A very exhausting trip to the Klang Valley over the weekend for the Tiger Show, a belated treasure hunt in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration, clerked by none other than Grandmaster Hunter Uncle Cheong Foo Seong.
Perhaps because of my tendency to be brutal in my criticisms on hunt questions/solutions, several people have reminded me over and over again prior to, during, and after the hunt, that this was a "no holds barred" hunt. In other words, anything goeseven if it is a departure from the usual cryptic themes. I suppose that absolutely blocks a major portion of my objections, if any, to the questions in this hunt. However, for the sake of discussion, for whatever it's worth, I'd like to make some passing remarks on some of the clues, if only to mention the interesting style of the Clerk-of-Course (CoC).
As I had expected, there were a couple of "terrifying questions" in this hunt. Elsewhere in this blog, I have discussed at length on past "terrifying questions", but for the benefit of the new hunters who've only recently stumbled upon this blog, I'd like to quickly raise them here again.
Whenever I set hunt questions, while I'm always trying to make my clues interesting and entertaining, I'm always restricted by my sense of fairness. Whatever I do to my clues, I will always try to be fair to the hunters. When word substitutions are involved in the riddles, I usually allow a fair chance by limiting the scope of search.
Consider this question:
Q1) Sarawak and the answer have a note composed to identify an animal.
A decent-looking clue which I immediately saw its worth, i.e. a "terrifying question" of which one should almost know the answer beforehand to actually solve it. In mathematical sense, this clue amounts to no more than an equation comprising too many variables with no known value. It boils down to the requirement of having to find:
One has to think whatever that could replace Sarawak, e.g. "Bumi Kenyalang", if one is too ambitious. Or is there an abbreviated version of that word?
2) "the answer"
This particular "variable" is of course found on the signboard within the hunt sector. And there are many signsit can be any one of those!
3) "a note"
While "note" here can mean musical notes as in "do", "re", "me" etc, it can also refer to the other versions of musical notes, i.e. A, B, C etc.
4) "an animal"
Again, this is referring to one of those thousands of animals in this world. But if that is not hard enough, we are not looking for something "general" like cats and dogs. Noin this case, we are looking for a specific breed of dog!
The only thing that the hunter can be sure of in this clue is that word "composed", which is most likely an anagram indicator. So now we can more or less construct the following equation:
"SARAWAK" + "ANSWER" + "NOTE" -> anagram -> "ANIMAL"
Those elements in the quotes above are all unknowns. In other words, we have no known value at all. Perhaps if one has plenty of time (or willing to sacrifice his time), he will eventually be able to figure out that:
SARAWAK refers to ANITA; and
ANSWER (found on the board) is SL; and
NOTE is A; and
ANIMAL = ALSATIAN (a specific breed of dog).
ANITA + SL + A -> anagram -> ALSATIAN
I guess for a "no holds barred" hunt, there isn't much I can say about this kind of clue. But for an average hunt, I consider this clue not really meant to be solved, even if the solution is technically correct in the end.
Apart from those "terrifying questions", I also noticed some possible room for improvements in how some of the clues were worded. For instance, check out this clue:
16) Red East example.
Seeing that word "red", is it possible to connect that to China? I've seen some clues set, I believe by Time Out Solutions, which used "red" as the synonym to CHINA. So if viewed from that angle, "Red East example" might fit, say, Taiwan, as in RESTORAN TAIWAN?
But no, of course that's not the answer. This is of course something more fancy, i.e. a double jeopardy riddle where EAST = E, and EXAMPLE = EG (the abbreviation). So that the answer is: SHAKE DEGREE, where "shake" is the anagram indicator, and DEGREE contains the RED, E and EG.
But I don't really like equating EXAMPLE to EG. I still prefer "e.g." = for example.
The one thing that I liked about this hunt was the sufficient time given to the teams to give proper treatment to all the riddles. I think that's very important. In the last tough hunt I joined in KL, i.e. Hunters Challenge, I was somewhat disappointed that we had insufficient time for the level of difficulty. However, as far as the style and quality of the clues, I prefer those in Hunters Challenge anytime of the day.
There were 17 teams hunting in the Tiger Show. After the hunt, and while waiting for the results, both Kah Sing and I agreed that we would fail badly. I remember saying that it would be quite a struggle to even sneak into the top half of the number of teams, i.e. 8th position. So you can just imagine our surprise when we eventually barely crept to 8th. How amusing!