Monday, June 1, 2009

26th Kiwanis Hunt—Good Road To Go Down

I must beg for forgiveness from my readers, but I really can't control myself from discussing yet another one of the "too-many-variables" kinds of question which I first discussed about in the "terrifying question" of last year's Kiwanis.

Q2) Up this way, +1 = Down

And immediately, one can see that he's up for quite some guessing exercise. He has to solve "Up this way"; then "+1"; and then finally "Down", though not necessarily in that order.

To deal with the first variable, "Up this way" might be referring to a road, street, avenue etc. But why "Up"? Within that sector there were quite a few road signs. So the hunter has to guess which one. And of course that's assuming this indeed has something to do with a road sign. Then the "+1" is another variable which the hunter has to solve. What about that "+1"?. Then "Down" is the final variable to be solved. But the experienced hunter knows that the "Down" usually means that he is required to replace that word with one of its synonyms. When taking all the possible synonyms from the English and Malay languages, that can be quite a lot of possibilities for "Down" alone.

The fact is that the hunter has to guess at least 1 of the 3 variables correctly before he can hope to solve the entire clue. But to cut the long story short, this is the CoC's explanation for the solution:

"Up this way", as the experienced hunter suspects, is indeed referring to a road, i.e. in this case the sign GOOD ROAD. The "Up" refers literally to the number "46" which is located above that GOOD ROAD sign. So here that "Up" does not refer to a direction, but rather it refers to a location.

"+1" means that the hunter has to add 1 to that "46", and that of course will give "47". Now "47" in turn equates to "Down". In fact, the clue boils down to this:

47 = DOWN

Does it mean anything to you? Notice that there is nothing in the clue to suggest what that "46" or "47" is referring to. There's no clue whatsoever on whether there's supposed to be a unit of measurement of some kind. If there's, say, kg or lb or metres lurking somewhere in the clue, then maybe we're able to see some light. What's certain, however, "47" is most certainly not a synonym for "DOWN". So I can only guess that this is a dead end for all of the hunters.

The kind of magnificent leap the CoC expects the hunter to make is for him to know that "47" here is referring to—of the millions of possibilities—the number of chromosomes in the human cells. That is then equated to "DOWN", but actually the CoC means DOWN SYNDROME. When I've already caught up with my sleep, I must make it a point to search the net—whether is it indeed a common practice to use DOWN and DOWN SYNDROME interchangeably.

It shouldn't come as a surprise, therefore, that absolutely no one solved this clue. It's obvious that it's not meant to be solved because clearly it's not possible to be solved. 47 can never be DOWN. Maybe —I say maybe—I can live with equating 47 chromosomes to DOWN SYNDROME, but not 47 to DOWN.

Although no one solved this clue, one team got it right nonetheless. They saw the "46" above the GOOD ROAD sign, and seeing it's a digit, guessed that it might have something to do with adding with 1 (+1). It's a guess without knowing the explanation, but which turned out to be correct anyway. It happens every now and then in treasure hunts.


Unknown said...


Am sure there were more than 1 team that got this answer-lah. Surely we weren't the only team ... and we got it on the first pass of the sector looking for '46' and Good Road fitted in nicely to the other part of the Q. Guess it paid off to read the souvenir programme... ;-P

Kok Seng

Cornelius said...

My sincere apology, Liew. Obviously I got the wrong information.

But of course the question is still faulty. I maintain that there is just no way to know that "46" or "47" refers to the number of chromosomes. Those numbers can be referring to anything at all. There's nothing in the clue which would suggest "chromosomes". It could have been litres, gallons, kgs, metres etc. It's still a magnificent leap that the CoC's expecting, but good for you that your team actually made that leap!

And by the way, I'm sure that only one team got this answer, unless if for some reason the CoC told me a lie.