Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tembak Series 1—Treasure Hunt

What a day—and a very exhausting one too!

The treasure hunters started to assemble at the Celyn Hotel in City Mall at around 7:00am. The Tembak Series 1 is a debut role as Clerk-of-Course (CoC) by Team Main Tembak. However, because its team members were convinced that they're gonna get lots of criticisms from this Tukang Kutuk, they've changed their name to Kena Tembak.

There were 40 route questions and 4 treasure questions in this hunt, spread within an approximate distance of 50km and time control of 5 hours plus 30 minutes penalty time. Before the flag off, however, Alvin Wong conducted a hunt briefing which lasted for about half an hour. Immediately after the briefing, teams were flagged off at about 8:00am.

I have a shrewd suspicion that the CoC got a bit carried away in view of the reduction of fuel prices a few months ago—they brought us from City Mall to Kolombong/Inanam, to Indah Permai, to Kingfisher; then back to Damai and further to Plaza Grand Millennium before making our way back to City Mall again.

I thought we had a strong field today. Most of the regular teams were there. In accordance with a habit of my friend, Teck Koon, I took the trouble of seeding the teams before the hunt. I seeded my own team, Megapawns, fourth. I felt it was a bit far-fetched for us to even get into the top 3.

As for the hunt, I must say that the CoC performed beyond my expectation. Those of you who's been following this blog would know that I'm not known for my generosity in giving praises to CoCs. And when I criticise, I usually do so brutally. But my criticisms are not meant to be personal. Whenever I do my tukang kutuk thing, I do not see the CoC as a friend or enemy. I try to ignore my relationship with the CoC because only then am I able to give an unbiased comment on the hunt.

Well, as I was saying, I felt that the CoC performed beyond my expectation. But of course there's no reason why they shouldn't, because after all the team members of Kena Tembak are master hunters, with many years of hunting experience. In my opinion, the CoC did very well in balancing the level of difficulties while at the same time giving the local hunters a good challenge. It was a fairly tough hunt, but not to the extent of killing the fun for the new teams. To me, that in itself is already a good achievement.

Although I wrote down the results when they were announced at the end of the hunt, my record is incomplete. So I have asked Alvin to send me the official results soon. I shall publish them here when I get them from Alvin.

The CoC has an interesting style of repeating some words in his questions. And those words have different roles to play. Consider this example:



One SHAKE is the anagram indicator, while the other is the fodder. I'm happy to see this kind of confusion/deception in hunt questions. The only thing that I'd like the CoC to improve is on the elegance of the surface reading. It means that the storyline in the question should be as meaningful and natural as possible. Of course I am not trained in the medical field, but I doubt that there is such a thing as a long (or short) heart.

Consider another example of repetitive words in a question:


A) the S'wich

A somewhat confusing clue. And if one is unable to think along the right track, he is bound to get to a dead end—like what happened to me. Sometimes it's like that in a hunt—if you can't see it, you just can't see it! The point is, the "INSERT AND" is the instruction of what action needs to be done to the intended answer; and "INSERT BETWEEN TWO" defines the resulting word of that action.

In terms of accuracy, I must say that I was a bit surprised that the CoC also did quite well. Except for one small grammatical inaccuracy, it's hard to find any holes in the rest of the questions. Perhaps my only minor unhappiness is on the issue of elegance of the surface reading as mentioned earlier.

My team started the hunt very well, we managed to solve all the questions in Kolombong. Many of the KK hunters would know that I almost always bring them to Kolombong in my hunts. And can almost memorize all the boards there. One glance at the questions, I could pinpoint where the answers were. So we covered this sector fairly quickly and easily.

The Inanam Business Centre was also a familiar sector for me, and we did well there too. But beyond that, we started to get into trouble. When we got to Nountun, we started to drop questions. Later on, we dropped a few more questions in Indah Permai and Kingfisher.

