Friday, November 14, 2008

3K Triple-One Hunt—The Eastern Connection

Sabah is the eastern state of Malaysia; it is separated from the west by the South China Sea. Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan (Indonesia) occupy what is known as the Borneo Island.

In Sabah itself, the towns of Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan are located to the east of Kota Kinabalu. And within Kota Kinabalu itself, Bukit Padang and its surroundings are located on the east.

Now if I were to ask you to name a place in the east, but without giving further specific information, are you able to give me an exact answer? Would you be able to guess confidently that I am asking for a country, or a state, or a district, or a city, or a town, or just a street? With just a "place in the east", it is very difficult to answer, right?

Q19) Hari ini tanpa siang masuk untuk tempat timur lumba tak tentu hala.

Another one of those so-called juicy questions in the Triple-One Hunt.

In the name of fairness, whenever I set hunt questions which include the task of selecting from several possible options, I would try my best to limit the scope of search. It is very, very rare that I will give a practically limitless scope of search. IF—and that is a big IF—there is a need to throw in a limitless scope of search, there must be a very good justification for it. I do not find anything good enough to justify "tempat timur" in the Captain's question above.

This brings to mind a similar question posed in the RR Blog some time ago, which involved multiple levels of cryptic labyrinth. It required limitless seach and practically countless possibilities and then a very special word for the name of a sail—all those to be combined into the required answer—ROJAK, which is a perfect word to describe this kind of clue.

Apart from all the other small loose letters that had to be deciphered, the setter provided the word SHEET in the clue. There is nothing there to indicate the kind of SHEET, i.e. whether it's in the nature of sheet as in bedsheet, or paper sheet etc. It turned out that of all the many, many kinds of SHEETS, he was referring to the sheet of a sail—as in a sailboat. However, even if the solver could confidently decide on the SAIL, he still needed to know the specific name of that item. In this case, it was a CROSSJACK. And then beyond that, the solver still had to go for a marathon of taking away some letters before finally getting the required answer. The level of expectation on the solver's ability was ridiculous to the extreme.

While the Captain's "tempat timur" is not as terrible as the CROSSJACK, it is at least halfway there. However, to be fair to the Captain, he did indicate quite literally in the sentence that this was a "tak tentu hala" punya clue.

Having been supplied with the answer to this question, I was able to do a reverse-deciphering to figure out the explanation. In fact, I have a feeling that that's exactly what the successful hunters did for this question—they realised that the scope of search was impossibly wide; looked at the available signboards within that sector; chose a promising one, and then worked their way backwards to the question.

"Hari ini tanpa siang"—means TODAY without the word DAY. So we are left with TO.

"masuk"—means to be added (to the intended answer).

"untuk tempat timur"—means when that TO has been added to the answer, we can get "tempat timur", which in this case refers to the Japanese city of TOKYO. Of course if you have not narrowed down your choices of available answers within that sector, it's extremely hard to find TOKYO. But the Captain, seeing the riddle from the CoC's point of view did not realise this because he did not pause to put himself in the shoes of the hunters.

"lumba tak tentu hala"—means the letters in LUMBA have to be rearranged to derive a new word on account of the anagram indicator, "tak tentu hala". However, as many of you would probably know by now, LUMBA must first be translated to RACE. So what's left for the hunters to do was spot a signboard beginning with KYO and then followed by any combination of RACE.

Thus the answer: KYOCERA.

And there you have a very crude and disorganized kind of cryptic clue which reflects a setter who does not spend enough efforts on elagance and quality. Either that or he hasn't got what it takes! Compare the Captain's question (s) with these:

Q) Her point taken, it makes sense now doesn't it?

A) Derina Beauty Saloon


Q) Iklan hanya boleh memberikan jawapannya setelah diterjemahkan.

A) Adjustable @ Powerdown

By C. Koh (KK Challenge 4)

Notice that there is no need to throw in everything you've got in the cryptic clueing books to set beautiful hunt questions. I know they may look like so easy to solve, but that is not really the case when you're out there scanning through hundreds of signboards. For example, a very strong Sabahan team failed to solve my KK Challenge 4 question above. It is so plain and simple when you see it from the comfort of you homes, huh?

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