the validity of the answer, and that is why I have categorised it under "I can live with them".

To make it easier to see the problem, let's remove the word "initially" from the sentence. We will then end up with "A fashionable girl who would likes it loose..." Notice that because of the word "would", the verb "like" should not come with an "s". We say, "the boy would come...", not "the boy would comes..."; we say, "the girl who would like it loose...", and not "the girl who would likes it loose..."

As I said, it is a small grammatical inaccuracy and does not disqualify the intended answer:

A24) Butik LILIE



I happen to know that some people are die-hard fans of the Star Trek. I, alas, am not one of them. Sure, I was briefly intrigued by the TV series when I was a small boy, but that fascination was mainly due to my brother, Dennis, whose huge ear lobes were strikingly similar to those of Mr Spock's. Otherwise, apart from Captain James Kirk and the USS Enterprise, there is hardly anything else that I know about the Star Trek.

Q33) Remember how Scottie with Enterprise would _______ up his captain.

I am a bit puzzled by the necessity of "Remember how..." in the above clue. In my opinion, these two words are not entirely necessary; they have very little role to play in assisting the solver to arrive at the answer. Perhaps the setter means to signal to the solver that this has something to do with something "old", hence telling him to "remember".

The word Enterprise starts with a capital letter, thus suggesting that we are dealing with a proper noun. However, I think all those help—if they're indeed intended to assist the solver—are unnecessary, as it's fairly easy to guess the word to fit into that blank. A quick scan through that sector would yield the word BEAM.

A33) BEAM @ Bumicita Electric

There is no need to know Star Trek to be able to solve this question, you see!

BUT! people like Richard Si might ask: Who the hell is Scottie!? He can probably tell you everything you want to know about the fictional character, Montgomery Scott, otherwise known as Scotty. But he would probably be annoyed by the wrong spelling of the name. These die-hard fans of Star Trek might be offended by the smallest mistakes when it comes to the things they love dearly, you see.

And we also want to try to be fair to the hunters—we owe it to them to at least give the correct spelling for something as important as the name, even if it's just a fictional character.



A common feature of Malaysian treasure hunt questions is the translation of English-Malay. Questions are usually overwhelmingly in English, but every now and then hunters are required to solve questions based on some word power—in Bahasa Malaysia (Malay). Sometimes, if the setter is feeling kind, he will provide a translation indicator, e.g. "local" or "Malaysian". At other times, no indicators are provided, and hunters are therefore required to constantly remind themselves to translate English words into Malay. Essentially, it means that it pays to have at least one team member who is well-versed in Malay. Of course Malay dictionaries can help too.

Q35) I hear the local hates this brand. What and where?

I believe this was a well-answered question, not only because the answer was easy to spot on the signboard, but also because there were not many alternative choices within that sector.

"I hear" in the clue signals to the solver that he's dealing with a sounds like problem; "local" is the translation indicator; "hates" is the fodder.

The hunter thus scans the sector, spots the word DENKI on a signboard, and realises that it sounds almost like the word DENGKI. The clue asks for "What and where?", meaning the hunter must write down where he found the answer.

A35) DENKI @ Alat Ganti Kereta Evergrown Enterprise Sdn Bhd

So everything falls into its respective places and the hunter earns his points.

But now we come to the problem. That word "HATE", when translated into Malay, is "BENCI". I suppose some people would also consider "TAK SUKA" and "MELUAT".

"DENGKI" has a different meaning; in English it means "JEALOUS" or "ENVIOUS". I think any attempt to equate "DENGKI" to "HATE" is bound to fail miserably. Of course it is possible that some people may use—wrongly—the word "DENGKI" when actually they mean "BENCI".

But for the purpose of setting treasure hunt questions, the CoC owes the duty to the non-Malay speaking folks to be accurate in the translations. You can't expect these poor souls to work deligently over those thick dictionaries, fail to find HATE=DENGKI, and then punish them for that!

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