Tuesday, March 2, 2010

KK City Hunt 2010—The Decoy

I am known for my brutal criticisms against many CoCs whenever I see inaccuracies in their hunt questions. I do so even against very close friends. I have always said that there is nothing personal in my criticisms. Whenever I comment in the capacity of a hunt analyst, I try my best to comment from a neutral point of view. In the years past, I have been labelled with quite a number of nicknames, including the famous Kutu King, which actually arose from Kutuk-ing.

I'd like to say that I am obsessed with precision; I'm basically a perfectionist in almost everything I do, and hunt riddles are no exceptions. But that is not to say I'm immune from making mistakes! After all, I am only human. And so, I have had my share of criticisms from hunters too. However, I'd like to think that it's not so easy to find mistakes in my riddles. Whether I am right or wrong, I'll leave it to the many hunters who've joined my hunts to judge.

The CoC of the KK City Tourism Hunt 2010 is of course not new to the business of treasure hunting. In fact, they are easily one of the pioneers in the business, if not the first! I have been in their hunts quite a number of times before and I can almost tell the style of the riddles they come up with.

One interesting feature in their hunt questions is what has come to be known as the "red herring". The clue is set in such a way that makes a particular sign appear to fit perfectly, but yet there's something still unaccounted for. Within the same hunt sector, there is another sign which is a better fit to the clue. The other answer which appears to fit perfectly—but actually not so—is deliberately intended as the red herring or the decoy. It's a very interesting style and can be quite a sweet achievement when the hunter can find the intended answer somehow.

But although the CoC is known for the red herring flair, he is also known for the occasional errors, some of which are mind-boggling! I have seen a question in which the CoC translated the word "HATE" into "DENGKI" in Malay—a translation which would make some of us cringe with pain. And in the preceding post, I have pointed out another error by the CoC.

And that is the reality in treasure hunting—it sometimes depends a lot on luck and a bit of mind-reading ability on the part of the hunter. In the course of hunting in a TOS' hunt, one is bound to come to DENGKI which is most certainly not HATE; or THE GOLD EDITION which does not fit 49TH EDITION. What should be done then?

Knowing the reputation of the CoC with his "red herring" flair, one is very reluctant to accept DENGKI and THE GOLD EDITION. These are answers which may appear close enough, but not quite so. There is always that risk of the CoC surprising the audience with other answers which are "more accurate" for the given clues.

Along the famous Jalan Sulaman, we were up against an interesting question:

Q28) The essence of life with exit end in tie up here to revamp.

I have two things I want to say about this question. But first let's deal with a sign which my team found within that sector:


When we found this sign, we agreed that it could fit the clue quite convincingly. After lingering for a moment, we took this answer and continued with the hunt. The point is 'THE ESSENCE OF LIFE" can fit "SOUL"; and "OUT" can fit "EXIT". This answer looked very promising indeed!

However, at the back of my mind, there was that uneasy feeling of uncertainty. The reason I felt so was because "SOUL OUT" could not explain "end in tie up here to revamp." It's just my nature to be obsessed with precision, you see. After reaching the end station of this hunt, which was quite some distance away, I was still unhappy with "SOUL OUT", so I decided to drive all the way back to Jalan Sulaman to check again. Unfortunately, even on the second visit to the sector, I couldn't spot the intended answer. So I had no choice but to settle with the "SOUL OUT".

And true enough, it was to be revealed later on that there's a sign with "JIWA MOTOR" within that sector. That was the intended answer of the CoC. And the explanation given by the CoC was like this:


EXIT end = T

TIE UP = MOOR (as in tying up a boat)

So now the clue can be simplified to:

JIWA with T in MOOR here to revamp.

Now it is a bit clearer to see the nature of the riddle.

The word "with" tells the hunter that JIWA comes with another word on the signboard.

The word "revamp", the anagram indicator, tells the hunter that T is rearranged together with MOOR to form MOTOR.

And so everything falls into its respective places for a beautiful solution...

Or is it?

I'm not very happy with the extra (redundant) container indicator, i.e. in. I think what really happened was that the CoC was a bit unsure whether to make this a "container" riddle or an "anagram" riddle. As you can probably see, it's also possible to insert T into MOOR by means of the "insertion" operation to form MOTOR. He played around with the words and adjusted them accordingly to create a smoother surface reading. That's why there was the requirement of either the container indicator or the anagram indicator in the clue.

However, when the CoC finally decided on one of those two, he forgot to delete one of those indicators, thus resulting in a sloppy clue not worthy of the high standard expected of a pioneer CoC.

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