By the time we got to Millennium, I had resigned to the fact that we had dropped too many questions to even hold on to our fouth seeding. By then we were running short on time. And the extremely hot sun did not help either. It's funny how quickly the mind can stop functioning when one has mentally given up hope. Everything just went downhill for me. Even easy questions became tough. Something meant for the beginners became quite a challenge to me. I walked on that long sector, of course, but with my mind not really working. Out of 9 questions in Millennium, we only managed to answer 3! This is where my friend, KK Chai, would help if he were my team mate. I remember him saying, "If it's tough for us, it can also be tough for the rest." That is very true. And even if it's not true, at least the mind would still continue fighting.

Well, we rushed back to City Mall where we had to answer 6 more questions. Luckily there were mostly easy ones. One question, which was apparently a tough one for the other teams, turned out to be very easy to me. But that's not because I'm too clever; rather it's because the question was the "jigsaw puzzle" kind, the kind which is my favourite:



However, there was one question in City Mall which was not meant to be answered—it's the kind which I'd describe as "reserved for the CoC", though after the CoC explained it, I'd say the question was indeed solvable.

When the hunt was over, and while we were having lunch and chit-chatting with the other teams, I realised that they dropped quite a lot of questions too. And I suddenly felt there's hope to maintain my fourth seeding again! But when the results were announced, I was surprised that we actually had enough to win the hunt! 78 points out of the possible 100 maximum points. Had we hunted in KL, I seriously doubt that we'd get anywhere within the top 10 positions with that kind of score. So it's a good thing this is not KL!

Well, a good ending for my team. Some stupid mistakes, though luckily we made fewer of them when compared to the other teams.

As always, I shall discuss and analyse some of the interesting questions in separate threads later.


Update (10/05/09):

Have just received official results from Alvin shortly ago, and am updating it here accordingly. There was apparently a slight mistake in the order of positions 7th, 8th and 9th. The final standings as follows:

Champion: Edward Baki, Euphemia Thien, Cornelius Koh, Dennis Koh - 78pts
2nd: Harry Koh, Vivian Cham, Chan Moon Hueg, Jona Stidi - 72pts
3rd: Frederick Samson, Teo Chen Lung, Leslie Liew, Jason Chin - 68pts
4th: Onalia Kong, Allister Kong, Benjamin Liew, Jeremy Pinso - 65pts
5th: Ellen Yee, Mary Lokupi, Shirley Lim, Dr Liaw Yun Haw - 65pts
6th: Claire Andrew, Grace Joy Chin - 64pts
7th: Gan Po Tiau, David Wong, Winnie Chee, Shirley Chai - 63pts
8th: Francis Omamalin, Eileen Yeoh, Moira Liew, Lee Tze Jim - 62pts
9th: Malcolm Abidin, Talissa Kiandee, Andrea Abidin Callum Abidin - 61pts
10th: Chee Chui Mee, Juriah Hj Uda, Ana Hiew, Angeline Joimol - 57pts


~|..BIAN..|~ said...

Hi Cornelius. Congrats to your team. Mimang dijangka kamu yg menang ni. haha..

I believe the questions were hard. It seems like both sides of the brain needs to be 'awake' to answer all questions..

Cornelius said...

Thanks Fabian,

I have been where you are now, my friend. When you are new at it, it can be very hard. However, if you keep joining hunts, you will come to a stage where you can handle many of the questions.

But actually, Fabian, Alvin has done a good job in giving quite a number of easy questions in this hunt. For example,


(Spotting of tagline)


I have been to some tough hunts in KL, and you can take it from me, some of them were really tough!

However, I hope the Tembak Series 1 has fanned your passion to try again in the coming Palliative Care Charity Hunt on 26 July. It's for a good cause too.

Beyond that, if you have not become insane because of treasure hunting, then why not make it a point to join my unofficial KK Challenge 5 in October. You have missed 4 KK Challenges before this, so don't miss out on the future ones! Initially, I had planned to organise it either in August or September, but someone reminded me of the Puasa and Hari Raya. So now I have to postpone to October.

Cornelius said...

I received a text message from Eilen Yeoh, a hunter from a rival team in yesterday's hunt. I thought the team members of Kena Tembak should see it. I give below a verbatim of that text message:

"I tried to comment something positive abt hunt on ur blog but tidak pandai so not put out. Sort of we enjoyed it v much eventhough our driver was sick, d hot weather, it was well organised, good comfortable location, answers n prizes efficient way of giving out so much so w even got some time left for shopping n afternoon nap. Looking forward to light n easy hunts like this.

Not that we don't enjoy urs but yours is d CHALLENGE one n if we r not prepared n in that state of mind its going to b v frustrating n tired."

By the way, folks, Eileen's team got 7th. Her team was one of the regular ones in KK. Of the 4 KK Challenges that I have organised, I think her team only missed one.

Cornelius said...

Two more things I forgot to mention in the above post.

Firstly, it was announced that the team Hunters "R" Us from KL had kindly donated meal vouchers at the Karambunai Resort as one of the prizes of this hunt. I should make it a point to organise my KK Challenge earlier next year so that I can seek their kind donations first (smile). On behalf of the organiser and all the hunters, we thank you, HRU!

Secondly, Alvin mentioned at the end of the hunt that I'm the first master hunter from Sabah. I want to make it clear that all three of us (together with Alvin and Bernard) were inducted to the Hall of Fame at the same time. Of the three of us, Alvin and Bernard deserve the title much more than me, because they have won more hunts and they have many more years of hunting experience too. Apart from that, I feel TOS has somehow overlooked their other team members, namely, Christine Netto (she set many of the questions for this hunt) and Audrey Chin, who are very strong hunters. Together, they have been dominating the hunting scene in KK for years... and they still do!

Furthermore, being a master hunter doesn't really mean much if there is no team synergy. Many other elements are more important to ensure success, e.g. time management, luck, mood etc.

Tal said...

ooh? I see our team actually got 9th place... :p Oh well. It was our first time out together as a team~ we've been joining treasure hunts with different team members so far. From looking at the answers, we made a lot of careless mistakes -- something which we'll need to improve on. The questions this time around were quite challenging, but answerable-- except for the Millienium ones. sigh~

Anyway, see you in the next hunt! :)

Cornelius said...

Hi Tal,

That's my idea of good hunt questions - they should be challenging, but solvable.

I'm glad to know that you're looking forward to the next hunt, and I take it you mean the Palliative Care in July. Now that you've experienced Kena Tembak's hunt, you shouldn't miss my KK Challenge 5 when I organise it some time in October. I usually organise my KK Challenge hunts around July/August annually, but this year I'm pushing it to October to make way for the Palliative Care. You will be happy to know that my questions are simpler than Kena Tembak's. I will make the announcement in this blog once I've decided on the date.

Cornelius said...

It seems that some of you hunters are paying special attention to all the questions and answers quoted here. And I have received queries from several people asking for the explanations for some of them.

It seems that one particular question of which people have been asking for the explanation is the "CORE fitness". Well, to save all the trouble, I might as well give the explanation here:



This kind of question may be a bit harsh to the new hunters because it is not clear that the "definition" part of the clue is the word "AGAIN". Maybe a "friendlier" way of phrasing the question is like this:


Then it will become clear that we need to do something to get the meaning of the word "AGAIN". However, based on the cryptic clueing rules, there is no need to include the words "to get" in the clue. It is up to the solver to guess where is the "definition" in the clue.

Now the solution:

"WHEN THE FINAL PART" means we are to take only the final part of the word "WHEN", i.e. the letters "EN".

"STARTS HERE" means we need to put that "EN" to start (meaning ahead of) a word which is found on the signboard (HERE). And the result of that should give us the meaning of "AGAIN" (the definition part of the clue).


EN + ? = AGAIN

And it will be seen that the "?" should be "CORE" so that the resulting word is "ENCORE" which agrees with "AGAIN".

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